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#1611212 - 02/02/11 03:19 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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It is very clear TLT for our purposes. But we need to be very clear on what you're hearing. I exclude in this discussion anything at very fast tempos since it is impossible to discern a swung eighth there. So if you're referring to 250bpm then I will not disagree with you.

For normal swing tunes though this is the explanation.


The exact eighth note divisions are |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |

The eighth notes DO NOT LAND ON ANY OF THOSE. Listen to the drummer's ride cymbal since that defines the beats.

A drummer plays Ding - Ding-A-Ding - Ding-A-Ding - Ding-A-Ding on the ride cymbal.

The sync happens with the "A" which is not on those beats. The exact beats are the dings. I call "A" a swung eighth position or Erskine's "Uh" in the video.

Beginners play the extreme triplet which is Downbeat (exactly on top) + the delayed offbeat (Swung eighth position). Experienced players drag the downbeat as well. Hard swingers drag less, straight players drag more. But the drag exists.

If I recorded this loop a few times where you can keep track of the ding-a-ding in slow motion, it is very clear that the dings stand out with no hit. I can see the waveforms so there's no dispute.

It is very hard to hear this so you may think you're hearing the same thing but even I am only recognizing it now and I've been listening (and slowing down) a while.

In the other thread, Scott already recorded the effect of this and recording his own playing and even timed his own drags against the beat. Scott has a 'hard swing'. So this is new information.

Note that the gap between 'A' and 'Ding' can be very short as the tempos go up. I'm trying to build the ability to hear it even at 200. If you can still hear the 'A' in the Ding-A-Ding, then the drag has to exist.

Any doubt? Slow down the master swinger Wynton Kelly.





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#1611222 - 02/02/11 03:31 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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TLT, BTW - you see anyone in the advanced thread disagreeing with this? Even riverrun is a jazz drummer.

I've tried to understand this deeply for years and though I know instinctively what's happening, I didn't realize it was more exact than I ever though. Well one part is exact (the delay in the offbeat eighth) while the downbeat varies though never sounding good on top of the beat.

I did get a confirmation from my teacher on this.



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#1611284 - 02/02/11 04:49 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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You know what, jazzwee, you may be 100% right. I've not been following the other thread.

But what I would ask is this: how long had you been playing before you came to this realisation?

Can you remember when you first got your head around 4/4 and the concept of counting, and you sat and counted out a simple rhythm like 'easy come, easy go, will you let me go, bismillah...'? And when you're thinking about quarters and eighths, someone says, 'don't put anything on 1, 1+, 2, 2+, 3, 3+, 4, or 4+'? Well, where are you supposed to put it?

I think it boils down to the simple principle that one needs to walk before one can run.

I will say no more as you are the one who is here, year after year, day in, day out, enthusing people about jazz and making it accessible. I'm just an interloper.

#1611320 - 02/02/11 05:50 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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You are my friend TLT, you are never an interloper.

The answer to your question is this. Over the years, I've always known that you had to drag the beat. How much to drag? That was never answered. I don't think the answer was to be found anywhere on the internet.

The issue came about on the other thread when I'm trying to get my playing in the groove at 200bpm. Mind you this is a very advanced level tempo so it's not something anyone on this thread will try soon.

One of the effects of doing jazz awhile is that one's ears becomes more sensitive. So I noticed that my swing at 200bpm was off. Something was off. So I talked it over with my teacher and he said that the problem was that I was playing on "Top of the Beat". Meaning I wasn't dragging at all.

So I tried practicing a more exact dragging position and realized that it's pretty hard to know exactly where. My teacher talked about Peter Erksine (one of the world's greatest drummers) and that's when I started listening to his videos. There's a video up from last week. And it gave an point for this swung eighth position that he did by subdividing with an "Uh" sound.

That gave it a fixed point. I found out later that Erskine, in a classroom, would have students say the "Uh" to see if they got the feel for the location of this point in the beat. That's when the light when on because that point in the beat is actually marked by the drummer.

On the other thread, Scott actually made a recording using a sequencer and made the machine compute the swing, and sure enough, it swung. This was regardless of the downbeat eighth note being dragged a lot or dragged a little. Then he also made a recording of no drag on the downbeat. And that's what everyone plays as a beginner. Thus he verified what I was talking about with undisputable data created by a sequenced rhythm section and eighth note line. Obviously it sounded a bit mechanical but the point was made. The observation was correct.

