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  1. #421
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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr View Post
    Damn it, Alfie. What the hell js it all about??
    The Hokey Pokey is what it's all about.

  2. #422

    Constructing a solo, day 3, the weight and the rhythm.

    Maybe it's because when we speak, we pay attention to the words, and not so much the cadences; that's supposed to come naturally, but often when learning to solo, rhythm is way down on the list. As a matter of fact, most guitar teachers don't dedicate a whole lot of time on rhythmic aptitude.
    I was going to begin an introduction to embellishment and ornamentation (considered by many as the core of the bebop sound), and I realized that good use of eighth note phrases is as much a function of rhythm as it is note choice.
    If we think scales, we play scales. If we think arpeggios, we play arpeggios. If we think rote transcriptions, we play other people's thoughts. But If we feel the rhythms, we play phrases. If we think phrases, the embellishments will make sense.

    I've started to believe that a very important part of developing a personal solo approach comes from the unconscious and conscious use of space.
    Take a solo, something that you've acquired a feeling for its form (off book) and go through that song, soloing just on rhythm. Tap it out, long notes and short notes, vocalize it, and sing it with just words (don't melodicize it, in other words). And make a series of phrases where you vary the next phrase based on the one you've just sung (played). Then at some point, do find some logic to how your phrases are made.
    Straight eighths.
    Phrases based on different numbers of attacks.
    Long and short notes.
    Starting on the beat.
    Starting off the beat.
    Ending with a long note.
    Ending with a short note.
    Same start as the last phrase, different end.
    Shifting the pattern by an eighth note.
    Syncopation.


    Learn Syncopated Subdivided Rhythms - Lesson 7 Practice Patterns 701-710


    Extreme uses of space.
    Delay your entrance and become comfortable with that.

    Do this until you really feel a rhythmic identity. Listen to people like Kenny Clark, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Alan Dawson.
    Create phrases that allow others to interact with you.

    Do all these things without playing melody.

    Next time we rejoin the world of melody but with a sense of rhythm. We'll do this with embellishments and note "framing".
    Have fun!

    David

  3. #423
    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr View Post
    Damn it, Alfie. What the hell js it all about??
    How's this piece going for you? Seeing the way it flows? How's the ear going?

    It's a nice piece because it's got a strong sense of harmony but the changes don't always state the most obvious signposts to it. Do feel to share your questions and reservations about the piece(s) and let's let discussion and our own failures and successes help each other.

    David

  4. #424

    Fourth Week of April, pieces you might not know: Eiderdown by Steve Swallow

    I originally had scheduled Send In The Clowns, a favourite piece of mine to play as a solo piece, but alas, I couldn't find a lead sheet for the piece that I could post. So sorry for the change of plans, today we'll look at a piece that's long been overdue in my list of tunes to really get to know. Steve Swallow's Eiderdown.
    Steve Swallow is one of the great composers in the modern jazz genre. His tunes, a huge number of which are through composed, possess a real sense of melody and lyric, and always a harmonic structure that's engaging and satisfying.
    I wanted to do one of his tunes because tonight I met up with him again, and the reverberations of his music are far reaching and long lasting. I hope you find something new and eye opening in Eiderdown. Learn this one by ear. There is so much of this piece that defies an easy traditional analysis, yet playing it by ear reveals a simplicity, one of those things that marks Swallow's tunes.

    This is a great piece to look at slowly and then explore with different tempos. Let me know what you think

    David

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-04-21-8-00-08-pm-jpg

    Joe Henderson


    Stephane Grapelli with Gary Burton


    I love Swallow's bass on this


    Bill Evans


    The guys who were there at the beginning, where it all started
    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-04-22-5-04-41-am-png
    Last edited by TruthHertz; 04-22-2018 at 05:08 AM.

  5. #425
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    That was quite a concert this evening wasn't it? Hearing Steve Swallow live is always a treat!

    As much as I love Eiderdown, it is a form I have always felt somewhat adrift in. Be interesting to look at it in a focused way again...

  6. #426
    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    How's this piece going for you? Seeing the way it flows? How's the ear going?

    It's a nice piece because it's got a strong sense of harmony but the changes don't always state the most obvious signposts to it. Do feel to share your questions and reservations about the piece(s) and let's let discussion and our own failures and successes help each other.

