Questions tagged [improvisation]

For question about spontaneous composing in real time, typically during performance.

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2answers
51 views

How do i hold a steady rhythm while singing a song in my head?

I'm learning to improvise and have been assigned the following task. [The highlighted text shows the part of the task I'm having difficulties with.] My normal approach to achieving a steady chord ...
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5answers
522 views

How to think of chord extensions when soloing over chords?

Guitar player here. I have been learning about chord extensions and how they can be used to color to a basic progression or when playing a solo. However as I was doing research on this it seems that ...
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1answer
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Is there a particular reason why the progression I - II4/2 - V6/5 - I was such a popular opening progression for Baroque keyboard preludes?

I'm currently reading John Mortensen's wonderful book on keyboard improvisation. (See this link here.) In the chapter on figuration preludes he states that the progression I - II4/2 - V6/5 - I was a ...
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4answers
117 views

How to choose scales for improvisation based on chords used in a progression?

When playing a tune that has both, minor and major chords, what scale would be safe to use for soloing? It seems that a Minor Pentatonic would work for the minor chords, but not that well for the ...
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1answer
81 views

B major to D major modulation ideas

I am new into jazz and I need some advice. I have a simple chord progression (triads) B major to D major. I want to write a nice "solo" over it. I need some harmonic help in order to play some ...
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4answers
387 views

Advice regarding utilising a scale while improvising solos or writing a song in general

I have been playing guitar for about two years. I have never been formally trained in music and all my knowledge is self taught. I know a little about improvising but I would classify myself as a ...
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7answers
3k views

Jazz improvisation: what's going through your mind

I have been trying to improvise on bebop standards (on guitar) for almost 20 years now, and it still feels completely out of reach. Why is it so hard for me? Well, a typical standard has about 24 ...
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4answers
604 views

What's the difference between an expressive embellishment and a mistake?

As a trained musician, I think I have a reasonable ability to assess the skills of other musicians. Sometimes, I will watch a video of a live performance and see (in, say, an improvised solo or vocal ...
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8answers
2k views

Making Sense of Blues Soloing; differentiating major/minor pentatonics

Quarantine has allowed ample time for musical exploration. I'm a classically trained pianist studying music in college, and I'm using this extra time to be immersed in and learn how to play the blues. ...
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6answers
1k views

Lead guitar improvisation strategies for young intermediate guitarists

One of my 15 year old students is progressing quite nicely in her ability, including playing live and playing learned guitar parts including lead lines. She reads music and can play many classical and ...
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1answer
70 views

How to improve finger style guitar playing

I am a competent, but not amazing, guitar player who is very comfortable with the usual chords as well as basic fingerpicking patterns. I would like to take it to the next level and be able to ...
4
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1answer
51 views

Improvising in two pulses/tempos at once

In this documentary, Brad Mehldau states this about his trio with Jorge Rossy and Larry Grenadier: It’s pretty specific what I’m doing, I think, especially with the trio. We have the regular pulse ...
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2answers
65 views

Common scale tones when transiioning to a new chord

Yesterday I was practicing scales variation over a jazz progression, in particular Am - G#°7 - Gm7 - C7sus4 Using respectively 1)A melodic minor 2)G# whole-half 3)G dorian 4)C mixolydian I ...
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5answers
145 views

Do I have to learn all chords tones? [closed]

I came across chord tones few days ago. I knew and learned the basic shapes (i. e. Am) all over the fretboard. My question is do I have to learn for all A to G# major and minor triads like I done ...
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2answers
103 views

Fifth-Up Progression

If you have a song that is a Fifth-Up Progression like Jimi Hendrix Hey Joe where there is a chord progression of c g d a e. Why is it that you can use em for soloing and what other modulation and ...
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2answers
87 views

Blue Sky The Allman Brothers Band vs Pink Floyd Comfortably Numb theory

When I break down these two songs they are very very different. First blue sky by the allman brothers there is a chord progression of e b a e with choirs b a e a. This song is in the key of e. ...
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2answers
121 views

How to improvise over sixth chord in minor scale

Let's say I have this melody on the lead keyboard : Over that melody, I play the chords F#m, E, C#m, D#m. I'm not actually sure D#m is called a major 6th chord here. If I play this melody on the ...
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6answers
2k views

What does it mean to play in a mode?

