Friday, May 2, 2014

Improvisation secrets!

The best way to approach developing improvisational skills is to think of it in two equally (but inseparable) strategies. Pattern based, where the music thought, motif, phrase is already stated or created, and Theory based, where rule or better "convention" dictates what notes are fertile for generating music.

I suggest learning as many scales and arpeggios as you can. Learn them in your brain and fingers so that the notes within them can be tagged and identified at the speed of light. The next step is to take patterns you like, "steal" them from your favorite players, and "push the principle." Certainly transpose them to other keys, but why stop there? The next step is to vary them rhythmically, take notes out, add notes, throw in an altering chord, but apply sound music theory along the way.

Fast changing chords are both iconic and intimidating to the novice player, but even an intermediate one can learn some tricks to open up the song.

Tune Basics; Understanding bigger picture, the pattern that repeats itself a 3rd down and a series of 'ii V7 I' Turnarounds.

Approaches to playing through the changes
1.) Playing arpeggios based on the chords and developing melodic ideas based on them. Sevenths, & just the simple triads
2.) Playing scales/modes based on key centers, B, G, and Eb. Up & down consecutive notes
3.) Playing Pentatonics, major and minor 5-note patterns. (Don't always start on the root!)
4.) Playing the "Big V" approach. Using scales (altered, diminished) based on the dominant of the key center and resolving on the tonic of the key center.
5.) Moving down by whole steps. Use scale & triads of key centers going down by consecutive steps.
6.) Chromaticism. Cheating by playing a string of consecutive chromatic notes.

Mix it all up!

Les Poules huppées

CRESTED HENS, THE (Les Poules huppées). French, Bourrée à 3 temps (3/8 time). E Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). Composed in 1983 by French...