Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 6 of 6 FirstFirst ... 456
Posts 126 to 142 of 142
  1. #126
    One last week focusing on dominant chord melody and harmony.
    I know we've been working on All of Me and I've had so many thoughts while working with this piece it's been hard to pick out only a few to throw out to chew on, so I thought some parting thoughts in the micro and the macro; details and big picture.

    As we become better as soloists, as improvisors, as composers, as creators, understanding the tools in the box become second nature. That's why I always consider going off book an early step. Your ear is the ultimate judge.
    That being said, the ways we can look at dominant chords and melodies is an area that can deepen and grow for as long as we play guitar. People who have been playing for decades still look for new ways to cook up recipes that bring us movement to our resolutions. That's the game of the dominant: movement.

    The play of the expected vs the sound of surprise.
    Dominant harmony is, by nature, an alteration of the expected. It's the art and science of tension...and release. Around dominant harmonies we have our root, which creates the pivot point of all the other notes. Next is the 3rd and the dominant (flatted) 7: The dynamic duo that together imparts the most unique sound and tension. All other notes revolve around the tension of the 3 and b7.

    There's a lot of different styles, chord scales included, modally originated scales, priorities of tensions, etc. but in the end, it will be YOUR ear that is the judge and jury of what other notes will "dial in" tension and how much.
    This is a very important idea and one that will become potent with time spent trying out notes and saving the ones you like in your own "bag" of sounds.

    Symmetrical Scales.

    One really great example of dominant sounds that are really alien to diatonic harmony, really outsiders that can bring 'strange' to the table is the symmetric scale. Unlike diatonic and folk scales that have specific patterns that complete on the octave (Major is root, whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half), a symmetric scale has a sequence that repeats.
    One example is the Whole Tone scale. Root, whole, whole, whole, whole, whole, whole.
    When you think of this from the root, you get Root, 2, 3, #4, #5, b7. You notice it's got Root, 3 and b7.
    It's a dominant scale! But it's got an angularity to it and here's a freaky bonus: Once you get the sound down in your ear, you can create whole tone melodies (read as: Discover and Invent them yourself) and begin them on any note of the scale. You won't know what this means until you do it. So do it.
    What does the etherial sound of Debussy share with the sharp edgy sound of Monk have in common? Their love for the Whole tone symmetrical dominant scale.
    THis is ONE neat dominant scale from outside that you can grow with your whole life.

    Symmetrical Diminished Scale.
    There are a couple of scales you can get from a scale that uses a half note followed by a whole note followed by a half alternating. This gives you a really cool rootless dominant scale if you start the symmetrical diminished one half step above the root. You get a 3, and a b7, but you also get a WHOLE lot more.
    Work this one out and extra bonus-again: The ideas you make, you can also play a minor third up from where you are and they work there too.
    This will take a LOT of time to work out, study and internalize, but if you DO follow this one through, you'll surely come across a bunch of those Scofield lines that you probably said "WHAT IS he doing?"
    The symmetrical diminished scale is a great choice when creating high tension lines in a dominant 7 situation.

    That's just a couple of ideas to try. We could go on pretty close to forever, but this is where you can really create your OWN sound. Go for it!

    NOW TO SEE THE FOREST
    The macro of dominant phrasing.
    How to use dominant lines? It's going to take a lot of experimenting to master these but starting with a mixolydian, then wiggling around notes besides the 3 and b7, that's a good place to start. Symmetrical scales are pretty far down the tension scale. Play with them within a dominant heavy tune like All of Me.

    Keep in mind, a good solo isn't just good ideas thrown against a wall. Work on making ideas that are good fits with what came before. Work on creating dominant ideas that set up a resolution to a diatonic chord. Work on making lines that act as pairs, and waves of energy through tension, rhythm and space.
    When you solo, don't think "What notes work?" but rather "How can I create a reaction to the action that has just transpired?".
    Dominant lines are the tools of deep line crafting and creating contour.

