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#1686811 - 05/30/11 12:37 AM Help with Rhythmic prases for improv
36251 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 647
I was wondering if someone could get me over the hump of taking a rhythmic phrase (no notes) and then adding notes so the phrase works over whatever chord progression you're playing on. I usually just listen and transcribe to improve but have seen much written on this subject. I've never had great success in improving my skills using just what looks like snare drum patterns. I usually loose interest before anything clicks.

thanks
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#1686886 - 05/30/11 05:08 AM Re: Help with Rhythmic prases for improv [Re: 36251]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3328
Loc: Scotland
Hi 36251,

Perhaps you could tell us a little more about your playing experience, skill level, etc, that would help to answer your question. Improvisation generally is discussed a lot here.

If you start out with a rhythmic pattern, then add notes, then I'm not sure how that's improvising. Lots of improvising is very simple rhythmically anyway.
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#1686904 - 05/30/11 06:19 AM Re: Help with Rhythmic prases for improv [Re: 36251]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1183
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: 36251
I was wondering if someone could get me over the hump of taking a rhythmic phrase (no notes) and then adding notes so the phrase works over whatever chord progression you're playing on. I usually just listen and transcribe to improve but have seen much written on this subject. I've never had great success in improving my skills using just what looks like snare drum patterns. I usually loose interest before anything clicks.


Can you give us some examples of where you have seen this written about? Maybe we share the same books, and can answer your question in context.

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#1687028 - 05/30/11 10:34 AM Re: Help with Rhythmic prases for improv [Re: 36251]
36251 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 647
Here's a video link talking about using rhythms on pentatonics. Using this would seem a nice way to creating your own licks and having them make sense cause of the rhythms. I writing here to find out how how people think about this, practice and progress to use this during live performances.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ95biHhW_8
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#1687056 - 05/30/11 11:15 AM Re: Help with Rhythmic prases for improv [Re: 36251]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3328
Loc: Scotland
Hi 36251, I just had a look at the video.

I think what you have there is an accomplished musician, trying to make improvisation accessible to people who are less accomplished. If that's a way in for you, great. I can't imagine anyone would get from this to performance level using only the principles outlined on youtube. They would hit the same wall as you - how do you progress with this?

Further, when he talks about rhythm, really what matters is phrasing. When he flows, he plays in phrases, often with very simple rhythms. While he demonstrates using black keys only (easy pent) he then plays with clever use of the blue notes (on the whites, but he doesn't go into which ones).

There is a group of us here learning jazz improvisation from Dave Frank's book (JOI thread on this forum). You will be very welcome to join us there.
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#1687091 - 05/30/11 12:11 PM Re: Help with Rhythmic prases for improv [Re: 36251]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Forward Motion by Hal Galper

1) Practice starting phrases on the "+"
2) End phrases on strong beat 1 or 3
3) Target or end phrases on a good note (chord tone)

4) Advanced Forward Motion: End phrases on the "+" before strong beats 1 or 3. This is called "anticipation"
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#1687219 - 05/30/11 04:38 PM Re: Help with Rhythmic prases for improv [Re: 36251]
36251 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 647
I'm in my 50's and have studied with Charlie Banacos among other name dropping, so I'm familiar with these topics. He gave me many ideas on this subject, but there was never time to really work it out. Once you grasped a topic he would move on. He wanted to share as much knowledge as he could.

What I'm hoping to hear from here is how to add notes to a rhythm by accomplished players. For example take a melody like Donna Lee or any Charlie Parker transcription. Remove the harmony and note heads. Now take that rhythm and add 10 versions of improv that work over a chord progression. Then explain how you thought about that. I'm always curious how experience players organize their thoughts.

Jazz+, Hal Galper changed my players many years ago with his concepts and lately have enjoyed his master classes on YouTube.
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#1687254 - 05/30/11 05:47 PM Re: Help with Rhythmic prases for improv [Re: 36251]
Inlanding Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 1636
Loc: Colorado
You can always listen to what other players are doing with the riffs and figures they use in their music and develop your own in those styles and incorporate them into your already style.

Don't forget the punctuation marks between ideas/phrases/sentences, etc so as to create space. It is often the spaces between the notes that make for good music.

Do you use triplets and sixteenths in those figures to break up simple 8th and quarter notes flows? Make up figures and turns against the melody of a tune you like. Play the tune into a recorder and listen to yourself and make adjustments accordingly.

