Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Here is a different way to teach improvisation than we usually discuss.

    Figure 2 includes various chord types and a bunch of triads that fit over each.

    Hermeto suggested that the players write in the triads above the chords and try to construct melody from the triads.

    Not really different notes against the chords, but a different way of finding them. I think it's interesting.

    Notes from the Jabour School: Multidimensional harmonic models for improvisation, composition and arrangement from Hermeto Pascoal’s Grupo in Rio de Janeiro | Ethnomusicology Review
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 02-25-2021 at 03:44 PM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu


  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Triads are one type of cells. There are many others. I think practicing improvisation by transcribing short (mostly no longer than 2 beats) phrases and working on connecting them and embellishing them is a very powerful notion. I heard in a podcast that classical improvisation over partimento was also taught this way. By memorizing short phrases that go with each bass line movement and creating longer lines with them freely.

    The famous Phd paper about the Charlie Parker's improvisation also found that the his lines were mostly based on creative and fresh applications of a set of small phrases.

    Creatively experimenting with short phrases and embellishment devices idiosyncratic to a certain style of music I thing is a very strong concept. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a curriculum based on this way of working on jazz improvisation. There are of course lick books, but these are longer phrases. In other words they are examples of things you can construct with the smaller "licklets" and embellishment devices.

    There are also those who teach constructing lines with triads or 1235 phrases. But they focus on embellishing and connecting just one type of short construct.

    I was thinking about this lately but when I searched online the terms like "licklets", "mini licks" etc. Not much comes up, however one notable thing that came up that I thought was a brilliant example of this was actually posted on this site (the section under "mini-licks"):
    50 Easy Jazz Guitar Licks
    Last edited by Tal_175; 02-25-2021 at 04:08 PM.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Sorry, my post may not seem that related to the OP's point. I see triads as one example of short phrases that you can play starting on different chord tones, adapt to different chord qualities and keys.

    So to me the phrasal idea of a triad is just three notes constructed with the interval of 3rds. That's it. Now you can experiment with this phrase on different chords. Start on different chord tones. Change the quality of 3rds to fit. Embellish them in the style of jazz. Add approach tones, change direction and invert with large skips, use different rhythms etc.

    If you add another scale tone to a triad, then you got a 1235 or 1345 phrase. I don't see triads as something special from the improvisation point of view. Just one type of "licklet" to embellish, adapt, connect etc. It just happens to be a strong one.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    I didn't read it yet but:


    1. So-called "chord tone soloing" is a widely used beginning improv technique. That is - improvise melodies using chord tones and rhythmic variation!
    2. Triad based improvisation including the use of upper structure triads is also well established (Garrison Fewell introduces it early in his first volume, for one example)
    3. Using "scale fragments" or "digital patterns" like 1235, 1345 and a few permutations, has been around for decades as well (going back to John Mehegan)



    But - to develop the straight-ahead, bop founded jazz language we need to master "chord outlines". Chord outlines utilize skips, steps, and melodic embellishment. Some typical embellishment techniques are "direct and indirect voice leading", 1, 2, 3, and 4 note approach-note patterns, enclosures, etc., etc. There are an increasing number of books and courses covering those concepts as well.
    Last edited by Donplaysguitar; 02-25-2021 at 02:29 PM.

  7. #6
    Thanks! I copied your correction into the OP too.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    I didn't read it yet but:


    1. So-called "chord tone soloing" is a widely used beginning improv technique. That is - improvise melodies using chord tones and rhythmic variation!
    2. Triad based improvisation including the use of upper structure triads is also well established (Garrison Fewell introduces it early in his first volume, for one example)
    3. Using "scale fragments" or "digital patterns" like 1235, 1345 and a few permutations, has been around for decades as well (going back to John Mehegan)



    But - to develop the straight-ahead, bop founded jazz language we need to master "chord outlines". Chord outlines utilize skips, steps, and melodic embellishment. Some typical embellishment techniques are "direct and indirect voice leading", 1, 2, 3, and 4 note approach-note patterns, enclosures, etc., etc. There are an increasing number of books and courses covering those concepts as well.
    Take a look at Figure 2. It's not that it's a completely new concept, but it does boil things down to a digestible formula based on simple triads. You pick a tune, write in all the triads from Figure 2 and then base your improv on them.

