Listen to any master musician 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 the themes are referred to as motifs.
Motifs are very much a staple of Robben Ford’s creative palette, “Motifs are not only important, they are indispensable in making any kind of music. You can use them for your rhythm playing, use them to develop a solo, a phrase thats played in a different octave, a note thats repeated, some kind of pattern thats established with the use of a note. Motifs are really at the heart of improvisation.”
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.
A blues 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, Robben isn't consciously thinking about motifs while he’s improvising;. it’s a creative prowess that's been long embedded in his musicality. Fortunately, to help the rest of us develop those skills, Robben dissected his own approach and presents his key blues motivic development techniques here in Blues Motif Revolution.
Robben presents Blues Motif Revolution across 16 sets of Overviews and Demonstrations; 8 of them focused on Rhythmic Motifs and the other 8 focused on Soloing Motifs.
Robben demonstrates over a collection of 8 blues tracks, in a variety of keys, tempos and feels: Up-Tempo Blues Shuffle, 12-Bar Funky Blues, 8-Bar Shuffle in A, a C Minor Blues, One Chord Vamp in F, Straight Ahead Shuffle in E, Rumba Blues in D, and a Vamp in E.
Robben demonstrates both a rhythmic motif and a soloing motif for each of the 8 tracks. In the first video lesson of the set, Robben overviews the track, presents motivic ideas and then demonstrates a particular motivic approach. In the second video of the set, Robben applies the approach to construct a full performance.
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 motivic with Robben Ford!