Lesson 9: Contrast
Focus on Form
Up to this point, all of the lessons have featured either the repetition or variation of ideas. This lesson introduces the concept of contrast -- creating an idea that is different from the previous ones. Contrast can be used to break up patterns in our solos and can create more interesting musical ideas.
Repetition is a very basic concept -- you play an idea and then repeat it exactly. Variation is more complicated because you can create many different variations on the same idea by keeping some elements the same and changing others. Contrast can also be complex because you are trying to create ideas that are as different as possible from one another.
One effective way to create a contrast is through the use of space (rests) or longer notes. The examples below show some contrasting two-measure phrases. In this lesson, we will continue to focus on scale degrees 3 and 7 to reinforce them.
Lesson 9 Assignment
Part 1.1 Compose an eight-measure solo over the B flat 7 chord following a pattern of idea - repetition - variation - contrast. (For free blank staff paper, visit www.Music-Paper.com) Begin with a two-measure phrase using scale degrees 3 and 7 (D and A flat). In the next two measures, repeat that exact same phrase. In the next two measures, compose a variation on that idea. In the last two measures, create a contrast to the idea that occurs in the fifth and sixth measures. Here is an example of a solo that follows that form:
Part 1.2 Compose an eight-measure solo over the E flat 7 chord, following the same instructions as Part 1.1.
Part 1.3 Compose an eight-measure solo over the C minor 7 chord, following the same instructions as Part 1.1.
Part 1.4 Compose an eight-measure solo over the F7 chord, following the same instructions as Part 1.1.
Practice your written solos many time and memorize them. Repeat them until they are effortless and accurate.
Improvise over each of the individual sustained chords of the B flat blues following the same instructions as the written part of the assignment. Improvise eight-measure solos and start with a two-measure idea, repeat it, create a variation on it, make a contrast to it. Trade eights with yourself by continuing this pattern.