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What kind of music do you improvise to and how?

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Dayvenkirq View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 07 2014 at 07:32
Originally posted by The Pessimist The Pessimist wrote:

Of course every phrase has its own character, but at the same time each phrase can be broken down and analysed. It has to be really, otherwise how could you even begin to develop on it? Development is important. It's how music grows. If one were to just play unrelated phrases in sequence, then there is no unity and it just sounds like someone vomiting the different tricks they know onto the instrument. It doesn't sound musical. If you're Sonny Rollins, then you can take two, even three phrases, and develop them alongside each other, which is a skill that completely blows my mind.
Right, absolutely. That's what I meant - playing in the same style to the same background with the same chord progression (unless it changes in the given piece of music) with the same pace (unless it changes in the given piece of music).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 07 2014 at 15:17
Originally posted by The Pessimist The Pessimist wrote:


Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:

Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Originally posted by The Pessimist The Pessimist wrote:

Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Originally posted by The Pessimist The Pessimist wrote:

Adapting it to your style is what makes a phrase/progression individual, not the actual architecture or content of the thing.
Don't the architecture and content of a phrase determine its style?
Not at all. The five notes 2 - b3 - 7 - 2 - 1, in a minor key going from dominant to tonic (the tonic note landing on the tonic chord), can be found in Baroque, Bebop, Folk, Heavy Metal, Hip-Hop, Funk, Prog Rock and Jewish Klezmer music. I can say the same about a million different cells or phrases.
Oops ... we've almost made this a conversation based on a different question - the question of style.
So, going back to my original question (or argument) of how to compose a phrase. The way I weave a solo is I string different phrases together, each phrase based on its own chord and placed in its own bar. One bar would feature a phrase that is a fast ascending scalar run. The bar after it would rely only on the root and 5th notes with an octave slide-up (since I play an electric guitar), executed economically, slowly. Two different phrases, each one has its own character. I don't know how other guys do it, but that's the gist I got.
Very interesting. I've never caught on to chord based leads. It sounds like a burdensome approach to me. I just use scales and explore aspects of tension and resolution in a very free-form fashion. I know my scales very well, but thinking about chords is something I never do aside from throwing in an arpeggio here and there. Interestingly, I like to create rather complicated chord progressions, yet I've always been more successful soloing over more simple progressions. I ought to try incorporating some of your approach.
Chords and scales are the same thing. Scales emerge from chords. If you were to just play the chord tones (so the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th), then there would be no tension. However, the tension comes from the 9th, 11th and the 13th, and so when you incorporate them, you've essentially got a scale. Every scale functions this way. To say that you think in scales and not chords is actually to disregard where the idea of a scale comes from. This whole concept is known as Chord-Scale Relationships.
You're not wrong, of course. But I would turn it around and say chords come from scales. And historically that's my the order of operations in my discovery process. I'll learn Hungarian minor or the half diminished scale, then I'll say, hey look what chords I can play, or look at the odd interval between these two minor chords. Some people discover new scales through complex chords or combinations of chords. I don't. I look at intervals I like and expand from there. For instance, I was playing in Hungarian Minor quite awhile back, and was falling in love with the place where there's a half step—whole step—half step sequence of intervals. Further fascinating because there's no such sequence of intervals in the traditional major scale. So, I think, well, what if I repeat this same interval sequence, and presto! something I later learned was a diminished scale. The scale can be thought of as (a) sets of diminished chords one half step apart, (b) Major and Minor chords neutralized over the same root note, then repeated one and a half steps apart, or (c) two adjacent notes one half step apart with all proceeding notes following a minor third ahead, or (d) the recurring set of intervals I used to discover it.   So, yeah, it's kind of whether you're seeing things as concave or convex, but that's the crux of the challenge. This difference in orientation has real implications, I would tend to think. I concentrate on the character of the scale, not chords. I know my approach well, but Dayvenkirk's made me interested in sampling a bit of his approach, if I can manage it. It might be helpful over some complex chord sequences. I'm not sure how it would work with a diminished scale in which one can play, for instance, either an A Major or an A minor, both are valid with respect to the scale.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Pessimist Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 07 2014 at 19:13
Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:

