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Miscellaneous stuff #3003004 08/13/19 02:48 AM
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Dave Ferris Offline OP
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I try to write at least 8 bars a day for transposing to all keys. Here's some stuff I've been working on the last few days. Hopefully my writing is legible.
There are a couple of references to the tunes I came up with these lines for -- the Monk tune Eronel and Clear Day.
The thirds can work over a Dm, G7, or Bm7b5-E7-Am.

edit typo- on the Eronel example, bar 2, first note should be F# and 3rd note F natural.

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Last edited by Dave Ferris; 08/13/19 04:22 AM. Reason: posted as pdf. instead of photo
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Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3003028 08/13/19 11:23 AM
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Thanks for sharing this, Dave. That sounds like a serious day!

Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3003078 08/13/19 05:34 PM
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Thanks for sharing! I don’t write out lines, but maybe I should start to? I do work out lines from jazz books and transcriptions, and play them in all 12 keys. Usually RH plays the line, the LH does rootless voicings, or walking bass or stride. This is great practice for the fingers, ears and mind! Sometimes I also just comp and sing the lines instead of playing them. I’d be interested in hearing others approaches to practicing lines.

Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3003110 08/13/19 10:24 PM
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Dave, thanks for sharing. Cool lines!

What's your thinking about the A natural in the second bar of the sixth line? I hear it as an anticipation of the third of the F7 chord in the following measure rather than the natural sixth of C-7b5 . It's three beats ahead but I've heard Herbie anticipate upcoming changes a few beats in advance. It sounds kind of out but cool, while at the same time propelling the music forward. At least that's my rationalization of what I'm hearing; I'm curious to learn your take. Or perhaps you're just playing with different flavors of F7 for two bars instead of a measure of C-7b5 followed by a measure of F7. Either way nice tension that resolves soon after with Bbm.

The interval of C# and F over Am in the second bar of the last line sounds great. Not an obvious choice to me but I'm thinking is fits in so nicely because it's a major third interval among other major third intervals and it leads beautifully to the next major third interval (E and G#).


Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Al Quinn] #3003133 08/14/19 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Al Quinn
What's your thinking about the A natural in the second bar of the sixth line? I hear it as an anticipation of the third of the F7 chord in the following measure rather than the natural sixth of C-7b5 . It's three beats ahead but I've heard Herbie anticipate upcoming changes a few beats in advance. It sounds kind of out but cool, while at the same time propelling the music forward. At least that's my rationalization of what I'm hearing; I'm curious to learn your take. Or perhaps you're just playing with different flavors of F7 for two bars instead of a measure of C-7b5 followed by a measure of F7. Either way nice tension that resolves soon after with Bbm.

The interval of C# and F over Am in the second bar of the last line sounds great. Not an obvious choice to me but I'm thinking is fits in so nicely because it's a major third interval among other major third intervals and it leads beautifully to the next major third interval (E and G#).



Thanks Al, much appreciated !

Regarding that Cm7b5 to F7- I think I just heard it has part of the Cm7b5. I've been somewhat infatuated as of late with the Half Dim. chord and have been trying to probe for different, somewhat out and angular sounds.

But yes, you're right, it is an anticipation of the next bar. But it could be heard/analyzed as just one long line for the F7 altered. And yes on a lot of Herbie early solos, I see/hear him do that all the time. I read somewhere awhile back where he said he was influenced by Bill Evans after hearing him push and play with the time like that.

When I was starting out, it didn't sound "right" to me. I was used to straight up and down Be Bop phrasing , where each line corresponded to each chord change , on each bar. It's a more sophisticated way of "speaking" for sure. Shows how far ahead of his time Herbie was when he was in his early 20s. Unbelievable really.

Yes, that C#/F third interval on the Am. You know that's the first time I've ever come up with anything like that and I knew someone might say...hey what is that ? But yes again you're hearing what I am. If you just hear it as within the whole phrase it sounds kinda cool, all those Major 3rds a Minor 3rd apart, and it ends on the Minor Maj.7. Definitely Debussy influenced. His second Etude in thirds, " Pour les Tierces" in particular.

