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Beginner What are licks?

urmapaynter

New Member
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2
I am very new to improv and everybody keeps mentioning licks and I have no idea what they are! Any other improv/jazz tips would be very helpful as well.
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
I just bought a book on Licks, Phrases, and Patterns. In the beginning of the book they give the following definitions:

Lick - A short melodic fragment based on a particular chord type such as major, minor, or dominant. It is part of a phrase in the same way that a word is part of a sentence. A lick can be as short as two beats, or as long as two measures. Sometimes it is called a "run".

Phrase - A phrase is a connected series of licks which form a complete musical statement. It may be as short as two measures, or as long as four measures. It may be part of a longer solo.

Patterns - A pattern is a model to be copied and imitated. A lick or phrase may be considered a pattern when it is used as a model to be played in other keys. A pattern is a sequence of notes repeated on different steps of a scale.

~~~

I have no clue if these definitions are generally accepted. It's just the definitions that are being used for the purposes of this particular music book that teaches, "Licks, Phrases, and Patterns" for jazz saxophone.
 
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visionari1

Senior Member
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1,581
Most of my licks involve a cone and never last too long........as they melt in hot weather.:thumb:
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
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5,219
Licks are produced by Cats, Hep and Ordinary ones..........................

Have a go playing a 5 note sequence using certain notes over and over. See which ones sound really cool, really interesting, really dynamic and so on then produce them at an appropriate moment and stop playing for a short while. Repeating a lick can be really effective, or ending on a different/adjacent note etc.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Licks are produced by Cats, Hep and Ordinary ones..........................

Have a go playing a 5 note sequence using certain notes over and over. See which ones sound really cool, really interesting, really dynamic and so on then produce them at an appropriate moment and stop playing for a short while. Repeating a lick can be really effective, or ending on a different/adjacent note etc.
And if you repeat it enough times you can call it a riff, for extra cool points :mrcool.

(Btw, I don't like the way th Mr Cool smilie is smoking. Seems especially inappropriate in a sax-playing forum.)
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
And if you repeat it enough times you can call it a riff, for extra cool points :mrcool.

(Btw, I don't like the way th Mr Cool smilie is smoking. Seems especially inappropriate in a sax-playing forum.)
I've noticed that on many forums. The "Mr Cool" smiley is almost always smoking. I think it just goes to show the truth of how we were all brought up via peer pressure and movies to view smoking as being cool. But I agree that smoking is not cool, and it's especially not cool for wind players.

Smokers may get through some licks, but may run out of wind in a riff. :)))
 

Chris

Well Known
Subscriber
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3,821
If memory serves right:confused:. Didn't the king of cool Stan Getz:mrcool smoke, also Paul Desmond:mrcool to name two.

Chris
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,662
I always thought that licks were things that kept your reeds wet! :))):))):)))
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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5,946
And if you repeat it enough times you can call it a riff, for extra cool points :mrcool.

(Btw, I don't like the way th Mr Cool smilie is smoking. Seems especially inappropriate in a sax-playing forum.)
I suspect it's a vintage sax-player thing ;}
 

dubrosa22

Senior Member
Messages
413
This clip pretty much sums up licks for me - a short riff which is handy to have up your sleeve but can likely be up the collective sleeves of millions of other guys too! :D


*As seen on SOTW!*
 
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BigMartin

Well-Known Member
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3,904
Nice one, Dubrosa. I particularly like the bit from The Firebird (I think?) near the end.
 

dubrosa22

Senior Member
Messages
413
Yep, it's Stravinsky's Firebird.
Didn't Parker once carry around with him that score to study?

I don't see him in the montage video but maybe he introduced this lick into jazz parlance???
 
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