EXTENDED Chromatic Chord Tone Targeting (Podcast Episode #52)

Posted by: JAZZEDGE on October 19, 2021

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00:05 Hey guys, Willie Myette, creator of jazz edge Welcome to The Confident improviser podcast. This is episode number 52. And today we're going to be talking about our extended chromatic chord tone targeting. So just like in the last episode we were talking about the adding in some of that chromaticism in between our target notes. Now we're going to talk about what happens when those target when those chords last for an entire measure versus two beats, right? In reality, that's really kind of our challenge as improvisers of jazz. There are some tunes in which the chords move every two beats. And then there are some tunes in which chords move every four beats, that by far, and by and large is the most common rhythm for our chord progressions. two beats per quart, or four beats per quarter. Now is that always the case, no, sometimes you'll have a chord, just for one beat. Sometimes you have a core for three beats, and then one chord for one beat, right? There's all different variations. But by and large, a two, two beats per chord, or four beats per chord is the most common so you really want to work that pattern out that rhythmic pattern for your chords to make sure that you can create improvisational lines over chords that are two beats apiece, and chords that are four beats apiece. So the first thing is, remember, we got our, our progression here. Now on the D minor, I'm going to add in the nine, okay, because we're going to go a little bit longer now we're going to kind of, you know, play around with where the placement of the F is, rather than it being down here, you know, we're gonna bring it up an octave. I also want you to hear what it sounds like having the nine in there, okay, both both ways are perfectly fine. Playing D minor seven, with no nine in there, just playing the D or playing D minor seven, along with the nine in there, right? So you get to hear both ways, right? So anyway, here's your chords. talked about this in Episode 51. Right, but let's go through it again. And let's also add in our ireo Pro track. And by the way, if you're interested in grabbing the sheet music for this lesson, it's all available for jazz edge members, right? the sheet music and the ireo Pro track here we go. Oh, you know what, there's one thing I forgot to do that I'm going to fix right now. Okay, all fixed, I had to move the chords to four beats per chord. Now we're all set to go. Let's play the chords along with the backing track. minor seven, B minor, seven, and C. So if you want to comp some rhythm there, that's fine as well. 03:01 Alright, so next phase of this is again, we're going to target our chord tones. And then you can really target any chord tone here. Okay, so here I'm starting with the, with the third of F major, okay, and I'm going up to the third of D minor, and I'm going to the fifth of G minor, and going to the third of C seven. My suggestion is when you want to practice this, start by just targeting random chord tones, okay, so I don't have this written down in the music, but let me show you what that looks like. Okay, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to play the chords in my left hand, and then right here, I'm going to play the root, the third, the fifth, or the seventh of that chord tone, okay, on that chord rather, okay, so for the F major seven, when I'm on the F major seven, I'm going to play out of the root three, five, or seven. When I'm on the D minor, I'm going to play three, five, or seven, on G minor root three, five, or seven and uncIe 7357. And it sounds like this, too. I'll start with the fifth of F. Let me go to the root of D, third of G minor, root of c, third of app, seventh of D, route of G. lipsy. Right. So now, that should be relatively easy for most of you to be able to do that. If that if you find that you're having difficulty with that, that probably means that you have to like really kind of practice your chord tones and make sure that you really know how to spell each of the chords. Just a quick little sidebar, again, spelling the chords. For F major, you're not spelling the rootless chord, you're spelling the block chords, that would be f A, C. For D minor, again, the blog chord, D, F, A, C, for G minor, G, B flat, D, F, and for C, seven, C eg B flat, right? So you want to make sure that you really know those chord tones. Another way of practicing that is play them in quarter notes, right? Since there's four notes, you got four beats for each chord, so play the chord tones in quarter notes in the right hand while playing the rootless chord in the left hand, that sounds like this. 05:34 You can go in opposite directions, and also use versions. So that should be again, relatively simple for you. But especially for you advanced players. If you've never tried that before. Try it just to see because you might find that, oh my goodness, you're right. I have difficulty doing that on the fly. And if that's the case, don't worry. Don't fret about it. Just practice it. Okay. All right. So now that we have our chord tones, now we're going to start to fill in between. Alright, so what do I have here I have 06:25 a bad line. Pretty nice. Let me play it along with the band track. Here we go. Alright, so let's again, break this down. You'll see right at the beginning of each chord, what do I have? I have my target notes, right? So these are all the same target notes that we just talked about before, right? So the third of f, the third of D, the fifth of G, the third of C. Okay, and then in between here, this is all of my chromaticism. Hey, I might be utilizing chord tones, I might be utilizing my chromatic scale. Okay, I might be utilizing enclosures, but this is kind of the meat. Now another way of thinking about your improvisation is like this, like a sandwich, right? So you