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Nice to meet you)

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If we turn to practical work on the instrument, then there is no doubt that something must be learned beforehand: by heart and in all transpositions. This is something - elementary melodic structures: sub-motives, short motives, short riffs; for example, formula 1- 2-3-5 .
This is nothing new: J. Bergonzi describes in detail in his "Anatomy of Improvisation" 23 transformations (in scientific language - permutations) of this pattern from the note C in C major . This pattern can practically be played from every rung of any scale. A small calculation : 1 pattern X 7 steps X (2 kinds of minor scales + 7 modes) X 12 transpositions = 756 patterns. All this can be multiplied by a combinations of 3 intervals inside each pattern ; and the final result is 2268 sequences .
Possession of such patterns is very convenient: you are playing at the moment one such, which pulls immediately the next similar one. This can be used well for a vigorous movement effect however, there is a danger of a transition to mechanical play. In the end, we are talking about improvisation exercises, built on the principle of combinatorics, transferred to a (small) set of pitches and a (giant) set of patterns.
And all this must be learned exactly !?
If you add effect of randomality to all this; then this is definitely suitable for a computer! For it , the requirement that all notes must be "correct" is also appropriate: in accordance with tonal, modal or chordal context. For example, the given pattern 1235 contains 3 chord pitches and 4 modal ones.
Shifting the focus to intonation dramatically changes the picture.

Back in the 16th century, within the framework of strict counterpoint rules, there are references to 5 types of melodic movement: plateau (One Note Samba), ascending, descending, arched and concave , which were accompanied by instructions on the sizes of the intervals before and after the axial note on which the melody changes direction. Such axes are called corner notes. For example, in a melodic line c d e g e d c d e g c and g are corner notes. The corner notes carry more energy, and are important in shaping the melodic style of bebop. Corner notes also emphasize the connection (or lack of connection) with the chord of the moment.
Remember this fact for the future!
The transition from a set of pitches 1235 and their permutations to permutations of intonations within 1235 greatly simplifies the use of patterns, increases their number; and paves the way for introducing chromatic notes without canceling the pattern's logic .

[Linked Image]

Not all possibilities are indicated here.

Last edited by Nahum; 04/11/21 12:28 PM.
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Learning one such pattern from one note is not a particular problem for a beginner improviser, unless he is also a beginner instrumentalist. After some time, the student will be able to play it "virtuoso". Learning a few different patterns to chain them together during improvisation takes a lot of effort. However, in both cases it is impossible to really talk about improvisation: it is no different from playing a musical text by heart. And yet, where do we start to remember the pattern in real time?

It seems that everyone has their own approach: one focuses on the rhythm, the other on the sequence of pitches, the third on the sequence of intervals; the fourth on intonation. Practical work on a pattern performing begins with singing it and then transferring it to the instrument; but in any case, not vice versa. If you hear a professional jazz pianist singing while improvising; then he plays what he sings, although the singing may not be detailed in pitches.



To tie two or more patterns together, I recommend learning in the following order ( this requires concentration and silence.):
1. sing them out loud in a row;
2. the first to sing mentally, the second to sing out loud;
3. the first to sing out loud, the second to sing mentally;
4. play the instrument both in a row;
5. the first to sing out loud, the second to play;
6. the first to sing mentally, the second to play;
7. the first to play, the second to sing out loud;
8. the first to sing out loud, the second to play.
9. If more than two patterns are linked, then randomly alternate between playing, singing aloud and mentally singing.

To lay the foundation for a virtuoso playing, one should speed up the process of mental execution without losing clarity.

The next stage, as I see it, is to play the first prepared pattern and go on to fully improvise the next one. For some, this can create a sense of an abyss. But that's okay; you can start with the simplest thing - generating a rhythmic pattern. It turns out the following: the first pattern is played on the instrument, the next, rhythmic, is spoken aloud. There may be a problem for those who have just a strong ear for music, including an absolute one: it is difficult for them to pronounce the rhythm, but it is easier to sing it. There is a video of a Bob Stoloff workshop in Italy showing the difference in reciting a rhythm versus singing it.



