"You have to practice improvisation,

montemerrick

no earthly reason why
Apr 13, 2015
22,788
300 miles from anywhere.
Yep.

My favorite 2 cents on it came from Howard.


whether i'm playing for myself (or in public, someday, again, i hope) or doing one of the improv challenges, this clip of HR talking runs through my mind, i'm a million miles technically from his capablitities, but even a novice can appreciate the poetry of his thought...
 
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montemerrick

no earthly reason why
Apr 13, 2015
22,788
300 miles from anywhere.
IMHO improvisation if "in key" lol is just picking riffs you already know. Otherwise it's jazz.
i've got a couple of Leo Nocentelli licks i learned, mostly so i could see how he establishs a rhythm with pentatonic licks (i mean, he's better than most - Cissy Strut seems simple enough until you try to play it.)

but i cant just repeat those ad inifinitum, ad naseum!
 

El Gobernador

fezz parka
Apr 21, 2011
35,194
Nunyo, BZ
IMHO improvisation if "in key" lol is just picking riffs you already know. Otherwise it's jazz.
Well...no. It can be in any style.

The idea of improvisation is to compose on the spot. Play a melody you've never played before. Tell a story that hasn't been told. Improvisation isn't blowing licks. Its thematic development. In real time.

This isn't jazz. And it's improvised. One take. One pass. No time to work out parts. I just hit record and played.



Also not jazz:



This...is jazz. It's also improvised with the head being the exception.



And yes...to be able to do this...you have to practice it. Blowing licks is easy. Composing on the spot requires work. Lots of it.
 

Mouse

The Knees of Rock
Apr 25, 2012
23,472
New Jersey
My approach to improv has changed from my participation in the challenges a few years ago. It's a much simpler approach whereby I'm less concerned about playing a flashy lick and more concerned about melody and telling a story. As such my phrasing is simplistic but that's intentional.

I've listened back to many of my old improvs and while the notes are in key, it doesn't sound like music...at least not any music I'd want to hear. I'd rather create a simple theme that runs throughout. I wish I had the ability to throw in the flashy run on the fly that keeps in the theme's spirit but I'm not quite there yet so simple it will be for a while.

For the record I always hit record and play. Even with mistakes, I'd rather approach improv as a spontaneous conversation rather than any real plan of what I'm going to say.
 

train

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Jan 22, 2015
1,068
Usa.
Well...no. It can be in any style.

The idea of improvisation is to compose on the spot. Play a melody you've never played before. Tell a story that hasn't been told. Improvisation isn't blowing licks. Its thematic development. In real time.

This isn't jazz. And it's improvised. One take. One pass. No time to work out parts. I just hit record and played.



Also not jazz:



This...is jazz. It's also improvised with the head being the exception.



And yes...to be able to do this...you have to practice it. Blowing licks is easy. Composing on the spot requires work. Lots of it.

Love 3 12 you sir got some flow thanks for sharing
 

ripgtr

Most Honored Senior Member
Feb 16, 2012
5,428
austin
If you want to be able to think up interesting, musical things to play, on the fly, you need to spend a lot of time learning to do that. Improv is not just stringing notes together, it is making up something, on the spot, that sounds thought out and planned. Because you Are planning it, only it is just a millisecond or so before you play it.

I usually improv my solos on recordings. Then go back and take what I did and take the good parts and work them out. I find I compose better when I don't "think" about it, just play, but lots of times, the ideas are not as polished as I want them, but they are good ideas. So I polish them up. And sometimes, I improv it, and I like it and I keep it. I've learned, when recording, to make sure all my levels and such are good even when doing a dummy track, cause if it is good, I want the take to be good. Sometimes, it just happens and you got to catch it when it does.
 

systolsys

Strat-O-Master
Nov 22, 2020
969
Sydney, Australia
IMHO improvisation if "in key" lol is just picking riffs you already know. Otherwise it's jazz.

Speaking is using phrases you already know connected by joining words.

It's easy to put random words in order... "Elephant green makeshift an guitar Fibonacci motorsport Wednesday"... but that doesn't convey anything.

There is nothing wrong with using phrases when improvising. There is nothing wrong about using chord patterns when improvising. It's good to know the rules. When you get really good, you can start to break the rules, which is where the magic happens. And to get good, you need to practice. (Or be born a God... but those are few and far between)

Playing your favourite 4-bar riff over every song... yeah... that's not really improvising.
 

crankmeister

Most Honored Senior Member
Jul 9, 2020
5,664
Republic of Gilead
People who claim hitting "wrong notes" makes it jazz don't understand jazz. They actually are hitting the Right notes, with very much thought behind them. Sometimes the listener just doesn't understand why those Are the right notes. :)
Exactly.

Some such listeners are also uncomfortable with the tension. They equate tension with "wrong note.". A fair opportunity for some musicology there, I suppose.
 


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