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Old 09-26-2012, 03:27 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2007
Johnny Smith "where or when" solo analysis

I've just learned Johnny Smith's solo on this really nice sounding tune, and there are some aspects of it that I'm fairly intrigued by. Notably, the range he uses throughout the improvisation.

So, take for instance the line he opens the solo with around 1:05. The pitches from the bottom up are; G, E, octave G, B, E, B. All diatonic notes, but ascending very rapidly, going up over two octaves within a bar. Following the B, the line drops down a sixth to D#, then E, G, B, Bb, F#, D, octave up D, B, F# (sorry if it's a bit confusing which octave each note is in, just listen or use a guitar to figure it out). The pattern the phrase follows in this opening is kind of a large ascent followed by small descent.

I guess what I'm finding peculiar is that it sort of violates the rule that a pleasing melody ostensibly uses a narrow range, and that large leaps sound jarring. The leaps certainly do call attention to the line, but they still work and sound nice. Why do you think that is, because he knows how to resolve them correctly? And how could this possibly be applied to ones improvisation?
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thegloaming is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-2012, 04:33 AM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2012
pleasing melodies dont need a narrow range
that more of a statement about a singable melody.

sounds like a lot of octave displacement to me.
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