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  1. #1

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    I've had an idea mulling in my head for a long time that I have decided to start putting a little time into. In almost any thread on this forum, or in almost any conversation among jazz players about improvisation, someone will state very strongly that "the melody" of the standard one is playing is vital to good improvisation. Then we usually debate whether that's true, the whole nine yards.

    I've done a lot of different things to learn to improvise, but honestly I've never tried to use the melody of a tune as the basis for improvisation. Since my improvisation is not exactly an exemplary model of "how it's done" I think I need to try my hand at moving from playing the melody, to playing a greatly ornamented and elaborated melody, to spinning improvisational ideas off the melody. I've never done this before, and it just seems like one if those things that certainly will do me no harm, and probably would do a lot of good.

    So I"m going to take "There Will Never Be Another You" as my start. I can play the melody easily enough, and I can comp for it, and can even do a chord-melody of the tune. But for me chord-melody becomes a crutch. So I want to focus on melodic invention using TWNBAY as my basis.

    I hope to post a series of clips starting with simply trying to play the melody with a backing track, really nicely, with some ornamentation and such. Then I hope to move increasingly in an improvisational direction.

    If by any chance you, kind reader, play this tune and can show me how you dress up the melody, use the melody for improvisation, etc. I'd love to see and hear you do it.

    I'm actually NOT interested in hearing how the masters do it. They are immortal and for me it's like watching Superman stop a bullet. I do what he does, I end up dead. No, I want to hear what players who are somewhere along the learning curve that I can related to might do with this tune.

    So my focus is the MELODY. How might one elaborate on it? Ornament it? Phrase it? Render it strange and alien, only to bring it back as an old friend. How might it's ideas lead to soloing inspirations?

    So... with all the optimism of the people who christened the Titanic, I hope I won't just smash into an iceberg and sink.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

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  3. #2

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    I try and do this sometimes as I think it’s a good idea, and it helps create some fresh approaches when I feel I’m just playing the same old lines over and over.

    I don’t really have a system for it, I just sort of hear the melody in my head and simultaneously try to play something that refers to it a bit. Either by playing phrases which keep to the same rhythms as the melody, or by using some of the main notes of the melody to hang my lines on, as it were. But it’s done more by instinct than anything else.

    I find it tends to produce ideas which are more like ‘motifs’ i.e. a bit Jim Hall-like, gets me away from playing endless 8th-note bop lines.

  4. #3

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    You know what?

    I think, as amateur guitarists as a whole, we don't spend enough time learning the melody.

    I've been working on the melody for Sophisticated Lady for a month with my mentor, and I'm still not done.

    I thought this work would be boring. I mean, it's jazz, I wanna improvise!

    But if you really get under the skin of the melody and own it like you're gonna play it at Carnegie Hall...

    Well, that's actually a whole lot of fun!

    And when you can really make that melody sing, than ornament it with elaboration.

    I'm not trying to belittle anyone. I've never committed this much time to learning a melody, and it's not even a Bird head. But, wow, is it worth it!

    I just wanted to share my own "aha moment" with learning tunes.

  5. #4

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    It's a great approach to improvisation.

  6. #5

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    I know you said „Don‘t mention the heavyweights“, but I just listened to Trane doing Body and Soul and that‘s a premium example of improvising around the melody.

    IMHO sax players as a whole are great at it.


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  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    You know what?

    I think, as amateur guitarists as a whole, we don't spend enough time learning the melody.

    I've been working on the melody for Sophisticated Lady for a month with my mentor, and I'm still not done.

    I thought this work would be boring. I mean, it's jazz, I wanna improvise!

    But if you really get under the skin of the melody and own it like you're gonna play it at Carnegie Hall...

    Well, that's actually a whole lot of fun!

    And when you can really make that melody sing, than ornament it with elaboration.

    I'm not trying to belittle anyone. I've never committed this much time to learning a melody, and it's not even a Bird head. But, wow, is it worth it!

    I just wanted to share my own "aha moment" with learning tunes.
    Thanks for that. I do disagree with folks who attach some kind of almost moral superiority to the melody, but then again, the composer was likely a very fine songwriter, with a very good feel for harmony, rhythm, phrasing, and also if it's a standard, and very popular, obviously that songwriter had an ear for future listeners. Obviously that melody is something worth paying serious attention to.