    David
    To be honest, I didn’t like the tune all that much at first. But over the week it’s grown on me quite a bit. There’s something about the sound of the melody over that Ebdim7 chord and again over the B section that gives me shivers. I’m actually going to be taking a second week with this one because I didn’t get to dive in as deeply as I wanted to in one week. I’ve got the melody down as of today, but I need to spend another week doing the improv work.

  7. #427

    Form in Eiderdown

    I'm in a real immersion of Eiderdown and I have to say I'm loving it like I never had before. Let me share a few observations.
    Much like Throughout, this piece is a really excellent call/response, question/answer piece. It’s got things that play off of one another and pulls you into working with the form. In each line, each system (4 bars on the page), you’ve got a play between some feeling of major and minor. First system is a G or E minor sound. The next 4 bars are G minor or Bb. Back and forth between these different sounds, until you come to the bridge section. This is a change in the format, and here you’re playing with a section of F Major, drop down to Eb (whole step drop, feel familiar?) and then a fun section of almost beboppish turnarounds to F… then back to the final restating of the original two systems.
    Isn’t this lovely and elegant?
    Later this week we can weigh in on this piece, and relate it to the ongoing look at how to make an engaging solo.

    Until then, hope this is helpful or thought provoking
    David

  8. #428
    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr View Post
    To be honest, I didn’t like the tune all that much at first. But over the week it’s grown on me quite a bit. ...I’m actually going to be taking a second week with this one because I didn’t get to dive in as deeply as I wanted to in one week..
    Yeah, that's great. The piece gets more interesting each time I look at it. Honestly. Go for it! It's got a lot to offer. Going from C to G is actually like building a road to a new scenic area, and the transition back is equally exciting to learn to hear and be creative with. A lot of energy and surprise in those transitions.
    David

  9. #429

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?

    Well, Eiderdown is such a great tune I had to move on to it. Head is not that tough, hopefully can get this one under my belt by tomorrow and actually get to some recorded improv.

    The B natural over E-7 sounds so cool when you’ve still got the Bb over C-7 in your ear.

  10. #430

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?

    There’s a cool Stan Getz version of Eiderdown on the album Live at Montmartre Volume 2. The minor chord voicings played by the keys are ominous, in a Bitches Brew kind of way. I haven’t tried to copy the voicings yet, but it sounds like there might be an altered extension in there. I’m not familiar with altered extensions on minor chords—anyone with a better ear than me that can hear what’s going on here?

  11. #431

    An extra week in April, a little gem: You Don't Know What Love Is

    Now that we're becoming familiar with the small and big picture perspective on form and line, I thought it might be be a good time to think about creating a sense of song, lyric, nuance and vocalism with the guitar. This comes from many places: a natural sense of breath and space (phrase), word sense (articulation), emphasis (dynamics) and listening for the things the song offers as a dialogue to react to, to converse with.
    You Don't Know What Love Is, is a song that offers a story and a picture from the start. You can really hear this in the Cassandra Wilson Brandon Ross duo below. Be aware of what he plays that allows her to interpret the line.
    Look at the way the other artists do with this piece. Coltrane feels almost like a modal vamp.

    The piece is written here (performed in a few keys in these versions) in F minor (Ab major in the bridge) in AABA form. The bridge shifts to the relative major and then about 5 bars into the bridge there's a twist: a shift to the Major 3rd major tonality. A beautiful and fresh change that can throw you off if you're not prepared.

    I hope you have fun with this piece.

    David

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-04-29-2-45-54-pm-png

    Cassandra Wilson's duo voice and guitar


    Sonny Rollins



    Coltrane



    Nina Simone



    Pharoah Sanders, my favourite


  12. #432
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    I have always loved this version...


  13. #433
    Some final thoughts on Eiderdown. I think this might be the coolest piece we've worked on so far. But it's also been the most challenging for me. I had a very tough time finding "home" in this tune. When I listen to recorded versions of the song, I hear the logic of the harmony in the A and C sections. When I play it, though, the chords sound very disconnected from any sense of key and as such my improvisation doesn't rise much above the level of noodling and chasing the sound of home, which I am never able to find. I'm curious to know what voicing of the chords you all were using?