So here's what I know about modes: Let's say we're in the key of C major. If you're just improvising in the key of C, you would say you're using the C Ionian mode, right? But here's where I get ...
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4answers
105 views

Intermediate Guitarist Progression Study/Practice

I play as a guitarist in my local church, playing mostly contemporary Christian music (Hillsong, Elevation, Planetshakers), and have done for the past ~10 years. I would say that I play at an ...
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2answers
131 views

Soloing in any key on guitar. Knowing the fretboard or knowing the boxes?

A few days ago I started to practice soloing in random keys. For example A major, G minor, etc. Before I dive into the details I must add that I know every single box in minor/major/pentatonic scales,...
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2answers
110 views

Varied bass line and varied tune: What is the term used for this style?

I‘ve been looking for the term in English for this kind of gestures or ornamentations: Figuration is understood in the music playing a melody in small note values, in contrast to an ornament. The ...
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2answers
70 views

natural 5th or #5th on a V7#9 chord?

The most commonly recommended scale for the V7#9 is the altered scale. However, this scale does not have the natural 5th which is present in the chord. What exactly does this mean? I find it quite ...
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3answers
141 views

how change key while solo/improvisation on guitar?

I'm playing a song with the chord progression: Am7-Am7 Gm7-C7 F-F When the song starts I am in the key of A, but in wich key am I when the Gm7 or the F chord is playing? And how am I supposed to ...
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1answer
83 views

Benefits of using a drum backing track when practicing? [duplicate]

I've been practicing my oud and using the following backing track. I'm wondering if anyone has been using a rhythmic/drum backing track and what benefits have you seen versus not using one? (Doesn't ...
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1answer
111 views

What scale(s) would I use to improvise over this riff?

I am a keyboard player and as an exercise, I like to figure out riffs or background chords to songs I like and improvise over them. I chose to tackle this riff, starting at 6:14 with a guitar soloing ...
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1answer
146 views

How to improvise on organ

I feel quite comfortable doing piano improvisations, but I am very limited when talking about the organ improvisations. Specifically, talking about the left hand, on the piano I can do the specific ...
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1answer
220 views

Pat Martino chord concept - Augmented Forms - Guitar Fretboard shapes

Imagine a A+ chord that Pat transfers to a Dm chord by raising the note c# to d. Pat seems to relate a A+ chord to a D-minor chord. What´s the improvisational use of that approach as A+ is not "...
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3answers
253 views

How do I teach myself guitar (as a high level pianist)?

I'm pre-noting this with my background as I understand it is easy to see why this could be a repeat question and I do not want to do this. I have an extensive background in music theory, I've taught ...
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4answers
1k views

Keeping track of theme when improvising

Improvisations in jazz is done over the song itself, typically. However, I don’t hear the theme in plenty of recordings, the harmonies and solo are so far away that I can’t see the connection to the ...
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2answers
62 views

Question concerning the integration of jazz solos into the rest of the ensemble

I am a relatively new jazz player. I do know a sizable amount of theory, though. My question was if there were any tips and advice you could give me concerning if and how soloists try to adjust their ...
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3answers
795 views

Are modes in jazz primarily a melody thing?

I was wondering when jazz cats talk about how they'd use a Lydian scale to improvise over a major chord, or a Dorian scale to improvise over a minor chord they're mainly talking about the melody? So ...
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1answer
36 views

Recording a CD with piano improvisations [closed]

I have been playing piano for about 14 years and I am thinking to record a CD/album with piano improvisations. Is this a common thing to do? These songs will not necessarily have sheet music. I am ...
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1answer
122 views

What to improvise over “fake” ii V I and succession of dominant chords

I frequently see "incomplete" ii V I sequences in standards (like Satin Doll for example) where only the ii and the V are played and I'm always wondering what I can play there, since I find most of ...
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2answers
173 views

When improvising should one have a musical form in mind?

