Enclosures - The Secret Sauce of Jazz Improvisation (Podcast Episode #25)

Posted by: JAZZEDGE on April 13, 2021

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00:05 Hey guys, Willie Myette creator of jazz edge want to welcome you to episode number 25 of the confident improviser podcast. Today we are talking about enclosures, and how they are the secret sauce of jazz improvisation. So today you're going to learn how to create that Bebop improvisation sound using enclosures. Want to remind you this podcast is a companion podcast to the confident improviser which can be found at jazz edge comm or you can also go to the confident improviser.com to learn more and to get replaced. Alright, so enclosures. So the Oh, and before I go on, I'm going to be going through some sheet music in this podcast episode. So remember, as a jazz edge member, you can get that right at the site, just go ahead and log in there and you can grab that sheet music. Okay, so first of all, let's talk about what an enclosure is. an enclosure is notes that move around to a target, right? So if we have a target note, right, let's, in this case, take well let's let's use B, right, because that's what we're doing in this example. So we have the note B here, right? So now there are different ways in which we can approach or enclose this note. So rather than just playing the B right away, we could go up a half step, play the C, then go a half step below the B to an A sharp, and then and at the beat, right, so that's a half above, half below to the target enclosure. Right. Now, there are many different enclosures. I'm going to go through several of them with you here today. The question though, is why do you utilize enclosures. So let's step back for a second and really think about the different elements of improvisation and the notes and ingredients that we have available to us as improvisers and their function. So typically, we start our improvisation utilizing maybe a short scale, you know, just a few notes or a lot of times we will start with chord tones. And you can think of your chord tones as being the boulders, alright, so those are boulders in your construction, big, you know, they don't, they don't fit together perfectly, there's a lot of space in between them, right. So the chord tones, again, are the notes of the chord. So if I have a C seven chord, the chord tones are going to be C, E, G, and B flat. So we can start by improvising utilizing those chord tones, so I can, 02:43 right, so all of those notes work, it sounds fine, but it doesn't sound super jazzy just yet does it? So then the next step after that is to start to utilize scales. So we might play our C seven chord and we might play something like like a C mixolydian scale or C blue scale, or even C minor pentatonic scale and some other scales that we can utilize as well. But the main thing to note is that, okay, we have our chord tones, and then we can move on to our scales. Now in our construction example, the scales are like sand, the sand fills in a lot of the space in between the boulders, but there's still more space to be filled, right? And this is where enclosures come in. enclosures. Now, as we start to mix them along with scales, we start to get these sounds to sound like you could hear a lot more chromaticism in that line now, right. Now chromaticism means that we're moving from the next note, up or down the very next note. So if I started C, then C sharp and D, the D sharp, E, F. That's chromatic. All right. So chromaticism is the smallest interval that we have at the piano, right? So we can only go a half step on the piano. Now if you're a violinist or piano player, or a bass player, or a string instrument, or even a horn instruments, you know, you can get kind of in the cracks there, you know, you get your quarter tones and stuff. But we don't have that luxury at the piano unless we use one of these. These pitch bends over here, we're really not going to be doing that, right. So our half step is a smallest interval that we have available to us on the piano. And that interval gives us our chromatic scale, right? So being the smallest interval being in the chromatic scale, that is now like water being filled in, in between the boulders and the sand, right? So our enclosures start to really allow us to create lines that sound much more complex. Alright, so let's go through the different enclosures. I'm going to run through them relatively quickly right now. Remember, they are in the TCI section. Exercise number 22 and number 23. So if you need to see all of the enclosures and you want, you know a little bit more in depth tutorial on that checkout exercise 22 and 23, in the confident improviser lesson. Alright, so let's go through each one of these. Again, in this case, I'm just targeting the note, the note be, the target can be any note, it doesn't matter what the note is, right? Typically, we're going to target a note of the chord, right, so in this case, I'm targeting targeting, like I said, the note B, right, just for an example, we have a half step above half step below to a b, so that's a C, B flat, or a sharp go into a beat, and then we can go half below half above to the target, so that would be B flat to the C, then down to regular B. All right, so a sharp, C, to B. Alright, so that's a half above, half below to the target