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Frustrated on how to apply improv knowledge!!!!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Johnny StingRay, Dec 4, 2015.


  1. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    QFT. The whole point to learning all that theory is so you can hear it -- especially, in your head.

    iow, the very best jazz improvisors aren't thinking "here comes an altered dominant 7th chord, I'd better whip out my lydian b7 and/or diminished licks now" Rather, they hear the altered dominant 7th chord and in their head they hear a line or a melody or something that fits. And they reach for that line/melody/something that fits instinctively because they know -- from having practiced a crap-ton -- that the sound of what they want to play will probably be based on the notes from a lydian b7 and/or diminished collection (whichever they practiced a crap-ton thereof). But it's all about being able to hear the sound in your head in the moment, and being so familiar with what constitutes that sound that you're able to play the correct [sic] notes without having to think about the theory behind it first.
     
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  2. joeaba

    joeaba

    Aug 20, 2015
    Georgia
    That's really has great feel. As simple as you think it is, it's really quite good. I would consider expanding on what you've been doing and see where it end up.
     
  3. joeaba

    joeaba

    Aug 20, 2015
    Georgia
    I attempted to record something today. I spent way too much time getting set up. I wound up not recording anything, but I'm ready for my next attempt. I've been saying that for years. Seriously, your post was inspiring. keep it up.
     
    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  4. Whousedtoplay

    Whousedtoplay

    May 18, 2013
    TEXAS
    WOW! Thank you for your very kind words.
    After a long break from Music (more than 20 years no Music, no Bass guitar), I've found some courage to learn how to program a DAW and record my bass. Ten months ago I purchased on sale the Presonus AudioBox USB. It came with PreSonus Studio One Artist DAW software.
    Now before I leave for work, every morning at 5:00 a.m. I go outside with my dog and cat.
    I bring my laptop with AudioBox and start noodling on the backyard patio.
     
  5. Whousedtoplay

    Whousedtoplay

    May 18, 2013
    TEXAS
    I've followed your advice and expanded my "soloing" notes. I added the A string. And suddenly I've noticed that the D major Pentatonic Scale notes were almost equal to Bm7 chord notes.
    A - B - on the A string/12th and 14th frets, plus
    D (E - I always use it) F# - on the D string, and A, B, and D on the G string.

    From my past experience, I've added a few notes
    E F# - on the A string /7th and 9th frets, A B on the D string /7th and 9th frets, and D E on the G string /7th and 9th frets.
    Those Bm7 chord notes sounded good to my ears.
    (Just from time to time jump from the 7th/9th fret location to the 14th/16th position, but NO OTHER NOTES.)
    Anyway, if a guitar players breaks a string, I would be able to play that "elevator" music (monotonous flow of the 16th (sometimes off beat) notes) for quite some time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
  6. joeaba

    joeaba

    Aug 20, 2015
    Georgia
    That's sounding god, more lively with the new movements. Thanks for sending the backing track. Is the track something you put together? I will try playing over it, next practice.
     
  7. Whousedtoplay

    Whousedtoplay

    May 18, 2013
    TEXAS
    I have CAREFULLY re-read the whole thread full of excellent comments about notes, intervals, chord progression, etc., but...
    As an absolute beginner in Bass Soloing, I could not find even one small mentioning about the STRUCTURE/FORM/ORGANIZATION of a soloing/improvisation or its DEVELOPMENT.
    All comments were about the NOTES and CHORDS, plus some good advice on dynamics and articulation.
    (I fully accept the most important advice on LISTENING to the Greatest Jazz Musicians and transcribing their solos, but, IMHO, even with the most advanced phrasing vocabulary, one still needs to know how CREATE and DEVELOP (!) (on the fly/impromptu) that solo.
    In simple words,
    how to grow/culminate a solo from something simple to the highest point/complexity (on the fly/impromptu) in any specific or random time and place of any specific or random song?

