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Techniques to change to any key when improvising #2709778
01/29/18 12:09 PM
01/29/18 12:09 PM
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Visalia Offline OP
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Supposing you improvise without care. Is it easy to then resolve your piece to a given key, having gone off on a tangent?

For example, here in 'Funeral for a Friend' we see an Emm7b5 being used (@ 1:15) as a sort of transitional chord to bring it from the key of C minor to A major. Might this be part of a musical technique, how the song changes key, but yet it doesn't feel random?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T92k1Nz5NIE

There's something similar to that being done in this performance too... from the 0:39 mark to when the singing starts. Although I'm not too sure of the chords here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyWAJTUIVNg

In addition to the thread question, I'd also like to know the chords of the latter piece. Some of the chords I have listed may be simplified or incorrect... especially for the G and A chords because I've a feeling there's something different about them!

Cm/3 - Ab - Bb - G - A - D5 - D5(with added m7) - Gm

Thanks

Last edited by Visalia; 01/29/18 12:12 PM.
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Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Visalia] #2709788
01/29/18 12:26 PM
01/29/18 12:26 PM
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Nahum Offline
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Israel
The ability to modulate into any key requires knowledge not just in chords, but in harmony in general.

https://www.artofcomposing.com/the-art-of-modulation-part-1

https://www.artofcomposing.com/the-art-of-modulation-part-2-common-chord-modulation

Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Visalia] #2709828
01/29/18 02:25 PM
01/29/18 02:25 PM
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Simon_b Offline
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Hi

In respect of the examples you've provided in the links, I don't think there is much in the way of improvisation going on. The introduction to Funeral for a Friend is played as he always plays it. Maybe in Rocket Man there is a little bit going on in the opening Piano statement. Whilst Elton John is a great musician he's not a Jazz improviser, and he doesn't improvise without care (as you describe it).

When he's playing solo concerts, I'm sure he does play with more freedom, but I suspect it's less about improvisation, and more about him using a bag of variations and riffs that are well drilled under his fingers.

Of course this is all just my opinion, but its based on watching him play over the last 40+ years, and quite a bit time I've spent studying his playing style as I am a fan.

Cheers


Simon
Yamaha CLP535
Vox Continental 73


Play what you enjoy listening to, listen to what you enjoy playing!




Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Visalia] #2710069
01/30/18 12:09 PM
01/30/18 12:09 PM
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Simon b: Love the word "whilst." Americans should start using it!

Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Visalia] #2710072
01/30/18 12:18 PM
01/30/18 12:18 PM
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Simon_b Offline
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Hi jjo

Funnily enough I'll be in Chicago in May for a few days as part of a 2 week holiday in the US.
I'll see if I can start a "whilst" promotional tour, while I'm there! :-)

Cheers


Simon
Yamaha CLP535
Vox Continental 73


Play what you enjoy listening to, listen to what you enjoy playing!




Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Visalia] #2710329
01/31/18 10:09 AM
01/31/18 10:09 AM
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Heard he is doing a farewell concert tour starting this year and may invest in tickets that open for sale in February for when he comes to the big smoke in September. Whist not as big a fan as I was in the earlier years, I've never seen him and think would be fun and as well have friends that remain huge fans and thinking of treating them. If, I can get tickets that is. May look up your Chicago tour as well, Simon. Also sounds like fun.

Part B of your question:

Gm7 She packed my bags last night C9 pre-flight.
Gm7 zero hour nine A.M. C9
Eb and I'm gonna be Bb/D high Cm
Cm7/Bb as a kite by F/A then

Gm7 I miss the earth so much I C11 miss my wife (C sus4 is fine for the C11, but is nicer/fuller with the Bb added)
Gm7 it's lonely out in space C11
Eb on such a Bb/D time Cm less-flight Cm7/Bb
F/A, F/C, F, Cm7/F

Bridge ...
Bb, Eb, Bb, Eb, Bb/D, C7, Eb, Bb, Eb ... Repeat.

Got this straight from a book I have. In the version you posted he is in this same key(Bb). Hope helps and what you were looking for.


Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Visalia] #2710387
01/31/18 01:19 PM
01/31/18 01:19 PM
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I'm also a big EJ fan, and never saw him in concert until last year. One of the best shows I've ever seen, don't know why I waited so long. When I heard the news, I got tickets right away for my whole family to see him in Feb at Caesar's Palace.

From my experience at his show last year, it sure sounded like significant improvisation on almost every song he played, and it was mostly the old hits from the early years. I was thinking at the time what a lesson this is, but I'm sure Simon is right. He's been playing piano all his life, he could have a dozen variations for each song to choose at will, or maybe a dozen frameworks that he never plays exactly same way.

Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Visalia] #2710440
01/31/18 04:50 PM
01/31/18 04:50 PM
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Simon_b Offline
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Hi

There used to be a very good website called "Eltons Cafe", which contained a lot of detailed analysis of his playing and the song structures. It disappeared for some years, but it has been recreated by some fans.

https://eltonscafe.net/

This is well worth checking out, and is the best website on Elton John's playing that I've ever seen.
Sadly its not complete anymore but there is still a lot of interesting information.

Cheers


Simon
Yamaha CLP535
Vox Continental 73


Play what you enjoy listening to, listen to what you enjoy playing!




Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Visalia] #2710546
02/01/18 03:13 AM
02/01/18 03:13 AM
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Nahum Offline
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Israel
As I understood, the question about modulations is no longer relevant.

Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Visalia] #2710893
02/02/18 09:43 AM
02/02/18 09:43 AM
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I've never been a big fan of Elton. He lost me years ago with his pop music. BUT I have the album (vinyl and CD both) "11-17-70" . It was recorded in a live radio studio (in New York I think) on Nov 17, 1970 with an audience of about 100 invited guests. The album is just EJ on piano with a bass player and drummer. Great stuff.

Burn Down the Mission from 11-17-70

Last edited by indigo_dave; 02/02/18 09:47 AM.
Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Visalia] #2710934
02/02/18 12:30 PM
02/02/18 12:30 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
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Chicago
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11/17/70, one of my favorite albums. I can't think of very many other instances where someone had the confidence to play rock and roll with just a piano trio.

Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Visalia] #2710959
02/02/18 01:50 PM
02/02/18 01:50 PM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 365
Kent, UK
Simon_b Offline
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Hi

The re-release of 17/11/70 as a double LP set last year, is well worth getting. A whole record of new material. It's not been released on CD (well not last time I looked) so I bought a new turntable, and made my first vinyl purchase for 30 years!

On the website I mentioned above there is a transcription of part of the Burn Down the Mission performance from 17/11/70.

Cheers


Simon
Yamaha CLP535
Vox Continental 73


Play what you enjoy listening to, listen to what you enjoy playing!




Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Greener] #2711133
02/03/18 07:11 AM
02/03/18 07:11 AM
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Visalia Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Greener
Heard he is doing a farewell concert tour starting this year and may invest in tickets that open for sale in February for when he comes to the big smoke in September. Whist not as big a fan as I was in the earlier years, I've never seen him and think would be fun and as well have friends that remain huge fans and thinking of treating them. If, I can get tickets that is. May look up your Chicago tour as well, Simon. Also sounds like fun.

Part B of your question:

Gm7 She packed my bags last night C9 pre-flight.
Gm7 zero hour nine A.M. C9
Eb and I'm gonna be Bb/D high Cm
Cm7/Bb as a kite by F/A then

Gm7 I miss the earth so much I C11 miss my wife (C sus4 is fine for the C11, but is nicer/fuller with the Bb added)
Gm7 it's lonely out in space C11
Eb on such a Bb/D time Cm less-flight Cm7/Bb
F/A, F/C, F, Cm7/F

Bridge ...
Bb, Eb, Bb, Eb, Bb/D, C7, Eb, Bb, Eb ... Repeat.

Got this straight from a book I have. In the version you posted he is in this same key(Bb). Hope helps and what you were looking for.

For goodness sake, I obviously know that. It was the intro that I'm asking about.

Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Nahum] #2711135
02/03/18 07:20 AM
02/03/18 07:20 AM
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Visalia Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Nahum
The ability to modulate into any key requires knowledge not just in chords, but in harmony in general.

https://www.artofcomposing.com/the-art-of-modulation-part-1

https://www.artofcomposing.com/the-art-of-modulation-part-2-common-chord-modulation

That's a lot of text to throw at someone, which I assume is explained in a long winded and complicated way. I guess I just want to learn one trick at a time.

Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Simon_b] #2711137
02/03/18 07:28 AM
02/03/18 07:28 AM
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Visalia Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Simon_b
Hi

In respect of the examples you've provided in the links, I don't think there is much in the way of improvisation going on. The introduction to Funeral for a Friend is played as he always plays it.
I know. But the key change technique still applies.
Originally Posted by Simon_b

Maybe in Rocket Man there is a little bit going on in the opening Piano statement. Whilst Elton John is a great musician he's not a Jazz improviser, and he doesn't improvise without care (as you describe it).
Elton John's improv parts have gotten a bit boring over the last few years.