or half below half above to the target. Now it's a little bit confusing, especially when I'm saying half above half below and all that just remember, you're just doing the inverse, right. So if you started a half step above, then when a half step below to the target, where you're just switching that around, going a half step below, up a half step, then to the target, right, there are going to be 12 of them in in total right now we've just done to the next one half above, double chromatic from below to the targets, that would be a C, then a, a sharp, B, right? Double chromatic means that we have two chromatic tones in succession, right, then we could do half from below. So B flat or a sharp right then go double chromatic from above, and that would be B flat, C, B. And we can do the double chromatic from above, double chromatic from below that would start on D flat, C, then go a sharp to B, we can switch that around, do the double chromatic from below. And double chromatic from above there, we have a sharp, D flat, C, V. 07:17 Alright, so now that's half of them, let's go through and then what I did is, you know, put these red boxes here, just so you can visually see which notes are the targets. Right, so the next part Alright, part two, the enclosures is this time, I'm going to approach the note G, just to show you how you can approach a different note, you don't have to always approach the same note. Now we can, this time, we're adding in whole steps, right, so we can go hole above, so a half below F sharp to the G, or we could do half below F sharp hole above a to the target G, we could do a hole from above double chromatic from below to the target, A, F, F sharp G, we can switch that around to a whole set from below double chromatic from above. So F, A flat G, we can do this one is kind of interesting, we can do a whole step from above, double chromatic from below, then go back to our whole step from above. So we have a F, F sharp a G, and you can switch that one around as well. F, A flat, F, G, so as a whole step from below, double chromatic from above, back to a whole step from below for the target. Alright, so now with all of these different enclosures, there's a couple of important points to remember. Number one, this is not all of it, right? I mean, like you could come up with different enclosures in different patterns, and you know, maybe even do like, you know, like stuff like that in which you're combining them together. So don't look at these 12 as being, that's the be all end all, if I just practice these 12 I get all of it, no, but if you practice these 12, or at least practice some of these and get the concept down. Oh, you're gonna be so much further ahead when it comes to your improvisation, right. So this really does help. But just know that there are other permutations or other possibilities out there for enclosures, this is just a really, really good start for you. Alright, the other thing to note is that when you're practicing these enclosures, you know, remember, like, you don't have to go through every single enclosure in all 12 keys. I mean, like, as you can see, like it would be a lot of work, especially when you're trying to approach you know, all of these different chord qualities, and so on. So my suggestion instead is to take a couple of different chord qualities. I'm going to show you how to practice this over a dominant seventh chord, tribe working through the enclosures and remember, this is just going to take Time to wash over you and to really learn over months and months and years to come. Okay, so don't rush that process. Alright, so now let's take a look at an example line here. I'm going to play a C seven chord in the left hand, just a root three, seven. And I'm just going to play this simple example right here. This is using the scale alone. This is my mixolydian scale. 10:25 Again, more time. So not a bad line. That's fine. those notes absolutely work. Now, of course, the F natural hitting on beat three. Well, you know, that's not really great guy because it's not a chord tone, and it's hitting on a strong beat. Well look at what happens now if I change the line around and I start to utilize my enclosures, I can change around where that F heads take a listen to this 11:09 again. Now, for you to decide which line Do you think sounds better, which one sounds more interesting sounds jazzier sounds like a better improvised line, take a listen to the first one again. Second one. Now to my ears, the second line definitely sounds a little bit more interesting than the first one. The first one is just kind of like playing that mixolydian scale down and up. The second one, utilizes these enclosures. Right now, since this is a podcast, I'm not going to go through and, and say every single note that's being played, right, but in that second line, what I'm doing here is doing a double chromatic leading down to the G, right, then I go a half step above the E, right, which is the third of my C seven chord, that's an F, and I go down to D, sharp, and then lead up to the E, right? So it's utilizing these different enclosures to create a line that's a little bit more interesting. Now, it's not just to create a more interesting line. It's also so that when we have one core that's playing for a measure, or two measures, or three or four measures, what