got a piece of bread on the top and a piece of bread on the bottom. And then in the middle is all of the meats. Okay, and just like how you can see that what I've written here on the screen, see how the orange is kind of like the bread. And then the blue here is the meat in the middle wall. Again, take a look. See how the orange here, those are my target notes, okay. And then the blue here is the meat. Remember the meat and everything that goes in between the target and the target notes can be really anything it could be chromaticism, it could be chord tones. It could be enclosures, you know, it could be upper structure, triads, it could be arpeggios, whatever it is that you want, but remember, this chromaticism is the smallest interval that we have at the piano. Okay, so that means that there is nothing that can create more tension than chromaticism. Okay. So when I play I can't create any more attention than that, unless, of course, I start doing, you know, like gnashing down notes. Okay, but we're talking about single note lines right now. So when I have a single note line, the chromaticism and the chromatic scale is going to create the most amount of tension. Why do I say that to you? The reason I'm saying that to you is because remember, if I fill in between my target notes with chord tones, everything is going to sound hunky dory. It's gonna sound great, right? So like if I do, 09:01 right, sounds perfectly fine, because all of those notes, all of those are chord tones. Rather, they all work right. chord tones are always going to work in your improvisation. But then as I start to fill in between with smaller intervals, for example, the chromatic scale, now I start to create some more tension. 09:32 Right, so you can hear a lot more attention being created there. Now, you also hear in that last example that I just did, that's not a great example of moving from Target note to target note with the chromatic scale because literally all I was doing is playing the target note and just playing some random chromaticism in there. What we really want to do is we want to shape our chromaticism or shape our line to direct us toward our target note. Let me give you an analogy, and a For instance on this, imagine that you're going to plan a trip, okay? And you want to get from point A to point B to point C, right? Well, now obviously, what is the shortest distance is a straight line, right? So you want to try and go in as much of a straight line. Now, for those of you that are outside of the United States, you might not know this geography, but Chicago is up north, Florida is down south Rhode Island is to the east, California is to the west. All right. So if I start in, if I want to go, and I want to go from, you know, Rhode Island to say, Chicago, right? I'm not going to go Rhode Island to California, then Florida, then to Chicago, right? Because I'm going to be traveling all over this country needlessly, rather than just going in that straight line. Okay. Same thing happens with your improvisation as well, you want your improvisation to kind of make a little bit of sense. So let's take a look at what we have going on here. So I start on the A, and I come down to the app, and in which direction Am I going, I'm moving up towards. Right, see how that line takes me right up to that F. Okay. In fact, you can even see it going on right in the physical line itself. So yeah, we're just moving right on up right here. That doesn't mean that I have to always go in that direction, I could go what I start to run the risk of my improvisation bouncing all over the place, take a listen to this. Right, like, that doesn't make any sense. It's easy to start, like hitting wrong notes in there, because I like bouncing all over the place. So I want my lines to kind of make some logical sense, right. 12:00 So now I get up to the F, which is the third of the D, okay, and now where am I going, I'm going C, A C, flat, C sharp to D. So let's break this line down immediately, what we could see is we have this beautiful enclosure going on right here. chose to double chromatic from above chromat, I have stuff from below getting to my target, I could even sneak this one in with the C and say that that's a whole step from below, then a double chromatic from above, then half step below to my target. So I could, I can look at all four of those as being part of my enclosure, what's going on in the beginning here, this first part, AF, D, C chord. So I utilize my chord tones, and then I utilize my chromaticism and I get this line. Right, real nice sounding line. And, again, all I'm using is chord tones, and chromaticism. Finally, when I get to the G. I hit the D. It's now hitting the D, E flat G, it's my third of my route back to the B flat third, then here, what am I doing double chromatic from below, half step from above, resolving to the third of C. So what you'll notice here is that you have a lot of these and closures that are going on, okay, all of these enclosures. And like I said in last week's episode, you can think of that enclosure as being an enclosure, or it's just chromaticism, it's completely up to you how you look at that. But this is why I said right up at the beginning here is to definitely check out Episode 25 of the TCI podcast for enclosures. Now, what I've also done is I've also created a couple of blank measures here where you could write in your own and you can kind of practice your own creating your own lines. So one way in which I would start doing this, okay for creating your own lines is do exactly what I said before, right? So I'm going to put on the backing track and we're going to talk over it while I play. Alright, so the first thing to do is just start with playing a chord. Right and just hold it out for you know, hold it out for you know, the full four beats next Alright, so you know, I mean Not a lie that I super love or I but I don't hate it either. All I'm trying to do is I'm just