Here is part 2 of my studies on Kurt Rosenwinkel and Jonathan Kreisberg.
I extracted 8 concepts for improvisation from my transcriptions of these two great players and then composed the concepts into my own lines (as written ‘soli’) over newly composed harmonic progressions.
The effect that this had on my playing was massive! I really struggled with playing the same ideas over and over and so this approach helped me think of new ways of playing my (rather stale!) vocabulary, rhythmically, harmonically and melodically. Please feel free to download the PDF of my studies (Transcription, actual study text and MP3 recordings of my tunes).
Enjoy and please leave comments!
Transcribed Tune #2
The second transcribed improvisation is taken from Kurt Rosenwinkel’s ‘Minor Blues’ – a straight 4/4 tune with a strong 16th note pulse. For the purposes of contextual difference I will be using two new 8 bar chord progressions as the chordal framework for the interpreted and reapplied concepts I invent. These new 8 bar measures contain the same chordal structure and order as the original 8 bar measures utilised in ‘Zhivago’ but are raised a whole tone in key (A major to B major) and in a new meter (5/4). Hence:
Musical concepts extracted:
• Subdivision: Continuous triplet quarter notes for duration of line.
• Odd grouping: There are 6 evenly spaced triplet quarter notes in a 4/4 bar, Rosenwinkel groups 7 triplet quarters against this pulse. I have interpreted the pattern to begin at the first Gb in bar 5, descending two steps in the scale, ascending two notes and then playing two Gb’s which are simultaneously sounded above the notes Cb then Bb. The pattern then repeats a further two times (14 more steps), bringing the total passage to 21 notes midway through bar 8.
• Pattern embellishment / resolution: From there (the second Db in bar 8) the passage transitions towards the Abmi7 at bar 11 with an embellished phrase derived from the original.
Interpreted and reapplied concepts in own linear passages:
• Subdivision: Continuous triplet quarters for duration of line till end of bar 28. This rhythmic division is used again from bar 29 – 30, broken then starts again at the end of 31 – 32.
• Odd grouping using pattern: There are 15 evenly spaced triplet quarter notes in two consecutive 5/4 bars. I have grouped 5 triplet quarters against this pulse which means any lines using this rhythmic division would resolve every second bar but would create a tension against the beginning of the second bar (exactly in the middle of the two bars). The pattern begins at beat 1 of bar 25, descends two steps in the scale (using the 7th, 5th and 3rd V tones) then ascends from the 9th to the 5th.
• Pattern embellishment / resolution: The pattern is further developed by beginning the second passage on the second triplet quarter note (displacement) of the next four bar measure, inverting this motif (inversion) for bars 29 and 30, and then resolving on beat 1 of bar 31. The original motif is restated at bar 32.
Musical concepts extracted:
• Grouping against pulse: Grouping of 5 16th notes into a pattern which is repeated against the 4/4 pulse. I have interpreted the pattern to begin at the third Bb of bar 28 with the formula 5-7-8-10-7 in the key of Eb minor. This then repeats (formula transforms up one step in Eb Dorian in parallel).
• Transitional pattern modulation (via superimposition): In this extraction the original pattern ‘transforms’ from Eb Dorian to Eb melodic minor on the eleventh 16th note (D natural) of bar 30 then back again to Eb Dorian by the end of the passage.
• Grouping against pulse: Two different 5 note groupings of triplet 8th notes (T.E) are utilised here. The points of interest are created where the pattern repeats on the 6th and 11th T.E’s which form an odd pulse against the quarter note beats surrounding them. Pattern 1 starts on beat 1, pattern 2 starts on the T.E immediately before beat 3 and pattern 3 starts on the second T.E after the downbeat at 4. The pattern turns over 3 times before resolving every bar (15 triplet quavers = 3 x 5 note patterns).
• Pattern embellishment: The pattern formula is 11-13-9-11-10 of the current chord (B Lydian master scale) at bar 33. This modulates to the next step in the scale starting from the 12th degree at TQ 6 but in the 3rd repeat (from the 11th TQ) the notes are ‘embellished’ slightly for melodic purposes (a C# or the 9th degree is used instead of the tonic of B natural as this has a less melodic impact).
• Pattern transformation: At bars 37, 38 and 39 the pattern transforms through the G#9(#11) and the D#mi9 chords in a modular manner (i.e. repeating three times after beginning each bar on the 5th of the chord) but at bar 40 the pattern is made into a pentatonic sound to suit the suspension of the A# chord (G#/A# is an A#sus9 with a more open sound [no defined 3rd]).
Transcribed Tune #3
‘Countdown’ is a fast 4/4 Latin (208-216bpm) by John Coltrane. Originally this tune was performed as an up tempo (bop) swing. The soloist improvises over the melody form.
For the purposes of development and interpretation I have composed a piece of music (‘Kreisbergian Mindset’) in a contrasting style (7/4) and tempo (medium) to function as an improvising vehicle for the new lines I have invented. This consists of three 8 bar progressions repeated consecutively, hence:
The harmony has been chosen for its transitional (movement) aspects (modulating but not through traditional means) and its relational qualities to the transcribed tunes (unrelated to either ‘Countdown’ or ‘Windows’). On to this framework I will write new lines created from the extracted concepts (one concept set per 8 bar measure). The lines of interest that form the basis of concept set 6 will be drawn from ‘Countdown’ while concept sets 7 and 8 will be drawn from ‘Windows.
Musical concept extracted:
• Displacement: The passage of interest is a 5 note grouping in a broken rhythm (non continuous) which ascends in a 8th, 8th, 8th, quarter note pattern. It begins with an ascending four note grouping from the second 8th note (an offbeat) of bar 37 with the notes F, A, D and Eb. The grouping is then displaced in the next bar to begin on the second downbeat (notes = Ab, C, F, F#) then restated in bar 39 from the second downbeat again (notes = B, D#, G, A). In its fourth progression the grouping is displaced to the last 8th note of bar 38 (notes = B, E, A, B) again on an offbeat.
• Displacement: The first passage is a 3 note grouping in n 8th note, quarter note pattern; with a slight twist in that it ascends through two forms (six 8th notes total) before transforming into the next form (usually with a chord modulation). At bar 1 it begins on beat 1 (downbeat) then again on beat 4. In bar 2 it is displaced by an 8th note (starts at beats 1+ and 4+) then further displacement occurs in bar 3 when it starts
on beat 2 (and repeats on beat 5 of this bar). It is restated in bar 4 after a melodic ‘pick up’.
• Development by melodic rhythm insertion: In Kreisberg’s example, two scale tone fragments are inserted between the passages of interest (the four lots of 5 8th note groups) which has a tendency to give the displaced note groupings a more lyrical (and less patternistic) feel. When the groupings are played continuously or broken up with rests of the same value (I used a dotted quarter note rest between groupings in my example over bars 1-5) the pattern is evident and the overall musical feel is mathematical rather than musical. In the later example (bars 5-9) the displaced groups are set apart by the ‘insertion’ of rhythmical phrases (scalar fragments) of different values, which gives the entire passage a more musical feel overall.