    Over the weekend, I checked George Russell's (or, Sir in my world) book,
    "Lydian Chromatic Concept Of Tonal Organization" that a very knowledgeable Musician and our TB member, Bob Ross mentioned in some other thread.
    Without getting into a "too deep" conversation about that book/theory, let's say this,
    I've just simple used George Russell's chart to find the parent scale for my two simple (Pop Music) 7th chords - E7 and A7.
    See attached.
    gr-2.PNG

    gr.PNG
    From the chart, I found out that my simple E7 and A7 chords are in the second column "2".
    I've replaced my tonic note E with "2" which means that now E became the 2nd note (or supertonic) of the D Lydian mode - the parent scale of my E7 chord.
    The A7 chord "received" the G Lydian mode as its parent scale.
    D Lydian mode - D E F# G# A B C#
    G Lydian mode - G A B C# D E F#
    .
    I've highlighted the same notes from both modes that could fit into my simple and fast changing harmonic rhythm of E7/A7 - two chords in one measure/bar at 96BPM. I've used G and G# as passing chromatic notes.

    (Sorry that my questions are more about soloing in "easy-listening" musical environment.
    I'm still a beginner bass "soloist"; therefore, before I enter the Grande Jazz Music Castle, I need to spend enough time in the "Pop Music guest house".)

    Next,
    1. with my newly "acquired" knowledge of "proper" notes (mostly around the 10th - 12th frets with some excursion up to the 19th fret) for my monotonously repetitive E7/A7 chord change and
    2. with my, "less than adequate for soloing," technique, I was ready to noodle.

    And that's when I've encountered that question about the
    STRUCTURE/FORM/ORGANIZATION of a soloing/improvisation or its DEVELOPMENT.

    Due to my easy and repetitive - "samo samo" - chord progression, I was able to play more or less proper notes but my noodling sounded more like one long and endless "sausage" of, kind of, correct notes interlaced with some "Energizer bunny's" tremolos.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
  8. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    There was a time in when that Lydian-Chromatic stuff would have been fascinating to me, and I would have been all over it.
    It can certainly be fun to experiment with,
    and if that's where you are than bravo , go for it.

    But these days I think giant tables of "mode X goes with chord Y" formulas
    are probably the least efficient way to apply theory to soloing or improv.
     
    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  9. Carl Hillman

    Carl Hillman

    Jan 1, 2010
    There is no cut and dried answer to that question. If simple-->complex in a particular solo is your goal (it shouldn't necessarily always be), then some ways to do that would be:

    play fewer notes-->play more notes
    play simpler rhythms--->play more syncopated rhythms
    only play over basic changes--->introduce alterations and substitutions
    • Example for your two chord vamp: play over E blues scale over both changes--->play over E7 and A7 pentatonic scales (E,F#,G#,B,D and A,B,C#,E,G)--->play over E7 and A7 bebop scales--->play the leading minor ii before each dominant chord (this is harder to do because the changes go by quickly, but Bm7/E7 and Em7/A7)--->play over the dominant tritone substitution for one, or both, of the chords (possible combinations E7/Eb7, Bb7/A7, Bb7/Eb7)--->play over the leading minor ii before each tritone substitution--->play over one, or both, of the diminished scales that go with the chords (E Half/Whole and A Half/Whole)--->play over the major triads and pentatonic scales that can be derived from the E Half/Whole diminished scale ( E, G, Bb, Db), then do the same with those that can be derived from the A diminished scale for the second change in your vamp (A7)--->play over the F (for the E7) and Bb (for the A7) augmented scales--->play over the major triads, minor, and augmented triads that can be derived from the augmented scales, etc. etc.
    Melodic development entails more than simple-->complex harmony though. You should work on connecting melodic cells (or motifs) between the two changes. Start with two notes. (For instance the interval of a 6th..B to G#. When the chord changes to A7, move that "shape" up to C# to A, when it changes to E7 again, move that up to D to B, then up to E to C#, up F# to E, up G to E, etc..) Be able to do this with all different intervals ascending and descending. Then tackle three note cells.

    Oh, and transcribing other people's solos does more for you than just give a repository of licks (vocabulary) to draw on. If you analyze what you've transcribed you can also begin to see how other players develop their solos.

    The goal of all of this is to eventually not be thinking about it while you're playing. In the end, your ear, personal taste, and feelings in the moment should guide you, but to get to the point of being able to do that, you need to hash through the "right" and "wrong" notes until their sounds are ingrained and you need to be able to manipulate little snippets, then longer bits, of melodies at will.
     
    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  10. joeaba

    joeaba

    Aug 20, 2015
    Georgia
    I agree with this^. I can't say that I am proficient at reading and theory is somewhat foreign to me. I've gotten better with it than years ago, but I can't explain everything I hear and can't give any kind of explanation of the structure of what I play. In the interest of being creative, it may be a good idea to step back from the theory and play what sounds good to you. It's likely that your inherent abilities will create something good.
     