    It's a huge area of study with unexpectedly rich pay offs.
    Have fun!

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #127

    User Info Menu

    Jerry405, I got a kick out seeing your new guitar. My PG2 has been my go-to guitar since I got it, 2-1/2 years ago or so. I really do love it.

    Here's a vid of my try. I've been playing this tune for 3 weeks, and I haven't been happy with any of my attempts. I find them too melodic, but that's just who I am, I guess.

    I have been playing around with whole-tone and diminished scales, but haven't internalized them enough to make use of them.


  4. #128
    Here is my study of scales and harmony on how insensitive composition. I intend to work on bossas, which have interesting harmony and are good to improvise.

  5. #129

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by MAURICIO SOUZA View Post
    Here is my study of scales and harmony on how insensitive composition. I intend to work on bossas, which have interesting harmony and are good to improvise.
    Mauricio, welcome to the thread, but I believe you may have responded to the wrong thread... but you sure sound good!

  6. #130
    I've been preparing material for a new study piece. I thought it'd be good to look at I hear a Rhapsody.
    I'll put up some detailed observations and suggestions about that piece this weekend. Have a listen and get the sound of the piece in your ears. Listen to it for enjoyment and we'll start to put our "player's brain" to it when we start our group journey here.




    For the words and somehow easy to hear the form on:


    The piece is A A B A and I picked this because the B section is in a completely different, but closely related key. For now, get the feel for it. Don't think too hard on it, that'll come as we get the formal handshake and get to know it.

  7. #131

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Ukena View Post
    Jerry405, I got a kick out seeing your new guitar. My PG2 has been my go-to guitar since I got it, 2-1/2 years ago or so. I really do love it.

    Here's a vid of my try. I've been playing this tune for 3 weeks, and I haven't been happy with any of my attempts. I find them too melodic, but that's just who I am, I guess.

    I have been playing around with whole-tone and diminished scales, but haven't internalized them enough to make use of them.

    Ukena, this is awesome. I have got mine only a month ago. I upgraded the pickup and had to get it fixed for humming issues. I am loving it too. The only compliant I have is that I have to refine my picking technique to not hit the pickguard.

    I like your phrasings and there are nice rhythmic ideas with chromatisim throughout your lines. I personally enjoy solo that are melodic and has a sense of climate and structure to it. I would rather being able to improvise heart touching melodies than shredding with flashy stuff althought they are great for creating climax.

    This week I am also trying out the diminished sound and working on internalising the head so I could improve it.
    Last edited by Jerry405; 09-19-2021 at 02:56 AM.

  8. #132

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry405 View Post
    Ukena, this is awesome. I have got mine only a month ago. I upgraded the pickup and had to get it fixed for humming issues. I am loving it too. The only compliant I have is that I have to refine my picking technique to not hit the pickguard.

    I like your phrasings and there are nice rhythmic ideas with chromatisim throughout your lines. I personally enjoy solo that are melodic and has a sense of climate and structure to it. I would rather being able to improvise heart touching melodies than shredding with flashy stuff althought they are great for creating climax.

    This week I am also trying out the diminished sound and working on internalising the head so I could improve it.
    Thanks for the kind words, Jerry405.

    I don't have a problem with the pickguard, but I occasionally hit the pickup with my pick, so I have to stay farther away from the fretboard than I would otherwise.

    I had humming issues as well, but it was because the wires to the pickup were wrong. Once they were reversed, everything was fine, and I actually like the sound of the original pickup through my Henriksen Bud.

  9. #133

    User Info Menu

    Regarding I Hear a Rhapsody, I've heard the tune, but I'm nowhere near familiar with it. So this will be a good challenge for my ear.

    Thank you, Jimmy blue note, for hanging in with us!

