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Chord Progressions for Improv
Useful to learn.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (26 votes) 
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ELCBK
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May 17, 2022 - 1:33 pm
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There are styles of Violin music that use other Chord Progressions, especially anything remotely associated with the Jazz family. 

"Diminished and Augmented Chords" can come into play, as well as "7th Chords"

Cha Stew shows how to practice through 6 scales we need for this kind of improvisation - by changing ONE note at a time! 

"MAJOR to MIXOLYDIAN MODE, DORIAN MODE, NATURAL MINOR, HARMONIC MINOR and MELODIC MINOR scales." 

 

 

This may be from the MusicTheoryForGuitar site, but I think there is FABULOUS info applicable to Violinist who want to enrich their Chord Progressions

ALSO, how to work these extra chords into improvisation and Chord Progressions

"GORGEOUS Chord Progressions With Secondary Diminished Chords"

 

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LinDee
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@ELCBK - you're right, it was 3rd finger, not 4th.  I wrote down notes from the video and wrote it correctly, BUT pretty sure when I was trying to play it I was trying to use my 4th finger.  TBH right now even getting my 3rd finger on G string is a challenge - all the early pieces from my books are in A, then D has been introduced, with very little use so far of the G string.  Everything other tha1st finger or open feels very challenging on that string, but I am sure I will get it!  But thanks for pointing it out !

@Mark - I totally agree, piano makes music theory MUCH easier to understand!  The ONLY music theory I have ever had (and that was a LONG LONG time ago) was VERY basic and only on the piano.  Honestly wish I had a piano because I would like to learn it but yes, I agree, would also make it easier to learn this certainly.  In fact, I often have to stop and visualize a piano when I am trying to make some of the chord or scale information clear to myself.  I haven't checked out the link you posted yet, but I will. Thanks

Lin.

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ELCBK
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@LinDee -

Ah, time for the torture 😄 SHOVE that elbow WAY under the violin, so you can get your hand up over the fingerboard!  That will help you on the G string. 

I'm so glad I started with 5 strings.  I was having SOOO much trouble on my C string - thought I'd never get it, so the G string seemed easy by comparison.  ...then I got the 5-string viola - even MORE torture, just because it's so much bigger, but everything's fine now.  Yep, it just gets better & better. 😊 

For right now, you can play just the 1st note for each of those 3 chords & do a little shuffle bowing - you'll fit right in!

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ELCBK
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ELCBK said
 

Cha Stew shows how to practice through 6 scales we need for this kind of improvisation - by changing ONE note at a time! 

"MAJOR to MIXOLYDIAN MODE, DORIAN MODE, NATURAL MINOR, HARMONIC MINOR and MELODIC MINOR scales." 

 

 

 

 

I'm not a big scales person, but the more I think about it, now... this tutorial is an EXCELLENT way to just get more familiar with a few MODES!

I don't think most people would even think of this, if told to 'do scales'. (lol)

- Emily

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ELCBK
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May 20, 2022 - 12:23 pm
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...just 4 chords for MANY popular songs. 

 

Use Double Stops made FROM these chords. 

Play them as arpeggios. 

Try droning the ROOT note of the chord, throw in some shuffle bowing, then try adding in each of the other 2 notes (separately), before moving on to the next chord in the progression.   

START LISTENING,

to hear where the chords CHANGE!

 

      I-V-vi-IV Chord

I-V-vi-IV Chord Progression 

 

 

                               Doo wop chord

I-vi-VI-V Chord Progression 

 

                              sensitive progression chord

vi-IV-V-I Chord Progression

 

Play Thousands Of Songs With Just 4 Chords

 

- Emily 

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ABitRusty
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...and..

you can always just use 2!

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ELCBK
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https://i.pinimg.com/736x/bb/4f/3f/bb4f3f0c3a74a193c4b3c87472d76492.jpg

DIMINISHED CHORDS are NOT the scary, mysterious things I was originally led to believe... but they are a little dark!   They make music interesting and enhance it's emotional appeal!

