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#2232372 - 02/16/14 01:30 AM improving arpeggios for jazz/pop
saiman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/10
Posts: 125
Hi everyone

These days I am really trying to also work on technique for improvising. What I notice is that my arpeggios are really slow and not crisp.

Do you guys have any good arpeggio exercises and routines to aid as foundation for improvisation?

I got myself a Chopin Etude (Opus 25 No 12) bcause somebody recommended it for improving arpeggios but funny enough my "classical" piano friends say Etudes are way too hard and too much work for the purpose of just improving arpeggios. They saying I should rather stay away from this piece...

Any good advice?

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#2232429 - 02/16/14 05:44 AM Re: improving arpeggios for jazz/pop [Re: saiman]
custard apple Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/09
Posts: 2295
Loc: Sydney
Hi Saiman
Very cool to know you are still at it.
I spend 15 min a day out of my 1 hour practice on technique.
You are right that classical is the way to go for technique.
I would suggest Chopin preludes and Bach inventions for an "easier" start to acquiring technique.

I wouldn't worry about speed. Slow is good for developing a relaxed technique.

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#2232437 - 02/16/14 06:27 AM Re: improving arpeggios for jazz/pop [Re: saiman]
saiman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/10
Posts: 125
Hi Custard. Good to hear from you smile Yes I'm still at it albeit its tough. Also got about an hour a day so I also make sure I do technical work. What are you working on at the moment seeing that you finished Joy of Improv so long ago?

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#2232462 - 02/16/14 08:13 AM Re: improving arpeggios for jazz/pop [Re: saiman]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19224
Loc: New York City
Both the Chopin Etude Op.25 No.12 and and Op.10 No.1 contain figurations not related to the arpeggios one normally finds in jazz or popular music. So not only are they incredibly difficult, it's unlikely that they will help you with jazz/pop arpeggio like figurations.

The first thing is to learn from an excellent teacher exactly what you should be doing technically when playing an arpeggio. Otherwise, you will have to invent the wheel or just be practicing an incorrect technical approach.

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#2232723 - 02/16/14 05:18 PM Re: improving arpeggios for jazz/pop [Re: saiman]
RonDrotos Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 58
Loc: New York City
I find that it's most effective (and fun!) to tackle these kind of things from several angles at once. What I've done is to practice the basic arpeggios (from a book like Hanon) for a few minutes a day. Or alternate days with scale practice. At the same time, I like your idea of practicing Chopin. It doesn't necessarily have to be a piece specifically for arpeggios, though. It could be the Fantasy Impromptu, or whatever you think is 'doable' for you. Maybe the Prelude in G. Chopin must have known something about the hands, because my experience has been that after a few days of practicing his music, even slowly, my hands could play anything I went for.
Also improvise LH arpeggios while playing pop or jazz ballads. Over time you'll find patterns that come easily for you.
Good luck!
_________________________
Ron Drotos
rondrotos@keyboardimprov.com

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#2232803 - 02/16/14 08:30 PM Re: improving arpeggios for jazz/pop [Re: saiman]
custard apple Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/09
Posts: 2295
Loc: Sydney
Originally Posted By: saiman
Hi Custard. Good to hear from you smile Yes I'm still at it albeit its tough. Also got about an hour a day so I also make sure I do technical work. What are you working on at the moment seeing that you finished Joy of Improv so long ago?


Hi saiman
That's great you're finding one hour a day in your busy schedule.

I've been learning from a skype teacher for nearly 10 months now.

At the moment I'm learning
a) Bach's G maj invention
b) a Bach chorale
(good for if you want to learn the voice-leading method of improvisation)
c) Charlie Parker's Donna Lee
d) Drumgenius (a free smart-phone app)
to train my ear in listening to the nuances of the ride cymbal.

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#2233073 - 02/17/14 10:44 AM Re: improving arpeggios for jazz/pop [Re: saiman]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 384
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: saiman

Do you guys have any good arpeggio exercises and routines to aid as foundation for improvisation?


