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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-21-2005, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
 
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Improvisation

hey guys, ive been working on improvising over chord changes and have a few questions about it. For instance say were in C major just to make things easy, and my chord progression is 1, 6, 2, 5. Against the C major chord i can play all the notes between C and its octave diatonically . basically all the notes on the guitar neck are relative to that C becuase of the chord its being played against. when the chord changes to the A minor is everything now relative to that A root? meaning that instead of playing all the notes from C to its ocatve im an playing diatonically from A to its octave? then would i continue that method when it changes to the 2 and 5 chords playing from D to its octave, and G to its octave? keeping in mind that im still playing all the notes relative to the key of C major, so if im right (and please correct me if im wrong) id be playing C ionian against the 1 chord, A aeolian against the 6 chord, D dorian against the 2 chord, and G mixolydian against the 5 chord? if this is right is there any section of theory i can study that helps to move smoothly between these changes? i think it might be referred to as guide tones...intervals you can improvise around and help smooth out your soloing over the chord changes. i guess im just wondering if im on the right track or if im thinking too much. i just want to understand what i am doing when i imporvise in stead of just guessing and using my ear. any help here would be appreciated. thanks
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-21-2005, 06:35 PM
 
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Re: Improvisation

The C -> Am change would not change the notes you play (the most obvious scale choices are C-major and A-minor respectively, same notes, different root). If were to be playing over this change, you could either use a different, less obvious, scale over one of the chords, or to accentuate the change you could try to accentuate the two different triads.

Back to the question, I don't tend to think much in modes, I would usually play the C-major scale over the C-major chord, D-major over D-major chord, G-major over G, A-minor for Am, etc...

So, yes in a way the notes you are using are relative to the root, (WWHWWWH formula for major scales, and WHWWHWW for minor scales), you are playing all notes from the root to the octave using these formulas. Of course, you could think of playing over an Am chord, as using a major scale, the C (the same way you could think of playng over an Em chord, as playing a G-major scale), but it's better to think in major scales as well IMO.

I don't know if this is making sense anymore, but I would say that if your progression is

C->A->D->G

all being major chords, the obvious thing to do would be to play C-ionian, A-ionian, D-ionian, G-ionian.

If it's

C->Am->Dm->G

Than the scale choices are, C-ionian, A-aeolian (same notes as C-ionian), D-aeolian (same notes as F-ionian), G-ionian.

And so on...

Then when you come to varioius 7, maj7, m7, m7b5, 6 etc chords, the system works in a similar way, but your choice of scales changes, in some cases.

I would advice you to try to "see" scale patterns in chord shapes (either thinking "by dots", or thinking of intervals, whatever is easier for you), this would make it simpler for you to solo over more exotic chords without neccesarily having to memorise what the "correct" scale choice is (there is never one correct choice anyway).

Ok, enough of this before I confuse you and myself even more.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-21-2005, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Improvisation

well i guess that does make sense, its such a huge portion of my playing lately and i hope to improve on it. what you said helped me out and i appreciate you taking the time to try and point me in the right direction. thanks again man
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-21-2005, 09:40 PM
 
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Re: Improvisation

Actually there are no methods to improvising. The first time I pick up the guitar I'm already having the inflection of how I'm gonna improvise. Improvising seem natural to me. It's just that how I relate it with the guitar takes a few years. I normally listen to a chord progression and hum out.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-22-2005, 05:09 AM
 
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Re: Improvisation

Quote:
Originally Posted by mi2tom
Actually there are no methods to improvising. The first time I pick up the guitar I'm already having the inflection of how I'm gonna improvise. Improvising seem natural to me. It's just that how I relate it with the guitar takes a few years. I normally listen to a chord progression and hum out.
Agreed in the sense that there are no fixed "rules" for it, and every one should play what sounds good to them, and channel what they feel at a given time. But there are methods that will ensure you are staying in key while playing over various progressions, which can be crucial for some tougher tunes. There is still a lot of you that can go into the solo, even if you are following some kind of method. I.e. take 5 good bop players and have them all improvise over "All of Me" or something using the same scale choices, you will find that each of them would come up with something different and personal.

...Then there are of course reasons you wouldn't want to play in key or use the correct scales and what not, but that's a completely different sstory.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-22-2005, 11:33 PM
 
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Re: Improvisation

Quote:
Originally Posted by mi2tom
Actually there are no methods to improvising. The first time I pick up the guitar I'm already having the inflection of how I'm gonna improvise. Improvising seem natural to me. It's just that how I relate it with the guitar takes a few years. I normally listen to a chord progression and hum out.
I do the same thing. That's why albums like "Live and Beyond" - Eric Johnson, Alien Love Child, Allan Holdsworth's "Lanyard Loop" are great albums to me. I love how Johnson and Holdsworth improvise. It is alot like what I like to do but with less jazz and more blues.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-23-2005, 04:23 AM
 
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Re: Improvisation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flobanez
I do the same thing. That's why albums like "Live and Beyond" - Eric Johnson, Alien Love Child, Allan Holdsworth's "Lanyard Loop" are great albums to me. I love how Johnson and Holdsworth improvise. It is alot like what I like to do but with less jazz and more blues.
I read somewhere that Holdsworth only knows the first note to play and the he goes from there.

Regards

André



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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-23-2005, 07:25 AM
 
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Re: Improvisation

Quote:
Originally Posted by fettouhi
I read somewhere that Holdsworth only knows the first note to play and the he goes from there.

Regards

André
Well, in many ways Allan does a variation of the "play particular scales over partricular chords" thing, except that he uses so many unusual intervals, chromatics that give it a really "free" sort of sound. He has something like 10 most useful scales, which are all different scales, not just different modes of the major/minor scales that he usues in his soloing. It is all very spontaneous though.
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