  10. #134
    The Three Week Immersion: Study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-09-20-11-45-31-pm-png
    The Three Week Immersion: Study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-09-20-4-49-05-pm-png
    The Three Week Immersion: Study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-09-13-8-42-06-am-png
    We can play the first line in our head, and we can match the words to that melodic arc. Can you hear the way the first line of the tune takes us to a kind of question, or pausing point... to be answered by So Softly To Me. That's a point of gravity, it settles at a point of rest. That's where we find the home tonic chord of Eb.
    Same thing with the next line, a melody that is different yet similar to the first "question", then answered by a resting point, a settling, a coming home to an exhale. Once again we find the home chord.
    This build up and coming to rest is what gives your lines dimension. You want to learn this tune as a way to make your phrases breathe.
    Here's the chart where I've pointed out the tonal centres. Listen and then try to play the root of the tonic, before and as it occurs in the piece. This can teach you about the movement of chords to a point of rest.
    The Three Week Immersion: Study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-09-21-12-09-59-am-png
    And even more free of distraction:
    The Three Week Immersion: Study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-09-21-12-10-26-am-png

    Take a look at these and in my next post, I'll put up the maps so you can work out some routes to guide your shifts and hand movements from tonal area to tonal area.

    Let me emphasize: This is NOTHING until it's brought into the realm of your ears. And then in order to play creatively on it, it's got to find the lines in your fingers. We'll work on that.
    Ears
    Fingers
    Ideation
    Thoughtful execution

  11. #135
    Some suggestions for digging into Week 1.
    Every corner of the fingerboard should be a solid platform for realizing music. This means knowing
    1) Where your chord roots are
    2) Knowing what notes go with those roots in order to bring out the implied and stated harmony
    3) Working out solid hand and arm facility to get from one root, one tonal area, one phrase to another without missing a beat.

    That's a big project but one worth mastering. No, it's essential as an improvisor/composer.
    Find the tonic roots Eb and Bb all over the fingerboard. Know them cold, not just on the 5th and 6th string. This knowledge will allow you to voice lead chords in very subtle and unexpected ways later on, and it will also mean you can hear the relationships of the scales, and melodic ideas in perspective to roots above AND below you.
    The Three Week Immersion: Study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-09-21-8-16-57-am-png
    After those roots are solid, learn the dominant relationships to those roots (Find all the V to I root movements)

    After those roots are solid, learn the relative minor to Major relationships (VI- to I).

    This knowledge will really inform the things you will be able to hear and let you dance your way from one change to another.

    We get into habits of convenience when we're starting out (and as we continually embrace those limitations as we grow) and they become the boundries with which we trap ourselves in cliches and the "NO! Not THAT lick again" syndrome.
    Practice dominant to root relationships from unexpected approaches.
    Find the places and ways Major and minor work together...in your ear and on the fingerboard.
    Explore and experiment.
    Next we'll look at how to create melody from those roots.
    Ask questions! Ask them as things you have the answers to.

  12. #136
    A few weeks of splashing and getting to know the feel of Rhapsody, let's jump in!
    So here's the form on paper. I trust you've got this somewhat in your ear, so let's see what you're hearing.
    The Three Week Immersion: Study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-10-06-4-21-38-pm-png
    Here's the chart as you might find it, and I've got the areas of focus roughly outlined. That means this is where you've got the entirety of the piece in bite sized pieces, each focused on on key area, and for emphasis, the RED arrowed changes are the dominant areas we started working with in our last adventure. Use your best dominant ideas to set up the strong defining key chords circled here.
    The Three Week Immersion: Study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-10-06-4-22-26-pm-png
    Here I've blocked out those tonal areas. Listen to a recording and play the piece in any way you can, identifying the change in tonal moods outlined here.
    Four sections I've blocked out:
    1. In BLUE. This sets up the strong statement of the piece, here in the key of Eb. We do this with a nice chord combination of VI II V I ... hey kinda like ATTYA, so it's a good way to frame Eb.
    2. In GREEN. This is a nice response, a commentary or supporting statement in Eb too. Take a look at the way chords move and restate Eb in a different way. Listen to the melody to see how this is really done nicely.
    3. In ORANGE. Hey, it looks like we're moving to the III chord, but wait!... This is a Key Change! That chord is actually the VI- chord in a new key. This is what makes this piece so intriguing. It sounds like it's in one key but the two sections are so close, but different. Work with this section until you can really bring out the changes through melody. You can learn a LOT about linear improvisation here.
    4. We return to the original key and a recapitulation of the content we met in 1. and 2.

