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Wave - Tom Jobin

Marcello

Senior Member
Messages
228
Location
Anderson, South Carolina
After thinking a lot whether should I "expose" myself or not to so "improvisation masters" >:) like you guys members of the Cafe, I decided to give it a try and listen what you have to say...

I have read here people saying "I would play that note on that chord..."
So, I must say that for sure I have several "poor choices"... I mean, the improvisation part was done only by "feeling"... although I can play the major/minor/dominant 7 scales, read the chord and play it for brief 4 beats (sometimes less than that) is another story...

Well, here it is.... let me know what you think in general terms...
Hope you can enjoy...

https://soundcloud.com/marcello-machado-3/wave-2013-05-04

Cheers,
Marcello
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,318
Location
New Zealand and Australia
Fine tone that I'm guessing is "classically" influenced. You've got a good feel for the music and fine phrasing. I have a feeling that you are thinking that the instrument makes the music. It's you. The instrument should an extension of your voice. At times I can hear that you are doing this, at other times you're reacting to what comes out of the horn and "adjusting".

It takes a long time to become proficient but the key is first hearing what you want to play and being able to accurately play those notes. Note choices infers that there is a big of notes that you choose from. When playing melodically it should always be like singing. What singer just hits random notes without hearing the note first? I think that's impossible. Try singing a solo for this piece then see if you can play it. There is a lot of misdirection in teaching that dictates that one should just pick out notes within a chord structure. If you do that guess what it will sound like? It's not music when a player has no idea what they are playing and just hopes that it sounds OK. Try to always know the sound of the note you play before you play it, no matter how simple or complex.
 

Marcello

Senior Member
Messages
228
Location
Anderson, South Carolina
Fine tone that I'm guessing is "classically" influenced. You've got a good feel for the music and fine phrasing. I have a feeling that you are thinking that the instrument makes the music. It's you. The instrument should an extension of your voice. At times I can hear that you are doing this, at other times you're reacting to what comes out of the horn and "adjusting".

It takes a long time to become proficient but the key is first hearing what you want to play and being able to accurately play those notes. Note choices infers that there is a big of notes that you choose from. When playing melodically it should always be like singing. What singer just hits random notes without hearing the note first? I think that's impossible. Try singing a solo for this piece then see if you can play it. There is a lot of misdirection in teaching that dictates that one should just pick out notes within a chord structure. If you do that guess what it will sound like? It's not music when a player has no idea what they are playing and just hopes that it sounds OK. Try to always know the sound of the note you play before you play it, no matter how simple or complex.

Thanks for the sincere comments...! Really appreciated.
I will for sure bear it in my mind for improvements...!
I do acknowledge that in many moments I adjusted the tone... I mean, I wanted to play something and when I hit.. OPS...! wrong choice... :D
But I believe this is part of what people say about "know how to play the note I listen in your head"...
I am practicing it... hope to be able to post something more soon with some improvement on that....

I have just a question... could you please comment a bit more on:
There is a lot of misdirection in teaching that dictates that one should just pick out notes within a chord structure. If you do that guess what it will sound like? It's not music when a player has no idea what they are playing and just hopes that it sounds OK. Try to always know the sound of the note you play before you play it, no matter how simple or complex.

I thought and am practicing to really play the notes of each chord.... isn't that what the pro players do?

Thanks again.
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,318
Location
New Zealand and Australia
There is unfortunately a big gap between what is taught and what is real in the creative world. Teachers need to have methods of teaching as it's frankly impossible to teach creativity. So what is taught are reductions or observations of what happens during a successful improvisation. If "playing changes" then this reduces to having a palate of notes that fit within a specific chord structure. If you are reading a chord chart then you would pick suitable notes and/or an arpeggio and it will theoretically fit. However if you (as the player) have no idea what you are about to play it's about as creative as a paint by the numbers picture. How can anyone play with commitment or intent if they have no idea what notes they are about to play? It would be foolish on the part of someone who is playing by the numbers to think a listener will be impressed by a mechanical non-musical improvisation. Have a listen to any pro who you admire and ask yourself if what you hear sounds like a line of purposefully played notes or random notes picked from within a bag of theoretically right notes. If you think any other note from the same scale/chord would be as good then do a transcription and try dropping in alternative notes that supposedly fit and see what it sounds like. Music that works for most people has the dimensions of stories, feeling, development and melodic lines that communicate these. Those who consider themselves musicians who only run arpeggios are extremely limited and not something any audience wants to hear for very long.

It comes down to what is easy to teach that will make someone sound OK (but they aren't really being creative) or using your internal voice to sing through your instrument. The theory is good to learn, but if you don't take the time to make the instrument a part of you (whereby you can play whatever you hear), then possibly just running riffs and arpeggios will be as good as it gets. Depends on what your ambitions are in music. For many it's just fun to play and try to sound like you're OK, maybe play a few jams etc. For others it's a quest to be able to express yourself musically and be able to entertain others, possibly professionally. The paint by the numbers style of teaching can be successful in training those without talent and can give good background to many, but IMHO fails in it's dictates to address true musical creativity. In my opinion at some juncture it may even be detrimental. It would seem that many very talented people study jazz performance. Why is it that there isn't a single well known performer who has a PhD? Same is true for any of the creative arts. It's good to learn the tools and how to use them, but there is no teaching that can make you creative. It's also possible that being immersed in systems that teach what that institution or teacher thinks is is good can ultimately stymy your individuality and creativity. Old saying: those who can DO, those who can't TEACH.

Learn your musical "vocabulary/tools" and widen your listening so that you can hear lots of possibilities and make your instrument your voice. If you have musical talent and something musically to say then it will come forward. If you spend all of your time and effort learning ways to play where you are not part of the music and continually translating, then you will not be learning to be a creative player.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,366
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
To try and answer your question, let me say this. A well played improvised solo "suggests" the harmonic structure and "changes" of a tune, but does so in a melodically and rhythmically interesting way. A good exercise to become better at hearing the harmony and changes is to play the chords as arpeggios while listening to the backing track. However, this is just an exercise. One wouldn't want to play a solo that is that mechanical and boring to listen to. You can certainly use parts of arpeggios in your solos here and there mixed up with other melodic ideas, but be careful not to over do it. The same is true for scales and parts of scales. Think of an improvisation like a "tossed salad". First you practice all of the ingredients such as scales, arpeggios, licks, rhythmic ideas, etc. separately to get them all under your fingers and "in your ear". Then when you improvise you toss them all together and mix them up in a creative way that comes out different each time you do it. The more vegetables and spices you can put in your salad, the more interesting it will be.

That was well done for your first effort at recording yourself. You certainly picked a very ambitious tune for your first improvisation. Wave is one of Jobim's best songs, but it is also one of his most challenging in terms of chord changes---even for more experienced players than yourself. If you like bossa novas, one that has more accessible changes and is fun to play and listen to is "Summer Samba (So Nice)". I would suggest starting to work on your improvisation "chops" with some easier tunes like the ones in Jamey Aebersold's Volume 54 Maiden Voyage book. If you buy the book, Smart Music has the recorded accompaniments that you can adjust the tempos and even record yourself playing the songs.
 

Marcello

Senior Member
Messages
228
Location
Anderson, South Carolina
There is unfortunately a big gap between what is taught and what is real in the creative world. Teachers need to have methods of teaching as it's frankly impossible to teach creativity. So what is taught are reductions or observations of what happens during a successful improvisation. If "playing changes" then this reduces to having a palate of notes that fit within a specific chord structure. If you are reading a chord chart then you would pick suitable notes and/or an arpeggio and it will theoretically fit. However if you (as the player) have no idea what you are about to play it's about as creative as a paint by the numbers picture. How can anyone play with commitment or intent if they have no idea what notes they are about to play? It would be foolish on the part of someone who is playing by the numbers to think a listener will be impressed by a mechanical non-musical improvisation. Have a listen to any pro who you admire and ask yourself if what you hear sounds like a line of purposefully played notes or random notes picked from within a bag of theoretically right notes. If you think any other note from the same scale/chord would be as good then do a transcription and try dropping in alternative notes that supposedly fit and see what it sounds like. Music that works for most people has the dimensions of stories, feeling, development and melodic lines that communicate these. Those who consider themselves musicians who only run arpeggios are extremely limited and not something any audience wants to hear for very long.

It comes down to what is easy to teach that will make someone sound OK (but they aren't really being creative) or using your internal voice to sing through your instrument. The theory is good to learn, but if you don't take the time to make the instrument a part of you (whereby you can play whatever you hear), then possibly just running riffs and arpeggios will be as good as it gets. Depends on what your ambitions are in music. For many it's just fun to play and try to sound like you're OK, maybe play a few jams etc. For others it's a quest to be able to express yourself musically and be able to entertain others, possibly professionally. The paint by the numbers style of teaching can be successful in training those without talent and can give good background to many, but IMHO fails in it's dictates to address true musical creativity. In my opinion at some juncture it may even be detrimental. It would seem that many very talented people study jazz performance. Why is it that there isn't a single well known performer who has a PhD? Same is true for any of the creative arts. It's good to learn the tools and how to use them, but there is no teaching that can make you creative. It's also possible that being immersed in systems that teach what that institution or teacher thinks is is good can ultimately stymy your individuality and creativity. Old saying: those who can DO, those who can't TEACH.

Learn your musical "vocabulary/tools" and widen your listening so that you can hear lots of possibilities and make your instrument your voice. If you have musical talent and something musically to say then it will come forward. If you spend all of your time and effort learning ways to play where you are not part of the music and continually translating, then you will not be learning to be a creative player.


Cornell, once again, thanks for the comments....
to tell you the truth I am a self-learner.... so I was never sure if I should focus on playing the scales/arpeggios/etc or on the feeling but with your comments I understand that both are important... but the more important is to "play what I listen in my head"...
Cheers...!
 

Marcello

Senior Member
Messages
228
Location
Anderson, South Carolina
To try and answer your question, let me say this. A well played improvised solo "suggests" the harmonic structure and "changes" of a tune, but does so in a melodically and rhythmically interesting way. A good exercise to become better at hearing the harmony and changes is to play the chords as arpeggios while listening to the backing track. However, this is just an exercise. One wouldn't want to play a solo that is that mechanical and boring to listen to. You can certainly use parts of arpeggios in your solos here and there mixed up with other melodic ideas, but be careful not to over do it. The same is true for scales and parts of scales. Think of an improvisation like a "tossed salad". First you practice all of the ingredients such as scales, arpeggios, licks, rhythmic ideas, etc. separately to get them all under your fingers and "in your ear". Then when you improvise you toss them all together and mix them up in a creative way that comes out different each time you do it. The more vegetables and spices you can put in your salad, the more interesting it will be.

That was well done for your first effort at recording yourself. You certainly picked a very ambitious tune for your first improvisation. Wave is one of Jobim's best songs, but it is also one of his most challenging in terms of chord changes---even for more experienced players than yourself. If you like bossa novas, one that has more accessible changes and is fun to play and listen to is "Summer Samba (So Nice)". I would suggest starting to work on your improvisation "chops" with some easier tunes like the ones in Jamey Aebersold's Volume 54 Maiden Voyage book. If you buy the book, Smart Music has the recorded accompaniments that you can adjust the tempos and even record yourself playing the songs.


JB...
I also thank to you.... what I just wrote to Cornell applies to your comments... I must know the scales and etc... but wothout forget that I must allow myself some "trying"....
thanks a lot for your comments...
 
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Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,318
Location
New Zealand and Australia
Just my opinion: Your tone is very good and this more than gets you through. I think listeners would certainly find your playing pleasant. Audiences also get where a performer is comfortable or uncomfortable in their playing. For the seasoned professional this means that they can emotionally bluff audiences when they make mistakes by continuing to play like nothing happened. The rest of us often exaggerate our mistakes by fumbling or trying too hard to correct our blunders, which audiences pick up on as it breaks the flow. It takes years of practice to play what's in your head and years of playing with others and having confidence to give the impression of being proficient and a professional.
 

