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Hurrah for Life's Little Victories


BbAltered

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Last week at rehearsal, we were going thru the tune Bye-bye Blackbird, and the singer was struggling with it. So I asked the singer if we should play the tune in a different key to make it more comfortable for her. After some experimentation, she and I determined that she would prefer dropping the tune one whole step from F to Eb. I explained to the Bb horn players that they would only have to get ahold of the concert real book chart to play in the correct new key (the concert real book version is written in the key of F). The horn players were psyched that they would not have to write a new chart for themselves.

 

And I promptly forgot all about it until we gathered again for rehearsal, when I realized I had failed to write a new chart for myself in the new key - all I had was my concert chart in the key of F.

 

And then the singer said "can you just play the melody in the new key so we can hear what it sounds like?"

 

And to my amazement, reading from my old chart in F, I was able to play the entire song in Eb. I never knew I could do that: sight-read it and transpose it simultaneously.

 

OK, admittedly, Bye-bye Blackbird is not a difficult tune. But at that moment, I was king of the rehearsal room: everybody looked at me to take on that task, and I was able to do what no one else in the group could.

 

And then we played the tune as a band in the new key, and the singer said "oh yeah, that works much better for me".

 

OK gotta go now and make a chart of Bye-bye Blackbird in the key of Eb. Tonite is "the frickin' Catalina Wine Mixer", and we'll be playing it.

J.S. Bach Well Tempered Klavier

The collected works of Scott Joplin

Ray Charles Genius plus Soul

Charlie Parker Omnibook

Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life

Weather Report Mr. Gone

 

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Nice!

 

One thing my piano teacher is trying to get me to do is study where the melody of a tune is relative to the harmony. For example, once you get that for much of the tune it goes from the third of the chord to the third of the next chord or something like that, it makes it much easier to play in another key. Blackbird does a little of this.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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