Arpeggios don't have much to do with improvisation. But if you want to practice them just for the sake of doing it, then you should do two to three octaves, both hands at the same time, with the intent on making it crisp. Pick a chord flavor (eg. a dominant 7th starting on C) and go from C-to-C for two or three octaves. Repeat with the different chord flavors: dom7, maj7, min7, min7b5, dim.
_________________________
Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/

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#2233208 - 02/17/14 02:27 PM Re: improving arpeggios for jazz/pop [Re: saiman]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 627
Loc: Leicester, UK
Originally Posted By: saiman
Do you guys have any good arpeggio exercises and routines to aid as foundation for improvisation?

I got myself a Chopin Etude (Opus 25 No 12) bcause somebody recommended it for improving arpeggios but funny enough my "classical" piano friends say Etudes are way too hard and too much work for the purpose of just improving arpeggios.


One way to go about it is to go through a transcription of a solo you like and find all the licks with arpeggios. So those could be exercises.

Here's an excerpt from Charlie Parker's Anthropology solo (rhythm changes).




You can play it with one hand or divide it betweeen two hands. At Charlie Parker tempo (quarter note=300 or so) "divide and conquer" is a good way to do it. And you can also see in this example how Charlie Parker superimposes his own chord changes over those first 3 measures.

An advantage to learning a few licks before you go to technical practice is that can show where the technical challenges are in a "real" improvisation. Then you can find the repertoire or the exercises that help you solve the challenge.

Something good for that could be the 1st prelude to the Well-Tempered Clavier -it's all arpeggios. As a first step to get arpeggio sounds in the ear it's very good. And much, much easier than the 1st Chopin Etude. If it's too easy of course there's plenty of other repertoire out there.

Here's an arpeggio passage from Herbie Hancock's Dolphin Dance solo.



It's a signature lick HH does all the time - playing triplets grouped into 4. If it's not clear what he's doing I can add more detail.

Basically instead of playing 4 groups of 3 triplets in 4/4 he's playing 3 groups of 4 triplets. Each of group of 4 triplets is a simple arpeggio.

Because of how it falls under the hand it's not that hard to play.

Hope this helps ...



Edited by Mark Polishook (02/17/14 02:28 PM)

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#2233492 - 02/18/14 01:32 AM Re: improving arpeggios for jazz/pop [Re: Michael Martinez]
saiman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/10
Posts: 125
Originally Posted By: Michael Martinez
Originally Posted By: saiman

Do you guys have any good arpeggio exercises and routines to aid as foundation for improvisation?


Arpeggios don't have much to do with improvisation. But if you want to practice them just for the sake of doing it, then you should do two to three octaves, both hands at the same time, with the intent on making it crisp. Pick a chord flavor (eg. a dominant 7th starting on C) and go from C-to-C for two or three octaves. Repeat with the different chord flavors: dom7, maj7, min7, min7b5, dim.




Why would you say this Michael? When I look at Jazz solos they are full of arpeggios in all forms and shapes. I do understand that just running scales and arpeggios isnt making music but on the other hand if one has no technical skills of scales and arpeggios then will this not in the end become a stumbling block to playing what's on your mind? I am no expert but I doubt that the technical skills will come just from being able to hear nice melodies and lines.

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#2233866 - 02/18/14 05:43 PM Re: improving arpeggios for jazz/pop [Re: saiman]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 384
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: saiman

Why would you say this Michael? When I look at Jazz solos they are full of arpeggios in all forms and shapes.


Not really ... Obviously a solo isn't just one arpeggio after another - this would get very boring quickly. There are certainly pieces of an arpeggio sometimes, but there's also a lot of other stuff.

With improvisation what you do is connect chord tones in different manner. Sometimes you connect them with an appropriate passing tone which could be taken from the scale or as a chromatic approach tone. Other times you may skip from one chord tone to the next, which makes part of an arpeggio - or sometimes a full arpeggio. And sometimes in a solo you only have to hit a single, carefully selected tone which is sufficient (given the context) to imply the harmony you intend. ... Or you may hit two chord tones that are separated by wide gulf - certainly not an arpeggio unless you fill in the gap with all the remaining chord tones.

My point is: practicing arpeggios isn't the right way to learn to improvise. It's more of a way of just practicing your chords.

The best way to learn to improvise is to become familiar with the different minor and major pentatonic scales. Learn how to identify an appropriate pentatonic scale for your song (or for each section of the song that is in a single key) and work on your phrasing and rhythm using those five notes.

Once that gets boring, you've got two other notes which you can start to incorporate as "harmonic departures" from that pentatonic sound.

This alone is plenty satisfying and becoming proficient at it will take quite some time. The main challenge is the rhythm and phrasing. As you work on it, you develop your ear so that you can always find that "right" note when you want it.


Edited by Michael Martinez (02/18/14 05:52 PM)
_________________________
Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/

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#2234083 - 02/19/14 07:32 AM Re: improving arpeggios for jazz/pop [Re: saiman]
KlinkKlonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 354
there's only two ways to play a melody, leaps or step; and a leap is an arpeggio.
sounds your problem is technical one - not metaphysical - the rotation of the forearm and whatnot. pianoloverus suggested a teacher. I second that.

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#2235370 - 02/21/14 10:05 AM Re: improving arpeggios for jazz/pop [Re: Mark Polishook]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 627
Loc: Leicester, UK
Here's a little explanation for that rhythm in HH's Dolphin Dance.

The gist of it is in a measure of 4/4 there are twelve 8th note triplets. Twelve divides by three or four.

So triplets in 4/4 can be in groups of 3 (commonly) or groups of 4 (uncommon and I've only heard them in HH solos. But who knows ... others have probably used this kind of thing as well )






Edited by Mark Polishook (02/21/14 10:08 AM)

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#2249311 - 03/20/14 06:16 AM Re: improving arpeggios for jazz/pop [Re: saiman]
compianist1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/13/13
Posts: 121
Loc: Banned
here's my advice. I AGREE.

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#2249475 - 03/20/14 01:20 PM Re: improving arpeggios for jazz/pop [Re: saiman]
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1520
For jazz, learn the three continuous inter linking Bill Evans arpeggios in the key of C, F, G, Bb, Eb and Ab
_________________________
1966 Mason & Hamlin piano.

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#2249645 - 03/20/14 06:52 PM Re: improving arpeggios for jazz/pop [Re: rintincop]
Music Me Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/23/12
Posts: 189
Loc: New York
Rintincop: Where can I find a transcription of these arpeggios?
Originally Posted By: rintincop
For jazz, learn the three continuous inter linking Bill Evans arpeggios in the key of C, F, G, Bb, Eb and Ab
_________________________
Barbara
...without music, no life...

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#2255745 - 04/02/14 02:38 AM Re: improving arpeggios for jazz/pop [Re: Music Me]
saiman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/10
Posts: 125
Hi Rintincop

Where can I find these transcription of these?

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#2256094 - 04/02/14 06:18 PM Re: improving arpeggios for jazz/pop [Re: saiman]
Riddler Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 588
Loc: Florida
Does "three continuous inter linking" refer to groups of arpeggios like this?

Ed

_________________________
http://edsjazzpianopage.blogspot.com/

My fingers are slow, but easily keep pace with my thoughts.


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#2256340 - 04/03/14 01:15 PM Re: improving arpeggios for jazz/pop [Re: saiman]
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1520
I found them in the track "A Face Without A Name"

There a 3 amazing motifs (arps) that he keeps revisiting and interlinking...

There is also that pair played based on a Major 7th chord:

7 1 3 5 that flows right into 3 5 7 9 without pause

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