IMO the fastest and easiest method to generate patterns in real time - based on rhythm and intonation.

The question of "correct" notes will be discussed separately.

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Originally Posted by Dfrankjazz
Nice to meet you)
Thankyou, me too

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So this thread now has become a method to being a virtuoso pianist? You would think there would be so many more of them, if it was as easy as mastering these concepts.

Now, if someone could of taught me how to recreate the proper environment and aural stimulus of a young child, maybe I too could of been a VP.


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36251 , thanks for your interest in my thread ! What is your question?

Last edited by Nahum; 04/12/21 11:26 AM.
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Originally Posted by Nahum
36251 , thanks for your interest in my thread ! What is your question?

Only interested if you can assist me in picking out my next parents in my next life.


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Originally Posted by 36251
Originally Posted by Nahum
36251 , thanks for your interest in my thread ! What is your question?

Only interested if you can assist me in picking out my next parents in my next life.
Alas, this is not within my competence. However, you can open your own thread.

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The question of "correct" notes does not begin to bother the novice improviser before he begins to get acquainted with the corresponding fundamentals of the theory. Until this stage, a novice who has not yet lost his theoretical virginity will happily play such notes, the origin of some of which clearly belongs to another Galaxy. Then he begins to wade for a long time through the jungle of theory, where he is provided in chronological order with permissions to use certain notes (sometimes under certain conditions): chord notes, scale notes, chord tensions, upper structures, clusters, chromatic embellishments . At the end of this rather lengthy process, the student will have a full chromatic scale, each note of which will be provided with a theoretical explanation and a mark "Allowed!". "Correctness" of notes is controlled by chords, scales and keys.
However, there is another factor in jazz, no less , and sometimes more important than the above-mentioned ones - intonation.
In addition, the perception of the "correctness" of pitches in the melody is not uniform: there are accented pitches, pitches for strong and weak beats, long and short pitches, ghost notes , syncops, corner notes . For example, in the pattern cdeg a --- (at a fast pace), the most important pitches for harmonic communication are c and a, less e . d and g are the weakest and can be replaced with ghost notes. It helps a lot if the focus of improvisation is shifted from performing the notes to performing the intonations.
BTW, in sense of intonation, the horn players have an advantage over the pianists; so I have always recommended that advanced learners start playing alto saxophone , like me.

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Originally Posted by Ubu
Originally Posted by Dfrankjazz
haha Nahummmm
Hi Dfrank, sorry the OT. Your name did sound familiar to me but i didn't realize why, untill now. Are you the same Dave as the youtube channel about piano jazz? I guess so. Great videos, i enjoy them very much.
Originally Posted by Dfrankjazz
Nice to meet you)


For someone who was born in an apartment where there was no telephone and no real radio, meetings in the Internet space still look like a miracle!

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Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by Ubu
Originally Posted by Dfrankjazz
haha Nahummmm
Hi Dfrank, sorry the OT. Your name did sound familiar to me but i didn't realize why, untill now. Are you the same Dave as the youtube channel about piano jazz? I guess so. Great videos, i enjoy them very much.
Originally Posted by Dfrankjazz
Nice to meet you)


For someone who was born in an apartment where there was no telephone and no real radio, meetings in the Internet space still look like a miracle!
Yea indeed. And if you think that Dave's teacher used to jam with Charlie Parker, it's mind blowing.

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Lennie spent alot of time with Charlie Parker. As kids we students used to try to impress Lennie sometimes with our playing (haha) and Lennie used to say "good" but not ever gush. Somebody asked him why that was so, no matter how hard we tried we couldn't get the big praise from him. He said "I used to jam with Bird, how impressed can I be with anybody?)