It's ALL about the intervals, again - specifically, 'Half Steps' or 'Semitones'

Remember -  The quickest, easiest way to determine if a chord is Major or Minor, is to look at the distance between the Root note and the 3rd note in the scale, the 1-3 interval.  If there are only 3 Half Steps (or Semitones), it is a MINOR Chord, and if it is 4 Half Steps (or 2 Whole Steps), then it is a MAJOR Chord.

 

So, what happens IF other intervals within a chord are ALSO reduced by a Half Step (or Semitone)?  They become DIMINISHED CHORDS

 

DIMINISHED CHORDS are notated as dim or with a degree sign (°).

To make a Diminished C chord (C°),

  1. start with the C Triad Chord (1-3-5) which is →Cmaj=[C(4H)E(3H)G]
  2. then lower the 3rd within the chord (keep the perfect 5th) it becomes→Cmin=[C(3H)Eb(4H)G]
  3. next, also lower the 5th, it becomes →=[C(3H)Eb(3H)Gb].  

There are TWO kinds of DIMINISHED 7th CHORDS - Half-diminished and Fully-diminished.   

BOTH kinds of DIMINISHED 7th CHORDS start with a Diminished Triad

  1. The Diminished Triad for C is, =[C(3H)Eb(3H)Gb], then add the 7th (Bb)
  2. if changes to [C(3H)Eb(3H)Gb(4H)Bb], then it is a Half-diminished 7th chord - becomes notated as a m7b5, or (Cø7). 
  3. If changes to [C(3H)Eb(3H)Gb(3H)Bbb*], then it is a Fully-diminished 7th chord - becomes notated as a dim7 or C°7.  

*Btw, I'm not really sure why this chord would be shown with a double B flat, instead of an A! 

 

For comparison, a C minor 7th Chord (Cmin7) is [C(3H)Eb(4H)G(3H)Bb].

And, a C minor-major 7th Chord (Cm maj7) is [C(3H)Eb(4H)G(4H)B]. 

 
To see how these Chords are displayed as notes on a staff:
What is A Diminished Chord? - Hello Music Theory

 

I hope it helps to think in terms of making a DIMINISHED CHORD by lowering, as 'reducing the interval distance' by a Half Step. 🤪  When a DIMINISHED CHORD is 'arpeggiated' (notes played in sequence as an arpeggio) you can HEAR and SEE that the notes are closer together on the fingerboard.

 

@ABitRusty -

FABULOUS '2 Chord Songs' video! 

Hadn't even thought of that! 

THANX!

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ABitRusty
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*Btw, I'm not really sure why this chord would be shown with a double B flat, instead of an A!

its jazz...those the rules

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ABitRusty
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from what i vaugely remember from some jazz guitar stuff..

its more of a communications type thing...sorta a proper musical grammar.   at first i was thinking more along the lines it had to do with say the using the major scale formula...if you plot out the notes there was one scale you would get something like a B and also Bb...like youd have a Cb which doesnt exists in terminology.

i asked same question and got an explanation that made sense...but didnt progress any further to utilize it so its clouded over with some irish tune now..😅

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LinDee
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May 20, 2022 - 10:00 pm
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After reading through all this information and watching some of the videos, I have come to the conclusion playing a fiddle with even the remotest understanding of what I am doing is WAY WAY beyond me!!!  Perhaps a piano, where one could see what is what, so to speak - and some previgen (sp?) for some memory help - is the way to go!! 

                              bunny-headbanglumpy-2134 bunny-headbang

with all the flags in the 'smileys'  -- we need a white flag of surrender!

LinDee

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty -

Thank you! 

I suspected it was along the lines of 'rules' for only using the letter name of a note once in a scale - but why Bbb instead of A if a chord doesn't already use an A anywhere?  

...okay, made me look it up. 😏 

According to the Easy Music Theory site, "It all has to do with the diatonic nature of tonal music." 🥴

The reason that we have double-flats is a bit more complicated, since there are no scales that require us to modify existing notes by lowering notes. But there are chords that require us to lower the 7th note by placing a flat in front. If that key’s 7th note is already flat, then you’d need to use a double-flat. That’s a bit out of the realm of rudimentary theory, but suffice it to say that there are times when you need to use double-flats, where a natural simply won’t do. 

