Friday, July 23, 2010

The Joe Pass Method: Eliminating Rhythmic Variety to Construct Better Melodies

    

    In order to gauge the ability and creativity of new students, Joe Pass would make his student improvise over a given chord progression using only eighth notes.  This may sound unusual (or non-musical) to you, but the point is not to be a performance but rather a way to practice.

    By limiting yourself to only one note value to improvise with, it forces you to focus more on the shape and contour of your lines and how well they connect the chord changes.  Also, it will eliminate close to any chance of using cliches, which is probably a big thing for most musicians.

    Developing a linear approach to your instrument may not be what you are reaching for, but I feel that developing a good linear approach to improvising is essential to creating tasteful, singable melodies.  That's all I've got for right now, this post was short and sweet, however if you look at it the right way I just gave you an infinite amount of material to practice, so get to it!

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