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King Melody

Our focus on improvisation in these lessons, will be from the point of the view of the melody. Playing
the melody is an art in itself- the beginning of improvisation was improvisation on the melody. In the
history of jazz, there were musicians whose art was playing their own version of a melody. Thats was
their improvisation!
Django Reinhart, as an improviser, was a genius in playing melodies. It even happens that In the Gypsy
Jazz genre, the versions Django played to the melodies became more famous and better known than the
original melodies themselves

Seeing the melody within chord shapes allows you to improvise on those specific chord shapes
and know what the notes of the melody are every single moment.
Play the melody while pressing each chord shape as pictured above each bar. Eventually, youll
get a simple way of playing chord melody, which is basically harmonization of the melody. But
this lesson is not about chord melody. The aim of this exercise is for you to see the melody
within the chord shapes.
After you play this exercise, try to add notes from the chord shapes to the melody; by doing
that, you will have your first improvisation on this song.
Learning a song
If you want to play a song, the first thing you need to do is to learn it but what does learning a
song involve? Basically:
1) Learning the melody
2) Learning the chords
Learning the melody:
You can play the melody in one position, in one octave. But you can also play it in various
positions, in at least two octaves, so it wont matter where you are on the fingerboard at a
given moment; the melody will always be available to you.
Learning the chords:
You can play the chords in one position, always playing each chord in the same fingering. But
you can also play the chords in various positions, starting from a different root each time,
adding a different tension each time, so that your chord playing itself will be a kind of
improvisation.
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Improvising on the melody


Having the melody and the chords always available allows you to:
1) Improvise within the melody and creating your own way of playing the melody.
2) Create an improvisation in which you can hear the melody.
Mastering the melody
Its very important to master the melody of a song. Mastering the melody will allow you to:
1) Improvise over the melody.
2) Quote the melody anytime in your improvisation.
3) Create your own way of playing the melody.
In order to achieve these three goals, there are two things that you must know in real time,
simultaneously:
1) You must know in what chord you are at any given moment (keep the form).
2) You must know how to play the melody at any given moment.
Playing the melody all over the fingerboard
Find new ways to play the melody. Try new positions, start at a different string. Change the
octave. The highest level in playing the melody is to get to a point that no matter where you are
on the fingerboard at a given moment the melody will always be available to you. I know that
its hard to reach this level. But every moment you practice playing the melody is blessed. It
improves your ear and your familiarity with the fingerboard at the same time.
Mastering the chords
Try to play accompaniment to the song using all the chord shapes you know. Improvise with
the chords. Play each chord in various positions, starting from a different root each time,
adding a different tension each time, according to your skills. Its not important to learn new
positions right now. Use what you already know!
Tip: You can also try and sing or whisper the melody while playing the chords. It makes the
exercise more fun.

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Suggested chords for Avalon:

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Phrase for C7:

Phrase for F:

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