Originally posted by The Pessimist The Pessimist wrote:


Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:

Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Originally posted by The Pessimist The Pessimist wrote:

Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Originally posted by The Pessimist The Pessimist wrote:

Adapting it to your style is what makes a phrase/progression individual, not the actual architecture or content of the thing.
Don't the architecture and content of a phrase determine its style?
Not at all. The five notes 2 - b3 - 7 - 2 - 1, in a minor key going from dominant to tonic (the tonic note landing on the tonic chord), can be found in Baroque, Bebop, Folk, Heavy Metal, Hip-Hop, Funk, Prog Rock and Jewish Klezmer music. I can say the same about a million different cells or phrases.
Oops ... we've almost made this a conversation based on a different question - the question of style.
So, going back to my original question (or argument) of how to compose a phrase. The way I weave a solo is I string different phrases together, each phrase based on its own chord and placed in its own bar. One bar would feature a phrase that is a fast ascending scalar run. The bar after it would rely only on the root and 5th notes with an octave slide-up (since I play an electric guitar), executed economically, slowly. Two different phrases, each one has its own character. I don't know how other guys do it, but that's the gist I got.
Very interesting. I've never caught on to chord based leads. It sounds like a burdensome approach to me. I just use scales and explore aspects of tension and resolution in a very free-form fashion. I know my scales very well, but thinking about chords is something I never do aside from throwing in an arpeggio here and there. Interestingly, I like to create rather complicated chord progressions, yet I've always been more successful soloing over more simple progressions. I ought to try incorporating some of your approach.
Chords and scales are the same thing. Scales emerge from chords. If you were to just play the chord tones (so the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th), then there would be no tension. However, the tension comes from the 9th, 11th and the 13th, and so when you incorporate them, you've essentially got a scale. Every scale functions this way. To say that you think in scales and not chords is actually to disregard where the idea of a scale comes from. This whole concept is known as Chord-Scale Relationships.
You're not wrong, of course. But I would turn it around and say chords come from scales. And historically that's my the order of operations in my discovery process. I'll learn Hungarian minor or the half diminished scale, then I'll say, hey look what chords I can play, or look at the odd interval between these two minor chords. Some people discover new scales through complex chords or combinations of chords. I don't. I look at intervals I like and expand from there. For instance, I was playing in Hungarian Minor quite awhile back, and was falling in love with the place where there's a half step—whole step—half step sequence of intervals. Further fascinating because there's no such sequence of intervals in the traditional major scale. So, I think, well, what if I repeat this same interval sequence, and presto! something I later learned was a diminished scale. The scale can be thought of as (a) sets of diminished chords one half step apart, (b) Major and Minor chords neutralized over the same root note, then repeated one and a half steps apart, or (c) two adjacent notes one half step apart with all proceeding notes following a minor third ahead, or (d) the recurring set of intervals I used to discover it.   So, yeah, it's kind of whether you're seeing things as concave or convex, but that's the crux of the challenge. This difference in orientation has real implications, I would tend to think. I concentrate on the character of the scale, not chords. I know my approach well, but Dayvenkirk's made me interested in sampling a bit of his approach, if I can manage it. It might be helpful over some complex chord sequences. I'm not sure how it would work with a diminished scale in which one can play, for instance, either an A Major or an A minor, both are valid with respect to the scale.


It wholly depends on what kind of music you're playing. If you are playing modally, then chords emerge from scales. However, I was presuming we were talking about cadential harmony, and thus scales can only emerge from chords that way as cadential harmony relies entirely on voice leading. It's not a chicken and egg situation really. If you are playing over a ii-V-I and you think of it via each scale starting on its root (dorian, then mixolydian, then ionian/lydian), then it's only going to get incredibly confusing. Even using synthetic harmony like the octotonic scale and the whole tones scales, they are mostly used in the context of cadential harmony, and can only really be thought of as the product of the respective chords used (the octotonic scale is normally over a 13b9/13#9 and the whole tone can only work over a 9#5/9b5).
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