Originally Posted by montunoman
Thanks for sharing! I don’t write out lines, but maybe I should start to? I do work out lines from jazz books and transcriptions, and play them in all 12 keys. Usually RH plays the line, the LH does rootless voicings, or walking bass or stride. This is great practice for the fingers, ears and mind! Sometimes I also just comp and sing the lines instead of playing them. I’d be interested in hearing others approaches to practicing lines.


A big YES, to writing your own lines and chord voicings out ! After strictly taking lines and standard voicings for years from the Masters, I started to branch out, a little at a time, on my own maybe 25 years ago. I look back at old notebooks and some of the lines and voicings weren't all that great. Even much stuff I used to post here 10-12 years ago, I wouldn't play today. So that tells me I'm on the right track has being more particular and hearing things differently.

I feel it's still important to refer to the Masters like Bud Powell, Bird, etc. etc. But slowly and a little at a time, come up with your own stuff. It's your own voice !

I practice essentially what you do sans the singing and walking bass. I do play everything in parallel octaves, Lh & Rh two octaves apart. But it's important to always play the LH voicing to hear how the line works/corresponds to the harmony. Often I'll play the root of the chord down low with the LH before the voicing, to reinforce the sound of the harmony even more clear...if that makes sense.

Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3003138 08/14/19 01:23 AM
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A couple more things- I've been practicing this way for over 40 years now and for me I feel it's the best way to improve your vocabulary and coming up with new, interesting ideas. You feel like you're not stagnating and playing the same old same. Aside from expanding your harmonic knowledge, you're also working your technique.

And as Clare Fischer told me 35 years ago, when you write your own stuff out, it also improves your reading.

Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3003149 08/14/19 05:21 AM
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Some Minor stuff I came up with after dinner. One with the parallel octaves, the other with the James Bond LH thing.
On the Bbm bar 3, another typo- should be eighth notes tied to the half, with a dotted quarter rest in front.

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Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3003317 08/15/19 05:11 AM
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I was working on the Chopin Etude in thirds tonight and came up with this short excerpt.

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Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3004791 08/24/19 05:45 AM
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One line/melody- 3 different chord applications. First example, B Maj7b5, has possible two hand voicing accompaniment written. All three examples have possible LH voicings.

Original example deleted. New version down 5 posts, sorry.


Last edited by Dave Ferris; 08/25/19 01:58 AM.
Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3004813 08/24/19 01:27 PM
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Thanks for posting these Dave. I'm trying to get better at those dense beautiful chords. Tried writing out some of your chords on your recording of Polka dots but hard to pick out right notes with my ears. Would love to see some chords from that. Do you tend to think in naming chords more as an extended altered chord or more like polytone / chords?

Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: re Pete] #3004815 08/24/19 01:43 PM
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Hi Pete. I don't get too hung up on naming chord structures has there are so many possibilities. I do use a lot of triads on top of triads as you might have noticed. But yes, when there are a lot of color notes I just tend to think of it as an altered chord as opposed to trying to name it.

I might have posted Polka dots & moonbeams here before but I'll re-post again now that we have the attachment feature. I'll have to do in two posts as the arrangement is 3 pages and we can only do two attachments per post.

P&D pages 1 & 2


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Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3004816 08/24/19 01:43 PM
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Polka dots page 3. And the audio for reference:

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris/polka-dots-and-moonbeams-van

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Last edited by Dave Ferris; 08/24/19 01:52 PM.
Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3004819 08/24/19 02:08 PM
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Wow thats great. I only get so far transcribing by ear before frustration sets in. Getting better at these complex sounding beautiful voiced substitutions is on my to do list.
I'm amazed at what Dick Hyman does. Puts just enough of them in there tastefully so people probably think 'what was that'? That's what I like.

Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3004892 08/25/19 01:54 AM
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Guys sorry about this but I deleted those one line/ three chords application examples from last night. post # 3004791

I sat down with it today, started taking it through a couple of keys and changed the notes around quite a bit. It makes more sense musically and most importantly, sounds better.

So if you are digging into this, please delete the first version and use this one.

I should test things out more thoroughly the next day with fresh ears. There are quite a few eraser marks, if anyone has any note questions let me know.


