Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Applying scales to tunes - restricted Improvisation

If you start to go a little deeper into your practice of a certain tune or standard you will always notice points in the tune in which you are not as comfortable. Some places it flows, and others your resource of ideas or licks become limited and you may even resort to just relying on your ear on occasions.

One way to overcome this (once you have a certain grip on a tune - ie,  familiar with which scales you want to play over which chords -) is to set yourself the challenge of a restricted improvisation or an improvisation that has certain set limits.

When I say restricted, for example I decide at the beginning of a particular exercise that I am only going to start the phrases of my improivisation on a certain note. For example. If I am practicing 'Stella by Starlight' because i would like to tackle melodic minor phrases over -7b5 and alt chords I will start a session deciding that on those chords or sclaes I will start each phrase on the 3rd degree of the scale.

Once I'm comfortable with that I'll pick another.  - And so on till over time you have covered all of them.

What this does I have noticed is twofold. First it allows you to memorize much better the notes of each scale and secondly it forces you to make phrases that do not always start on the note you desire. This is very useful for improvising, since you don't always land or start a phrase on the note that you decide apon!

I havn't tried this yet but I'm sure it would work rhythmically too. Pick a particular rhythmic phrase and apply it to each set of chords. It would lead to interesting results.

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