Improv Tip Week #21-Digital Patterns - Jason Klobnak Music

Improv Tip Week #21-Digital Patterns

Welcome back to the blog and checking out this week’s tip. We’re on Week #21 where we’ll be talking about Digital Patterns. A few weeks back when we talked about Key Fluency, one of our friends (Karel) left a comment about how we can use digital patterns to help get a better understanding of various key areas and scales. So this week, I wanted to talk about how we can use Digital Patterns to creatively target notes. For those that have purchased my book, Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose, this topic is discussed in Chapter 3. If you’d like to check out the book, you can go to Jason Klobnak Music.

A few weeks back we talked about pentatonic scales and some of the various uses we can get from them (and how they’re additional tools to target a note). Digital patterns are similar to pentatonic scales because they are mathematical in structure and remain constant for that pattern. Digital patterns can be based on any scale type and can be used for many different tonalities (major, minor, diminished, etc). For example, the digital pattern below is based off of the root, 2nd, 3rd and 5th major scale degrees.

The example above is one note short of being a pentatonic scale (shown below), which is why they are so closely related.

Below are a few additional digital patterns with their scalar structure listed beneath the notes:

Digital patterns, which can be used to define a harmony, can also be used as a tool or vehicle to connect musical ideas in your improvisation. Since I’m a big proponent of targeting, let’s look at how we can use a few of the above digital patterns to target the note “C.” The examples below do not have any stated harmony above them as they can be used in a multiple of harmonic settings.

These are just a few brief ways we can use digital patterns to creatively target notes. If you’ve never used them before, I would suggest that you start learning major scale patterns by taking a pattern or two a week and playing them through every key. Once you gain a level of familiarity, start expanding to other digital patterns as well as digital patterns in other harmonic areas (minor, diminished, other modes, etc).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tip. Please remember to share this tip (and blog) with your friends/colleagues on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or any other site that you’re a contributor. I know these tips have been helping many of you and I would love to continue to see them helping others as this community grows. There are a few additional reviews up on my book’s store site (mentioned above) if you’d like to check those out. Thanks again and we’ll see you next week!






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).