next step in soloing

thehunt

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Studham Bedfordshire
This is not a thread about how to solo, i am a pretty confident player and manage to get a decent solo out of a piece once i have it under my fingers.
I have tended to look at the scales of the pieces and generally noodle around on those, i try my arpeggios as well, but my question is this?
Is there another way of seeing outside this so called box? I am keen to develop my playing but feel that there is much more to it. I have been told that my timing and feel for a piece is pretty good but am sure that more can be achieved.
Just so you know have been playing two years now and Stan Getz i am not. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.:w00t: Phil
 

half diminished

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Phil

Looking forward to you demonstrating your prowess at the forthcoming workshop :w00t:

Seriously though, Karen has me transcribing Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon and I am studying their solos too. I also have a several interesting books:

Mark Levines Jazz Theory, Hal Galpers Forward Motion, Jazzology by Rawlins & Bahha and Building a Jazz Vocabulary Mike Steinel. All great reads that you can dip in an out of and cover things like chromatic ornamentation, forward motion, altered scales, scale cell sequences, harmonisation/re-harmonisation, and loads more. Pete's Taming The Saxophone has some good stuff too.

Then there's lifting phrases from other tunes to use them as a basis for a new lick/phrase in your solos. Have to say I am excited by all this stuff - I only wish I was 20 years old and where I am now as I'll be dead and buried before I master a tenth of what can be done.

I find it all fascinating and I can't wait until I can start using some of it in anger.
 
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thehunt

thehunt

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Ian,
("Looking forward to you demonstrating your prowess at the forthcoming workshop ")
Yeah i had that coming, i was trying not too sound too cocky! Gulp! I did say though i was ok only once i had it under my fingers.
What i find sometimes is i get too carried away and lose my place, so working on that.
I really find transcribing hard work, ("Then there's lifting phrases from other tunes to use them as a basis for a new lick/phrase in your solos. ") I had been told to do that as well, but how do you remember them all, also the key signature chord etc has to be right to use that particular phrase.
Re the books, i have Pete's taming the saxophone. I think you do reach a point in your playing when you get excited even more than at the beginning about all this stuff to learn, what i'm trying to do is put it in some order as i feel a bit swamped by so much info.
Once i move west i will be looking for a new teacher so Karen may be an answer.
Only a few weeks now till the workshop, so looking forward to that, my health is holding out so i should be there. (just to blow yr socks off with my uncanny flying fingers!!! >:) ) I wish...
Phil
 

half diminished

Senior Member
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Ian,
("Looking forward to you demonstrating your prowess at the forthcoming workshop ")
Yeah i had that coming, i was trying not too sound too cocky! Gulp! I did say though i was ok only once i had it under my fingers.
Phil
Yep you did, but don't feel under pressure. :)

What i find sometimes is i get too carried away and lose my place, so working on that.
I really find transcribing hard work, ("Then there's lifting phrases from other tunes to use them as a basis for a new lick/phrase in your solos. ") I had been told to do that as well, but how do you remember them all, also the key signature chord etc has to be right to use that particular phrase.
Yep me too. Karen told me not to worry and that it will come. Practicing with davehudson is a frustration as he seems to know exactly where he is at all times but I just about get by and I am improving if slowly. Dunno how he does it!

I believe the key is building your vocabulary and internalising. I find it reasonably easy to learn a tune but very hard to remember licks or phrases but I think that's just doing it more - again internalising the feel/sounds and again I do feel I am improving if slowly. Transcribing is hard but does get easier the more you do it. Karen has helped me a lot with this too.

As for key signatures, I think you just have to practice all phrases/licks in all keys, major minor etc. Some will sound better in one key than in others, it's all about the intervals and how they sound.

Re the books, i have Pete's taming the saxophone. I think you do reach a point in your playing when you get excited even more than at the beginning about all this stuff to learn, what i'm trying to do is put it in some order as i feel a bit swamped by so much info.
Once i move west i will be looking for a new teacher so Karen may be an answer.
Only a few weeks now till the workshop, so looking forward to that, my health is holding out so i should be there. (just to blow yr socks off with my uncanny flying fingers!!! >:) )
There is a lot to learn/internalise and that takes time. I can testify to Karen's teaching ability and she is really helping me with my playing, especially technique and improvisation but also she has given me some good advice to help my sight-reading too. I know some people pick this up quickly but for me it's been a struggle. I never read music before I took up the sax in August/September 2007 and only started playing jazz in April/May 2008 so it's been a steep learning curve!
 

saxnik

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Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom
Hey Phil,

Like you said, start easy.

for transcribing, go really slowly. First, work out how many bars/beats are in the phrase, then draw out barlines on your manuscript to give you plenty of space for all the notes. Next, work out the starting note and finishing note, and the timings for them. Any other obvious long or loud notes should then be slotted into the jigsaw you've just drawn. Finally fill in the gaps; try to copy half a bar, or a bar, of what you're transcribing by playing it on the sax. When it sounds something like, write it down and go for the next half bar. You can always edit it later if it doesn't sound right.
It is a long process but it really helps your progress, honest!

For using licks and phrases and bits of tunes in different keys (I know I keep banging on about this on here) you have to know the scales.
Again though, start easy - try playing nursery rhymes or other simple tunes you know well, starting on different notes. Merrily We Roll Along has a five note range, and starts on the third of the (major) scale, so try that starting on E, B, F#, A, D etc from the scales you're sure on then work up to the more tricky keys.
If this is too easy, use a harder tune, or blues scale licks or whatever you think may be useful. A favourite thing for jazz text books seems to be the phrase '...and then learn this pattern in all keys.' - it's annoying but once your major, minor and blues patterns are under your fingers, hopefully all this will be too!

Cheers,
Nick
 

half diminished

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Actually, one other small point. Try thinking in terms of 1,2,3,4 or 1,3,4,2 rather than D, E, F#, G or D, F#, G, E as this can then translate to other keys more easily.
 

saxnik

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Just been teaching a lesson and chatting about stuff on the forum too - it came to this subject and my student pointed out that your computer may be able to help...

If you have a backing track for a tune you like and know well, try using a program like Audacity to alter the pitch of the backing without altering the timing (I suggest up a tone first of all), then try to play along again in the new key. It's working for AndyG!

Nick
 
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thehunt

thehunt

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Thanks Nick, appreciate yr comments. I do know my scales and some of the blues scales. ( still need to practice them though )
I am working on transcribing but one thing i just don't know how to do is finding out what key the piece is written in? Is it something to do with the last note? I'd heard this somewhere. ??
Just been teaching a lesson and chatting about stuff on the forum too - it came to this subject and my student pointed out that your computer may be able to help...

If you have a backing track for a tune you like and know well, try using a program like Audacity to alter the pitch of the backing without altering the timing (I suggest up a tone first of all), then try to play along again in the new key. It's working for AndyG!

Nick
 

half diminished

Senior Member
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Thanks Nick, appreciate yr comments. I do know my scales and some of the blues scales. ( still need to practice them though )
I am working on transcribing but one thing i just don't know how to do is finding out what key the piece is written in? Is it something to do with the last note? I'd heard this somewhere. ??
This is a toughie! I honestly don't understand it but I find once I have a feel for the tune I can usually guess. Karen always asks me what key a transcription I have made is in and 80 or 90% of the time I get it right. I can't explain how or why though. My ears must be beginning to work. I also find that I am getting better and better at recognising low G or F or D etc just by listening.

Sorry I've not been much help really! >:)

What I do find amazing is how quickly Karen can transcribe and work out the most likely chord progression. Occasionally she'll look at a chord progression and say 'that doesn't seem right'. She noodles a bit and then says 'ah yes this is right' and alters it. Mind blowing!
 
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thehunt

thehunt

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Well Ian, just to turn the tables, i expect only greatness from you on the 10th. It's my homework these coming months to do some more transcribing. Thanks for yr help. Phil
 

half diminished

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Well Ian, just to turn the tables, i expect only greatness from you on the 10th. It's my homework these coming months to do some more transcribing. Thanks for yr help. Phil
From personal experience I have learned to lower my expectations. These days I start by being happy I'm still alive!

Works for me. Hope you're own expectations don't leave you feeling disappointed. :)
 
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thehunt

thehunt

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I agree Ian, i am just coming out of 2 1/2 year illness so like you just happy that each day gets better.
From personal experience I have learned to lower my expectations. These days I start by being happy I'm still alive!

Works for me. Hope you're own expectations don't leave you feeling disappointed. :)
 

saxnik

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Finding the key - that's tricky, you're right. Often the tune does end on the keynote, but not always. The real answer to 'which key?' I suppose must be 'the scale that is used to compose the tune' - more complex tunes will use more than one though, so that's tricky too! Arpeggios will be in there too, so they're a bit of a clue. Go with your gut instinct.

It's probably easier to work out the key when you've finished the transcription! As I said, transcribe using obvious notes you can easily match with your playing first - then maybe you can work out which scale you're using by trying to sing a scale that it all fits with, then work out which degree (note) of the scale that note is. Interval training if you haven't already) will help you pick it out, but again it's a fairly slow process to train anyone's ear, so don't worry if it's taking time.

Good luck,

Nick
 
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Young Col

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Ian
Karen can do that because she is a top pro. My teacher did something similar today, playing something through, thinking it wasn't right and then deciding it was, just different in the clarinet book in the series!
I'm glad you mentioned the 1234, 1342 thing. Karen mentioned that at the last workshop and I didn't get it. I do now, although like the others have said, whether I can hold all that in my head is another matter!
Colin
 

Semiquaver

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For working out a key, I look for possible ii-V7-I. the 'I' will then be the key for that portion of the tune. I then look to see what other chords can be played in that key. EG a FM+4 chord is the same notes found in a C major scale. The composer would have worked this out during composition so it will work.

In practise a sequance will be about 8 bars and with the repeat 16.

I then think 'ok I can improvise on that major scale for 16 bars'

The middle eight will be a difernt key but may be the same principle.

Try it, it works.

Look at the theory of diatonic chords, it may help in understanding this.

My next stage is to find chromatics notes that sound good in a scale.
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
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Alot of people fall in the trap of how many notes i can play fast all the time.Flat 9 this,raised 5th that etc etc.The mature greats are greats and sound mature as they no were not to play,space is the most important note of all,we get taught there's 12 notes,i think there's thirteen notes and the last note ,the thirteenth is the important 1.SPACE,SILENCE,PAUSE IS THE 1 TO REMEMBER.Were to put it ,how we use it,and then phrasing,why play 6 notes when abit of silence,repetition,odd phrasing ,stab's,you get my drift.Then you start to sound more mature,a better soloist.
 
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thehunt

thehunt

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797
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Studham Bedfordshire
Good advice there, my teacher has often said leave bits out, i am trying that, i think the anticipation of what is coming adds to the tension of a piece, i'll try that more, thanks for tips, Phil
Alot of people fall in the trap of how many notes i can play fast all the time.Flat 9 this,raised 5th that etc etc.The mature greats are greats and sound mature as they no were not to play,space is the most important note of all,we get taught there's 12 notes,i think there's thirteen notes and the last note ,the thirteenth is the important 1.SPACE,SILENCE,PAUSE IS THE 1 TO REMEMBER.Were to put it ,how we use it,and then phrasing,why play 6 notes when abit of silence,repetition,odd phrasing ,stab's,you get my drift.Then you start to sound more mature,a better soloist.
 
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