Now everyone who plays jazz is told to drag the beat in swing. One would be hard pressed to find someone who says swing means play on top of the beat. This is no mystery. But to achieve the articulation of the masters, then something more precise was necessary. I'm a "master" at playing on top of the beat. So I know when I do it I sound AWFUL.

For everyone here, saying drag the beat is probably a good enough start. The correct amount can be fine tuned later once a feel is developed.

I said this in this thread last week: this finding is mind boggling. It gives one a more accurate representation of swing than was ever discussed before. The fact that someone (Erskine) was teaching this just verified the point. This is not common information to be found. This is stuff you usually learn with a mentor.








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#1611327 - 02/02/11 05:57 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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With my mentor, there's never any discussion of Long-Short as something one needs to focus on. This was since day 1. So it was always about "lay back", accent offbeats and play legato. So it should give a clue to what a teacher thinks is the best way to "walk" instead of run.

One doesn't want to build bad habits from the get go.


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#1611848 - 02/03/11 01:09 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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Originally Posted by jazzwee
You are my friend TLT,



smile And you mine.

A teacher, a real jazz master, would be wonderful.

But I am just so grateful that I got the education that means I can even participate in this, I have a real piano (quite a nice one) and a roof over my head to keep it dry. And maybe one day I'll take lessons too.

SwingC, how you doing?

#1611881 - 02/03/11 01:47 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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Doesn't Oscar Peterson play right on the beat? for the most part?

Oscar Peterson's gotta be one of the most swinging pianists ever. One of the best in my book anyway.

Erroll is a great example to listen to on the beat versus behind the beat, because he switches as a mean of tension release.

I was told that on the beat vs behind the beat, and how much behind depends on the person. It's a natural feeling type of thing. I was told I play pretty far behind. But of course, you can play with that.

As always, my attitude when it comes to swing is simple, listen, play and sing along with solo, and you're covered. The theory behind swing has never worked for me.

#1612138 - 02/03/11 06:48 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: knotty]  
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Originally Posted by knotty


I was told that on the beat vs behind the beat, and how much behind depends on the person. It's a natural feeling type of thing. I was told I play pretty far behind.


Hey Knotty
What do you mean when you say you play far behind ?

#1612196 - 02/03/11 07:55 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: ten left thumbs]  
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Originally Posted by ten left thumbs


SwingC, how you doing?


Have gone back to basics for a bit as Jazzwee's suggested. Need to get some simple stuff right.

No backing track, no LH, no melody, no real improv. Just me and a metronome tickin at 60 bpm. 

When I feel I have some control over the emphasis I will straight away add in the subtle delay learn to hang behind the beat. Uh.

Focused on Playing straight 8ths with emphasis on offbeat. Mainly just up and down GMaj scale. Focus now is on the offbeat emphasis. Done 5 15min sessions today. First 3 could not get emphasis off the downbeat except for the lead in note and a few others. (too much rock in my hear) Did improve on legato though. 4 session started to get small runs together before the downbeat dragged me back kickin an screaming. 5 session starting to feel it though was aware that note lengths were sometimes variable.

This is all good by the way. Highly frustrating but part of the process. 
Remember that Im not just new to jazz. piano is new to me as well so I need to take time to get it right. Fingers just not usta doin what they're told. 

It might be a few days before I post something. I'm happy with the fences I have to jump over. 
Pity I got to hang out an paint them on the way past.

Why can't every second finger be heavier and also maybe 20 fingers on each hand.

It is happening. I hear progress. Gonna keep focused and bide my time.

Talk talk
Swing Cabáiste


What exactly do you mean by 'swing'.
#1612212 - 02/03/11 08:23 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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>> What do you mean when you say you play far behind ?
I tend to play behind the beat, at least, so I was told. Might be form listening to too much Lester Young / Count Basie as a kid.

#1612218 - 02/03/11 08:32 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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Here's Bird playing with the beat. You might hear the difference in feel:
http://www.box.net/shared/dz41gtq3cv

The entire solo is exquisite, btw.


#1612283 - 02/03/11 10:42 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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Very interesting Knotty. I just listened to Prez' Foolin' Myself and his Boogie Woogie solos. You are right, Prez does play behind the beat, I didn't know that before.

And I also listened to your Bird extract a few times. Yes the difference is enormous. What is the song ?
Does Bird tend to play most of his songs on the beat ? I'm singing Moose the Mooche at the moment and am loving it. I can sing the A sections at half speed now.

Thanks.

#1612298 - 02/03/11 11:08 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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The sample is from Au Privave on Verve. It's a really great solo.
Bird would play just barely behind the beat, but he'd sometimes use this effect, and it works great.
Singing Moose is a great idea. It's really not about speed. In fact, the slowed the harder. It's possibly one of Bird's best solos ever.

In a different style, Basie was ridiculously good at playing with time.

I grew up listening to that stuff, Basie, Freddie Green, Frank Wess. Good stuff.

Here, compare Basie:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MV5apkGSkfM
to Duke:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDDCzb3dv_Y&feature=related


#1612301 - 02/03/11 11:09 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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Knotty, of course the harder swing will be closer to the top of the beat on the downbeat. But is it on top? Impossible. The best swingers play behind the beat. The further behind the beat, the straighter.

But maybe again we are confusing things. If Oscar Peterson is playing sixteenths, you cannot hear if it's behind the beat or not. It's too close. You'll need to really slow it down. So this is not a meaningful discussion for that.

Swing Eighths at a tempo where you can hear the drummers swung eighth on the ride cymbal has to be dragged.

Maybe at the beginning stages a simple statement of drag the beat is all that's needed. And that's all I'm saying here. But where I am, I have to be conscious of articulation at a higher level and I'm sure everyone in the advanced thread are trying to improve articulation to go to the next level.

Do you know of any jazz teacher that says you shouldn't play behind the beat on swing?

I've recorded my own playing and it's clear that it sounds better if I am conscious of dragging.


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#1612306 - 02/03/11 11:15 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: knotty]  
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Originally Posted by knotty
Here's Bird playing with the beat. You might hear the difference in feel:
http://www.box.net/shared/dz41gtq3cv

The entire solo is exquisite, btw.



That's dragged exactly as I say. Perfect example. Horn players play straight but off center. Heard it in the first 3 seconds.

You have to compare with the ding-a-ding of the rhythm section or we are not talking about the same thing.

Try to copy this phrasing playing on the top of the beat. You will not sound like Bird. Guaranteed.

Last edited by jazzwee; 02/03/11 11:18 PM.

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#1612320 - 02/03/11 11:38 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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>> If Oscar Peterson is playing sixteenths, you cannot hear if it's behind the beat or not
I don't see it as 16th vs 8th versus 1/4. I just see it as where you play compared to the basic pulse of the music. Check out Oscar and see if you think that -- for the most part -- he plays ahead, on, or behind. Of course, Oscar could do a mean impression of Garner, but that's not what I mean smile

>> Do you know of any jazz teacher that says you shouldn't play behind the beat on swing?
I do not. At the same time, I was never told to play behind. The one thing to be careful of from a technique point of few is to neither rush, nor drag. Rushing is generally more common, especially as the tempo goes up.

>> That's dragged exactly as I say. Perfect example. Horn players play straight but off center. Heard it in the first 3 seconds.
That was the point of the sample. Hearing Bird switch to a lay back feel for a second.

>> You have to compare with the ding-a-ding of the rhythm section or we are not talking about the same thing.
Then we are not. You could play solo piano and play behind the beat, in my opinion. The music has a basic pulse, which you could think of as the metronome. Each musician, however many there are, can choose to play on, or not right on the click. Including the drummer, or the guitarist.

>> Try to copy this phrasing playing on the top of the beat. You will not sound like Bird. Guaranteed.
That is where I agree a 100%. In fact, that's the only thing I would recommend. Just imitate. That's just my approach, of course, but imitating is worth 1000 explanations.





Last edited by knotty; 02/03/11 11:50 PM.
#1612338 - 02/04/11 12:03 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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>> Very interesting Knotty. I just listened to Prez' Foolin' Myself and his Boogie Woogie solos. You are right, Prez does play behind the beat, I didn't know that before.

Hey Cus, last one before I leave for the night. It's great to sing along with Prez because he is really one who would typically switch between behind and ahead. So you'll get it that way.
I should look for a sample but I'm not sure that would be reasonable smile


#1612387 - 02/04/11 01:27 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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Cool, I've just listened to Prez' When You're Smilin' where he solos at the beginning and at the end. I think I can hear what you mean.
From now on, I'm going to listen to Prez differently.

#1612398 - 02/04/11 01:48 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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Knotty, like I said the simpler explanation is fine at the beginning. No problem with that. Lay back and take it easy.

So the more precise position is to really develop to an advanced level. As my teacher's recording showed, even when he lays back, the position in the beat is not a random drag. He was very precise in fact. The control is just amazing. That's for the advanced thread.

For here, I just say drag the beat. Legato. Accent offbeats. That's it. The rest will be according to one's taste.


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#1612414 - 02/04/11 02:23 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: SwingCabbage]  
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Originally Posted by SwingCabbage
Originally Posted by ten left thumbs


SwingC, how you doing?


Have gone back to basics for a bit as Jazzwee's suggested. Need to get some simple stuff right.

No backing track, no LH, no melody, no real improv. Just me and a metronome tickin at 60 bpm. 

When I feel I have some control over the emphasis I will straight away add in the subtle delay learn to hang behind the beat. Uh.

Focused on Playing straight 8ths with emphasis on offbeat. Mainly just up and down GMaj scale. Focus now is on the offbeat emphasis. Done 5 15min sessions today. First 3 could not get emphasis off the downbeat except for the lead in note and a few others. (too much rock in my hear) Did improve on legato though. 4 session started to get small runs together before the downbeat dragged me back kickin an screaming. 5 session starting to feel it though was aware that note lengths were sometimes variable.

This is all good by the way. Highly frustrating but part of the process. 
Remember that Im not just new to jazz. piano is new to me as well so I need to take time to get it right. Fingers just not usta doin what they're told. 

It might be a few days before I post something. I'm happy with the fences I have to jump over. 
Pity I got to hang out an paint them on the way past.

Why can't every second finger be heavier and also maybe 20 fingers on each hand.

It is happening. I hear progress. Gonna keep focused and bide my time.

Talk talk
Swing Cabáiste


I forgot you're new at the piano SC. Let's put scales on your daily practice schedule. Do a scale a day. Start with B and Db.

Like always, shoot for evenness and legato.

The biggest secret to swing BTW is not just drag, but legato. More important than any other factor (assuming you're able to play evenly).


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#1612475 - 02/04/11 06:18 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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My order of learning
Scales in quavers Legato then Offbeat emphasis
Next Drag, Uh

Scales
C, G, Db, B


What exactly do you mean by 'swing'.
#1612482 - 02/04/11 07:11 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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Hi jazzwee,

I realized that this 3rd noodling is quite a challenge and takes a lot of time if you are meticulous. I also started reading your blog where you mentioned how important it is to practice a lot of things simultaneously. My aim is really to be doing solo piano gigs at one stage so I want to practice effectivle.

What is a good practice outline for a jazz beginner.

This is my idea

- Jazz hanon 10min
- free improvisation 15min
- third noodling 15min
- walking bass 20min
- learning new tunes (sight reading) 20min



#1612528 - 02/04/11 09:43 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: SwingCabbage]  
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Originally Posted by SwingCabbage

Focused on Playing straight 8ths with emphasis on offbeat. Mainly just up and down GMaj scale. Focus now is on the offbeat emphasis. Done 5 15min sessions today. First 3 could not get emphasis off the downbeat except for the lead in note and a few others. (too much rock in my hear) Did improve on legato though. 4 session started to get small runs together before the downbeat dragged me back kickin an screaming. 5 session starting to feel it though was aware that note lengths were sometimes variable.



thumb You're bringing it all back to me - I spent ages on this. Scales, or any simple, repeated pattern are a good place to start. If it's any help, I only really made progress when I stopped trying to put accents on offbeats and put all my efforts into lightening the onbeats.

But it did take a long time, and a lot of practice.

#1612575 - 02/04/11 11:24 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: saiman]  
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Originally Posted by saiman
Hi jazzwee,

I realized that this 3rd noodling is quite a challenge and takes a lot of time if you are meticulous. I also started reading your blog where you mentioned how important it is to practice a lot of things simultaneously. My aim is really to be doing solo piano gigs at one stage so I want to practice effectivle.

What is a good practice outline for a jazz beginner.

This is my idea

- Jazz hanon 10min
- free improvisation 15min
- third noodling 15min
- walking bass 20min
- learning new tunes (sight reading) 20min




I think the more sophisticated approach is to make a "weakness list" daily and that's what you practice. The list could change. As you improve on something you move to the next weakest in the chain.

It's about listening to yourself and discovering the worst thing about your playing.

There's all this talk about never practicing a mistake. I've changed my philosphy on this after reading a book on this topic. I'd rather see the mistakes because they identify the weak points. So my practice sessions are about mistake/weakness discovery, with the end result being the creation of this "list".