    That's what I'm showing here in the coloured blocks. Relate this to your ear.
    The Three Week Immersion: Study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-10-06-4-23-11-pm-png

    And if you'd like a more concrete graphic of the key areas, try to see this:
    The Three Week Immersion: Study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-10-06-4-23-45-pm-png

    Take the breakdowns here and try these things for experimentation,
    Look at the 3 sections and loop them and play over them until you're not thinking CHANGES but rather, making melody with the chords as guidance for phrases. Use rhythm. Use short phrases. Use contrast. Use dynamics.

    In my next posts, we'll start using your thoughts and reactions to really shape some cool soloing crafts for your growing musicianship.

  13. #137
    Random thoughts and guiding helpful hints:
    I remember when I REALLY got practicing. I'd always had a contentious relationship with practicing. I knew it needed to be done. I knew not practicing kept me from being the musician I imagined I could be, but somehow I struggled with bringing those foreign ideas and forms into my familiar world. I feared wasting my time acquiring things that would prove to be a waste of time; I wasted my time with the struggle. Ironic, eh?
    Then I became immersed in the art and painting/drawing world. An idea was introduced to me: It's YOUR painting. You can ultimately make it the way you want. I had the freedom to make a solo the way I wanted.
    That made me responsible for the mastery I craved. I would learn things I liked, and find out the things that kept me from being proud of them, and working on the craft of perfection. The perfection of craft.

    There is an art. And there is craft. Art is not perfect, it's a reflexion of totality and honesty. Craft is the work of creating confidence.

    So these exercises, ostensibly based on a particular piece, are actually experiments in craft techniques, and by the satisfaction we find in doing, in finding the things that work, we can move beyond the crafty arpeggios, scales and approach tones and create living phrases that resonate as confidence in the medium.

    Practice is the stepping stone by which I find the moments when I just feel good playing. Over time, those moments become more and more accessible. They come easier. I play with more joy.

    Take this piece as separate crafty segments. Change the harmonies and look at each segment as a way to get to the chord or moment of definition. Think of things in different ways so your practice is not strictly linear. Discover the unexpected use of notes that can lead clearly to another idea.
    Don't strive to create the "right" note combination but spend time letting your fingers move in expected and then unexpected ways, and listen for the opportunity to recognize a good idea.

    Once you pass the AHA! point, your playing will change.
    Keep an open mind. Keep your ears open. Get ready for the next level.
    Have fun

  14. #138

    User Info Menu

    Thanks JBN, this is a great tune for me to work on soloing over Major and relative minor changes in different keys. I always struggle to create lines freely with fast changes. I had to simplify the changes all the way back to the bare bone with only ii v in the major and minor to start. This will be a very slow process for me.

  15. #139
    Diversifying eighth note chops.
    A while ago, some of us went through the predecessor to this thread with a 20 week eighth note course based on the Super Chops book.
    That approach focused on eighth note confidence and proficiency by working on specific song forms with increasing speed for 20 weeks.
    Once we have the ability and fluidity to move our fingers and swing with a flow that is informed by the chords of the piece, what is the next step?

    I thought I'd throw out a few ideas that can work with any piece but I'm going to use a last week of I Hear A Rhapsody to play with these.