    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  11. Whousedtoplay

    Whousedtoplay

    May 18, 2013
    TEXAS
    Thank you for your response.
    I'd like to know your PERSONAL opinion about soloing/improvisation and specifically, bass soloing/improvisation.
    (Just in your words.)

    What is the bass soloing/improvisation (or just soloing/improvisation) supposed to show and accomplish?
    - Is it to show (to impress everyone)
    1. the musician's/improviser's technique (the more the better),
    2. articulation and dynamics of notes, phrasing,
    3. knowledge of theory, scales, chords, chord changes,
    4. knowledge of embellishing/paraphrasing melody/tune,
    5. composition skills (on the fly),
    6. ability to create (impromptu) a new melody, etc...
     
  12. Whousedtoplay

    Whousedtoplay

    May 18, 2013
    TEXAS
    I think that knowing theory, transcribing and ANALYZING (!) a lot of the Great musicians could help you to shortcut/expedite YOUR OWN DISCOVERIES and help you to explore your own world of Sounds.

    P.S. Or maybe it could over-influence your own ideas and impose on you the role of the "leader's follower".
     
  13. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    a solo is ideally simply supposed to communicate a musical idea(s) in the context of the piece wherein it resides.
    all of the things listed above ought to be subservient to this.
     
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  14. Whousedtoplay

    Whousedtoplay

    May 18, 2013
    TEXAS
    Somehow, the biggest immediate appreciation (that, "WOW!") is given to the technical side of the soloist/improviser.
     
  15. Carl Hillman

    Carl Hillman

    Jan 1, 2010
    Broadly, it is supposed to move the listener, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually (if you believe in that sort of thing). A good improvised solo should do what good music, or good art in general, should do.
     
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  16. joeaba

    joeaba

    Aug 20, 2015
    Georgia
    Some people might be impressed with technical aspects of music while most are not. In the end, it's the agreement with both sides that an arrangement of notes is pleasing in a universal way. When the saints come Marching in is a piece of music that is quite simple, but can be made technical if you chose to do so. most people wouldnt remember a solo played over the tune, I guess a good goal would be to have elements in the solo that blend well with the melody and the rythym, something that would get listeners humming the solo instead of the verse or the chorus etc..
     
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  17. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    So that comment makes me sincerely curious: What would you say is a more "efficient" way to apply theory to soloing or improv?

    I'm not claiming that Russell's Lydian Chromatic Concept is "efficient" -- or even practical, or necessarily even good. (I'm also not claiming it isn't.)
    But I'm genuinely curious about what alternative system or harmonic approach or pitch-class algorithm or school of thought etc. would be more "efficient" while still being a legitimately bona fide form of Music Theory?

    Play What Sounds Good is definitely a more "efficient" system, but that's arguably not a codified Music Theory.
    Alexander Ulanowsky's Chord-Scale approach might be considered a more "efficient" theory than George Russell's Lydian Chromatic Concept if you're already familiar with Ulanowsky's system (and/or another system which is similar), but that's only because it's familiar.

    If you're not thinking about how notes and chords and melodies and intervals and phrases and gestures and motifs all work together, what kind of Music Theory are you thinking of?
     
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  18. joebar

    joebar

    Jan 10, 2010
    it becomes a problem if you are always a half-step off.
     
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  19. Every problem has a solution:
     
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  20. Whousedtoplay

    Whousedtoplay

    May 18, 2013
    TEXAS
    [/QUOTE]

    I've checked quite a few jazz sax players' blogs, and the LCCOTO - 'Lydian Chromatic Concept for tonal organization ' - is still very popular.

    (Yes, at Berklee, the natural 11 on a dominant or major chord is called an "avoid" note, when George Russell teaches "that a Major 9th chord with a sharp 11 has more a greater degree of unity a the same chord with a natural 11.")

    IMHO, if ANY musician has enough knowledge to critique the LCCOTO - that musician is a very knowledgeable theorist - no need to argue about Music theory, just listen and evaluate.
    Also, if Any musician does not like the LCCOTO - check Dave Liebman’s book A Chromatic Approach to Jazz Harmony and Melody,
    or Twelve-tone technique - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, etc...

    Besides a very few superbly gifted/NATURAL-BORN composer/musicians, one would always need some guidance what's "Good" and what's "Not Good".
     

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