Improvising

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Postby 112-1089851768 » Sun Sep 12, 2004 3:51 pm

Hey, I'm not sure if theres already a place around here or a topic already been posted about this but i need tips on improvising so if you have the extra time i would really appreciate it...
Thanks,
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Wed Sep 15, 2004 10:04 am

I used to love jazz, and still do, but that's where improvising skill is really important, and I was lousy at it. Funny thing is, though, that when I did a lot of church work I was pretty good at improvising on the organ; I needed lots of fill-in places during the services, such as when people were filing up for communion, etc. I even improvised preludes and postludes sometimes, and listed them as such on the program.

Now that this topic has come up, I've thought about that and I think now I know why I was more successful in the church work: it's because I was always improvising ON SOMETHING--usually a hymn tune--rather than just trying to make something up. So there was a kind of home base to take off from, and I got so I could sequence phrases, change the harmony, modulate, fragment a melodic line, imitate in different voices, and so on. This may all be obvious to a good improviser, but it helps me analyze it.

So maybe we could try this: perform improvising 'exercises' for yourself by taking a short melody or phrase and altering it in specific ways separately. For instance, play it in different keys; then play it with altered harmony; then fragment it by working on just a small motive from the tune; modulate in the middle and finish in another key; put the melody in the left hand; embellish or ornament it; etc., etc.

I'm sure others can add to this--give it a whirl.

Dr. Bill.
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
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Postby keithmusic » Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:24 pm

Improvising in music is analogous to speaking in everyday life. The words and phrases we pick up from others and speak become your speakng vocabulary. The same in music. The playing patterns, scales, melodies that you commit to your long term memory in playing can then be used again in your subconcious improvisation attempt. Or the music that goes in becomes the music that goes out.

Keith




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