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Malcolm
04-11-2008, 02:31 PM
I think most of us on this forum have some guitar background thus my question here.

In improvising on the piano I have been staying in C and from past experience I know the notes, i.e. C and it's modes will be all white keys, F is all white keys except for the Bb, B is all black keys except for the B & E note, etc. My point -- I think notes.

But, as I branch out into pentatonic, blues, whole tone etc. I want my (guitar) patterns.

QUESTION -- When improvising do you think note or do you think WWHWWWH? I have come to the conclusion that I need to start thinking in steps.

Appreciate your thoughts.

Malcolm

Jed
04-11-2008, 03:09 PM
In improvising on the piano I have been staying in C and from past experience I know the notes, i.e. C and it's modes will be all white keys, F is all white keys except for the Bb, B is all black keys except for the B & E note, etc. My point -- I think notes.

<snip>

QUESTION -- When improvising do you think note or do you think WWHWWWH? I have come to the conclusion that I need to start thinking in steps.

When I think notes I think of note names in the context of / relative to some tonic. For example F major is F G A Bb C D E F. While I am aware that, on a keyboard all of those notes except Bb are white keys, I don't think in those terms. Instead I think in terms of how the F in various octaves will sound against the F tonality, how the C in various octaves will sound against the F tonality, how the A in various octaves will sound against the F tonality, and on and on for the other notes. (This way when I have to transpose for some diva I don't have to change how I think, the only thing that changes is the target tonality but the functions / relative aspects don't change.)

I focus on the notes of the key / scale in terms of the relative importance of each note to the overall tonality.

So in order (my order of importance) for F major they are: F C A D G E Bb = 1 5 3 6 2 7 4 scale degrees

I am aware of how these pitches are produced in different octaves on various instruments but I try to avoid thinking of them as shapes (on a guitar or woodwind) or colors of keys (on a piano). Various instruments just produce slightly different versions (timbres) of the same pitches. So my focus is what the pitches do / how they behave sound-wise rather than focus on the mechanics of how to produce those sounds / pitches on any particular instrument. My approach is not particularly instrument-centric other than it is based on my early theory training as a vocalist.

I am aware of the individual intervals but I don't think in those terms much any more (preferring to think in scale / key degrees). Basically I hear notes in the tonal context and play off those contexts. Of course I had to study the intervals and scales intensely to get to the point where this didn't require conscious thought but that's just me.

My recommendation would be to try to think in terms of the chords of the harmony (specifically the chord tones of those chords). Learn how to hear the roots, 5th, 3rd, 6th & 2nd of the chords of the harmony. Once you can hear these things they become guide-rails / way-finding tools to help you target the notes you hear in your head rather than thinking mechanically or mathematically about how to find appropriately notes.

cheers,

Malcolm
05-01-2008, 12:06 AM
.....My recommendation would be to try to think in terms of the chords of the harmony (specifically the chord tones of those chords). Learn how to hear the roots, 5th, 3rd, 6th & 2nd of the chords of the harmony.

Jed, after a lot of questioning and study I agree - what I'm looking for does lie among the chord tones. OK that out of the way I now need a lot of keyboard time. :cool:

Chim_Chim
05-01-2008, 03:14 AM
1w2w3h4w5w6w7h8
C_D_E_F_G_A_B_C


EDIT:

Oops, sorry. I didn't even realise what forum this was until just now. And I didn't really read the question either, sorry about that, lol.

Malcolm, I think I would probably think in semitones and think note names.
It seems like you almost have to approach it that way with the keyboard.
But I could be wrong and would have to defer to any actual experienced keyboard or piano players here,haha.

UKRuss
05-01-2008, 10:54 AM
I think this neatly underlines the problems with being a pattern player as a guitarist.

Chim_Chim
05-01-2008, 12:46 PM
Depends what key you're in and how many accidentals you're dealing with.

So I guess it's more about figuring out which black keys you're gonna need to be playing and workin that out and really focusing on hitting the right black keys.

Malcolm
05-01-2008, 04:12 PM
.....So I guess it's more about figuring out which black keys you're gonna need to be playing and workin that out and really focusing on hitting the right black keys.

Yes that is what caused me to ask the question in the OP. As you say focusing on the right keys (notes).

And which notes will I need ------- I've come to the conclusion that chord notes are perhaps the best way to build my melody.