Lennie was also tremendously funny. One time I played something that I thought was really good. Lennie said "good". I actaully (at the age of 17) said "Lennie, did you really HEAR what I just played?" He said "what do you want me to do, get up out of my chair, crawl across the floor and kiss your ass?"

HAHAHA

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Originally Posted by Nahum
To tie two or more patterns together, I recommend learning in the following order ( this requires concentration and silence.):
1. sing them out loud in a row;
2. the first to sing mentally, the second to sing out loud;
3. the first to sing out loud, the second to sing mentally;
4. play the instrument both in a row;
5. the first to sing out loud, the second to play;
6. the first to sing mentally, the second to play;
7. the first to play, the second to sing out loud;
8. the first to sing out loud, the second to play.
9. If more than two patterns are linked, then randomly alternate between playing, singing aloud and mentally singing.

.



The idea for the following exercise came up:
improvise a pattern by singing out loud - continue to the next pattern that is sung and played together - move on to the third pattern played on the piano - attach the next pattern that is sung and played at the same time - continue the next pattern with singing aloud - and so on .
Internal singing, as the most difficult thing, is not included here yet. You can begin to practice it separately , when you sing a scale or arpeggio, alternating one pitch out loud, the other inside. The purpose of the exercise: to achieve such a level that the internal singing would have sounded in the ears almost as loud as ordinary singing.

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Originally Posted by Nahum
However, in jazz there is one more factor, no less, and sometimes more important than the ones mentioned above, - intonation.

Of course, this applies to music in general, and not just to jazz.
You might think that a virtuoso should think as quickly as possible about each note; and move in accordance with this as quickly as possible with each finger.
Nothing like this !
In accordance with the statement of Ferruccio Busoni, each initiated movement begins with a conscious volitional impulse. In other words, a sequence of lucid notes is a series of lucid mental impulses, the speed of which has a limit. The organization of individual volitional impulses into a group, which in turn will be fired at one volitional impulse, is the beginning of the path to virtuosity. In accordance with the statement of Ferruccio Busoni, each initiated movement begins with a conscious volitional impulse. In other words, a sequence of conscious notes is a series of conscious mental impulses, the speed of which has a limit. The maximum speed of the fingers is not subject to the mind, but is controlled by the most ancient part of the brain ("reptilian brain"), which is responsible for all types of instinctive behavior. If you want your finger to move as fast as possible, stick a needle into its tip!
The organization of individual volitional impulses into a group, which in turn will be fired at one volitional impulse, is the beginning of the path to virtuosity , etc - as the performer ascends to organize the musical text into larger patterns. In the process of linking patterns and super-patterns, something new happens: small structures disappear from attention, and after them, larger ones; leaving attention at certain points that are still controlled.
The question is: how is the process of performing music between these points controlled?

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All pianists know what basic types of memory they need: visual, auditory, logical, muscular, motor and tactile. The first three are found only in the brain, the remaining three are in the brain and outside it. The first three are interconnected, and govern the other three, which are also interconnected. It could be argued that the kinetics in the brain, directed at play movements of the hands, exhausts everything that is required for the physical process.
My statement is not all; there are two more elements involved in the process: breath and whole body kinetics (not necessarily external).
Regarding the kinetics of the body: I remember how I worked on saxophone on a short, very fast passage, which again and again did not work. Then I decided to try something crazy: while performing a passage, make a quick full turn on one leg. ; and lo and behold! - the passage turned out. We say: add shwung.
As for breathing, I asked a simple question on the saxophonists forum: how to use the finger technique to speed up the tempo. The answer was simply unexpected: there is no finger technique as such, there is a technique of breathing and coordination with movements of free fingers, where the focus is on breathing. And where are Ganon's exercises for the saxophonists ??? Busoni said nothing about this.
This site has repeatedly mentioned the breathing of the pianist's hands and its connection with the general breathing of the body.



