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Topic Options
#1141090 - 06/24/05 10:14 AM Embellishing single line melodies
Rodney Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/04
Posts: 735
Loc: Caledon ON, Canada
Any suggestions with embellishing single line melodies. I've watched my son is playing from fake books or noodling with common melodies and noticed that he isn't actually playing the single notes that are written, but rather is (primarily on emphasis notes) playing 2, 3 or 4 note chords which gives the melody a MUCH richer sound. Of course he is also playing the left hand chords (in various rhythmic patterns) at the same time. I've asked him to explain what he is doing but he doesn't seem to understand. He telles me that he is simply playing what sounds good, but he does this in real time so how can he know??

The one thing I have noticed is that if he is playing a broken chord using a 1,5, Octave with the left hand, he'll often play the third of the chord and then the melody note in his right hand.

Can someone please explain this magic process of converting a single note melody line into something worth playing.

Rodney

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1141091 - 06/24/05 10:43 AM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Rodney,

Your son may not be old enough to explain what he's doing, but there's no law that says that learning can only come from books. How about just sitting down with him and playing some of the things that he likes to do---and that you also like?

Somebody---you?---is allowing this young man to play from his heart. That's the magic that's at work. There are books that can teach how to become an illusionist, but none that can teach how to be magical.

It's a *way*. That way is called jazz. It's the oldest way in the world---the way of sponteity, creation.

Your son hasn't had that drummed out of him yet. Encourage him, play with him. You are so lucky!

All the best,

DavidH


DavidH

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#1141092 - 06/25/05 10:55 AM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
ipgrunt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 419
Loc: Western US
 Quote:
Originally posted by Rodney:
Any suggestions with embellishing single line melodies. I've watched my son is playing from fake books or noodling with common melodies and noticed that he isn't actually playing the single notes that are written, but rather is (primarily on emphasis notes) playing 2, 3 or 4 note chords which gives the melody a MUCH richer sound. Of course he is also playing the left hand chords (in various rhythmic patterns) at the same time. I've asked him to explain what he is doing but he doesn't seem to understand. He telles me that he is simply playing what sounds good, but he does this in real time so how can he know??

The one thing I have noticed is that if he is playing a broken chord using a 1,5, Octave with the left hand, he'll often play the third of the chord and then the melody note in his right hand.

Can someone please explain this magic process of converting a single note melody line into something worth playing.

Rodney [/b]
Rodney,

You've got a musician there. He's developing two skills--knowing what "sounds good" and learning how to play it.

However a classical training that develops musicianship and technique is also important, so at times discipline is necessary for his talent to flower.

Usually is is a simple matter of explaining that that there is a required time to practice his lessons, and then he is free to explore what "sounds good" to him on his own time.

A good teacher will take a student like this, and explain key structure and intervals like thirds, fifths, and sixths, and a few simple rules of how to use them to acheive a particular sound, for instance, playing a song written in a major key with a minor sound.

However, to nurture your budding musician, it is important that you not inhibit him by demanding that he play a certain way during his creative time, or tell him that this or that note is "wrong."

It sounds to me that your boy is fortunate indeed to have a father who recognizes his talent and wishes it to grow. Enjoy!
_________________________
-- ipgrunt
Amateur pianist, Son of a Pro

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#1141093 - 06/27/05 08:36 AM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
Rodney Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/04
Posts: 735
Loc: Caledon ON, Canada
Thanks for the feedback guys but I wasn't really looking for information for my sone but rather for me. He can already do it (I think by sense of smell) but he has been unable to explain the process to me.

I've been playing for a couple of years, (primarily focused on classical music/training/sight reading) and I am expanding my focus to include other styles and methods. (I'm not giving up on classical!!!)

As for my son (Marius), he has been playing for many years (turns 15 in July) and is just AWSOME!!! OK, I'm biased but he really is something to watch. He is already composing music for various bands and instruments though he only plays keyboard. Recently he was given a contract to write the score for a new video game. He plays just about every style of music you can think of but almost always takes the written arrangements and re-works them to suite his needs and preferences.

He will often ask me what piece I'm working on and will take these simple arrangements and play them with a much fuller voicings. Remarkabley, he does this without and analysis. This is what has inspired me to try and develop the skill.

