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The melodic line of improvisation and harmony #2513228
02/21/16 01:15 PM
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As far improvisation notes in the right hand must match the chords in the left?How much improvisation notes in the right hand must match the chords in the left hand? Every beginner usually uses first chord notes, then chord scales - in accordance with schemes, harmonic tensions, upper structures .In other words, to play non chordal pitches, require a theoretical approval.Is this true ?
While classical European   instrumental aesthetics of melody and sound production is based on ideal of Italian bel canto, jazz aesthetic is completely different - it is between singing and speech, coming from African traditions - a kind of Sprechgesang .While classical Europea   instrumental aesthetics of melody and sound production is based on Italian bel canto, jazz aesthetic is completely different - it is between singing and speech, coming from African traditions - a kind of Sprechgesang . This means that not all the sounds of music must match the chords, not every note carries the harmonic load. Gradually, the focus shifts from the harmonic unity to the advantage of the musical intonation , where only a portion of the notes corresponds to chords, but all the notes are arranged in whole intonation line . That's exactly what did Ornette Coleman in the 50-ies - 45 years after A. Schoenberg.
Here is an example of harmonization Satchmo speech where I identified key pitches of talking as harmonic point , and other pitches between aren't related with chords at all . Nevertheless it sounds!
https://www.mediafire.com/folder/21cd9yc2to6vc/Talking_harmonization

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Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2737310
05/17/18 01:05 AM
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You can clearly see how much the improvised melodic line is changing - depending on the initial impulse.

https://yadi.sk/d/1lEUtVJ_3ViGwr

1. Ordinary improvisation on piano;

2. Preliminary vocal improvisation, then transferred to instrument;

3. Preliminary improvisation by voice, including a mixture of vocal and speech intonations, then transferred to the instrument.

Harmonic progression : D-7b5 - G7 - C-7 (+)

Last edited by Nahum; 05/17/18 01:08 AM.
Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2737319
05/17/18 02:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Every beginner usually uses first chord notes, then chord scales - in accordance with schemes, harmonic tensions, upper structures .In other words, to play non chordal pitches, require a theoretical approval.Is this true ?

I'm not sure that this is true. I suspect that when teachers teach children, they tell them to do this, but I'm not sure that a child will spontaneously go that direction on his or her own. For one, don't small children invent little melodies sort of singing by themselves?

When I was 8, I was given a little organ. I put my hand on A to E, played from E down to A and then had to go up again and that was the start of a first melody. A while later a second melody formed gradually and got some chords under it, and then a third. The original E to A, A to E theme (key of Am) never left me. This was a little kid, no instruction. I heard a lot of classical music playing on my parents' radio and records. I duplicated these three melodies as an adult, but did not change anything.
You'll hear melody, key, and chords that make sense. Yet they had not been taught. Music is a language, and we pick up the grammar and syntax of language.
https://soundcloud.com/usernewtothis/age-8-9-musical-invention/s-CxBFD

I definitely do not start with chords when inventing music even now. With composition exercises while learning, yes - and the lack of formal chord sense is a handicap for more sophisticated things. But the chord progression was sensed all the same, maybe primitively. Well, if you invent a piece of music and it stops on Ti in movable Do solfege, you want it to finish off on Do. You are sensing V-I.

Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2737332
05/17/18 03:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
... classical European   instrumental aesthetics of melody and sound production is based on ideal of Italian bel canto, jazz aesthetic is completely different - it is between singing and speech, coming from African traditions - a kind of Sprechgesang ...

I’ve been privileged to learn recently from some old-school Afro and Afro-Latin musicians and it’s been enlightening how differently they think of music - specifically how flipped it is compared to the Western approach with regards to melody, harmony and rhythm.

The Western tradition tends to keep the rhythm understated with most of the power and driving force (improvisation and line) given over to the melody and harmony. You hear it a lot with Western musicians when they say “just lay down a drum track” - the rhythm is just thought of as something for the melody and harmony to sit on.

But with the Afro and Afro-Latin musicians, not only is the percussion section given equal footing with the melodic and harmonic instruments - in many, many cases the percussion completely takes the lead and drives the song from beginning to end. It can do a lot of the improvisation and musical line work normally reserved for melodic instruments. This is probably why Tito Puente as the head percussionist was also the leader of his Afro-Latin orchestra.

My amateur band did a few descargas (rhythmic improvisations) with these old school Afro musicians - in the Afro-Latin songs where the percussion had taken control, the band (vocalists, horns, strings etc.) felt like we sitting on a locomotive train barreling down the tracks and we were just hanging on for dear life. Very different from the feeling of playing a Western song where they are normally the ones driving the song.

