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Rhythmic & Chordal Playing
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Cello Lessons: Guide Tone Improvisation

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We're gonna work
on improvising in D major.
One of the hardest things about
improvising is you get stressed out and
bogged down by thinking about
every single note you're playing.
But actually One of the best
things you could do is not
think about every note you're playing,
but focus on one note at at time.
And that's what we call a guide tone.
I'm gonna demonstrate improvising
in the key of D major with D
as my guide tone.
I can use any of the notes on the scale,
but I'm gonna keep coming back to D.
I'm gonna start each phrase on D and
I'm going to end each phrase on D.
You can
think of it,
as trying to
tell the story
of D Within D Major.
Now where it gets interesting,
is when we tell the story of E within
D Major, the second scale degree.
We can do this with our D drone.
This is the second scale degree.
And I'm gonna start and
end each phrase on D.
Even though I'm
choosing from the same
notes that we chose from
when I was improvising
with D as my guide tone,
the whole feeling changes when
I change my guide tone.
Now I'm going to move up the scale
to F sharp as my guide tone.
And you'll see the that even though I'm
using the same few notes, just by playing
one of them more often than the others,
has a completely different feel.
We'll hear that when we
play it with the drone.
I'm gonna keep going
up the scale with each scale
degree as my guide tone and
I want you to listen to how
different of an emotional
world that I'm playing in even
though I'm still in D major.
Now I'll use G as my my guide tone.
move up to
the open A.
I can use all the notes in the scale, but
I'll play A the most frequently.
up to B.
And we'll
finish with
C sharp.
the notes I
played are in
D major.
But by focusing on one note
in particular at a time.
It gives me something different that
I can say with my improvisation.
I want you to practice with a drone.
Practice this guide tone improvisation,
spend five to ten to fifteen seconds,
sort of improvising
around each scale degree and
we'll use all of the notes of D major.
You can start with D and then you'll
move up to first finger, third finger,
fourth finger,
all the way to the top of the scale.
It'll only take a couple of minutes,
but it's really gonna develop
your ear-hand coordination
that we've been talking about.
And you'll start to really understand the
role that each scale degree plays in the D
major scale.