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Free online resources on the Art of Improvisation : www.musilosophy.

com

FREE online resources on the Art of Improvisation

(Piano) Improvisation Technique


by Musilosophy

www.musilosophy.com

Improvisation means real time composing.....

Copyright 2006 Paolo Parrella.All rights reserved.

Free online resources on the Art of Improvisation : www.musilosophy.com

I know of knowing nothing ( Socrates )

Music is based on harmony Harmony is based on chords and scales Melody and improvisation are based on chords and scales Accompaniment is based on chords and scales Chords are based on scales Scales are based on physics,mathematical principles and musical tradictions Musical tradictions are based on human perception,technology,economy,history,religion

Copyright 2006 Paolo Parrella.All rights reserved.

Free online resources on the Art of Improvisation : www.musilosophy.com

SUMMARY

1. Keys
Key awareness Major Minor Scale harmonization

2.Chords
Major 7th Minor 7th Dominant 7th Half diminished 7th Diminished 7th Inversions Chord degrees

3.Other scales
Blues Whole tone Diminished Diminished/whole tone Pentatonic

Copyright 2006 Paolo Parrella.All rights reserved.

Free online resources on the Art of Improvisation : www.musilosophy.com

4.Melody
Melody building Chordal notes Turning note Passing note Leaning note Delaying note Anticipated note Chromatic note Double leaning note Mixed note Wrong notes

5.Phrasing
Beginning of phrase Ending of phrase Imitation

6.Rhythm
Emphasizing offbeats and upbeats Syncopation Swing Polyrhythmics

7.Practice Practice Practice


Generale practice Progressive drills Fondamental drills Greatest piano improvise
Copyright 2006 Paolo Parrella.All rights reserved.

Free online resources on the Art of Improvisation : www.musilosophy.com

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About improvisation
Intervals

Improvisation with perfect fourths

Analysis of solos

Lydian chromatic concept

Main chordal progressions

Main used forms

Improvisation tips

Inside, outside

Free improvisation

What you have to avoid

Improvisation goals

Copyright 2006 Paolo Parrella.All rights reserved.

Free online resources on the Art of Improvisation : www.musilosophy.com

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About other music subjects

COMPOSING EAR TRAINING ARRANGING ANALYSIS

Copyright 2006 Paolo Parrella.All rights reserved.

jazz improvisation : music improvisation : jazz theory

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Jazz improvisation, piano improvising, music harmony and theory


MIOP means Musilosophy Improvisation Open Project.

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"Improvisation means real time composing... Improvisation means composing new ideas...".

Music bases on harmony. Melody and improvisation base on chords and scales. Accompaniment base on chords and scales too.

Improvisation and music harmony : MIOP


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Chords base on scales. Scales base on physic, mathematical principles and music traditions. Music traditions base on human perception, technology, economy, history, religion.

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Jazz improvisation and music harmony : summary Music harmony concepts Scales, modes to improvise Blues improvisation Jazz melody and improvisation Swing jazz rhythm Jazz techniques : practice

Other resources about jazz improvisation


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jazz improvisation : music improvisation : jazz theory

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- The world of jazz improvisation - A jazz improvisation primer

You need to know the following items to improvise and compose in a right and nice way: first you have to know all major and minor scales and relative keys and all chords in every keys. Then you must play all chord inversions and the building melody techniques. You have to practice so much so you can play right melodic lines with swing and without thinking about scales, rules, keys... Phrasing is the following step. You must learn to begin and finish melodic phrases from every point of measure. Ear training, transcribing, music harmony, transposing, voicing, harmonization are other important and fundamental techniques to learn jazz improvisation and composing. These techniques can give you the skill for express the music you have inside. Learning jazz improvisation is not simple. The theory and harmonic concepts you have to learn are few and easy to

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jazz improvisation : music improvisation : jazz theory

understand but the fundamental concept is just one: to learn improvisation you have to play much and practice for a longtime! I used to compare improvisation with language. Improvisation is a language, you can express ideas, concepts and emotions and sometimes much deeper than language. So, as well as you have to study and practice a lot to learn English or French or Italian so you have to do the same with music improvisation. You do not need to understand difficult concepts but without doubts you must be patient. Here in this site I offer free resources to learn this art but be patient if my English is not perfect.