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Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3005046 08/26/19 04:36 AM
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A solo of mine I wrote out over the first A section of Love for Sale. Use for transposing sections of it or an Etude type of thing. I'll finish the rest of the tune tomorrow or soon after.


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Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3005464 08/28/19 06:36 AM
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Kind of got side tracked with Chopin and Debussy today. So I didn't work on the the rest of the Love for Sale solo today. I'll finish it sometime when the mood strikes again.

In the meantime, here's some Chordal/ Voicing stuff that's been piling up the last few weeks. No particular semblance or order. More a stream of consciousness flow type thing.

The last two double stave lines are a 6 note Am 13 structure I've been working on. The drop 2 etc. stuff is based off the Clare Fischer/ Bill Dobbins techniques that have been discussed here before.

I sort of let that stuff go but recently returned to it in small doses. The six note structures are a real mind trip compared to the 5 note structures I always worked on. Some of the inversions aren't the most melodious sounding things but still good to visualize the structure in all keys even if you'll never play something like that. Again any note questions, I know it gets crowded down there at the bottom, let me know. Enjoy.

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Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3005973 09/01/19 05:05 AM
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A short Lydian example ( D Maj7 +11) with 4ths in the RH and LH , in addition to others structures.

Satie/ Mompou / Bill Evans influenced. 🎹

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Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3005999 09/01/19 01:39 PM
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Great work Dave! I love the “Polka Dots” choruses!

I’ve heard that Chick writes out his lines sometimes.

My direction right now is a little different. I’m obsessively focused on ear training and retention, so, I’m working totally away from paper and recording every little snippet and playing it back until I can repeat it that way.

I’m also working on strengthening my connecting material by taking all my usual connecting devices thru all 12 keys.


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Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3006084 09/02/19 03:43 AM
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Polka Dots is truly sublime and beautiful, Dave. I just spent an hour on soundcloud listening. Your work is inspirational...just had to say that. Thank you for sharing it.

Last edited by Daddyg3042; 09/02/19 03:47 AM.

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Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3006103 09/02/19 10:31 AM
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Great stuff Dave! I’ve done quite a bit of this type of thing in the past but lately have been focused on other things (e.g., texture, independent layers, rhythm, improvisation).

I reached a point about a year ago where I became frustrated with the amount of lines and voicings I wrote out and practiced in all keys that never showed themselves on the bandstand. It was time to try a different approach. So, now my practice routine sounds much more like performing except that I stop when I stumble and work out whatever it was that I stumbled over. At this point in my development I’m convinced that I’m better off practicing this way.

Interestingly, although my current focus is not on lines and voicings, they’re still front and center in my practice routine as they’re much of the material featured in the explorations of texture and independent layers. Also as I focus on rhythm, new lines appear as a result. Using speech as an analogy, I feel like I’ve shifted my focus from learning more words and sentences to learning to speak in a more interesting, coherent, and believable way. Hopefully, this all makes sense.

How about you? Do the lines and voicings you’ve practiced in all keys come out during performance to your satisfaction or do you have a similar frustration?

Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3006210 09/03/19 12:38 AM
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Thanks for the nice words guys, appreciated.

Al , I hear what you are saying. There are times when, no, I don't feel that this type of practicing comes out during a gig or performance. And yes it's highly frustrating !

However most often when that is the case - and I've really thought about this long and deep for years - I'm not in that, what Kenny Werner describes in his book and lectures as, "the space".

And more often then not, several variables come into play when I don't feel like I'm flowing.

1) and most important, the bass player and drummer. While they could be at a Pro and often pretty high level - there is simply not enough space in the time between the beats. I don't feel as if they are listening to me and supporting. Or, it's just not in their musical DNA to do that.

I feel like I'm playing with an advanced metronome in a sense. Nothing new or creative comes out from me. I'm forcing everything.

While a lot of my lines are coming from straight up Be Bop, I'm most at home when the time feel is loose and flexible, ala Peacock and DeJohnette.