    Also, I think using the melody as a point of departure for improvising seems like a way to prevent solos from sounding the same, and listeners can connect the solo to the tune better, all of which is good.

    So... I"m long overdue for this. I have learned chord-melody arrangements, but I have not really given much attention to approaching the melody in a line-oriented way.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by docsteve View Post
    I know you said „Don‘t mention the heavyweights“, but I just listened to Trane doing Body and Soul and that‘s a premium example of improvising around the melody.

    IMHO sax players as a whole are great at it.


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    Folks posting here can, of course, post anything they want. I'm the OP, not the King of the Thread. My main hesitation is that it's way easier to just post a link to a great player rather than share some of one's own thoughts and ideas, even efforts, on the same project. In the world of research, it's like answering a question by just dumping bibliography on it rather than doing research on one's own.

    So I won't whine about folks posting great players on the tune. I just won't respond to those. Others might like them, but I can find them too. I have Google. I have a greater interest in what the struggling mortals on this forum are doing. Fellow travelers on the journey and all that.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  9. #8

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    Does it has to be a post of There Will Never be Another You?

    Or could I post another standard?

    I know "There Will Never be Another You", but only superficially.

    I really like this idea for a thread, lawson-stone!

  10. #9

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    It's an interesting question. I don't really use the melody for improv either. I might use it as a general guide to know when to hit a high spot at about the same place as the melody because that'll provoke some sort of recognition in the listener. Otherwise I don't really care.

    However, that doesn't mean the improv goes all over the place necessarily. It's as though you've got the tune in your head but you're not actually playing it, if that makes sense. The improv has to reflect the spirit of the tune without actually imitating it. Probably the rhythmic cadences will be much the same, although that may not be so either.

    If I do use the melody, which is occasionally advantageous, it'll just be an embellishment of it - i.e. the tune with some twiddles and fills in the spaces. But I don't really consider that to be improvisation as such. In fact, it's not really.

    So really an improv for me is more or less a leap into the unknown every time. I think that's the whole point of it. It's also much more fun because it's slightly different every time.

  11. #10

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    Can we establish one principle to your thread, lawson-stone?

    You said you want to see and hear people demonstrate this melodic-centric study as you post your progress as well.

    Once I get settled in Seattle, I'll post actual videos of me playing--I'll have to review TWNBAY, but it's a great tune to really learn--and a great melody as well.

    Enough babble, I've been babbling too much on the forum lately

  12. #11
    Very cool, Lawson. I've never been able to think fast enough to do this the way I always assumed it was probably done, but in the last couple of years I really think about this kind of thing differently. I have found that if you can abstract the rhythm of the melody somewhat and create more space, it frees up a lot of things and also really helps with creativity and inspiration. With a tune like this one, you can basically play the quarter note melody as all eighths.

    A good starting point is: 4 eighths starting on beat 2 of each measure. This is pretty easy to hear but heavily abstracts the melody in a cool way which sparks a lot of creativity, but most of all, it creates enough space to actually embellish things.

    I always wondered how Joe pass fit all of the notes in . More than anything, I now think it's more that he could organize anything rhythmically before and after-the-fact to make sense, even if he ended up on a different beat etc. It's really powerful thing to learn.

    You can do the same thing with quarter note triplets when you're talking about an all-quarter-note melody as well. It creates a little space but not quite as much. It's also a little harder to hear on the faster tune like this but can be cool.

    I'm a lot better with the rhythmic development of the melody than with the fills. Might be a good project for me as well, though I don't have a lot of time at the end of the semester right know. I could probably post some basic melodic stuff tomorrow, but I'm behind deadline on that other thread.

    Anyway, abstracting the rhythm slightly is a huge help IMO.

  13. #12

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    I'm surprised that no one yet has mentioned the lyrics. The first stage in your venture would surely be to just play the melody itself convincingly. All the old school guys, especially horn players like Lester Young and Ben Webster stressed the importance of knowing the lyrics.

    Too often, we hear instrumentalists playing heads strictly as written from a lead sheet and it can sound stiff. There's a rhythmic implication built into the lyric's syllables that's a very useful jumping off point for putting the melody across in a convincing manner.

