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By law of averages, it's very unlikely that Wolfgang Mozart was unique (this is quite a shocking statement, I realise). There were a lot more working composers of the age who's work hasn't survived, and a great many again who's work is known, but obscure, and not considered part of the classical music cannon. Of these, most will have been following the ...


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You can establish a theme that you come back to again and again, and then use as a jumping off point for further improvisation. The theme doesn’t have to be long or complicated, and it’s probably better if it’s not. Think of the theme as a chorus, and think of your improvisational stretches as verse. As long and wild as your improvisational stretches may be, ...


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For jazz and rock, the principles appear to be phrasing and space, and to some degree, implied harmonic movement. Since the underlying riff is not shifting around the harmony very much (it would produce an unpleasant vertigo effect), the melody can enter and exit when it chooses. But these choices define a larger rhythmic structure. Frenquently, the melody ...


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"Fundamental differences" is something that is open to interpretation. Jazz, a great-great-great-great step-grandchild of classical music certainly shares some of the rich musical heritage of European and African traditions which gives it "hybrid vigor." Nevertheless, classical music improvisation delves into many areas that jazz only hints at. Here's ...


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There's a lot of difference between 'noodling' or 'widdling' and improvisation. One can use, say, a pentatonic and noodle over a three chord wonder all day long, playing long extemporisations without any mistakes being apparent. This can, however, be a great point to take off from.Only using, say, 4 of the notes, play a motif, perhaps 6 notes long. Over, for ...


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One of the main reasons that a whole-tone scale works so well to indicate dreaming and rootlessness is that it's a symmetrical structure that divides the octave into equal parts. Multiple notes can therefore work equally well as a "tonic" which kind of means that they're also equally bad at being tonic. A symmetrical structure makes it much easier to avoid ...


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At that time, improvisation was a common practice. Actually, when keyboard instruments started to be used, its music was not even written. Everything was improvised. Keyboard music started as accompaniment for choirs, etc. Therefore, the keyboard performer would often rely on a voice score or whatever and improvise a second voice or whatever from that. When ...


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A really really important principle that bebop players used was that they improvised on top of the melody and not the harmony. Another important thing was they didn't think of the harmony as a whole, but they thought out every single chord change. Let's take Parker's Moose the Mooch for instance: Bb / C- F7 /Bb /C- F7 etc When Charlie Parker ...


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In The Phish Book, band members explain that their improvisation was based on what they called "The Circle Game." Band members would face each other and one band member would start a riff. Each band member would then experiment and add to the riff until they all thought that they were locked on the riff and that the riff had been taken as far as it could. ...


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That's the big question, isn't it! I don't know of any techniques in the formal sense but I do have some thoughts that might help. I really don't know what level you are so I may not be of much help - I'm just thinking out loud here. For starters, they play the melody and then play around the melody. Doc cut his teeth on fiddle tunes and knows the melody to ...


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Here are a few generalizations: Traditional Jazz education: follow the chord tones and tensions. Jerry Bergonzi method: Beginnings of improvisation are mostly in major or minor tetra chords. Bebop: follow the chord tones but precede them with chromatics or double chromatic approaches, being sure to put the chromatics on a weak beat such as an upbeat. ...


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The style of the impressionist can be very dreamy. Listen to Le Plus Que Lent by Debussy, or perhaps Ondine. A number of his preludes create this dreamy ambiance too. As far as Ravel goes, La Valse does a good job of presenting a foggy, distorted version of the main theme. If I were to summarize these techniques briefly, parallelism and extended tertian ...


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Bill Evans was the king of sparse playing in a trio context. Five Ways to Play like Bill Evans Left-Hand Rootless Voicings: His four-note, rootless chord voicings consist of guide tones (thirds and sevenths), along with chord tones, color tones, extensions, and/or alterations. These compact voicings also have inherently smooth voice leading. Right-Hand ...


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Here's Robert Levin lecturing on "Improvising Mozart".


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Charlie Parker's improvisational technique was largely based on formulas (or riffs) that he would transpose to fit chord progressions. He would have to do this in order to play as fast and as fluently as he did, even when he was high and this is in no way a criticism of his creativity--he did invent an entire musical language using his riffs as words. A ...


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Some characteristics of Monk's playing are his use of fragments of the song's theme. Often he would repeat a phrase or a part of a phrase, as if breaking it down into smaller parts, interrupting it with some of his other signature figures such as a whole tone descending scale. I'm less familiar with Charlie Parker, but maybe you could find out something ...



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