Improvisation guidelines

On this page I'll outline some thoughts about improvising I've developed through the years. Approaches may vary, but certain issues have to be addressed in order to master the art of improvisation in music. These include no less than all the working elements of music -rhythm, melody and harmony- along with some other things concerning the form and structure of a piece of music. All of them combined add up to make an artist capable of expressing him/herself in a wide variety of moods and in subtle variations of color.
A word about the nature of learning is in order here: I feel that the traditional Western view of learning is only one of many; perhaps not even the most pertinent one when it comes to improvising. Like I wrote above, these issues have to be addressed -and they have been (in one way or another) by all the great improvisers through the history of music. Whether an individual player happened to do this in a cognitive fashion (through conscious thought) or intuitively is not important; it has more to do with the cultural environment the artist happened to live in anyway. The important thing is to develop a personal relationship to music; to define oneself and make one's inner self visible to others through music.


Chord forms in Jazz

The lesson deals with typical chord voicings as used in jazz. The first installment concentrates on the principle of the basic "shell" voicings or chord "skeletons".

Dominant Colors and Basic Cadences

This lesson adds some color tones to the basic shell voicings and presents them in the context of basic II-V-I progressions.

Giant Steps line construction

For intermediate/advanced players. Examples of different melodic solutions on this well known harmonic challenge.