Welcome back! I hope everyone has been enjoying this blog and has found these tips useful in their improvisations. In this week’s tip, I’m going to be talking about Delayed Resolutions. For those that have checked out my book (Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose) or have been watching this blog the past 13 weeks know that I’m really big on targeting, or aiming at a goal note with purpose. We can, as a soloist, adjust the timing of when we get to that goal note. I work with my students to first learn how to land on their goal notes on beats 1 & 3 (when they’re in 4/4 time). Once they’ve fully grasped that sound and concept then we will start working on delaying that resolution. Combining the two types of resolutions can help better communicate your improvisation to an audience by captivating their attention beyond what their ear is expecting 100% of the time. The ear gravitates towards the expected. But, if you do the expected all of the time-you can lose a listener’s interest. One tool we can use is delayed resolutions.
First, let’s look at a simple example of targeting a note on beat 1. The example below is a very simple ii-V-I in the key of G where the targeted note is the “B” in the final measure:
The above is a simple example of delaying the intended resolution. It breaks up what the listener’s ear is expecting. When you change up the expected…it captures the audiences’ attention in a positive manner. If you use it too much then it loses the desired result and can sound like you’re fishing for what you’re really trying to communicate.
You can also delay the resolution with something completely unexpected. The example below delay’s the expected resolution, but does it by first landing on the #11 of the Gmaj7 before resolving to the targeted note of “B”. It’s also delaying the expected resolution to just before beat 3.
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