When improvising, do I only play the notes in the chord

  1. Notes want context. Doesn’t matter what note you decide to play but the context of the note is in my opinion is the most important. Where is it heading ?

  2. As others have said you can play what you want. But as a learning exercise its be hood to limit yourself to just those notes. Play around with them, see how they sound and what you can do with them. Later you can add other notes, but do so deliberately

  3. Everything is heard in a context. Usually at the beginning of a tune, the context is established, which is generally a major or minor key.

  4. Go learn about non-chord tones and how to use them. Like passing tones, incomplete neighbor tones, neighbor tones and more

  5. Had to downvote because while I agree with you I think this missed half of the OPs question, do non-chord, or even non-scale tones chsnge the chord/key. My sense is that's what the OP was getting caught up in and I think it is a natural part of learning. So, no OP, those don't change the key or the chord but... Most music wants to resolve, over time, to the tonic or the 5 and that's what you'll see in the sheet music you read, using non-scale tones to get there just adds a little spice along the way.

  6. When improvising you can do whatever the hell you want 😃 just let your soul do the work - maybe it'll sound good, maybe it won't, but nothing matters more than enjoying yourself and living in that moment 😎🙏

  7. Depending on what you want to do and how far you want to take it, you can take any chord and extend it all the way out to the 13th. So C maj you could then have C,E,G,B,D,F,A. you could use some or all of them if you wanted to. You could put non chord tones- as passing notes in between as well. You could take that series of seven notes and do arpeggios of two chords in the middle, such as e minor (e,g,b) going to C maj (C,E,G) try that over a C maj pad on a keyboard or guitar recording. You will see what I mean. You can make all kinds of chord arpeggios and see what you like. You can then play three notes totally outside the chord and resolve them by playing the chord tones specifically. If you really want to see how far you can go with it, check out solos by some sax players. Charlie Parker and Michael Brecker in particular. There are millions of things you can do. Try some stuff out, play it against a chord or series of chords and see what you like. Some things will sound great ,some wont. A lot will depend on what's emphasized and when. Pay attention to what lands on strong beats and what lands on weak beats and what lands on an unaccented up beat when playing 8th notes or triplets. Have fun .

  8. The mixture of chord tones and non-chord tones is how you create a melody. A melody comprised entirely of chord tones is kind of like making a sentence only using nouns. The more non-chord tones you introduce creates certain levels of dissonance. Study melodies and see how they are composed, after all, improvisation is the act of creating a melody from nothing. Learn about the different types of non-chord tones: suspensions, passing tones, appogiaturas, escape tones, etc. Art is about tension and resolution, and your choices define you as an artist in that moment. I like to think of the saying "there are no wrong notes, just better choices".

  9. No but they are the safest notes, they will never really sound wrong and you should absolutely use them a lot but they are probably the most boring notes you could choose, which may be what a song needs. An exercise I like is imagining in your mind what you want to play then try and play it, as you’re playing that try and think of the next thing you want to play, like reading ahead while reading out loud. Of corse this take a lot of practice to be able to actually play what you hear in your head on the fly but I find what I want to hear has all kinds of notes outside of the chords. It’s as you said mostly ear and feel.

  10. Typically you want to stick to the key of the song. If the first chord is Cmaj, then the entire song is probably in C maj (but I can't say for sure without seeing the other chords), so you "could" play CDEFGAB. You could also try just sticking to the major pentatonic, or messing around with other modes and keys. There really is no "right way" - play in the key as a starting point and just go from there.

  11. That is called an arpeggio and no that is one method but there are many others. For example when you have a minor chords you play a minor pentatonic above it starting on the same root. And a major chord a major triad. So Dm, G, C, C you would play D minor pentatonic, then G major pentatonic, then C major pentatonic for 2 bars. Or maybe you play arpeggios but with chord extensions so Dminor is DFA but maybe you play a Dminor9 chord so DFACE. Or you play a mode do Dminor chord gets D dorian scale played above it. There are tons of different approaches

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