Bebop Improvisation (Podcast Episode #21)

Posted by: JAZZEDGE on March 16, 2021

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00:05 Hey guys, Willie Myette creator of jazz edge I want to welcome you to episode number 21 of the confident improviser podcast. Today we're going to be talking about Bebop improvisation and I'm going to show you how to use approaches to create a Bebop sounding improvisation. As a reminder, this podcast goes along with the confident improviser program found at jazz edge. You can also find a replay of this podcast in video at the jazz edge site. You can learn more at jazz edge calm or the confident improviser calm. Okay, so Bebop improvisation. So first of all, the first question is, what is an approach note? And what are we approaching? So we're getting kind of a sound like this. These kinds of sounds are which we're bringing in some more chromaticism. And we're kind of weaving the line a little bit more than just say something like this. Can you hear like that's just like utilizing the major scale, which is fine. There's nothing wrong with that. But these approaches create a really neat sound because of that chromaticism. So what is an approach note and what are we approaching an approach notes, right, or approach tone or an enclosure? neighbor tone, you'll hear all of these different terms being used is simply we have a starting note on our improvisation and we have a target note on our improvisation and the approach note just takes us into that target note, Okay, I'm gonna explain a little bit more. So it will make sense as we go. Alright, so what we are approaching is the target note, that is what it is that we're approaching. Okay, so approaches or notes that lead us into our target notes. So think about this target notes. Well, actually, before I go on, let me just remind you that target notes were discussed in Episode Three, right? So if you didn't check out Episode Three of the podcast do so because we talked about target notes there. And chord tones make great target notes. Okay, so if you're looking for a great note to hit as a target note, in your improvisation Think about your chord tones. Alright, so take a look at this sentence right here. Let me try and read this to you without messing it up. Practice order in must to you get piano at the better, right? So let me say that again, practice order in must to do you get better get piano at the better practice order in must to you get piano at the better. Does that make sense to you at all? I mean, it certainly doesn't make sense to me. But if I rearrange those, let those words I get this, you must practice in order to get better at the piano, right? That makes perfect sense to us. Right? You must practice in order to get better at the piano. So when we have this out of order like this, right, we don't have a good start or a good end and the line is all kind of messed up. Right, then it doesn't really make much sense. This is utilizing language. Okay, so this is an example of how if you rearrange words, they don't really make sense. And then you're not going to get the point across. While the same thing happens with improvisation, as well. improvisation lines have a beginning and an end. And for those of you that are watching this video, you see that the beginning word is in green, and the end is in red, and you're going to see why. So the note that we begin our improv on is our starting note. And the last note of our line is our target. So you can think of a line as being that sentence. So again, our improvisation line is something like this, you must practice in order to get better at the piano, right? So we start with the word you we end with the word piano, there are words in between, it makes sense to you, I can get the point across to you. So here the example you must practice in order to get better at the piano use the start pianos the target, okay, so we can use approaches to enclose our target note. So now let's really think about rather than language, let's think about how we were going to use notes in order to create our lines. Alright, so first of all, let's take a look at our simple D minor seven g7 C major seven. So what is a good starting note what typically, like I said, Those chord tones are good target notes. They also make great starting notes. So if I'm on D minor seven, and I start with an F, right, we know that we can use our chord tones as well 04:55 as utilizing all chord tones there, okay, it's all just chord two. And I'm just arpeggiating those chord tones and creating light. But it sounds very much like I'm just arpeggiated chord tones right? 05:14 Now by utilizing approaches, we are able to now do some cool things that were able to delay the line, we're able to add chromaticism, and we're also able to add some tension in our improvisation. So like this. 05:35 Now you hear how much more interesting that line is, replay again, that's just our pitching the notes of the chords. But now if I add in some approaches, 05:56 now it starts to get kind of interesting, right? And those approaches are what is creating that interest in the line. Okay, so let's talk about four different types of approaches. I'm going to show you a couple of different ways in which you could practice this as well. The first approach is a half step approach, okay, so let's just take the note. Okay, I'm gonna play D minor. Okay, I actually, let's, let's do it. I'm note B, for academic, I'm getting to the G, right, so I'm getting into my G seven chord, I'm playing G and B in the left hand, my root three chord show, and the right hand, I got to be here. So I'm going to do a half step approach into B, so that'd be a sharp into B, or C, down to B, that's a half step approach, I can also do a whole step approach. So A to B, or C sharp, down to B, I can do a half whole combos, I could do a half step from