Listen to Nat King Cole on the piano and the figure(s) he uses against the melody note(s) in his playing. Very melodic, harmonic, rhythmic and...simple - he was so good at it. Yes, easier said than done, of course!

Or, play one of your pieces into a recorder and let us hear it to perhaps give you ideas directly.

Hope this helps~
Glen
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#1687496 - 05/31/11 01:12 AM Re: Help with Rhythmic prases for improv [Re: Inlanding]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
I suggest you study "Connecting Chords With Linear Harmony" by Bert Ligon. Really learn the 3 basic outlines> Then learn to extend them to last for a full measure. Then learn to mess them up, that's when the fun really starts. Bert Ligon also has a website that more or less gives it all away.
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#1687586 - 05/31/11 06:29 AM Re: Help with Rhythmic prases for improv [Re: Jazz+]
36251 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 647
Originally Posted By: Jazz+
I suggest you study "Connecting Chords With Linear Harmony" by Bert Ligon. Really learn the 3 basic outlines> Then learn to extend them to last for a full measure. Then learn to mess them up, that's when the fun really starts. Bert Ligon also has a website that more or less gives it all away.
I love his books. I think Bert Ligon is the most generous educator in jazz. I emailed him when I began using that book and told him.

I guess this thread is the result of hearing myself improvising on tunes that band wants to play at light speed. All my knowledge gets condensed and my mind and fingers can't execute good jazz rhythm or phrasing. Sure technique comes into play but still it's a lot about your mind being able to keep up.
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#1687634 - 05/31/11 08:47 AM Re: Help with Rhythmic prases for improv [Re: 36251]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Here's a slightly different approach to rhythm.

1) take any lick.. start on 1, & of 1.. etc. at one point you will be crossing over the barline

2) use constant dotted quarter notes, or 3 eight phrases

3) use phrases that are 5, 7 beats long. keeping track of 1 can get very tricky

4) Experiment with triplet.. accent every two, accent every 4 (herbie hancock does a lot of this), or accent every 5 triplet

5) same as 4, but accent every quintapolets.. or take 5/4, and accent every 4 beat.. the result is you sound like you are playing faster then the original meter.

EDIT: I thought nobody did this, but apparently this is pretty common in New York.

6) If you get comfortable, try doing it over 4/4 ostinatio, and apply the same thing over 5/4, 7/4 ostinato.

7) Start on any meter, and switch to other meter.. it would help to set the metronome on the big 1, so if you are playing 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, 7/4, one is still the same.

I can't say I mastered all these rhythmical thing, but this is what I dug up so far in my studies. It took me a long time to get to the point where I can do a 3 beat phrases over 4/4 ostinato without getting lost.. so it's best to treat this as long term project you'll be doing for years.


Edited by etcetra (05/31/11 01:11 PM)

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#1687727 - 05/31/11 12:00 PM Re: Help with Rhythmic prases for improv [Re: etcetra]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3328
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: etcetra



2) use constant dotted quarter notes, or 3 note phrases



OK, now I'm very confused. Constant dotted quarters? What time signature are you in?
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I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1687768 - 05/31/11 12:56 PM Re: Help with Rhythmic prases for improv [Re: 36251]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
You can do that on any time signature really, but 3/4 & 4/4 is good way to start. In 3/4 you are playing 2vs3. in 4/4 You might have to write it down to see where the dotted quarter note lands (you should be on 1 again after the 6th time, on beat 1 of 4th measure). It would help to do this with metronome, or better yet, have RH solo in dotted quarter notes against LH playing an ostinato or walking bass.

I find that it's easier to start with 3 eight note pattern first. When you get used to it, you can go to dotted quarter notes.

It's trickier on other time signature but still doable.

I can think of millions of other like grouping of 5 quatar notes in 5/4 (so basically you are playing 4vs5), 3 quater notes followed by 4, 4, and 5 quater notes, with LH playing with the RH at the beginning of the grouping (everything is still in 4/4 but you are offsetting them), or taking 5 bars of 4/4 and phrasing your line like 4 bars of 5/4...etc

Please keep in mind that while all this stuff may sound "academic", all the stuff I've described above are stuff I found while transcribing people like David Kikoski, Kenny Kirkland, Brad Mehldau..etc

Here's a video demonstrating the concepts
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q9hx0CHJOg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DUtsosavpA&feature=related


Edited by etcetra (05/31/11 01:11 PM)

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#1687907 - 05/31/11 03:59 PM Re: Help with Rhythmic prases for improv [Re: 36251]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3328
Loc: Scotland
Thanks for explaining. smile
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I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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