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#1
Alot of guys here suggest humming a melody in your head and than grabbing a guitar and trying to play said melody, archeo was the last guy I saw suggest that. But you would just be playing a song that you heard long ago, that someone else wrote and that you forgot that you even heard said melody. Therefore, no originality, which is by far the most important aspect of improvising, originality.

But hey, at least its better than what the rest of UG suggest, picking a box shape and playing random notes.

What I suggest than? Practise, experience and the kind of theory that you can only acquire by practise and experience. After a while you will learn that some intervals will sound different over some chords and that some intervals sound different one after the other. After you mix that with some awesome phrasing, you get some acceptable improvising.

Discuss
#2
humming a melody in ur head doesnt mean u have to hum a song u just heard. it can be just humming some random melody that u suddenly came up with and thats an original tune
#4
Humming a melody in my head works great for me... but I use other ways, like playing a scale up and down, then do it in different patterns. I have found many cool riffs that way.
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#5
Quote by disillusia
humming a melody in ur head doesnt mean u have to hum a song u just heard. it can be just humming some random melody that u suddenly came up with and thats an original tune
It normally is a song you've already heard before, or a corruption of that song. You most likely dont remember you've even heard it. It's a matter of getting a song stuck in your head.

This is one of the reasons why I dont like singers that dont play another musical instrument. They end up writing their singing melodies like this and therefore end up being unoriginal.
#6
Stop saying 'said melody' you sound retarded.

Any ways, even if you hum a song that already exists which you've forgotten (which is hardly likly, I always have a tune in my head that I've made up, if you cant do that, you have problems) then you try and tab out this tune in your head. You may tab it out wrong, so even if it exists you'll still come up with something new, and a whole lot of songs are just stolen ideas from other people translated into their own.


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#7
Quote by demonofthenight
But you would just be playing a song that you heard long ago, that someone else wrote and that you forgot that you even heard said melody. Therefore, no originality, which is by far the most important aspect of improvising, originality.


And playing notes on the guitar always produces original riffs?
The notes in your head and the ones on your guitar are the same...
#8
That's pretty ridiculous. When I hum things I hum stuff that I have thought up in my head. No doubt the exact melody probably has been used at some point in history, but to say that it's impossible to hum original things makes no sense whatsoever.
#9
Quote by Absent Mind
Stop saying 'said melody' you sound retarded.
Stop posting that the TS retarded, it makes you sound like a douche.
And playing notes on the guitar always produces original riffs?
The notes in your head and the ones on your guitar are the same...
Not really, I never know what it's gonna sound like exactly. I know bending a b5 will sound dark and bluesy, but I never know how its gonna fit in with the rest of the song. And sometimes I just think, the next note needs to be a minor third.

As opposed to humming a song...
#10
Quote by demonofthenight
Stop posting that the TS retarded, it makes you sound like a douche.Not really, I never know what it's gonna sound like exactly. I know bending a b5 will sound dark and bluesy, but I never know how its gonna fit in with the rest of the song. And sometimes I just think, the next note needs to be a minor third.

As opposed to humming a song...

That's because you aren't familiar enough with the instrument to properly improvise.
#11
lol wtf when u improvise on the guitar. u would sometimes take a lick from a song or watever and then modify it by adding or taking away a few notes. If u hum a melody in ur head.. say maybe from a song u just heard, u can also edit it on the guitar by adding or taking away notes. thats improvising and its original
#12
Quote by CowboyUp
That's because you aren't familiar enough with the instrument to properly improvise.
So you plan out your WHOLE improvisation before you even play? that defeats the purpose of IMPROVISING
#13
Quote by demonofthenight
So you plan out your WHOLE improvisation before you even play? that defeats the purpose of IMPROVISING
You shouldn't go into a solo with no clue of what you're going to play.

What Cowboy is talking about is that near-instantaneous reaction of your fingers when your brain decides a certain note or phrase would sound good.
#14
But you would just be playing a song that you heard long ago, that someone else wrote and that you forgot that you even heard said melody.


...what? That's completely ridiculous. The point of humming the melody and then playing it is to develop and understanding of intervals and the ability play what you hear in your head on your instrument. No one is arguing that improvised solos should be planned out note for note, nor are they arguing that the voice should be used to develop these solos.

It normally is a song you've already heard before, or a corruption of that song.


It is most certainly not "normally a song you've already heard". Regardless of your experience with your instrument, your voice is a much more natural one, and it will be far easier for you to improvise a melody with it. If you personally can't develop a single original idea, that's a weakness on your part.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Last edited by Archeo Avis at Apr 3, 2008,
#15
Yes, I've got most of ug disagreeing with me.

Yeah sue, I know how my improvisations are gonna feel like, just not what they're gonna be note for note, sound for sound. I do havve that near-instantaneous instinct on what the note is, it kicks in every second or third note.

Have none of you ever gotten a song stuck in your head? And no matter what you do, its in there, untill you hum the chicken dance, and than you got the chicken dance stuck in your head. I've honestly never gotten an original song stuck in my head. Everything I've wrote has been either a creative idea, like chromatics after a b5, or using that near-instantaneous instinct.
#16
Seems I disagree with you on everything tonight, dunnit?
Therefore, no originality, which is by far the most important aspect of improvising, originality.
To me the most important aspect of improvising is expression.

As for originality:
If you combine enough old stuff you get something new.
I don't think you often replicate an entire melody when you think of something in your head. But you are bound to use smaller elements of melodies you have heard before, sequences of 2-5 (ish) notes. But then, nearly everyone has used most of these elements before. What matters is how you combine those elements/sequences (words) into a melody (sentence).

How many people would have ever said "I don't think you often replicate an entire melody when you think of something in your head"? Thats a dozen or so words (sequences) that everyone has used before, but I made a sentence (melody)that might not ever have been written before.
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#17
You seem to be confusing the act of humming, as in simply using the humming noise as a cheap, portable, simple to play musical instrument, with the act of humming something.

If you honestly can't make the mental association of simply humming randomly then it's probably because you don't have enough internalised musical knowledge. Sure, I hum familiar songs when I'm daydreaming, but I also hum intervals and scales and work out solos at work and in the car. I do it because I don't have a guitar with me and I want to hear what something sounds like - also if I come up with something good I'll keep humming it so I don't forget it and can play it when I get home.

If you can't hum originally then you're not going to be able to play originally either...a guitarists musical development doesn't start or end with the guitar.

Besides, at the end of the day, you've heard EVERYTHING before, there's only 12 notes after all.
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#18
Quote by steven seagull
You seem to be confusing the act of humming, as in simply using the humming noise as a cheap, portable, simple to play musical instrument, with the act of humming something.

If you honestly can't make the mental association of simply humming randomly then it's probably because you don't have enough internalised musical knowledge. Sure, I hum familiar songs when I'm daydreaming, but I also hum intervals and scales and work out solos at work and in the car. I do it because I don't have a guitar with me and I want to hear what something sounds like - also if I come up with something good I'll keep humming it so I don't forget it and can play it when I get home.

If you can't hum originally then you're not going to be able to play originally either...a guitarists musical development doesn't start or end with the guitar.
...

You insulted me on so many levels.
I play a cheap portable simple to play musical instrument and I can improvise on it almost as well as on the guitar. I consider myself a harmonicist as much as a guitarist, even if I'm still nooby on the harmonica. And no, I'm not unoriginal on the guitar, nor am I inexperienced.

I just think that the songs that your humming in your head are songs buried in your sub conscious so deep that not even you know where they're comming from, so you think they're original.

I sort of agree with aenimus about recycling music. It's not something I do when I improvise, all my licks and tricks are my own, but I've heard it done and it does have a nice result.
#20
Quote by branny1982
australia is AHEAD of us..... so there is no chance that this is an April Fools thread?


really... i don't know where to begin
from the start

And everyday is april fools day on the internet , but this isn't an april fools joke. I honestly think the whole humming technique is only good if your transcribing music.
#21
I just think that the songs that your humming in your head are songs buried in your sub conscious so deep that not even you know where they're comming from, so you think they're original.


If that's true, then songs (period) we come up with are similarly influenced.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#22
Quote by Archeo Avis
If that's true, then songs (period) we come up with are similarly influenced.
Um, yeah. If you really like say metal, and all you listen to is metal, your influences are gonna be.... metal.
#23
Quote by demonofthenight
Um, yeah. If you really like say metal, and all you listen to is metal, your influences are gonna be.... metal.