  14. #434
    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr View Post
    I had a very tough time finding "home" in this tune. When I listen to recorded versions of the song, I hear the logic of the harmony in the A and C sections. When I play it, though, the chords sound very disconnected from any sense of key and as such my improvisation doesn't rise much above the level of noodling and chasing the sound of home, which I am never able to find.
    I hear what you're saying. I think it was what made the piece elusive for me when I first encountered it long ago. The piece has a real flow to it and you can't just rely on the given changes to provide a sense of movement (like the plentiful chords of Cherokee or many other standards for that matter). I found that being able to hear the movement and anticipating it helps not only to play something interesting but too, to provide some interesting dialogue with the soloist. Do you pay much attention to shaping your chordal harmony?
    Shaping your chordal line is something that comes from hearing your way through harmony and not just grabbing a chord when you see a symbol.
    A few things you can do to develop your ear: Think modally. By that I mean strive to learn a given chord as really made up notes of the chord scale played simultaneously. When you see a C-, don't think Dorian chord and have it in your fingers to flesh that out, through movement. Create a harmonic area as a moving picture, not one stock footage photograph.
    Let's try this: Take a look at the real estate that chord voicing takes up.
    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-05-01-7-50-06-am-png
    This is just one suggestion, if you flesh out the notes of the scale, they extend both ways...
    Now your grab or voicing fits in there, right? 1 is the root, etc. Well all those other notes are available. So take
    the chord you'd normally play, and move try your other options for a chord one at a time. In other words, build a group of chords where a voice moves through the "grid" and note the way doing this brings out a quality of movement, or the dorian scale.
    Try dyads.
    Try several related triads within that grid, not even necessarily hitting chord tones.
    Try moving up the neck, have you worked with the harmonized scale running up the neck in triads?
    Try more spread voicings.
    Try using less to say more.

    As you do this, the sense of melodic and harmonic shape will emerge; the movie will appear. Can you see how this would give you more to offer to a soloist? Can you see how you can create melody with several chords when you previously searched for a single chord with the "right" sound?
    Experiment with this and ask questions. It's not an easy thing to describe this early in the morning and I don't know if I'm doing a good job.
    Do this for each harmonic area, each phrase area I said you should break the piece up into. Then with that awareness, put them back to back and make a larger picture that makes sense. You can get a lot from this exercise.
    Report back with your thoughts!

    David

  15. #435
    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    I hear what you're saying. I think it was what made the piece elusive for me when I first encountered it long ago. The piece has a real flow to it and you can't just rely on the given changes to provide a sense of movement (like the plentiful chords of Cherokee or many other standards for that matter). I found that being able to hear the movement and anticipating it helps not only to play something interesting but too, to provide some interesting dialogue with the soloist. Do you pay much attention to shaping your chordal harmony?
    Shaping your chordal line is something that comes from hearing your way through harmony and not just grabbing a chord when you see a symbol.
    A few things you can do to develop your ear: Think modally. By that I mean strive to learn a given chord as really made up notes of the chord scale played simultaneously. When you see a C-, don't think Dorian chord and have it in your fingers to flesh that out, through movement. Create a harmonic area as a moving picture, not one stock footage photograph.
    Let's try this: Take a look at the real estate that chord voicing takes up.
    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-05-01-7-50-06-am-png
    This is just one suggestion, if you flesh out the notes of the scale, they extend both ways...
    Now your grab or voicing fits in there, right? 1 is the root, etc. Well all those other notes are available. So take
    the chord you'd normally play, and move try your other options for a chord one at a time. In other words, build a group of chords where a voice moves through the "grid" and note the way doing this brings out a quality of movement, or the dorian scale.
    Try dyads.
    Try several related triads within that grid, not even necessarily hitting chord tones.
    Try moving up the neck, have you worked with the harmonized scale running up the neck in triads?
    Try more spread voicings.
    Try using less to say more.

    As you do this, the sense of melodic and harmonic shape will emerge; the movie will appear. Can you see how this would give you more to offer to a soloist? Can you see how you can create melody with several chords when you previously searched for a single chord with the "right" sound?
    Experiment with this and ask questions. It's not an easy thing to describe this early in the morning and I don't know if I'm doing a good job.
    Do this for each harmonic area, each phrase area I said you should break the piece up into. Then with that awareness, put them back to back and make a larger picture that makes sense. You can get a lot from this exercise.
    Report back with your thoughts!

    David
    Thanks, I’ll dive into this and let you know how it goes.

  16. #436

    Constructing a solo: Part 4 musical content in rhythmic lines.

