Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 14 of 14 FirstFirst ... 4121314
Posts 651 to 671 of 671
  1. #651

    User Info Menu

    Week 11. Day 1 of "Blues for Alice" in G at 80 bpm. This was actually more like day two. We're stuck inside dealing with the winter storm. I had plenty of time to play yesterday, so I figured I'd get a jump on BFA in G. Like I stated the other day, I'm trying to play nonstop 8th note triplets throughout each 10 minute segment. It's a bit grueling. A bit monotonous. Rather challenging at times. Especially to place the accents in different spots to try to get this to swing more. My ideas would most likely be better and more musical if I didn't chug away on the steady 8th note triplets, but I'm going to try and stick with this per Howard's instruction. Faster tempos are definitely going to be problematic.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #652
    Had a nice full day of working on the guitar. I have to say that having the facility that has come from the ornamentation work here has been a joy. Working with pedal tones and approaches to chord tones and other notes is giving me a fluidity in being able to play in time. I will leave it for the lyric side to come with time but for now, it's nice to be able to play seemingly endless variations in time.
    I'm taking a three note combination, sometimes an arpeggio, sometimes a wide interval leap, or something else, and vary one note. Then that sequence, I'll apply to the changing harmony. A kind of modal workout.
    This is the key to being able to negotiate any changes at any speed and not fall into the gravity of "safe" notes and phrases (read as cliches and tired habits).
    It was a good workout for me.
    Earlier today I was working out all the different chordal combinations of modal interchanges as an alternative to the turnarounds given in the piece. WOW! There's some beautiful stuff there! For instance instead of the IV- to bVII7, I'm playing a phrygian on the V chord and a lydian on the #5. When any of you guys is ready to move into modal interchange, just say so, I'll post some supplementary posts that address that. In short: There are many ways the ear can be lead to the tonic I chord and in diatonic harmony, or harmony based on Melodic minor or harmony based on Harmonic minor, there are also many ways of going to their I chords. It's possible to work out the harmonies of those "alternative" modes so they return home in very hip and beautiful ways, and then when it resolves to the I, you are back in the piece on your tonality.

    Blues for Alice is a very hip way to work with this because there is a very simple duality here: Diatonic chords. And the chords that lead you to the next diatonic chords. Great platform for playing with rich harmonic approaches and their resolutions.

    I'm still going to do a little post on dominant harmony, don't worry. I'll see how ambitious I'm feeling tomorrow. Having fun.

  4. #653
    Week 11 day 3.
    Spent the time taking advantage of the fact that all the diatonic chords are so neatly ordered. I took a pretty simple melody, almost folk tune and started the G Maj with it simply embellished. When I got to the next diatonic chord, I transposed that idea into locrian, and then Aolean... . Great little workout for the ear and the fingers, and using simple embellishments kept me on my toes.
    Second 10 minute segment I did the same thing, this time choosing very different areas of the fingerboard for each diatonic segment. This assured that the roots and the fingerings would be different each time. Good workout.
    And the third time through I felt strong and warmed up enough that my motifs could be scramble around a bit. I really like this tune. It provides a really predictable form so I can pretty much set the bar where I want to and challenge myself each time. It's also solid enough and free of too many surprises so I can hear myself whenever I am tending towards some line that I know too well, and give me the time to set off in a new and unanticipated direction.

    I realize that making a solo isn't just about being able to play notes without tripping up, but also so importantly, setting up an idea that I will be playing, or setting off with. That's when I feel like I'm really the driver.
    The goal is to play a session without saying once: "No! Not THAT again!"

  5. #654

    User Info Menu

    Week 11. Day 2 of "Blues for Alice" in G. I bumped up the bpm to 85 and continued to play steady 8th note triplets. I'm still a bit confused whether I should be strictly adhering to the constant triplets or not? JBN, are you playing steady 8th note triplets? The idea of creating motifs and playing them through the changes and other such soloing concepts seems quite challenging if I'm doing nonstop 8th note triplets. It almost becomes more of a physical workout than anything else. Like hitting the gym on the guitar!

