Category Archives: Improvisation

Re-posted For Ornette: Top-Down #2: Phrase Length, Strength, and the Third Dimension

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Originally posted on Professorscosco:
There’s nothing wrong with strict song form, standards, blues, etc., and I have no objection to chord progressions – some of my best friends have strong resolutions. But, jazz music’s two big building blocks, song form…

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Linear Harmony #4 – Inner Roots and Voice Leading Pt. 2

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…the effect is fluid and free, almost like a composition is improvising with itself. I like this technique and I use it often. Thinking about strong lines and counterpoint first, and chords and harmonic movement second can make it all … Continue reading

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Scoring and Controlling Improvisation #2–Cells and Solos

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Writing “free” notation in jazz for pitched instruments is a challenge. While rhythm section players are used to making up their parts (reading chord changes, following ensemble figures with rhythmic notation), there might be some head-scratching at the session in … Continue reading

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Scoring and Controlling Improvisation #1–Rhythmic Cells

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I’ve written a lot of ensemble music where my intention was to create an improvised texture, or a feel of rhythmic and melodic freedom—fully notated music that sounds non-metered and non-harmonic. Sometimes it works, sometimes it don’t. In many instances … Continue reading

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Think Ahead and Write Backwards–An Overview of Top-Down Composing

Here’s what comes to mind when I try to come up with a direct way to explain “top-down” writing. Pick and choose words that fit as you see it: The TOP (melody, gesture, idea, phrase) influences (changes, guides, moves, anticipates, … Continue reading

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Posted in Improvisation, Jazz Arranging, Jazz Composition and Analysis, Jazz Theory, Theory and Harmony, Top--Down Writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment