Jazz improvisation.

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matt_p
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Jazz improvisation.

Post by matt_p » 05 Jul 2010, 22:13

Hi all, this is my first post, so I'd firstly like to say hello, my name is Matt (you guessed it!), I've just finished my GCSEs and will hopefully be taking my grade 7 in November, my piano teacher is a classical one, and I have not had chance or developed the know-how to improvise in a jazz style. I am familiar with improvising in a blues style in different keys etc., simply around the 12 bar blues format, can play reasonably well, but have no idea how to go about jazz improvisation :?: . Any tips would be greatly appreciated as I have a couple of friends who play sax. and would love to be able to play with them and also have the ability to take on solo bits, without sounding rubbish :lol: .

Thanks in advance, Matt

markymark
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Re: Jazz improvisation.

Post by markymark » 06 Jul 2010, 01:35

I would recommend you buy a tuition pack from Hal Leonard which does CD and books packs as well as DVDs. I have used these in the past and they are very good. While there are some similarities between the format of likes and use of the blues scale, there are some important differences, the main one being that the key signature constantly changes in jazz or at least it does in your head whenever you start soloing.

In more advanced pieces, Jazz music modulates constantly unlike the blues scale where the key signature follows mostly a "three chord wonder" format, i.e. G, C, D, G. In many instances, when you change chord in jazz, you play the key signature relating to that chord which is why the music often takes on that floaty, undefinable quality. If the music was written out, you would see constant accidentals but it does help as I say to think of the key signature relating to that chord. It doesn't happen all the time, but where soloing is involved, I would say that it is unavoidable in order to stop it sounding as safe or stationary as blues or country. Having said that, there are patterns in the behaviour of the music such as the 2-5-1 progression for example. It appears also in urban/gospel music styles.

No quick fix on this except start to brushing up on your major seventh chords and your 9th and 13th chords.

matt_p
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Re: Jazz improvisation.

Post by matt_p » 06 Jul 2010, 12:37

Thanks very much for taking the time to explain that to me, I think I am starting to understand what it's all about now :D . I have played plenty of major/minor/dominant 7th chords before, but I have to admit 9ths and 13ths are new to me (I know what they are, just not used them before in improvisation). Will consider buying what you have suggested, as I really am clueless and could do with a boot in the right direction on this one. I have a feeling it's just going to be a case of practice makes perfect though (I have only been playing for 4 years now), will see how I get on.

Thanks, Matt

salhford
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Re: Jazz improvisation.

Post by salhford » 09 Jul 2010, 13:53

Jazz improvisation is composing on the spot and coming up with melodies off the top of one's head. There are various techniques to do this effectively.Improvisation is instant composition, the instant creation of a new melody. In Jazz the improvisation is usually related to a song. In most cases the improvisation follows the chord progression of that song.

Ricardo2
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Re: Jazz improvisation.

Post by Ricardo2 » 12 Jul 2010, 16:39

I've done a very similar move, and the following books have been extremely useful:

Improvising Blues Piano - Tim Richards. - This starts from the basics of blues and shows you how to develop you improvisation. As the title suggests, it's mostly blues pieces, but I think it would be best to start with this book before his other book, 'Improvising Jazz Piano'

Jazz Piano from Scratch: A How-to Guide for Students and Teachers (ABRSM) - This is a very well thought out and useful learning guide for how to improvise in jazz. It really breaks down how you go about creating improvisations and techniques you can use.

ABRSM - Jazz scales Grades 1-5 and Jazz pieces Grades 1-5) - These pieces are obviously the graded pieces from the abrsm jazz syllabus and the pieces contain improv sections. These go well with the other abrsm book above.

Hope these are of some use. It's a great jounrey.

maggiepiano
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Re: Jazz improvisation.

Post by maggiepiano » 13 Jul 2010, 10:40

Where are you based?
If you are based in the north west- band on the wall used to run jazz improvisation classes - Also- get yourself a drum machine and have a go at playing along to different jazz rhythms- latin rhythms are a good beginning, big band and dixie land swing are also a good start - I found it challenging to learn in isolation and had to get out there and play- also if you can get a few cds of your favourite jazz artists and jam along with them - there are as many different types of jazz as there are stars in the sky!

Learn the classic american song book selection first as written and then improvise round the chords- use major 7ths, 9ths, Learn the jamie abersole scales to give you some ideas about what notes to play.

ABRSM jazz exam books are good Grades 1-5

Hope this helps
Maggie

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