  6. #655

    User Info Menu

    I'm doing strictly 8th note triplets. It's very hard to get anything creative going while doing that, but I try, and every now and then succeed. I might succeed more often, but that damn tempo keeps increasing everyday, lol.

  7. #656
    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan View Post
    are you playing steady 8th note triplets? The idea of creating motifs and playing them through the changes and other such soloing concepts seems quite challenging if I'm doing nonstop 8th note triplets. It almost becomes more of a physical workout than anything else. Like hitting the gym on the guitar!
    Yes, steady eighth triplets. I don't know about you, but if I can hear the sound of the triplet, I can play it. I can play at the speed of what I can hear. Inversely, if I don't have anything in my mind, I will undoubtedly stumble, and the stumbling cascades into the next beat, and the next...
    It's most important to me to have the figure in mind a beat or two at the very least.
    It IS like a workout. It's as much an exercise in hearing than in playing.

    I like brush painting. Sumi-e. When I was learning, I always wanted to make an image; something beautiful. So I'd take an image, picture it in front of me and start to paint. I soon realized that what I want to do is many steps away from what I could do. Each step I hadn't mastered, the side brush, the stalk, the leaf, the petal, all these things went into control of the brush so it looks effortless. That taught me a lot about appearing effortless; it takes a lot of practice and stumbling to appear confident.

    The HR project is a lot like painting crysanthemum petals, it's practice so you don't need to think notes with each triplet. The effect is cumulative. One triplet that forms a lower neighbor with the third of the chord, the next triplet that arpeggiates into the next octave, the next triplet that leaps up and settles on a note into the last triplet that comes down the scale into the next change. Four movements you've practiced separately and they all go together into a unified shape.

    If each triplet is a part of a family of triplet shapes that you know distinctly, then they are not three notes; they are one movement or gesture. By the same thought, if a phrase as a tritone sub going to an arpeggiated dominant triad that leads into the root of a chord, if all that is one practiced movement, you can do that with utter confidence and even bring it up a third and do it again with a variation. This is how you build up the contour of phrase lines that leads to the final statement you make at the end of the section.
    To do this, you have to have confidence with all the units involved. From micro to macro, each part plays a role and the more practiced, the more elegantly they can be played.

  8. #657

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Socraticaster View Post
    I'm doing strictly 8th note triplets. It's very hard to get anything creative going while doing that, but I try, and every now and then succeed. I might succeed more often, but that damn tempo keeps increasing everyday, lol.
    You're not alone!

  9. #658

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note View Post
    Yes, steady eighth triplets. I don't know about you, but if I can hear the sound of the triplet, I can play it. I can play at the speed of what I can hear. Inversely, if I don't have anything in my mind, I will undoubtedly stumble, and the stumbling cascades into the next beat, and the next...
    It's most important to me to have the figure in mind a beat or two at the very least.
    It IS like a workout. It's as much an exercise in hearing than in playing.

    I like brush painting. Sumi-e. When I was learning, I always wanted to make an image; something beautiful. So I'd take an image, picture it in front of me and start to paint. I soon realized that what I want to do is many steps away from what I could do. Each step I hadn't mastered, the side brush, the stalk, the leaf, the petal, all these things went into control of the brush so it looks effortless. That taught me a lot about appearing effortless; it takes a lot of practice and stumbling to appear confident.

    The HR project is a lot like painting crysanthemum petals, it's practice so you don't need to think notes with each triplet. The effect is cumulative. One triplet that forms a lower neighbor with the third of the chord, the next triplet that arpeggiates into the next octave, the next triplet that leaps up and settles on a note into the last triplet that comes down the scale into the next change. Four movements you've practiced separately and they all go together into a unified shape.

    If each triplet is a part of a family of triplet shapes that you know distinctly, then they are not three notes; they are one movement or gesture. By the same thought, if a phrase as a tritone sub going to an arpeggiated dominant triad that leads into the root of a chord, if all that is one practiced movement, you can do that with utter confidence and even bring it up a third and do it again with a variation. This is how you build up the contour of phrase lines that leads to the final statement you make at the end of the section.
    To do this, you have to have confidence with all the units involved. From micro to macro, each part plays a role and the more practiced, the more elegantly they can be played.
    Great post, JBN! Thank you! So much to work towards and aspire to!

