Common Errors in Jazz Music Notation

October 28, 2009

When, in their music notation, jazz musicians violate fundamental rules of music theory, jazz is made less accessible to the classical music community, not to mention the promotion of inaccurate musicianship standards to jazz students. By contrast, jazz writers’ adherence to correct theory would benefit everyone, jazz and classical musicians alike. In this article I’ll […]

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Interpreting Slash Marks in Fakebook Leadsheets

September 14, 2009

INTRODUCTIONA jazz or popular-music fakebook is a book of songs presented as one-staff musical sketches consisting of each song’ melody, plus alphabetical chord symbols above the melody, and the song’ lyrics below the melody. Each such presentation of a song in a fakebook is known as a leadsheet. A fakebook is so called because the […]

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Mastering the Expressive Elements in Jazz Performance

March 18, 2009

Swing DefinedThe term “swing” entails more than just swing eighth notes or a style of jazz music. There is another factor in the modus operandi of jazz musicians and ensembles that really swing. The glossary found on the Web site of the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz (www.jazzinamerica.org/home.asp) defines this aspect of swing in this […]

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Swingin’ Transitions For Drummers

February 6, 2009

It is safe to say that all of us have either listened to, or played in, a young jazz group and that we are well aware of that awkward point in the music when the drum-fill transition approaches and the very excited drummer either rushes, drags, freezes, or plays something completely inappropriate. I cringe when […]

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Clave for Jazz Players

January 22, 2009

It is my experience in jazz education that the aspect of rhythm is surprisingly often marginalized or neglected. –

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The Power of Altered Pentatonics

October 21, 2008

Last time we covered a few different ways to utilize major and minor pentatonics to create a more structurally focused intervallic approach to our lines. This time, we’ll expand upon those concepts by taking a look at altered pentatonics and their uses in various harmonic situations. Altered Pentatonic ScalesWhile many players are familiar with the […]

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The Power of Pentatonics

August 19, 2008

Pentatonic scales are everywhere! They can be found in folk music from all around the world including: China, Japan, Greece, Poland, Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Scotland. American spirituals such as “Amazing Grace” and “Old Man River” utilize pentatonic scales exclusively and many rock guitar players have built their entire careers upon the five notes of the […]

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Maximizing the Benefits of Solo Transcription

January 9, 2008

While there are many pedagogical approaches to jazz improvisation, the most effective method of learning to play jazz remains learning tunes, phrases, and solos by ear from significant recordings. It is through this process that we gain an intimate knowledge not only of musical vocabulary, but also countless other essential musical elements such as phrasing, […]

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Arranging Fundamentals: Reinventing Melodies

October 30, 2007

Some of the greatest experiences an arranger can have are the opportunities to lovingly “mess with” someone else’s melody. It is also the one aspect of arranging which I’ve found that less experienced musicians are the most intimidated by.However, altering aspects of a song’s melody shouldn’t be looked upon as something that is taboo.Rather, the […]

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Slash Chords – Part II Beyond Western Harmony

September 5, 2007

Last time we covered how to substitute slash chords to simplify complex harmonic situations. Now we’ll look at how to use slash chords to create modal chord structures and interesting re-harmonizations. These techniques can be useful in creating a more modern sound in your writing and arranging. What Mood Is Your Mode?Modal music has intrigued […]

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