below, all step from above, down to the target, half step above, past a whole step from below, up to the target, hey, I can also do double chromatic double chromatic is, if I'm trying to get to B, I got a, a sharp, then B, where I go C sharp, C, down to beat. And guess what I could do combinations of all of those. So let's talk about how we could start to put this into practice. First of all, a great way of doing this is just practices over a simple 251 progression. So in the left hand, all I'm doing is I'm playing D and C is a root seven chord shell, then I go to G and B as a root three chord shell, then I go to C as a, as a root seven porch on this is C and B in the left hand, and that's a root seven chord show. So DNC GNB cmd. That's all I'm gonna keep playing in the left hand. And the reason I'm doing these chord shells with the root in the left hand so I can hear that root motion. Now on the right hand, I'm just going to simply start by coming right down my D minor seven arpeggio. So D, C, A. Now what I did right here was I did DCA f, d, c, a, a sharp, B. So you see what I did there, I'm approaching the bee, bee is my target note I'm trying to get to the bee. So I do that half step approach into the beat, you can also look at that as a double chromatic as well, the A to A sharp, up to beat. So I'm utilizing those half steps and those approaches to kind of get into that note B Now listen to what happens if I decide to do like something more scalar now right now remember, when we're doing a 251 Okay, in the key of C here, we can just utilize our C major scale for the entire 251. So that means on my D minor seven, on my G seven than on my C major, I could just use the notes from the C major scale. So let's say I do this 09:13 so I'm starting on D and then I'm coming back up I came all the way down to D and now e right which is the 13th and G and I end up B for the C major seventh chord Alright, so not a great sounding line the 13th and to be achieved chord rather a little bit weak. So now listen to this. 09:42 See, hear the difference. Now what I did was I wanted to get to D for my target note on the G seven chord. So what I did was I delayed the resolution by utilizing an approach note okay. So again, for those of you that are listening and don't have the benefit of seeing what I'm playing here, just imagine this in the right hand, I'm going to start on D, and I'm coming down D, C, B, A, G, F, E, D. Alright? So, from D to D, all white notes. Right? Remember, if I have one measure per chord, this is one and two, and three and four. Right? But now guess what? I'm already on the D. And I'm on the end of four, right? So four and right, so I'm on that last eighth, oh, well, guess what? I'm not going to play the D again. So I'm not going to go this. Right, that doesn't make sense. You don't want to do that. So instead, since I want to get to that D, I will delay the resolution. And now I can go D, C, B, A, G, F, E, well, I need one more note. So what do I do then go down to E flat, and then resolve to D. Now you might say, Well, wait a second, you did a half step from above, right? Well, what about going to have sub from below? Sure, let's try it. D, C, B, A, G, F, D, C sharp, then come up to the D. 11:33 just walked right back up. So by utilizing those approaches, you're able to create these lines that kind of weave through the harmony, and they sound a little bit more complicated than just playing your plain old major scale. So different ways of practicing this start very simple, right? So like, like, I would just do 4/8 notes. So 4/8 notes on the D minor 4/8 notes on the G seven 4/8 notes on C major. Okay, you can also look at those four quarter notes. Okay, you're just trying to get from one chord to the next. So here, I'm just going to utilize chord tones for the first 3/8 notes. And the last one, I'm going to do an approach. So here I have D, de F. And I'll go to a, a sharp and then resolve to the B. Right? Now I could just go from D to G, D to G over and over again. So like, how would I go after the C, A, then the beat, alright, so that's a whole step below coming up to the beat. Alright, what if I did a half step after the C, a sharp up to the B. Or if I did A, C, C sharp, D, A, C, C sharp, D. Again, I'm hitting the D, which is the fifth of my G seven chord, 13:13 right? That's kind of cool. One, D, A, F, A flat, coming down to the sheet. That was continuing on, let's let's let's take that line right there. D, de, F, A flat, G, B, D, D sharp. 13:53 That's a great sounding line right there on a 251 as well, so this D de F, A flat, half step above the G resolving down in the G, then I go B, D, I got one more note, go D flat, and then resolve down to the C. 14:30 So these approaches are a fantastic way of creating some chromaticism in your improvisation helping you to delay the line, just creating this real cool Bebop kind of sound in your improv. Now what I'm doing is in exercise 20, I'm going to show you how to use these different types of approaches over a 251 progression. Now I suggest starting with that 251 progression. That's The easiest progression to start with and it's a great vehicle to use for your improvisation, you know, over you know, utilizing these approaches. So start with that 251 progression that's a great one to start with right check it out exercise exercise number 20 All right, actually, I'm sorry not exercise number 20 exercise number 21 All right, that should say exercise 21 shows you that right so not exercise 20 exercise 21 exercise 20 talked about the altered scale. So if you want to check that one out, that's that's really cool as well. But exercise 21 goes through that, you know, those approaches over the 251 All right, so anyway, that's it for me. I'll see you guys in the next lesson. Take care, guys.

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