Jazz By Ear- Esperanza Spalding

I wanted to thank the folks from Copenhagen for stopping by and checking out my blog! A friend of mine from a guitar forum posted a clip of Esperanza Spalding performing live from Copenhagen. Her style of jazz singing and playing, well I give her 10+ stars! Those following jazz ought to keep an ear on the bassist ESPERANZA SPALDING, who is going about things her own way.
There are many gifted singers in jazz today, and no shortage of accomplished acoustic bass players. But few jazz artists can be both. Read more about Esperanza

Esperanza likes to say it was an accident that she started playing the bass, and it was a miracle she ever made it to Berklee. It's probably an even bigger miracle that she stayed. But while fate and chance may have played a part in getting Esperanza where she is today, talent like hers is no accident.
Take a look and listen for yourself. You ask me why I wrote about a jazz bassist? Well, listen to the piano player. I love how he plays those rootless chords. There is so much air and space in his playing. That's where the expression: "Less is more" is applied. Enjoy!

A style of voicing made popular by McCoy Tyner is based on the interval of the fourth. This type of voicing is used most often in modal music. To construct a quartal voicing, simply take any note in the scale associated with the chord, and add the note a fourth above, and a fourth above that. Use perfect fourths or augmented fourths depending on which note is in the scale. For instance, quartal voicings for Cm7 are "C F Bb", "D G C", "Eb A D" (note the augmented fourth), "F Bb Eb", "G C F", "A D G", and "Bb Eb A". This type of voicing seems to work especially well for minor chords (dorian mode), or dominant chords where a suspended or pentatonic sound is being used.
These voicings are even more ambiguous, in that a given three note quartal voicing can sound like a voicing for any number of different chords. There is nothing wrong with this. However, if you wish to reinforce the particular chord/scale you are playing, one way to do this is to move the voicing around the scale in parallel motion. If there are eight beats of a given chord, you may play one of these voicings for the first few beats, then move it up a step for a few more beats. The technique of alternating the voicing with the root in the bass, or the root and fifth, works well here, too. On a long Cm7 chord, for instance, you might play "C G" on the first beat, then play some quartal voicings in parallel motion for the duration of the chord.
As with the 3/7 voicings, these voicings are convenient left hand voicings on the piano or three or four string voicings on the guitar. They can also be made into two handed or five or six string voicings by stacking more fourths, fifths or octaves on top. For instance, the Cm7 chord can be voiced as "D G C" in the left hand and "F Bb Eb" in the right, or "Eb A D" in the left and "G C G" in the right. So much to learn! :D


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Learn Blues Piano

I love the Blues! When I first started learning how to play the Blues, this is what I found out:
C Blues scale and G Blues scale share similar notes:
C Blues scale: C-Eb-F-F#-G-Bb-C
G Blues scale: G-Bb-C-C#-D-F-G
The A Blues scale also works really nice. Those notes are: A-C-D-D#-E-G-A
Common notes: C-G-Bb Now, the other notes in the G Blues scale: C#-D-F are "pretty good" tensions on the chords of the Blues.
There are many different ways for fingering Blues Scales. I will show fingering I use and a lot of professional musicians: 1 (C) 2 (D#) 3 (F) 4 (F#) 1 (G) 2 (A#) 3 (C) and I'm going to explain why. When your 5th finger is on C (2nd C) you can't continue to walk up.When 3rd finger is on C you can go down but you can go up as well. Also I don't think the fingering of D# F F# is comfortable enough for a maximum speed of the riffs and licks.
Here's a good website for understanding the Blues,Jazz and Latin Styles

I know that the Blues Scale has 6 notes:
C Eb F F# G Bb C
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 ( use thumb if going up an octave)
And a good vid I found for Blues Scales:

But the guy who has helped me to play the Blues is Willie Myette! I have purchased his Blues n' Boogie dvds and have learned so much with what to do with my l.h. and how to play cool riffs in my r.h. Willie is a great teacher. I highly recommend this resource. Get yours today!
Learn Blues Piano!
Love Blues Piano?
So Do I. With My Program, You'll Be
Playing Blues That Amazes Even You.
"I Can Prove It."
Up till now learning how to play the Blues like a real pro took hours of "hunting and pecking" at the piano to get the right combination of notes.
Maybe you have looked over the shoulder of a pianist by the bar or listened to recordings till they wore out just trying to replicate that incredible Blues piano sound!
You know the sound I am talking about. I mean that "meaty", "fat" Blues sound that hits you in your soul. It's the sound of a Pro and you know it when you hear it.
If you're like most people, you sit there in awe marveling at their command of the instrument and ability to captivate an audience with just three simple chords.
But, you know better. You know that it is not just three chords that they are playing. (You know because you can already play those chords, but not like that!)
Are you like me?
A Quick story...
When I was a beginner, there was pianist who I hung around with. Now, Damien knew all of those cool Blues licks. But, when I asked him to show them to me, he would play something really fast and say "Did you get that?" Of course I didn't! But, he wouldn't slow it down and I had to walk away with the "scraps" that I could pick up.
I read books and listened to CDs, but I wanted to get into this Blues piano sound fast.
Years later, I now know that Blues sound. I eventually learned by a lot of time, practice and patience! However, I've made it easier for you to learn how to play drop down, no holds barred, kickin' Blues piano without reading a lick of music.
It's time to take your Blues playing to the "Pro" Level.
JazzPianoLessons.com has been teaching thousands pianists (just like you) how to take their playing to the next level. This is what I like to call the "Pro" level.
No matter where your current level of playing is at, I'm going to show you techniques that you simply will not find anywhere else.
You'll learn, step-by-step, techniques like turnarounds, endings, grace notes and neighbor chords for a Gospel sound. I'm also going to teach you styles like Boogie Woogie, New Orleans, Shuffles, Choo Choo Cha Boogie and more.
Now, I'm not talking about boring lessons here.
I hate those lessons where you need to do this, then this, then this (I'm sure you know the ones I'm talking about) only to find out that you are still not playing after a month! I want you to be able to apply these techniques the day you start, so I've designed my lessons to be easy to get into right away.
I'm going to teach you so many tricks, you will be igniting those keys!
Learn more about the Blues Piano Package.


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Learn Improv With Modes

MODAL MUSIC began in ancient Greece. Influence by the Greeks, the early church used a system of MODES- almost all music written before the 1500's was based on the various modes. Many well-known folk songs are modal. In recent years modal music has become more and more popular, and modern composers use modal melodies and harmonies in their compositions.


Each Greek mode was named after an ancient group of people whose musical system it was supposed to represent. In our modern system, we still use the IONIAN MODE, which we call the MAJOR MODE.

The scale using 8 white keys, beginning and ending on C, which we call the C MAJOR SCALE, may also be called the IONIAN SCALE. It is in the IONIAN MODE.

The scale using 8 white keys, beginning and ending on D, is called the DORIAN SCALE. It is in the DORIAN MODE.

The scale using 8 white keys beginning and ending on E, is called the PHRYGIAN SCALE. It is in the PHRYGIAN MODE.

The scale using 8 white keys, beginning and ending on F, is called the LYDIAN SCALE. It is in the LYDIAN MODE.

The scale using 8 white keys, beginning and ending on G, is called the MIXOLYDIAN SCALE. It is in the MIXOLYDIAN MODE.

The scale using 8 white keys, beginning and ending on A, is called the AEOLIAN SCALE. It is in the AEOLIAN MODE.

The scale using 8 white keys, beginning and ending on B, is called the LOCRIAN SCALE. It is in the LOCRIAN MODE. the LOCRIAN MODE was not used in ancient times and is only occasionally used by modern composers. The IONIAN, DORIAN, PHRYGIAN, LYDIAN, MIXOLYDIAN, and AEOLIAN modes are called AUTHENTIC MODES. The LOCRIAN is not an authentic mode.

Each mode, however, may be transposed to begin on any KEY.

THE IONIAN MODE is very easy:
It's the same as the Major scale.
Play any natural minor scale with the 6th tone raised one half-step. Dorian is playing from the 2nd-to-the-2nd. It is a minor sounding mode that works well over minor chords.
Play any natural minor scale with the 2nd tone lowered one half-step. Phrygian is playing from the 3rd-to-the-
3rd. This mode gives you a "Spanish" sound.
Play any major scale with the 4th tone raised one half-step.Lydian is playing from the 4th-to-the-4th. This
mode has a Major sound that is "uplifting" due to the
sharped fourth.
Play any major scale with the 7th tone lowered one half-step. Mixolydian is playing from the 5th-to-the-5th.
This mode is often used for a dominant seventh chords due
to the flattened seventh.
Play any natural minor scale with no changes. Aeolian is playing from the 6th-to-the-6th. This mode is the same as
the Natural minor scale. It is a minor sounding mode.
Play any natural minor scale with the 2nd and 5th tones lowered one half-step. Locrian is playing from the 7th-to-the-7th. It is a minor sounding mode that is often
used with diminished sounding chords.

Helpful Tip: D to D is D Dorian or "the Dorian mode in the key of C." It is not C Dorian. It is Dorian in the Key of C. If we want to know what C Dorian is, we need to ask ourselves, "C is the second scale degree of what Major scale? B flat, of course! Have fun playing and improvising with modes, creating unique sounds quickly!


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Jazz Scale Changes

I have found a fabulous resource called Cutting The Changes: Jazz Improvisation via Key Centers by Antonio J. Garcia. It is perfect for the beginner to intermediate player on improvising. The Concepts are simple with detailed explanations. This book is an invaluable tool for singers and all beginning improvisors.

Here's what you'll get in this educational resource:

* A jazz study on major scale development.
* A book with sheet music for improvisors struggling with
standard tunes. (The Shadow of Your Smile, It Ain't
Necessarily So, I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face)
* A Play-Along CD with superb rhythm section
* a CD-ROM packed with theory instruction, listening
examples, a discography for musicians who want to learn
more, and printable accompaniment scores and parts for
optional live rhythm section.

So, now that I've given you a breakdown, please take a look:

Oh, so now you see five choices, oh my! Well ,here's the deal on why I recommend the C Edition. The C edition means that it is for non-transposing C instruments like the piano, guitar, bass, etc..

This fabulous book cuts the chord symbols out of soloing! You improvise over standard tunes using Major Scales! No Dorian, Mixolydian Scales are required. This method is ideal for classroom, private or self instruction, as well as music education. Get your copy today!


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Rhythm and Rhythms

To learn to play in time you should really have a metronome. If you do not have one already I would advise that you should obtain one or a similar device (a drum machine for example) as soon as possible and incorporate it into your practice regime.
Metronomes are a device (either mechanical or digital) used for sounding beats per measure at a user definable tempo.
Now there is a better way to practice. New mark-my-time for music digital metronome monitors practice time at the touch of a button! It has never been easier or more fun to monitor practice time. The innovative mark my time for music digital metronome is a bookmark, digital timer and metronome all in one. With a simple touch of a button, students can record their own practice time.


1. Programmable countdown timer tells students when
practice time is over.
2. Cumulative timer stores time to track multiple
practice sessions.
3. All-digital metronome features rich, traditional
tick-tock sound.
4. Flashing indicators show flashing beat.
5. Integrated clip conveniently attaches to music or
6. A440 tuning note.
7. 0-4 to 4-4- adjustable rhythm settings with accent
8. Tempo range from 40-210 bpm
Metronomes are great when practicing to ensure that you keep a standard tempo throughout the piece of music. Wikipedia offers great history and uses of the metronome:


When you practice jazz, you'll find James Wurbel giving jazz tips to rhythm success in his Jazz 101 Dvd and his use of the metronome to stay on beat:



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Learn To Play By Ear

Three years ago I purchased a 300 page course book with cd called "The Secrets To Playing By Ear!" Learn To Play By Ear The author of the book Jermaine Griggs, is the founder of HearandPlay.com I joined his website embarking on a wonderful journey to learn how to play by ear.

Jermaine's theory is: "If you can hear it, you can play it." So, if you can hear the melody in your head, you can play it on your instrument. Coming from a background of reading notes, I would say that playing by ear is difficult at first, unless you were blessed with a special gift like Stevie Wonder! It takes practice to hear the melody of a song, determine it's key center and know what chords to play in your left hand.

Hear are 4 steps to learning how to play a song by ear!

4 Steps to
Learning How to Play Any Song on the Piano

Determining the melody
- Melodies determine what chords
will be played. If you can use your ear to figure out what
notes are being played in the melody, you are 1/4 on your
way to learning a song!
More resources on learning how to determine melodies

the melody
- Once you have figured out the melody (using
some of my techniques on the resource page), it is time to
harmonize it. This is simply choosing various chords to
accompany the melody. There are several techniques and
tricks to doing this.
More resources on learning how to harmonize melodies

3. Altering
- This is the best part! Now that you have
strategically figured out the melody to a song and have
harmonized it, altering your chords to produce certain
sounds is the next step. If you were playing gospel music,
you would alter your chords differently than if you were
playing classical or country music.
More resources on altering chords

1. Listening
- After you have determined the melody, harmonized the
melody, and altered some of your chords, there are various
techniques you can use to make sure that your song sounds
More resources on listening techniques

I personally recommend "The
Secrets to Playing Piano By Ear" 300-pg Course and through
my relationship with Jermaine (the author of this course),
I've been able to get him to throw in a few bonus items (3
additional piano software programs). He has taught literally
thousands of musicians how to play the piano by ear. If you
understood just half of what he discussed above, you'll
definitely benefit from his 300-pg course.
Click here to learn the secrets to playing absolutely any
song on the piano in virtually minutes
! I highly
recommend it.

Also, both the book and the 300 pg course teach you the basics of playing songs by ear, first by determining the melody, then harmonizing the melody w/ chords (Harmonization Scale), and then adding the bass and altering chords. Once you learn your basic Harmonization Scale, you'd be surprised how fast you'd be taking a melody and turning it into a song. Also, the great thing about the DVD is it comes w/ a free e-book that you can print out. It has notes from stuff taught in the DVD, as well as the Harmonization Scale illustrated in every key. Like Jermaine says, if you learn the scale in 2 keys a week, in 6 wks you can be playing in all 12 keys.


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So You Think You Can Jam?

I found this very addictive game online called JamsMatch Memory Game. I thought I might do well with Rock/Pop music section, but I was wrong! (sigh) Wish they had a jazz section! :D So, I chose the "everything" section and gave it my best shot! Well, let's just say I got 3 of them right! Plus, I think my reactions are a bit slow because they have this timer going. So, that adds to the pressure!! Head on over to the site if you like and see how you do. Have fun and enjoy!


I spent some time visiting this site and came to the conclusion that it is the game that puts to the test your memory of music! How far back do you remember songs? The 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, 00's? I grew up in the 50's and loved Motown music! Then the Beatles came and each era brought new and lasting sounds to the music scene. So, give the game a try... Let's see if you remember? Let's jam!


Here on the site, you can browse the top 100 songs by year and search for a song, artist, or album. Enjoy!



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What Are Gospel Turnarounds?

Exactly what are gospel turnarounds? And when and how are they used? I would say a gospel turnaround by definition is a combination or sequence of chords or combination or sequence of single notes that are used to get back to a certain point in a song usually the beginning. A 3-6-2-5-1 progression is a very common turnaround in gospel or wherever.
This is a basic 3-6-2-5-1 turn around. You can use it nearly everywhere you see a 2-5-1
Key C
L.H/RH and (1) = tone chord number
(3) E-D/G-B-D-Gb
(6) A/ G-B-Db-F
(2) D-F-A-C/F-A-C-E or you can just use D-C on the bass
(5) G/ B-E-Ab or you can use G/F-A-B-E
(1) C/ B-D-E-G
Here is another example but the difference is in the chord voicing:
(3) E-G/Gb-G-B-D
(6) A-G/E-G-Bb-Db
(2) D-F/F-C-E-G
(5) G-F/F-Ab-B-Eb
(1) C-E/B-D-E-G
So a 5-1 progression can be just as powerful as a 7-3-6-2-5-1. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, the 5-1 progression is in the 7-3-6-2-5-1. Each progression has its own role.And you can use each of these progressions at different points in a song. One progression is not better than the other. You see they all contribute to the songs that you hear every day, whether gospel, jazz, blues or rock. Learn where to find the 3 6 2 5 1
The First Step To Playing Tons Of Gospel Songs By Ear Starts Right Here


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Martha My Dear

I have always loved this song by the Beatles, off of their White Album called Martha My Dear. Here is a view of the sheet music: Wikipedia's entry on Martha My Dear
I have found a great tutorial where the teaching video posts the chords up above and shows you how to play the song! Enjoy and happy learning!


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2- 5- 1 Progressions (Continued)

Progressions are just a way to get the harmony to support the melody. In any key if your melody sticks to the key you are in:
I chord will harmonize three notes, V chord will harmonize two additional notes and the IV chord will harmonize the remaining two notes. So the I IV V chords will harmonize every note in a given melody providing it stays in key.

You can replace the 2 chord for the 4 chord. So now we get the 2 5 1. You can expand the one chord if you are sitting on it for a while and can play different bass notes under to help create motion. That is where we get the 1 3 6 2 5 1.

The 6 chord and the 3 chord fill in for the 1 chord. And the 7 fills in for the 5 chord. The 6 chord can also lead to the 4 chord. All this may seem confusing but it all starts with the one chord, the 5 chord and the 4

If you just use these three chords you can play with most songs. When you get more advance you can use the 2 5 1 as a little intro to each new chord you will play. So to introduce the one chord you play 2 5 and then 1. When you want to go to the four chord, you introduce it by playing a 2 5 1 in the key of the 4 chord.

So, if you were in the key of C and you want to go to the F, you introduce the F by playing G min7, C7 and F maj (2 5 1)

So, now you have it! 2 5 1 are derived from 4 5 1 and they have over time become embellishments and static chords to rest on to support the melody.


