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How connecting phrases in improvisation



  • guitarnowskiguitarnowski Peru, ILNew Gitane, etc., etc.,
    Posts: 37
    Ando wrote:
    Perhaps your teacher was encouraging you to play across the bar line more? Say you have an ascending phrase: across the bar line, the line's harmony would change, but its upward trajectory would be preserved. Very nice effect, and it demands that you think about music as always moving.

    Interesting thread.

    That's what I was thinking too, as this was something that I sometimes think about. Well, often, actually!

    And, although this might be the same thing Kcox said a different way, but maybe, just as an exercise, the idea is that the first two beats address the chord, and the second two beats are for the transition to the next one?

  • TommasinoTommasino Alexandria, VANew
    Posts: 30
    Hey, Tommaso,

    (nice name, by the way); the problem you are describing is very common for those starting out. The suggestions the other forumites gave you are good ones. Another one is to play the actual melody of the song--because most if not all swing tunes are in fact songs--and then gradually embellish the original melody with freer and freer arabesques until you are de facto playing totally new notes.

    This is also the basis for Classical improvisation--which, depending on the era, is based on diminuitions or variations.

  • vincevince Davis & San Francisco, CANew
    Posts: 133
    Ando wrote:
    Maybe a good exercise would be to construct a solo made entirely of whole notes. Then half notes. You would then be thinking about the chorus as a melodic whole, and you would have a grasp of its entire territory in consonant tones. Then with this underlying structure in mind, you could improvise phrases within it.

    Good thread indeed. Just wanted to add that this is what Mel Bay's Complete Jazz Guitar Method suggests. I'm a beginner and one thing that helps me is to just listen to SOMETHING and figure out what's being played over it. On the Joscho Stephan videos on guitarplayertv, he mentions he could play santana and beatles songs by ear, which made me think if I cant play them by ear, how the hell am I going to play gypsy by ear? so I tried to work out as many songs and melodies by ear as possible and that has really been helping me. Theolonious Monk melodies are strong and fun to play. If you can hear the music extremely well, you can probably play it well (I hope, if not I'm heading in the wrong direction.. hehe). Then embellish them, which comes more naturally because when working them out by ear, you end up hearing near-sounding notes. But that's my two cents, I may be wrong....

    I don't know whether I'll ever be an excellent player if I keep practicing, but I'm absolutely sure I won't be if I stop.
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