So you're arguing that everything we write is blatantly ripped off some other song, but we just don't know it because it's "buried in our subconscious"?
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#24
Well, at least this isn't another "modes vs scales" or "playing with soul" topic
with the usual spew about nothing ....

Singing or humming notes is often suggested as a good way of internalizing things.
That advice comes from many respectable sources.

Personally, it's not something I do, but I can see the benefit.

When I approach an improvisation, I don't really have any idea of what it's
going to sound like. All I know (or want to know) is where the notes on the
fretboard are that I generally want to play around. Then I just let it happen
and push it around in certain directions based on what I'm hearing and what I
feel like doing. I'm not aware of any "melody" at all in my head before I play
something. It all happens as I'm playing it. That works best for me anyway.
But, I also have a lot of trust in what I've learned and practiced.
#25
I sort of agree with aenimus about recycling music. It's not something I do when I improvise, all my licks and tricks are my own, but I've heard it done and it does have a nice result.

I reckon your licks and tricks are made up of smaller melodic elements, that other people have used before. Just a few notes in a certain sequence.

eg E G F#, 1 b3 2. You might combine it with A G A, 4 b3 4. Put a few of these sequences together and you get a lick that is your own.
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#26
Quote by demonofthenight
Alot of guys here suggest humming a melody in your head and than grabbing a guitar and trying to play said melody, archeo was the last guy I saw suggest that. But you would just be playing a song that you heard long ago, that someone else wrote and that you forgot that you even heard said melody. Therefore, no originality, which is by far the most important aspect of improvising, originality.
I don't see how any of that is an accurate depiction of how one hums or whistles to improvise,

Quote by demonofthenight
But hey, at least its better than what the rest of UG suggest, picking a box shape and playing random notes.
Not sure that's what is always suggested.
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#27
Demon is missing the obvious point that no is advocating the use of humming to improvise, only as a form of ear training.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#28
but even so.... there is abosolutely no reason you can't hum a melody to make a song. in fact a friend of mine who is a musician writes his melodies like that sometimes.

maybe not humming out loud, but sat at work he says he comes up with melodies in his head and then writes them down when he gets home. He says that is what makes a musician good - the ability to remember them at hometime!
#29
Quote by demonofthenight
...

You insulted me on so many levels.
I play a cheap portable simple to play musical instrument and I can improvise on it almost as well as on the guitar. I consider myself a harmonicist as much as a guitarist, even if I'm still nooby on the harmonica. And no, I'm not unoriginal on the guitar, nor am I inexperienced.

I just think that the songs that your humming in your head are songs buried in your sub conscious so deep that not even you know where they're comming from, so you think they're original.

I sort of agree with aenimus about recycling music. It's not something I do when I improvise, all my licks and tricks are my own, but I've heard it done and it does have a nice result.

It wasn't supposed to be an insult - indeed I'm surprised that somebody who's as well versed in theory as yourself doesn't do it.

Humming is no different to playing the guitar, what comes out is naturally derivative in some way of things you've heard before or concepts and ideas that you've absorbed, but your own creativity is what cherry picks key concepts and components from those things, sticks them together and makes something new.

I play the harmonica too, but it's limited to one key and I can't play one at work or in the car (unless I get one of those Bob Dylan things) or in the street without people without people either throwing spare change at me or thinking I'm filming a musical. Humming is the easiest and simplest way to toy around with ideas, and arguably it's much freer and intuitive than using an istrument.

My head is full of little musical snippets, little building blocks, like musical Lego. I want to put those together to create new things, and whether I do that with a guitar, violin, piano, kazoo or by humming it doesn't make a difference...the creative process is still the same. When you hum there's no familiar physical actions to fall into and no visual cues to subconciously guide you, you're dealing purely in sound. In my opinion your far more likely to come up with something original humming than you are with the guitar in your hands. Of course you can do both at the same time, I do it all the time...if I hear a sound in my head that I want I'll hum it first and then work it out on the guitar.

Like I said, it wasn't supposed to be an insult, I've read plenty of your posts and I know you know your stuff...I'm just genuinely surprised at this particular opinion of yours because it doesn't seem to fit with what's gone before.
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Last edited by steven seagull at Apr 3, 2008,
#30
Quote by demonofthenight
It normally is a song you've already heard before, or a corruption of that song. You most likely dont remember you've even heard it. It's a matter of getting a song stuck in your head.

This is one of the reasons why I dont like singers that dont play another musical instrument. They end up writing their singing melodies like this and therefore end up being unoriginal.



Good guitar players are essential "humming" with their guitars. Just because you don't know exactly what your guitar line is going to sound like doesn't mean it is original. Humming has nothing to do with originality, it is simply a melody exactly as you envisioned it.
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#31
Quote by demonofthenight
Therefore, no originality, which is by far the most important aspect of improvising, originality.

You wouldn't tell someone doing improv comedy that they can't do something on the same topic more than once.

The point of improv isn't to play something that's never been done before. Hardly anyone can do that when through-composing a piece, anyone who says they can do it while improvising is BSing you.

Improv is playing something different every time, something you haven't played before. Not something no one has ever though of in the history of the universe. You can use the same licks as others, you can use the same notes, same arpeggios, same scales. Just in a different order, a different context.

My point is, when improvising, you're trying to play the piece of music differently every time you play it, you're not trying to play a new piece.

EDIT: just read through the original post a bit more to get more of where it's coming from. if you hum a piece, and then play it, it's not even improvising, that's a form of through-composing. you should hear a melody in your head while you're playing it. it takes work, but good guitarists get to the point where they can hear how a note sounds before playing it, great guitarists can do it instantly. if you take random notes from a scale or chord and throw it against some music, it's going to suck, because you can't take the piece anywhere with it. it's just gonna sound like someone playing notes from a scale. it's not going to mean anything.
Last edited by bananaboy at Apr 3, 2008,
#32
Quote by BlisteringDDj
Humming a melody in my head works great for me... but I use other ways, like playing a scale up and down, then do it in different patterns. I have found many cool riffs that way.


same here works great for me.
#33
If you can't hum an original melody you have no original ideas and should step away from the art world and become a chartered accountant
#34
Quote by demonofthenight
What I suggest than? Practise, experience and the kind of theory that you can only acquire by practise and experience. After a while you will learn that some intervals will sound different over some chords and that some intervals sound different one after the other. After you mix that with some awesome phrasing, you get some acceptable improvising.


Yet you never suggest what to practice. Humming is a form of practice you know, and it usually is original for those with our minds churning.
#35
any of you guys ever listen to Keith Jarret ?


Personally I find it annoying when you can actually hear his voice.... but man what a phenomenal player and improviser...... that hums/sings as he improvises.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Apr 3, 2008,
#37
Quote by bigtimber112
Ya know, there are still three open positions in the retard box...


and your point is?
shred is gaudy music
#38
Quote by bananaboy
you should hear a melody in your head while you're playing it. it takes work, but good guitarists get to the point where they can hear how a note sounds before playing it, great guitarists can do it instantly.


Well, I wonder how true that actually is. Do they really "hear" it instantantly?
As in conciously hearing the melody in your head and simulataneously translating
it to the guitar?

I think it doesn't work like that and it's a bit more complex.

When you're playing, it's not only "what you hear", but also "how you move".
There's an interplay between the two. It's a feedback loop where movement
influences sound which influences movement ... and it all happens NOW when
you're improvising. I really don't hear anything of what I'd call a concrete melody
line going through my head. I don't know what's going to come out, but I know
when it's going to be good.

I've been improvising 30 years and I don't see anything converging to a point where
I "hear melodies and play them". Maybe some people do. I don't know. At this
point my experience tells me it it just doesn't work like that, even for "great"
improvisors.
#39
How can it be the worst way to improvise? If you mean humming and improvising at the same time, then if they're playing the same thing they're humming, they'll come up with the same stuff on guitar as they will just humming.

I guess if you mean to use the method for writing something, I still disagree. It wouldn't be anything different from being accustomed to box shapes or certain things that "feel" good when you play them on a guitar. It's up to the individual to break out of boxes to write interesting stuff.
#40
Quote by GuitarMunky
and your point is?



Oh, sorry, didn't realize that my post was under yours. It was aimed at the TS, who has said some pretty ridiculous things, and backed up his opinions with more nonsense.
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