Rodney

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#1141094 - 06/27/05 01:23 PM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Rodney,

Re seeking advice for yourself, I understood that. That's why I suggesed playing with him and observing what he does. He can't tell you, but he's already showing you.

You can read method books until you're blue in the face. But you'll have to read a lot, to get more usable info than you can get by just observing your son. If you know enough theory to understand what he's doing, you've already got an in-house teacher.

Ultimately, it's all done by *sound.*

Enjoy,
DavidH

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#1141095 - 06/28/05 01:24 AM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
Rob O'D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 116
Loc: Ireland
Hi Rodney,

I get the impression that your question may not have been answered yet.

I'm afraid I'm only a beginner-intermediate but I have a resonable grasp of major-scale theory. I'm sure anyone of this forum could give a clearer explanation but I'll have a stab.

The basic rule (of thumb?) is to keep the melody note as the highest note (or nearly the highest note) in your right-hand chord.

E.g. Say you're playing in the key of C, the chord is Em and your melody note is G. You could harmonise the melody note by playing any other note in the Em chord (e.g. E (below the G melody note) or a B (either above or below the melody note)). If you experiment with the approach of trying to play other notes in the chord along side the melody note in your right hand, you should find the melodies sounding a good deal richer.

Once you've played with the 1-3-5 notes of the chord, you may wish to consider adding other chord notes (7th, 9th, 11th etc) and see how they work.

Hopefully, after a while, your ear will begin to guide you towards what sounds good.

I bought a book called "Stride and Swing Piano" from Musicroom.com and, although I'm barely into it yet, it's clear that all examples and tunes in the book rely HEAVILY on harmonised melodies. I'd be happy to send you on a few MP3s to give you an idea of how these tunes sound. They're just ragtime tunes but it's good to get a close-up of how the right-hand works with the simple melodies.

Rob.

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#1141096 - 06/28/05 02:27 AM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Rodney,

I missed the most obvious answer: noodle.

If embellishement, in the sense that your son is already doing it, could be learned from a book, we'd have had a thousand Chopins by now.

What Marius is doing is creating. Creating is done by feeling. Feeling your way thru a hundred variations on anything you've just played. Feeling the way that a sound makes you feel---and if that's the way that you wanted to feel.

This may sound a little esoteric, but please be prepared to make zero progress while you are actually noodling. I can't recall if I sent you a link to "The Duke In Three." There are two melodies. I wrote all of A1 and most of B1 armed with nothing more than a four-chord progression from Ellington's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and an urge that I don't understand but that kept wanting me to continue until I got it right. Then and now, I almost never got it completely right while I was working at it. Then, while I slept, the subconscious took over. Sometimes I'd wake up in the middle of the night with a snippet that was a keeper. Got so I was keeping a little tape recorder next to the bed.

Even now, after three years and having acquired a basic overview of music theory, almost all my good melodies or snippets are there in their entirety when I wake up in the morning. I just go immediately to the piano and try to sound them out.

Creation is not a conscious process. That's one big reason why your son is not able to convey what you want. No one can. Method can be conveyed. But if method could result in glorious melodies, we'd have had a thousand Chopins. Your son, himself, doesn't know he does it.

If there's a way to discover if that creative urge is inside you, no more is needed than to just noodle---and noodle, and noodle some more. If you enjoy that process, you should achieve a pleasing result---tho the result may come to you days after you'd tried so hard. That's the way of creation. It's not conscious and it's *not* linear. You've got to just accept that. And then noodle some more.

All the best,

DavidH

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#1141097 - 06/28/05 05:57 AM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
Just reading this thread makes me wish I had some talent!
_________________________
Haywood
-------------

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#1141098 - 06/28/05 07:24 AM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
Rodney Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/04
Posts: 735
Loc: Caledon ON, Canada
The funny thing is that I've learned music theory up the ying-yang. I can form and play any chord/scale/progression in any key, etc. Being a computer geek (well actually I manage computer geeks now as computer programming is a game for the young), I spent a huge amount of time analyzing music and music thoery to understand how it all works, but this has had almost no impact on my ability to "noodle", or improvise.

Long before I could play anything on a piano or keyboard, I learned pretty much everything there was to know about sound theory, synthesis techniques and programming sound modules/tone generators, samplers, etc. I did this to support Marius' exploding tallent. He didn't have the technical skill to set up a home studio or program his keyboards to create the sounds he was looking for so I filled the gaps for him. Unfortunately all of this technical knowledge also contributed nothing to my ability to play.

After teaching myself for a year and then getting formal lessons for another year and a half, I've reached a late beginner/early intermmediate level of classical playing and sight reading BUT still haven't learned to improvise. My first approach was to begin with Fake books/lead sheets which I've found to be very easy assuming you play the single note melody with the right hand and block chords or arpeggios with the left hand.

Unfortunately playing this way sounds...... LAME!

Here's what happens when Marius plays the same pieces of music:

First he plays the piece through as written (ONCE),

Then he'll pick a point in the song the he finds compelling (say the chorus or the ending) and he play through that section again but expands the left hand to include various chord patterns,

Then he'll play through the song again (keep in mind that this is in real time - ie: no analysis) but this time he'll substitute chords in the left hand AND begin embellishing the right hand melody with various diatonic notes (generally keeping the melody note on top). If he's playing at an electronic keyboard, he may even begin to change the voices for both left and right hand parts (in real time).

This can go on and on, and every pass seems to make the song more interesting a varied. I've seen him take a classical sonata and turn it into a spanish flamenco, or a buble-gum POP piece and play it like a classical materpiece.

My goals are not so lofty..... I simply would like to play tunes that I like in a rich and enjoyable manner (for both me and the listener).

Rodney

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#1141099 - 06/28/05 10:40 AM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Rodney,

This young man is an intuitive noodler par excellence. He starts on the surface, then goes deeper and deeper until he locates the meaning of that song---for him. You are a lucky man!

And you're also the father of a budding composer, who's already given you the best noodling education that anyone could ever receive. Yikes!

DavidH

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#1141100 - 06/28/05 11:59 AM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
Rodney,
Perhaps the issue is the theory you know is stifling your creative process. Maybe you are taking the 'theory' to be 'fact'.

Do you think a D-7 chord has to be D-F-A-C? Maybe you should think of the chord to be minimally F-C. From here you can add any other diatonic tone to the voicing, provided there are no tritones (especially B natural) in your voicing.

By the way, if this D-7 chord is in the key of C, then E and G are among the prettiest notes you can play.

Try this:
ON MINOR 7th CHORDS: use one of the 9th, 11th in your voicings
ON MAJOR 7th CHORDS: use one of the 9ths, #11, or 13ths in your voicings
ON DOMINANT 7th CHORDS: use one of b9ths, #9ths, #11, b13ths in your voicings

This should add a kick to your voicings.
_________________________
Haywood
-------------

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#1141101 - 06/28/05 01:39 PM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
Rodney Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/04
Posts: 735
Loc: Caledon ON, Canada
hgiles,

Let me see if I understand you correctly,.... You are suggesting that I play (with the right hand) a 9th/11/13th (sharp or natural as appropriate) of the left hand (harmony) chord while also playing the melody note.

Obviously this can't be done for every melody note. How do I decide when I should play the chord extensions plus melody note as apposed to just playing the melody note with the right hand?

For example, lets say that I'm playing a broken CM7 chord witht the left hand (1, 5, 7, 5) for a bar in 4/4 time, and my melody calls for a diatonic C scale run with a quarter, 2 eights, another quarter, and 4 sixteenths,.... should I play the first quarter including a colour tone, and/or the third beat quarter note,... what about the secon beat eight notes or the 4th beat 16th notes???? And how the %^$$ do you decide this in real time without all this analysis???

It is truely frustrating to watch someone do this as naturally as breathing while I seem to need to break it down to a set of rules. Speaking of rules, I'm sure that there is a method to this (not necessarily creative but that works). Is anyone aware of text which describes this??


