Welcome to The Confident Improviser podcast, episode number 52 with Willie Myette, creator of Jazz Edge. In this episode, we'll be discussing extended chromatic chord tone targeting. We'll explore the challenges of improvising over chords that last for an entire measure versus two beats.
As Willie notes, two beats per chord, or four beats per chord is the most common rhythm for chord progressions. However, there are variations where chords can last for one or three beats. Willie suggests practicing the two and four beats per chord pattern to create improvisational lines.
The first step is to identify chord tones and practice playing random chord tones. Willie demonstrates this by playing root, third, fifth or seventh of each chord with his right hand while playing the chord in the left hand. He advises memorizing chord tones and practicing playing them in quarter notes in the right hand while playing the rootless chord in the left hand.
The next step is to fill in between target notes with chromaticism or chord tones. Chromaticism creates the most tension, so it's essential to shape the line to direct towards the target note. Willie provides an analogy, comparing improvisation to a trip from point A to point B. The shortest distance is a straight line, so improvisation should make logical sense, moving towards the target note.
Willie demonstrates how to create lines using chord tones and chromaticism, incorporating enclosures. He also creates a few blank measures for the listener to practice creating their own lines. Willie advises starting with small patterns and branching out slowly.
In conclusion, extended chromatic chord tone targeting is a challenging aspect of jazz improvisation, but it's essential to develop this skill to create interest and tension in improvisation. By practicing chord tones, chromaticism, and enclosures, musicians can create melodic lines that make logical sense and lead towards the target note.