RHYTHMIC JAZZ EXERCISES – Coordinate Left & Right Hand

RHYTHMIC JAZZ EXERCISES – Coordinate Left & Right Hand


Hi. In this lesson we’ll do some rhythmic jazz exercises and we’ll learn how to coordinate the left and the right hand. The exercises are very essential if we wanna learn to improvise Jazz in a totally free manner being able to form our Music in both a tonal and a rhythmic sense. All of the stuff we are going to learn in this lesson I actually use in the B section of this Music Video I published some weeks ago. Let’s take a very brief listen to this piece… So let’s look into the rhythm and how we can connect the right and left hand as in the jazz piece and let’s do some exercises. This is a NewJazz lesson by the way and my name is Oliver Prehn. Ok, let’s start with the right hand. We name our fingers finger 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Now let’s create or compose a little pattern for our right hand so we simply write down some random finger numbers. It could be any combination but what about playing finger 5-4-2-1-3. And we are going to repeat this pattern right after each other. So we are gonna do this with our fingers: 5-4-2-1-3 and so on… Now let’s choose some keys for our fingers. In other NewJazz lessons we have discovered the great power of the minor pentatonic hand grip and it’s also this very same grip I use in the Music video. So let’s place our hand on for example the D minor pentatonic scale… and we got our hand grip with our fingers always placed like this: 1-2-3-4-5 Now let’s play our little composition on the pentatonic notes. So we play finger 5-4-2-1-3 and so on… Ok let’s start a metronome at a slow speed. What about 60 BPM. Now what we wanna do is to play 16th notes. We could also play triplets or swing 8th’s
– it all works great. So, in our case, on every main beat we hear on the metronome we have 4 sub beats like this: dik-ke-dak-ke dik-ke-dak-ke dik-ke-dak-ke dik-ke-dak-ke 1234 1234 1234 1234 So here comes the trick. We wanna play a note on every sub beat… and we have 4 sub beats for every main beat BUT our pattern is 5 notes long. So our MELODIC pattern will constantly be shifted compared to the RHYTHMIC pattern, right? It sounds like this… On the graphic above, you can also see how the melodic pattern and the chunks of 4 sub beats constantly are shifted. In this way we have created a nice counterpoint between melody and rhythm. And the fact that our melodic pattern and the rhythmic pattern does not fit actually makes our exercise very effect full. We’ll realize that when we add the left hand very soon. But before we do that, practice this exercise carefully. This may not be easy, but if you can manage to play this we are actually a huge step further in the process of understanding how phrases and rhythm can work together in a thrilling way. Ok, let’s stop the metronome for a while and talk about what to do with the left hand. So our right hand is placed on the D minor pentatonic scale. Let’s place the left hand on the D minor pentatonic scale as well just an octave lower… And then we thin out the grip like this… and we got a nice quartal chord. So for now we have placed our left and right hand in two almost unison grips just with a thinned out left hand. Now we have to decide WHEN to play the left hand chord. Instead of just playing the chord on a certain sub beat it could be much more fun and much more educational by the way to pick a specific right hand finger on which we wanna play our left hand chord. So let’s choose a right hand finger. It could be any of the fingers but what about choosing the 5th finger. So every time we use the right hand 5th finger we must play our left hand chord. Let’s start the metronome and try this out… So let’s start up the right hand engine… now every time we strike the 5th finger… we must play our left hand chord… So it sounds like this… Now, the really smart thing and the really educational thing about this exercise is that right now we automatically learn to put in the left hand chord on all the different sub beats. Above on the 16th notes you can see how we, on turn, manage to hit the different individual sub beats: first, second, third, fourth – first, second, third, fourth – and so on… so an exercise like this is fantastic actually. This exercise helps us to become more free with our left hand in a rhythmic sense. Do this Exercise a lot before moving on and you will learn to manage both the left and right hand together. Ok, but we are not done yet, not at all. Now I will show you an easy way to vary our exercise in a tonal sense. We’ll add Music to our exercise and learn how to move our hands around on the keyboard. That will for sure be fun. Now we’ll try to transpose our pentatonic grip to other tonalities. So we