How to learn to improvise on the piano: improvisation techniques
Good mood to you, dear reader. In this short post we will talk about how to learn to improvise: we will discuss some general points and see the basic techniques of improvisation in relation to the piano. In general, improvisation is perhaps one of the most mysterious and mysterious processes in music. As you know, this word refers to the composition of music right during its playing, in other words, the simultaneous performance and composition. Of course, not every musician owns the technique of improvisation (now, mainly, jazz musicians, composers and those who accompany the singers can do this), this is available to everyone who undertakes it. Some improvisation techniques are developed and fixed imperceptibly, along with the accumulation of experience. WHAT IS IMPORTANT FOR IMPROVISION? Here we will literally list: theme, harmony, rhythm, texture, form, genre and style. Now we’ll expand in a bit more detail what we would like to convey to you: The presence of a theme or a harmonic grid on which piano improvisation will be created is not necessary, but desirable (for the sake of meaning), in the era of ancient music (for example, in baroque) a theme for improvisation it was given to the performer by an outsider — a learned composer, performer, or unlearned listener. The need to form music, that is, to give it any of the musical forms – you can, of course, improvise endlessly, but your listeners will begin to get tired, as well as fantasy – three times about the same thing you don’t want to listen to and play unpleasantly (of course if you do not improvise in the form of verses or in the form of a rondo). The choice of genre – that is, the kind of piece of music that you will be guided by. You can improvise in the genre of waltz, or you can in the genre of march, you can, playing, come up with a mazurka, or you can opera aria. The essence is the same – the waltz should be a waltz, the march should look like a march, and the mazurka must be a super-mazurka with all the features that it relies on (here it is a question of form, and harmony, and rhythm). The choice of style is also an important definition. Style is a musical language. Say Tchaikovsky’s waltz and Chopin’s waltz are not the same thing, and Schubert’s musical moment is difficult to confuse with Rachmaninoff’s musical moment (we mentioned different composer styles here). Here you also need to choose a benchmark – to improvise in the manner of some famous musician, composer (just do not need to parody – this is another, albeit also a fun lesson), or any kind of music (compare – improvisations in the style of jazz or in an academic manner, in the spirit of the romantic ballad of Brahms or in the spirit of the grotesque scherzo Shostakovich). Rhythmic organization – this is what seriously helps beginners. Feel the rhythm, and everything will be fine with you! In fact – firstly, the musical size – in what meter (pulse) will you fit your music, secondly, the tempo – decide: slowly or quickly, thirdly, what will be inside your measures, what rhythmic pattern is the movement of small durations – sixteenths or trioli, or some kind of complex rhythm, or maybe a bunch of syncop? The texture, if in a simple way, is a way of expressing music. What will you have? Or strict chords, or a waltz bass chord in your left hand and a melody in your right, or a soaring melody at the top, and under it any kind of free accompaniment, or some general forms of movement – scales, arpeggios, or do you even arrange a conversation between your hands and get a polyphonic work? This must be decided immediately, and then adhere to your decision until the end, so deviating from it is not good (there should not be eclecticism). The supreme task and goal of the improviser is to LEARN TO IMPROVIS IN such a way that the LISTENER EVEN AND DON’T FIND WHAT YOU MEMORIZE. HOW TO LEARN TO IMPROVIS: A LITTLE FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE It should be noted that each musician, of course, has his own experience in mastering the art of improvisation, as well as some of his secrets. Personally, I would advise everyone who wants to learn this craft to begin with, to play as much as possible not on notes, but on their own choosing the tunes you like. It gives creative freedom. From my own experience, I can say that a huge desire to pick up various melodies and also to compose my own helped me a lot. It was extremely interesting for me, from childhood, to such an extent that, I tell you a secret, I was doing this much more than learning the music set by the teacher. The result was obvious – I came to the lesson and played a piece, as they say, “from the sheet”. The teacher praised me for the good preparation for the lesson, although I saw the notes for the first time in my life, because I did not even open the textbook at home, which, of course, I could not admit to the teacher. So ask me how to improvise on the piano? I repeat to you: you need to play “arbitrary” melodies as much as possible, pick up and pick up again! Only practice allows you to achieve good results.