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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."

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May 29, 2014 | Reflections on the creative process

Two years ago, when the final issue of Mel Bay's Mandolin Sessions was published, we wanted to go out with a bang. Our final article sought the knowledge of some of the world's finest mandolin talent. We published their thoughts with this question in mind. The Muse Continuum. Where do good solos come from?

A mandolinist has two approaches to crafting a solo. One is objective, the intellectual, the analysis of chord structure, modes, arpeggios, riff repetition and regeneration of familiar motifs. We bang out the notes of a familiar scale, pluck out the members of a chord, and revive licks we've heard somewhere else. The other tack is subjective, innate, intuitive-the spontaneous creation of "the Muse," the ethereal material of the soul that's inspired or seems to come out of nowhere. The first is conscious and calculated, the second is subconscious, reactive, indefinable and illusively of the moment.

Ultimately, everybody has their own strategy, so we asked what works for them? We asked the question below of Michael Lampert, Don Julin, Craig Schmoller, Jason Anick, Jamie Masefield, Will Patton, Danny Williams, Aaron Weinstein and Scott Tichenor. These are names you are very familiar with if you've been around JazzMando for long. Sadly, our interview was one of the last one's of the late John McGann who passed away suddenly. We also received some additional words of clarity from David Grisman and Mike Marshall.

Read article: Reflections on the creative process


Compose yourself. Story Arcs
Compose yourself. Antecedent/Consequent thinking
Don Stiernberg on the "Big Picture" of improvising
Intentional Improvisation
More Appropriate

Posted by Ted at May 29, 2014 7:10 AM

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