Saxophone Forum


by Spunky2sax75
(75 posts)
10 years ago

Improvisation

In some songs I have played in jazz band, they have solos that say "as written or ad lib." Above it, they have th chord structures, such as Cma7 and stuff like that. I have some idea what that means, but I would like to know what those mean. Anyone who knows a website that can help or simply can help themselves, I would appreciate it a lot. Thanx

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  1. by lorenzopace
    (3 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Improvisation

    Looks like golfer guy should stick to golf or, at least buy one of the books the others have mentioned. The difference between major and dominant 7th was corrected but whats with ma7 being a 3 ?

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    1. by golferguy675
      (600 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Improvisation

      Yeah, sorry, typo. I didn't catch it. Yes, I know ma7 is the 1 chord, I'm not retarded.

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      1. by lorenzopace
        (3 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Improvisation

        Golfer- sorry if I was too judgemental. i never mean to sound like a know it all or to hurt people's feelings.sometimes the english is hard for me.

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    2. by karebear1012
      (395 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Improvisation

      There's a book by Joe Viola which has every chord and 5 exercises for each. I think doing chord changes in a solo is really hard when you're first starting, but the book by Joe Viola really helps get some ideas flowing. It also helps if you play the piano, because you can actually play the chord.

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    3. by birdwho
      (15 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Improvisation

      listen here, jazz is music for the soul, knowing some theory helps, but focus too much and you might sound corny as shit. learn the chords on piano though that was a great tip, but use your ear, and dont be afraid to run away from the chords!!! theres no wrong notes in jazz, only inappropriate ones, and how something fits only relates to how you make it fit, so put your sound on it man. use your ear listen to the greats

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    4. by golferguy675
      (600 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Improvisation

      You need to learn you're theory. Like for example, that Cma7change would be the C major scale with a lower seventh, since it's a dominan chord. So it would be C D E F G A Bb C. You need a teacher, and a book that explains it all. I can't think of any of the top of my head, because I never really bought beginner's book for chord changes, I just learned them from lessons, and now all I have is advance changes books, like Walt Weiskpof stuff. Go to a jazz workshop somwhere, they're all over the place. You just missed the GIANT Aebersold Workshop in Louisville Kentucky. Definetly go there next year. Basically, the chord changes just are guidlines to what chords are played, and what notes and scales will sound good within the chord.

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      1. by golferguy675
        (600 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Improvisation

        Go to www.jazzbooks.com, it's Jamey Aebersold's webiste, it will have the books you need. Buy some play alongs too.

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      2. by Spike
        (248 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Improvisation

        um... see, the reason it's called a major seventh chord is because of it's major seventh... not a dominant. C7 is dominant seventh, but Cmaj7 just means the chord with C E G and B. you could easily play lydian or lydian b2 on it, as well as a major scale. you'd have to check context, but this is probably functioning as a 4 chord so lydian would work best. besides, ionian(major) is boring, and lydian b2 sounds terrible.

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        1. by golferguy675
          (600 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvisation

          Oh crap, yeah, what was I thinking.... God I can't believe I said that. But why would you want to play a lydian scale over a maj7 chord? It would work over maybe a maj7 #11 chord, because of the augmented 4th, but that would sound kind of off on a major seven chord. Sure it would be fine if it were the 4 chord, but usually a maj 7 chord is the 3 chord.

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          1. by peter090
            (155 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Improvisation

            In traditional harmony a maj7 chords occur on the I and IV chords so the two most basic choices are major and lydian. The function of the chord determines the "correct" choice. So in the most basic terms if a maj7 chord is a IV lydian sounds more natural if it is a I chord major does. The problem with this thinking is that the function of a chord can be difficult to determine so it is best to use your ear to make the final determination. If it sounds good it is correct.

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        2. by johnny_hodges
          (15 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvisation

          Improvisation requires certain skill. It takes practice, discipline, time.

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        3. by Curt G.
          (8 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvisation

          I think jazzbooks.com has a link to a free ear-training website. In addition to understanding theory, you'll need to put it to practice. Aebersold website also sells a couple sax books by Joe Viola (Berklee) that will help; a scale book and chord studies book. Good luck.

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        4. by peter090
          (155 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Improvisation

          This is a very good website for a basic introduction to jazz theory.

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          1. by Hexaclon
            (90 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Improvisation

            www.teoria.com

            Reply To Post AIM


            1. by Hexaclon
              (90 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: Improvisation

              ey! I have a question, I bought a John Coltrane play along, and I have some difficulties improvising through Giant Steps. Just wanted to know what you guy's practiced for improvising in that song. I'm currently writing the changes and playing the chord structure through the progression(slowly). Still haven't mastered for playing it at it's original tempo. I've also been listening allot of fast players and Coltrane himself.

