Chromatic Chord Tone Targeting (Podcast Episode #51)

Posted by: JAZZEDGE on October 12, 2021

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00:06 Hey guys, Willie Myette, creator of the confident improviser Welcome to The Confident improviser podcast. This is episode number 51. And today we're going to be talking about chord tone targeting, and specifically chromatic chord tone targeting. What I'm going to show you is I'm going to show you how to kind of build out your improvisational lines and use chromaticism in the chromatic scale to be able to target notes in your chords. Alright, so let's take a look at this sheet music here. And just as a quick reminder, if you're looking for the sheet music, jazz edge members can download all of the sheet music right from within their account, right? Alright, so in the sheet music here, you'll see here to check out podcast episode 27, for information on using target notes, and also check out TCI. Exercise number 34. That's the confident improviser number 34. And what I'm going to be doing in this podcast, I'm going to start to show you how to combine the confident improviser along with, you know, standards by the dozen and other materials. So this podcast is going to get very important for those of you that are going through that confident improviser program, and especially for those of you that are looking for added information. Alright, so the first thing that we have here is we have a very simple 1625 progression, right, so to say F major seventh chord, or an F major six chord, you can also play as well, right either one, when I go into the D minor, I'm not playing the ninth of the court, I will in other episodes. But right now I'm literally just playing the root, the third, the fifth, the seventh and the root. Okay, so here, it makes it just a little bit softer. When you're improvising. When you add the ninth of the E, sometimes it can kind of conflict with that the third of the chord, so I took the third out, or took the ninth out rather on top and just replace it with the root, G minor seven, we have 7935 and C seven, 313, seven, and nine. And like I said, you can grab all the sheet music for this back at jazz edge calm, alright, I also have a very simple play alone track here that you'll be able to download and play along with as well. So let me go ahead and put that out. And let's just go ahead through and play these chords quickly. 02:34 Major, D minor, D minor, C sounds good. So now you first of all, you got to make sure if we're going to get into any kind of improvisation that you really make sure that you have your accompaniment down there in the left hand. Alright, so now the next step is we're going to just simply target the third of each of the chords. And all that means is that in my right hand, I'm going to play the third of the chord. So for F major seven, the third is one, it's a for D minor. The third is what it's out for G minor. The third is what is B flat. And finally, for C seven, the third is you got to eat, right? So notice one more time on the D minor seven chord, see how I took out that nine because the nine and the third would be a half step apart. Okay, then that half step apart, like that creates a lot of tension. So again, I just move the night to the D, right? So let's go through and let's play that along with the backing track. There we go. 03:39 Now immediately, you can kind of hear how this would create some, you know, some nice stability in your improvisation, right? All of these notes are going to sound good. Remember, when we improvise, we can use chord tones, all day long. chord tones are always going to sound good. The only problem if it's even a problem with chord tones is that after a while, it sounds like you're just playing chord tones. So you want to like do some other stuff, create a little bit more tension to get some more interest, right. But anyway, you can hear that we have some stability in our line right there. All those notes sound good, and we're also getting some nice movement. So if I just draw a line here, see how I go down and I'm coming up and I come back down again, right? So I'm getting some motion in my life that like the line is just staying straight across, you know, always playing the same note. Alright, so now that we have that, the next step is we're going to start to create some eighth note lines, filling in the chromatic scale between our target notes. So bear with me for a second be patient with me as I explain this because I just want to make sure that everyone really has this concept down. All right, so I'm starting with my target notes, the target notes are hitting on the beat along with the chord. So again, our progression here is F major, D minor, G minor, C seven, each of the chords is two beats apiece. So the first chord hits on beat one, the next chord hits on beat three. So every time I hit that chord, I am hitting that target chord tone. In this case, we're using the third for all the chords, right? So I'm hitting the third of the chord, every time I hit that new, that new chord, so that means I'm beat one, when I play F major, I hit the third of F major, which happens to be a, when I go to beat three and I hit D minor, I played the third of D minor, which is F, alright, and that's all in the right hand. And if I just were to circle these in my music, those are my target notes right here. Okay, so those are the thirds right there, the red circles are the thirds. Alright, so now what's happening in between, I'm gonna draw kind of like a blue line underneath all of these notes that are happening in between, right, so what I have is have a, G, F sharp, then down to f, natural, G, G sharp, A, B flat for the G, G, G flat, AF. He, right, I'm going to fix something right now this is this is going to kind of bug me here, I'm just going to fix the end