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Just need something cleared up about improvising

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Coward Of Reali, Sep 24, 2005.


  1. Coward Of Reali

    Coward Of Reali

    Oct 13, 2003
    Say your improvising on D major chord, does that mean your restricted to the root, the third, fifth, and the seventh?
    Is that why modal music was invented? So you can have access to all seven tones?
     
  2. PunkerTrav

    PunkerTrav

    Jul 18, 2001
    Canada & USA
    You could play with the entire D major scale, A mixolydian, B minor...

    Depending on the feel of the tune, there are a bunch of different scales that could fit over the chord.

    I wish I could recommend a good resource but I'm drawing blanks right now.

    EDIT: I should say that the chord degrees you mentioned are definitely worth putting emphasis on during your improv.
     
  3. thewanderer24

    thewanderer24

    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    You can play anything you like over any chord. That's the point of improvising. The theory is a guide. Your ears are the ultimate judge.
     
  4. ii-v

    ii-v

    Mar 27, 2005
    SLC, UT
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=201773

    This post should clear up your question. However, consideration of the music is important. Rules exist in different forms of music. A general concept over Dmaj would be F#(3rd) and C#(7th) need to be upheld. In other words if you choose to play a b3 or b7 a principle would be to chromatically move into the major third or major seven, F#, C# respectively. All other tones ie. root,2,4,5,6 are passing tones. Consider Autumn Leaves (standard), it has a Bmi played over the vocal line of Bbmaj7. The vocal chord is Bb,D,F,A. D and A are the "target tones" meaning that Bmi works fine even though its root is a half step away from Bb.

    A jazz rule to illustrate rules for different music is to leave the 4 out of your improv over major chords (G in this case). Sharp the 4 instead. This doesn't mean that it never happens, it is not considered a strong melody to improv with.
    Hope this helps,
    Russ
     
  5. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    UK
    well, given that music is usually consumed via the ear, the best way to get an answer to your question is to get someone to bash out a D major chord while you improvise over it

    when you discover that the world doesn't end when you play a 4th or a major 6th, things should fall into place nicely

    any note at all can work if you resolve it correctly... even the really ugly ones can serve a purpose if you make them actually go somewhere...
     
  6. ii-v

    ii-v

    Mar 27, 2005
    SLC, UT
    I would assume he is not fully discovering all choices over Dmaj by ear, or has not discovered how to use anything other than 1,3,5 and 7 and display it tastefully to the ear. If you use the theory guidelines it will help your ear get started.

    Cowsgomoo, I do agree, but some theory will help his ear get a healthy start to improving.
     
  7. small "tip" i "learned": playing the 4th or the 7th(especially 7th) over a chord could give you the :meh: face.

    try it.
     
  8. PunkerTrav

    PunkerTrav

    Jul 18, 2001
    Canada & USA

    Context is the key.

    AS was mentioned by thewanderer24, theory is jsut a starting point. In the end, if it sounds good it is good!
     
  9. yeah,thats why i included "could give you the :meh: face" because personally,throwing a 7th or 4th in their can be just the accent needed.yah know?
     
  10. thewanderer24

    thewanderer24

    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    Sorry if my answer sounded snippy - I don't mean it to be. Seriously, though, it's a situational thing. Everything that is "wrong" can sound right in the proper context. The chord tones are a starting point, but they're just that - a starting point.

    My advice is find a couple melodies and a couple grooves that go over chords that you are curious about. Learn to play them on your bass and then analyze what's going on in em. That sort of exercise will answer your question better than anyone here ever could.
     
  11. ii7-V7

    ii7-V7

    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    All the previous answers are good. Here's my two cents.

    The chord tones (D F# A C#) are going to be your strongest melodic notes, but it would sound pretty boring to just play those notes. So, you need some other notes to get you from one target note to the next. Thats where all the other notes come into play. The other scale tones (E, G, B) are the most normal sounding passing tones. The rest of the notes (D#, F, G#, A#, B#) are going to sound a little more unusual....but maybe thats what you are going for.

    If you know how to resolve to a chord tone then you can really get away with playing anything, but some notes are still going to be less pleasant than others. In this case F, G, and C natural are going to sound strange and if you stay on them for more than a split second then you might bring the harmony to a screeching halt. But if played briefly enough....like on a B, C, C#, D run then no one will even notice.

    Chad
     
  12. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Many will tell you that you can "use all twelve", and this is true....BUT!!!
    You have to learn to play "inside" before you can play "outside", meaning that you have to learn the "rules" before you can break them. One of the problems, especially in the Jazz Theory world, is that there is not always consensus on what the rules are.
    An accomplished player could(depending on the context) weave through all twelve tones over a D Maj 7 chord within a chorus or two but from an educator's point of view, when they are listening to you playing in class they want to hear you following their rules. When you've proven that you can do this they will be more open to you taking a bit of "liberty" with the changes.
    I would agree that D, E, F#, G#, A, B, and C# are all on the menu. I was urged not to overplay the root, (especially as a bassist because that is our natural inclination, particularly on the first beat of the measure!!) and stay clear of the fourth when impovising over Major Chords.
     
  13. muthagoose

    muthagoose

    Jan 18, 2004
    Sweden
    How come?
     
  14. Tash

    Tash

    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Because playing the 4th under a major chord creates a dissonance with the 3rd. This is actually fine if resolved carefully, but not something you want to just leave hanging.
     
  15. Coward Of Reali

    Coward Of Reali

    Oct 13, 2003
    You could always raise the fourth I mean sharpen it
     
  16. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Making an augmented fourth (or diminished fifth) forms a tritone, which makes even more dissonance when played against a major chord- in the olden days it was known as the Devil's Interval and you could get excommunicated for playing it.
     
  17. ii7-V7

    ii7-V7

    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    Yeah, but today it just sounds tasty!

    An augmented fourth sounds more normal to me than a perfect fourth over a major chord.

    Chad
     
  18. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Really? It's been popularized by metal bands, but I still prefer the sound of perfect fourth, so long as it resolves. It has a nice tension to it, although it wouldn't fit in a lot of situations.
     
  19. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    Montréal,Qc,Canada
    You can play all of the twelve notes over a given chord with no problem. You need to know what you are doing.
    Here's a example I wrote to show how to play all the notes over a C Maj7:
    Play this line with a swing feel if you wish : B-Bb-A-Ab-G-Gb-F-D#-E-Eb-D-Db-C.

    Hope this will help,
    SB
     
  20. WillBuckingham

    WillBuckingham

    Mar 30, 2005
    The augmented fourth was popularized by Charlie Parker and Dizzie Gillespie, not metal bands.