  10. #659

    User Info Menu

    Week 11. Day 3 of "Blues for Alice" in G. Still dealing with the unprecedented weather conditions down here in Texas. Playing guitar is a welcome distraction. I did my first 10 minute pass at 85 bpm. The second and third passes were at 90 bpm. Steady 8th note triplets. I realize I'm really accenting the one of each triplet. I'm trying to switch it up and accent the 2 and 3, but I must admit it's challenging. I'll keep working on that.

  11. #660
    It's not rocket science. Lessons learned from NASA.
    I remember building amateur rockets. I got a kit: tube body, cone, guidance fins, solid propellent and a lot of fun and care painting it. The thrill of hearing that swish and watching it disappear straight up, the pop of the parachute... it was easy to imagine the connexion with a spacecraft speeding towards another planet. You can make it, you can make it fly.
    Today is going to be an amazing test of a lot of people who put together a spacecraft that's about to attempt a landing on Mars. Yeah I'm a geek. I love that kind of stuff.

    That Perseverance Mars lander will touch down after being shot from Earth, flying through the atmosphere, slowed by a parachute, guided like a jet helicopter to a point in the landscape and gently lowered on a crane. Nice commute. A lot of well thought out steps. A lot of practice.

    Navigating a solo from the count off to the last bar can be a trip of its own. It might be like the model rocket, point yourself in the right direction (follow the changes), ignite the motor and everything is up to what you've already practiced up to this point. It goes up, you learn to keep your tempo and the next thing you know, you're safely on the ground again. SAFE!!!

    But taking the next step takes a change in thinking. So let's look at the role of putting together smaller steps into more complex and finely tuned phrases.
    Phrases, linear ideas that work with a specific harmonic structure, sometimes called "licks" and played with varying degrees of proficiency, originality and effectiveness, are the real muscle that goes on the bone structure of chordal harmony.
    By now, we're getting good at identifying and playing scales, running the appropriate arpeggios up and down (from the root on the top and the roots on the bottom) and even connecting those notes through the use of melodic passing tones and ornamentations (embellishments). We can now build larger and more sophisticated "tools" of melody.

    You can take a diatonic chord, or a dominant chord, or some changes you can hear. We're going to make our own licks that you practice, learn harmonically and melodically, learn how to adapt to the situation and call upon to be played effortlessly when the time arises, and vary as much as you want.
    Direction
    A phrase has direction. Let's say up.
    The simplest arpeggio in spread voicing takes you up quickly for example 1 7 3 5 (you pick your own, something from the head, smaller steps like 1 2 5 5...) and just hear it as you play.
    A phrase has contour. Let's say smooth. Now you take notes you want to ease into and preceed them with an approach note, if it's across a bar line, a pickup note. 1 b7 7 -3 3 b5 5 you get it. For a little crunchier, let's put twist in the line. Chromatic above, then chromatic below. b2 7 1 1(an octave above) b7 to 7...you get the idea. (Note: in case you haven't noticed, I assume you know how to find the notes of a scale by random access by now)
    Anytime you use a note that steps out of the scale, it's going to sound "out" or crunchy.
    So this idea of "planning out" a phrase may seem counter to the "light the fuse and enjoy the ride" myth. But this is the step that takes you to the next level.

    Create a line and practice it.
    This is your creative challenge. If I play 3 4 5 6 4 5 6 7 2 7 1, that combines scale segments with an approach note to the tonic. The next time I find myself about to play a hand habit (cliche), I take this out as a fast plug in unit, a lick or a prepared phrase and when you become really good, you can even play them as 16th notes. Or start it from the 5th. Or introduce a chromatic passing note. Or do an octave transposition (Dolphy was great at this), but the idea is once you have a melodic unit, it's got a solidity and it gives you freedom to create a line with much less wasted processing power.

    Introduce alternative harmony inside of a given structure. (more advanced concept)
    If you have a chord, or two chords within a space of time, you can use secondary dominant chords to "highlight" them. Preceed any chord with a 7th chord a 4th below or 5th above. Now you only need a few notes to convey the "out" quality these powerful chords impart, so study dominant harmony and resolution to master this "box of spices".
    But in this topic of creating your own "licks" or constructing your melodic phrases, you CAN be complex because you're going to practice these until you can call upon them effortlessly and as people hear them the effect is "How does he/she THINK that fast?!!"

    Adapt the phrase
    Change the ending of your phrase to dovetail into your next phrase.
    Use rhythm (outside of the HR projects of course) to change the weight and feel of the phrase
    Re-create the phrase with harmonic inversions or retrograde motion- More on these things in future posts!!

    When you have a phrase you think works, really assimilate it and keep it readily accessible.

    There are more things we can do but consider this as a suggestion of getting into a higher orbit with expanding your thoughts from notes you know well to phrases you know well.
    Happy flights!

  12. #661

    User Info Menu

    Week 11. Day 4 of "Blues for Alice" in G. I sticked with 85 bpm. I'll probably take another run at the exercises later this evening and bump up the beats per minute a bit. Still trying to stop always accenting the one. It's difficult for me. Ghosting the one helps me accent the 2. Trying to accent the three as well. Or I'll simply try to keep the propulsion of the steady triplets going, but focus on syncopation to get different accents to pop.

  13. #662
    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan View Post
    Week 11. Day 4 of "Blues for Alice" in G. I sticked with 85 bpm. I'll probably take another run at the exercises later this evening and bump up the beats per minute a bit. Still trying to stop always accenting the one. It's difficult for me. Ghosting the one helps me accent the 2. Trying to accent the three as well. Or I'll simply try to keep the propulsion of the steady triplets going, but focus on syncopation to get different accents to pop.
    Try creating lines where the previous notes lead into the 1, and where 1 is a strong chord tone and the following subsequencial notes create direction. If the third note of the triplet is some kind of approach note to the next set of triplets, it will want to move off and find resolution on the 1. Listen and develop your ear so individual gravity towards individual notes create the pulse.
    It's good you're trying to find a way to play groupings that sit right for you; it means you're using your ear. When you find the personal formula or rule that makes sense, your lines will ring true.

    I'm starting to experiment with note groupings that don't fit: A two note series or 4 note groupings in the time of triplets. It REALLY makes things sound off and it's a sure way to create the unusual sound. It's actually very effective in throwing everything off a little bit and when I revert back to swing eighths, it comes as a huge rhythmic resolution.

  14. #663
    Week 11. Day 5
    Inspired by D'A Fan, I worked out a line that changed accents between 1st 2nd and 3rd notes of the triplets. This is very tricky, that's why I worked them out ahead of time, then practiced them until they started to come together. Boy! When I got these up to speed! That is an OUT sound. And on dominant phrases I started to move this phrase up a half step, to give it a tritone sub flavour... There it is! The Michael Brecker sound!
    Practicing your own licks and making them smooth. I can't recommend this enough.
    It was choppy, and exhausting, but very cool!
    One hint: If you go "out", come back in on a strong beat on a strong note.
    One note: Anytime you introduce a chromatic note, whether it's one chromatic approach or an entire section as a tritone sub line, it's going to take the listener by surprise. What may sound intentional to you, can have the impact, the magic of surprise to the listener. Just make sure you land solidly and with intention.
    Practice these things until they're smooth. The newer the idea, the more you'll need to practice it.

