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Sessions: Monk on Guitar
This is a reprint of from an article printed in GUITAR PLAYER, January 1998.
You can add tension to a melody note by briefly harmonizing it with a major or minor-second interval. If you have the Sept. '97 GP handy, see my "Monk on Guitar" Sessions entry for an introduction to this technique simple yet potent concept inspired by jazz pianist Thelonious Monk.

The second can be above or below the melody not, as in EX. 1. Here C is the melody; we're accenting it with major and minor seconds–first above, the below. Because the harmonic second (D, D flat, B flat, B) has a shorter duration, C emerges as the primary pitch. As long as you accent C using a combination of duration and volume, it will be perceived as a melody note that's enhanced with momentary tension.
Try practicing a C major scale using this technique. Remember, the scale tone can be the upper or lower note of the interval which may be diatonic or chromatic (EX. 2).
The next example illustrates how to "Monkify" a line, EX. 3a is the uncolored version; EX. 3b is the same line enhanced with seconds.

Time to sprinkle some seconds into your own phrases.
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