I decided to get my 7 yr old nephew a violin for christmas, except one of my friends lost her job and they are threatening to shut her gas off - so I suppose I will be spending my money on helping my good friend. I wanted to get a new amp too because the jazz gig is starting to happen and Im going to need to make my instrument louder to be heard over drums, that and I love the chorus sound with reverb that an amp can provide. It is good for people to want things but Im pefectly happy with what I have now, somehow I have learned to live with less and be happy.
Ive been writing new music and Im really enjoying that. Last week I did some jamming with my guitar friend Kevin: I show him the chords then play over them on violin. We even did a little recording and I remeber saying to him "Im just trying to be me". The thing is I can focus on becoming a great performer but what I really want is to write my own music and find my own voice, its incredibly difficult and frustrating to have so many things come out that arent satisfying but finally Im starting to get some good ideas. The thing about me is Im trying to study as much music as I can harminically - so that when I write music it will be more robust. Lately I have been developing a chord voicing for a major 13 #11 cord just as an example, other new chords i have been experimenting with are a7+5 and d min 6/9...
Expanding scale practice > lately I have been discussing improv ideas with triads, I would like to encourage people to try triads that arent in 3rds, my friend Ron calls these intervallic sructures, just pick a voicing that isnt in 3rds - just experminet until you have something that sounds good then take that shape and secuence it modally. Another idea is play a scale with 3 notes then 6 for example 123123456 234234567 345345678 when you play this at a high speed it has a neat sound and since you are playing an odd number of notes - the beat lands in strange places when youre trying to play over 4/4 (I got the idea for that from the late improv master shawn lane)
The problem with legato > I would like to write about a quote regarding improv, it is my opinion that allan holdsworth is the most innovative soloist around on any instrument (he actually plays violin on the iou cd) one of the things he was talking about is that the tendency with legato is to play too many notes in 1 direction and I find that to be true. The thing to do is to develop some legato ideas that move in different directions. If you are interested in hearing some wickedly innovative improv you can check out allan on jean luc ponty's "enigmatic ocean" or his live cd called "then". You can check out allan's website at therealallanholdsworth.com
That and someone recently turned me on to a refreshing new acoustic guitarist called kaki king, i like her music alot and it sort of reminds me of something Michael Hedges would have done if he were still alive. Her music is relaxing and has become inspirational to me. You can check her out at KakiKing.com
Now if youll excuse me, Im suddenly having a craving for some corn
(computer programmer, muggle violinist, compulsive doughnut eater, music slave, virtuoso guitarist, servant of the muses, reasonably sound harmonic advise, etc)
Trivia question time, what does the first 3 notes of the middle movement of the brahms concerto start with? If your thinking "major triad" your right. As you can see triads are an extremely useful melodic tool.
So anyways, based on my last several blogs, if you have followed my suggestions, you already know the power of triads. Using the example of the jazz classic "Autumn Leaves" what you have is a melody sequenced therough a progression moving in 4ths starting with
f# min7 b5 (diminished)
this is the first half of autumn leaves, the last time I suggested playing triads starting on e min and moving it up in 4ths (see previous blog). You can do this then finish with a descending e min scale, e blues will work well also. You should now be able to play through the first half of autumn leaves.
For recordings I could like to suggest the Bill Evans CD portrait in jazz or the miles davis cd something else, I hope that gives some of you some improvising ideas.
For dad Im goin to get the Fournier dvd playing the Schumann and Saint Seaens concertos, what a wonderful cellist he was!
I need to get something for my nephew. Does anyone know what to get a 7 yr ol boy for christmas?
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