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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bonsoir,

I've been playing with a violinist and a oudist for a few weeks now mostly on traditional oriental and East European repertoire tunes. We've also included some Ellington and Garbarek songs.

There's this song we're gonna work on next that's in 7/8. The melody is not a problem to play but I have a hard time doing an impro that makes sense on that rhythm. We'll work on 5/4 and 9/8 tunes in the future.

So I'd like to get some tips on how one's supposed to phrase melodically on those time sigs. Are there some books out there about odd time signature and melodic improvisation? How can you "cross over" the time signature and still maintain the feel for that rhythm?

Thanks in advance,
Victor.

PS : I know the best advice is to listen to tunes and impros in those time sigs!! :)
 

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I would think that the best music to listen to would be Brubeck's Time Out and Time Further Out albums. My recollection is that the group not only explored time signatures but even played two different time signatures together.

Can't help on the playing, but I would certainly dig those out.
 

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clean articulation is the key... make sure that if you play a downbeat that it's precise, and if you play over the bar the phrases divide properly. "Swinging" in 7/8 is relatively easy as long as you're mindful of rephrasing leading and approach tones to synch up to the strong downbeats on either 1, 2, 3.5 or vice versa. Most of the music on my site is in odd time sigs, so that may give you some ideas. www.jasondumars.com
 

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the best way to impovise on this rythm is to feel it! listen some tunes with this rythm pattern if you have any (particularly on the musical idiom you are going to improvise on). Eastern European traditional music is based on these "odd" rythms, so what you have to do is become one with the song, know its every detail and when you improvise "sing" what you play like you were singing the main melody of the tune..from your profile I undestand that you are a professional musician , so the only thing you have to do is feel the song!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Great advice already!! Keep it coming!
I especially like the dancing method!!! It's true that if your body feels it, you can play it!

Victor.
 

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kavala said:
think of it as one bar of 3/4 followed by one bar of 4/4
Or think of it as a 5/4 bar followed by a 2/4

2 2 3
3 2 2
2 3 2
5 2
2 5
4 3
3 4
1 2 4
3 1 3
and many more!
 

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Play with a metronome that can give you a stady 7/8----Crystal Metronome is an inexpensive software metronome that can play odd meters; Dr Beat is a hardware metronome that will do it. There are others. The point being that if you want to play in those meters, practice in those meters. John Mclaughlin, the guitarist has a lot to say about playing in odd meters, BTW. He should know.........daryl
 

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'Unsquare Dance' by Brubeck is in 7/8.


Clap on 2, 4, 6 & 7.
Classic 2,2,3 or 4,3 pattern.

DD mentioned dancing to it...
Well here you go.

 

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Hello there,

here's a Eastern European song (Macedonian to be precise), in the 5/4 + 7/8 rhythm. Perhaps it should be written as 12/8; I'm not quite sure.

An older rendition:

I hope this can give some melodic inspiration. :)
 

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think of it as one bar of 3/4 followed by one bar of 4/4
This will not help you master the style though. Best is to put the specific rhythms in a sequencer and improvise over them. It takes time, but it's fun.
Best advice; listen to the original recordings of the tunes you're doing, that usually helps a lot. To approach this music from a jazz perspective will only get you so far.

Are you also playing the tunes in the original maqam's?
 

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I would think that the best music to listen to would be Brubeck's Time Out and Time Further Out albums. My recollection is that the group not only explored time signatures but even played two different time signatures together.

Can't help on the playing, but I would certainly dig those out.
If you are playing on traditional east european and oriental songs, i personally would listen to music in that realm first rather than brubeck. I personally find that it's very hard to impossible to really feel as "at home" in 7/8 and its cousins as us westerners feel in 4/4 and 3/4 and their cousins. You will often find yourself sticking to and repeating rhythmic subdivisions like (in 7/8): 2, 2, 3. you can spice it up by alternating with a 3, 2, 2 feel or repeating a straight meter until you land on the odd "1" again (do the math). _Oudist_ Rabih Abou Khalil has a lot of stuff that includes oriental/eastern feels and jazzy improv. Check out (for example) the oud solo in "Rabou Abou Kabou" on "Blue Camel" (Reference to "Blue Train", I guess) in 5/4. There`s a lot of sax on that album, too (Charlie Mariano, R.I.P.).
Actually, the repeating e.g. 2, 2, 3 stuff is not bad at all, even guys like Khalil do it a lot to great effect. Holding long notes that stretch over one or several bars is especially effective in this kind of music, I think.

Sorry for the crappily written post, I`m in a hurry.

EDIT:
An important point is, that subdividing (e.g. 7/8 in 3, 2, 2|2, 3, 2|2, 2, 3) is so abstract that it will distract from really playing melodies as long as we do it consciously. I mean, in 4/4 I do not have to count when I play, say, quarter triplets mixed with other groupings. The things I have to do consciously I would rather do without when playing live until I have them down.
 
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