    Example 1 shows the opening phrase of There Will Never Be Another You as it usually appears in RB format. I can't think of any recording where the singer or instrumentalist plays those opening seven quarter notes verbatim. In fact, I find it more natural to try the reverse approach as illustrated in Example 2: syncopated in the first main bar followed by straight quarter notes in bar 2. Example 3 takes this syncopation a step further with the entry delayed until the 'and' of one in the first main bar. Singers, in particular will often stress or elongate certain words to bring out a less obvious meaning behind the lyric. For instance, notice how the natural stress on the word 'will' in Example 2 has been transferred to 'many' in Example 3.

    Improvisational Elaboration on "Another You"-twnbay-jpeg

  14. #13

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    The first step it seems to me is minimal variation.

    That is, play the melody but alter it's rhythm. Almost like Dexter plays the head to this tune.
    Then decorate it/embellish it a bit.


    Check this out. Getz kept it simple and oh so close to the melody.




    Or this, solo starts at 2:35


  15. #14

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    My favorite vocal version, I want to phrase the melody like him:


  16. #15

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    Lawson -

    Obviously we missed about providing demos and not fave versions... so here's a demo. At first I thought you were doing it as a chord melody but I see not. Apparently not anyway.

    I did it like this. First, I've never played it before. I've heard it, obviously, but not played it. So first I just played the tune straight to put it under the fingers.

    Then I syncopated it and put in fills etc so it's more acceptable for listening. I thought a lot of those chords suited a 13b9 sound so I did that a bit. That's the first one.

    Then I embellished that version. It's still pretty well the tune at this point.

    Then I played around the harmony based on where the actual tune started and stopped (the actual notes - i.e. first four bars low C to low F). I also kept the basic phrases of the tune.

    Then I used a lot of melodic minor stuff based again on the chords, basically keeping in the range of the tune, low, medium or high. By this time, of course, the ear is still going to hear TWNBAY no matter what.

    I thought at the end you might like to hear what happened when I played the second embellished melody over the first straight one. You can hear how the two pretty well follow each other. Quite interesting.

    Playing off the melody isn't my normal thing so sorry if it's not brilliant but you did say no famous people :-)

    Last edited by ragman1; 04-15-2019 at 09:06 AM.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    Does it has to be a post of There Will Never be Another You?

    Or could I post another standard?

    I know "There Will Never be Another You", but only superficially.

    I really like this idea for a thread, lawson-stone!
    Again, I'm the OP not the King of The Thread. People can post whatever they want. For learning I am someone who needs to focus, but sure, post something that you think is helpful. It might help other readers of the thread too. I'm especially interested in this tune, but I won't complain about others.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    The first step it seems to me is minimal variation.

    That is, play the melody but alter it's rhythm. Almost like Dexter plays the head to this tune.
    Then decorate it/embellish it a bit.


    Check this out. Getz kept it simple and oh so close to the melody.




    Or this, solo starts at 2:35

    Absolutely amazing how someone could post a reply that is exactly, 100%, the total OPPOSITE of what I asked for. Thanks a lot Fumblefingers. Threadbuster extraodinaire.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Lawson -

    Obviously we missed about providing demos and not fave versions... so here's a demo. At first I thought you were doing it as a chord melody but I see not. Apparently not anyway.

    I did it like this. First, I've never played it before. I've heard it, obviously, but not played it. So first I just played the tune straight to put it under the fingers.

    Then I syncopated it and put in fills etc so it's more acceptable for listening. I thought a lot of those chords suited a 13b9 sound so I did that a bit. That's the first one.

    Then I embellished that version. It's still pretty well the tune at this point.

    Then I played around the harmony based on where the actual tune started and stopped. I also kept the basic phrases of the tune.

    Then I used a lot of melodic minor stuff based again on the chords, basically keeping in the range of the tune, low, medium or high. By this time, of course, the ear is still going to hear TWNBAY no matter what.

    I thought at the end you might like to hear what happened when I played the second embellished melody over the first straight one. You can hear how the two pretty well follow each other. Quite interesting.

    Playing off the melody isn't my normal thing so sorry if it's not brilliant but you did say no famous people :-)

    Holy Cow! That is EXACTLY the kind of working through the tune I was hoping to hear. So much in that 5 minutes for me to think about and work on. It's all stuff that is within my ability, but that I haven't thought to try or play.