    Is anyone using this Constructing a Solo sub-thread on constructing a solo? Is this of use to anyone? I haven't gotten any feedback here so if it's not really of interest, I'll keep the clutter to a minimum. If it is something that's helpful to those working on developing soloing techniques within these weekly tunes, weigh in. I'll post another chapter on using quarter notes and eighth notes in embellishment combinations to develop a jazz vocabulary.

    David

  17. #437
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    Is anyone using this Constructing a Solo sub-thread on constructing a solo? Is this of use to anyone? I haven't gotten any feedback here so if it's not really of interest, I'll keep the clutter to a minimum. If it is something that's helpful to those working on developing soloing techniques within these weekly tunes, weigh in. I'll post another chapter on using quarter notes and eighth notes in embellishment combinations to develop a jazz vocabulary.

    David
    Please continue! I'm finding it very interesting and helpful!

    I'm still more than a bit overwhelmed with non musical time syncs preventing me from getting full used out of it now, but as things clear up I'll absolutely be using this material!

  18. #438

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?

    Quote Originally Posted by guido5 View Post
    Please continue! I'm finding it very interesting and helpful!

    I'm still more than a bit overwhelmed with non musical time syncs preventing me from getting full used out of it now, but as things clear up I'll absolutely be using this material!
    I’m in the same boat as Guido. I’m here but starting a new job. Been a bit hectic. But yes, if you don’t mind, please continue. Wish more folks would chime in.

  19. #439

    First week of May. Disney and the memorable tune: Someday My Prince Will Come

    Beauty comes from simplicity and clarity. Some of the most memorable melodies come from tunes that have the right balance of simplicity, clarity and surprise. Understanding a tune helps to open up your ways to improvise, but seeing it simply also makes it easier to remember, easier to feel and clearer in form to make your own statements; with simplicity.
    This week's tune is that Disney classic Someday My Prince Will Come. Since it appeared in Snow White, people have been humming this tune. No theory. No musical abilities. Just the power of a clear melody.
    The piece is in the key of Bb, written in A B A C form and if you get to know the melody, you can go a long ways towards understanding the structure of the piece.
    Beginning in the tonic key on the I chord, the first line goes to the IV chord, then a dominant chord takes us to the second system line.
    That's the II- chord and by the end of the second system, we're being prepared for the next section of the tune, the B section in the III- D- line (notice a simple step wise diatonic movement I, II-, III- >to II again?).
    We go to the top and repeat this and when we get to the C section, it looks like a V-. That's a turnaround to the IV where you make your way home to the I.

    Simpler to hear it. Try and get to know this nice little piece. There'll be a Constructing A Solo running on this tune this week too.
    Stay tuned and have fun!
    David

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-05-05-7-05-55-pm-png

    From Snow White


    Miles Davis made this tune famous in jazz circles with his gorgeous sound and take


    I like this version by Bill Evans.


    I'm a sucker for Streisand


    Just to see what can be done: Chick and Herbie

  20. #440
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
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    I'm still here guys. I have just been super busy the last few weeks and was also out of town for a couple of weeks. Seems like I've been nothing but excuses for a while but I'm still with the program. I do have a little breather now so I'm going to back up a few weeks and make my way forward thru some of these great tunes. I am finding that this song a week format is one of the best things I have done for myself in the last few years. Learning the melodies has been key.

    Thanks for for a great program, David and I'll dive in deeper to your detailed posts this next week.

  21. #441

    Constructing a solo. Part 4: Melody and rhythm

    So far, we've looked at a song in a two part way: Breaking it down into segments that we can "breathe" by, and things we can put into each breath. Really, a solo should be like a series of sentences, each one saying something interesting, making some point and engaging the listener to follow with you to the next idea. If you ramble, if you, yourself don't say anything, then you're not making the most of your solo.
    The point of the last rhythm exercise was to develop your own pacing, get to know yourself. Do you like to talk like a machine gun, steady words without a breath? If not, then don't play that way. Getting a sense of your own phrasing shape through rhythm makes it a lot easier to put notes to that sense of urgency.
    Let's take a look at Someday My Prince Will Come. This time I'm giving you ONE of MANY interpretations of how to break the tune up. This works for me today, it'll be different when I play it this afternoon, who knows? But for now:
    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-05-09-10-34-25-am-png
    The different colours are a tonal area I am thinking in for the moment. That's my idea.
    The first think I'll play will be that blue area, it goes from the tonic Bb up to the IV chord. The red G altered chord is the gateway into the next (purple) idea... and so on.
    So for this exercise, let's look at the melody. Hey, nice! Nice long notes! Chord tones. Play this phrase as written.
    Then choose a different chord tone, one at a time and play the line with that one alteration. Breathe and listen to what changes in your line. That's the first step.
    Next, notice you've got three beats. These are strong beats, so rework that phrase with chord tones on the strong beats, maybe just up to two notes per measure. Take your time and listen to what you're playing. These are the bones of your solo.
    Now for the last step today, we look at the role of the eighth notes. These are played in the space between the beats. There are lots of things you can do but here are a few options:

