Traditional Irish music is great, but I really want to play music that is not tied to any tradition, style or genre. Music that is completely free of those connections. So, then the question becomes how do you extend this concept of melody first into the realm of free improvisation?
For one thing I never know what the chords changes are to a song – I can’t really hear “right” from “wrong” in this way – and the idea of having to be aware of the chord changes and basing my selection of improvised notes on this knowledge seems restrictive. If I play a “B” note why does that have to be a G-major chord to meet someone’s idea of what sounds “good”? Couldn’t you pair that B note with the notes in a B-minor chord, or an E-minor chord, or any combination of notes that somehow complements that B note? And can’t you change it every time?
Then I read about Ornette Coleman - the great melody writer and improviser - and how he had dispensed with chord sequences in his compositions and instead used melody as the basis for improvisation. This gave him the freedom to take those melodies in any direction he wanted at whatever length, pitch and speed felt right. Knowing about this makes me feel a lot better and when I listen to Ornette's music I hear something similar to what I have in mind or hoped could be done.
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