May 2012 Bonus Lesson With Dan Tepfer

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By Dan Tepfer

Canonic Improvisation

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I got the idea for this exercise while recording my recent album, Goldberg Variations/Variations. The canonis an ancient musical device where one voice repeats what the other voice stated earlier. Bach makes great use of it in his “Variations.” In Ex. 5, I apply this idea to my hands, with the left hand repeating what my right hand played, an octave down. I’m taking liberties with rhythm, but being precise about repeating the same notes and staying within the harmony of the tune. (This requires thinking ahead.) You don’t often hear canons in jazz, but improvising them is a fun way to increase your hand independence.

Click on the image below to download the sheet music.

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