Welcome!
Just a few a ground rules first...

Promotion, advertising and link building is not permitted.

If you are keen to learn, get to grips with something with the willing help of one of the net's original musician forums
or possess a genuine willingness to contribute knowledge - you've come to the right place!

Register >

- Close -
Page 1 of 9 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 123

Thread: Concept: Playing a Song

  1. #1
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Colorado Springs CO
    Posts
    2,163

    Playing My First Jazz Standard

    You'll surely bust a gut with this one, but as usual, I'm a serious guy.

    I'd like to learn to 'play a song'--seems like a cool idea, seems like something I should start doing. As hard as this may be to believe, I have no idea what this means on a guitar.

    I bought a real nice Jazz Fakebook, and turned to what is supposed to be one of the easiest jazz standards around: Autumn Leaves. Format for the book is standard notation, but for a melody only--chords are noted above each bar.

    Uh...great. What the $%$* do I actually DO to "play" this tune? I thought it would be a good idea to listen to the tune played by others (several thousand times), so I listened to a Joe Pass rendition while I read the music. As you might guess, after an 8-bar intro, ol' Joe doesn't seem to follow the sheet music too closely heh, heh, heh.

    Real basic question--where do I start? I'm thinking I probably need to learn the chords first (oooh...he's sharp as a tack). But there are how many way to do an F#m7b5, about a trillion?
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 10-11-2002 at 05:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Colorado Springs CO
    Posts
    2,163
    Okay, I just realized that question was a little like asking "what color is best"? Here's a specific question:

    2nd bar of the tune is the first that indicates a chord--Am7. The melody in this bar is a single note: a C whole note (8ve above middle C).

    So..based on what I've learned so far, I think maybe the Am7 should have this C as its highest note, if I'm going to use chords to carry the melody (because I think I remember reading that the highest note of a chord tends to dominate, and is used this way--for chordal melodies).

    If this approach is silly and I need to know more to construct the proper voicings--please point me in the right direction.

    Second example is bar 6--an A whole note in the melody, with an F#m7(b5) for the bar. Great--again, I THINK I want to build a nice F#m7(b5) with that very same A as its 7th.

    Am I on the right track or should I just go back to congas?
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 08-16-2002 at 04:18 AM.

  3. #3
    i Breathe ... Admin Guni's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Austria & UK
    Posts
    1,565
    Hi Bongo,

    I was expecting such a question sooner or later :-) Glad it came up now. Actually this would make a great topic for an article (well, loads of articles). So lemme use this thread as a collection of the the first steps to get going.

    1) Listen to singers

    You did the right thing by listening to players and their interpretation of the tune. I recommend listening to singers as they have to follow the melody / lyrics. Check out Nat King Cole and his version of Autumn Leaves (If I remember he's using a different key though but that's not the point) - This will make it easier to follow the leadsheet.

    2) Get the Lyrics

    I think it's always important to know what a tune is actually about. Furthermore, this will help you with memorizing the melody.

    3) Key and tune form

    First have a look at the key signature and meter. Ok, AL is mostly printed in the key of G (1 sharp) and the meter is 4/4.

    Next thing is the song form of the tune, which is A A B C.
    The first 3 notes b4 the Am chord in meassure 1 is a pickup (you also should see this pickup in the last meassure of the tune).

    Now the first A lasts for 8 bars with a first ending. Then it goes back to meassure 1 through to the second ending (another 8 bars). Then the B part (Bridge) which is 8 bars and the final C part which is 8 bars and goes till the end.

    So all in all this is a 32 bars tune (this is standard and quite common)

    4) Melody / Chords

    Treat melody and chords separatly.
    The guitar sounds one octave lower than written so the first thing to do is to transpose the melody up an octave. Then learn to play the melody (sing the lyrics together with it)

    Memorize the chord progression (forget about the melody for now). Pick 'full-sounding' chords that have their root on the low E and A string.

    Then play through the chords while singing the melody.

    Lemme know how you are doing so far? Does this make sense?

    Guni
    Please don't email or send me private messages with music related questions as they will be ignored. Rather use the forums for this and I will try my best to take part as much as I can.

  4. #4
    IbreatheMusic Author
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Dover, NH USA
    Posts
    68
    Gunharth,
    Glad to see your response. It read almost like one of the handouts from one of my Berklee clinics.

