Lesson 113

Improvising with Phrases

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Hello and welcome back. I'm Joseph Hoffman.
Today we are going to be doing some
improvising using phrases.
Let's review: what is a phrase? A phrase is a short but
complete musical sentence or idea
that has a beginning middle and an end.
For example, in the song "I Have a Dog" this is a single phrase:
At the end of each
phrase there is what's called a cadence.
A point of momentary relaxation or rest.
Let's hear the first phrase of "Ode to Joy" and see if you can hear where the cadence is.
Hear how at the end it has that:
and there's that point where we
feel like we've gotten to the end
of our musical sentence or phrase.
it's kind of
like putting on a period at the end of a sentence.
It lets us know hey, we've hit
an arrival point we've completed that thought.
So let's come to the piano and practice improvising using phrases.
Let's place
the right hand in the A major pentascale.
Now when we're improvising a phrase, you
want to think of saying a short
idea that has a clear beginning, middle, and end.
For example, this could be a phrase:
You notice when I got to that last note
I held it out
as if to say now we're coming to a place of rest.
Here's another phrase you could do:
That was a longer phrase but you could
still hear that it had a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Today we're going to try to improvise phrases
that seem to ask a question, and then give an answer.
For example, this could be a question phrase:
And then the answer could be this:
You notice how the answer ended on DO,
because if you end on DO it will have a feeling of finality.
If you end on a note other than DO it
will almost sound like a question.
Here's another example using A minor. So notice
I've moved my finger three down to C natural.
That was my question phrase, now here's the answer:
Again, you notice by ending on DO it sounds
more final, like it's the answer to the question.
Now, on your own I'd like you to
try improvising some phrases
using the A major or the A minor pentascale.
The first phrase should end on a note other than DO,
and then your answer phrase will end on DO.
Great job today learning about phrases and cadences, and how you can improvise your own phrases
in A major or minor pentascales.
You can try improvising phrases in any other position we've learned too.
Thanks for watching and I'll see you next time!
Hey Scuba, want to do a game?
Yeah, sure. What is it?
Well, I'll make up a musical question on the piano, and you try and
figure out the answer.
It'll be kind of like a riddle.
Sounds great, let's do it.
Alright, here I go.
♫The question I have for you is how and why the sky is blue♫
Tricky, I think I got it.
♫Tiny specks of dust up in the sky they scatter blue light to your eye♫
Oh, very nice.
Thank you.
Now here's one for you.
♫What has hands
but cannot clap? It cannot snap or even tap.♫
♫This is tricky my brain's a block. Now
I've got it. It's a clock♫
Oh, nice job!
Thank you.