Image Enlarger

...starting to remember why I hate 'rules'. 🤣 

- Emily

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LinDee said
After reading through all this information and watching some of the videos, I have come to the conclusion playing a fiddle with even the remotest understanding of what I am doing is WAY WAY beyond me!!!  Perhaps a piano, where one could see what is what, so to speak - and some previgen (sp?) for some memory help - is the way to go!! 

                              bunny-headbanglumpy-2134 bunny-headbang

with all the flags in the 'smileys'  -- we need a white flag of surrender!

LinDee

  

NO!!! 

violin is melody...all the chord talk is just some theory stuff to learn!!   helps maybe with impriv and double stops, so dont get bogged down with all the technical stuff!!

and yes chordal instruments like piano ...guitar...better suited for all the chord stuff obviously

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ELCBK
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@LinDee -

OMG! 

You don't have to 'get' all this right now, or even NEVER - just to enjoy playing the fiddle!  

 

After playing violin for about a year, I started to notice terms being thrown around I didn't understand... for me, my questions probably started with thinking, "why do people make a big deal of announcing what 'key' a tune is in?" - and then I heard the terms 'dorian scale' & 'mode' being used for some tunes I loved.  

Since I hate feeling clueless, and I don't relish the thought of reading a bunch of thick books on 'Music Theory' - I started digging... a little at a time. 

IMHO - skimming over threads/posts on the Fiddlerman Forum is a GREAT way to start forming your own questions - as things become more relevant to what & how you are playing. 

 

I'm a big believer in hanging out around other musicians while they play or even just by learning to truly listen - you'll pick up a lot, most likely without even knowing you have! 🤗  

...just hoping to tie a few concepts together in THIS thread, to help myself & others see that behind wonderful music, these amazing little things are intertwined - and how we can use them. 

- Emily

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Omer Ashano shows Violin Improvisation Practice in the Key of Amin, using a VERY COOL, I-vi-iii-vii-iii-IV Chord Progression!  

 

0:10:31 - Introduction to the simple minor chord progression - I - VI - III - VII - VI - III - IVmaj - V.

0:14:22 - Singing the roots of the chords in the progression.

0:28:39 - Visualizing the progression with the chord names.

0:32:21 - Visualizing the progression with the metronome.

0:35:37 - Test yourself.

0:38:43 - Jamming over one chord and laying out for the other chord.

0:48:43 - Laying out on the first chord and jamming on the second chord.

0:53:36 - How to figure out what scale to play on each chord?

0:59:09 - Play - lay out exercise over "Out Of Nowhere"

From Post #20: 

A little more about Tonic, Subdominantand Dominant,ChordFUNCTIONS - because all of the other chord FUNCTIONS can also be grouped under one of these three, AND some might possibly be interchangeable in Chord Progressions!

  • TONIC: I, iii, vi
  • SUBDOMINANT: IV, ii
  • DOMINANT: V, iii, vii 

 

Omer Ashano talks about substituting a DIMINISHED CHORD for a Dominant Chord (see post #12 & #15) and how he practices Jazz improvisation, using DIMINISHED 7th CHORDS

 

 

0:00:00 - Introduction.

0:08:43 - Theory background for the diminished 7th chord.

0:16:34 - Alternating neighboring diminished.

0:36:11 - Rhythmic and bowing variations over the diminished pattern.

0:46:31 - How to inject this into your playing. 

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ELCBK
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@LinDee -

These Country BlueGrass Fiddle Improv Tutorials are for YOU (for when you are ready)! 😉  

 

Kinda in reference back to my post #7 - open string, Double Stops in a I-IV-V Chord Progression!  Each 2 strings played is a chord - Austin Scelzo adds a few notes later,  but can start you off on your way to improvising with Bluegrass bowing techniques!  GREAT way to start getting the feel of Bluegrass!