Chords are make from the scale. The chords used should be comfortable with the melody being played at this moment in time ------- reverse that to what comes first ----- the chicken or the egg..... boils down anyway you look at it to chord notes.

C chord = C E G. add notes in between - higher notes, lower notes and repetative notes. Build a melodic phrase and repeat that phrase --- a tune develops.

Why did it take so long to figure that out? :rolleyes:

Teletubby
05-01-2008, 05:01 PM
I don't think exactly in wwhwwwh...I just remember that in a major scale, the half steps are between 3-4 and 7-8.

e.g. In C major, the half steps are between E-F and B-C

easier for me.

For a minor scale, the half steps are between 2-3 and 5-6.

Chim_Chim
05-01-2008, 08:37 PM
I don't know Malcolm, but it's really foreign to me. Like trying to type for the
first time. Typing seemed alot harder before the internet,haha.

Guess it just takes time and alot of getting used to. Lessons from a good player and teacher would probably be really helpful. Especially to someone like me who just finds the keyboard to be a really foreign and awkward instrument compared to a guitar.

It seems you have to omit the right white keys and play the right black keys in combination,but transposing is problematic because the WWHWWWH pattern is (atleast visually) out the window and their isn't such a pattern of white and black keys, therefore the pattern of white and black keys in combination changes from key to key, thus totally screwing me up, ad infinitum. ;)

Maybe if you get the key really figured out from root to octave in just one octave at first, and just practice it that way, then you can maybe transpose that info through the other octaves more easily. I totally understand your dilemma, it's just that I too have that same dilemma myself. Haha. :D

But writing on the keys sure changes what you write and how you write, or how what you wrote sounds when you go back and play it on the guitar again. And that alone sure is an interesting thing to me. Even if I have to hunt and peck at the keys,lol. :rolleyes:

Yup, it's keyboard as a second instrument city for me. :D

leegordo
05-02-2008, 05:00 PM
I don't know Malcolm, but it's really foreign to me. Like trying to type for the
first time. Typing seemed alot harder before the internet,haha.

Guess it just takes time and alot of getting used to. Lessons from a good player and teacher would probably be really helpful. Especially to someone like me who just finds the keyboard to be a really foreign and awkward instrument compared to a guitar.

It seems you have to omit the right white keys and play the right black keys in combination,but transposing is problematic because the WWHWWWH pattern is (atleast visually) out the window and their isn't such a pattern of white and black keys, therefore the pattern of white and black keys in combination changes from key to key, thus totally screwing me up, ad infinitum. ;)

Maybe if you get the key really figured out from root to octave in just one octave at first, and just practice it that way, then you can maybe transpose that info through the other octaves more easily. I totally understand your dilemma, it's just that I too have that same dilemma myself. Haha. :D

But writing on the keys sure changes what you write and how you write, or how what you wrote sounds when you go back and play it on the guitar again. And that alone sure is an interesting thing to me. Even if I have to hunt and peck at the keys,lol. :rolleyes:

Yup, it's keyboard as a second instrument city for me. :D
leegordo here, unfortunately you must learn ALL 12 different major scales-on any musical instrument- before you are able to read music and/or play an instrument Nobody said it would be an easy task. the more intelligent you are, the easier it is to learn ANY subject under the sun.The study of the 'Theoryof music' is a very specialised subject indeed, and could last for all your life , it depends on how far you take it!
Chim Chim!

leegordo
05-05-2008, 01:20 PM
I think most of us on this forum have some guitar background thus my question here.

In improvising on the piano I have been staying in C and from past experience I know the notes, i.e. C and it's modes will be all white keys, F is all white keys except for the Bb, B is all black keys except for the B & E note, etc. My point -- I think notes.

But, as I branch out into pentatonic, blues, whole tone etc. I want my (guitar) patterns.

QUESTION -- When improvising do you think note or do you think WWHWWWH? I have come to the conclusion that I need to start thinking in steps.

Appreciate your thoughts.

Malcolm
1st of all , you will find that improvising on unknown material is a hopeless exercise All the greats of the past used to Ad-lib to very well known tunes and ballads .mainly because that was the best way to impress an audience Get some DVDs of the great Jazz people of the past and really listen to them! That way you should progress steadily.
leegordo