Sunday, July 6, 2014

GHS Harmony and Theory: Transposition

I grabbed this post from my theory blog. In Jazz Workshop we will be dealing with transposition on a day-to-day basis, so I thought it best to familiarize yourself with the concept. In an upcoming post, I will have a tutorial on the mechanics of transposing from a lead sheet. But for now...

GHS Harmony and Theory: Transposition: Transposition in music is simply the act of changing the key of an existing piece of music or musical passage. When dealing with band and or...

Music for Jazz Workshop 14-15

I will be adding files with leadsheets, audio examples and backing tracks to this blog. This post is simply an introduction to the site. This will be a classroom resource space for those of you planning on taking Jazz Workshop in the coming year.

Sandu is a great blues in the key of Eb (link to lead sheet)

Summertime The George Gershwin Classic. Perfect for both vocal and instrumental. 

Perdido A wonderful Duke Ellington composition that will introduce us to the AABA form.

Jumpin' with Symphony Sid - We learned this head arrangement by ear. Here are a couple of versions of the tune to satisfy your ears.

Salt Peanut- Dizzy Gillespie

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Composing a Blues in F

Today we will take some time to compose a blues solo in F.
You have a couple of options:

  1. Play and transcribe your solo
  2. Compose a solo first and then play the results.
To get to the composing template, follow this link.

You will be using Noteflight to compose. If this is your first time, you will need to set-up a password. 
There is a bit of a learning curve but we will help you get through that.

Ingredients: You have many options when composing. The blues offers so many opportunities to explore the collision of major and minor, blues notes, mixolydian modes, chromatics, etc.

Here are some sample ingredients you may choose to use in your composing kitchen...

Sample Blues solo by Thelonious Monk:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Jordu: Bridge Chord Changes

The bridge section of the song Jordu poses some challenges for the intrepid improvisor. The challenge comes form the rapid-fire (especially depending on tempo) pace of the chord changes. In this case beyond just the chord changes, you are dealing with rapid-fire key changes.

To begin with let's get the sound of the chords by outlining the arpeggios of the chords in the bridge. Here is the bridge with connected arpeggios following an up-down pattern. (It is written for our instrumentation with all parts transposed.) You may notice I have taken some enharmonic liberties to avoid double sharps and the like.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Classic Jazz Looney Tunes Cartoon!

Jazz is a feel, a manner of performance. Anything can become jazz- even a classic fairy tale like The Three Little Pigs...

Monday, February 10, 2014

Modal Jazz

Modes are useful for maneuvering through an improvisation. Modes are simply different starting points for a Major scale. Here is what they look like:

As you can see, the modes correspond to each of the scale degrees in the major scale. If we expand this concept to each of the chords that is built on the scale degrees, you get this pattern:

CMaj7 - Dm7 - Em7 - FMaj7 - G7 - Am7 - Bm7b5

In John Coltrane's song Impressions, improvisation is front and center. The piece moves between two tonal centers: Dm and Ebm. I would encourage you to explore the dorian mode for each of these chords. D Dorian: D, E, F, G, A, B, C, D and Eb Dorian: Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb.