Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

13

Learning licks and solos by other musicians can be helpful in this respect. Obviously you'll want to develop your own voice, but no musician exists in a vacuum and it's definitely helpful to learn and analyze (if even unconsciously) the kinds of things musicians you admire have played. Depending on your style and the direction you want to go, it may be ...


9

The first question would be: What instrument are you playing? As a bassist that's where my answer will be coming from. I have a few ways to change up what I'm improvising: Backing tracks: this is the big one that helped me the most. By getting as many different tracks as possible to play along with I saw a dramatic improvement. If you have computer ...


8

You should focus on chord tones and half-step resolutions. Let's assume the key of C. The 7th chords in this key: Cmaj7: C E G B Dmin7: D F A C Emin7: E G B D Fmaj7: F A C E G7: G B D F Amin7: A C E G Bmin7b5: B D F A Let's use a classic jazz example, the iimin7 | V7 | Imaj7. In C, this would be Dmin7 | G7 | Cmaj7. To ...


8

It's just a name: it used to be based on four bars, which probably would comprise one set of chord changes (eg doowop, I vi IV V), but could just as easily be two or eight bars. It's like calling a song's bridge a 'middle eight', even though the number of bars may be different. The Beatles always called their bridges 'middle eights'.


5

There's a boogie pattern 1-3-5-6-b7-6-5-3- used for 12 bar blues. Walking bass patterns (usually on each beat) use all the notes from the scale of the key you're in,- you can use any order, preferably starting a bar with the root note. Theory says that there's a good chance one or two of the other notes in the bar will fit the chord, even random notes ! But ...


4

It's funny that you tagged this question in 'technique', because that's obviously not your problem. I think your technique is far ahead of your ears. Once you learn advanced techniques, that involve fast playing, it's hard to go back and improvise slowly, note by note. But that's what you need to do in my opinion. Get some ear training software (like this ...


4

Personally I'd say the best approach is to begin by learning the notes on the guitar. Learn the notes of the fretboard and you'll have a solid footing. Initially I would have said to simply combine the two methods (since they're really not mutually exclusive), but you seem to be familiar with chord construction, so once you've got the notes down everything ...


4

In swing setups such (e.g. tenor sax battles), it is not uncommon so see "trades" of varying (typically decreasing) length : trade 16, then trade 8, trade 4 and sometimes even trade 2 then trade 1, each time building up the tension. Things could also end in both musicians improvising simultaneously. Nice example from Robert Altman's Kansas City: ...


4

I think one thing that hasn't been mentioned is the idea of how you practice things like scales or melodic concepts. If you run scales all day you can shred through a scale or changes in a linear fashion and sound impressive but there isn't a lot of melodic content. Similarly people come up with riffs or figures that fall into their hands or voice nicely ...


3

When improvising, it's important imo not to force ideas out. You can keep arpeggiating chords (or hammering them) until you find a nice idea. If you're playing songs, it's not a bad idea to base your improv on the original melody. Whenever I'm "forced" to improvise (because it's my turn to solo or something like that), I really sound boring, and repetitive, ...


3

My experience of improvisation started out in jazz bands, although over the years I've adapted to other styles too (including some church bands). The best technique I found in the early stages was learning a few scales which work well over common chord sequences (previously I was totally unaware that there were any scales besides major and minor!). The ...


3

"Trading twos" is definitely a phrase people use. "Trading eights" might be. More generally, you can call it "trading licks". 8 bars is long enough to be thought of as a whole solo. Get any longer than this and you're not really "trading" any more; you're just taking it in turns to solo. When I say "trading", I mean that you base your lick on whatever the ...


3

I have my own approach to this problem that's served me well over the years. The basic formula is : Pick your cliche, and Ban it. there's a balance at play hear, because repitition in music is one of the things that can objectively make it sound great. The human mind likes when it can pick out a pattern, and the balancing act is to make your phrases ...


3

Some simple guidelines (inspired by David Baker's books on ' How to Play BeBop'): Generally: Playing tones of the current chord on the down beats will make you sound "in" (the harmony). On the up beats you may use any tones; in or out of the scale or harmony. Specifically: Ending your phrase on a chord tone of the current chord, especially ending on a ...


3

If there were no specific techniques for beginning a composition, composition would likely not be a field of study. Often within composition study, the teacher will provide a set of guidelines that essentially tell you how to start. I am assuming that you are not working with a teacher here, which of course is the "real-world" case, and give you the ...


