L8: Chord Position Soloing

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

This lesson is closely related to the Level 9 section under chords, but with a slightly different spin. Please watch this video interview with master improviser Paul Hemmings and compare your notes with those below the video.

  • This is an alternative approach to using scales as a starting point for improvisation.
  • Improvising on the chord tones in the progression is a good place to start because it helps to emphasize the feel of the progressive chord movement.
  • Varying the rhythm, but keeping the pulse steady is integral to making the improvisation sound musical.
  • Use non-chordal scale tones to add phrases that incorporate ‘tension and release.’
  • Use notes a half-step below chord tones for another way to incorporate ‘tension and release.’

CHALLENGE

Earn your Soloing Level 8 patch by demonstrating the following for two chord progressions of your choosing:

  • Improvise a solo of at least 30 seconds using chord tones as a starting point.
  • Keep the pulse steady, but vary the rhythm of your solo.
  • Use non-chordal scale tones to add phrases that incorporate ‘tension and release.’
  • Use at least one note that doesn’t belong to the scale: a half-step leading to a chord tone. This will incorporate another method of attaining ‘tension and release’ in your solo.