2) the instrument. I hate to use it has a crutch, but the more I play an electronic keyboard on a Jazz gig or at a playing session, or in a studio, it really hangs me up. I try to get into a head space where I don't let it affect me but it simply doesn't sound and respond anything like the instrument I intimately know and practice on everyday of my life.

And then a subset of 2), the acoustics of the room, the speakers, the kind of keyboard, and how I'm hearing the keyboard play into my flow highly.

3) I'm not playing nearly as much as I have in the past. That doesn't help matters either. Without a doubt I'd have even more new and creative stuff coming in if I were playing more.

But even after a long time away from a real Jazz gig, when I get with a bass player and drummer who I consider top notch, I'd say yes, I do hear the fruits of my labor.

Often before I sit down to do the what I call "heavy lifting" or intense mental practice of transposing lines and voicings - I'll simply start playing over a tune or a couple of tunes with no warmup. Just like I'm at a Concert performance. I'll try and take extended choruses , without stopping

And I always finish say 45 minutes to an hour of the "transposing section" of practice with at least 10-15 minutes of straight blowing over a tune or two. Often during this time, I'll hit on an idea that really resonates with me. Then I'll stop and try and play it a few times, then write it down.

I almost always come up with something from practicing Classical music too. During a Chopin or Debussy Etude, it seems my hands are always finding a voicing structure that interests my ears. I then stop and write it down.

Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3006235 09/03/19 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Ferris

Often before I sit down to do the what I call "heavy lifting" or intense mental practice of transposing lines and voicings - I'll simply start playing over a tune or a couple of tunes with no warmup. Just like I'm at a Concert performance. I'll try and take extended choruses , without stopping

Often during this time, I'll hit on an idea that really resonates with me. Then I'll stop and try and play it a few times, then write it down.


Speaking of - first thing this morning I was practicing everyone's favorite tune, Invitation. When I came upon this line / melody, I stopped, wrote it down and analyzed it. I then noticed it worked over other chord structures too.

Aside from Ebm6, it can work over Ab13, Cm7b5, F7 alt. and Gb Maj.7b5. Possible/suggested voicings - RH/LH and LH are included.

I wrote it out with 5 flats to save writing accidentals.

and already noticed a typo- bar 3, the second of the 2 handed voicings, the Cm7b5- in the RH that should be a D natural. , or Bb triad over the Gb/C in the LH.. If anyone spots anymore, let me know.

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Last edited by Dave Ferris; 09/03/19 04:51 AM.
Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3006536 09/04/19 05:54 PM
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Dave I need to take some lessons from you.


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Re: Miscellaneous stuff [Re: Dave Ferris] #3008396 09/17/19 07:12 AM
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Jason, It's a bit of a commute. smile

So some more misc. chordal stuff. First page is :

Some Eb7 Alt. inversions,

a ii m7b5 - V alt. 7 to I Minor poly chord, and an Intro in search of a tune ...lol.

A trippy two handed Eb Maj7 +11 pattern with ending chords,

a V alt. 7 to I minor/Maj.,

and a misc. parallel fifthy/fourthy thing that could be an ending to a tune.

Second page is- a 5 note structure that works over a Bbm 13, Db Maj7b5 and Eb11. It's a structure inspired by the Clare Fischer/ Bill Dobbins concepts on harmony.

It's in closed position, Drop 2, Drop 2/3, Drop 2/4 and Drop 3/4.

I wrote the inversions for the drop 3/4. It sounds better played in a higher register. I hear it up there as kinda a Sondheim vibe, for lack of a better description.

I probably should have wrote out all the inversions for all the positions but I got tired. If anyone requests it and can't figure them out on your own, I certainly will.

Just another important note-- always play those root/fifths in the LH for ear reference or the structures and inversions won't make any musical sense.

The second two staves are based off an Ebm modal fourthy type thing.

The first two bars of the first example are pretty standard, then it goes off to a different parallel fourth before ending on the root Ebm chord.

The second example is a little more elaborate. But it still stays in the Ebm flavor. Bar 4 has a surprise ending chord - D Maj. b5 add 9 - before the final altered Ebm chord.

Any note questions, don't hesitate to ask. I didn't spot any typos, but then it's late. Enjoy.

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