working from arpeggios vs parent scale....

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by boo radley, Nov 24, 2017.

  1. apalazzolo

    apalazzolo Supporting Member

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    With the understanding that (1) I have struggled with your problem myself, and (2) many people here know far more than me (I've learned from the many good suggestions above too) ... I'd say two things:

    1. You could approach that chord progression using the relative minor scale (what I call the happy key) very easily because it doesn't change key. That doesn't sound like jazz either and getting away from this is probably why you started looking at a purely arpeggiated approach to begin with. BUT -- for now -- why not mix the two approaches? For example, why not start a phrase low with the familiar scale in an upward direction and then spell the arpeggio across the top 4 strings. Another simple example is a phrase that starts by momentarily sweeping up an arpeggio to the high E string and then takes a familiar scalar approach from there. In sum, now that you've learned a new trick, don't jettison everything else you've already internalized ... keep the some of the old and sprinkle in the new trick.

    2. That chord progression has two CLASSIC jazz cliche's ... the II V I the I VI II V. You've created arpeggios for each chord. A next step might be creating a few arpeggio lines that spell out these two cliche's without stopping. That is, create and practice extended-arpeggio-sequences for each of these two cliche's (don't think of this as 8 separate chords with 8 separate apreggios, but as two cliche patterns with two extended-apreggios that span across the individual chords). Here's one lesson teaching this: http://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/ii-v-arpeggio-pattern-jazz-guitar/ There are many others out there. Admittedly, it's harder with your example because the pace of the changes is slow (sometimes the changes come so fast that all you have time to do is spell a sequence of arpeggios).

    Good luck!
     
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  2. Buduranus2

    Buduranus2 Member

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    Jon, I didn't express myself as clearly as I would have liked. What I meant to say was, in a III VI II V in C for example, I'll play an Emi7 run or arpeggio ascending, A7 altered descending, Dmi7 ascending and G7 altered descending. So, in my limited way of "thinking" the ascending tones are "consonant" because they aren't altered like the descending ones, which are more "dissonant." On further reflection, I think this is a consequence of my inability to play scales "diagonally." So within the limitations of a given fingering "box" I have to ascend/descend because I don't have the technique to keep going up. At least not yet. Many thanks as always.
     
  3. Sascha Franck

    Sascha Franck Member

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    Your talking about lines strictly here I suppose, right?
    Because most chromatic movements in chords tend to go downwards.
     
  4. Axis29

    Axis29 Supporting Member

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    You can even try singing it at the same time. You may not get all the tones right with your voice (I don't) but you end up with some nice ideas that will be appealing. It will improve your phrasing and get you playing without over thinking so much.

    I think this is one of the best pieces of advice, other than just putting your hands on a guitar as often as possible. The more you play, the more things become familiar and the less thinking you have to do about it.
     
  5. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Well, except augmented 5ths (#5>6) ;). And I think you can count 7>1, at least from a secondary dominant.
    But in general, I agree. The most satisfying moves tend to be downward - melodically as well as harmonically. Rising intervals - generally speaking - suggest tension, descending ones relaxation. "Cadence" comes from the Latin "to fall", after all.
     
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  6. JonR

    JonR Member

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    But consonance and dissonance are about intervals, not individual tones. Nothing to do with melodic direction of a phrase. You can play the arpeggios you describe in either direction, linking them with chromatic moves up or down. (Down is probably more common, that's all.)

    In the kind of sequence you're talking about, the diatonic moves (3rds to 7ths and vice versa) are all either downward or shared tones. Alterations can often support that downward trajectory (eg, b5 on A7alt to D, or b13 to 9) - but most alterations can go up too.
    E.g., from A7alt to Dm7, you have these possible directions of resolution to notes on the Dm7 (including the 9):
    A > A (shared tone)
    C# > C or D
    Eb > D or E
    F > F or E
    G > F
    Bb > A
    C > C

    The G could hang as a suspension on the Dm7 and go up to A instead of down to F. The Bb and C could each move to a B natural on the Dm7, which could go up to C or down to A.

    Just because the tendency of 3rds and 7ths is downwards doesn't mean the alterations have to go that way too. Sometimes it's good to fight that, for the sake of contrast.
     
  7. apalazzolo

    apalazzolo Supporting Member

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    How is it coming along OP? I saw these and thought of you:



    Notice a few things:
    These changes come fast so the player sometimes simply spells an arpeggio and keeps moving...
    The player is advocating memorizing this whole long line ...
    It's a combination of arpeggios and scales (see especially the Eb bar) ...
    He also talks about a phrase near the end as a 2 5 line (he's advocating memorizing a line to use over several chords - memorize 200 of those and you're all set!) ...

    A completely different approach:

     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  8. MartinPiana

    MartinPiana Supporting Member

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    I've been working out of this book for a few years. It uses six different fingerings of a m7 9 11 arpeggio as the foundation and builds from there. Very quickly does not sound like arpeggios -- but teaches you to see the arpeggios as the skeleton of melodic lines. Good book!

     
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  9. apalazzolo

    apalazzolo Supporting Member

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    May I ask you to please repost the book information? It is not visible at the moment. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  10. MartinPiana

    MartinPiana Supporting Member

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    The link's working for me but you can Amazon search for Jazz Improvisation for Guitar - a Melodic Approach by Garrison Fewell (died this year, RIP).

     
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  11. apalazzolo

    apalazzolo Supporting Member

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    Got it ... thanks!
     
  12. MartinPiana

    MartinPiana Supporting Member

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    The book largely subscribes to much of the approach TAG espouses for ii-Vs -- just play the ii pattern over the whole thing. ... That said, my warmup of late is doing four short ii V Is (two beats per chord) and four long ones (a full measure per chord) patterns around the circle of fifths. The idea being that I can get these under my fingers as second nature like arpeggios and scales, then move on to eight more....
     
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  13. apalazzolo

    apalazzolo Supporting Member

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    Here's a some video snipets from that book:



    The man could play!
     
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  14. boo radley

    boo radley Member

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    Thanks Apalazzolo -- it's going! I've been working on other things than Mack The Knife, but found a lot of the comments and links here, terrific. The core problem (well, there are so many problems, I'm not sure there IS a core) is not having anything interesting to say, along with some horrible timing/phrasing problems. :) While this is on me, Mack does seem to have these pauses that are a bit tricky: 'Oh the shark, BABE.....has such teeth DEAR....."

    More generally, if I'm honest, of the jazz songs I have a solo for (there aren't all that many), anything 'good' has really come from someone else, or multiple other sources. Sometimes I'll change/add something of my own, but sometimes it's note-for-note from a lesson I've bought or a transcription I've found. I'm starting to think I need to do a whole hell of a lot more of that, and less of spending time trying to figure out my own lines from scratch.
     
  15. harmonicator

    harmonicator Supporting Member

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    Think rhythmically, and let the melody be your guide.

    Firmly implant the song's structure, fingerboard, and "theory" in the back of your mind (this is what practice is for) so as to not be distracted by it. Your focus should be on melodic inventiveness and interacting with the other players.
     
  16. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    maybe try playing every other note from the parent scale, starting at different key points (related to the melody, tension, etc).
    This is both an arpeggio and scalar approach.
     
  17. MartinPiana

    MartinPiana Supporting Member

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    Don't be afraid to lift other's solos and play them over and over. Not sure if it's true, but I read that Wes Montgomery only played Charlie Christian's solos for the first year he played in public. Barney Kessell, Tal Farlow and Jim Hall are a couple others who thoroughly immersed themselves in CC when they were starting out. The old cliche is worth noting: Imitate, assimilate, innovate.
     
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  18. MartinPiana

    MartinPiana Supporting Member

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    He could also play free and outside very fluently and compellingly ....
     

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