    I was hoping you'd chime in on this thread, and you've delivered the goods. I enjoyed listening, and will re-listen to think about what you're doing with respect to chord tones, shapes, etc.

    Thanks again!
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB View Post
    I'm surprised that no one yet has mentioned the lyrics. The first stage in your venture would surely be to just play the melody itself convincingly. All the old school guys, especially horn players like Lester Young and Ben Webster stressed the importance of knowing the lyrics.

    Too often, we hear instrumentalists playing heads strictly as written from a lead sheet and it can sound stiff. There's a rhythmic implication built into the lyric's syllables that's a very useful jumping off point for putting the melody across in a convincing manner.

    Example 1 shows the opening phrase of There Will Never Be Another You as it usually appears in RB format. I can't think of any recording where the singer or instrumentalist plays those opening seven quarter notes verbatim. In fact, I find it more natural to try the reverse approach as illustrated in Example 2: syncopated in the first main bar followed by straight quarter notes in bar 2. Example 3 takes this syncopation a step further with the entry delayed until the 'and' of one in the first main bar. Singers, in particular will often stress or elongate certain words to bring out a less obvious meaning behind the lyric. For instance, notice how the natural stress on the word 'will' in Example 2 has been transferred to 'many' in Example 3.

    Improvisational Elaboration on "Another You"-twnbay-jpeg
    Thanks for that. YEs, one thing I'm trying to do is just work on phrasing the melody. For some reason your Example 3 made me think of Chet Baker!

    Thanks for taking time to notate and share ideas. I appreciate it. Helps a LOT.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Absolutely amazing how someone could post a reply that is exactly, 100%, the total OPPOSITE of what I asked for. Thanks a lot Fumblefingers. Threadbuster extraodinaire.
    Well I thought you weren't king of the thread and other tunes were OK. Regardless, they're simply great examples of improv that is an elaboration of the melody, and are classic recordings and performances, etc. (Along with my reference to Dexter playing the head of course). Also, they are not mind bendingly difficult. All that stuff about them being masters (as something to avoid) is an unnecessary diversion. A great model is what's needed. So... you're welcome...

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Thanks for that. YEs, one thing I'm trying to do is just work on phrasing the melody. For some reason your Example 3 made me think of Chet Baker!

    Thanks for taking time to notate and share ideas. I appreciate it. Helps a LOT.
    Chet Baker was gifted at slightly re-phrasing any melody to make it more hip and swinging. He is always one of the first people I listen to when trying to get a tune into my brain.

  23. #22

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    Here is an excellent clinic on the subject:
    Last edited by Tal_175; 04-15-2019 at 05:05 PM.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Chet Baker was gifted at slightly re-phrasing any melody to make it more hip and swinging. He is always one of the first people I listen to when trying to get a tune into my brain.
    I know you didn’t want examples from the ‘masters’, but honestly, Chet Baker’s first solo here (I mean right at the beginning of the track) is one of the best examples I have ever heard of someone re-working the melody to create a solo. Just listening to this a few times should give lots of ideas.


  25. #24

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    Interesting thread. Here's a take from a few years back. I also uploaded a few others from the same date... Backing track from Bergonzi Improv Series Volume 4 Melodic Rhythms.


  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    I know you didn’t want examples from the ‘masters’, but honestly, Chet Baker’s first solo here (I mean right at the beginning of the track) is one of the best examples I have ever heard of someone re-working the melody to create a solo. Just listening to this a few times should give lots of ideas.

    Graham-naturally when it's you, I make the "grahambop" exception! If you told me dumpster-diving would help my soloing, I'd do it.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by hohoho View Post
    Interesting thread. Here's a take from a few years back. I also uploaded a few others from the same date... Backing track from Bergonzi Improv Series Volume 4 Melodic Rhythms.

    Yes! That's exactly the kind of thing I"m working on. Just lovely! I'd love to have heard the solo following. You hooked me with the first phrases!

    Thank you for sharing. I need to put up a post myself, however elementary it will be.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  28. #27

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    I don't think embellishing a melody in itself is very hard. A bit of syncopation, the odd passing note... to inject some swing and interest into it isn't that difficult. One needs a musical sense, of course, and familiarity with the tune and where it's played on the neck. A few go-rounds is sufficient usually.

