Monday, January 25, 2010

The Black and White or My Real Journey part 1/2

    Less time than tunes, its time to lay down the law.  What constitutes learning a tune?  Most people, when attempting to learn a tune will learn the chords and/or melody and call it a day.  For my purposes, I need to go much deeper than that.  I want to get inside the harmony, be able to live there and call it my home.  For this I have devised a method.

    The first step is to learn the melody, of course.  I need to be able to play it in multiple places on the guitar fretboard, from memory.  Then I will learn the chords, but in 2 steps.  First the basic triads of the chords to get a feel for the basic harmonic movement, then I will add the proper extensions to them to make them the chords shown in the Real Book.  I need to do this across the neck, not just in one position.

    Once I have a feel for the melody in relation to the harmonic movement, that is I can "hear" the melody in my head while I play the chords and vice versa, it's time to jump into the deep end of the pool and just improvise.  I will begin improvising by focusing on the arpeggios of the chords in the progression, as that seems like the most logical way to go about it.

    So, I will consider a tune "learned" when I can freely improvise on the melody over the changes in various areas of the guitar neck.  Once this point is reached, I will move on to the next tune.  I predict that the more tunes I learn, the faster I will learn new ones.  That being said I realize that, at least in the beginning, a new tune may take a few days to a week or possibly more to learn.

    I forgot to add the most important part of this process: Listening!  During the course of learning a tune, it is important that I listen to as many versions of it as possible.  This will assist me in growing close to the tune as well as provide me with many ideas for approaching improvisation on it.

    Well it's 3 o'clock in the morning and I have quite a bit to sleep on, so I'll get back to this tomorrow hopefully with a tune to begin with.


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