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The Interchangeability of Modes

November 19, 2010

Although the diatonic modes differ from one another, when they share a common fundamental tone (C Dorian, C Phrygian, C Lydian, etc.) that tone acts as a powerful unifying force. It may even be said that when the modes share a common fundamental tone, that tone places the modes in the same tonality (feeling of […]

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Characteristic Mode Tone

September 24, 2010

All of the diatonic modes (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian) have distinguishing characteristics. Some have one especially distinctive tone. In order to best capture the unique sound of a particular mode in a musical composition, the mode’s fundamental tone (first note of the mode) and characteristically distinctive scale step should be emphasized. For […]

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Charting Songs

July 9, 2010

Learning jazz repertoire takes time, and it can be very helpful to have a way to organize what you’ve learned so you can better remember it. This is a method of documenting critical song information for reference in the practice room, or as an aid in rehearsals and performances. There are five components to document. […]

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First Annual JEN Conference

June 3, 2010

JEN president Mary Jo Papich and president-elect Dr. Lou Fischer at Thurday night’s gathering for founding members of the Jazz Education Network. The inaugural JEN (Jazz Education Network) Conference, held Thursday May 20th through Saturday May 22 at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, exceeded all expectations. The almost 1,300 attendees, who traveled to […]

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Jazz Singing Goes to Class

March 2, 2010

Setting the stageIf you are teaching a jazz choir, you know that you will have to convey in-depth musical skills and information to a group of people with limited time constraints. If you are teaching jazz solo voice, you know that the teaching process will be different. Or is it? Historically, jazz singing has been […]

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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 ( 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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