    Warren Nunes' system was vaguely similar (among others) in that he taught that there were two types of chords and the triads were interchangeable. Cmaj=Em=Gmaj7=Am. And, Dm7=Fmaj7=G7=Am=Bm7b5. (Am is both). But, Warren taught improv with both triads and scale patterns and never directly suggested focusing on the triads in the same way as Hermeto.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    The famous Phd paper about the Charlie Parker's improvisation also found that the his lines were mostly based on creative and fresh applications of a set of small phrases.
    Should probably just do some more transcribing.....but I'd like to check out/shed those small phrases.....

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Eh, kind of what I’ve been working on for a couple of years. It’s a good approach for decluttering.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Take a look at Figure 2. It's not that it's a completely new concept, but it does boil things down to a digestible formula based on simple triads. You pick a tune, write in all the triads from Figure 2 and then base your improv on them.

    Warren Nunes' system was vaguely similar (among others) in that he taught that there were two types of chords and the triads were interchangeable. Cmaj=Em=Gmaj7=Am. And, Dm7=Fmaj7=G7=Am=Bm7b5. (Am is both). But, Warren taught improv with both triads and scale patterns and never directly suggested focusing on the triads in the same way as Hermeto.
    Yep that's very handy, and so is a list of chord scales.

    However, both leave a lot to the player in terms of how to make melodies. The only "system" beyond the list of upper structure triads is...... trial and error. Just as a paint brush, paint, and canvas don't teach you how to paint but are necessary tools, lists of chord scales and upper structure triads don't teach you how to play.

    It's a start though. It's a map.
    Last edited by Donplaysguitar; 02-25-2021 at 09:37 PM.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    EVERY system/method leaves it to the player. A teacher can give you tools, but YOU must make it art.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    Yep that's very handy, and so is a list of chord scales.

    However, both leave a lot to the player in terms of how to make melodies. The only "system" beyond the list of upper structure triads is...... trial and error. Just as a paint brush, paint, and canvas don't teach you how to paint but are necessary tools, lists of chord scales and upper structure triads don't teach you how to play.

    It's a start though. It's a map.
    i disagree. I think triads get there much more than seven note chord scales.

    I’ll leave discussion to teaching how to paint to Jeff who actually does it for a job, but I would say that CST is more like some sort of colour theory. Triads get you a lot closer to painting figures, so to speak.

    I’ve had great results with triads both with myself and students.

    It sorts out clutter and ‘stepwise-itis’ in learning improviser’s lines. It also stops them from ‘floating’ and encourages them to take responsibility for the harmony they express in their lines rather than simply playing over the top.

    One big stumbling block for students is too much pitch choice. As John Scofield put it ‘it kind of hung me up’ having all those chord scale notes to choose from. He had to learn to play the chords.

    As a teacher of improvisation you really want to narrow down the choices and allow the student to master working with small bits of information (and tbh often more experienced students too). Only in this way I think playing can become unconscious and fluent.

    (There’s a number of classic ways to do this; Licks is one way, as is variation of the melody. Learning patterns through scales. Triads are a good way too. I’m sure there are other ways too... )

    The US triads of the type described by Hermeto give you a no nonsense way of accessing more interesting chord scale type sounds.

    For guitar in particular a great advantage of the triad approach is how well it maps to the basic materials we are familiar with like barre chords and cowboy grips which makes it super accessible to newbies.

    The other thing is rhythm. It’s simply easier to play interesting rhythms with a triad than a seven note scale. If a player can’t do something rhythmically interesting on a triad, teaching more pitch choices isn’t going to help them sound more ‘jazz’; they need to learn more rhythms! And yet it seems to me like this misconception has sold a lot of theory books haha.

    Once this is mastered with all the various US colours, scales can very easily be (re)introduced, it’s not a big deal..

    Chord scale theory has been too often mistaken by both students and educators for a method of pedagogy. It’s a syllabus at best, not the teaching.
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-28-2021 at 07:27 AM.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    I think most would agree that the best learning of improvisation comes from performance with others for a live audience. Maybe most might agree that the second best is playing at home along with a recording, but I find that for me, second best is improvising alone with the sound of the song playing "in my head" only.

    This approach makes me have to really know "how the song goes", presses me to "play the changes", naturally suggests "let the melody be your guide", promotes tried and true vocabulary structures like triads, scale segments, and jazz guidance like "chord tones up, scales down" phrasing, still maintains full freedom for describing, reflecting, and exploring melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic possibilities, and mechanically it suppresses position, shape, picking, and fingering thoughts as my hands learn how to "hear" the sound of what I hear in my mind.

    The main thing it does is elevate listening and learning to listen, both external and internal, over and above everything else.