2

A bit late to the party but here are a couple things that have helped me: 1) Focus on small 'boxes' of three or four closely positioned notes on the fretboard. Think of them like manageable bite-sized sub-scales. E.g., from C major pentatonic, take: - The C at the third fret of the A string - The D at the fifth fret of the A string - The E at the second ...


2

It's not for advertising myself. I'm a professional pianist has also winning compositions, 4 published book about becoming a virtuoso. The first and the most important thing is that what do you know about music? When I ask you this question if your mind tells you some scales or harmonic movements, some kind of chords, mods etc. To me, you don't know it. ...


2

In western music, there are two fundamental approaches to improvisation that appear consistently in many styles of music: Improvisation based on melodic variation Improvisation based on underlying harmonic changes You may find it a bit easier to get your feet wet with the former. Learn the melody to a tune, and then try some simple variations of it -- ...


2

To try to avoid too much theory, start and finish your run of notes on those being played in the chord at that time. Watch the rhythm player, and use one of his notes played as a springboard for your phrase, and do the same for your last note. Bear in mind he may or may not be on the same chord that you both started on. Obviously, using the pentatonic notes ...


2

In my experience, improvisation is all about being fearless. My trigger is when I play something I'm "not supposed to" play because it "wouldn't sound right". For example, whenever I warm up, I run through some standard pieces. They have "rules" about which notes to play and when to play them. There are notes that I avoid because I've learned over time ...


2

I often hear complaints from pianists learning to improvise that "I don't know what to do with my left hand except arpeggiate the chord" (and variants on this) - especially from people who are playing to a series of guitar chords. I'm not a fan of learning sheet music myself but this is something it can really help with: learn more pieces (pick ones that ...


2

Generally it'll be even numbers, 2, 4 , 8 as a 'line' of a song tends to be that long, so phrasing sounds more balanced. It follows from songs usually being 8, 12, 16 or occasionally 24 bars long. Never heard in a band "Let's trade 7s." Although that could be interesting. Both to play and listen to...


2

Different people have different preferences when it comes to thinking of notes absolutely or relatively. Some people like to think of A major as A, C#, E Others like to think of A major as A, A + 4 semitones, A + 7 semitones. Others like to think of A major as "root note", "next string, -1 fret", "next string, -3 frets" Of course, on a standard tuning, ...


2

Just a few notes: What Tim describes as "a boogie pattern" some people call the money-walk and it varies slightly, sometimes walking half-steps up and down from the 3rd to the 5th and occasionally touching on the flattened 5th. Play around with this one, it's (over)used in 50s and 60s rock quite a bit. A common country bass-line (some call it the eat-shit ...


1

I think the answer depends on one's subjective ability to recognise the improviser; which would probably be highly dependent upon knowledge of their ouvre and instrument. With that in mind, I'd suggest John McLaughlin as a candidate for having success in different styles, where he might not be recongisable immediately. Compare the Mahavishnu Orchestra with ...


1

I suggest you to follow a similar dynamic to what Gary Burton suggests in his Inroduction to Jazz Improvisation course: https://www.coursera.org/course/improvisation It's not for complete beginners, but you can follow a similar methodology from the very start. Get familiar with scales and chords. Start simple. Add new chords and scales as you progress. ...


1

In most tunes, four bars is the smallest unit you will find a complete phrase, musical idea, or melody. although you will often see it in eight as well (a complete chorus or bridge or A section of the tune), but youll never see it in two because two bars is too short to express a complete musical idea.


1

In my experience, knowing the notes on your fretboard will allow you greater freedom and creativity when improvising. Until you reach that goal (I'm still working toward it) I have found arpeggio patterns to be the fastest route to more creative soloing. For practice, try just making a chord with your left hand and picking one note at a time in different ...


1

Improvisation means falling into the same patterns. If you want to be original, try composing. Even then, you might fail. People fail at being fresh and original when composing notes: when they have all the time in the world to adjust every note, and revise as much as they want before they reveal the final product to the world! Improvisation consists of ...


1

Experiment by yourself with different melodic and rhythmic patterns. Do it at slow tempo, so you are not tempted to let muscle memory take over. When you find interesting patterns, try them out at higher speed. After a while, you will have increased your "riff repertoire", and you can easier improvise around a broader specter of musical patterns.



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible