Approach patterns

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almann1979
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Approach patterns

Post by almann1979 » December 15th, 2011, 3:31 am

Every now and then i hear about "approach patterns"on the guitar, in a context that makes me assume that they are talking about ways of building upto start a solo, or lick.

However, when i google "approach pattern guitar" all i get are lessons on the "box pattern approach" which is not what i want.

Are there "rules" to these approach patterns, in terms of the notes used to create tension etc before the main lick is played or the solo started? Is this something common i seem to have somehow overlooked? or have i actually just misinterpreted the term and it does indeed just mean the "box pattern approach"?

Thanks Al
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cnev
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Re: Approach patterns

Post by cnev » December 15th, 2011, 7:40 am

Not knowing for sure but I'm guessing it's the later just a way of 'approaching" solo's using a pattern as a starting point, to my knowledge there are no distinct pattern approachs that guide you into a solo
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NoteBoat
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Re: Approach patterns

Post by NoteBoat » December 15th, 2011, 8:28 am

It's a bebop term.

When you're improvising bebop, the chords are flying by - it's common for tempos to be 240-300bpm, and it's common to have chord changes every couple of beats. That means having to cope with a new chord every half second or so.

Because of the speed, improvising bebop is tougher, and different from, improvising in other genres. So the pedagogy (the "how do you teach/learn" part) of bebop is pretty much a four-step process:

1. Learn to hit a chord tone (ANY chord tone!) at the change. This gets you thinking about what notes are in the chords as they're flying by.

2. Run up (or down) the arpeggio as it flies by. You might only have time to squeeze out four notes... make the note of the next chord as close as you can to the one you're playing in the first chord (e.g. if the change is C9-Fmaj11, you might play C-E-G-Bb / C-E-G-Bb - that's the 1-3-5-b7 of C9 followed by the 5-7-9-11 of Fmaj11). This is a little harder than just picking one tone, and it gets you used to knowing the spellings on the fly; ideally, you want to know chord spellings like you know your multiplication tables, without having to think about them.

3. Alternate arpeggio runs with runs of appropriate scales for the chords. Now you're adding non-chord tones for color.

4. After you've got a feel for that, use tones that lead into the chords. That's what's called an "approach pattern". You're starting just before a given chord, and you're trying to end it on a note that will lead into what you want to do next, whether that's an arpeggio, scale, or a single target tone. That means basic approach patterns really begin with approach NOTES, typically a half step above or below your target. If you're making an approach to Cmaj7, you might play B or Db just before the chord change (or D#/F if you're targeting E in the chord, etc).

More complicated patterns are just extensions of that approach note. Keeping C as a target for a Cmaj7 chord, you could go both above and below Db-C-B-C or B-C-Db-C. You can do three chromatic notes: D-Db-C or Bb-B-C. You can use diatonic notes instead of chromatic ones: D-C-B-C or B-C-D-C. You can skip over the target and return from the other side, either chromatically (B-Db-C) or diatonically (D-B-C).

So you're right that approach patterns create a tension that leads into a main lick. When you're doing bebop, the 'easy' approaches - that is, the ones you have to get down first to be successful - either have no real tension (an arpeggio) or minimal tension (a scale that mates with the chord). Approach patterns break that up, doing something different that precedes a target tone. A good improvisor will mix them to create a structure of tension and release in the big scheme of the solo.

I'm sure there are teachers using the term in other genres, because improvising is really just composition on the fly. I teach all sorts of composition techniques as part of improvisation lessons, and I steal/borrow them (hopefully with due credit to the source) all the time from classical and jazz composers. Most ideas can be easily adapted to fit rock, blues, etc.
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cnev
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Re: Approach patterns

Post by cnev » December 15th, 2011, 10:15 am

That's why I try not to answer these things...but even though I was in left field with my answer the use of the term "patterns" seems to be a bit inappropriate, your description of notes seems much more precise.

I don't think you'll find the 5 approach patterns to the min pent scales would you?
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almann1979
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Re: Approach patterns

Post by almann1979 » December 16th, 2011, 3:26 am

Thanks for the responses guys, much appreciated.

Noteboat, bepop improv sounds flippin hard :D
"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)

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