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Improv Tip Week #17- Motifs part 3

Welcome back to week #17 where we’re going to finish up our current mini-series on motifs. We’ve looked at how we can develop motifs by changing up the rhythm and probably the most obvious: notes. This week we’re going to look at what we can do with changing the intervals and the shape/contour. For those that may be joining us for the first time, let’s look at our original motif that we’ve been developing along with it’s general shape/contour:

Let’s first take a look at what we can do with the intervals. There are 3 intervals in the above example. The C to G is down a 4th, the G to A is up a major 2nd and the A to Eb is down a tritone. Using the interval combinations of 4ths/5ths, major 2nds and tritones we can develop the original motif. This can lead to some interesting options and I would suggest that when you’re developing your motifs that you save this type of development for later as they often lead to lines that go outside of the stated harmony (unless that’s what you’re going for). Depending on the effect you’re going for, re-arrange the combination of intervals. Using targeting principles with this takes more thought, but can be done. Below is an example over the same first four bar blues that we’ve been using. The original motif is stated in the first measure, but over the next three bars a combination of those intervals is used to develop something new (along with a re-statement of the original motif).

The last way we can develop our original motif that we’re going to talk about is manipulating the contour/shape of the original motif. We can use the same shape and transpose the original phrase, reverse the shape (reverse the direction) or keep the same shape but accent it’s characteristics (i.e. if the shape goes down…how far down do you want to make it?). The example below will use all three ways just mentioned:

I hope you’ve enjoyed the Motifs series and find them beneficial to your improvisations! Feel free to share this tip (and blog) with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or any other site that you’re a contributor. If you’ve enjoyed them or have found them beneficial, let your friends know and have them stop by. Also, if you haven’t checked out my book Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose yet, you can go to my digital store at Jason Klobnak Music or by clicking the link on the right. Thanks again and I look forward to hearing from all of you!





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