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Jazz

Jazz Notation – Chords and Drums

This post and its companion, Jazz Notation - the Default, present the material from my talk on January 11, 2014, at the Jazz Education Network Conference in Dallas, Texas. In my previous post on jazz notation, I discussed some of the ways that understanding the band's default performance practice can help you to write cleaner, more effective notation. Here are a few more tips for producing scores that are easily readable and will get you the performance you want. Chords One thing that people seem…
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Jazz Notation – The Default

This post and its companion, Jazz Notation - Drums and Chords, present the material from my talk on January 11, 2014, at the Jazz Education Network Conference in Dallas, Texas. Thank you to Makemusic for their sponsorship. Introduction I get a lot of scores sent to me by composers and arrangers both young and old. I see a lot of things that do not need to be on the page, or are written in ways that are way more complicated than necessary. A lot of…
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Jazz Melody and Voicing Part 2

Saxophones and Rhythm Section Once you have a handle on how chord progressions work and how to write simple piano voicings, the next technique to master is the 'thickened line'. This is where a melody has three or four notes harmonizing under it that each move with the melody, most often in parallel motion. Believe it or not, it is much easier to write in four parts rather than three, as with three you have to think more carefully about which chord notes to leave…
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Jazz Part 1

Introduction This is the first part in a series of articles where I will explain how to take a simple melody and turn it into a jazz tune, complete with appropriate harmony, voicing, bass part, and notation for a session or performance. I will explain and demonstrate the basic concepts of jazz. These are the cheat notes that even a drummer should be able to understand (I should know, I am one). Part 1 deals with the melody, harmony, and piano voicing. Part 2 explains…
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