A Preview of Jazztech Basics
At miAim we appreciate that in today's world time is tight; that you don't get time to practice the basic skills of improvisation on a daily basis. So we have done somthing about it. By becoming a member of miAim each month you will receive an episode in the Jazztech Basics guide. Based on over 30 years of research into the Cycle of Keys these mini-ebooks (5 minute read) contain excerpts from the the miAim collection and other new material on the improvised line.
We all start out with dreams and ambitions but how often do we come to realise that not all are achievable? Further, have you ever stopped to think why how some of your most delicately held dreams have ended up shriveling on the grapevies of thought?
At miAim we understand what it takes to harbor a dream, nurture it and persist with it until it becomes a reality. Well, we don't claim to be able to help you with all your dreams, but if improvisation is one of them, then miAim can definately can!
An Explanation of the Charts in Jazztech Basics
The first page of each episode has been written for those who wagged school the day the teacher explained Accidentals. But for thow who are already familiar with them let me point out one new symbol - the d. Sometime in the near future I hope some forward-thinking programmer will incorporate it into the music writing scheme of things. After all, the double flat - bb, is so gauche, so yesterday and so 20th century.
For a complete explanation of all the chords generated in these texts click here to view our notation page.
Page 2 (see below)
Reducing the Cycle of Keys to a common tonic is the only known method of revealling the Rotation of the Modes. The rotation itself can be used to generate ideas for improvisation. Each mode in rotation is identified by the position of the commone tonic (C) within the scale/ key; the formula for each mode appears under each interval of the scale reduced to the common tonic. Thus, in the first instance there are seven ways of playing the C scale against the chords in the Key of C.
Hint: Every note in a scale can be played against every chord in the scale in a particular key, as well as a couple of other adjacent modes.
Page 3 (see below)
There are two parts to this page. Firstly, there is a comparative chart showing the realtionship between the Relative Minor/ the Tonic Key/ and the Tonic Minor. Persusing this page will help you become familiar with the keys affected, the chords available and how the whole box and dice is LINKED. Understanding these links will assist you in extending your original ideas for an improvised line.
Unaltered, the Relative and the Tonic share the Dominant; this means that you now have two starting points for creating the improvised line. i.e. the i and the vi
When the Tonic Minor key signature is a minor 3rd above the Tonic Key, it follows that its Dominant will be a minor 3rd above the Tonic's. i.e. G7 to Bb7. Now check out where that Bb7 can take you.
The second part of the page shows some (not all) of the chords available in position according to the PROGRESSION, not the Rotation - for the Relative/ Tonic/ Tonic Minor scales/ keys. The is merely a reversal of a rotation. It has to be stated here the convention defines modulation as changing from one key to another. In order to comprehend written texts it is important to uonderstand treminology from the point of view of the writer. It is my contention that the Cycle of Modes and the Cycle of Keys are two seperate entities; therefore there should be two seperate terms for advancing through each Cycle.
To wit - Rotation is advancing (or reversing) through the Cycle of Modes
and Progressing is advancing (or reversing) through the Cycle of Keys.
Because most people are more familiar with progressing than rotating, for the sake of expediency I have chosen to use the progression. For further explination and proof, you can read the full story here on our website.
Hint: To generate even more ideas for the imporovised line try reading the chords VERTICALLY as well as HORIZONTALLY of the three lines in position.
Page 4 (see below)
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO WRITE AN IMPROVISED LINE.
However, there are certain techniques you should prectice to gain fluency at creating the improvised line. This page is divided into three sections, each consisting of four lines for that very purpose - practice!
The first basic deals with the Relative Minor/ the Tonic Major/ the Tonic Minor in the Aeolian Mode. On the first four lines is and Etude to help you become more familiar with the instrument of your choice. In each succeeding episode the Etude will be laced with the alteration(s) that apply at that particulae stage of your development.
The next four lines show several different Articulations which monophonic players might utilize to add extra emphasis to thier style of playing the improvised line.
Players of chordal instruments are not left out either. Although some of all the chords available are mentioned on the previous page, it is not necessary to use all of them in one improvisation. After fiddling around with the ideas generated in the last fours lines, you can explore even more ideas using combinations of the other chords in the progression. They might also be useful to inspire the singer, songwriter or composer of any genre of music.
Page 5 (see below)
And lastly you have to KNOW rhythms!
Here is a collection of rhythms that have made music popular for the last one hundred years. From them you can learn many different ways to accent your creations and give them more edge. In upcoming episodes of Jazztech Basics, there will be examples of even more modern rhythms, including some futuristic techniques for playing 6/8 and 9/8. The original time signature considered the ultimate jazz rhytym - 5/4 - never really took off. I think that was due to underexposure. We will run that through the mill until it gains a higher profile in composition.
Well, that should do for a 5 minute read!
NOW you have enough information to generate ideas on the improvised line for at least the next month and beyond. Save these documents in a secial folder so you can build a handy reference library of exciting new ideas.
One last hint: If it ain't in your head you can't play it! Better education will lead to more sophisticated improvisation.
Sample pages from Jazztech Basics 1 The quality of your emailed copy is superior to the example given.
Page 2: This shows the Cycle of Keys reduced to a common tonic.
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Page 3: The following chart shows the Tonic Key compared to the Relative Minor and the Tonic Minor.
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Pages 4 & 5: The following is an example of an Etude, Articulations and Rhythm & Progressions.
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Excellence can be attained if you: Care more than others think is wise, Risk more than is safe, Dream more than is practical, & Expect more than others think is possible.