I have tried to watch Marius do this but he is unable to do it slowly. If I make him stop and explain what he is doing or why he chose to do it a certain way, he can't. I try to analyze what he is doing in real time, but just when I think I understand, he changes the arrangement from the previous pass and comes up with something completely new. :-(

Rodney

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#1141102 - 06/28/05 02:18 PM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Rodney,

More than once on the Digital forum, I've held back from expressing an opinion, because I wanted to see if you would weigh in---in which case the poster would receive the best possible info. So please excuse the following, which I promise not to repeat:

You're clinging to the hope that method will lead to creativity. That's putting the cart before the horse. Marius has already taken you thru as close as anyone will ever come to showing the creative process as method---and you've already posted it.

Creativity is not so much a method as it is a *way.* Until you can change your approach to making music, no advice re method will help you to reach your goal. I *do not* mean by that that hgiles' advice won't help to spice up your playing; it will. But that's not what you're asking about.

You've reached a dead end, please just drop back five and punt. Then, next time you get the ball, just noodle with it. Until you've begun to look forward to extended noodling, you won't be able to learn if that creative urge is hidden inside you.

Creative people can of course benefit from studying. But right now, studying is a hindrance, because what you're asking about is in fact a competely different frame of mind---a different way.

Ultimately it's all about sound and feeling. If Marius is going too quickly, just listen to the sound and try to recreate it. For a longish time, that'll be a slow, tedious, frustrating process (because you're trying to change your way of making music). But if you even once produce a pleasing result, you'll love it.

With respect,

DavidH

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#1141103 - 06/28/05 02:20 PM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
Rodney Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/04
Posts: 735
Loc: Caledon ON, Canada
Wise words DavidH!!

I just wish that calssical teachers (mine specifically) would include more emphasis on improvisation and the process of making music as opposed to performing (regurgitating) someone elses compositions and arrangements.

Thanks,

Rodney

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#1141104 - 06/28/05 02:36 PM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Rodney,

Very few classical teachers will ever do that. They can't, because they don't know how to do it themselves. Classical training is about imitating. You want to create.

Classical is about doing what others have done. Creation can be augmented by learning from others, but ultimately it's about taking music to a very private place---and then sharing the result.

About a year back, I'd finally begun to understand what "The Duke In Three" was about sufficiently to talk about it. One afternoon at the laundromat I had the pleasure of learning about classical training from a third year conservatory student. I mentioned that I was still writing pretty much by sound and didn't actually know the names of several chords---and didn't particularly care. When I told her that when I began, I'd just sound the melody then play one or two notes with the left hand until I found something that sounded right, she replied that people at the conservatory go thru their complete education without ever improvising a single note.

That's not to say that different performers don't interpret differently. They do. But that's not what you're asking about. And since you already have an in-house teacher who actually can show you how the creative process works...

All the best,
DavidH

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#1141105 - 06/28/05 03:09 PM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
ipgrunt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 419
Loc: Western US
 Quote:
Originally posted by Rodney:
hgiles,[/b]

Let me see if I understand you correctly,.... You are suggesting that I play (with the right hand) a 9th/11/13th (sharp or natural as appropriate) of the left hand (harmony) chord while also playing the melody note.
Just pick one. Probably a 9th (easiest) to start, although the 13th sounds more 'jazzy'.

 Quote:

Obviously this can't be done for every melody note. How do I decide when I should play the chord extensions plus melody note as apposed to just playing the melody note with the right hand?
Decide based on what you think sounds better.

 Quote:

For example, lets say that I'm playing a broken CM7 chord witht the left hand (1, 5, 7, 5) for a bar in 4/4 time, and my melody calls for a diatonic C scale run with a quarter, 2 eights, another quarter, and 4 sixteenths,.... should I play the first quarter including a colour tone, and/or the third beat quarter note,... what about the secon beat eight notes or the 4th beat 16th notes???? And how the %^$$ do you decide this in real time without all this analysis???
Experience. And often, you just take a chance.

 Quote:

It is truely frustrating to watch someone do this as naturally as breathing while I seem to need to break it down to a set of rules. Speaking of rules, I'm sure that there is a method to this (not necessarily creative but that works). Is anyone aware of text which describes this??
You can read texts and texts. There seems to be more every month. Try Aebersold's catalog and buy a few that speak to you.

The real texts that describe this, however, are musical. They're the recordings of the jazz masters of the 50's and 60's. Listen and learn.

