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How to Use a Motif in a Solo

Learn how to use a motif in a solo with this keyboard tutorial from Howcast.


Hi, this is Stephanie Sanders from Tomato's House of Rock and I'm going to show you how to use a motif in a solo. Specifically, for right now, we're going to use what's called a melodic motif. So we're going to find something small that feels good. I'm going to say, let's do this one in the A-minor pentatonic scale. Pentatonic scales really lend themselves well to playing off of patterns.

The A-minor pentatonic scale, we've just got A-C-D-E-G and then A on top again. For our pattern I'm just going to think about maybe going up and then coming down, so it doesn't have to be, specifically, full steps or half steps. So let's say my pattern is just going to be- I'm going to go up 1, so I'll start on D for now, up 1 to E, and then I'm going to think about skipping down, so I'll go down to C. Now since in the pentatonic scale we only have those certain notes, that same exact pattern, I could play that here if I started on G. I could play G and then I'm going to go up 1 to A and then my nearest skip down is going to be down to E. So you can see you can play the same pattern, up one, skip down, starting on any of these notes.

When you're thinking about making your solo with motifs what we want to do is start with that core pattern. You may even repeat it a couple of times just to let everybody else know the idea you're having, and maybe just to develop it for yourself. Then from there you can start expanding it any-which way you want. Maybe we start moving it around to different places like I showed you, maybe it expands where now you're going up 1 but you're doing a really large skip down, maybe you play with the tempo a little bit, maybe you do a few that are really fast, maybe there are a couple that are really slow. It actually really opens you up to a lot of options because you have that core idea there. You can really sort of explode and experiment, and try anything that you want to do to this starting pattern. So let's hear what it sounds like with some music.

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