I have published also another site to learn music theory and harmony

Music harmony : keys

Key awareness and chord chart Major key chords Minor scales chords Scale harmonizations

Chord charts

Major 7th Minor seventh Dominant 7th Half diminished seventh Diminished 7th Inversions Chord degrees

"Improvisation exists in almost all music - whilst the term is most

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jazz improvisation : music improvisation : jazz theory

frequently associated with melodic improvisation as found in jazz, spontaneous real time variation in performance of tempo and dynamics within a classical performance may also be considered as improvisation. Musical improvisation is the spontaneous creative process of making music while it is being performed. To use a linguistic analogy, improvisation is like speaking or having a conversation as opposed to reciting a written text. Most improvisation is structured, with certain predetermined structures shaping the improvisation, such as the form of a song." (from Wikipedia)

Music scales

Blues scales Modes to improvise Diminished scales Diminished whole tone scales Pentatonic scales

Blues improvisation

Blues scales Major blues Minor blues Blues chord charts

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jazz improvisation : music improvisation : jazz theory

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More resources about music harmony and piano jazz improvisation

Musical phrase and melody

Melody building Music phrase Jazz improvisation phrase Wrong notes in music theory Beginning of phrase Ending of phrase Imitation

Music rhythm and jazz swing

Emphasizing off beats and upbeats Syncopation Swing rhythm

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jazz improvisation : music improvisation : jazz theory

Polyrhythmic

Practice and improvisation techniques

General music practice Progressive drills Improvisation tips Greatest piano improvisors

If you have troubles to understand what I write, or any concepts I try to explain, send me an email. I suggest also to visit this site on piano jazz improvisation.

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Jazz piano tutorial videos In this section there are some live piano videos dedicated to jazz improvisation and music harmony. Now I am recording other live videos, and soon I will publish them. Piano videos for learning jazz improvisation Blues jazz video Pop piano improvisation video

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Learning jazz improvisation and piano improvising

You can learn to improvise. If you know music harmony and you practice on your instrument one hour per day learning improvisation is easy. I think is one of the greatest, important Art. Remember to listen the greatest improvisers : Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Pat Metheny, Miles Davis and many, many others...

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jazz improvisation : music improvisation : jazz theory

...and do not forget that Music must be pleasant.

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jazz melody composing : improvisation : compose melody

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Jazz melody composing : chordal, turning, passing notes


This is the most important chapter! In this page I explain how you can build a melody : these 'rules'are not only for improvisation but for composing songs and other instrumental

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or vocal pieces. I suggest you to learn every item to build melodic lines; they base on classic and jazz harmony and you can improvise or compose easily and correctly by knowing them. I want to specify that knowing and mastering harmonic techniques are not enough to create high artistic value music. Musician has to express emotions, ideas and messages to himself and to the public, besides playing in a right harmonic way. So an improviser needs:

Improvisation and music harmony : MIOP Jazz improvisation and music harmony : summary q Music harmony concepts q Scales, modes to improvise q Blues improvisation q Jazz melody and improvisation q Swing jazz rhythm q Jazz techniques : practice
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Well trained hands Learned mind Open hearth

When these three faculties are synchronized and in harmony, your improvisations, compositions and your music become magic and have a great emotional power.

This icon means streaming video

Melody is the most powerful and beautiful item of music. It has symmetric, geometric and harmonic rules: Pay Attention: I mean 1th , 3th, 5th and seventh ( of a chord ) by "Chordal note" When you improvise or compose, you can use to build a melody these notes: generally they are chordal notes or notes that return on them. So the fundamental melodic concept is:

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jazz melody composing : improvisation : compose melody

Melody is based on the Chord and on the Key in which it is. Here are the most used and important e rules or suggestions to build a melody.

Chordal notes Turning note Passing Leaning Delaying Anticipated Chromatic Mixed Double leaning tones

Test every item with your ears! Let me know what you think about!

1. Notes of the chord - (Chordal notes) ( = chordal note)

In this video I improvise on a minor seventh chord using only chordal notes

Also in this other video I use only chord's notes

You can use the notes of a chord freely

2. Turning note : does not belong to chord but comes from a note of the chord and turn on it. ( T = Turning note)

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jazz melody composing : improvisation : compose melody

Watch the sample video on turning notes

turning notes in jazz melody

You have to turn on the note of the chord

3. Passing note : it is between two chordal notes. ( P = Passing note)

Sample piano video on passing notes for the melody building

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How to build a jazz melody in improvisation : leaning, delaying, anticipated notes

4. Leaning note (Appoggiatura) : it leans on a chordal note ( L = Leaning note)

Here is a piano video about leaning and chromatic notes

After a leaning note you have to play the chordal note close to it

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jazz melody composing : improvisation : compose melody

5. Delaying note (Ritardo) : it delays a chordal note ( D = Delaying note)

jazz melody in improvisation : delaying note

After a delaying note you have to play the straight away below chordal note

The difference between leaning and delaying note is: the first one can go up or down to a chordal note while the second must go down to the straight away below chordal note!

6. Anticipated note (Anticipo) : it belongs to the next chord ( A = Anticipated note)

anticipated note in jazz melodies

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Jazz melody composing : chromatic, mixed, double leaning notes

7. Chromatic note : it belongs neither chord nor key ( C = Chromatic note)

jazz improvisation and melody : chromatic notes

I distinguish these cases:

7.1 Chromatic passing note ( Cp) 7.2 Chrom. turning note ( Ct )

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jazz melody composing : improvisation : compose melody

7.3 Chromatic leaning note (Cl )

8. Mixed notes : they are a mix or a combination of previous cases:

mixed notes in jazz melody improvisation

For example:

Passing note of a passing note (also chromatic ) =Pp Pass. note of a turning note (also ch. ) =Ptu Turning note of a turning n. (also chrom. ) =Tt Passing note of a delaying note (also chr.) =Pd And so on......

9. Double leaning tone ( =Ld ). This is a beautiful melodic embellishment and you can play it both in downbeat both upbeat

Live piano video to understand what is a double leaning tone

jazz melody : double leaning notes

This is a good melodic ornament

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Melodic concepts and how to compose a melody

Finally, melodic concepts are very simple:

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jazz melody composing : improvisation : compose melody


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every dissonance or tension must be solved

melody must have an harmonic, regular development

You have to vary phrasing

Melody is an harmonic balance between tension and rest

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online music theory : improvisation : mistakes in melody

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Improvisation and music harmony : MIOP


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Jazz improvisation and music harmony : summary Music harmony concepts Scales, modes to improvise Blues improvisation Jazz melody and improvisation Swing jazz rhythm Jazz techniques : practice

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music harmony concepts : theory : chords and scales

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Music harmony and chord families Chord charts and keys Learn chord charts Major seventh Dominant chord chart Minor seventh chords Half diminished chords Diminished chord

Music harmony concepts : major and minor scales


Key Awareness A scale is a sequence of tones. It is a base to make music. The main scales of western music are major and minor scales.

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Every scale determines a key, that is a harmonic combination of tones based on that scale. So, F Major key uses the tones of F Major scale. E minor key uses the tones of E minor scales. I consider the Blues like a key: for example Bb Blues or Bb minor Blues are like a Major and Minor key type. You always have to know in which key you are playing in each moment. Modulation is a change of key.

Improvisation and music harmony : MIOP


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Each scale or key has its own chords. They are build on each degree of the scale with harmonization by thirds. You can recognize key by Clef, chords, melody...

The chords of every key are:

Major Key : D Maj Example

music harmony concepts : major key

Harmonic Minor Key : D minor example

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music harmony concepts : theory : chords and scales

harmonic minor key : music harmony

Natural Minor Key : D minor example

concepts on music harmony : natural minor keys

Melodic Minor Key : D minor example

melodic minor key chords

Transpose and play in all keys! Practice the analysis and recognition of chords, modulations and keys in classic music, jazz, pop songs... Recognize the chords and then the key they belong to.

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Music theory and harmony : chords in major and minor scales

Remember:

Each chord has NOT its own scale. The scale of each chord depends by the key in which it is!

This concept is important but I have realized that not many musicians have understood its importance. For example, they play the D Dorian scale also on a Dmin7 that belongs to Bb key! In this way they do two terrible mistakes: E instead of Eb and B instead of Bb!

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music harmony concepts : theory : chords and scales

Let us analyze this song:

music theory and harmony : analysis

When you improvise on this song you have to use basically the C minor scale (when you are in C minor key) and Eb scale when you are in Eb key.

This is the key concept. But a melody and so an improvisation base above all on chord besides on key. In this page I explain how to build a melody during your improvisation and your composing.

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music harmony concepts : theory : chords and scales

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How to improvise music and main harmonic concepts

In this site I try to explain the rules and techniques to improvise music. However you need to practice and play on your instrument for a long time before you can easily express and play the music you want. I suggest you to listen great jazz musicians like Miles Davis, Bill Evans and many, many others. Ear training is very important to develop your art of improvisation. You do not need perfect pitch but you have to develop your hearing with transcriptions and recognizing notes and chords. Music harmony and theory is a fundamental basis to create and improvise music. The key concept is the most important base of musical harmony. It means: every song is based on a scale or key and it uses major or minor scale's notes. All the chords are built by harmonic superimposition of notes by third intervals above each scale's degree. The melody uses the notes of the scale but above all the chordal notes that is the first four chord's notes; finally the accompaniments also use chord's notes. Thanks to the harmony, the pleasure of the music comes out. So, knowing and playing well the major and minor scales (but not only!) is fundamental to improvise and compose music.

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chord charts : scale harmonization : major : minor keys

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Music harmony, chord families Chord charts and keys Learn chord charts Major seventh Dominant chord chart Minor seventh chords Half diminished chords Diminished chord

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Improvisation and music harmony : MIOP


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Jazz improvisation and music harmony : summary Music harmony concepts Scales, Modes to improvise Blues improvisation Jazz melody and improvisation Swing jazz rhythm Jazz techniques : practice

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chord charts : scale harmonization : major : minor keys

Chord charts in all major and minor scales


Musical chords derive from the scale's harmonization: it means superimposing notes over a scale's degree by thirds. Every scale can be harmonized, but western music bases above all on major and minor scales' harmonization. Here are all chords of each Major and Minor (Natural, Harmonic, Melodic ) key. You must know and play them. Music bases (above all) on these chords. ^ TOP

Major key chord chart


Major key has two major seventh chords on I and IV degrees; there are minor seventh chords on II, III and VI degrees while dominant 7 chord is on V. Half diminished chord is on the VII degree of major key. I, II or IV, and V are the most used chords. Classical pop progressions are I - VI - IV - V or I - III II - V. However, in music you can find every combination of all these chords. Pay attention to IV degree (Major with augmented 4th )
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Here are the major and minor scales with their chords

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chord charts : scale harmonization : major : minor keys

chord charts : major key

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chord charts : scale harmonization : major : minor keys

major key chord chart

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Harmonic minor key chord charts


Harmonic minor key is the classical minor scale; I think it is the true minor scale because the natural minor ones is similar to the major scale while melodic minor scale is less used. This scale has minor major seventh chord on the first degree; there are major chords on III and VI; half diminished chord is on the second degree, diminished 7 on VII and minor seventh is on fourth one. Dominant seventh chord is on V and it has also minor ninth and minor sixth!
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Here is the harmonic minor chord chart

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chord charts : scale harmonization : major : minor keys

harmonic minor key chords

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chord charts : scale harmonization : major : minor keys

chord charts : harmonic minor key

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Melodic minor key chord chart


Melodic minor scale is less used than natural and harmonic scales but it is important. Pay attention to IV degree ( seventh chord with augmented 4th) and to II degree (min 7th )
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Melodic minor chord chart

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chord charts : scale harmonization : major : minor keys

melodic minor key chords

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chord charts : scale harmonization : major : minor keys

chord chart : melodi minor key

Pay attention to II degree ( half diminished ) and to VII degree ( diminished seventh ) ^ TOP

Natural minor key chord chart


Natural minor scale is much used in pop, dance, classical and jazz tunes. It has a catchy sound and many people love it! However, it has the same major scale's chords but they have different position. For example, in D natural minor key, C7 is on the VII degree while in F major key it is on V degree. Pay attention to V degree ( Minor 7th) and to VII degree (7th chord)
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This is the natural minor chord chart

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chord charts : scale harmonization : major : minor keys

chord charts : natural minor keys

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chord charts : scale harmonization : major : minor keys

natural minor scale chords

These chord charts are the harmonic base of classical, jazz and pop music. They derive, above all, from J. S. Bach but also other great classical composers. ^ TOP

Considerations on seventh chords and their key


Seventh chords are complete chords, in the sense that they have the main notes that determine the harmony of a chord. The fundamental, the third, the fifth and the seventh (said "chordal notes") does understand the key and the type of a chord. Besides they may determine, comparing with the neighboring chords to what key it belongs and then from what scale's degree is produced. In my pop blues music, I use nearly only seventh chords that have a complex but non too dissonant sound. You can learn everything about improvisation reading articles, watching tutorial videos and listening solos published on the Web. Internet offers you a great resource to learn music harmony, theory and improvisation but the best resource is your passion for this art!
2005-2007 Paolo Parrella .All

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Music phrasing in jazz improvisation


Practice to end the phrase on the different tones of a chord and to make the action I propose. The fundamental element to build a good phrasing is that every phrase must be connected with the

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previous ones. 1. Remember to vary the beginning and ending of a phrase:

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Practice to begin and to end the phrase in every point of the measure B = Beginning tone E = Ending tone

AVOID this bad habit : (Same beginning and ending points )

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Ending of a phrase

Practice to end a phrase on different tones of a chord:

Tone 1 phrasing 2

Effect Rest - Close the You Jazz

Style Rock, Pop phrasing

Action You have to begin a new You have begin the following phrase from that note

Tension and unbalance

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music phrasing : jazz improvisation : music phrasing

Rest and strong determination Tension, unbalance and suspension Rest and neutral A bit of tension and coloured tone A bit of tension and determination

Any style Jazz, Blues Any style Jazz, Pop Jazz, Blues Pop

No particular action Begin from that note and solve it to the tone below No particular action I suggest to begin the following phrase from that note No particular action

4 5 6

This aspect of improvisation is very important

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Music phrase : phrasing development

Practise to end the phrase on the different tones of a chord and to make the action I propose.

music phrasing development

Na = no particular action T = Tension Ba = Begin again S = Solving tone

Another example containing a wrong ending tone ( Tension is not solved or begun again).

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music phrasing : jazz improvisation : music phrasing

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