Embellishing The Melody
In the previous lessons we have explored the basic harmony of the tune “Georgia” and we introduced a simple stride left hand style to outline the quarter beat pulse of the tune.
In this lesson we are going to focus on the melodic aspects of arranging the tune. We will take each bar of the A Section and apply licks, fills, and melodic ornamentation that we can use to create a soulful bluesy vibe.
The Melody As The Basis For Improvisation
A good starting point for beginner improvisers is to take the melody of the tune and use this as the primary source of inspiration to find and develop melodic ideas. In this lesson we explore 5 different melodic devices that we can use in our improvisations.
Using Grace Notes
Grace notes are used primarily for decorative purposes, in particular to add interest to a musical passage. Grace notes are usually very quick and brief and they are used as an ornamentation for the note that follows.
One of the limitation of the piano is that we cannot bend the notes. The closest way that we can achieve this on the piano is to use grace notes and this blurs the distinction between the notes to create a human & soulful aspect.
In this lesson we explore 3 types of grace notes, half step, whole step, and double or triple grace notes.
Blues Scale Walkups
Walking up fragments of the blues scale can be an effective way to fill in the space and add interest when approaching the melody notes. This can be combined with grace notes to create soulful and bluesy fills when the melody is static.
When adding blues scale fragments, always keep in mind the points of resolution in the melody of the tune. A good example of this is the note “A” over the Fmaj7 chord (the first chord of the A Section). “A” is a primary chord tone of the Fmaj7 chord and we can use approach patterns and enclosures to connect our melodic decoration back to the main melody of the tune as demonstrated in this tutorial.
In the next module we are going to learn the bridge of the tune, we will explore some new voicing techniques, and we will introduce 10th intervals in the left hand.
Licks & Riffs Notation File Type: pdf
Practice these bluesy fills and try to take the concepts to create your own bluesy embellishments and decoration.
Always keep in mind a point of resolution to resolve your fills and melodic embellishments.
Remember that all of these embellishment concepts work together and can be combined to create soulful bluesy fills and decoration.