Starting to Improvise on the Fiddle
November 20, 2020 at 12:13 PM #86760jazzstudentParticipant
I have seen a number of forum entries discussing how to start to improvise on the fiddle. I am coming from a guitar based jazz/blues background. The focus of my study has been on building improvisation skills. When I began to work with fiddle, my first concern was to try to transfer the work I had already done on guitar across to the fiddle. To that end, I have begun to develop a set of exercises for the fiddle.
I thought that others here might find the work that I am doing helpful in expanding their own improvisational skills.
Here is the first set of exercises that I have written out. I have written them in the key of ‘C’. However, I practice them in the primary ‘fiddle’ keys (G, D, A as well as E and C).
Hope this is of some help,
BillNovember 22, 2020 at 8:51 AM #86779fiddlewoodParticipant
Mix that with a few enclosure patterns, linear arpeggios, double stops, etc., and you’ve got my morning warm-up pretty much covered.
I use this stuff more for building dexterity & muscle memory. I’ve found a more lick/position/pattern-based approach works better for me for on-the-spot improvisation.
November 22, 2020 at 10:03 AM #86781jazzstudentParticipant
- This reply was modified 1 day, 2 hours ago by fiddlewood.
I agree that there is a universe of variations and alternatives to this simple set of arpeggios, but I think if an individual is trying to find a starting point to learn to improvise, understanding the harmonized scale and developing an ability to find a major (minor) arpeggio on any of the diatonic scale chords will give him/her a strong starting point.
If you take a simple ii V I jazz cadence (Dm, G7, Cmaj7) or a basic jazz standard like ‘Autumn Leaves’ and play the diatonic 7th arpeggios against the chord changes, you will find that you have a functional, simple basis for building a convincing improvisation for the tune. In fact, just playing the arpeggios will work.
Learning to improvise is a complex, lifelong undertaking, but if we keep our expectations in check and start simple, every step of the process can be enjoyable and rewarding.
BillNovember 22, 2020 at 10:04 PM #86785fiddlewoodParticipant
As I wrote, I go through these things pretty much daily (and I do use them over chords fairly often).
Different approaches work best for different people was all I meant to share.
As a side note: Lately I’ve been enjoying running scales, etc. between 3rds, 5ths, & 7ths (modes?)…it really woke up my ears.
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