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pros make everything sound awesome
He's good
There's an interesting assumption that sounding awesome is the goal.
Maybe it's not always the goal.
Mary Halvorsen is at a different end of what it means to improvise on guitar. Not (always) groove based. Not necessarily melodic. Definitely intentional and she is absolutely professional.
What does it mean to improvise well?
 

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He's good
There's an interesting assumption that sounding awesome is the goal.
Maybe it's not always the goal.
Mary Halvorsen is at a different end of what it means to improvise on guitar. Not (always) groove based. Not necessarily melodic. Definitely intentional and she is absolutely professional.
What does it mean to improvise well?
It looks to me that she's reading from a chart everything she's playing. I don't think she's improvising is she?
 

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It looks to me that she's reading from a chart everything she's playing. I don't think she's improvising is she?
that's true in that set
she also does improvise but i should have picked a different link. that's my mistake.
my sister free improvises with a musical partner and i was thinking of putting on an improviser's show this summer just to see what that scene is like in person. we got into the weeds amazingly quickly about what kind of improvising 'counts' as 'real'. If it has a groove is that good or bad? If there is a chord progression is that good or bad? If there is lyrical line is that good or bad? what does 'free' mean? does 'free improvisation' mean that you are not free to include rhythm chord progression or lyrical line? are free improvising, jazz improvising, blues improvising, and rock improvising compatible or not? if it's popular does that mean that it's good or that it's bad improvising? if it's pleasing to the ear by some conventional standard does that mean it's not 'real' improvising?

 

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What does it mean to improvise well?
I guess it's like "good music" depends on listeners expectations.

The way I was taught, improv = storytelling, of course there's stuff like Coltrane Interstellar Space, Ornette Coleman... that are more out there.
I like the emphasis on rhythms in the OP's post, rhythms is often the poor parent when talking about improv.
 

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rhythms is often the poor parent when talking about improv
what was surprising to me talking to my sister about it was that in some free improv circles one of the hard line rules of entry was that there could be no rhythmic stability. remove all foundations including rhythm and then you're set to really improvise. i like a foundation to improvise from so that gets off into a weird headspace for me but interesting. what you're left with is either explorations of randomness or a kind of impressionistic stream of consciousness that listens a bit like james joyce reads on the page
j
 

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what was surprising to me talking to my sister about it was that in some free improv circles one of the hard line rules of entry was that there could be no rhythmic stability. remove all foundations including rhythm and then you're set to really improvise. i like a foundation to improvise from so that gets off into a weird headspace for me but interesting. what you're left with is either explorations of randomness or a kind of impressionistic stream of consciousness that listens a bit like james joyce reads on the page
j
I always get a kick out of the "hardcore" improvisational crowd. How can there be no rules with so many rules? It's an odd pursuit to say the least and an even more eclectic musical form.
 

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How can there be no rules with so many rules?
the way she describes it to me is that they need some parameters like a fence to keep from being bulldozed by the jam bands and acid jazz combos who can pull in big crowds of enthusiastic people to jump up and down while they do their thing over a groove base. that leaves the people dragging chairs across a concrete floor or banging on squeaky toys while wearing a shark suit feeling like they've got no place for their 'pure' artistry so they put up some rules that they can be free within

it is weird no doubt about it, but kinda cool as well. at first i thought about it sort of like some people talk about jazz - it's just random noise anybody could do that it's not music - but with the possibility of a show coming up we've been talking about doing some improvising together and i've been trying it on my own. it's tough to play something with intention and confidence that doesn't fall into known forms or harmonic structure or snippets quoted from stuff you already know how to play

j
 

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the way she describes it to me is that they need some parameters like a fence to keep from being bulldozed by the jam bands and acid jazz combos who can pull in big crowds of enthusiastic people to jump up and down while they do their thing over a groove base. that leaves the people dragging chairs across a concrete floor or banging on squeaky toys while wearing a shark suit feeling like they've got no place for their 'pure' artistry so they put up some rules that they can be free within

it is weird no doubt about it, but kinda cool as well. at first i thought about it sort of like some people talk about jazz - it's just random noise anybody could do that it's not music - but with the possibility of a show coming up we've been talking about doing some improvising together and i've been trying it on my own. it's tough to play something with intention and confidence that doesn't fall into known forms or harmonic structure or snippets quoted from stuff you already know how to play

j
I would say those arguments stand.

Another question perhaps is when does music stop being "music" and become sound?

Not that there is not an artistry to sound creation, I'm not trying to be cynical or condescending here, just is there a deviation?

I would argue that without rhythm there is no "music" as that is the basis of the understanding of the concept.
 

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music stop being "music" and become sound?
and at what point is the sound not the focus either and it becomes free form performance art that includes the colour of the squeaky toy and the shark suit and the sound and the visual and the experience of sitting in a particular chair in the presence of that process

in my mind the stuff that jen and ida do is a bit hard to listen to in performance in a concert hall but makes perfect sense as film soundtrack or something to listen to as i work. that sense of it being a secondary accessory to another process grates against the performance art idea and neither of them are necessarily music

i think i hijacked somebody's perfectly good victor wooten thread. i do like victor wooten quite a lot.

j
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
He's good
There's an interesting assumption that sounding awesome is the goal.
Maybe it's not always the goal.
Mary Halvorsen is at a different end of what it means to improvise on guitar. Not (always) groove based. Not necessarily melodic. Definitely intentional and she is absolutely professional.
What does it mean to improvise well?
that sounds like my high school music class.

Teacher asked what key I was playing in? Well, all of them, I replied.

Obviously much better musicians but that first five minutes sounded like everyone doing their own thing in different keys. It got better as I typed this but was still weird even by jazz standards.

To improvise well I think you have a sense of where you want to go. and when you don’t know really where you’re going (often my case) sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t. As was shown in the OP, pros can make things work when they otherwise wouldn’t when the avg guy did it in a jam with his basement band.

take out the rhythmic stability and I’m lost. I fall back On the rhythmic groove heavily when improvising.
 
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