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Starting with improvisation.

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Dec 6, 2018 - 10:08:48 AM
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haggis

Scotland

302 posts since 10/19/2009

Re. Improvisation. I read of flattened this and sharpened that . Here a passing note, there another. Eventually we have all twelve notes and are back to square one. In my opinion the most important element in improvising is knowing which scale/mode to hang all the embellishments upon. I liken the basic scale/mode which one uses to a suit of clothes. One then adds to this a necktie , cuff links and pocket kerchief depending upon the colour of suit you wear. In other words, know your basic scales ,modes , finger patterns etc. and you will find these "other" notes quite easily. Or am I wrong?

Dec 6, 2018 - 10:43:53 AM
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1421 posts since 8/27/2008

Don't forget timing, phrasing, double stops, slides, dynamics. Improvisation isn't just notes.

Dec 6, 2018 - 10:57:38 AM

22 posts since 3/16/2008

quote:
Originally posted by abinigia

Don't forget timing, phrasing, double stops, slides, dynamics. Improvisation isn't just notes.


Those go beyond STARTING improvisation.

Yes, the major scales are important, but I find that basic pentatonic scales suit me best when improvising... G, A, D, maybe E also.

Dec 6, 2018 - 12:10:08 PM

1222 posts since 12/11/2008

Learn the tune to the point where it resides comfortably in your fingers and head. Play it, sing it, hum it, think it. Figure out what you think makes it emotionally tick. Then, find ways of either further exploring that emotional theme or turning that emotion on its ear. Turn the comedy into a drama. A drama into a comedy.

Dec 6, 2018 - 12:24:51 PM
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1421 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by MusicMan13760

Those go beyond STARTING improvisation.


Maybe for some. In the same way that notes need structures to form meaningful melodies, I consider improvisation to be about notes and structure too. I think STARTING improvisation is whatever you make it. That's why it's called improvisation.

I get that any kind of improvisation is a big jump for some players. But I think it's useful to understand at the start that it isn't only note choice you can play with.

Dec 6, 2018 - 3:01:14 PM
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1998 posts since 10/1/2008

Well …. Most melodies that we fiddlers learn are likely somebodies improvisation. There are a few ways to approach improvising. From a simple , SIMPLE, melody you can add , subtract, harmonize and syncopate tones that you find pleasing to your ear … keeping in mind the tempo. Or you can "play the changes" where you completely ignore the melody in favor of the chords and jam on those changes with scales , arpeggios and double stops.... thirdly a combination of the two where the melody never entirely disappears and the improvisation continues to flirt with it...… easier said than done. As pointed out above really knowing a melody is the place to start and that is after you have taken the time to learn the chords, relative scales and developed your ear...… This fiddling stuff is like climbing a metaphorical ladder... the higher you get the more you see.... the more you learn the more you know there is to learn ….. Enjoy …

Dec 6, 2018 - 6:09:02 PM

haggis

Scotland

302 posts since 10/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by abinigia

Don't forget timing, phrasing, double stops, slides, dynamics. Improvisation isn't just notes.


Yes , there are many elements to improvisation . As I said in my opinion  " the most important element."

Dec 6, 2018 - 6:10:48 PM

haggis

Scotland

302 posts since 10/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

Learn the tune to the point where it resides comfortably in your fingers and head. Play it, sing it, hum it, think it. Figure out what you think makes it emotionally tick. Then, find ways of either further exploring that emotional theme or turning that emotion on its ear. Turn the comedy into a drama. A drama into a comedy.


I was thinking more about on the hoof improvisation.

Dec 7, 2018 - 1:39:47 AM
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1027 posts since 4/6/2014

i like to find the mode of the Key that sits in the middle of the fingerboard and learn the "head" in relation to that mode, mostly in single octave closed positions on adjacent strings, keeping the basic melody in the fiddles natural voice, and using open strings or ghosted notes or rests etc, to change positions. i use this as the basic framework for the tune

Then i learn and analyse the progression, (on guitar) then alter the progression(on guitar), and follow the altered progression on fiddle keeping things in the fiddles natural range, and noodle around until things start to "happen"...if i find something nice i stop and work out why it sounds nice, and use it as a " motif " or "lick" to aim at while i'm improvising proper. These licks or whatever then start altering as well, and sometimes end up sounding like "Quotes" from previously learned tunes, the rest of the scales/modes/arpeggio's/pentatonics/ double stops, etc, just link these licks/quotes/motifs, together and follow either my altered chord progression, or re-enforce the original chord progression or melody

i'm starting to find that i don't need to play/alter/hear the chords on guitar so much these days, and am starting to hear them (or at least a bass line) in my head, as i mess about with em on fiddle

at least i think that's what i try to do. Then some of this stuff ends up as improvisation if when i play it with others, if not i've got the "Head" to go back to.... chord wise or melody wise

Dec 7, 2018 - 11:11:33 AM

1027 posts since 4/6/2014

quote:
Originally posted by haggis

Re. Improvisation. I read of flattened this and sharpened that . Here a passing note, there another. Eventually we have all twelve notes and are back to square one. In my opinion the most important element in improvising is knowing which scale/mode to hang all the embellishments upon. I liken the basic scale/mode which one uses to a suit of clothes. One then adds to this a necktie , cuff links and pocket kerchief depending upon the colour of suit you wear. In other words, know your basic scales ,modes , finger patterns etc. and you will find these "other" notes quite easily. Or am I wrong?


That basic suit of clothes may not fit the fiddle, it may have to be tailored to fit the fiddle,..and your own preferences and abilities, make it comfortable and fun for yourself, adding your own favourite accessories to personalise it . play what comes easy to yourself, and the fiddle, and fits the melody/harmony in a pleasing way to yourself, and hopefully the listeners...some of them might get your intensions

Things get easier and sound more sophisticated as you get better at making things easy, and sound good to yourself, those things are not necessarily easy for other players, ....and define your own style of improvisation, (maybe/probably influenced by other players)

......i hope i'm right because that's what i am, and have been trying to do for a while now ??

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