    I've often used Johnny Hartman as an example of phrasing a melody. I was reminded of that today while listening (for about the millionth time) to his "You Are Too Beautiful", with Coltrane. The lyric on the bridge ends with "have you been comparing my every kiss with theirs" and the last A section begins "If, on the other hand..." Hartman sings all the way through "hand" in one breath, as one phrase, thus melding the two sections together. Lesser artists would end the bridge with a clunk and start the last A section with too much ado.

    Then there's Miles' famous statement... which I'll look up and post later.

    Steve
    ________
    Medical maijuana dispenseries map of colorado
    Last edited by S.Carter; 09-17-2011 at 11:07 AM.

  5. #5
    IbreatheMusic Author
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Dover, NH USA
    Posts
    68
    Gunharth's post reminded me of something I read about Miles Davis. It was the idea of listening to singers:

    Ruff, Willie. A Call to Assembly.

    At the same time, we were learning from the great jazz artists playing all over New York that season. At the Caf? Bohemia, we listened to Miles Davis's reper-toire and paid attention to the kinds of music that attracted him and the way he made his choices of mate-rial to play and record. He would offer us repertoire suggestions. Enthusiastic about Mitchell's playing and the arrangements he made for our three instruments, Miles especially liked the Mitchell versions of such standards as "You're a Sweetheart,""My Heart Stood Still," and "Yesterdays," which feature quirky and totally unexpected key modulations. One evening at the Bohemia, before the room filled up, Miles stood next to the piano, watching Mitchell's hands as we played. Suddenly I was distracted by a question he asked Mitchell in his gravelly voice:
    "Why did you go to that key, Dwike? Damn! I like that."
    "From D major to A-flat minor," Mitchell said, "is a very natural shift for this piece."
    After our set, Mitchell and I went to the bar. Miles came over and led Mitchell back to the piano. He wanted to see Mitchell modulate again. The Bohemia's Davis fans, much to [the Bohemia's owner] Jimmy Garofo-la's annoyance, were kept waiting while Miles and Mitchell explored key shifts.
    Another night at the same club, Miles, Mitchell, and I had a conversation about Miles's preference and acknowledged genius for playing songs with words even though he never had a singer in his band.
    "I'm the singer in my band!" he told us. "I always learn the words to a song before I play it. It gives me a feeling of what to do on my trumpet when I'm trying to phrase an idea. I go all over New York just listening to great singers. I even buy a lot of sing-ers' records." Then he looked directly at me. "Now, take your French horn, for example: its sound is very distinctive and voicelike: nobody says that you have to make it sound like a trumpet or a saxophone. ****, you'd sound silly trying to sound like Dizzy, or Col-trane. It's just not that kind of an instrument. If I were in your place-I mean, starting out in jazz on an instrument like that-I'd listen to all the great sing-ers, like Mabel Mercer, Sarah Vaughn, Carmen McRae, and Billie Holiday: those people with that perfect and classy diction. Listen to the words and use that as your guide for shaping lines."
    pp. 278f


    Steve
    ________
    GLASS PIPES
    Last edited by S.Carter; 09-17-2011 at 11:08 AM.

  6. #6
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Colorado Springs CO
    Posts
    2,163
    ...all I can say right now is that you guys have given me a passion for music that I thought I had 20 years ago..but lost due to living a reality totally devoid of it. I'm not kidding here when I say this. Never before has anything that appears to be such a huge challenge seemed so worthwhile, and exciting.

    What a New World. I don't mean to get poetic right now, but I do want to say thanks, so much, for doing what you do, and for doing it in the way you do it.

    I thought my ears were open because I enjoyed Mozart, Zappa and the Sex Pistols equally. What a silly fool.

  7. #7
    i Breathe ... Admin Guni's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Austria & UK
    Posts
    1,565
    Steve, I really dig your little excerpts :-)

    Miles Davis kinda got me into Jazz. He made me understand to feel the music. The "Kind of Blue" album was/is some major input for my ears :-)

    Bongo, it's just damn cool to have such active members onboard whith such a lot of constructive questions and answers. Personally I gain a hell lot out of this forum. Somehow it reminds me of Berklee: you meet a lot of guys, exchange thoughts, collect information and select the one that sounds right to you ... quite amazing

    Guni
    Please don't email or send me private messages with music related questions as they will be ignored. Rather use the forums for this and I will try my best to take part as much as I can.

  8. #8
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Jackson MS
    Posts
    2,223
    Miles - Bitches Brew!

    Dizzy Gillespe - 'BE-BOP' (Don Byas Sax Solo!)

