i've seen ideas on this scattered throughout some threads, but to bring it all together, how do you guys approach building lines? i mean how do you develop your sense of direction, what notes/rhythms to play, reacting with a group, phrasing...i've been listening to a lot of bill evans and jim hall lately and they seem to have incredible senses of the moment and where they're going and development. so im curious how you guys approach it past scales, chord tones, etc.
building lines?(10 posts)
- Magical rainbow ponies
Well, when I really want the line to take over, I almost forget about the changes and focus on direction, dynamics, accents...
This is something that I struggled with for some time. It may be different for you guys, but I felt like I had all this information in my head, scales, voice-leading, alternate changes and harmony, but everything I played sounded like crap or like a poor regurgitation of something I played/heard earlier.
The whole solution was pretty complex for me, but it started turning around when I started doing this really simple exercise. Play a C major scale from root to root up, then 2 down to 2, then 3 up to 3, etc. I would do this in at least 3 different octaves (through all 12 keys), always moving the pattern up the neck instead of across like we all tend to train ourselves when we're first starting out. Simple/obvious as it is, it really helped solidify my command on the neck and my modes. From there on it was listening/transcribing a lot of Kurt and Peter Bernstein to work on my time and phrasing. I think after that, then you can get to the point that Jorge made, which is pushing yourself above the changes.
One of my favorite instructors told me once that our end goal as jazz musicians should be to play chromatically.
Anyways, hope all is well. My best to you both.
@EvanM, I don't quite understand your exercise. Can you explain again how you move up the neck when you do it?
There's a Kurt video over here where he plays that same exercise. Basically it's going through the modes bout with an emphasis on reaching the furthest you can on the fingerboard instead of locking in one position
Where is this video? Checked the videos on the main website but can't find anything other than concerts and a few interviews. Is it in one of those?
Here is a quick thing I put up of an idea I had for lines. I was trying to find a way of getting the sounds like George Garzone, Chris Crocco, Nir Felder and Brian Baker get but using my own method. It was a good idea(i guess) but I haven't had enough time to practice and get it up to improvising speed. I didn't want to play like this all the time obviously but as another color it intrigued me. Let me know what you guys think or if it makes sense at all.
i might try this. nir, bryan, and chris are phenomenal players!
also, this seems to have a strong relationship to Jon damian's palette chart...
This stuff seems pretty neat, can you give a more full explanation of it. I don't know if I understand why these three note patterns are called "inversions of 4ths" when some of the patterns (ex: 2 and 6) contain no P4ths. They seem to me to be intervalic patterns that are similar, but not inversions.
And, concerning your example line, I thought it would be really helpful if you were to demarcate where each "motive" begins and ends. Is each "motive" a 3 note group? If so it doesn't seem that the 3rd note of the previous group and the first note of the next group are always chromatic neighbors, nor are the starting notes of each consecutive group chromatic neighbors.
there is probably some fundamental thing I am missing here and look forward to finding out what it is.
Thanks for the neat ideas and cool post. I'll be sure to experiment with these when I get to my instrument.
I will try to explain it. I put it up a while ago and forgot about it until I saw this thread. I had a sheet that went with it but I have no idea where that is and in looking at it I can see that it might be a bit confusing(even to me ---and I came up with it!).
First I realize now that the order I put the first 7 examples in is bad.Number 5 should be first as that is the actual 4th's pattern that I started with---then numbers 3 and 1 would be next. They can be thought of as closed voicing arpeggios and the other 4 are like open voicing arpeggios.
They all use the same three notes ---just different combinations. That's the real important thing.
The example line is all groups of 3 .The concept was not to make each consecutive group start on a chromatic neighbor ---it in a way could be more random---depending on what you want to hear next. So if the last note of a 3 note motive is "a" then your next note(starting the next 3 note motivic group) could be any 12 notes(you could start the next group on "a" if you wanted a repeated note or octave).
I hope that clears some things up but if not let me know.
Matt-Jon Damian's palette chart was my starting place for this. I had been working on them as chords and I wrote a bunch of tunes using them. I think he talks about using them for melodies in the book---I just changed it for more line playing as his approach was from a melodic development standpoint.
I'd really be interested to hear what you guys do with this---keep me posted and let me hear what lines you can come up with using this.
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