Improv Tip Week #36-Triplets - Jason Klobnak Music

Improv Tip Week #36-Triplets

Welcome everyone to week #36 where we’re going to talk a little bit about triplets! I truly hope you’ve been enjoying these weekly tips and encourage you to check out the past 35 weeks (they’re archived now at the bottom of the site) if you haven’t already. Also, as you can probably tell-I’m working on my 2nd book called Breaking the Monotony and hope to have it released later this year. Also, within the next couple of weeks Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose will be available in Spanish and French! So, for those of you that have been visiting this site/blog and have expressed interest in those versions…it is coming very soon!

Recently while playing over the changes to a new song I’m working on, I realized that I had been neglecting a particular rhythmic figure in my practice routine. Those that have been following along know that I’m big on two things: Targeting principles and not over-using tools. Part of not over-using tools we employ in improvisation includes making sure you’re not neglecting others (unless done on purpose). For me, I realized that recently I haven’t been using triplets very much in my improvisations. This wasn’t done on purpose, but out of unintentional neglect. For those that might be going through a similar “triplet slump,” I wanted to give a few practical ways we can interject triplets into our ideas.

Triplets can be placed anywhere in a bar. They can arpeggiate a chord (chord of the moment or super-imposed), they can be tied to other triplets or other note value lengths. One thing that may need to be adjusted are your note choices. When using targeting principles, you want to land on most of your targets at harmonic strong points (in 4/4 that is on beat 1 and 3). Doing this with triplets means you’re using three note groupings and you’ll want to adjust your line to make it fit. Rhythmically, it creates a nice break from the run-of-the-mill eighth note line.

The following examples show a couple of different basic ways we can use triplets and targeting principles together. All of this week’s examples use the eighth note triplet (but obviously you can use different valued triplets as well). The first couple of examples put the triplet as the intro to the line or towards the begining of the line. The last example is one that shows how you can creatively string eighth note triplets together while still keeping targeting principles intact.




I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tip! Please be sure to share this tip and site with your friends/colleagues/students via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or any other site that you are a contributor.

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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 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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