Re: [linux-audio-user] playing chords to help practise improvisation

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Subject: Re: [linux-audio-user] playing chords to help practise improvisation
From: Peter Jay Salzman (
Date: Sun Dec 08 2002 - 08:34:43 EET

begin Larry Troxler <>
> Sorry not to catch the original post, but ..
> > Le Samedi 7 Décembre 2002 03:43, vous avez écrit :
> > > hi all,
> > >
> > > i just started to play around with jazz improv. what would be really
> > > useful is if i can define a set of chord changes:
> > >
> > > Dm7 G7 Em7 A7 Am7 D7 Abm7 Db9
> > >
> > > and have my computer play it over and over again so i can improvise over
> > > the key changes. it would be great if...
> My short answer:
> I disagree with what you think would be great. I think it would be great
> if *you* could play these changes over an over again.
> Practice comping to the changes and record it into any sequencer that
> actually works on Linux.
> If you're learning how to solo, wouldn't it be helpfull to
> learn how to comp as well?
> Why not play the changes live for as many repeats you want, and then solo
> over that?
well, i didn't want to go over this in public, since nobody here is
interested in my practicing, but...

the past month i've been spending practicing comping on certain tunes,
like satin (not satan as i said before) doll, how high the moon and i
got rhythm. i've worked on getting the chord changes pretty smooth, and
can play them all really well, without having to think, for instance,
how to play a m7b5, or to pause from a b9 to half diminished while my
fingers "find the place", for instance. the songs i'm using to learn
are pretty smooth.

we discussed "tonal centers" and chords that "live" in a particular
tonal center.

i've also been working on major scales in 7 positions, and now comes the
time to put everything together.

comping into my 4 track would be great, but having a computer do it
would be much better for a few reasons, like having the song play faster
as i get more fluid, so i don't have to waste time playing changes
every time i want to increase the speed any. another benefit is that i
don't have to fiddle with a stereo, 4 track and casette tapes when i
want to practise.

> > > it can loop: so i don't have to record the progression 100 times if i
> > > want to play around with this 100 times.
> I'll leave this up to other who use Linux sequencers. I would expect that
> all of them can loop though. Of course, rather then have the loop be one 4
> or 8 bars (one cycle of your progression), try just comping for a few
> minutes and repeat the whole x number of bars - it will sound a lot more
> natural.
true, but i'm not after natural. that's for when i play the blue note.
i'm after long, repetitive hard-core practise sessions.

> > > the timing can change wildly: i can't really do much at the speed which
> > > i normally play "satan doll". the chords come too fast. and it's hard
> > > playing chords unnaturally slow (although i suppose that might be a good
> > > thing to practise).
> I'm really not sure what you're getting at here. When you say "the timing
> can change wildly", do you mean that you would like to practice this
> progression at a variety of tempos? If that is the case, just record your
> comp to a number of different files, at different tempos.
> > > there were some kind of quarter note percussion that gives me a beat so
> > > know when the chord is about to change.
> > >
> It is starting to seem like your questions are not about Linux and/or
> sequencers at all, but instead, how to learn jazz improvisation.
actually, that's the farthest thing from the truth.

my question:

how can i have my linux box play chord changes that i can practise to?

someone has responded:

midi sequencer. i only vaguely know what they are, but i'm going to
look into the suggestions.

i appreciate the good reply, but you took my "how can i get the computer
to play chord changes" a bit off topic, so i'm going to end my email
here. :)


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