    Develop clarity of where you're going
    Sometimes it's easy, too easy to think of the lines we create by looking at a chord symbol and deciding on an appropriate scale or arpeggio to play over it. Maybe a lick we learned from somewhere, maybe a contour or shape we found in a transcription. Sometimes we might ask ourselves, How much of that was ME, being engaged as a composing guitar player?
    One thing that can pull your ear into the game is not to think of the scale, arpeggio or sequence of notes that can pull us into mechanical (and safe for the fingers) thinking but to create movement going somewhere.
    After you've gotten the sound of a section of Rhapsody in your ear, decide where the phrase peaks. Where does the music take you to? What chord is central in this progression of harmony? I hear a I chord in the third measure and for me, that's my point of greatest gravity. Listen and find something in there, a note, a phrase, a turn of notes, and lead the notes to that one point. Think of convergence rather than working each change as an obligation of scales (modes, chords and passing notes, etc). In other words, keep your eyes on a point of sound and create some journey that takes you there.

    You can do this with a simple melody as a scale. But with rhythm. Or dynamics. Or just awareness.
    You can do this with with a sequence, 1 2 3 4 2 3 4 5... that takes you there. It's a stairway to a resting point.
    You can do this by descending from any point. Challenge yourself and find your way out of an unexpected opening note(s). What comes out of you is YOUR solution to the phrase section.

    You can follow the written harmony, or as long as you're headed to that I chord, make another sequence of chords, and practice that sound palette until it's internalized. If your line has conviction, it does NOT need to follow the given chords all the time.

    You can find other important "gravity points" along the way and you can approach them, then launch towards the point you have in mind from there.

    You can approach any gravity point diatonically, or even throw in chromatics, or superimpose a dominant chord sound that resolves to a gravity point (yes that's creating alternative harmony) and those little interjections, those superimposed sounds give your line "crunch" or really nice depth, as long as your ear hears it.
    That's why you practice, to open up new possibilities, and make them natural to your ear and hands.

    Try these things out and in there is a set of steps to the next level.

    Try this slowly and gradually increase your speed as your hands and ears open up.
    Remember too, the more space you add (with longer notes or with rest) the more dramatic the gravity of your lines.

    Have fun.

  16. #140
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry405 View Post
    Thanks JBN, this is a great tune for me to work on soloing over Major and relative minor changes in different keys. I always struggle to create lines freely with fast changes. I had to simplify the changes all the way back to the bare bone with only ii v in the major and minor to start. This will be a very slow process for me.
    You're doing it the right way. I think the hardest part is learning to HEAR what you want to play. There's no set timeline for that, but once you get it, the hands are along for the ride and you WILL progress at a faster pace.
    Try breaking out of strict scalewise patterns, use different intervals, in different positions. This is harder at the onset but it will make you a much more powerful player once that's in place.
    It WILL come!

  17. #141
    Broadening your solos from 'Not THAT again' to limitless ideas. Motifs

    One of the most compelling things about a really remarkable and engaging solo is the ostensibly limitless flow of ideas, fresh and unexpected twists and developing melodies. These things seem so far away from that wall of scales, arpeggios and various techniques that crumble after 3 or 4 measures.

    One really powerful compositional technique is the use of motif and the knowledge of what to do with one once it's stated. Once you can do this, it can be a game changer.
    I've always loved the wonder of clouds. Clouds can take invisible things like air currents, combine them with invisible water vapours and create structures a mile high that hold enough water to wipe out a landscape. But each water droplet has to have some seed, some tiny core of some molecule around which the water can form. This seed forms droplets we can see and feel and when the conditions are right, they can be circulated in winds that form ice, build up and become falling hail that can put a hole in a roof. All from taking all the elements and finding something to build them on.

