Improv Tip Week #16-Motifs part 2 - Jason Klobnak Music

Improv Tip Week #16-Motifs part 2

Welcome back to our current series on motifs. Last week we talked about some of the different elements we can manipulate to develop a motif. This week, we’re going to look at how we can develop motif’s by changing up their rhythm. There’s a number of different ways we can change up the original motif’s rhythm. You can keep the same spacing and delay the motif by a determined quantity (i.e. delaying it by an eighth note, quarter note, etc) or by anticipating it by a determined quantity (i.e. pushing it by an eighth note, quarter note, etc). You can change the original motif’s rhythm by doubling it’s speed or slowing it down. You can also change the original motif by breaking it up and making it more syncopated (or less syncopated depending on the original motif). These are just a few of the ways we can manipulate the motif. Let’s look at a few examples:

Here’s our original motif…

Our first example below, we’re going to push or anticipate the original motif by an eighth note. However, in this example I’m still going to keep the original motif on beat 3 of each measure. To create some more interest in the line, I’m adding to the original motif in the third and fourth measure (but the motif is still present).

In our second example below, we’re going to delay the original motif by an eighth note. This time, we’re going to move the motif over by an eighth note each time it’s presented. To create more interest to the line again-I’m adding to the original motif in the fourth measure.

In our third example below, we’re going to break up the original motif by making it more syncopated. You’ll notice that in the second measure, we’re still using the original notes of the motif. However, we’ve inserted an eighth note rest in between each note to make it syncopated. It then is connected with another line that connects it back to another motif before we add in something different in the fourth measure.

All of the examples above are very short and brief to show what changes are being made to the original motif. The fun and challenging part we have as improvisers is taking the original motif and developing it using all of the rhythmic ideas listed above (as well as chaning the notes, contour, etc). For an exercise this week, take the original motif above and see what you can do rhythmically with it over a blues or jazz standard. Make your first couple of attemps simple changes to the motif over an entire chorus. After you get the hang of it-develop it more by varying the rhythm and adding more syncopation.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tip on our Motifs series. If you’ve found this helpful, share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or any other site that you’re a contributor. I would love to have this blog (as well as my book) helping as many people as possible. Having you talk about it with your friends on other networks or sites really helps draw interest and allows all of us to dialogue and help each other out on our improvisation journey. I also enjoy all of the comments and feedback that you have…so keep them coming! If you haven’t checked out my book yet, you can click on the link to the right of this tip or by going to Jason Klobnak Music.




About the Author jasonklobnak

Jason Klobnak is a versatile trumpet player that has been performing as an active musician, author, clinician, composer and educator. His band, J's Ruckus, is Denver's blend of Post-Bop, Soul, Gospel, and Hip-Hop. They perform infectious and up-lifting originals for audiences hungry for a memorable live experience. J's Ruckus released their latest album, Suck Less, in March of 2020 and their first EP, Sermons, in July of 2019. Both were recorded live in front of an audience. Suck Less was recorded to a packed auditorium at Arapahoe Community College's Waring Theater in Littleton, CO. Sermons was recorded in front of a sold out crowd at the Soiled Dove Underground.  The JKQ (the Jason Klobnak Quintet/Quartet) is Mr. Klobnak's Hammond B-3 centered groups. The JKQ released their third full-length album in March of 2018 called Friends & Family. It has been very well reviewed, on numerous Top 10 lists for Jazz radio stations across the country (including Denver's KUVO 89.3FM which named it May 2018's CD of the month), and in Jazzweek's Top 100. Each composition was written for specific family and close friends (that might as well be family). Their second album, New Chapter, was recorded in part thanks to the Pathways to Jazz Grant from the Boulder County Arts Alliance. In 2015 and 2016, New Chapter was in the Top 75 on the Jazzweek charts and on the Top 10 playlists for over a dozen radio stations worldwide. Their first album, Mountain, Move made the Best Recordings of 2013 list from by C. Michael Bailey. His very well reviewed Christmas single, Hark the Herald, in 2016 as part of a creative project with musicians James Roberson and Nathaniel Kearney Jr. Besides the JKQ, Mr. Klobnak is a B.A.C. (Best American Craftsman-custom trumpet), Denis Wick (mouthpiece and mutes) and Westone Audio endorsed artist (ES20 and Tru Customs). Mr. Klobnak has played and recorded for numerous groups ranging from jazz, soul/R&B, indie-rock/pop and gospel. In addition to performing, he has also written two improvisation-based books called Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose and Breaking the Monotony and is currently an adjunct professor and brass instructor at Arapahoe Community College. Mr. Klobnak holds a bachelor degree from Drake University (Des Moines, IA) and a Master’s degree from the University of Denver, Lamont School of Music (Denver, CO).