Back to Nahum’s post, my feeling is that in Western music it’s preferred follow and adhere to the the melodic and harmonic rules, but in the Afro / Afro-Latin tradition it’s more acceptable to use 3rd option and make changes by following - the rhythms and cadences (speech like patterns) without having to adhere to the melody/harmonies. It seems to work in that tradition - but to the Western ear it can be very dissonant and harsh sounding.


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Groove On] #2737423
05/17/18 12:35 PM
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Groove On, quite agree with you. I have long understood that rhythm is not only one of the elements of music, but also a whole representative of culture.The rhythm language unites different groups of people speaking each in their own language. For someone who wants to study seriously American jazz, you just need to know the African origins of the rhythm, and the connection with African languages. I bring again an example: Kwame Nkrumah independence speech in 1957 .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joBjzivBKz4 I hear there the sound of djembe , not lesss! Compared to this, where I hear a bowed instrument :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErGiznut2UM

Last edited by Nahum; 05/17/18 12:36 PM.
Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2737440
05/17/18 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Compared to this, where I hear a bowed instrument :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErGiznut2UM

I kept waiting for a bowed instrument to come in. (??)

Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2737445
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keystring, can you honestly say that you hear in her voice the articulation similar to trumpet, as in L. Armstrong?

Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2737480
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Originally Posted by Nahum
keystring, can you honestly say that you hear in her voice the articulation similar to trumpet, as in L. Armstrong?

Besides the fact that a trumpet is not a bowed instrument - not really. Of course when one receives a suggestion to hear certain things, one can bend one's will to hear them that way.
I wrote earlier about the idea of beginners starting with chords - a thing I can't relate to.

Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Groove On] #2737617
05/18/18 08:05 AM
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A wonderful post, Groove On!

The rhythm is a king.

Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: keystring] #2737619
05/18/18 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring

Besides the fact that a trumpet is not a bowed instrument - not really. Of course when one receives a suggestion to hear certain things, one can bend one's will to hear them that way.
The power of fantasy opens any doors. If I play keyboards, bow, wind and percussion instruments, have a natural tools - voice and my own body; it is not difficult to create cross paths between them, and sublimate their into sounds; and also hear from others.

Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2737629
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by keystring

Besides the fact that a trumpet is not a bowed instrument - not really. Of course when one receives a suggestion to hear certain things, one can bend one's will to hear them that way.
The power of fantasy opens any doors. If I play keyboards, bow, wind and percussion instruments, have a natural tools - voice and my own body; it is not difficult to create cross paths between them, and sublimate their into sounds; and also hear from others.

It does not mean that I need to have your imagination. When we use our imagination, we use our own, and that is how it works. Additionally, you wrote about a "bowed" instrument - you did not write about a "wind" instrument. I also play wind, string, keyboard, and sing. I have my own cross-references. But were I to lead someone into hearing what I hear, I would make that clear instead of hinting, and I would not say "string" if I meant a trumpet. And I think I would be more likely to have them go by what they hear in their way.

Again - I wrote an early post about the idea that beginners start with chords. I started with melody when I was young. I suspect that the beginners who start with chords often do so because they are taught this. I had no teacher. You'll hear little kids invent little tunes (melody). I also think they interrelate.

Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2737661
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There was supposed to be a smiley face in there. Editing time seems to have been shortened on PW recently.

Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2738032
05/19/18 05:44 PM
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For my taste, at least 5 of the available 12 (ascending min-maj with extra flat6 thrown in) scales offer acceptable tensions over any particular “normal” LH dominant (drop the LH 3 and 5 for quicker results).

There’s crazy-endless, Hanon-Czerny type variations available for jumping among these scales, e.g., every 4 (16th) notes (and I’m jealous if sax players have access to it all in printed format, though its easy to invent your own variations, w eyes closed feels better).

Example (not in front of a piano now so is it 2/4 or 4/4?): play a LH key-of-C walking bass line for St. Thomas (one bass note per melody note), while the RH solo double time (changing key scale every 4 notes from G-to C-to F-to Bb-to Eb-to Ab-to C reaching the top of the head again).

Quickest results may come from the RH focusing on the diminished part of each min-maj keyscale: so the RH plays Eb-E-F#-G over the LH G “chord,” then repeat for the LH C chord (w Ab-A-B-C), repeat until resolved...

Perhaps you’ll find like me (or already have) that any tension the RH creates by being out of the scale is “minor” compared to the strength the ear gives to the 4up-4up-4up logic of the RH solo.


Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: krewster] #2738112
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Originally Posted by krewster
Ab-A-B-C),

Perhaps you’ll find like me (or already have) that any tension the RH creates by being out of the scale is “minor” compared to the strength the ear gives to the 4up-4up-4up logic of the RH solo.

It's clear why: a competing system of a fourths circle, rather than individual pitches. However, such melodic result is removed from the effect of human speech melody ; even in the rules of counterpoint there was a ban on two or more leaps in the same direction.

Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2738278
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Yes..circle-of-4ths;

Plenty of fun variation challenges to hide the circle-of-4th-y sound even as you change keyscale every, e.g., 4 notes (e.g., alternate betw the dim and whole-tone parts of each scale while switching up/down direction *AND* creating a melodic syncopation by 1/16th beat anticipation of some of the 4-note keyscale groupings.

Is it still your-mentioned “counterpoint” if the solo is flying almost as fast as a hyped-up sax player (it would be educational for me if your message means definitively that sax soloing players stick to the “ban” you mentioned, instead of using, e.g., the 4up-4up-4up technique when pasting together soloing phrases)?

Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2738331
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I'm talking about this: Keith Jarrett https://yadi.sk/d/3BXcrZRZ3WGmwx

It sounds like a speech melody, not a combination of specific intervals. Here is his voice for comparison:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDbOKHOuy9M

Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2738350
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Nahum, in my first response to you, I responded to your idea that when people start inventing music, they will start with chords, with melody coming later. When I look at what I did when young, I definitely invented melodies first. I suspect that people who start with chords, do so because that's what they're taught to do. I've heard little kids singing little melodies they made up. I don't hear them singing chord progressions.

You never responded to that. I'm still stuck on that first idea. I'm not sure that this is what people really do.

Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: keystring] #2738381
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Originally Posted by keystring

I'm not sure that this is true.
Yes, keystring, it's pedagogical truth. I by no means argue that this is the right way, but the thesis "one cannot learn to improvise without knowing harmony and theory" undertook from somewhere.

Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2738442
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Every beginner usually uses first chord notes, then chord scales - in accordance with schemes, harmonic tensions, upper structures .In other words, to play non chordal pitches, require a theoretical approval.Is this true?

Do the natural musical cues of culture/language affect what beginner's use to start improvising? Would it also affect what musical path they prefer to explore? How much does it affect what they have a natural talent for? For example, would Italians respond more favorably to a melodic focus? Would Germans respond more favorably to a rhythmic focus? (with the understanding that even within a country, there are many, many small specific regions with different cultural/language patterns).

Still I wonder if it makes sense to factor this into music education.


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2738459
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by keystring

I'm not sure that this is true.
Yes, keystring, it's pedagogical truth. I by no means argue that this is the right way, but the thesis "one cannot learn to improvise without knowing harmony and theory" undertook from somewhere.

Groove On has isolated what I was responding to, in his quote. You wrote what "every beginner" does (uses chords first, etc.) and you also asked if this was true. By pure luck, I have as a recording the first music I ever invented as a child, which I remembered my whole life, because there was so little for me to remember. I remember how it came together. For the first "movement", the E,D,C,B,A,B,C,D came out of the fact that my fingers could only go so far before having to come up again, and I heard that as a melody. The second and third were melodies that gradually formed in my head, singing themselves. I have no idea how the chords underneath shaped themselves. I do know that it was melody first. So this one child - this one beginner - who had no teacher, no lessons, this is how it played out for me. In the very least, it means that not "every beginner" starts with chords. ...... If you listened, you will have heard that there is a normal harmonic structure underneath - but I have no idea how that 8 year old child ended up with that structure. I do know that unschooled young children end up speaking grammatically before studying grammar.
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it's pedagogical truth.

I literally am unsure what is meant by "pedagogical truth". I have a degree in education and postgraduate training. Certainly, there are theories about how things should be taught, sometimes with rival theories, and sometimes they get revised. That would be pedagogy. Maybe you're talking about how this should be taught or is taught. That would be pedagogy. I did write that I wondered whether this had to do with how it was taught. I understood your initial question to be about what beginners might do naturally. That is a different thing again.

Another side of pedagogy is the nature of learning. Again, there are different views rather than any single "truth". For example, I think it was Skinner who thought you could teach a child anything at any age, while (I forget the name - another standard) believed in "readiness" - an optimal time for teaching that goes in harmony with growth. There are various views on language learning, abstract reasoning, and so forth - rather than one single truth. That is why I don't understand what you mean by "pedagogical truth".

I also don't know whether you mean "pedagogy" (how things are taught), or the nature of the learner. I had initially thought you were writing about how people naturally learn.

Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Groove On] #2738465
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Originally Posted by Groove On
Still I wonder if it makes sense to factor this into music education.

I'm German originally, and I don't have much of a rhythmic sense. I also had no musical education, except that around grade 2 a primary teacher had us sing solfege patterns for that year. I definitely leaned toward melody, not harmony, and am still relatively weak in chords. It's a way different thing if chords are actually taught first. Then you can say that beginners work with chords first, but it will also be due to the fact that that is what they were taught. Melody and harmony are interdependent, are they not?

Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2738468
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I do not know what is pedagogical. I do know that I composed little ditties for myself as a young child and I always started with the melody. This is in spite of knowing basic chords through piano lessons. And the best you can say about me is I am a Heinz 57 genetically and culturally.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Groove On] #2738552
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Originally Posted by Groove On
Originally Posted by Nahum
Every beginner usually uses first chord notes, then chord scales - in accordance with schemes, harmonic tensions, upper structures .In other words, to play non chordal pitches, require a theoretical approval.Is this true?

Do the natural musical cues of culture/language affect what beginner's use to start improvising? Would it also affect what musical path they prefer to explore? How much does it affect what they have a natural talent for? For example, would Italians respond more favorably to a melodic focus? Would Germans respond more favorably to a rhythmic focus? (with the understanding that even within a country, there are many, many small specific regions with different cultural/language patterns).

Still I wonder if it makes sense to factor this into music education.
I am sure that, yes! The sound that you hear more than all others throughout your life from the first moment is the sound of your voice. Over time, it becomes a kind of standard (even if you don't like it), affecting the perception of other sounds from outside. Features of the structure of native speech inevitably affect the musical result in composition and performance.


Quote
it's pedagogical truth.

I literally am unsure what is meant by "pedagogical truth". I have a degree in education and postgraduate training.
[/quote] keystring, do you also have a degree in teaching improvisation on the piano?

Originally Posted by dogperson
I do not know what is pedagogical.


I apologize, I probably expressed myself inaccurately or even incorrectly: I considered the process of learning improvisation skills with the participation of the teacher. And the standard advices of teachers - here they are:

https://timtopham.com/strategies-for-teaching-improvisation-to-beginners/


https://etd.ohiolink.edu/rws_etd/document/get/osu1101867007/inline - chapter 3


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HfaAyb_OII


In addition, in "pedagogical truth" I meant "pedagogical reality" ; something what is really accepted to do.





Last edited by Nahum; 05/22/18 01:44 AM.
Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2738553
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You still have not responded to what I wrote. Are you stating that it is a natural thing for all beginners to start with chords when inventing their first music, or that it is common to teach beginners chords first when teaching them to invent music? If it is the first, several of us have stated that we naturally went toward melody first. You did ask, in your very first post, whether it was so - you did not make it a statement. I would not have tried to explore your question, when it was a question, had it not seemed to be a question.

Whether or not I have a degree in teaching improvisation has nothing to do with my confusion about the term "pedagogical truth" and what you meant by it.

Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2738557
05/22/18 02:27 AM
05/22/18 02:27 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,077
Canada
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,077
Canada
Originally Posted by Nahum
In addition, in "pedagogical truth" I meant "pedagogical reality" ; something what is really accepted to do.

So that answers my question. It is in the area of "approaches to teaching", rather than "nature of learning". Your introductory post seemed to be asking what beginners naturally do and since you asked, that is what I explored. But now it seems you are talking about how it is taught, according to those norms. Gotcha.

Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2738558
05/22/18 02:27 AM
05/22/18 02:27 AM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 2,597
Israel
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Nahum Offline OP
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Nahum  Offline OP
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Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 2,597
Israel
Originally Posted by Nahum
As far improvisation notes in the right hand must match the chords in the left?How much improvisation notes in the right hand must match the chords in the left hand? Every beginner usually uses first chord notes, then chord scales - in accordance with schemes, harmonic tensions, upper structures .In other words, to play non chordal pitches, require a theoretical approval.Is this true ?

The meaning of my first post is the following:
The usual order of pedagogical approach, which I met often -
is given triad in the left hand;
the right hand plays something, combined from chord pitches;
as he progresses in theory, the student begins to use non-chord pitches, scales, and so on.

The question is: is this the suitable approach to melody for a fully beginner?


As for the independent path of each child for improvisation, there are a lot of them. I started at the age of 5 with an attempt to play with my fists, i.e. clusters, on the keyboard a song from "Three Little Pigs", observing the rhythm. A wonderful pedagogical method!


Last edited by Nahum; 05/22/18 02:35 AM.
Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Nahum] #2738804
05/23/18 01:28 AM
05/23/18 01:28 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 412
LA CA
Rob Mullins Offline
Full Member
Rob Mullins  Offline
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Posts: 412
LA CA
kk.
if you want to be a great pianist, learn the drums.


Rob Mullins
www.planetmullins.com
Recording Artist and Jazz Piano Instructor
Re: The melodic line of improvisation and harmony [Re: Rob Mullins] #2738815
05/23/18 02:46 AM
05/23/18 02:46 AM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 2,597
Israel
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Nahum Offline OP
2000 Post Club Member
Nahum  Offline OP
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Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 2,597
Israel
Originally Posted by Rob Mullins
kk.
if you want to be a great pianist, learn the drums.
Oh yeah, I use an electronic drum set in keyboard.


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