A good overview of 'shuffle' bowing patterns to improvise with - no harping on theory in this, just mimic & play along.  Don't forget you can slow it down in the video settings.  Austin Scelzo also has some other Bluegrass tutorials at his site - you might find easier. 

 

Christian Howes videos are very laid-back improve play-alongs, GREAT for feeling the groove & relaxing fun. 

In this video, he actually plays notes from the 'Mixolydian' Scale here, considered a MODE (post #13) - very similar to the Major Scale (don't need to know this now).  What makes this important for later, is you can use these notes for backup or improv on quite a few Bluegrass & other Fiddle tunes (check out the video description)! 🤗 

You can SLOW this down in the video settings, and just LISTEN... try playing on the open strings, then take a stab at getting a note or 2 close.  I believe foolin' around like this actually starts to train your ears - and even if you only manage to move your bow along with the tempo on the open strings, then these videos are valuable! 

 

 

 

Btw, I SLOW EVERYTHING DOWN WHILE I'M LEARNING FROM A VIDEO!

Bluegrass Fiddle Tutorials - Austin Scelzo Video Playlist

 

...it's okay to watch these videos now & come back to try them, later. 

Also okay to just try new things by using only one string, if more is uncomfortable. 

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 Chris Haigh has a recent IMPROV tutorial out that does a GREAT job of explaining/showing how to use the Pentatonic & Blues Scales for almost ANY genre of Fiddle music!  He includes HOW they work with the Chord Progressions, the FINGER PATTERNS and shows some LICKS to add to the toolbox. 

Amazing to freely use Major AND Minor together in a tune!

 

 

 
LICKS can play a big part in making improvisation interesting!  

Chris Haigh also has a HUGE playlist of video tutorials on different LICKS in different styles! 

FIDDLE LICKS - The Fiddle Channel Playlist

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Here's a FABULOUS video tutorial by Steffen Zeichner - much info & many GREAT tips! 

 

 

Christian Howes has a GREAT video that hits on fundamental bowing techniques for improvisation! 

Set yourself up for good rhythm with more agile bowing & articulation! 

 

 

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Ever think that the info in this thread could be applied to CHRISTMAS HYMNS? 

 

 

 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/47/d4/07/47d407ea56e77e4c1ea2052dc8ab424d.jpg

Once again, I think finding & working with the CHORD PROGRESSION is important, because it's ALL about the HARMONY! 

- Emily

From a video commenter:

Improvising from a hymn book is not so difficult. Playing the alto part (the bottom notes in the treble clef) often sounds wonderful. You can also play the tenor part (top note in the bass clef) an octave higher than written and it usually sounds quite nice. Playing 3rds above or 6ths below the melody note often sounds very nice. Runs also work well.

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I think it's a great idea to interpret guitar RIFFS & LICKS, to use in different keys for improv on the fiddle - even MORE so on the VIOLA!

This is just too awesome - yeah, what I want to be when I grow up! 😁 

Coen Strouken did a FABULOUS guitar cover on his VIOLA

 

  .

Charlie Robbins - Guitar Riff Playlist

"How To Write Chord Progressions With NEGATIVE HARMONY!"

Here's a twist, totally new to me, gives MORE OPTIONS for chords!  Starts with Note FUNCTIONS within a Scale! (MusicTheoryForGuitar)

 

 

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Okay, This is BIG - "EMOTIONAL RESPONSE" may be the driving force behind why we choose Chord Progressions, why we make and play music - so I'm dumping the 'emotionally related stuff' here.  

 

 

 

"The EMOTIONAL Meaning Of Chords" (MusicTheoryForGuitar) 

 

 

 

I think it's important to consider the emotional intent presented by a choice of Scales and Chord Progressions used in a piece, before attempting to add improvisation, because improv should enhance the feeling. 

I'm getting close to being done with dumping my thoughts, video tutorials & links out in this thread - just a few more things I don't want to forget about. 😊 

I hope more people will explore this topic & post what is discovered.

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