    The pickup. This is an eighth note or two that preceeds the first beat of the following measure. If it's the start of the line, then it actually begins before you even count off "1". This can be a half step below the note you play, a scale note below, maybe the fifth of the chord that leads to the root... YOU decide. That's the art of the solo.
    You just remember these are unaccented, so they don't get in the way of that pulsing beat, they support it. Now I don't know if you tried doing that rhythm thing but this is why I wanted you to know accented and unaccented beats.
    You can put a pickup note at the end of a measure you're in that leads you across the bar line and makes the next measure flow... try this. These are approach notes. Get the sounds in your ears and see if it expands your soloing.

    The passing note. That space between two chord (accented) notes is a beautiful way to "shade" or bring attention to a line by putting other notes in between. If your chosen notes are 3 and 5 of the chord, then play it now with an eighth note 4 in between.
    Give this a go and you'll notice these may be sounds you're well familiar with, and play automatically. Great. But now you've got an awareness of why, where you're going, how you can break a habit by choosing from more options. And think rhythmically. Swing. Feel it.

    Next time I'll add to the toolset with chromatic notes. But let me know you're out there, and tell me if this does anything for you.

    This goes without saying that it applies to all the phrases outlined on the lead sheet. We'll eventually move towards different types of phrases and how the construction and thought process moves from awareness of the simple to the larger whole.
    The more you do it, the deeper your choice set is and the less you think, the more you can create expressively.

    'til the next time-

    David

  22. #442
    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    So far, we've looked at a song in a two part way: Breaking it down into segments that we can "breathe" by, and things we can put into each breath. Really, a solo should be like a series of sentences, each one saying something interesting, making some point and engaging the listener to follow with you to the next idea. If you ramble, if you, yourself don't say anything, then you're not making the most of your solo.
    The point of the last rhythm exercise was to develop your own pacing, get to know yourself. Do you like to talk like a machine gun, steady words without a breath? If not, then don't play that way. Getting a sense of your own phrasing shape through rhythm makes it a lot easier to put notes to that sense of urgency.
    Let's take a look at Someday My Prince Will Come. This time I'm giving you ONE of MANY interpretations of how to break the tune up. This works for me today, it'll be different when I play it this afternoon, who knows? But for now:
    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-05-09-10-34-25-am-png
    The different colours are a tonal area I am thinking in for the moment. That's my idea.
    The first think I'll play will be that blue area, it goes from the tonic Bb up to the IV chord. The red G altered chord is the gateway into the next (purple) idea... and so on.
    So for this exercise, let's look at the melody. Hey, nice! Nice long notes! Chord tones. Play this phrase as written.
    Then choose a different chord tone, one at a time and play the line with that one alteration. Breathe and listen to what changes in your line. That's the first step.
    Next, notice you've got three beats. These are strong beats, so rework that phrase with chord tones on the strong beats, maybe just up to two notes per measure. Take your time and listen to what you're playing. These are the bones of your solo.
    Now for the last step today, we look at the role of the eighth notes. These are played in the space between the beats. There are lots of things you can do but here are a few options:

    The pickup. This is an eighth note or two that preceeds the first beat of the following measure. If it's the start of the line, then it actually begins before you even count off "1". This can be a half step below the note you play, a scale note below, maybe the fifth of the chord that leads to the root... YOU decide. That's the art of the solo.
    You just remember these are unaccented, so they don't get in the way of that pulsing beat, they support it. Now I don't know if you tried doing that rhythm thing but this is why I wanted you to know accented and unaccented beats.
    You can put a pickup note at the end of a measure you're in that leads you across the bar line and makes the next measure flow... try this. These are approach notes. Get the sounds in your ears and see if it expands your soloing.