 Quote:

I have tried to watch Marius do this but he is unable to do it slowly. If I make him stop and explain what he is doing or why he chose to do it a certain way, he can't. I try to analyze what he is doing in real time, but just when I think I understand, he changes the arrangement from the previous pass and comes up with something completely new. :-(
Jazz also is ruled by the Heisenberg uncertancy principle--it is a function of time and space, it changed by the observer, and if you try to freeze it in time, it loses its energy and value.

Get in the groove!
_________________________
-- ipgrunt
Amateur pianist, Son of a Pro

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#1141106 - 06/28/05 07:32 PM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
BraveDave, Still Trying At 67 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 3
Loc: Michigan
[QUOTE]Originally posted by hgiles:
[QB] Rodney,
Try this:
ON MINOR 7th CHORDS: use one of the 9th, 11th in your voicings
ON MAJOR 7th CHORDS: use one of the 9ths, #11, or 13ths in your voicings
ON DOMINANT 7th CHORDS: use one of b9ths, #9ths, #11, b13ths in your voicings
_________________________
Old Dave, Still Trying After All These Years

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#1141107 - 06/29/05 09:49 AM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
On a CM7 chord, I wouldn't play any kind of C in the voicing especially if the key is C.

I would be more inclined to play DEGB for a CM7 chord or even: E-A-D-G-B. This is a So-What voicing that will work great over a CM7 chord. Now that's cool!
_________________________
Haywood
-------------

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#1141108 - 06/29/05 02:30 PM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi Rodney

Sorry to butt in but, this is an interesting thread...so, just to add a little something for you to try \:\)

Take the single note R/Hand melody line and play it in octaves first, thumb on the melody note...pinky an octave higher.

Then when you are comfy doing that...let your index and fourth finger drop on say the fourth and sixth note and play them all together (1,2,4 & 5 like a clump of meat) or at times you can drill your fingers up or drill 'em down. then you can mix it up a little to change the expression ...single note, or octaves...or fixed handshape. It ain't technical but its effective!

Also a nice effect is to sometimes when playing with R/H octaves is to hit the thumb a split second before your pinky hits the octave hogher note or the other way around i.e pinky first

Maybe try placing the 2 and 4th on different notes and listen (always listen to how it sounds)...sometimes it will sound great other times not so great ...the more you do this the more natural it will become to you.


Hope that may help free you up a little...its what I do ;\)


regards


Lee
_________________________
Twitter: @Seaside_Lee

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#1141109 - 06/30/05 10:48 AM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
Rodney Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/04
Posts: 735
Loc: Caledon ON, Canada
Here is what I was able to gather from a one of the method books I have read. This really seems to make a lot of sense to me so I'm going to begin with this process and see how it works out. It does focus on open chord voicing so I'm interested if anyone has insights into applying this technique to closed chord voicings.

-------------------------

How you play a open chord plus melody notes really depends on the style of the song you are playing. Sometimes when you are playing a pop, rock or gospel song, simple triads work better than chords with 7ths.

Although, if you want to play a song in a jazz style, you can often add a 7th to an open position chord. This will definitely give the song a much more jazz feel.

Also, if the triad is major and the melody note is the same as the root of the chord, the chord should not be played with a major 7th but with a
major 6th to avoid the 1/2 - step clash. A common situation would be the final chord of a piece is written with just a "C" over the melody note and the melody is also the note C. In this situation build a C6 chord and not a Cmaj7 chord. So, it really depends on the sound you are looking for.

A simple method to play chords that are straight
triads are with the root and root an octave above in the left-hand along with the melody note and then the rest of the notes of the triad in the right-hand. You can build them like this:

1. melody note RH

2. Root + root an octave (or root + 7th for Jazz chords) above LH (i.e., the root in octaves)

3. add the 3rd & 5th (9th, 11th,...) notes of the chord triad below the melody note RH (typically your RH will have 3-4 notes)

For example, say you have the melody note G# and the chord to play along with it is notated with just an E above this melody note. This notation indicates to build a chord using an E major triad .

Here's how you can build this chord :

1. Play the G# in your right hand. Make sure the melody note is always the highest or top note you play.

2. Play the root - E and a second E an octave higher in your left hand. Be sure you play
these two notes are low enough so that it doesn't cross over into notes in your right hand. Playing these octaves in a low range will give the song
a fuller or "heavier" sound.

