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It's all in your head - questions from a really beginner

 
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djur1



Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Posts: 26
Location: Poland

PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:24 pm    Post subject: It's all in your head - questions from a really beginner Reply with quote

Hi guys,
I am very new into the concept of improvised music, I can't even consider myself jazz musician (because I am not), however I have a few questions about hearing intervals/melodies in my head.

Currently I am doing David Lucas Burge relative pitch course which I find very helpful. Actually I am at the end of a course (41 CDs), but I still have some unanswered questions.

1. How long did it take you to hear intervals in your head very clearly so that you can compose melodies freely and which method did you find the most helpful to culture this ability? (playing scales and singing along, thinking about melody with harmony background, etc...?)

2. When you improvise a melody - do you hear exact tone of your guitar in your head or just this "quality" which stays behind every tone (I mean - like trying to "sing" with your own voice in your head).
I use rather this kind of "singing" but I don't know if that is a right way.
And for me every one of 12 tones is like 12 "bouquets" (1, 2, 3, etc...). And when someone plays a tone between these "bouquets", for example a tone between 1 and 2 I hear it's out of tune. (Happens often in music stores where guitars are tuned, but in between notes.)

3. Do you improvise note-by-note or do you first hear phrase and then play it?

If you want to check my level of playing you can see me 'noodling' here:
(Note: but as I said it's not jazz so don't enter if you don't want to:))
1. My Blues-like composition
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEQ2nbSwMpk

2. Second one is practicing with Tutu Wink
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNqGJc_I1l4

Thanks in advance for any comments.


Last edited by djur1 on Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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jazzerchick



Joined: 31 Oct 2006
Posts: 968
Location: SanAntonio , Tx

PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, I like these. Sounds like you have a great start already. Keep going.
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Gorecki
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Joined: 06 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jazzerchick wrote:
Hey, I like these. Sounds like you have a great start already. Keep going.


I agree, just keep going and give yourself time. Some of it is truly that...time. Thumbs Up!
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djur1



Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Posts: 26
Location: Poland

PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Jazzerchick and Gorecki Smile
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andy_rothstein



Joined: 13 Dec 2006
Posts: 234

PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, you sound great!! I will try (as best I can) to throw in my 2 cents:

1. How long did it take you to hear intervals in your head very clearly so that you can compose melodies freely and which method did you find the most helpful to culture this ability?

It sounds to me like you already are hearing intervals in your head based on listening to your clips. As far as the thing that helped me internalize intervals the most, it was when I took a musicianship course as an undergraduate student at Rutgers U. years ago where we worked out of the famous Paul Hindemith book "Elementary Training for Musicians." By the time I finished the course I could hear intervals with much greater ease.

2. When you improvise a melody - do you hear exact tone of your guitar in your head or just this "quality" which stays behind every tone (I mean - like trying to "sing" with your own voice in your head).

Interesting question. I think I hear the tone of the players I want to emulate in my head (some guitar, and some horn). When I am having my weaker moments playing I tend to let my fingers do the walking and not my head/ears. When I am having a good day on the other hand, the phrases seem to flow out of nowhere.

3. Do you improvise note-by-note or do you first hear phrase and then play it?

Definitely phrases. When I listened to your playing it sounds like you are are also hearing phrases, and I think this is good. You seem to have a nice natural ability to construct sentences with your playing (with punctuation - commas, periods, etc..). Keep up the great work!

Peace,
Andy

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djur1



Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Posts: 26
Location: Poland

PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Andy for this very detailed answer!

I searched for some info on the internet about Paul Hindemith's book that you mentioned. It seems that it is rather not a kind of book for self-teaching, but to work with a teacher, right? Smile
But what if I try to do this on my own, record these exercises (for example musical dictations) and then listen to them? Do you think it may work this way?

I also try to learn from Jody Fisher's book "Beginning jazz guitar".
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andy_rothstein



Joined: 13 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

djur1 wrote:
Thank you Andy for this very detailed answer!

I searched for some info on the internet about Paul Hindemith's book that you mentioned. It seems that it is rather not a kind of book for self-teaching, but to work with a teacher, right? Smile
But what if I try to do this on my own, record these exercises (for example musical dictations) and then listen to them? Do you think it may work this way?

I also try to learn from Jody Fisher's book "Beginning jazz guitar".


When I originally worked with the book 25 years ago (yikes) it was in a college course with a professor presenting the material, however I think there can be value in the book as a self study aid as well. I still have my original copy from back then!! I do want to clarify that it is in no way a jazz book, but I do believe that skills I gained from its exercises have had a positive impact on my overall musicianship, including on my improvisational ability.

I have not seen the Jody Fisher book, so I can't comment on that.

I will share another book that had a huge impact on me personally and that is the Pat Martino book "Linear Expressions" --> http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/Linear-Expressions-Pat-Martino/2880582

I found it to be a phenomenal way to kind of "jump start" my jazz improv ability when I was first trying to feel my way around it. In a sense, it sort of simplifies jazz improv by his "convert to minor" theory. In a nut shell, the theory says you can play over any change by converting to a minor chord. For example Cmaj7 can be converted to Am7, G7 can be converted to Dm7 and Em7b5 can be converted to Gm6. He then provides a series of very hip minor lines in 5 positions going up the neck and describes how to apply them through substitution.

Regards,

Andy
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StratmanUK



Joined: 23 Sep 2009
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Location: Bedford UK

PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies IF this has already been mentioned BUT it also needs considering that SOME people have a greater musical sense and intonation anyway...as in born with that gift... Rolling Eyes
My son was blessed with 'perfect pitch' hearing (could HEAR the exact note and could tell if his chord fingering was gonna be played right before he'd even played it...)
He was a YOUNG kid starting out originally on piano, he later became a real cool guitarist who could learn very quickly...
I on the other hand have been playing fer a hundred years, sing badly and have to learn everything the hard graft way but pretty experienced on a geetar... Rolling Eyes
I became a better writer than my son (technically and understanding the written rudiments etc) HE became a better player (technically)

So...don't beat yourself up if you come across guys who have an extraordinary gift that leaves you feeling poorly trained... Laughing

Viva La Difference as we are ALL very very different Laughing Laughing
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Jazzie



Joined: 27 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing about improvisation, at least from my humble point of view, is you don't want to over think it. You have a set of chords, you have a cool beat, now just start playing. Pretend your instrument is your voice and make it sing. If you know your scales and chords then the music will start to flow from your heart, if you let it. You first have to get the brain out of the way.

Start with really easy changes that you can play a melody to. Then expand on the melody without thinking about it. When you get lost, go back to the melody. After you have done it a while something in your head will click and you say "oh, I see."
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djur1



Joined: 02 Jul 2009
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Location: Poland

PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for your comments.
P.S. Andy - I bought Hindemith's book - I will learn from it for sure Smile
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mr. beaumont



Joined: 10 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

as more of an answer to the first question, i throw out:

don't forget, don't seperate the "hearing" from the visual nature of the guitar ...sometimes i "hear" the line first, but sometimes i see it--and sometimes it's more simultaneous...

as guitar players, we talk a lot about breaking free of boxes and patterns, and i totally agree, but i also don't think there's anything wrong in playing up to the fact that the guitar is a very visual platform on which to work.

while i'll never be george benson, i find it truly helps to sing while i play (although i try not to do this on the gig) singing the interval out loud and then making the visual connection on the fretboard has been very beneficial to me.

as far as the third question, when i'm playing, it's more simultaneous. I can't plan a phrase ahead, because the harmonic backdrop is different, and my ears are reacting to the "chord of the moment."

a lot of times, what will happen is i will hear or see a very simple melodic figure, like three or four notes over two or three bars...these are like touchstones. at that point, a lot of times, the synapses take over, the left brain does it's job, the part that's memorized scales and arpeggios and such and it sends the message to my hands to "connect the dots."

wow, reading that back, it sounds very metaphysical (at best)and hippy-dippy (at worst). I hope it helps a little, at least.
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Generic Sobriquet



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Intuition is reason in a hurry. The brain does a lot more automatically than most people realise, and would care to admit.

You're just describing natural neurological function using metaphorical language available to you.

Quote:
as guitar players, we talk a lot about breaking free of boxes and patterns, and i totally agree, but i also don't think there's anything wrong in playing up to the fact that the guitar is a very visual platform on which to work.
Yep. I build like erector sets sometimes.
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djur1



Joined: 02 Jul 2009
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Location: Poland

PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again.
I think my hearing improves gradually, because now I can imagine easy melodies in my mind more clearly, it's fun.
As to guitar playing, recently I got interested in chord/melody style. I hope it's ok to post it here as this part of the forum is for beginners. Yeasterday I recorded somewhere over the rainbow, so these are my first steps in this style:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D9TyHvHLDg

Any comments appreciated Smile, I am sure there are some good and some weak points of this playing.
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peckerwood



Joined: 09 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mr. beaumont wrote:

don't forget, don't seperate the "hearing" from the visual nature of the guitar ...sometimes i "hear" the line first, but sometimes i see it--and sometimes it's more simultaneous...


definitely. i wracked myself over with this idea for years and i'm coming more and more in harmony with the two, understanding where to take over when the other is lacking more than i'd like.

mr. beaumont wrote:
as guitar players, we talk a lot about breaking free of boxes and patterns, and i totally agree, but i also don't think there's anything wrong in playing up to the fact that the guitar is a very visual platform on which to work.


reinforcing the strong relationship with our instrument and visual playing. shy away if you like, but when such a powerful intellectual tool is being given to you, logic stands to make sense of it.




mr. beaumont wrote:
as far as the third question, when i'm playing, it's more simultaneous. I can't plan a phrase ahead, because the harmonic backdrop is different, and my ears are reacting to the "chord of the moment."


absolutely! i would go so far as to say that if you are operating ahead of the changes, you're not investing enough energy into creative lines within the changes you're playing-you're spitting licks.
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Viper



Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 568
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
end of a course (41 CDs),


41 CDs you must be exhausted.
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