Using Tone Rows in Jazz Composition Part III

January 6, 2014

Using Tone Rows in Jazz Composition Part III

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Using Tone Rows in Jazz Composition Part II

December 17, 2013

Continuing our look at using Tone Rows in Jazz Composition

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Rhythmic Analysis: Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts – ‘Housed From Edward’

March 28, 2012

Analyzing various rhythmic devices can generate various compositional and arranging ideas.

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Latin Music – A Primer

January 9, 2012

Anyone who loves music, studies it and plays it for a living knows there are no shortcuts to learn. Only life-long commitment and lots of practice to get better. If you are new to Latin music, you probably have already discovered that there are a number of differences when it comes down to how this music is “felt” as well as played.

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Basic Training: Syncopation

December 1, 2011

Melodic Syncopation Part 1

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Yoruban Game

March 23, 2011

This is a topic I discuss often at Camp MMW and on my latest educational DVD, LIFE ON DRUMS (Vongole Films). Not only do we (Medeski Martin Wood) stress this as a practice method in our music workshops, but we also use “Yoruban Game” for composing and improvising as a band. Conceptually: when two or […]

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Transcribing A Score for Big Band

January 16, 2011

Sooner or later, a jazz composition student will be asked to transcribe a solo from an album as a way of honing and improving listening and writing skills. Despite two degrees in classical composition, I was never tasked, as a student, with this kind of assignment. Since graduating with an M.A. (composition) from Hunter College […]

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Creating and Using Synthetic Scales for Guitar

November 19, 2010

Major and minor scales and their related modes and arpeggios are the cornerstones of improvisation. But sometimes “home improvements” are needed. You can infuse some sonic curb appeal with synthetics. Synthetics build upon what you already know. By adding key notes or leaving some out, you can quickly produce an interesting variation on a scale […]

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Learn a Jazz Tune in Three Steps

March 24, 2010

1. Melody From an accurate lead sheet, play through the melody from three to 10 times with a metronome set to a medium tempo. After you find yourself playing the song while not really reading the notes anymore, turn the sheet over and play it again from memory. If you make a mistake, just continue […]

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Where’s the Beat?

March 1, 2010

The term, “meter” can be defined as a repetitive pattern of strong and weak beats in an arranged rhythm. This does not imply that the rhythms themselves are necessarily repetitive, but a repeated pattern of pulses or beats is clearly evident. Duple meter in the music will feel like “strong/weak/strong/weak.” Triple meter in the music […]

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