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  1. #1

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    What are similar things going on with musical improvisation and the spoken language?

    I bet there's a LOT.
    It only gets hinted somewhat occasionally.

    -----------


    Whenever I teach impro to a newbie 15-yearold who mastered the pentatonic just yesterday.

    There are a few tricks to impress: intervals, sequences. And the mighty 5 note repeats against 4/4 time.
    Then one phrase and its various variations.
    Then a few silly ones more.

    But.. and its a big but.

    Whenever I try to improvise, it's always "all the tricks and then jam jam jam jam"

    This is stupid.
    My goal is to make 32 bar or 64 bar solo that makes sense.
    The goal is to play a solo that speaks. Simple, complex - either of those.. but it shoudl speak. Thats the main thing.

    Ok.
    So far I've tried jamjamjam but this goes nowhere although the notes are right. And usually follow the bloody harmony too.
    THATS NOT ENOUGH.
    Sometimes there is a vibe and flow but thats random.

    Anyway. Been doing this for years with some luck. Luck sucks. To hell with luck.

    How to make the impro to "speak" every time?
    Every single time?

    The point of this thread is to steal from spoken language and try to perform something similar in the solo.

    So. Question/answer? -yes.. classic.
    Elaboration? Mimic? Contradiction?...

    What are the possible loans from the human communication into soloing?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Bernstein did a series years ago about similarities between music and linguistic forms:

    The Unanswered Question (lecture series) - Wikipedia

  4. #3

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    You might try doing some free improvisational duo with them. Points of dynamics, line, space, shape, LISTENING and RESPONDING, making room, complementing, recognizing musical potential in a given interval... all those things are conversational and in free improvisation, you can recognize, acknowledge and craft with those linguistic elements.
    Have a conversation. It's a skill to learn that's every way as important as all the things you teach about notes.

  5. #4

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    for me ....

    the way i break out of this
    is to sing the line then play it

    this MAKES you hear the line
    before you play it ....

    (i think its called audation in posh circles)

  6. #5

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    Lately I've been thinking of the rhythmic aspects of speech for inspiration. Comic timing. Some of the phrasing in rap gets my attention.

    And the idea of rhythmic tension and resolution as in the old door knock thing: Da-Da...De-Da-Da..... Da-Da

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft View Post
    Lately I've been thinking of the rhythmic aspects of speech for inspiration. Comic timing. Some of the phrasing in rap gets my attention.

    And the idea of rhythmic tension and resolution as in the old door knock thing: Da-Da...De-Da-Da..... Da-Da
    Funny, just before this thread, I started to tap my fingers agains Big Bang Theory conversations. Not related to this but I was watching it for 4th time or so.
    Pretty much all of it is heavy ass syncopation.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note View Post
    You might try doing some free improvisational duo with them. Points of dynamics, line, space, shape, LISTENING and RESPONDING, making room, complementing, recognizing musical potential in a given interval... all those things are conversational and in free improvisation, you can recognize, acknowledge and craft with those linguistic elements.
    Have a conversation. It's a skill to learn that's every way as important as all the things you teach about notes.
    Yes. Exactly. I figure this could go even deeper when focusing on every nuance that can happen in a convo. Or just a story telling with speach.
    Label them, try to do it... kinda... in the impro.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    What are similar things going on with musical improvisation and the spoken language?

    I bet there's a LOT.
    It only gets hinted somewhat occasionally.

    -----------


    Whenever I teach impro to a newbie 15-yearold who mastered the pentatonic just yesterday.

    There are a few tricks to impress: intervals, sequences. And the mighty 5 note repeats against 4/4 time.
    Then one phrase and its various variations.
    Then a few silly ones more.

    But.. and its a big but.

    Whenever I try to improvise, it's always "all the tricks and then jam jam jam jam"

    This is stupid.
    My goal is to make 32 bar or 64 bar solo that makes sense.
    The goal is to play a solo that speaks. Simple, complex - either of those.. but it shoudl speak. Thats the main thing.

    Ok.
    So far I've tried jamjamjam but this goes nowhere although the notes are right. And usually follow the bloody harmony too.
    THATS NOT ENOUGH.
    Sometimes there is a vibe and flow but thats random.

    Anyway. Been doing this for years with some luck. Luck sucks. To hell with luck.

    How to make the impro to "speak" every time?
    Every single time?

    The point of this thread is to steal from spoken language and try to perform something similar in the solo.

    So. Question/answer? -yes.. classic.
    Elaboration? Mimic? Contradiction?...