    A motif is something distinctly musical. It can be identified as rhythmic, or as a pitch, an interval, a combination of notes...but its power lies in its simplicity. There's a tendency to throw out lines that are long, convoluted, not particularly focused but maybe pretty in the moment. These are good for building some kinds of solos, they're certainly lauded as quotable statements to be emulated in studies and examples of great solos, but those lines we make can be slippery and convoluted when finding the essential seeds to develop. Keep in mind that simplicity is our goal when stating a motif; the solo comes from what we do with it. Too much in our initial statement can collapse from its own weight and it won't fly, or become a cloud.

    Listen to these solos and see if you can hear how simplicity becomes a foundation for something unexpected.

    That's Jim Hall. He worked with Sonny Rollins, the master of motific development


    What I thought I'd do for our next three week study/immersion is think about, learn ways to isolate and recognize subjects or motifs, and experiment with ways to develop our lines around the ideas in motifs.
    We will look at some pieces that have motifs in their DNA:
    All The Things You Are. A piece that has a really beautiful and quite complex harmonic structure, but we'll look at the way it uses motif to follow the structure of the changes, MOTIF ON THE HARMONY a la a Coleman Hawkins approach.
    As Time Goes By. This is a piece that has a melodic fragment that undergoes a sort of modal transition over a harmonic area. Listen to the way the melodies share a similar shape and contour; how contrasting melodic ideas (contrasting subjects) serve to highlight what our ear has been brought to hear...
    Embraceable You. This piece has an immediately recognizable motif that is developed melodically as a lyric line while the harmony shifts beneath it. This is a motif that brings out the strengths within the key as the chords provide different angles of light on it. This is a MOTIF ON THE KEY a la Lester Young approach.

    Start by listening to some of these examples and for starters, see if you can play around with simplicity. Find out how much you can work with simple, what you can do.
    I'll start the posts this week with ways to expand, but for now, maybe even with out a particular piece in mind, start with as simple as you can and make observations about what what works and what happens. Share your experiences!!!

    More to follow (on this subject :-) )

  18. #142
    Week one. It all begins with a note.
    A note is music. It exists in a field of sound, a space of silence, a context of a measure and an implied scale. You don't need anything more than the ear to hear and feel a chord, and for you to mark a point of impact. One note. On a chord. In a rhythmic field of four beats. Monk could play masterful solos with those tools.
    Experiment: Listen to the field of sound a chord provides. Play a chord or better yet record it. Against that chord, play a note. Just a note. Play a different note. Against that chord, how does the impression of that note change the sound of the chord? 7 notes to a scale, but don't stop there, how do the other notes, the chromatic or "wrong" notes effect your perception of weight or balance?
    If you combine two notes thoughtfully, can you open your ears enough to form an impression?
    Those "impressions" or purposeful combinations of a note with everything around it...that's a motif.

    Our song this week is All The Things You Are.
    The Three Week Immersion: Study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-10-25-5-30-55-pm-png
    Here's a breakdown of the key areas and chords within each. They're roughly colour coded. If you've been working with our previous weeks' immersions, you can get the gist of this
    The Three Week Immersion: Study group for a tune based practice routine-attya-harmonic-map-png

    First thing. Get facility with the chords. Take each key area and familiarize yourself with where it is on the guitar and where the chords of that key are. Within each diatonic chord, find a specific note (do, re, mi...) and play it. This skill is essential in motific playing, and it's a fundamental ability for all soloing.

    Look at All The Things. That a 1 note motif for each chord built on the third of each chord.
    Take some time to look at things that way and then add a companion note to that note. Start to move it within the 4 beats. Create motific ideas from that one note. Shift the motif until you can do it without hesitation.

    Start slow, increase your speed towards the end of the week. In areas of II V7, use what you learned from the three week immersion in 7th chords. See how it all starts to fit together?

    More detailed experiments on motific development in future posts.

    Post your thoughts and observations.

    Hint and food for thought: The head of any song is just LOADED with snippets you can mine for use as motific development. The greatest solos are not pulled out of the air at random, they are centred on solid material. What better source than the song you're inspired by?
    Think about it.