Intermediate Improvisation | Enclosures

A Concept I got from my jazz studies that I use a lot are called ENCLOSURES. Enclosures are/were used by jazz artists such as Clifford Brown, Pat Metheny, and Dizzy Gillespie.

What are ENCLOSURES?

First, you have to know what the CHORD TONES of each CHORD are. This is because these are the notes you will be targeting with the ENCLOSURES.

Let’s begin with a G MAJOR CHORD:

To enclosure the G note of the chord, you can pick a note a 1/2 step below (F#) and a note a 1/2 step above (G#). Now, you can play those in two different orders. Starting on the F# or by starting on the G#, as long as the G is the last note. You can name this a 1/2 step enclosure

Next, pick notes a WHOLE STEP from G, so, F and A. Once again, you can start a 1/2 step below (F), then move to (A), and then finally play the G. You could also start on the A note. Let’s name this a WHOLE STEP enclosure.

So you have both 1/2 step and whole step enclosures. Sometimes people will combine the two. For instance, playing a 1/2 step below and then a whole step above or vice versa. There are many combinations available.

Lastly, one of the most common enclosures is a DIATONIC ENCLOSURE. With a diatonic enclosure you must consider what notes are in the key or root scale. So if you are thinking off of a G major chord, the diatonic enclosure would be as follows:

Give a G MAJOR SCALE = G A B C D E F#

  1. A step down from G via the G MAJOR SCALE is F#
  2. A step up from G via the scale is a A

So, you see in this case you have a combination. Here is the video I did on the topic for further details and demonstration

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