The Woodshed

How do you guys improvise based off the chord and not the key

26

Play what you hear in your head, and don't think.

That really is the short version of the answer.

However, it requires a VERY LONG period of everything else in this thread, to reach that point.

There's a Charlie Parker quote that sums it up: "You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail."

27

Play what you hear in your head, and don't think.

That really is the short version of the answer.

However, it requires a VERY LONG period of everything else in this thread, to reach that point.

There's a Charlie Parker quote that sums it up: "You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail."

– trumpetman

PERFECT!

28

I started what you're talking about by learning the pentatonic scale. So, then I noticed...OK...I'm in G, and the chord here is a G7...but there's this note in the chord that's not in the scale...a B...lemme try playing that note. Hmmmm...sounds pretty good over the I chord...uh, oh...not so good over the IV chord. But, wait...lookee here...there's a note in the IV chord that's not in my scale...an E... And it sort of took off from there...learn these extra notes all over the neck. I won't even tell you about when I learned that Renaissance musicians called the b5 "the devil's interval." ;)

29

If I have music in mind (patterns to go with the song) improvising becomes a question of "can I play what I hear."

If I don't it's a different issue ....

30

Step number one: Quit using pentatonic scales. You will suddenly be forced to learn how to play changes.

31

I try to use the method that was described by WB when attempting to play jazz tunes. Figure out the arpeggios of each chord and then try to connect those together typically with some chromatic notes. I'm still struggling quite a lot to be able to fluently start the arpeggio from any note of it. It starts to sound quite soon repetitive and mechanical if you always start the arpeggio from the root. I guess you should actually try to avoid playing the root of the chord and should try to target or start e.g. from the 3rd.

To play some notes out from the chord, I could try to play notes from substituted chords like kidgretsch wrote with 2-5 substitution. E.g. C substituted with Dm7 - G7. Or with substituting with chord half step above or below the target chord. E.g. if the progression is D7 - G7, you could play solo using notes from chords D7 - G#7 - G7.

With blues I could try to throw in come chord note. E.g. for blues in A, I could try to play the F# note on D chord that does not belong to A pentatonic or blues scale. And G# for the E chord. And you could also try to chromatically approach that note from up or below.

32

"Figure out the arpeggios of each chord and then try to connect those together typically with some chromatic notes. "

yes. the way i put it is to start out in the dominant key and throw in passing tones from the other chords.

33

How do you guys decide if that F# will be a flop or actually sound good?

I should add, the F# is going to clash with the chord tone F in the G7 and therefore be something of a flop.

– trumpetman

naw...it's the major 7th to the key and will work as part of a 2- or 3-note phrase, or as part of a series of stacked arpeggios going from F# to Gmaj7 to G7.


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