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LESSON THREE: ADVANCED STUDIES

Improvisation

Student NotesIn Jazz, the performance of a song is ever changing and unique. The uniqueness is born of the creative endeavors brought to the performance of a song by it's individual players. Each person brings a special interpretation of rhythm, harmony, form, melody, and style to the performance. We will be discussing some of the individual roles for these creative endeavors in later lessons.


The hallmark or cornerstone of Jazz is "The Solo." A solo occurs during the performance of a song. The solo is based on the chords used by the composer to construct the song in which the solos occurs.

Re-read the last sentence slowly.

To learn about soloing, we need to first learn more about the construction of a song. The construction of a song is called it's "Form." The form of a song is divided into groups of measures. These groups are commonly made up of 8,12, 16, or 32 bar passages or "Phrases."

In Jazz, the first part or main melody line of a song is called the "Head." A song is said to be played from the "Top" down (Let's take it from the top?) Like a persons body, the "Top" is the "Head."

The middle section of a song is refereed to as the "Bridge." A common form for any song is:

Head-Bridge-Head

As you look at this form you can see that the "Bridge" bridges the first time the head is played and the last time the head is played. When you listen to different songs being played, listen for the beginning part of a song (the main melody line or the Head). Try to pick out the middle part of the song (the Bridge). Then, listen for the ending part of the song which will be similar to the beginning part of the song (the Head played a second time).

Head (beginning) - Bridge (middle) - Head (ending)

This is one common form. There are many others.

12 Note Companion

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