  15. #664

    User Info Menu

    Week 11. Day 5 of "Blues for Alice" in G. I quickly realized I wasn't as locked in this evening. It's been a long, trying week with the bizarre Texas weather and infrastructure failures. For the first 10 minutes I started at 95 bpm. That was kicking my butt. Then I went down to 90 bpm for the second pass and I still felt kind of sloppy. The last time I threw caution to the wind and bumped it up to 100 bpm. Surprisingly, for the first few minutes that was my best playing of the evening. Everything was nice and in synch. Lines were flowing. Not necessarily the most original ideas. A lot of stuff I've been doing all week, but I felt like I was getting some of the "Super Chops" benefits. Fatigue began to set in so the last few minutes were a bit rocky. Of course, I realize my ideas can always use improvement. But one thing that intrigued me about this course was the idea of improving my right hand technique. Really adhering to the steady triplets for 10 minutes seems to be helping. Especially when I go back to actually playing music. I feel my time is tighter and my right hand is more in control.



  16. #665

    User Info Menu

    Week 11. Day 6 of "Blues for Alice" in G. My final stab at BFA. I continued to focus on my tempos with steady 8th note triplets. I started off at 95, went to 97 for the second time and 100 for the third time. It's fascinating to witness the brain having a hard time keeping up at times. My right hand was pretty solid. Certainly there were moments I dropped a beat and had to scramble to jump back in. I've also had to keep my pick from sliding out of position between my thumb and finger. Just that little distraction and adjustment is enough for me to go off the rails for a moment. As is often the case after 2 weeks of the same changes, I'm looking forward to moving on with something fresh in week 12.

  17. #666
    Week 12 Modal and blues vamps. Developing focus, interesting lines and accountability in what you play.
    This week Project presents a challenge unlike anything we've done before. There are 3 distinct extended modal areas that are either really easy to play over, exceptionally difficult to play with or both.
    Our three areas will be F dorian in section A
    C dorian with dominant harmony
    F blues
    Here's the printed material. I'll provide ideas, analysis and commentary once we start the week's work.
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-21-6-41-05-pm-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-21-6-41-22-pm-png
    HR ideas. Use this as a reference guide of suggestions and think about what he's doing, why and how.
    If you find yourself lost, noodling or utterly frustrated, these ideas can be great springboards to new places.
    And remember, seek out the unusual fretboard position and tame it. Seek out the unusual hand movement (like sliding using a single string) and master the shifts they give you.
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-21-6-41-47-pm-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-21-6-42-27-pm-png

  18. #667

    User Info Menu

    Week 12. Day 1 of Modal Madness at 85 bpm. Wow, this was challenging. Talk about long run-on musical sentences! I've enjoyed playing modal tunes in the past like Maiden Voyage or So What. But this was different. Perhaps it's the constant barrage of steady 8th note triplets. I'll have to spend a little time, test my reading skills and check out some of Howard's lines. Also, in general I find when I'm doing the 8th note triplets I'm playing much more up and down the scale/arpeggio as opposed to skipping strings and leaping around the fretboard. Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how this exercise progresses over the next two weeks.

  19. #668

    User Info Menu

    Week 12. Day 2 of Modal Madness at 90 bpm. The first pass tonight almost felt like a waste of time. I spent a few minutes picking out some of Howard's suggested lines in hopes of finding some direction and guidance. To be honest, I didn't really find much in the way of guidance. It seems to me that Howard isn't playing over each specific chord at all. That allowed me to free up more in passes 2 and 3 and really just think of the key centers, while certainly being mindful of the chords. The second and third time through were better and more enjoyable. The grind of the nonstop 8th note triplets is both physically and aurally exhausting.

  20. #669
    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan View Post
    It seems to me that Howard isn't playing over each specific chord at all. That allowed me to free up more in passes 2 and 3 and really just think of the key centers, while certainly being mindful of the chords. The second and third time through were better and more enjoyable. The grind of the nonstop 8th note triplets is both physically and aurally exhausting.
    There's a LOT of freedom to make melodic solos when there's this much open space. It can be scary to jump into that much open space, so it's up to the soloist to make the boundries to work within.
    The big challenge in Project 6 is learning to hear content and learning to play what you hear. There are no changes that'll carry you through a lapse of interesting notes; it's all out there.