trying to move from chord tone and trying to create you create some interest in my line utilizing my chord tones, my chromaticism, my enclosures, all stuff we've talked about in previous podcast episodes, right. So just utilizing all of that material to now start to create lines on the spot. Right? Now what's important is I'm creating these lines, using a simple four chord progression. I could also do it over a three chord progression, just a 251, I could also do it over just a simple progression, like one to five or one to four, whatever. My point is, this, do not try and do these types of exercises over. You know, I go over like rhythm changes, and all of these different chords and whatnot, because you're just gonna confuse yourself. Start with small patterns, first, four chords, three chords, two chords, right? Then you can start to branch out from them. But start by getting to the backing track, playing a chord tone along with each of the chords, and then start to fill in between those target notes with your chord tones and your chromaticism, right, this is a process that takes time, it's just there's no other way of putting it other than it's going to take you time to get this down. So you've got to make sure that you stay patient with yourself on this. Now, when you're driving, or you're away from the piano, this is great stuff to practice, okay, so if I'm not even going to look at the piano, right now, I'm just thinking, Okay, I'm gonna go F major to D minor, to G minor to C seven, let me just think of some target lines, okay, C down to A to B flat to G, right? So that would be the faff down to the fifth to the third to the fifth. Okay, let me target the seventh now. All right, I E, to C, to F, to B flat, 17:00 to C, to B. See how then I can start to fill in there with some lines. And also notice what I'm doing with my lines, quarter notes, eighth notes, quarter rest, eighth rest, maybe some triplets in there. Now, and again, you don't have to get crazy with the rhythms that you're doing right? You can, you can get a lot out of just utilizing quarter notes, eighth notes and their rest, right, because you can get a lot of syncopation in there with those eighth rest as well. But but but buddy buddy better, right? So don't think that you have to come up with some fancy, super fancy rhythm in order to have a line that's going to sound good, right? So anyway, I got a lot of work here to do. So if it seems like it's a super simple, then you're not really thinking big enough, right? Some ways in which you can kind of think bigger on this is, well, first of all, I've given you a spot here that you could ride out to for measure exercises for yourself. So it's eight measures right there. So that's eight measures of writing. Okay, but then you could also do this in all 12 keys, right? So you start to do the numbers there eight times 12. Right. What is that? 96 Okay, so now that was 96 measures of music to write out so you could really expand upon this quite a bit, then you could say, Okay, forget about writing stuff out. Now all I'm going to do is I'm just going to try playing along with this I real pro backing track and seeing what I can come up with for my improvisation right. Now, if you're not interested in jazz improvisation. You might be like, Willie, why do I Why do I need to do this? Right? I mean, not really interested in jazz improvisation? Yeah. But my question then would be this. Are you interested in actually learning the piano? Alright, and I don't mean that'd be sarcastic. I'm saying that because do you really want to dive in and really understand music? Or do you just want to do music superficially, because if you really want to understand music, as you start to build out these lines, as improvisational stuff and understand targeting of nodes and chromaticism and chord tones, you're going to get a much, much better understanding of music. Now, that doesn't mean that you have to always play in a jazz style, right? You could also do the same stuff in a different style. So if I go into my style here, and I say like, let me put it on a rock. 19:54 Alright, so I can move this into other styles. I can move into other Tempe right? So go slower, go faster. So really Sky's kind of the limit as to all the different permutations and alterations that you can make. So my encouragement to you is think like an artist, think like a musician. And to think like an artist and think like a musician means that you are looking for new ways of challenging yourself. So improvisation is not just about improvising notes. It's also about how good is your exercise improvisation meaning, how good is your brain at coming up with new exercises for you to practice, right? So think about different ways in which you could change an exercise around so you don't get stuck just thinking, well, Willie only gave me this right and that means that that's all I do. Now, there's plenty, plenty more that you can do. So it's just really up to your own imagination. So be imaginative with different ways in which you can tweak these exercises, to you know, fit the bill that you need fit, right so like, like fit the styles that you want to learn and fit, you know, types of songs and progressions that you want to learn. Now, as a reminder, if you'd like to get the sheet music for today's lesson, the sheet music is available for all jazz edge members, just go back to jazz edge.com for information on that. And then also, be sure to check out all of the other podcasts episodes, they're free. You can just go right to Apple podcasts, type in the confident improviser or go anyplace that you get podcasts. And then be sure to subscribe to the podcast. And if you like it, do me a favor and leave a review leave a rating. I always love to read the reviews and read the rating. So thank you so much. I appreciate it. And I will see you guys in the next podcast episode.

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