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Theories of Le Solo

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Howard K, Oct 28, 2002.


  1. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    OK, so I was reading an article by some guitarist on intermusic.com about soloing and I came accross this passage about a technique the writer calls meldoic embelishment, or summit like that, used by this pianist in his solos:
    __________________________________________
    Another strategy is to begin with a simple version of the melody, add a few embellishments and work your way towards increasing complexity.
    Rob Mullins is the master of a rather peculiar version of this strategy. Rob takes the melody and adds his embellishments going increasing outside until he winds up with a flurry of essentially random tones.
    He does this so gradually that, at the climax, you are sure he is playing some exotic scale. But, he's not. He is, in these moments, using the piano as an atonal percussion instrument, but he has taken you there so skillfully that you want to believe he has just invented some whole new set of harmonic rules.
    __________________________________________

    I'm not sure what to make of this?

    It sounds to me as tho this pianist is in fact embellishing his original melody with all sorts of chord substitutions and scales, to the point of the melody being lost, but that the writer doesnt understand this?

    How can this guy have "taken you there so skillfully that you want to believe he has just invented some whole new set of harmonic rules" if he ends up playing randomly around a melody?

    It just sounds like a totally ignorant explantion of what this guy is doing?
    Any opinions?!
     
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Maybe it's like the tale of the frog in the water pot. :D
     
  3. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    You mean that thing about boiling the frog slowly etc... NICE LINK!!!!
     
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Yup. That's the one.
     
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Actually I think it is far "cleverer" or more interesting to work the other way round.

    So - my regular Jazz tutor is an Alto Sax player who will often start an un-named standard without playing the tune, but improvising as far away as possible, so you can;t necessarily tell what tune it is and then working back towards the melody - finally playing it once at the end.

    "Can you tell what it is yet?"

    I think this is a fairly standard idea in Jazz.

    The thing descibed in the original post was how Jazz improvisors started in the 1920s,30s - so they just embellised the melody when it came to a sax/trumpet/clarinet solo. But gradually people realised that you didn't need to do this and this was how Jazz improvisation was born.

    So by the 1940s and bebop - soloists were playing the chords and adding alternate scales - embellishing the melody was "old hat" and players had gone beyond that to a great er understadning of harmony.

    I think teh only reason Jazz players would do that now - would be if they were attempting an authentic "re- creation" of early Jazz - like bands that play "Trad Jazz" - loathed with a passion by virtually all the contemporary Jazz musicians I've talked to! ;)
     
  6. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    Yes, good point: those started in marching bands in new orleans originally I think? they used to embelish around a simple melody to such a degree without actually knowing what they were doing and inadvertantly created 'a new sound' that went on to become jazz.

    ...but nowadays this is a known, so this writer/guitarist is a mong!