              Reply To Post AIM


              1. by sax_maniac
                (984 posts)

                10 years ago

                Re: Improvisation

                The Hal Leonard publication? I'll take a look at it - just got it myself recently.

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              2. by Hexaclon
                (90 posts)

                10 years ago

                Re: Improvisation

                Yeah!! I also got the Miles Davis one, it's awesome.

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              3. by sax_maniac
                (984 posts)

                10 years ago

                Re: Improvisation

                I'm more the ballad type, so the Jazz Ballad book is my favorite right now. I've got about 13 of those books. Great series!

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            2. by golferguy675
              (600 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: Improvisation

              Chamiac, what I reccommed before you go through progression, is to go through he chord as a scale in straigh eights every bar. If there's 2 chages a bar, try to make those sixteenths. This way, you've played all the notes of chords, and you've got them under your fingers. Once you've got this down, then you should move to progressions. When you play this, start out at a tempo where you can play it all perfect, even if it's at 50 or 60. Then every day take out a metronome and try it 5 clicks faster. The biggest problem I see with people practicing, is that they start out trying to play things to fast, and can't get all the way through them, and keep going. You will never get it good this way. All you will do is frustrate yourself. If you can't play it slow, you can't play it fast.

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            3. by stutrane
              (15 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: Improvisation

              Welcome to a world of pain. I love playing Giant Steps, but I've been working on it for years, and am only sounding comfortable now. To start, play guide tone lines through the harmony, work out logical linear lines, and really learn them. They're your anchors. Play the arpeggios, right up to the 13th's, and the chord inversions, work on arpeggiating throught he changes SLOWLY and smoothly. Practice the diatonic scales for the progression. Play the inside digitals of each chord, just the basic 24 will do, and practice swapping between them- ie (in tenor key) on the Db at the start, use 1235, then on the E7 use 1532, etc... this helps HEAPS! Play Trane's solo trancription over and over- great for technique too. Sit on band in a box or an aebersold and shed the damn progression. Never use a chart. Good luck mate, it's an awesome song, but a hard one.

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            4. by golferguy675
              (600 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: Improvisation

              I've been playing Giant steps for probably 7 years now at concerts, and it's definetly one of the hardest if not THE hardest songs I know to solo over. Insanity. When I started, patterns helped a lot. A ran probably 60 patterns over the changes that I sort of modified out of Patterns for Jazz. Patterns and linear lines are the best for practicing challenging chords, because you get a better depth of understanding for the structure and patterns of the chord changes. I think I might go at transcribing Potter's solo. Welcome to a world of pain is right.

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            5. by The_MarkVI
              (80 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: Improvisation

              like the guy metioned before- jamey abersol books and work on watermelon man. easy song to solo on. first song i learned vol. 54

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            6. by mooing_sheep
              (20 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: Improvisation

              What I usually do to begin with is learn the blues/pentatonic/whatever scale to the root chord, and just go from there. Don't worry about chord changes, just make sure you have a good enough feel for the song and where it's going to have a cohesive solo. And hey, if a note or two sounds kind of awkward, it's no big deal--just head back to your root and work your way back into the flow...or you could say you meant for that note to be awkward (for artistic value, heh heh).

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            7. by martysax
              (148 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: Improvisation

              I first got started on an improvisation bug playing the solo to Maynard Ferguson's version of "Chameleon." My junior high had a Berklee student teacher visit and he told me how to recognize and play the relative minor pentatonic to the major chords written on the chart. It changed my life. I went off from there. I then learned a great lesson on stage: If you ever land on a "Bad" note, build the whole solo around the "Bad" note! It turns into something wicked! I have to stop pulling that out at weddings though ;-) Brides get too funky sometimes.

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            8. by golferguy675
              (600 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: Improvisation

              Yeah, or just resolve a half step, because you're always just a half step away from a good not if you land a rotten one. Really, there are not bad notes, because even if you hit it, similar to what marty said...just put it into a pattern to get to the next change, especially if it's on a dominant chord, there's so many possible scales and progressions to play, just go into one that uses what you played. The goal is if you don't know something, or play something bad, keep going. Be so confident that you make the other person question their hearing and make them unsure if what you're playing's wrong.

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            9. by mooing_sheep
              (20 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: Improvisation

              Oooh, I love "Chameleon," that song kicks ass and then some!!!!!!!!!

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