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  1. #1

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    Hi, folks.

    How to improvise?


    If you're still learning arpeggios or chord-tones, you don't have to read this. The first concept I always use is chromatics. Most of us maybe know that chromatics mean 'other than diatonic", or 'unusual pitches you play'. But literally it means colors. Maybe you need to apply more colors to make it colorful. Not that diatonic notes sound flat but chromatics create excitement, a spice. What I mean here is not passing tone chromatics. The way I think about chromatics is by using two approaches: 1) modes, and 2) melodic re-harmonization. Actually if you play Lydian over IV, you won't hear a Lydian. The 3rd of Lydian if goes to the 4th and the 5th, say in the key of C (a-b-c), the b will sound like a leading tone of C major. The Lydian still relates to the center pitch, the c. So the only (useful) way to play modes is in chromatics. If you want to hear a "true" Lydian you have to put it on any major chord but IV. But why thinking in modes? partly it's because you need another palettes for chromatics instead of just the passing tones. Modes give your chromatics an identity. Aeolian for example is known for its melancholic or sadness character. Say you need your ii chord to sound melancholic, you apply Aeolian on it. In another approach, I call it melodic re-harmonization. On the surface it looks like a superimposition. The function of superimposition is to extend a chord. Yet what I do here is re-harmonizing the chord progression without even changing the given chord progression. Hence it's melodic. The activity is only in the upper voice or not involving the bass at all. This is also another palette for chromatic playing. It's very different from the modal approach because the focus here is to expose chromatic tones as many as possible. But all of these will be nothing without a good phrase. So the next concept is about phrasing. What do you do with all the modes, all the licks you memorize? modes are only letters, and music is like a language. But we don't speak with letters. We need good words to have a good conversation. The modes instead must be turned into good words. I explain all of these in a lesson I created in a readable format. Check the description box in the video if you want to dig more.





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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Advice from Dizzy Gillespie: Think of a rhythmic figure then apply notes to it.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiskey02
    Advice from Dizzy Gillespie: Think of a rhythmic figure then apply notes to it.
    Everything is a rhythmic figure. Everything is note.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by EJGuitar
    Everything is a rhythmic figure. Everything is note.
    Yes, and the one that comes first takes precedence over the latter. Try to get them both right while being cognizant at all times that the rhythm should be your primary concern. Get that right, then worry about anything/everything else.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiskey02
    Yes, and the one that comes first takes precedence over the latter. Try to get them both right while being cognizant at all times that the rhythm should be your primary concern. Get that right, then worry about anything/everything else.
    Not really, my friend. Sometimes in musical language what comes after is more important than what precede.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by EJGuitar
    Hi, folks.

    How to improvise?


    If you're still learning arpeggios or chord-tones, you don't have to read this. The first concept I always use is chromatics. Most of us maybe know that chromatics mean 'other than diatonic", or 'unusual pitches you play'. But literally it means colors. Maybe you need to apply more colors to make it colorful. Not that diatonic notes sound flat but chromatics create excitement, a spice. What I mean here is not passing tone chromatics. The way I think about chromatics is by using two approaches: 1) modes, and 2) melodic re-harmonization. Actually if you play Lydian over IV, you won't hear a Lydian. The 3rd of Lydian if goes to the 4th and the 5th, say in the key of C (a-b-c), the b will sound like a leading tone of C major. The Lydian still relates to the center pitch, the c. So the only (useful) way to play modes is in chromatics. If you want to hear a "true" Lydian you have to put it on any major chord but IV. But why thinking in modes? partly it's because you need another palettes for chromatics instead of just the passing tones. Modes give your chromatics an identity. Aeolian for example is known for its melancholic or sadness character. Say you need your ii chord to sound melancholic, you apply Aeolian on it. In another approach, I call it melodic re-harmonization. On the surface it looks like a superimposition. The function of superimposition is to extend a chord. Yet what I do here is re-harmonizing the chord progression without even changing the given chord progression. Hence it's melodic. The activity is only in the upper voice or not involving the bass at all. This is also another palette for chromatic playing. It's very different from the modal approach because the focus here is to expose chromatic tones as many as possible. But all of these will be nothing without a good phrase. So the next concept is about phrasing. What do you do with all the modes, all the licks you memorize? modes are only letters, and music is like a language. But we don't speak with letters. We need good words to have a good conversation. The modes instead must be turned into good words. I explain all of these in a lesson I created in a readable format. Check the description box in the video if you want to dig more.




    This is a great take of Autumn Leaves.
    The very melodic beginning of the solo is hit at 10.
    Very well suited to the mood of the tune.
    It is very pleasant to listen to the whole, fully consciously playing without random notes.
    There is very good jazz phrasing.The whole thing is very clear and technically impeccable.
    A very good example of how to use the language of jazz in the right way.
    Best
    Kris

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Unfortunately your video lesson has nothing to do with Autumn Leaves or jazz improvisation. It sounds like guesswork, and bad guesswork at that. It's awful.
    .
    Are you talking about the video in the OP? How is that not Autumn Leaves?

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Are you talking about the video in the OP? How is that not Autumn Leaves?
    There is only one video ...in the first post.
    ps.
    Very large letters.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Unfortunately your video lesson has nothing to do with Autumn Leaves or jazz improvisation. It sounds like guesswork, and bad guesswork at that. It's awful.
    let me help you with that.

    How to improvise?-earwax-jpg

  11. #10

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    Sounds good to me too

    you’re so harsh Ragman

  12. #11

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    Very uncalled-for. Even if I put "open to advices, critics, and compliments", it's still not in a right room...but, thanks anyway.

  13. #12

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    Gentlemen -

    I've deleted my critical post. I agree, my comments were wrong. Quite possibly my ears weren't right when I listened to it. In fact, listening to it again, I'm wondering what I was hearing. I was even looking for an edit marker to see if the video had been replaced with another version. But it hasn't, so I don't know.

    So, sorry, don't know what happened there. It just sounded out of tune to me at the time.

    EJGuitar, apologies for any distress caused.

    Graham, as it happens I do have some of that...

    How to improvise?-xxx-jpg

    Clint, I tend not to use devices like that for various reasons I won't bore you with.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Gentlemen -

    I've deleted my critical post. I agree, my comments were wrong. Quite possibly my ears weren't right when I listened to it. In fact, listening to it again, I'm wondering what I was hearing. I was even looking for an edit marker to see if the video had been replaced with another version. But it hasn't, so I don't know.

    So, sorry, don't know what happened there. It just sounded out of tune to me at the time.

    EJGuitar, apologies for any distress caused.

    Graham, as it happens I do have some of that...

    How to improvise?-xxx-jpg

    Clint, I tend not to use devices like that for various reasons I won't bore you with.
    good man Rag ....

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by EJGuitar
    Not really, my friend. Sometimes in musical language what comes after is more important than what precede.
    Dude; you asked for advice, I shared advice given not myself but by one of the primary architects of bebop when he was asked the exact question you posed, and you’re (trying to) arguing that it’s not the advice you want?
    No man is blinder than he who refuses to see, I’m out.

  16. #15

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    I'm not sure that's what it was about.........


    Last edited by kris; 11-18-2021 at 08:06 AM.

  17. #16

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    One odd thing I did experience with the video - on my ipad the guitar sounded really thin and almost inaudible, drowned out by the backing track. It almost sounded like there was some weird kind of phase-cancelling issue going on.

    However on my desktop computer speakers it sounded ok - the guitar sounded a bit ‘fatter’ and seemed a lot louder.

    I know the ipad has tiny little speakers, but it normally does an acceptable job. There must be something about the audio in this clip that it really does not like. I’ve not come across that before.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    One odd thing I did experience with the video - on my ipad the guitar sounded really thin and almost inaudible, drowned out by the backing track. It almost sounded like there was some weird kind of phase-cancelling issue going on.

    However on speakers it sounded ok - the guitar sounded a bit ‘fatter’ and seemed a lot louder.

    I know the ipad has tiny little speakers, but it normally does an acceptable job. There must be something about the audio in this clip that it really does not like. I’ve not come across that before.
    I don't have an Ipad ..
    I mainly use my desktop computers with good big speakers ... :-)
    My laptop has awful speakers - impossible to listen to the music.
    ps.
    In my opinion, it's a matter of how to record.
    The main thing is to use a good interface and DAW.
    I don't use a microphone for fast recordings. I record my guitar through the line.
    Band in the Box works very well for fast recordings.
    Last edited by kris; 11-18-2021 at 08:22 AM.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiskey02
    Dude; you asked for advice, I shared advice given not myself but by one of the primary architects of bebop when he was asked the exact question you posed, and you’re (trying to) arguing that it’s not the advice you want?
    No man is blinder than he who refuses to see, I’m out.
    You're right. It could be a literal question. Next time I'm gonna post the same way. It can keep my thread on top.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    One odd thing I did experience with the video - on my ipad the guitar sounded really thin and almost inaudible, drowned out by the backing track. It almost sounded like there was some weird kind of phase-cancelling issue going on.

    However on my desktop computer speakers it sounded ok - the guitar sounded a bit ‘fatter’ and seemed a lot louder.

    I know the ipad has tiny little speakers, but it normally does an acceptable job. There must be something about the audio in this clip that it really does not like. I’ve not come across that before.
    Hi, grahambop.

    A good engineer can make an audio file works on any device. Wish I can hire one. Anyone purchasing my stuff can help that.

  21. #20

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    I am experimenting with something I heard not long ago. Somebody said that if you can learn the head to 200 tunes, you will never have a problem improvising. I forget who said it but, for many reasons, I am trying that now. I learn the melody (mostly by ear) and then try to play it in different positions on the fretboard.

    I am not sure how well it is going for improv, but I feel that I am somehow improving.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by rsclosson
    I am experimenting with something I heard not long ago. Somebody said that if you can learn the head to 200 tunes, you will never have a problem improvising. I forget who said it but, for many reasons, I am trying that now. I learn the melody (mostly by ear) and then try to play it in different positions on the fretboard.

    I am not sure how well it is going for improv, but I feel that I am somehow improving.
    200 heads OK :-)... but you need to have theoretical and then practical knowledge to consciously improvise.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    EJGuitar, apologies for any distress caused.
    An honest and mindful critic despite the harshest shouldn't owe an apology. But can you take that in return?

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    200 heads OK :-)... but you need to have theoretical and then practical knowledge to consciously improvise.
    I totally agree. I have spent many many years studying and applying music theory. The learning of many tunes is what I consider an additional concept that will, hopefully, enhance what I am already doing.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by rsclosson
    I am experimenting with something I heard not long ago. Somebody said that if you can learn the head to 200 tunes, you will never have a problem improvising. I forget who said it but, for many reasons, I am trying that now. I learn the melody (mostly by ear) and then try to play it in different positions on the fretboard.

    I am not sure how well it is going for improv, but I feel that I am somehow improving.
    Oh i thought you try to play it in different version. Because otherwise it's gonna be problematic - to quote them in every phrase.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by EJGuitar
    Oh i thought you try to play it in different version. Because otherwise it's gonna be problematic - to quote them in every phrase.
    Not trying to quote. Basically, learning songs in different places on the neck is, to me, sort of an ear training exercise. Hearing the intervals with my ears, then feeling the intervals with my fingers.