As a jazz player, I didn’t have a strong desire to compose music. My creative challenges were in the world of jazz improvisation. Upon hearing more challenging tunes to improvise over, I was intrigued by the non-diatonic harmonic relationships and what made this music work. How did it achieve such character in “non-standard” structures? My musical vocabulary was based mostly on playing over jazz standards. I wanted to hear more. Although I will always love playing jazz standards, I had a strong desire to find fresh sounding music within myself; thus my journey began. This was not so easy because everything I came up with sounded too familiar to me and musical composition (the art of creating new music) had to be deeper than finding new melodies over familiar territory. When I listened to progressive jazz or impressionistic classical music, I wondered how did Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Samuel Barbe, escape the power of diatonic predictability or familiarity without entering in a world of cacophony or avant garde.

This video is about sharing some of my most useful techniques for composing new music. It is, like all my videos, open ended and made to inspire musicians who are thinking about composing, or, are stuck in a rut in the search to discover new music within themselves. Included in this 90 minute video is the start of a composition that I do on the fly and invite the viewer to continue or even finish it, along with one of my linear compositions and how I arrived at its creation. A PDF chart of this composition is included as well.

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Class Content

A Fresh Approach to Compositional Ideas
A Fresh Approach to Compositional Ideas 01:24:00

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