#1
Hello fellow board members, thanks for stopping in.

My music dream is to be able to produce the symphonies in my head on an instrument. I play guitar and a bit of piano, but I've been using my flute as an instrument to study compositions. I hope to eventually pick up alto sax, probably my favorite tone in any instrument, and I hear the fingerings are quite similar to a flute.

Now on to the question. Here is the piece I am working on now:

http://www.flutetunes.com/tunes/super-mario-bros-theme.pdf

I am sure many of you are familiar with this tune. It has quite a few accidentals which I hope to enhance my modal knowledge and the whole song has been engrained in my head since a child, so it would seem an excellent piece for study.

I can play this piece, but how do I analyze it so I can reuse these odd intervals and licks in my improvisation? Do I look at each note and relate it back to the major scale of C? (Ex. 1, 3, flat 7, flat 7, raised 4th, etc) Should I analyze each individual interval between every note? The first bar contains a major 3rd interval lick, but is it C major or E minor? Does it matter? There are no chords shown on this sheet, but should I look at every bar as a different chord?

Confused, and looking for answers. Whats the best way to analyze pieces so licks can be used in improvisation. Thank you guys in advance!
#3
Look at Tonality (its in C major, no sharps or flats), Structure, Texture, Harmony, Melody, rhythm.

The first few bars are based on a Cmajor arppeggio, C E and G.

To analyse the piece properly you need a full score with all parts, so you can see the harmony and chord profressions/cadences etc.

Just a melody is hard to analyse, it doesn't really tell you much, but you can use it for ideas.

For improvisation, you could use the the melody shape, so using the basic shape (ascending, descending etc) but notes to fit what progression you are improving over

P.S Alto Sax Rules!!! Fingerings are similar to flute, I started on clarinet, and picking up the Sax (Soprano and Alto) was easy. One thing is I can't blow a flute well at all, i can finger all the notes, but just can't blow it cleanly!
#4
Quote by chronowarp
Look at the chords and relate the melody back to the chords.

Look at the chords, if they're non diatonic, then analyze their function within the key.


Hey man, your band sounds great. Chrono Trigger for life.

Ok, so I'm going to try what you said on the 1st and 11th bar. There are no chord examples shown on the composition either, don't know if you saw it.

1st bar has the 1st and 3rd chord tones of a C major chord. So im guessing the first bar would be played over a C major chord and the lick would be 33313. Correct? Also how do I know its not over a E minor?

11th bar... G Major? 1, 7, flat 7, raised 5, 6 ? Am I looking at this lick right?
#5
Quote by geo1450
Look at Tonality (its in C major, no sharps or flats), Structure, Texture, Harmony, Melody, rhythm.

The first few bars are based on a Cmajor arppeggio, C E and G.

To analyse the piece properly you need a full score with all parts, so you can see the harmony and chord profressions/cadences etc.

Just a melody is hard to analyse, it doesn't really tell you much, but you can use it for ideas.

For improvisation, you could use the the melody shape, so using the basic shape (ascending, descending etc) but notes to fit what progression you are improving over

P.S Alto Sax Rules!!! Fingerings are similar to flute, I started on clarinet, and picking up the Sax (Soprano and Alto) was easy. One thing is I can't blow a flute well at all, i can finger all the notes, but just can't blow it cleanly!


Hey hey brother! Its great to hear you play clarinet, sax, and flute. Every since I picked up these "wind" instruments I'm falling in love with tone and the voices they create.

Anyways, so its best to analyze pieces with the backing chord progressions? That would make things much easier but most of the pieces im finding just don't have the backing chords, what gives?

Also, since you are a sax player, maybe you have heard of the legendary Oliver Nelson's "Improv Patterns for Saxophone" sheets. I hear they are like a bible in the jazz world.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/22390471/Improvisation-for-Saxophone-Oliver-Nelson

This is them and I plan on studying it right away when I get all 15 of these key fingerings down for the flute. There are no chords behind any bars at all, how would I analyze something like this?

Thanks so much.
#6
Learn music theory and get a book that foucses on classical/contemporary geared compositions. That will give you the tools to do basic analysis and learn the basics of composing at which you will make your own rules or isms to compose. I'd also suggest downloading a notation program like Sibelius or Finale and pick up a DAW so you can compose within your fingertips.
#7
Quote by satch_wannabe
Hey man, your band sounds great. Chrono Trigger for life.

Ok, so I'm going to try what you said on the 1st and 11th bar. There are no chord examples shown on the composition either, don't know if you saw it.

1st bar has the 1st and 3rd chord tones of a C major chord. So im guessing the first bar would be played over a C major chord and the lick would be 33313. Correct? Also how do I know its not over a E minor?

11th bar... G Major? 1, 7, flat 7, raised 5, 6 ? Am I looking at this lick right?


Gotta go to work...but try googling a piano arrangement or full score of the song so you can see the chords that are being played...that will help you immensely in seeing where the melody is coming from. I'll post later tonight more in depth...
#8
Quote by satch_wannabe


Anyways, so its best to analyze pieces with the backing chord progressions? That would make things much easier but most of the pieces im finding just don't have the backing chords, what gives?

Also, since you are a sax player, maybe you have heard of the legendary Oliver Nelson's "Improv Patterns for Saxophone" sheets. I hear they are like a bible in the jazz world.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/22390471/Improvisation-for-Saxophone-Oliver-Nelson

This is them and I plan on studying it right away when I get all 15 of these key fingerings down for the flute. There are no chords behind any bars at all, how would I analyze something like this?

Thanks so much.


Unless the piece is a study piece (solo/no backing) it should have chords/a score available in some published version.

I have come across the Nelson book, personally I use a series by Owen Bryce for improvisation, but the Nelson looks is useful.

The nelson patterns give you examples of a pattern that you could play over a certain chord or scale, so first work out what scale it is based on. For example the first bar of the first example is based on a C major scale, the second bar is C#major, third Dmajor etc. He's giving you a pattern to play and showing it in all keys basically, when improvising, very useful for spicing up your solos.

I don't know much of Oliver Nelson as a saxophonist, i'll have to listen to some more, I believe I've played a piece arranged by him (possibly)!