Listen to any master musician comp or improvise a solo and you’ll hear a series of musical themes being introduced, developed and then resolved. The process is called motivic development and themes are referred to as motifs.
Rhythmic motifs are very much a staple of Massimo Varini’s creative palette, “A motif is an initial idea, a spark, something that is first created spontaneously or taken from a melodic fragment or melodic rhythm, and then repeated, developed, varied rhythmically or melodically or both. The motif may even be so subtle it becomes almost unrecognizable but still serves as a point of reference for those musicians who are improvising or creating a rhythm part.”
Motifs are technically defined as “a short succession of notes producing a single impression; a brief melodic or rhythmic formula out of which longer passages are developed.” Motifs help you connect with your audience, interact with your band, and creatively frame the stories you tell them through your solos and improvisations.
Any guitar player with strong motivic development skills doesn't need blazing technique or deep theoretical knowledge to engage listeners and pull them to the edge of their seats.
Naturally, Massimo isn't consciously thinking about motifs while he’s comping or improvising;. it’s a creative prowess that's been long embedded in his musicality. Fortunately, to help the rest of us develop those skills, Massimo dissected his own approach and presents his key rhythm guitar motivic development techniques here in Rhythm Motifs.
“Many of my students ask me how I craft my rhythm parts, and how they should approach crafting their own. They may know all of the chord shapes, and even many rhythmic patterns but they run into trouble when trying to put that knowledge to work in a creative, musical way. My answer is always — start with a simple motif, and then build out from there.”
Massimo presents Rhythm Motifs across 10 sets of Overviews and Demonstrations. “We’re going to work over 10 distinct backing tracks in a variety of styles, keys and tempos. For each track, I’ll show you a few creative approaches for developing rhythmic motifs and building interesting grooves, and then I’ll apply those ideas and approaches in a performance study.”
All of the performances are tabbed and notated. You’ll also get Guitar Pro files so that you can loop and/or slow any section down as you work through the lessons. Plus, you'll get all of the rhythm tracks to work with on your own.
Grab your guitar and let’s get your motivic groove on with Massimo Varini!