    What are the possible loans from the human communication into soloing?
    Growing up, my Dad's highest accolade for a musician was "He makes that thing talk." There's a lot in that. When I finally got to the place where he said that about my playing, I considered that I had got somewhere musically.*

    My starting point in this process is to mirror the rhythms of the lyrics, if there are any. After that, basic manipulations can gently ramp up the complexity (triplets, dotted notes, slurs, etc) without going too far the original melody as a reference too quickly. You can get as far away as you want. Just don't try it in one jump.


    * Granted, this was made during a performance at a place that was known to put alcohol in the drinks, so ....

  10. #9

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    You have to force yourself to make up motifs and then develop them.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55 View Post
    You have to force yourself to make up motifs and then develop them.
    Thats exactly what I'm doing currently
    Thats why this thread.

    That spoken language's syncopation. It is so obvious when only just noticing. The trouble is, the MEANING of the sentence is the reason it happens like that.
    Like.. "I don't know!". Could be put in various places of the "measure"... The trouble - it's so clear why this happens with language and the tone of the conversation. But is so much more vague with musical motifs.

    And the other thing in OP, I was reading a book and tried to kinda label what happens with the text. But there's so many. And they all make simple sense.
    In music, we don't have that luxury. It's too mystical

  12. #11

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    It's only mystical because there's no pedagogy about it. There's still a way to approach making satisfactory lines. You have to practice it ad nauseam. Use easy tunes where the changes won't trip you up. Play a phrase and ask yourself, was that satisfactory melodically (notes wise), and was that satisfactory rhythmically? If not then keep practicing the same thing. Don't go into the philosophical abyss.

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55 View Post
    Don't go into the philosophical abyss.
    Philosophy is great when used well. Practical philosophy.

    I remember that one way to look at philosophy was that it's just a tool for making labels. Categorize.

    Thats exactly what I'm after here - to make things less mystical and more simple.

  14. #13

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    Hit the changes and make up phrases that are adequate notes wise and rhythm wise. If phrases are too difficult, break it down into the simplest form - a motif. A motif is generally a small group of notes say 3-6 or 8 or so. 1 and 2 note motifs are generally novelty motifs and are used but I wouldn't focus on those. Play a motif and build on it. Then chose a new motif and sequence that. There are many ways to build on motifs too. Play 1 play a variation play the 1st one again, play a conclusion.

  15. #14

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    Spoken Language has a big advantage over instrument improvisation.
    A toddler starts talking early ... for example, the word "mama"...
    Several years must pass before he can start learning the guitar.

  16. #15

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    The "spoken" tones are the 9th and the 6th, more so the 6th.

  17. #16

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  18. #17

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    I am a stutterer.

  19. #18

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    I’ve thought a lot abt the similarities btw music and speech, esp where improv is concerned. Both begin with learning basic phrases or motifs, whether it’s a double stop bend or “hello, my name is…”. Then you learn to assemble those pieces into something more complex that can communicate more… detailed sentences or extended melodic ideas and variations. But ultimately, the goal is true fluency, going beyond the repetition of lines or phrases to the spontaneous expression of new ideas. Imagine talking to someone who can only parrot things they’ve heard. Hell, you’ve probably had that experience. No fun.

    I’m no expert. My theory is definitely lacking. But it seems to me that developing improv over time is, at least in significant part, abt training your instincts (note choice, phrasing, dynamics etc..) and similarly training your hands to translate those instincts. So. Short story long, if you wanna make it talk, think abt the kinds of lines and phrases you want to hear. How do you want it to feel? Lyrical and flowing? Sharp and staccato? Then work on crafting what you hear w your hands. Pay particular attention to how you slide up or down to a note, how you apply vibrato. Those subtleties make all the difference.

    Most importantly, play a lot and have fun!

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stropheus View Post
    I’ve thought a lot abt the similarities btw music and speech, esp where improv is concerned. Both begin with learning basic phrases or motifs, whether it’s a double stop bend or “hello, my name is…”. Then you learn to assemble those pieces into something more complex that can communicate more… detailed sentences or extended melodic ideas and variations. But ultimately, the goal is true fluency, going beyond the repetition of lines or phrases to the spontaneous expression of new ideas. Imagine talking to someone who can only parrot things they’ve heard. Hell, you’ve probably had that experience. No fun.

    I’m no expert. My theory is definitely lacking. But it seems to me that developing improv over time is, at least in significant part, abt training your instincts (note choice, phrasing, dynamics etc..) and similarly training your hands to translate those instincts. So. Short story long, if you wanna make it talk, think abt the kinds of lines and phrases you want to hear. How do you want it to feel? Lyrical and flowing? Sharp and staccato? Then work on crafting what you hear w your hands. Pay particular attention to how you slide up or down to a note, how you apply vibrato. Those subtleties make all the difference.

    Most importantly, play a lot and have fun!

  21. #20

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    Thanks for the welcome! Good to be here