In 2014, he had some damn good improv stuff in his Rocket Man intros... it was almost like he was a different person. But now it seems like he's just using the same ole bag of tricks for his improv parts.

He has seemed to eliminate the tricky songs from his latest setlist... the likes of 'Funeral for a Friend' and 'Carla Etude', for stupid songs like 'The Bitch is Back'.

Last edited by Visalia; 02/03/18 07:30 AM.
Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Visalia] #2711171
02/03/18 11:13 AM
02/03/18 11:13 AM
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Posts: 365
Kent, UK
Simon_b Offline
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Hi Visalia

When people take the trouble to reply to you, you could at least be polite.
Your replies to Nahum and Greener are not.

Cheers


Simon
Yamaha CLP535
Vox Continental 73


Play what you enjoy listening to, listen to what you enjoy playing!




Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Visalia] #2711317
02/03/18 11:18 PM
02/03/18 11:18 PM
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I happened to think of the Beatles "Yesterday" - at the "why she had to go" line there's (in the key of Fmaj as I'd play it) an Em7 (add11) A (altered depending on your voicing) Dm Bb
This is an"easy" form of modulation used here and there. In this case it's just going for a moment (tip toeing) into the relative minor and heading back to F.

Another simple key change (modulation) is in the Beatles "I Want To Hold You Hand" in C maj (as I'd play in) on the "and when I touch you I feel happy inside" there is a G min C F Dm
again making something into a "ii V I" function.

These are short and don't last, but they could. It's all in how you proceed.

Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Visalia] #2711371
02/04/18 06:48 AM
02/04/18 06:48 AM
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Since modulation is a transition from one tonality to another, it is necessary to give the concept of tonality: a scale from a certain note receiving the function of the main first step - the tonic; and a system of chords built on all seven steps of the scale
Besides the main function of tonic, there are two additional functions: the dominant and subdominant. It is necessary to understand that the function is not a chord, but the property that tonality attaches to the chord in accordance with the scale.
Thus, each of the three functions - T, SD and D refer at least to three chords located at the steps of scale:

T - at I , III , VI

SD - at IV, II , VI

D - at V ,VII ,III

I , IV and V are the main steps of three functional groups of chords. Together they form a chord pattern, called tonal cadence - in the following order: T -SD- D- T . In C major it will be C-F-G(7) -C ; in F major : F - Bb -C(7) - F ; etc.
In tonal music there are no chords without some function; conversely, you can see that one chord can have two functions , and the knowledge of these functions helps to move from any key to any other - ie. create a modulation.
To determine the key, we look for the neighborhood of three functions SD-D-T ; however, the most representative function is the dominant, which sooner or later inevitably leads to the tonic.

Some types of modulations.


1. The simplest is the sudden modulation: the musical fragment ends on the tonic, and you go over suddenly, without any preparation to the tonic of new key. It is not very desirable if there is a vocalist.

2. Prepared modulation: before a new tonic you put a new dominant, or pattern SD -D from new key .

3.Modulation through a common chord for both keys; which is called - pivot chord . For example, you need to switch from C major to Bb major. They have 2 common chords : Dm and F ; through each of them you can go into a new key: C - G(7) - C - F - Dm(III of Bb) - Gm(VI of Bb) - F(7)(V of Bb) -Bb.

4. There are 3 universal chords for switching from any chord to any other and key to any other - 3 diminished 7 : Bdim7 ,C dim7 ,C#dim7 , and all their inversions. Through them, you can go straight to any new tonic, dominant or subdominant; only in many cases you get them in inversions, which requires continuation in a new key to a logical final cadence.

From C major to G# minor : C - F -G -C - Bdim7 - G#m/B(new tonic) - C#m (new subdominant) - D# (new dominant)- G#m .
















Last edited by Nahum; 02/04/18 11:42 AM.
Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Visalia] #2711413
02/04/18 11:23 AM
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Thanks Nahum


Simon
Yamaha CLP535
Vox Continental 73


Play what you enjoy listening to, listen to what you enjoy playing!




Re: Techniques to change to any key when improvising [Re: Visalia] #2711429
02/04/18 01:06 PM
02/04/18 01:06 PM
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A lot of what is written on this forum is beyond me, but I learn from it and really appreciate the time posters put into sharing their knowledge. It's a real gift! When an OP responds arrogantly with entitlement and rudeness, it certainly sours the conversation.

Nahum, thanks to you especially for what you posted. That is very interesting to me! I understood it! I must be progressing. : )


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