    But it does take some confidence to take off and depart somewhat radically from the melody before returning to it so the ear doesn't lose track of what's going on. Personally I think the more improvising one does the easier it is; the fingers just seem to find their own way. And one absolutely needs to sort out what fill-lines are needed. A bit of theory there comes in very handy indeed.

    Soloing, of course, is another thing. But that's why we're here, n'est-ce pas? :-)

  29. #28

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    Just another thought.. Do you know one of the hardest tunes to solo over? This is my own idea, I haven't borrowed it.

    Summertime. You wouldn't think so because it's a pretty simple 12-bar. It's just a variation on a three-chord trick, it's got a basic repetitive rhythm and a very, very strong melody. Soloing over the changes isn't difficult as they stand but the problem comes when one wants to do something different with it.

    Changing the phrasing is hard because one keeps hearing the tune and the original phrasing of the tune. I think, from what I've heard, even the pros have trouble with it. And you'd think it was the simplest thing to do...

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Just another thought.. Do you know one of the hardest tunes to solo over? This is my own idea, I haven't borrowed it.

    Summertime. You wouldn't think so because it's just a pretty simple 12-bar. It's just a variation on a three-chord trick, it's got a basic repetitive rhythm and a very, very strong melody. Soloing over the changes isn't difficult as they stand but the problem comes when one wants to do something different with it.

    Changing the phrasing is hard because one keeps hearing the tune and the phrasing of the tune. I think, from what I've heard, even the pros have trouble with it. And you'd think it was the simplest thing to do...
    I hear you. I am never more uninteresting and lame than when I play that tune. I love it, but just can't seem to do anything with it. I also can't play a less-than-terrible solo over "Misty."
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  31. #30

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    I won't disturb your thread with the actual video (remove x) but this is quite good. There's a short guitar solo at about 2.40. Absolutely nothing to do with the tune :-)

    https://www.youtube.Xcom/watch?v=g1DHuAMSoOE

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Just another thought.. Do you know one of the hardest tunes to solo over? This is my own idea, I haven't borrowed it.

    Summertime. You wouldn't think so because it's a pretty simple 12-bar. It's just a variation on a three-chord trick, it's got a basic repetitive rhythm and a very, very strong melody. Soloing over the changes isn't difficult as they stand but the problem comes when one wants to do something different with it.

    Changing the phrasing is hard because one keeps hearing the tune and the original phrasing of the tune. I think, from what I've heard, even the pros have trouble with it. And you'd think it was the simplest thing to do...
    Perhaps that’s why Wes played Summertime with those descending 2-5s added (same changes as his tune Four on Six). It gives a bit more to ‘get your teeth into’ when soloing on it.

  33. #32

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    It is interesting that this is the approach that Frank Vignola seems to take in his True Fire lessons; learn and play the melody, then work on variations and embellishments. I have seen it work well where musicians have led the listener on a sonic journey while still being aware enough of the reaction to be able to lead back to familiarity as needed.

    It also fits with the various "jazz is dying" threads. Generally those who listen to music for pleasure, as opposed to those for whom it is either an intellectual pursuit or else simple sonic wallpaper, tend to want/need some kind of hook to get them into a song. Give them a familiar melody as an intro and they will follow you down harmonic paths that they might never have considered if they were staring "blind". Unfortunately much recent jazz ignores the familiar starting point, or even the opposite - starting somewhere esoteric and gradually leading the listener back to familiar turf.
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  34. #33

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    Peter Bernstein is very big on keeping some reference to the melody in your solos, at least for the first chorus or two. There are some masterclass excerpts on YouTube where he talks about it.

  35. #34

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    thing i like about playing off the melody is I can play the melody by ear...Then by trying to add things gets in me in the proper mind set of playing without thinking of scales or chord shapes etc. I'm still crap at this, but this has improved my ear playing 10 fold.

    I also try to play along to my kids' movies in time by ear..that has helped too
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  36. #35

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    Lawson,

    Lee Konitz has a ten step approach for using the melody as the basis for developing an improvisation. Here's a link to Marc-Andre Seguin's lesson discussing Konitz's process. It may give you some ideas for what you are looking to do.

    Lee Konitz

    Mike

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
    Lawson,

    Lee Konitz has a ten step approach for using the melody as the basis for developing an improvisation. Here's a link to Marc-Andre Seguin's lesson discussing Konitz's process. It may give you some ideas for what you are looking to do.