    The passing note. That space between two chord (accented) notes is a beautiful way to "shade" or bring attention to a line by putting other notes in between. If your chosen notes are 3 and 5 of the chord, then play it now with an eighth note 4 in between.
    Give this a go and you'll notice these may be sounds you're well familiar with, and play automatically. Great. But now you've got an awareness of why, where you're going, how you can break a habit by choosing from more options. And think rhythmically. Swing. Feel it.

    Next time I'll add to the toolset with chromatic notes. But let me know you're out there, and tell me if this does anything for you.

    This goes without saying that it applies to all the phrases outlined on the lead sheet. We'll eventually move towards different types of phrases and how the construction and thought process moves from awareness of the simple to the larger whole.
    The more you do it, the deeper your choice set is and the less you think, the more you can create expressively.

    'til the next time-

    David
    I think this is the perfect song for this approach. The melody is simple enough that I won’t have to spend a week getting it down. Practice time limited these days but I’m going to make some things to get down to business with this.

  23. #443
    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    So far, we've looked at a song in a two part way: Breaking it down into segments that we can "breathe" by, and things we can put into each breath. Really, a solo should be like a series of sentences, each one saying something interesting, making some point and engaging the listener to follow with you to the next idea. If you ramble, if you, yourself don't say anything, then you're not making the most of your solo.
    The point of the last rhythm exercise was to develop your own pacing, get to know yourself. Do you like to talk like a machine gun, steady words without a breath? If not, then don't play that way. Getting a sense of your own phrasing shape through rhythm makes it a lot easier to put notes to that sense of urgency.
    Let's take a look at Someday My Prince Will Come. This time I'm giving you ONE of MANY interpretations of how to break the tune up. This works for me today, it'll be different when I play it this afternoon, who knows? But for now:
    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-05-09-10-34-25-am-png
    The different colours are a tonal area I am thinking in for the moment. That's my idea.
    The first think I'll play will be that blue area, it goes from the tonic Bb up to the IV chord. The red G altered chord is the gateway into the next (purple) idea... and so on.
    So for this exercise, let's look at the melody. Hey, nice! Nice long notes! Chord tones. Play this phrase as written.
    Then choose a different chord tone, one at a time and play the line with that one alteration. Breathe and listen to what changes in your line. That's the first step.
    Next, notice you've got three beats. These are strong beats, so rework that phrase with chord tones on the strong beats, maybe just up to two notes per measure. Take your time and listen to what you're playing. These are the bones of your solo.
    Now for the last step today, we look at the role of the eighth notes. These are played in the space between the beats. There are lots of things you can do but here are a few options:

    The pickup. This is an eighth note or two that preceeds the first beat of the following measure. If it's the start of the line, then it actually begins before you even count off "1". This can be a half step below the note you play, a scale note below, maybe the fifth of the chord that leads to the root... YOU decide. That's the art of the solo.
    You just remember these are unaccented, so they don't get in the way of that pulsing beat, they support it. Now I don't know if you tried doing that rhythm thing but this is why I wanted you to know accented and unaccented beats.
    You can put a pickup note at the end of a measure you're in that leads you across the bar line and makes the next measure flow... try this. These are approach notes. Get the sounds in your ears and see if it expands your soloing.

    The passing note. That space between two chord (accented) notes is a beautiful way to "shade" or bring attention to a line by putting other notes in between. If your chosen notes are 3 and 5 of the chord, then play it now with an eighth note 4 in between.
    Give this a go and you'll notice these may be sounds you're well familiar with, and play automatically. Great. But now you've got an awareness of why, where you're going, how you can break a habit by choosing from more options. And think rhythmically. Swing. Feel it.

    Next time I'll add to the toolset with chromatic notes. But let me know you're out there, and tell me if this does anything for you.

    This goes without saying that it applies to all the phrases outlined on the lead sheet. We'll eventually move towards different types of phrases and how the construction and thought process moves from awareness of the simple to the larger whole.
    The more you do it, the deeper your choice set is and the less you think, the more you can create expressively.

    'til the next time-

    David
    Good stuff, David. Was able to work through the whole tune tonight. In order to effectively use what you’ve outlined above you really have to have the song wired into your ears and brain. Not there yet, but I hope to get there before the weekends out.