Sometimes I'll take one of my instruments and I'll just randomly improvise on something. It could be some kind of scale, or switching between scales, I might take a few chords from the scale. But I ...
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6answers
1k views

Do chord progressions usually move by fifths?

I'm wondering if chords usually move down by fifths. It seems so by the diagram, so iii to vi, vi to ii, ii to V, V to I. etc. Other chords can also be thought of like that, because IV/ii and V/vii ...
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2answers
416 views

Improvising over quartal voicings

One particular jazz piano technique is to voice chords using quartal voicings. A quartal voicing is a chord built on fourths. For example, one might voice Cmin with the notes (in ascending order) F-B♭-...
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3answers
1k views

Do jazz musicians improvise on the parent scale in addition to the chord-scales?

I noticed that jazz musicians improvise on actual chords. This makes sense for modal jazz since the chords in the progression might not be related. But for tonal jazz, say we have a "ii-V-I" ...
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3answers
243 views

Whole-step technique for figuring out jazz scales?

I was watching a tutorial on how this guy finds scales to play on top of jazz chords. And I was wondering if this a good method to use, and if not how do I know which scales to improvise on chords. Do ...
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1answer
113 views

Were partimenti purely improvisational exercises?

Burney describes Neapolitan conservatory students "pounding out" accompaniment exercises that were full of "jargon and dissonance" in his history of music and Robert Gjerdingen suggests that these ...
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4answers
170 views

How can someone mentally improvise music? [closed]

For a long time I have wondered how musicians have been able to create music internally without the use of an instrument i.e improvising physically or in some other real way. I think the idea that ...
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2answers
106 views

How do you improvise vocal tunes? [closed]

It is not that hard to improvise tunes on instruments. But the thing I am struggling is a way to improvise vocal tunes. Do you just hum? How do you improvise vocal tunes?
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8answers
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Can anyone precisely describe what it means (or feels like) to play exactly what your “inner ear” is hearing?

I've been improvising jazz and other styles on piano for decades, and yet there is still a very significant amount of my improvisation which is based on physical patterns developed over the years, ...
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5answers
363 views

How to turn each chord in a progression into separate scales?

I was jamming with some jazz guys yet I'm not so good in jazz so I made a bunch of mistakes. One of the things they told me is is how inside of a chord progression, you then spread each chord to its ...
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2answers
566 views

How to create rhythm parts on piano?

I am trying to self learn piano. I can play some melody (right hand), can play some chords (left hand) and can play some melody with chords (right + left) with right doing all the complex finger ...
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2answers
238 views

Which chromatic passing tone to use?

I'm wondering if there's certain chromatic passing tones that are used more than others. Especially in classical or pop improvisation/composition. For example in the key of C, each of the five black ...
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2answers
568 views

How are melodic sequences used?

I keep hearing about sequences. I know that there's both harmonic and melodic sequences. I am familiar with harmonic sequences I believe they're also called "basso ostinato" where you play a repeating ...
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1answer
131 views

Accompanying a RH melody (improv/comp) [closed]

Are there any interesting rhythms/patterns for accompanying the melody (because I can play those by ear), such as breaking chords or etc. For doing piano covers of pop music, I am able to play the ...
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3answers
939 views

Are non-diatonic chord progressions usually modal mixtures?

I asked a question in the past about non-diatonic notes. In the answer I got a progression of the form: IV Maj | ♯iv dim | I64 | V7 | I Maj IV Maj | ♯iv dim | V7 | V7 | ♯v dim ...
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0answers
187 views

Freestyle Advice for Beatboxing [closed]

So I have been beatboxing for a couple of months now, got inspired by GBBB battles. I can do the basic sounds (kick drum, hi hats, (inward and outward) K snares, pf Snare, throat bass, lip ...
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3answers
2k views

Is a chromatic mediant considered a modulation?

Say I go from a C major chord to an E major chord. I understand that this is a chromatic mediant. Does this change my key from C to E though? said differently, does non-functional harmony change ...

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