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
984
Location
Worcestershire
BTW, can anyone tell me if to the ears of a lay listener it would be pleasant to listen to...?
I mean, would it be too boring, or too flat or...?

Ah, finally a question I'm qualified to answer! I'm pretty much a lay listener with only 8 months of sax playing under my belt. :)

I agree very much that you have a lovely tone. Okay some notes slightly cracked or coming out a little insecure from time to time so you might want to try to improve that if you were going to play in public, but nothing terrible and I definitely suffer the same problem and worse. As for the improvisation, I think if you listen back you will hear for yourself and be your own best judge. There are sections early on in the improv when for me I would say it sounds very melodic and I could easily imagine hearing the sound in a large hotel's lounge. As it progresses I felt you were losing your way a little and the melodic ideas were thinning out so it became a little more like random noodling searching for a melodic line. And yes I suffer with that too. And frankly over such a long track I'd be amazed if you could keep reinventing interesting melodic engaging lines over the whole piece as I know I definitely couldn't. Overall though I'd say it was a very good first recording and very well done. I hope I haven't been too honest - I've tried to say honestly what I heard in terms of positives and areas for improvement. All in my own very humble opinion though.
 

Marcello

Senior Member
Messages
228
Location
Anderson, South Carolina
Ah, finally a question I'm qualified to answer! I'm pretty much a lay listener with only 8 months of sax playing under my belt. :)

I agree very much that you have a lovely tone. Okay some notes slightly cracked or coming out a little insecure from time to time so you might want to try to improve that if you were going to play in public, but nothing terrible and I definitely suffer the same problem and worse. As for the improvisation, I think if you listen back you will hear for yourself and be your own best judge. There are sections early on in the improv when for me I would say it sounds very melodic and I could easily imagine hearing the sound in a large hotel's lounge. As it progresses I felt you were losing your way a little and the melodic ideas were thinning out so it became a little more like random noodling searching for a melodic line. And yes I suffer with that too. And frankly over such a long track I'd be amazed if you could keep reinventing interesting melodic engaging lines over the whole piece as I know I definitely couldn't. Overall though I'd say it was a very good first recording and very well done. I hope I haven't been too honest - I've tried to say honestly what I heard in terms of positives and areas for improvement. All in my own very humble opinion though.

Hi Thomas...!
Your honest opinion was much appreciated. :thumb:
I plan to share more of my attempts here and hope that you may share your opinion again...!
You said what you felt and "honestly" speaking, this is the kind of feedback I am looking for.
I absolutely agree with you that I lost (lose) the melodic line after a while (not only on this song) and yes, my ideas disappear after some time... Well, I am working my creative side to solve that... hopefully in a few months I can sustain the melodic line a bit longer...
You had exactly the feeling I have... I often think that my attempts to improvise are "so flat" and boring (but some say they are not...). Well, I am work on this as well trying to put more swing on it...
Thanks again and hope to have a song from you to listen to... ;}

Cheers,
Marcello
 

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
984
Location
Worcestershire
Hi Thomas...!
Your honest opinion was much appreciated. :thumb:
I plan to share more of my attempts here and hope that you may share your opinion again...!
You said what you felt and "honestly" speaking, this is the kind of feedback I am looking for.
I absolutely agree with you that I lost (lose) the melodic line after a while (not only on this song) and yes, my ideas disappear after some time... Well, I am working my creative side to solve that... hopefully in a few months I can sustain the melodic line a bit longer...
You had exactly the feeling I have... I often think that my attempts to improvise are "so flat" and boring (but some say they are not...). Well, I am work on this as well trying to put more swing on it...
Thanks again and hope to have a song from you to listen to... ;}

Cheers,
Marcello

Hi Marcello, it really was a pleasure to listen and I am genuinely pleased (and relieved) that you saw my comments in the constructive way that they were meant.

I do have a few postings on this "Your sound clips" section, plus some in the "Ballad of the Month", the "Beginner's sound clips" thread, and the "Introduction to Improvisation" thread, but rest assured there will be more to come. But I'm still a beginner so don't expect anything too good from me quite yet.

I look forward to hearing more of yours and will be very happy to give my feedback if desired.

Cheers,
 

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