can for example go back and forth between the D pentatonic hand grip… and the Eb pentatonic hand grip like this… let’s try this out with the metronome on… So now we have added some variation to our exercise… When you feel ready you can play other tonalities as well. For example we can mix in the C pentatonic grip… and what about also mixing in the A pentatonic grip… Every tonality goes actually, just experiment and try out different tonalities… Ok, let’s shortly summarize before moving on. In our exercise we actually just follow some very simple and well defined directions: we use a pentatonic hand grip to manage our fingering… and we use a 5 note melodic pattern… on a rhythmic pattern based on only 4 beats. Now, let me show you another thing we can do. In other previous lessons we have learned how we can play for example the Dorian scale and other church modes, or Major modes as some call them by making a row of fifths with our pentatonic hand grip. Well, let me show you how simple this is. If our left hand is on for example the thinned out D pentatonic hand grip… then we can with the right hand play D pentatonic… AND we can go up a perfect 5th to the A pentatonic… AND we can go up another fifth to the E pentatonic… these three pentatonic tonalities go very well together… and if for example D is the bass note we actually play the D Dorian scale. With this row of pentatonic grips we can actually play all 7 Church modes it just depends on how we relate the bass note compared to our row of pentatonic grips. Well, now we are actually on a huge detour, talking tonalities and scales. I just wanna tell you that when combining the pentatonic tonalities that we find in the row of fifths we create a strong well-known sound structure that is always nice to use. If you wanna dig deeper into this I will of course paste some relevant links below. Now back to the topic of this lesson. Let’s keep the left hand on the D pentatonic thinned out hand grip. Then we can play our right hand melody pattern shifting around random between the 3 pentatonic tonalities like this… as you may have discovered we don’t have to play the positions of our right hand grip in a row like this. We can play them in different octaves and mix them around… Let’s try this with the metronome on… We start the right hand engine… and now comes the rhythmic tricky part; add the left hand on the right hand 5th finger… Ok, let’s stop the metronome for a short moment. As we did earlier in this lesson we can of course transpose everything up and down the register. So we can for example go up a half step to the Eb pentatonic hand grip… and we can make our row of fifths to locate where to place our right hand… and we can play the 3 pentatonic positions randomly… and we can for example also do the C-pentatonic hand grip… and we make the row… Let’s start the metronome and try this out… And we can play other tonalities as well… Now things get pretty advanced, I know. It’s very important that you do each step in this lesson carefully before jumping to the next level. When you reach this present level of our exercise you will discover that you already now have gained an enormous freedom when expressing yourself, improvising Music. Ok, now this lesson was based on a specific right hand pattern: the 5-4-2-1-3 progression. But just imagine we can start all over with our exercise and just create another melodic pattern. And if the melodic pattern makes a counterpoint to the rhythm it’s even better. So melodic patterns with for example 3, 5, 7 or 9 notes in a row are well suited to play against the 16th notes, right? So my real intention with this lesson is actually to inspire you to compose your OWN melodies and patterns design your own practice so to speak. So with this exercise we can just go on and on for a whole lifetime and just get better and better practicing our favorite patterns. When you’ve created and exercised a few different patterns and you have learned to put on the left hand on different right hand fingers as well you are totally ready to loosen up in a more free manner like this… and now we actually play as in the Music Video I presented to you in the start of this lesson… Ok, that’s it for now. You are of course so much welcome to donate a small amount. I’m so grateful to all of you who have donated you make all this real to me dedicating my life to make free, public and hopefully also somehow useful and “liberating” Music lessons. Thank you so much. And also a big thanks to all those who give me likes and post really nice comments below my videos. All this surely encourages me to keep on doing lessons. I surely love you all. See you in about 3 or 4 weeks. Warm regards from Oliver Prehn

Daniel Yohans

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