Saturday, February 18, 2012

I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good

This is an interesting tune.  It is a pretty standard AABA 32 measure song.  The most identifiable aspect of the song is the repeating circle of fifths during the "I got it bad..and that ain't good" refrain.  It is a III-VI-II-V-I (B7-E7-A7-D7-G) progression.  I wanted to take that away and see what was left to play with.  I basically used a Cmaj to Cmin change over that entire passage.  I wanted it to be a quieter, more static sound.  When you change the chord structure, I think you need to stick a little bit closer to the melody when improvising.  It's a way to signal to the listener where you are in the song.  This is a fairly small and inwardly directed rendition, but I decided to put it up.  I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Why Use an Alternative Fingering for Scales?

This video by youtuber tjjazzpiano shows an exercise I was taught by my teacher, who learned it directly from Lennie Tristano.  Alternative fingerings for scales are important to master because it gives you more options when improvising.  What do you do if you are playing a note with your fifth finger and you want the melody to go up?  I sometimes use 4545 to walk up a few notes.  This is another alternative fingering that can be used.  Basically alternative fingerings give you more options.  A real insight into technical mastery by Lennie Tristano is that if you do this very slowly (40-50 bpm by metronome), you inculcate the technique into your brain much more solidly than when practicing it fast.

Why Change the Key of a Song?

Ives also gives a good example of why one might want to change the key of a song.  My reasons are:

1) The melody might sing better in a different register on the piano.
2) The overtone series of a different key can give it a different color.
3) I don't use identical voicings in every key.  I tend to favor different voicings in each key.  By changing the key, I force myself to use a different arrangement.

Here is Ives giving a demonstration of the overtones changing the color of the tune by moving the key up a half step.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Double Time Example

Ives LaRoche  put up this very clear example of double time.  What I like about it is that his playing doesn't change.  First the drums go to double time then the bass goes double time one chorus later.  Also check out his transcript of my video: My One and Only Love on the Downloads page.  I just posted it.