So your list is awfully general for what I do. Which problem is the jazz hanon solving? Which jazz hanon? What specifically is free improvisation solving? What aspect of walking bass (time, finding the notes, integrating RH)? etc.

The list should be very focused and that's what gets the improvement. Noodling on a C maj7 that you're very familiar with doesn't use so much brainpower.

You switch the noodling to F# maj7 and suddenly your brain is actively participating.


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#1612659 - 02/04/11 02:20 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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Hi jazzwee i think I get what you are saying but the problem is that I am not even at the intermediate phase. I dont even have a good foundation yet so when I say walking bass I literally mean how to do it in the first place not perfectionizing it.

Likewise, I cant improvise yet so obviously with free improvisation I mean just sitting downa and trying to come up with something on Autumn Leaves. Forcing me to be creative and not think about everything with the mindset of a classical musician.

I would love to work on my weakenesses but I wouldnt even know what that is right now. All i want to avoid is practicing the same thing for hours without working on other things.

Maybe I should have rather asked what the most important things to practice are for a jazz beginner

#1612673 - 02/04/11 02:37 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: saiman]  
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scroll down to: jazz piano practice routine

#1612895 - 02/04/11 10:17 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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JW - I'm curious as to why you suggested to SwingCabbage learning the D and Bb scales to start. I too, need more scale work. I know the M and natural m scales. It's my understanding that the harmonic & melodic minor scales are not as important in jazz. True? Or not?

As for all those other scales - i.e. mixolydian, locrian, etc. It's still somewhat a mystery to me. (And when it's appropriate to use them.)

Also, TLT, nice link to the practice regime!


Think less - play more

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#1612953 - 02/05/11 12:46 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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>> It's my understanding that the harmonic & melodic minor scales are not as important in jazz. True? Or not?

Cmohr,
The harmonic minor is the scale I use most often after major.
The other 2 I use most are pentatonic and Lydian dominant (raised 4).
Melodic minor is used very often, but I feel somewhat more advanced.

take care++


#1612985 - 02/05/11 03:01 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]  
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Hi CMohr, I said practice B and Db first. This is for beginners in piano. I have to say that since everyone thinks you should start with C.

Now the rest of us can perfect our C scale which, even for me is an ongoing project.

Regarding importance of some special scales, I think the Melodic minor scale and the Diminished scales are the most important.

I don't use the harmonic minor myself. The melodic minor has a more modern sound and wider application (particularly all the modes) for many jazz type chords. Levine doesn't dwell much on the Harmonic minor either.

All these are a bit on the advanced side. I'd say that for most things, it's just about the Major Scales (just assume relative minors), diminished scale (Half-Whole and Whole-Half) and you can probably play most things.

I personally don't sit around practicing modes. What I'm more concerned about are the chord tones and extensions for any chord and I like to express it as intervals (b9 #5, #11 etc.). This guides my solo more. I don't think you'd miss much if you don't work on modes at all. It's more of a theoretical construct. But when we actually play, we look at the intervals and not a scalar flow.



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#1612988 - 02/05/11 03:07 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: saiman]  
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Originally Posted by saiman
Hi jazzwee i think I get what you are saying but the problem is that I am not even at the intermediate phase. I dont even have a good foundation yet so when I say walking bass I literally mean how to do it in the first place not perfectionizing it.

Likewise, I cant improvise yet so obviously with free improvisation I mean just sitting downa and trying to come up with something on Autumn Leaves. Forcing me to be creative and not think about everything with the mindset of a classical musician.

I would love to work on my weakenesses but I wouldnt even know what that is right now. All i want to avoid is practicing the same thing for hours without working on other things.

Maybe I should have rather asked what the most important things to practice are for a jazz beginner


Hi Simon, what I said is still applicable. It just means set bite sized goals that you can accomplish in a short time like a week or 2. Saying you will work on Walking bass is not a good goal since 6 years later, I still work on walking bass and even doing C scales or doing Hanon.

Think small here. It's the collection of many small accomplishments that really make for focused practice.

As you can see it requires quite a bit of thought.

Example: Instead of thinking of playing the entire C scale, one could attack 5 notes and focus on listening for any unevenness while increasing tempo. This is a bite sized piece.

On Improv, it could be: Sit on one chord, like Am7 and play combinations of target notes and chord tones and various intervals. Next day, D7. Etc.

You will need patience and stay away from just playing for fun. That's what you do when you're not practicing. I'm very disciplined with this. Sometimes I write out the list if it involves many items.


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