Jazz: Playing Outside


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chea_man
05-18-2008, 05:10 PM
hey all. i play alot of blues, rock, and old school soul and R and B, but its all pretty heavily jazz inspired. however, as im becoming more and more interested in jazz, im having some trouble really playing outside. (for those of you who dont know, playing outside means you start playing notes that dont exactly fit with the chords/key.) one of my biggest problems, i think, is probably just being too timid and second guessing what im doing. but im wondering if anyone has anytips on how to do this, like esp. stuff that like (this is just an example, and it works, but i need more) when playing over a dom7 chord, play a Dim. scale one half step higher. any tips at all are welcome. thanks alot.

Toasty25000
05-18-2008, 05:18 PM
Well, assuming that you're improvising, I think that the best way to get better is to just do it, and by playing you'll get a better feel for what sounds good and what doesn't. Don't second guess yourself, if you play something foul, try again, no one's gonna make fun of you : )

chea_man
05-18-2008, 05:23 PM
this is great advice. but im hopeing someone will have some kind of tip like the one i listed, because im running out of things to just try. sometimes i will go up a whole step and play a minor pentatonic scale, it yields some ok stuff, but most of it i just end up thinking to much and only playing the "right" notes anyway.

Nick_
05-18-2008, 05:51 PM
The quickest and easiest way is called "sidestepping" - play an "in" line, but play it a half step out.

When you play out, you have to do it with confidence. Remember that your goal is not so much to sound outside because it's cool but to expand your vocab to all 12 notes (or even more!) and make them sound good, make them sound right.

What is called "sequence" is a great way to achieve this: Pitch/harmony is a pattern; it can be superseded by a stronger pattern, one tied to melody (shape and rhythm). Play something in, then play something with the same/similar shape and rhythm, but that uses outside notes.

Remember, too, that if you play everything outside, you just sound like you don't know what you're doing. Standard form for just about everything ever, micro/macro, life/music whatever is this:

In - Out - In.

Anchor your lines from either side with strong, consonant sounds. Chase that 3 on the downbeat.

Naboo
05-18-2008, 05:52 PM
i usually try and land the strong notes e.g 1,3,5 on the strong beats if im playing completely cromaticaly so that the chord stabs dont conflict with the outside notes. Something cool to do is if u play the Major arpegio of the tritone over the root chord for example:

If u are in the key of Gminor and are playing a Gminor 7, then play a C# major arpegio (which is the tritone of G) over the top.

chea_man
05-18-2008, 05:59 PM
thanks alot nick and Naboo, those are great points.
ive heard of sidestepping and have used it, it just never sounds right when i do it. its probably me just beoing to critical on myself. i will keep doing it. thanks.
i would still love some more advice if anyone has any.

Nick_
05-18-2008, 06:02 PM
Outside playing doesn't sound right on its own.

That's why it's called "outside"


Just remember: Strong melody beats consonant harmony, any time.

z4twenny
05-18-2008, 06:10 PM
i think your best bet is to really study and listen to intervals and hear how they all sound together. i do a lot of chromatic stuff that is definitely outside scales but it sounds good because of the intervals used.

another thing, combining like scales, ie: using alternate minor scales over the minor key you're in, such as such as E phrygian over E natural minor or harmonic minor . using this in conjunction with a little music theory can produce some very interesting sounds.

also altering scales to fit entirely around the chord you're on.

lets say your progression is simply Em,Bm, C,D

play the corresponding scales over it

over E minor chord play the E minor scale (E,F#,G,A,B,C,D) o
over the B minor chord play the B minor scale (B,C#,D,E,F#,G,A,B)
over the C major chord play the C major scale (C D E F G A B)
over the D major chord play the D major scale (D,E,F#,G,A,B,C#)

for all the minor scales you could also substitute the harmonic minor scale (or even the melodic minor scale if done "properly")
for all the major scales you could subsitute mixolydian for the natural major scale as well

these are just a few examples of what could be done to get those extra notes.

wolflen
05-18-2008, 06:30 PM
wide space intervals...like two scale notes in the same octave then the next series of tones an octave lower or hight..

also...the melody....playing it out of time or reversed is also a nice melodic trick...sounds outside without having to guess where your going and how to get back..

wolf

6DgOfInTb
05-18-2008, 06:33 PM
I'm not going to go into detail because there has already been a lot of good information posted. Theres a video on youtube with Joe Satriani talking about modes, and in it, he describes how you can play an "out" lick and still have it sound "in" just by mixing it with the scale of the key. He also mentions that the human brain remembers 11 notes, which means you can play 11 notes out of key, and then go back to playing "in" and have it sound perfectly fine.

I'm pretty sure it's this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCdZwASSKuk

Nick_
05-18-2008, 06:37 PM
also altering scales to fit entirely around the chord you're on.

lets say your progression is simply Em,Bm, C,D

play the corresponding scales over it

over E minor chord play the E minor scale (E,F#,G,A,B,C,D) o
over the B minor chord play the B minor scale (B,C#,D,E,F#,G,A,B)
over the C major chord play the C major scale (C D E F G A B)
over the D major chord play the D major scale (D,E,F#,G,A,B,C#)


This is playing inside.

Outside would be more like, over the E minor chord play the F minor scale. Or better yet, the Bb minor pentatonic.

z4twenny
05-18-2008, 07:44 PM
^ how is that playing inside when its clearly an E minor progression and 3 of those 4 scales are not E minor. E natural minor doesn't contain C# or an F, also if you were to use the first 2 scales as harmonic minor variant you would get an extra A# and D#, so there you have 4 notes outside the scale, thats 11 notes total when diatonic scales have only 7.

chea_man
05-18-2008, 08:36 PM
your both right. playing outside doesnt really have a straight definition. for some people, playing outside mearly means playing sort of odd modes and scales, and for others it pretty much an all out abandonment of the key and tonality

Punk Poser
05-18-2008, 08:47 PM
Transcribe licks from the masters and see how they do it.

Guitar_Theory
05-18-2008, 09:07 PM
A professor of mine at UArts told me "You can play whatever you want as long as you resolve it in a convincing and confident way."

Very often when I'm really grooving and having a good time I'll just start playing parallel movements, like play the 12th frets on the high E and the D strings, and move down by 3 frets each time until I reach a point where I can resolve. It generally comes out really hip and everyone really digs it.

chea_man
05-18-2008, 09:11 PM
A professor of mine at UArts told me "You can play whatever you want as long as you resolve it in a convincing and confident way."

Very often when I'm really grooving and having a good time I'll just start playing parallel movements, like play the 12th frets on the high E and the D strings, and move down by 3 frets each time until I reach a point where I can resolve. It generally comes out really hip and everyone really digs it.
thanks so much for the suggestion. however, im not sure if im really following you. could you give an example of this? if you could that would be so great. thanks

Guitar_Theory
05-18-2008, 09:23 PM
Okay so my example was like this:

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y281/ShirtNinja101/Randommovementexample.jpg

It's a kind of arbitrary example, and honestly I don't know if that sounds awesome or what, but it gets the point across.

Now that I look at it, it would probably be better to resolve right on that first bar of DMaj7, just to relieve the tension faster, cause that will create massive amounts of tension, and the resolution right with the chord change would be a huge release.

chea_man
05-18-2008, 09:37 PM
ok. yeah i see what you mean now i think. thanks alot.