    Create small divisions, like smaller rooms when you're working with a large piece of real estate. Develop a sense of complementary ideas. Purposefully create a phrase that sets up an answer or response. Climb up the register of the sonic soundscape by steps, by three steps up, one step down, ...create your personal strategies for lines. For each phrase you create, make the appropriate response to it. By contrast, by resolution to the tonic, by using different intervals. This "digging into your phrase tool rulebook" is too often overlooked as a soloing strategy, and it leads to more winging it and winding up in a cliche trainwreck. With solid building blocks comes the vision to create alternatives.

    You can make structure out of rhythm. I know we're restricted to triplet eighths. Yeah it makes you work harder, it'll broaden your abilities when you finally have that freedom. Look at triplets and make rhythmic phrases where the weight is on the first, then the second, then the third. Try this first without the added complication of notes. Accent on 1: Elephant. Say it. It's got the kick on the first beat. Accent on 2: Amoeba. Say it. It's got the rise in the middle. Accent on 3: Apple Pie (OK I'm hungry, it's all I could think of). YOu can use whatever words you want. BING de bap, ba DEE ba, budda BING. But make a solo with a flow and compose it with triplet accents. Very often with me, if I can hear the rhythmic flow clearly, the choice of notes follows easily. Try this.

    Work with wider intervals and break your ear out of scale thinking. Scales on modal playing are deadly. There's some misguided notion that says that "modal" playing is running modal scales. Make your own rules of what the contour, construction, purpose, shape and texture of your solo is. It's YOURS.
    Practice going up the scale in 6ths, or 4ths, and really make it smooth. Don't avoid wider intervals because you can't play them, practice them until you can. Then find ways to keep your mind and ear open and know they are there to break you out of scale mobius hell.
    Make an initial phrase with phrases in leaps, answer it with more melodic scale passages.

    Use sequences. Try creating "micro phrases": things that might not lead you anywhere on their own, but move them around, up chord tones, up or down on whole tones, on a diminished scale... and then when you "answer" in your resolution phrase, do it in a way leading back to the tonic. The contrast is nice and dramatic.

    Go "outside". Make a six note phrase, two triplets, and answer it, reflect it, or even repeat it a half step up. Sure it's allowed, and it highlights what you just played, and it makes a LOT of tension, and it welcomes a resolution phrase.

    Learn to play two not phrases over three note time. This is a tough one for when you have time to work it out slowly, but working phrases that are not in time with the cadence given is a valuable skill.

    All these things are things you will need to think about, and practice, and work until you can hear them. In other words, there's a lot of work to reach the next level, but that's what this project is meant to do: bring your ear, and your ideas to a level that's not fixed to the luxury of changes and given cadences. This is the test of your control of your toolset.

    Give it patience. See if you can get good things out of this challenge. It'll give you some powerful things when you go back to more conventional forms.

  21. #670

    User Info Menu

    Week 12. Day 3 of Modal Madness at 90 bpm. I decided not to bump up the bpm this evening. Per JBN's suggestion, I really tried to focus on the rhythmic aspect of the music in tonight's exercises. As is often the case, the first pass was a bit sluggish and less inspired. Passes 2 and 3 were better. I tried to let go as much as possible and be free over these sparse changes while concentrating on the rhythms. I tried to channel a great drummer in how I played the accents. I also took JBN's suggestion and thought of specific words with accents on the first, second or third syllable. It was a bit tricky to do that while keeping the onslaught of steady 8th note triplets going. I can see how focusing on a word like this would be great when practicing at slightly slower tempos. Tonight felt better than last night. Progress!!

  22. #671

    User Info Menu

    Week 12. Day 4 of Modal Madness. Tonight's session seemed both more productive and more enjoyable. I steadily bumped up the beats per minute. The 3rd time through I was at 100. Once again I really tried to focus on rhythm, syncopation and accents. Admittedly, much of the time I was swept up in the steady 8th note triplets with too much of an emphasis on the one. But at least I'm mindful to try and get out of that pattern and break it up. I'm also finding that each of the three subset forms in the exercise have their own unique voice that lends itself to not only different note choices, of course, but different phrasing and feel. As much as we can differentiate phrasing and feel while keeping the triplets going.