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26 votes

What does one need to know to learn to improvise with other musicians?

Not knowing your particular background or skill level the question is incredibly broad. From the point of view of an experienced improviser what's going on here is fundamentally very simple. Pianist 1 ...
OwenM's user avatar
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25 votes
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What do you have to do to sound like you're improvising when you're actually reading from sheet music?

When an improvised solo is good, it sounds as if it had been composed, written with great skill and artistic taste, and practiced to perfection. Like a good performance of a good composition. The only ...
piiperi Reinstate Monica's user avatar
23 votes
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Making Sense of Blues Soloing; differentiating major/minor pentatonics

How do I understand the mixture of the major and minor blues scales in an applicable way? The short answer is that the mixing of major and minor tonalities is the essence of blues. Many people draw ...
Max's user avatar
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20 votes
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What does it mean to play in a mode?

The difference is all about what is the tonic and how a tone become perceived as the tonic. In C major C is the tonic. In E Phrygian E is the tonic. Unless you're talking about Gregorian chant (no ...
Michael Curtis's user avatar
17 votes

I can't create even a guitar lick when playing over a backing track

Never mind what's wrong with you. What's wrong with your teacher? May sound harsh, but it would appear your teacher hasn't explained, at least in a way that you understand, how to play over a backing ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 194k
16 votes
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Can the I IV V chords harmonize any major scale melody?

A melody diatonic to the key can be accompanied with just I, IV and V chords, but this will give a less rich harmonization than using a wider variety of chords. But based on your question, you want to ...
Heather S.'s user avatar
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15 votes
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When creating a bass line, how do I know what notes I'm allowed to use?

Where my confusion really comes in is that if the song is in the key of G does that mean I'm only allowed to play the notes in that scale (G,A,B,C,D,E, F#)? The key of a song does not determine ...
Stinkfoot's user avatar
  • 6,832
15 votes

What does one need to know to learn to improvise with other musicians?

Accompanists tend to mainly think in terms of chord sequences rather than individual notes. Guitar of course is primarily used today as an accompanying instrument, but piano was and is also regularly ...
Graham's user avatar
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14 votes
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Why is a Cadence important in music?

Just see how many different sentences you used in these three lines you posted! 5 Different ones, which where separated by punctuation marks. Think of music as a language (which it basically is). It ...
Shevliaskovic's user avatar
14 votes

How to break out of playing scales up and down when improvising

Try working around chord tones. Three things you can add to playing only chord tones are auxiliary tones, passing tones, and enclosures. The enclosure example shows enclosures targeting each tone of ...
Michael Curtis's user avatar
14 votes
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Improvising with modes and over "advanced" chords

A full backing track has SO much more harmonic power, with bass and harmony instruments, it rules and bulldozes over your feeble little solo notes. Mode is not just a set of note names, because one of ...
piiperi Reinstate Monica's user avatar
13 votes

When creating a bass line, how do I know what notes I'm allowed to use?

There are many different ways to approach the bass and the approach that you take may depend on what styles/genres of music you are playing. The first thing that you want to do is understand the ...
Basstickler's user avatar
  • 7,429
12 votes

Why is a Cadence important in music?

A cadence does at least two things. It makes a statement about what key you are in at the moment. It also indicates a completion of a thought and therefore the beginning of another, similar as you ...
L3B's user avatar
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12 votes

Lead guitar improvisation strategies for young intermediate guitarists

Reading music - safe. Regurgitating others' riffs - safe. Both, when one is good at either (or both) have a certain authenticity to them. 'I play what's written - if it's written, it's probaably good, ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 194k
12 votes
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How to find scales to improvise with for "How Insensitive" by Jobim

First of all: music is not "in a scale". When we say that it's "in D minor", it does not mean any particular scale, it means that the home note is D and its third is a minor third, ...
piiperi Reinstate Monica's user avatar
11 votes

Can the I IV V chords harmonize any major scale melody?

Short answer. The short answer is yes: because all 7 scale degrees are represented by one of the chords, it is possible to make a harmonisation that only uses I, IV, and V. This is pretty close to how ...
Remy's user avatar
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11 votes

Can anyone precisely describe what it means (or feels like) to play exactly what your "inner ear" is hearing?

If by "inner ear" you mean the ability to improvise without actually hearing what you play, and still knowing pretty much exactly what it sounds like, then nothing even close to John Coltrane's skill ...
piiperi Reinstate Monica's user avatar
11 votes

Keeping track of theme when improvising

I'm afraid a tendency to work just with 'the changes' and ignore the original melody is endemic in today's jazz world. Particularly if your improvisation technique is based on the chord=scale system. ...
Laurence's user avatar
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11 votes

Lead guitar improvisation strategies for young intermediate guitarists

I am not a music teacher, have not been teached by a music teacher and would not consider myself a 'good' guitarist. But I remember having similar problems in terms of improvisation. When I tried to ...
Olli's user avatar
  • 1,191
10 votes
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How does improvisation in Indian ragas differ significantly from jazz melodic improvisation?

For much of Jazz, the harmonic changes provide a key forward push. Melodic choices have to work within that framework. In Indian music, there are no harmonic changes to exploit for forward motion or ...
Phil Freihofner's user avatar
10 votes
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Are non-diatonic chord progressions usually modal mixtures?

Modal mixture means borrowing chords from parallel modes. But here, the ♯v dim chord is the leading tone chord to the vi chord (i.e., it's really a vii°/vi). I would suggest not trying to analyze ...
LSM07's user avatar
  • 1,439
10 votes

Are modes in jazz primarily a melody thing?

The simple/traditional approach is for the chords to match the scales you're improvising over. You wouldn't improvise with C Lydian in your right hand and simultaneously play a CMaj11 chord--the F in ...
jdjazz's user avatar
  • 11.2k
10 votes

Making Sense of Blues Soloing; differentiating major/minor pentatonics

I think the source of your confusion is the notion of "switching" between major and minor, and the resulting question of when to switch. I would suggest to view things differently, i.e., not to think ...
Matt L.'s user avatar
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9 votes
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Soloing on Scales

Minor pent works well over major chords, but not vice versa. Add the 'blue' note to both maj. and min. pents for a little spice. Try the full major scale notes on major songs. Try the full minor ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 194k
9 votes
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How do video game music composers make so many songs for one game? Are all of them some sort of musical talent / genius?

It’s actually not that difficult. Here’s where an education comes in handy: Music for those types of video games is written to be looped seamlessly. The original portion might only be 2-3 minutes ...
jjmusicnotes's user avatar
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9 votes
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How do I teach myself guitar (as a high level pianist)?

I'm a professional guitarist (with a jazz background), and I also play piano. What I'm reading into your question isn't a problem of "what should I learn", but "how can I apply what I already know?" ...
Tom Serb's user avatar
  • 4,817
9 votes

How can you listen and judge where you are in the music whilst improvising?

Step 1: Play one note per chord, on the downbeat, leaving plenty of mental space to keep track of where you are. Play only the roots, then only the thirds, etc. Step 2: When you're comfortable with ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 89.7k
9 votes

I can't create even a guitar lick when playing over a backing track

What is wrong with me ? Tension, lack of experience and too much thinking. Compose and, uttermost, improvising is about express patterns you know well. If you don't know much, you're limited to "...
Rodrigo B. Furman's user avatar

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