    Lee Konitz

    Mike
    Looks interesting. I might give that a (partial?) whirl and post what I come up with.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  38. #37

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    I saw that several years ago, can't remember where. What happened was I got up to where the more-or-less diatonic stuff ended - about Level 5 or something - and the other notes began.

    All very well except I hadn't the foggiest notion what he was doing. There's no real explanation, just notes that you don't understand so you can't benefit by them except by direct imitation, and I don't do that. I need to know why I'm playing something. So I gave it up.

    You may have better luck :-)

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Looks interesting. I might give that a (partial?) whirl and post what I come up with.
    I found an interview with Konitz online where he talks about this but it seems to have been taken down...He talks about studying with Lenny Tristano, hence

    https://www.oscarvandillen.com/wp-co...tan-Polgar.pdf

  40. #39

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    I'm still courting the melody to "There Will Never Be Another You".

    The melody said "we're not ready to improvise" and we've only been going out for a week, so I'll respect her wishes.

    Just don't tell my wife

    In all seriousness, I am learning a lot from ingraining this melody. I used to think that this song was corny. Now, I really like the tune! It might take me some time, with the move and all, but I promise I will post something with an analysis of my process.

    The fact that my Real Books are packed and Jazzcats is no more only helps my cause. By the way, Aimee Nolte made some videos about TWNBAY on Youtube. I won't clutter the thread with more videos, but it's worth checking out--especially for this topic.

    See you soon

  41. #40

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    I had a bit opposite experience... I intuitively played off the melody and had to develope especially a conception of playing just off the changes (with no melody at all) - though it is still straneg for me... and I think I kind of compose melody first in that case and then play off it.
    I believe it is personal thing... some people are more melodically prolific, some are more structural... Mozart used to compose new themes extensively without any motivic realtions with each other even for the parts where usually a main theme should be used (because he heard reference on harmonic structure level and was very prolific melodically - it was easier for his to express an idea in a mew melody), this is the magic of his operatic dramas.. there is mostly no motivic semantics and references at all but you still hear the relations and characters...
    and Beethoven was all in exploration of one two motives or even intonations.
    Same thign Miles whose impros are often just melodies that can navigate quite freely - closer of futher from the original, and Trane who have no melodies mostly but statements expressed in structures (it is not strange for me Trane called Hawk more important influence for him that Prez).

    But ... there is one serious 'but' in it... there is actually not so many hings one can do off the melody ... melody is intontaion first of all... (ryth and harmonic rythm too of course but still intonation is first thing)
    and there is not much so potencial for development in the intonation.
    (classical music declined finally when it came to the means of intonation and motivic development).

    Keeping reference with original tune is a bit different thing though, a reference idea is about quotation more, not necessarily development

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Yes! That's exactly the kind of thing I"m working on. Just lovely! I'd love to have heard the solo following. You hooked me with the first phrases!

    Thank you for sharing. I need to put up a post myself, however elementary it will be.
    Thank you so much Lawson! Here is the complete take.

  43. #42

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    hohoho

    Hey, that was great, I enjoyed that!

  44. #43
    Ok. This is total BS noodling, complete with some clams, but this is kind of the way I work on phrasing things in different ways. In this video, I'm basically trying the limiting exercise of only playing the melody using 8th notes. Since, the melody is all quarter notes (sort of; four-per-bar anyway), this rushes the melody a good bit. So, it helps to start each phrase a beat or 2 late. It starts out behind, catches up, and then is very quickly "ahead".

    Most of the non-melody notes are mistakes or creative flukes from trying to make the phrases fit. It's a cool exercise and opens up some possibilities, but I need to actually learn the melody.



    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    Very cool, Lawson. I've never been able to think fast enough to do this the way I always assumed it was probably done, but in the last couple of years I really think about this kind of thing differently. I have found that if you can abstract the rhythm of the melody somewhat and create more space, it frees up a lot of things and also really helps with creativity and inspiration. With a tune like this one, you can basically play the quarter note melody as all eighths.

    A good starting point is: 4 eighths starting on beat 2 of each measure. This is pretty easy to hear but heavily abstracts the melody in a cool way which sparks a lot of creativity, but most of all, it creates enough space to actually embellish things.

    I always wondered how Joe pass fit all of the notes in . More than anything, I now think it's more that he could organize anything rhythmically before and after-the-fact to make sense, even if he ended up on a different beat etc. It's really powerful thing to learn.

    You can do the same thing with quarter note triplets when you're talking about an all-quarter-note melody as well. It creates a little space but not quite as much. It's also a little harder to hear on the faster tune like this but can be cool.

    I'm a lot better with the rhythmic development of the melody than with the fills. Might be a good project for me as well, though I don't have a lot of time at the end of the semester right know. I could probably post some basic melodic stuff tomorrow, but I'm behind deadline on that other thread.

    Anyway, abstracting the rhythm slightly is a huge help IMO.

  45. #44

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  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    Ok. This is total BS noodling, complete with some clams, but this is kind of the way I work on phrasing things in different ways. In this video, I'm basically trying the limiting exercise of only playing the melody using 8th notes. Since, the melody is all quarter notes (sort of; four-per-bar anyway), this rushes the melody a good bit. So, it helps to start each phrase a beat or 2 late. It starts out behind, catches up, and then is very quickly "ahead".

    Most of the non-melody notes are mistakes or creative flukes from trying to make the phrases fit. It's a cool exercise and opens up some possibilities, but I need to actually learn the melody.
    hey I really enjoyed that. You changed it up enough to make the melody "unfamiliar"-and also played it in the lower register which I've not done. Thanks.

    Last night I actually started having ideas of my own on how to play a melody-based improvisation/ornamentation. I want to work on it a bit more so that the disappointment you all feel when I post it will be at a peak!!
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post

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    Vladan you always find a way to change things up and take a different path. I enjoyed this a lot. Not my style of course but still, I like the way you forge your own path. And the 2nd-3rd choruses had some ideas I need to test out for myself--like blues phrases where I haven't thought to use them.

    Thanks!
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    Ok. This is total BS noodling, complete with some clams, but this is kind of the way I work on phrasing things in different ways. In this video, I'm basically trying the limiting exercise of only playing the melody using 8th notes. Since, the melody is all quarter notes (sort of; four-per-bar anyway), this rushes the melody a good bit. So, it helps to start each phrase a beat or 2 late. It starts out behind, catches up, and then is very quickly "ahead".

    Most of the non-melody notes are mistakes or creative flukes from trying to make the phrases fit. It's a cool exercise and opens up some possibilities, but I need to actually learn the melody.

    Thanks for the nice limiting exercise idea! It inspired this hemiola rhythm variation/etude.
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  49. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by hohoho View Post
    Thanks for the nice limiting exercise idea! It inspired this hemiola rhythm variation/etude.
    Nice. There's a whole rabbit hole you can go down with that type of thing that can be very interesting. You can basically move the whole thing half beat later... and then probably do the same for a couple more times. Each iteration has a different feel or "meaning". You can do the same with quarter note triplets, though easier at a slower tempo.

    Basically, when you move things around like that, you have different notes from the original would-be melody which are on/ahead/behind for each variation. For once you start learning to hear this way for different subdivisions of the beat, you can basically always catch up when you get behind and make things work for which are a little too far ahead etc.

    There are really important implications for improv between phrases on this which may not be understood at 1st:4 . What if you could play very strong improv statement which ends on a strong beat-1 four and still be able to tastefully express the melody which basically begins on beat 1 as well?

    Conflict is removed by simply having arrhythmic/phrasing vocabulary for quick abstracts time and let you move things around.

  50. #49

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    So here's a clip on this. I realized right at the start that I had the tempo too slow. I stumbled a little right out of the gate. My goals here were (a) to play the melody single-note, as simply as I could, with some ornamentation or fills, then (b) to use melodic fragments combined with chord tones to create something.

    The result I think would be much more interesting at a faster clip. I set it slow so as not to make mistakes, but alas. Some really good clams in here, but I think you'll get the concept, especially in the second chorus.

    Just re-did the wiring harness in my L5ces and really liking the results!

    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  51. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    The result I think would be much more interesting at a faster clip. I set it slow so as not to make mistakes, but alas. Some really good clams in here, but I think you'll get the concept, especially in the second chorus.
    Slow is the way to go. Absolutely. Especially at this point in the process. Good job.