do we play during that time, the enclosures allow us to extend our lines and make our line sound more interesting by utilizing the chromaticism. Okay. Again, remember, in this line right here, our chromaticism CV flat day, a flat, G, right. I bring in that a flat, bring in the D strap onto the E and F, F sharp, a G. Right, so we got it, we got some chromatic notes in there, those half steps in there that create that tension that then gets resolved. Remember, that's what improvisation is all about. tension and resolution, tension, then resolution. Alright, so let's talk about how to practice this. Here is one practice example. Okay, let me go through it slowly. And let me explain it to you so that you can understand how to practice this. First of all, in the left hand, all I'm doing is I'm playing a C seven shell voicing This is a root three, seven voice and this has the C, the E, and the B flats, right? That's all I'm playing in the left hand, if I want to take out the E in there and just play C and B flat, that would be absolutely fine as well. If I'm a little bit more advanced, I want to play like my rootless chords, and, you know, either three no rootless chords or four note rootless chords that you just learned in the previous podcast episode. So is Bill Evans voicings, Sure, go ahead, you can do that as well. I find no, I like that the root three, seven, because you get the root sound of the court, the guide tones which define the court and it keeps it nice and open, so that you can kind of hear the way these enclosures work on each of these notes. Alright, so now what you're going to do is you're going to notice that we are going to approach we are going to approach each one of our chord tones, right? I just noticed one mistake in the music which I'm going to fix, right but I will explain it to you right now. Anyway, alright. So what we're going to be doing is we're gonna play in that route, three, seven, voicing in the left hand in the right hand. I'm going to start with my half above, half below to my target notes. Okay, so the half above Half below to a target note, the target note is going to be all of my chord tones. So that means I'm going to go a half step above and again, for those of you that can't see what I'm playing my chord tones for C seven, or C, E, G, and B flat. So I'm going to target each one of these chord tones, they see the E, the B flat, I'm sorry, the C, the E, the G, and the B flat, okay? All right, so let's start first of all by going a half step above C, then a half step below C, and a resolve to see that I go a half step above E, which is F, half step below E, which is D sharp, and a resolve to E, then I go a half step above G, which is G sharp or a flat, right, then half step below to F sharp, then to G, than a half step above and below B flat, which would be B, A, B flat, and then half step above below to see, which would be C sharp, D, and C natural, then I'm going to come down in reverse order. So then I'm going to go half below, half above, then to the target. So now I'm going to go 16:08 B, D flat, C, and then a, b, flat, and then F sharp, a flat, G, and then F. And then D flat, C, check, take a listen to how this sounds, you know when I'm playing this more in time. 16:33 Sorry. Now you might wonder, like, well, so how does that sound when I start to utilize that in my improvisation, right, so you can start to hear those enclosures in there, and they start to outline those notes of the chord, and I can get some neat sounds. 17:20 It's a lot, it sounds a lot more interesting than just right, just playing that mixolydian scale over and over again, right. So these enclosures are super, super powerful. In your improvisation, this is just one way of practicing the enclosure, right? I just did the half below, half above, right, that's it what Don't forget, you could do the double chromatics. from below, you can mix them up half above, double chromatic from below, half below double chromatic from above. Now one thing you're going to notice is that fingering wise, you're gonna probably get jammed up now. And now when again, right because it's a little bit tricky. So one thing I would definitely suggest that you practice along with this exercise is your chromatic scale, just with the right hand, I'm going to go on each note. So that's C, C, sharp, D, D, sharp, D, F, F, sharp, D, D sharp, a, a sharp, B, C, right? And keep going. The fingering is 131312, and the F three and E, F sharp, then back to 13121. Great. I lay B flat, and then one and B, two and C, then C sharp is your middle finger. And so on, so forth. So again, running and see, it's 13131231313123. Okay, so you're going to hit 123 on the E, F, F sharp, and you're going to hit 123 on the B, C, C sharp, right. Alright, so we have gone through a lot today. It might be a little bit confusing. I know it's kind of difficult, especially if you're just listening to this podcast episode. But the more that you can think about these enclosures and think about the theory behind it away from the piano, the easier it's going to be for you to be able to lock it in to your hands, so you can actually play this stuff when it comes time to improvise. Alright, so that's it for me. Thanks for joining me guys. And I will see you in the next podcast episode.

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