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Lead Improvisation Spanish Style 8

Step 8 Strong Notes

You can get away with just going up and down scale patterns as a form of improvising ( known as noodling in the U.K. ) however what is much better is to think melodically. This usually means finding strong notes for each chord as the sequence goes through.

What is a strong note ?

A strong note is a note that you can hold for a length of time over any particular chord without it sounding weak.

Any scale note will sound OK as a passing note but the ones you hang around on, or accent, should be strong notes.

The notes that actually make up the chord are strong notes - so for example if the chord you're on is A minor then A, C and E are strong notes.

I have put together some basic chords to improvise over.
The sequence is ;

| Am / / / | Am / / / | Dm / / / | Dm / / / |

| E7 / / / | E7 / / / | Am / / / | Am / / / |

The tempo is fast (about 185 BPM)

Try to construct a simple melody choosing from the strong notes as follows :-

On Am the notes A - C - E - B

On Dm the notes D - F - A - B

On E7 the notes E - G# - B - D

You shouldn't use all the notes - indeed using just one per chord is a good way to start.

The whole 8 bar sequence could have a melody of just 4 notes - for example I might choose:-

E for the 1st Am ;

F for the Dm ;

E for the E7 ;

A for the 2nd Am

- not much of a tune but if you hold these notes for the first bar of each pair and then use the scale to "fill" the second bar of each pair you then have a structure to get you started.

Listen to the 1st soundfile to hear me doing just this.

I have put a second soundfile with just the chords for you to try this for yourself.

The chord sequence goes round twice with a stop on the 1st beat of bar 8 the second time round - try to "fill" this gap .

Once you've got the hang of it try using a different selection of notes from the strong notes list - there are a lot of different combinations to try . Use your own judgement then to select what you prefer as the melodic tone for the piece.

The chords to play along with