Learn to improvise. 2003-2004. Lesson: Romanian music.
Here is a lesson during holiday, due to a visit of my brother. He played
a Romanian piece of music, which is one of his specialties. Looking at
his hands I noticed the chords were mainly G and D7. So I expected to
hear the major key of G. In fact, however, it sounded in minor.
He told the melody was influenced by a 'macam', a kind of scale, often
rising different from descending, like our melodic scale. A macam
usually is the basis for improvisation. There are hundreds of them and
dependent on the place. The tuning of the instruments is different from
ours and has often more than 12 notes per octave. The macam used in
the tune my brother played is based on a scale that can be played on the
Who wants to know more about macams may try Google of Internet by
typing macam or maqam. It will give so much information that you will
understand why I have restricted this lesson to one song.
The tune my brother used was based on the descending scale g f e d c b
Click to hear the scale.
So the 'a' was missing and the f not risen to f#, as we would have done
in the scale of G (g a b c d e f#).
Moreover, in the melody my brother used other notes for rising than for
descending. I will not go into that, to keep the subject understandable.
The bare melody sounds as follows:
Click to hear the bare melody.
More complete is the right hand as follows:
Click to hear the complete melody.
Now my brother plays an improvisation on this melody, keeping during
the first half minute the left hand restricted to the chords G and D7 for
didactical reasons. Afterwards he will fill in some extra notes. For the
same reasons he will keep the variations limited.
Click to hear the improvisation.
If you have special interest in Hungarian and Romanian gipsy and folk
music you may visit the website of my brother:
I have left this page apart from my usual program, as I will not be able
to play this kind of music in my live lessons. Moreover, the subject is
very special, as you will have to put very much energy into macam
inspired Romanian music, before you will be able to play it.
Still, you may enjoy this music more if you something about it. That's
why I thought this might be a nice extra lesson for the holidays
Have a nice holiday!
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