by Didi Gutman
I’ve long been seduced by electronic dance music, and finding ways to perform it live.
One aspect of this is creating solos out of comping.
Not traditional melodic solos, but solos that stem from the crafting
of parts. This can be great when interacting with a rhythm section or
with loops—you can develop just a few notes or chords into an infinite
amount of variations. Here are some ideas to get your rhythmic solos
flowing. Gear note: Everything in these examples was created with
Propellerhead Reason, using Kong, samplers, delays, and Subtractor.
Sampling and sound design play a big part in the music I compose
Scroll down for audio examples.
1. One-Note Solos
Here, I build a solo out of just one note, G, in different octaves. I’m using a sample of a major chord, heavily affected with delay, spread across
several octaves. I change the pattern every eight bars, and we’ve reproduced the whole 33-bar passage to show you the rhythmic evolution.
(Example 1, image 2)
2. Three-Note Solos
Now I’ve expanded my solo to three notes, (F#, G, and Bb, in the key of G minor),
adding rhythmic variations as well. I often use a great
deal of chromatic variations in my solos. Remember—since these kinds of
solos are played in a percussive way, almost any note can work!
3. Chord Solos
This continues the development of Ex. 2, but instead of single notes,
I’m playing minor triads in the same inversions. I’m also adding an
extra note (B) to the mix as well.
4. Geometric Shapes
Here, I use the same core notes as in the previous example (F#, G, Bb, and B),
but I play them using what I call geometric shapes. Here,
I’m using tritones (augmented fourths), over an octave range, but you
can use anything you like: major or minor seconds, thirds, sevenths,
and the like.
5. Any Note’ll Do!
Ex. 5 demonstrates how this kind of soloing works with just
about any note in the scale. Try building your own solos out of rhythmic
parts by starting with just one or two quarter-notes. Then, add a third
and a fourth note, and alternate between quarter- and eighthnotes.
Slowly add octaves and syncopated rhythms, and spread the rhythms
between both hands.
08-2011 Synth Sense: Solo Like You're Comping by KeyboardMag
Keyboardist, composer, producer, and arranger Didi Gutman is best known
for his simmering work with poptronica band Brazilian Girls. Gutman has also
performed and recorded with Bebel Gilberto, John Legend, Masa, and Brazilian