2-5-1 Progression

If you listen to music, you've definitely heard a "2-5-1" progression. They are found in just about any type of music --- regardless of style, genre, or rhythmical pattern. It is commonly the series of chords that end a song or phrase. In this chord progression, the 2 chord leads to the 5 chord which in turn, produces a strong pull towards the ending chord (which is usually the 1st major chord of the scale).

Let me start by showing you what chords correspond to each tone of a major scale:

1 tone - Major
2 tone - minor
3 tone - minor
4 tone - Major
5 tone - Major (dominant)
6 tone - minor
7 tone - Half Diminished

To understand the chart above, you must understand that each tone of a major scale has a chord that goes along with it. For example, the following is a C major scale:

(C -- D -- E -- F -- G -- A -- B -- C)

Each tone above has a matching chord. Simply add the endings of the chart above to the scale as shown below:


To further understand progressions, lets number each chord:

1 = C Major
2 = D minor
3 = E minor
4 = F Major
5 = G dominant
6 = A minor
7 = B half - diminished
8 = C Major

Now, to create a "2-5-1" chord progression (or any numbered chord progression), simply take the 2, 5, and 1 chord out of the entire series of chords above. That is, we would not use the 3,4, 6, or 7th chord.

The 2 chord is D minor; the 5 chord is G dominant; and the 1 chord is C Major.

Here is the most basic "2-5-1" chord progression:

Dmin --- Gdom --- Cmaj

min = minor
dom = dominant
Maj = major

D minor chord = (D) + (F) + (A)
G dominant chord = (G) + (B) + (D) + (F)
C Major chord = (C) + (E) + (G)

Example: To play a D minor chord simply play all three of the notes shown above at the same time (D+F+A)


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Blind 5 year old- A Piano Genius

This child prodigy is currently in Singapore. You have to check out this video. She has an amazing ability to play by ear and is able to play accompaniment just by listening to someone sing. She is heaven's gift to us!

She is only five years old and blind, but Yoo Ye-Eun's little hands find the right notes on the black and white keys of her piano...


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Ballade Pour Adeline

I have always enjoyed this song and the sound of the 6th interval. For those who read notes, I have posted them here. Enjoy the videos! (Richard Clayderman 1998)


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Chord Voicing

Chord voicing? Well, voicing is how many notes are played, the distance between each of the notes and the quantity and quality of extensions.
There are many, many ways to play a single chord. There are also tons of ways to play chord progressions, considering that each chord can be played many different ways. It’s a good idea to start off with a few simple possibilities instead of hundreds.
For example, take a Cmaj7 chord. The chord is simple and is made up of C E G and B. Depending on how rich you want the chord to sound, you can also add D and A to the chord as extensions because D and A come from the C major scale and do not clash with the basic chord.
These are what we call extensions. In other words a good pianist will already consider D and A in their chord voicing when they see the chord symbol Cmaj7. It doesn’t have to be written Cmaj7 (9 13) for them to understand this.
So, how would a pianist then voice this chord? Well, for starters, that depends on the melody. Whatever the melody note is will become the highest note of the chord. For example, let’s say D is the melody note of prominence while the chord is being played. That means that for a pianist our 9th is already understood as part of the chord and is the top note.
It’s a good idea to play the bass note in the left hand which is C of course. Then the next 2 most important notes are the 3rd and the 7th because these notes give the chord its flavor. Consider playing the 7th in the left hand above the bass note. That would mean playing the C with finger 5 (baby finger) and B with finger 1 (thumb).
Then, play the 3rd, 5th and melody (9th) in the right hand with the 1st, 2nd and 5th fingers respectively. What’s left? The 13th or A which, you can cover with the 3rd finger of the right hand. So, from bottom to top you would have the notes in this order; C B E G A and D. That right there is a very rich sounding chord.
This is only one way of voicing the chord. Learn one way at a time until it becomes second nature. Voicing the root and 7th in the left hand and covering the 3rd and the melody in the right hand is a very good system to start with. Then with your left over fingers in the right hand cover the 5th and any other extension that’s available. This works for all chords including major, minor, dominant and diminished chords.
It's fun to learn ways of voicing chords!


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What Are Shape Notes?

Shape notes, according to Southern Gospel School of America director C. Nelson Bailey, are shapes — rather than round notes — that mark each note on the musical scale. The shapes are an easy way to teach and make it easier for students to site read music, he said. “So when you look at a song for the very first time, once you know the shapes and you know the relationships between the shapes, when you see in the piece of music a note going from do up to fa, you know what that should sound like, and so you can much more easily sing that interval than if it was just the round notes,” Mr. Bailey said.


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