harmonics here, right? So I have a, G, G flat, down to f. Let's just take that first part right there, right, so I'm starting on the A, which is the third of my F, right. And then now I don't start with eighth notes right out of the gate here. I just started with a quarter note first, okay. And so we're just going to take that much right there. I'm going to go right up to the G minor, and I'm going to stop, right, so I have the third of the F, and then I have this chromaticism that's going down to the third of the D. So you'll notice that I could have done chromatic like like right from the beginning, I could when a flat G, G flat down to f. That would have been fine as well. I just decided to start with a quarter note instead. But you see how I'm utilizing that chromaticism. Now, you might say to me, Hey, wait a second, Willie, how is that any different than our enclosures, right? Because I could also say that that a, then going down to the G, G flat to the F, I could say that this right here is really just an enclosure, right? It's a double chromatic leading down to my F. And you'd be absolutely right. Okay, however, you want to think about it absolutely fine. You can think about it like, Hey, I'm going from a chord tone, I'm going to the next chord tone, and I'm adding some chromaticism in between there, or you can simply say I'm going from the chord tone, then I'm doing this double chromatic enclosure, to get to the third of the D minor, however you want to look at it, both of them are saying exactly the same thing. So it's definitely a tomato tomahto kind of situation. Alright, the point though, is that I am now making it so that I'm filling in between these chord tones. Now look at what's happening here for the next one. This next one here, I'm going G, G sharp, A, B flat. Okay, so I started on the app. 08:28 Now, right here, this is kind of the secret of what you have to start to learn, you have to start to learn how can I create this chromaticism on the fly, right? Let's take a look at this again. Let's dive a little bit deeper. Okay, so I have a D minor, I'm just gonna play a root three chord shell for right now. Right? I love this kind of stuff. It's really technical. And it's kind of neat. Alright, so I have D minor. And like I said, I'm just playing the root three chord show on the left hand. So in the right hand, I'm going to start on F. And then I know I'm going to go up to G minor, and I'm just going to move to my root seven chord shell for G minor, just something simple for right now. So I can get the sound of the root in my left hand, right, so and then I'm going to go up to D flat. Now if I didn't just do straight chromaticism, that would be F, F sharp, G, G sharp, right? But then what would be the next note would lead me to a, which would be fine. I couldn't do that, right? Because a would sound good on a D minor chord, but again, we know we're trying to get to the B flat, so that's not gonna work. Now, what else could I do? I could change the rhythm round. I could do that I could throw a triplet in that trip. All right, and that would be one way in which I could get to the B flat. What I decided to do in this exercise instead is to skip over that F sharp and go right to the G. I also like that better because as we start to really dive into our improvisation and think about like, what notes we want to play Let's think about it, you're going from F natural, then up to F sharp, right? What does that F sharp give it that major sound right? Now we can make the argument that it's going to happen quick and the tension is going to get resolved. And that's, you'd be absolutely right with all of that, right. But here's an example of how you can leave out that F sharp, and then still find your way back to that B flat. Okay, now, let's move on. And let's go to this next one here. So now we're going, we're on that the G minor with the B flat, and now we're going to get down to the E for C. So we have, what did I do, I went to B flat, then I went down to G, G flat F. 10:56 There's a couple of ways in which you can really start to look at this and figure it out quickly on the fly. Now, one way is, you'll just start to feel it, right, you'll just start to feel how much space you have available to you. And then you're just going to kind of just fill it in. And then what will happen is, you'll also notice that sometimes, Oh, you know what, you get into a little bit of a jam. And it's like, Oh, I got to get to this note, but I don't have enough time. So what do you do, you just speed the notes up, do triplets do 16th notes, okay, do 16th note triplets. That's all of those types of rhythms are going to speed that those notes up so you can get to your target faster. Now another way in, which you can look at is I know I'm going to go to E. And I know I'm on B flat, right? So I already know I'm going to be playing the B flat and I know I'm going to get to E so how many chromatic notes Do I have to work with, I really only have one, I have three chromatic notes to work with, because the B flat is already set. And then the E for the C is already set as well. Those are set in place. So I just have these three notes right here, these three, okay to be able to do something with my three chromatic notes there. Alright, so one easy way of doing is start on E and count up three chromatic notes, F, F, sharp, G, okay. And then you can say to yourself, oh, yeah, that's gonna work because the G is gonna sound nice on a G minor chord. What if I went the other way? II, II flat, A, C sharp. I don't know if that's gonna sound so good. But let's try it. Oh, isn't that interesting? how that works? Why does that work even going? even going down to the C sharp, because again, think about a C sharp on a G minor chord, right? That doesn't seem like that should work. But it works. Because the tension