A single volitional impulse on the saxophone is expressed through the pronunciation of "Tat", that is, by breathing; but what about the pianists? Ask some , especial classical - he will first play a single note, scratch his head, and then say: "La" or "Ta". In other words, saxophonist first determine the breathing character and then produce the sound; pianist first presses a key , often without thinking and only after that do they begin to look for the appropriate pronunciation - breathing inside himself , which at first they didn't think at all.
It can be generalized that in the classical approach, the pianist's free breathing passively accompanies the playing process. For jazz pianists, active articulated breathing, not necessarily out loud, is very much an integral part of the performance.
Here we come to the heart of the question, as I see it.

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Thus, during improvisation on the piano, there are three main processes: the thought process, the motor process, and the breathing process. Already in simultaneous scating with the playing , articulated breathing - with or without singing - is dictating , also in speed! .Each scat syllable is an impulse, i.e. pattern. Then the question arises: what is the size of the pattern starting with an impulse: a quarter, eighth, submotive, riff, phrase, sentence, or a whole passage?
The primary impulse is a push followed by free inertial motion.
BTW, it is worth paying attention to the fact that if you throw your completely relaxed hand into the air, accompanying the exclamation "Ta!" , then the movement is noticeably stronger and faster than without an exclamation.
So, we are talking not only about the sizes of the music patterns, but also about the sequences of their initial impulses and about what and how happens between them.
It is worth paying attention to the following phenomenon: simultaneous articulation aloud of each played note improves its rhythmic accuracy both at the beginning and at the end: DO, RE, MI, FA etc ,especially if emphasized clear diction is observed. However, the alternation of accented impulses and spaces between them requires the use of stressed open syllables, followed by vocalization of the melodic intonation of the pattern in "A" or "Oo" - until the next stressed syllable, symbolizing the next active impulse. This situation of rhythmic-articulatory diktat does not require adherence of precise pitches by voice at all, only the melodic directions . In this case, the melody receives an energy from the respiratory impulse and continues to move by inertia until the next impulse, approximately parallel to the speech melody. The final short note will be pronounced as in the scat - "Dat", "Bap". It should be borne in mind that each next impulse not only starts a next pattern, but is also the final one for the previous one - at which the arrow of intonation and rhythm should be aimed accordingly (if there is no rest between them ) .

[Linked Image]

The feeling of virtuosity is created when the focus in the process of playing shifts from individual notes, motifs and phrases to the milestones of impulses through which the path of an intonation line runs, closely related to the line of breathing. These milestones are still related to harmony, and are often the corner notes. This greatly enhances the energy of playing and raises its pace. This is an example of the performance of a fragment of adapted musical text, without any improvisation:


(Only my breath accumulator is very weak …)

It is not the fingers that move quickly, but the breath forces them. I worked on this for many hours until blowing into melodica forced the free fingers to move. IMO Kenny Werner writes something similar in his " Effortless Mastery "
The process of improvisation is different from performing a fixed text:

https://disk.yandex.ru/d/XaptYjJnGuwCiA

Here the combined triumvirate of hearing + breath + fingers is transferred under the power of the subconscious, which at the real moment selects a pattern or its fragment; and sets the timing of impulses.This requires a lot of training - part of the time at a fast pace, like working on throwing a basketball into the basket from a huge number of different positions on the court.
Precondition : creating a dictionary of melodic patterns and enriching it.

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great post, !

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Originally Posted by RinTin
great post, !
Thanks, RinTin ; I'm looking for controversy - then ideas come!

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Talk more about breathing. what i do is sing the rhythm very accurately and softly as i solo, but only roughly approximating the pitches. if at all; its as if pitch wise i sing more a rough shape and contour of each phrase, but the rhythm of the line i sing precisely... but sometime i don/t get enough oxygen!! i am also a left heal tapper, which i love doing.

Last edited by RinTin; 04/16/21 04:15 AM.

Jazz piano Instructor. Technical Editor for Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book". Studied with Mark Levine, Art Lande & Mark Isham (1981-1990). Also: Barry Harris & Monty Alexander (1993-present)
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