#1
I am having trouble understanding how to improvise. When you improvise are you suppose to always be aware of what chord you are improving over even if the chords are moving quite fast and you have just enough time to think about it? for instance what if it was a moderately fast tempo song and the progression is a 5 4 2 1 in the key of A major and each chord last for one bar. would that be enough time you think ?

Now I suppose you can just use the A major or A major pentatonic over it but in order for it to sound good don't you need to pay attention to the underlying chords and follow it in some way? Someone will just tell me "Just use the major pentatonic scale." but when they say that are they still implying that you need to always know what chord you are playing over? I think you MUST ALWAYS have to be aware of the chords and notes you are playing at all times otherwise its just going to sound like your notes make no sense against the progression.
#2
Quote by iidunno
I am having trouble understanding how to improvise. When you improvise are you suppose to always be aware of what chord you are improving over even if the chords are moving quite fast and you have just enough time to think about it? for instance what if it was a moderately fast tempo song and the progression is a 5 4 2 1 in the key of A major and each chord last for one bar. would that be enough time you think ?

Now I suppose you can just use the A major or A major pentatonic over it but in order for it to sound good don't you need to pay attention to the underlying chords and follow it in some way? Someone will just tell me "Just use the major pentatonic scale." but when they say that are they still implying that you need to always know what chord you are playing over? I think you MUST ALWAYS have to be aware of the chords and notes you are playing at all times otherwise its just going to sound like your notes make no sense against the progression.


a good improviser must not only do all this, but hear what he wants to play before he even plays it. if you can't do that, then your ear needs to be trained more. start listening more actively to everything, and do ear training exercises for at least 10-15 minutes daily.

remember, improvising is done with the mind and ears THROUGH the fingers, rather than WITH the fingers.
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#3
well if you know the progression and have pretty good timing youll kinda feel where youre at in the progression

and dont thinki about it too much if youre playing in key itll sound good for th emost part

and most omportantly practice and listen
Last edited by supersac at Feb 13, 2012,
#4
Quote by AeolianWolf
remember, improvising is done with the mind and ears THROUGH the fingers, rather than WITH the fingers.


+10000

just feel the music and listen to yourself while you are playing.
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#5
well what I always use to do when I improvised was just use , say the major scale, and just try to make something sound good and I would try to use my ear of what note I would go to next , usually this was just guessing ( you always aren't too far away from a note to resolve on) . But I think for me I need to really be more aware of what is going on and stop guessing all the time and hope to sound good.
#6
Keep experimenting with the scales and you'll come up with some little licks that you like and can use over and over again... You also need to be able to listen to a track and then hear in your head what you're going to play before you play it so it's just experience and memorizing what the notes sound like and what little licks sound like try keeping it simple and get an E minor blues vamp and just play around with E Blues or E Pentatonic, that'll help get you started and get the feel for it

EDIT: Also it helps if you learn where the notes in the scale are so that you can finish of with cadances to make it sound more complete or finish off on the root note or start on the root note to make it sound stronger
Last edited by JNBloomy at Feb 13, 2012,
#7
at first thats exactly what needs to be done you should always know what is the chord that is currently played and know the chord tones. after you do this at practice time over and over you will start hearing it because at runtime you should let your unconscious memory take over feeding you with lines - this of course takes a lot of time and is part of the learning process. good improvisers hear what they want to play and the hand just plays it because the process is what builds the strong hand - mind signal
#8
if you want a good book to help you explore the world of Improvisation then get the Hal Crook How To Improvise book....that will keep you busy for years and it's unlike any other book i've ever senn, the amount of detail is great.
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#9
I've never been a strong theorist which is why I have always had an easier time with improvisation. Most players would feel it important to build a strong set of theoretical skills in order to "learn" how to improvise but I tend to do things backwards. It is through improvisation that I write some of my best stuff.
I agree with most of the writers in this forum that you need to hear what you want to play even before you play it which sounds difficult but it is important. If you do not do this and simply riff on a scale then it turns out sounding exactly like that - riffing on a scale.

Try different tunings too which can force you to upset your comfortable playing style and encourage improvisation in order to find a new way of playing along with a given progression.

Maybe I'm just lazy.