Welcome to week #24 where we’re going to start a new series on intervalic improvisation. We’ve covered a lot of linear topics the past 23 weeks, but I strongly believe that every improviser should use (or at least be somewhat familiar) every tool available to them. Intervalic improvisation is a tool that breaks away from the scalar (linear) approach and adds an additional dimension to the possibilities the improviser can choose. I’ve heard some musicians say that linear is more melodic then intervalic, but I believe that is not necessarily true as a blanket statement. I believe linear improvisation lends itself to greater melodic possibilities, but intervalic improvisation can be made melodic too.
The first week in this intervalic series we’re going to look at triad pairs. Triad pairs have been covered by a multitude of improvisation teachers (two that come to my mind first are Gary Campbell and Walt Weiskopf) and recommend that you check out other authors’ books and blogs to get their takes. However, those that have been following this blog or have read my book (Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose), know that I like to talk about how we can use whatever tool we’re using to get us to a specific target. So, we’ll be looking at how we can use triad pairs through the lens of targeting.
Triad pairs are simply two sets of triads paired together that do not share any notes. When you pair these triads together they can help define a chord or progression of the moment and be used to get an improviser to their targeted note. The pair can be used in any inversion, varying durations and can also be combined with other tools (i.e. chromatic targeting). When picking a triad pair, it’s best to pick two pairs that define the chord or progression. Most triad pairs are a half-step, whole step or minor third apart. This week, we’re going to look at a triad pair over the ii-V-I progression. The triads based off of the 4th and 5th scale degree of the Bb major scale are a whole step a part, help define the harmony of the ii-V-I progression and do not repeat the same notes. This makes for a great triad pairing.
Above, we mentioned that the pair can be used in any inversion, duration and combination. Below is a great exercise for taking two triad pairs (in our case, the Eb/F pair) and working through their inversions. Simply put, 1st inversion to 1st inversion then 2nd inversion to 2nd inversion and so on. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll look at some other exercises that can help get this sound under your fingers and in your ears.
Finally, let’s take our triad pair and combine it with another targeting principle and use the pair to target the 7th of the Bbmaj7 chord in the ii-V-I progression below. In the example below, we’ve kept the combination the same throughout (Eb/F alternation) but change up the duration and adding some chromatic targeting to some of the pairings. This gives the triad pair forward movement and melodic sense that goes beyond an exercise like the one above.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tip and continue to check out the remainder of the intervalic series. If this is your first time visiting this blog, I’d like to welcome you and invite you to check out some of the other posts as well as invite you to check out my book (Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose) by going to the link on the right or by going to Jason Klobnak Music. If you’ve enjoyed this tip or blog, be sure to share it with your friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other site you’re a contributor. Also, be sure to leave a note either by comment, email, the “like” buttons below or by adding this site to your RSS feed. Thanks again and have a wonderful week!
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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 AllAboutJazz.com 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).
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