is getting resolved quickly. There's a second reason why it works. Okay, so the first reason is that the tension gets resolved quickly. Now if I just as you know, stayed on. And also notice, I gotta move my thumb out of the way in the voicing in order to be able to play that. Right? If I just stay there, that's gonna sound like garbage. Okay, so as long as I resolve the tension quickly, that'd be alright. Another reason why that's going to work is because that note, the C sharp is on a weak beat, you're playing that on the end of one, the B flat, and then the E, for the C, those notes are on strong beats. So if you see my B flat here, and my E, are on strong beats are on beats one and three. So another way in which you can look at this is that those notes that are in between, okay, so all of these notes in between these target notes, okay? These can actually be, it could be bad notes, right? They could be notes that are not the best notes to choose, but they're going to still work out, okay? Because they're going to be on weaker beats, and the tension is also going to get resolved. So if you're reading anything into what I'm saying, read this into it, those target notes that you hit when you hit the chord. That's what's most important. Everything else in between is important, of course, right? And we don't want to play garbage at the piano. But all of those notes in between those, you can be forgiven for a lot more if you hit you know, wrong notes. And I don't even like to say wrong notes because there's really no such thing as a wrong note. You can play anything anywhere, anytime. The real question is, does it fit in? Do you like the sound of that, right? But anyway, this is a strong powerful concept because then as long as you can hit those target notes, Whatever happens in between, it's almost like math, you know. So check this out, I'm gonna, well actually, let me let me finish this out. So g to C, and then we're going to resolve right back to the eye. So the whole line is this. 15:23 Not a line is gonna blow the doors off of any improvisation awards. But it sounds good, it gets the job done. And it's something that you can work off of. Alright, so now, let's add in the band. Play along with that, here we go. 15:46 Now, I don't know about you, but I know for me, what I'm trying to do is I'm always trying to come up with lines that sound interesting to the ears, but also something that is going to work, right, I want something that's going to sound decent, right? I don't want to play. 16:10 You know, I mean, like, sure anybody could just play notes on the piano. But to play something that's going to sound good. That's ultimately what our goal is. So using this concept, you could create lines that sound good, okay, and let's remember the power of this, you could take this concept and apply it to all of the different TCI exercises. So not just on the progression from exercise 34, but go back to the other exercises, and then try applying the same concept to them. Alright, so now, that is one option, let me show you another option. Here's another variation here. Let me play it for you. And then we can break it down a bit. Here we go. 17:02 Alright, so we're starting again, all of the target notes are still the same, the AF, I'm sorry, the A, F to B flat, E, the only difference is the E I came up here, I came up an octave. So here I'm starting on. So you see how I went to the A, and then I know I want to get to the F so then I went G G flat. But we already talked about the three chromatic notes right that we need in between, well, I just did two. So what am I to do? Go hash that below, come up. And remember, this is exactly the same thing as our enclosures right? is a double chromatic from above, chromatic from below to the target, okay, so double chromatic from above half step from below to the target. Okay? Again, though, another way in, which you can look at is that I'm just using my chromatic scale. So however you look at it fine. And then on the D, then I jump up to the sea. And then here, I'm doing the B natural, a natural, then I go to B flat, so this is a half step above, half step below, going to the B flat. Now I'll tell you honestly, I'm not in love with that line, I don't like to be natural. It doesn't sound all that great, but it still works, right still gets the job done. If you didn't like that, 18:32 you could do that. You can also just stick with chord tones. That would be fine as well, tension doesn't bother, kind of like the tension because then it gets resolved right into that B flat 18:47 and then see what I did on the G minor, B flat, then up to the C. Okay. And then I did this double chromatic going up to the third of the C. And then once I'm on the C, then I come down to the root of c, then double chromatic back down into the third of the egg, right and again, you can see all of this in the sheet music and I suggest that you download the sheet music and you can play around with that. And what I've also done is I've also added in these extra measures here where you can create your own Alright. Alright, so that's it for our chromatic chord tone targeting what we're going to be talking about an exercise number 52 to kind of get you prepared is we're going to be talking about starting to extend these chords like so right now these chords are two beats per you know, two beats per chord. What happens when you have one chord for an entire measure entire four beats? How do you then apply the same concept that's we're going to be talking about in Episode Number 52. So anyway, thanks guys for joining me on today's podcast. Want to also remind you to of course, check out all the episodes you can listen in right on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts And I'll see you guys in the next episode.

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