New Book: Rhythmic Dissonance


I’m very pleased to announce that my latest eBook, Rhythmic Dissonance: Exercises to Improve Time, Feel and Conception, is now available for purchase and immediate download.

Though the work in this book will help you significantly improve your improvisational skills and expression, it is not designed exclusively for the study of improvisation. Instead, it is aimed at improving your overall musicianship.

Just as a well-trained singer has to cultivate strong enough ears to maintain pitch when singing a dissonant note, so too, must a well-trained musician cultivate a strong internal sense of time in order to play a rhythmic pattern that goes against the grain of the basic underlying time pulse (i.e., syncopation), without compromising  time and feel (without rushing or dragging; without turning the time around or otherwise getting off from the actual pulse.).

Rhythmic Dissonance is a book that is methodically designed to improve your ears for time and rhythm. It is an exploration of two specific types of syncopation/rhythmic tension that present the greatest challenges for virtually every musician: polymeter and polyrhythm.

The exercises are simple, familiar sounding melodic patterns that are easily playable in of themselves. The challenges in the book can be found in how these simple patterns are organized rhythmically.

Each exercise is short, and is meant to be approached in a single practice session. By spending 10 to 20 minutes every day working on these exercises, you’ll start seeing noticeable improvements in the accuracy of your time, you’re time feel, as well as your confidence in your sense of time.

And, as a bonus, you’ll open up a huge amount of possibilities when you improvise.

One of my colleagues, after playing through some of these exercises described them as, “Strength training for your rhythmic muscles.” Another described the book as, “A drum method book converted over for melodic instruments.”

Musicians of nearly all levels of ability can benefit from the exercises in Rhythmic DissonanceIn addition to the exercises themselves, I offer a clear and detailed way to practice them in such a way as to make them progressively more challenging.

Some of the more modern jazz improvisers playing today, artists such as Joel Frahm, Dave Douglas, Mark Turner and Tigran Hamasyan, display a type of rhythmic sophistication that adds depth and excitement to their solos. Much of this comes by way of a highly developed ability to create some of the kinds of rhythmic dissonances that I present in this book.

But no matter the style of jazz you play, dedicated exploration and practice with these rhythmic challenges will do nothing but improve what you do.

So take a look at the Rhythmic Dissonance landing page on my blog, which has a pdf sample of one of the exercises (along with a midi file of what it sounds like), as well as a pdf copy of the written introduction of the book, which further explains the concept, the format, the benefits and the practice guidelines for implementing the work.

In a few weeks I’ll be writing a post that more specifically addresses the needs and benefits of working on rhythmic dissonance. Stay tuned. And as always, let me know what you think!

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