    This isn’t the first time it’s happened during this program, but I didn’t much care for this tune until *I* started playing it, feeling out what *I* could do with the subtle phrasing of the melody, etc. Now I like the tune, or at least appreciate it.

  24. #444

    Constructing a solo. Fifth day: Between the scale tones

    What we create in a solo is wholly up to us as individuals. I think the more we learn about theory and language the harder that is to believe, but all of these little suggestions in solo construction are just that... suggestions for you to try out, be aware of and get into your ear. It's not until you OWN these sounds that you have the option to use, or not to use them freely.

    Today I thought we'd look at what we can do with a scale passage.
    We learn our chord scales, our modes and we run them up and down; see a chord symbol and reflexively pull our our scales and do a musical cut and paste. Then we listen to players we really like and think "What are they doing that I'm not?" Sometimes it comes down to our list of options and how we use them.
    So between scale steps is a world of sound. We saw passing tones occupying the space between chord tones. Here are some things we can do between scale steps, adjacent scale steps in particular. Remember that scale steps can occur on any beat within the measure, not just 4 to the bar. Let's keep them ON THE ACCENT or quarter note space for now. This gives you all sorts of possibilities there alone.
    So write out or play a passage with 2 or 3 adjacent scale notes on the beats. That's where we begin.
    So on the unaccented beats, you can put a chromatic note.
    You can put a note going in a different direction.
    You can put a note going in the same direction.
    You can put a combination of notes that wind up joining the second scale note.

    These all have names, but for now, play with this. This may seem like a boring molecular approach to music but this is vocabulary building, this is the antidote to playing noodling solos that may seem inspired but feel unremarkable or unfinished when you're done. These are strong foundations for ideas.

    Take your scale passage and see how many places you can put notes on the beats, then apply these ornaments to your idea and listen to what happens. When you become fluent, these sounds will come out of your fingers without any effort or unnecessary thought. You'll own them.
    Try this out. Once they're in your fingers and in your ears, make a solo that includes these sounds. Write it out. Then play it. Create a contrafact of your own.
    I'll put names on these sounds next time, but it's you, the instrument and your ear for now.

    Have fun!
    David

  25. #445

    May's second week standard challenge: Like Someone in Love

    This week's tune is Like Someone In Love. As I found out while looking for examples, this piece was done by many players and there are almost as many keys as there are recordings. Some in Eb, Bb, G, C, and others.
    I've chosen examples in C and Eb for the lead sheets.
    This tune is in A B A C form and is has chords that although pretty straight forward, are voiced in ways that give very distinctive and specific harmonic sounds and movement.
    We'll look at specific ways to simplify, interpret and play chords that look complicated but actually become easy if you use your ear and a harmonic knowledge of the instrument. This will be really handy when looking at tunes like Body and Soul (coming up soon!)

    Take a look at the piece and get a sound for the tune before you look at the changes.

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-05-12-7-12-53-pm-pngCommit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-05-12-12-16-07-pm-pngCommit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-05-12-12-15-00-pm-png

    Bill Evans plays this in F


    Paul Desmond's verson (Ed Bikert on guitar) is in Bb


    Ella sings this in G


    Coltrane does it in Ab


    And so do Clifford Jordan and Lee Morgan

  26. #446
    I went full-on Howard Roberts method today—three 10-minute improv sessions separated by 2 minutes of meditation. Here's one chorus from towards the end of the second round. I started out each session by playing the melody for a couple of choruses, then trying to build off something rhythmic or melodic from the melody until my improv de-volved into, well, straight-up noodling, by the end. I am trying to anticipate changes, and stay off book as much as I can. Easier for this tune compared to some of the other recent tunes since I've played it quite a bit in the past.

    The sections that are giving my trouble:

    - Bar 3 (F7/A | Bb7/Ab) - I get the descending bass line, but I don't hear a key center for those two quickly passing dominants.

    - The G-7 | C7 bars that pop up a couple of times. Secondary dominants in general, especially with the companion ii- chord, are generally tough for me.

    David, I know it probably doesn't sound like it, but I'm trying to keep all your great ideas somewhere in my soloing gestalt when I play this. I often start out focused on an idea, but soon lose track and end up in noodlesville.


  27. #447
    Just checking in. Hiatus this week?

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