    Parker - 'A Night In Tunesia'

    Pat Methany - 'Turnaround'

    Wes 'Moanin'/ 'Yesterdays'

    These are the Jazz things I heard that made me want to liten to More and TRY to understand this stuff.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Hidden Content

  9. #9
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Colorado Springs CO
    Posts
    2,163
    Originally posted by Guni
    Hi Bongo,

    2) Get the Lyrics

    Then play through the chords while singing the melody.

    Lemme know how you are doing so far? Does this make sense?

    Guni
    I THINK what you say makes sense--I'll have to spend some time working through it. You kinda threw me off with the AABC thing. Looks like you're referring to 4 8-bar patterns, the first two of which are basically the same.

    Anyway...I've chosen the chords according to your suggestion, and it will be some time before I can even play a couple of them--I chose the simplest voicings I could--it'll be weeks before I can even play them. I have dumb fingers

    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 08-18-2002 at 09:06 PM.

  10. #10
    i Breathe ... Admin Guni's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Austria & UK
    Posts
    1,565
    Originally posted by Bongo Boy
    I THINK what you say makes sense--I'll have to spend some time working through it. You kinda threw me off with the AABC thing. Looks like you're referring to 4 8-bar patterns, the first two of which are basically the same.
    Yep, that's it. Letters like A, B, C etc are used to describe the form of a song. It's one big help when memorizing a tune.

    Anyway...I've chosen the chords according to your suggestion, and it will be some time before I can even play a couple of them--I chose the simplest voicings I could--it'll be weeks before I can even play them. I have dumb fingers
    Cool, take your time with it. Just give me a holler if you need anything.

    Laterz,


    Guni
    Please don't email or send me private messages with music related questions as they will be ignored. Rather use the forums for this and I will try my best to take part as much as I can.

  11. #11
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Jackson MS
    Posts
    2,223

    Cycle 4

    Once again the Cycle 4 comes to the rescue.

    Autumn Leaves is a splendid example of (Mostly) diatonic Cycle 4 progression. The cool thing about Cycle 4 is usually one note remains common between each chord. So with some thought you can construct cool chord voicings that maintain common tones and use nice voice leading. Eventually you could throw the Melody note on top of these forms ( if it didn't turn out to already be there, by luck or because you planned it that way)

    This song is considered easy because it doesn't have many key changes or borrowed chords. And when it does it uses a closely related key (down a 4th!) It is also a good one to practice improvising over diatonic cycle 4, which is pretty easy. compared to say, rhythm changes, or coltrane changes.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Hidden Content

  12. #12
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Colorado Springs CO
    Posts
    2,163
    When you refer to Cycle 4 progressions, do you mean that the chords in the progression come from the major scales derived from the cycle of 4ths? Or is this totally unrelated to cycle of keys?

  13. #13
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Jackson MS
    Posts
    2,223

    Cycle 4

    Cycle refers to any chord progression whose chords roots move in fourths. When I say Diatonic I mean the Chords move in Fourths but remain within the parent scale. For instance in the key of C major the chord would follow this progression :
    C F B dim Em Am Dm G this is a diatonic cycle 4 progression in the key of C major. Non-Diatonic Cycle of 4ths chords would be:
    C F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb. ( This THE cycle of 4ths meaning PERFECT 4ths)
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Hidden Content

  14. #14
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Colorado Springs CO
    Posts
    2,163
    Okay, great. So this is in G maj, and sure enough I have A, D, G, C, F#, B and E chords.

    I'm wondering how you knew this--do you know the tune that well, or did you know that it belongs to some 'class' of tunes that behave this way, or did you just take a quick glance at it?

    It kinda baffles me that with all the music in the world, you guys would know so much about this one--especially when it's not of the genre most often discussed here!


    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 08-20-2002 at 05:42 AM.

  15. #15
    i Breathe ... Admin Guni's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Austria & UK
    Posts
    1,565
    Hi Bongo,

    I think that we should give ya a bit of time before moving on to analyzing the tune regarding key, solo, etc .... until you can play through comfortly. But it's your choice .... if you want we can dig deeper.

    Autumn Leaves is a Jazz Standard and as such a Classic. When you study Jazz it's one of the first tunes you will learn. Also, it's a common tune to be played at (jazz) jam sessions, so one just knows it by heart.

    Guni
    Please don't email or send me private messages with music related questions as they will be ignored. Rather use the forums for this and I will try my best to take part as much as I can.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •