One minute improvisation aptitude test

randulo

Europe
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Bordeaux, France
#21
Agreed about being able to sing AND play, but the novel idea here was you can sing stuff you can't play. Trading fours is a fun thing, too. I must try what you describe at the end of a practice session. Sounds like another great exercise. Unfortunately, these sessions are starting to last up to four hours. So much to do, so little time!
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
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#22
Here's an interesting piece from Dave Liebmann where Badal Roy the tabla player uses tabla language. The language starts around 1.20 but it's worth listening to the whole caboodle. John Mclaughlin's Shakti recordings often start with tabla language. Din din na din din na din din naket terekete tun na kat ta.......


 

Wade Cornell

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#23
Great fun track and good example of tabla and the way the voice and hands are one (one with his instrument). Less sure about the funky stuff that follows and didn't think the sax section stuff was much of an addition. The flute, although on the jazz side worked well and was the only instrument that had the potential to carry a melody. For me the best part (besides the table playing) started at 3:40 with just the tabla, guitar and flute. True Magic and a beautiful fit that had integrity. The other multi instrumental bits, although "fun", just didn't have that same integrity and felt like a "forced fit".
 
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2
Location
Sheffield
#24
I hear what you're saying Bob. It's hard to mesh these two different realities. When reading a chart you're usually just trying to plug in chord tones, scales and arpeggios that fit. There's little or no crossover as you're locked into continually "translating" chord notation into your fingers without necessarily being able to hear what you're about to play. Your fingers lead your ears. If playing melodically it's the opposite. Your "ears" lead your fingers.

The trick to playing melodically is that you need to continually be hearing the tune (head). If you can't hear it then you won't know where you are. That's why we start with something simple. Many tunes have very recognizable form, which means that it's possible to hear what's coming. The simplest would be 12 bar blues, but many standards also have very predictable form. Developing a mental library of specific music as well as generally is the key. An exercise that helped me, and I still use is to turn on the radio to random stations and see if I can play along. It's best to use music you DON'T know. When playing, as compared to just listening, you're trying to fit as well as anticipate what's coming. A few years of this exercise will give you confidence to play in many settings.

IMHO if you can play melodically you have a gift. It's not necessarily unique, yet needs nurturing. Following chord charts is pretty much like paining by the numbers. You will wind up with something that sounds OK, but it won't necessarily have that individual spark that sets creative people apart.

Old saying: you are what you eat. Likewise you will sound like what you practice and play. It's a much more lonely road to develop yourself as a melodic player rather than follow the heard and paint/play by the numbers. Ironically, that doesn't mean that you should give up on learning the theory and learning to HEAR all of those chords and their nuances. That's part of your tool kit, but the tools are not the artwork, you still need to use the tools to create. That doesn't happen (IMHO) for those who are stuck with just trying to manipulate the tools as fast as possible but have nothing artistically to say.
Thank you Wade a most useful piece of text you have sent me, This really helps, most of all gives me confidence. Most of my friends in the jazz workshop seem to me to be playing in the visual way as you have explained, utilising there theoretical knowledge. and I used to think I was wrong. I'll keep trying to absorb the theory bits, but will continue utilising my melodic skills. It's interesting also that I can bust most early Jazz tunes as I can remember them well but for the life of me I can't remember the more tuneless numbers that are being played these days. I quite like them but I guess it's just my age. Thank you again ears are the key for me at least.
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
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#25
Great fun track and good example of tabla and the way the voice and hands are one (one with his instrument). Less sure about the funky stuff that follows and didn't think the sax section stuff was much of an addition. The flute, although on the jazz side worked well and was the only instrument that had the potential to carry a melody. For me the best part (besides the table playing) started at 3:40 with just the tabla, guitar and flute. True Magic and a beautiful fit that had integrity. The other multi instrumental bits, although "fun", just didn't have that same integrity and felt like a "forced fit".
That's a very old album Wade ( 1975). I just thought it was a decent example of vocalising, in this case, rhythm. It's interesting what you say about the link between improvising on sax and voice; as a self taught guitarist and sax player I have relied on my ears rather than dots and my mantra is " If I can sing it I can play it", although as I have become more ambitious I am looking at the dots more and more.
 
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