Thursday, May 7, 2015

Tension Resolution Improv on "Time After Time"

Tension Resolution (TR) on "Time After Time": One of the improvisational concepts that my students and I were working on this week in my improv classes at Berklee was that of TR. We chose specific tensions for each chord change on the beautiful standard "Time After Time" and improvised based upon the sounding of those tensions along with their resolution to the nearest chord tone. The constant tension and release creates forward motion in the improvised line and can be the basis of rich, melodic phrases. I think it's an important and fundamental improv concept that can also be effectively employed along with chord tone soloing. In the improv classes, we also focused on a number of other issues in the application of TR including: simple, melodic phrases; a relaxed, swinging time feel; motives; varied articulation; connecting the line from chord to chord; dynamic shaping of the phrases and rhythmic syncopation.

The concept of Tension Resolution (TR) is addressed in my book The Complete Guide to Improvisation. In the chapter, a three step process of TR is explained and demonstrated on the standard "All The Things You Are". Also included in the chapter are written out TR solos on "All The Things You Are", "Stella By Starlight" and "All Of Me".

A lead sheet of "Time After Time" including the listed tensions used in the TR application can be viewed and downloaded here:

Tension Resolution - Time After Time (PDF)

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