3. Lastly, in your right-hand add and an E and the fifth of E which is B below the G# melody.
These notes are part of the E major triad. This will give you a full rich sound. Remember to keep the fifth higher than the notes you play in your left hand. This will help give you a clear
sound as well as keeping the melody note prominent which is critical.

---------------------

The above description implies that you really aren't embellishing the melody so much as using the right hand to play the single melody note AND help voice the accompaniment chord.

Rodney

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#1141110 - 07/06/05 02:58 PM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
Hububer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/03
Posts: 149
Loc: Virginia
For what it’s worth.

Maybe I shouldn’t, but I am making the presumption that when you say single note melody line that you are referencing a lead sheet that also has chord symbols above the melody line.

One way to get a better grasp on open chords using a lead sheet is memorization and practice of chord patterns. This is in regards to voicings and not improvisation or embellishment.

One trick is to learn this pattern (it’s just based on the circle of fifths).

Cm7 F9 – Bbm7 Eb9 – Abm7 Db9 – F#m7 B9 – Em7 A9 – Dm7 G9 – Fm7 Bb9 – Ebm7 Ab9 – C#m7 F#9 – Bm7 E9 – Am7 D9 – Gm7 C9

Voice the m7 chords as LH 1-7 (fingers 5-1), RH 3-5 (f1-2). Voice the 9 chords as LH 1-3 (f3-1), RH 7-9 (f1-2).

You may have to put this to notation to actually see what is going on, but notice when moving from the m7 to the 9 chord the right hand does not have to move. It plays the same notes with the same fingers. Talk about economy of motion. To learn the above pattern though, you will probably have to put it to notation. I think the above pattern is important because it can be learned fairly quickly, (which gives you 24 open chord voicing – no small feat), and it gives a great economy of hand motion. This was the second pattern my instructor had me learned, but so far, I think it is the best.

Now, if you look through fake books, you will quickly notice the number of m7 to 7 chord changes based on the circle of fifths. To make use of this pattern, play all of the 7 chords as 9 chords when you see a m7 to 7 chord change that fits the above pattern.

It is often the location of the melody note that helps determine the voicing to use. Doing the above, you can typically grab the melody note with the RH, f4 or f5. Now if the melody note is further than you can reach, then convert the chord to a 13th such as LH 1-7, RH 3-13. This usually moves the right hand up enough to get the melody note. Also, the melody note many times will be the 9th, 11th, or 13th of the chord anyway as indicated on the lead sheet, so just hitting the chord above the melody line automatically gives you the melody note.

The above is just one of many, many styles of voicing chords with the melody, but it is a good starting point in my opinion.

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#1141111 - 07/07/05 12:30 PM Re: Embellishing single line melodies
ipgrunt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 419
Loc: Western US
I agree completely. Practicing patterns can be quite effective, especially at the early stages of learning.

It is also effective to learn the two forms of left-hand voicings for these ii-V7 chords, playing around the circle of fifths, fifth finger on either the 3rd or 7th (alternating with each movement on the circle).

For example ii-V7 is played as: 3-5-7-9 to 7-9-3-13. For instance, in C, you play d-7 as F - A - C - E, and G7 as F - A - B - E. On the keyboard, one finger moves to change from d-7 to G7. Call this the Type I voicing.

Likewise, in the second form, ii-V7 is played: 7-9-3-5 to 3-13-7-9. For instance, in C, play d-7 as C - E - F - A, and G7 as B - E - F - A. Again, with these voicings, one finger moves in resolving d-7 to G7. Call this the Type II voicing.

If you play your circle as such:

d-7 - G7 (key of C) - Type I
g-7 - C7 (key of F) - Type II
c-7 - F7 (key of Bb)- Type I
f-7 - Bb7 (key of Eb)- Type II
...

And alternate the voicings between type I and type II, your left hand creeps slowly down the keyboard from key to key.

Once these are solid in your mind, and in your hand, add the minor/major scales and/or arpeggios played with the right hand, and you're on your way to soloing in any key!
_________________________
-- ipgrunt
Amateur pianist, Son of a Pro

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