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#1136014 - 07/30/05 11:00 AM How Do You Comp?
wfred Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/05
Posts: 42
Loc: pocahontas AR
There are a bunch--really a bunch--of good--some not so good--observations, essays, treatises, etc. on the web that deal w/a variety of issues concerning comping--& even more specifically--piano comping.

Being a novice jazz/blues piano player w/a developing ear, I note that a host of seasoned players(and we are talking non-classical this go-round!)--most actually very good players--tend to become absolutely mesmerized by their own perceived ability. LOL--So much so that they really strive to "hog the show" when playing or even communicating w/others!

Evidently, the ability to comp effectively is rather essential to the success of most musicians who play w/others. Soooo! Do you play w/others? Do you want/plan to play w/others? Do you want to learn to comp? If so, please share, observations, insights, questions, etc. about comping!

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1136015 - 07/30/05 03:13 PM Re: How Do You Comp?
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13780
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I do it fairly often. A few observations:

Less is more.
Listening is THE key.

It's a lot like hanging ornaments on a tree. The soloist is the tree, so you just add the ornaments. If it's a big, fat tree, then you can hang lots of ornaments and tinsel on it; but if it's a sparser tree, then a nice silver ball here and there is all you need.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1136016 - 08/01/05 07:59 AM Re: How Do You Comp?
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
Interesting analogy Kreiser. It would follow, however, that your 'sparser tree' might be tempting you to cram onto it more 'ornaments' -- which is NOT the thing to do, correct?
_________________________
Haywood
-------------

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#1136017 - 08/01/05 10:52 AM Re: How Do You Comp?
wfred Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/05
Posts: 42
Loc: pocahontas AR
Thanks--I think(so--as am I what?)! LOL--Metaphors, similes, analogies, comparative lingo--whew! I'm sure seasoned musicians like you guys glean a lot from them. However, this ole DA doesn't get too much milage yet.

How 'bout some practical help w/a simple blues tune like--say, Kelly's Blues or Blue Charlie Brown--good tunes (or not?) for jamming. Consider piano, guitar, bass, & drums & a 12bb like K'sB, for starters. Remember--we're all piano players! So--for the sake of this working ex.(you've showed off your chops & taken your turn in the spotlight, w/grace, of course!), & it's time for the ___player to take center stage.

Key of F; 12 bar blues--how would you comp behind the player for 12-24-? bars! If you care to share practical applications, I would hope they help lots of beginners like myself! I'm not shy, so I'll start(any typo's--please excuse)!

OK--voicing L&R of C3, here's how I might comp my 1st few bars(remember, I've had my turn & now I'm layin back, coolin my heels, but still on a roll!):
BAR1=F13(LH:EbAD & RH:GCF)
BAR2=Bb13(LH:DAbC & RH:GCF)
BAR3=F13(LH:EbAD & RH:GCF)
BAR4=F13(LH:EbAD & RH:GCF)
BAR5=Bb13(LH:DAbC & RH:GCF)
BAR6=Bb13(LH:BbAb & RH:DGA)
etc.

This may all be way toooo elementary for most forum members--if so, my humble apologies! Still, what may be considered trite for some, produce exciting new revelations for others! I've learned a great deal from you already--Thanks a bunch!

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#1136018 - 08/01/05 03:27 PM Re: How Do You Comp?
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
I chord: LH Eb-A-D RH F-C-F
IV chord: LH D-Ab-C RH F-Bb-F
V chord: LH E-Bb-D RH G-C-G
_________________________
Haywood
-------------

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#1136019 - 08/01/05 11:59 PM Re: How Do You Comp?
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1520
_________________________
1966 Mason & Hamlin piano.

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#1136020 - 08/02/05 12:04 AM Re: How Do You Comp?
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1520
There is a book that has the transcriptions of Mark Levine's comping on the "Magic Of Miles" Vol. 50 (Abersold play-along CD.) You can read the transcription of what he plays and listen to it on the CD. Levine uses the same five chord systems of chord voicings over and over again with clever variations.
_________________________
1966 Mason & Hamlin piano.

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#1136021 - 08/02/05 08:19 AM Re: How Do You Comp?
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
Hey, I bought that transcription on your reccommendation, but haven't actually studied it yet. I guess I am going to have to dig it out!

That article on LH comping is right on time for me! I often find myself committing to one hand or the other with one of them always along for the ride.
_________________________
Haywood
-------------

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#1136022 - 08/02/05 10:19 AM Re: How Do You Comp?
wfred Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/05
Posts: 42
Loc: pocahontas AR
Thanks Haywood!--for the I&IV&V voicing ex's, & to RTC!--for those who have not yet visited the Melbay site--you really should! I have downloaded a heap of material including the comping article, LH/RH, ii-V-I voicings, Learning Jazz Tunes, Improvising(several related), Jazz Etudes 1&2, etc. IMHO--your loss if you haven't spent serious time @ melbay.com!

Once again--Haywood supplied exactly what I had hoped for this thread--What do you--as seasoned &/or aspiring jazz piano players use as comping LH/RH voicings when you play behind other instruments? Please please share w/us! Sweep, Kat, Others! Please chime in!

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#1136023 - 08/02/05 11:02 AM Re: How Do You Comp?
kateriniparalia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/04
Posts: 139
Loc: Cali
Oh, heavens, wfred! I'd love to chime in, but I'm anything but seasoned. I'm still marinating in salt water (tears, perhaps?) Oh, just kidding!

Seriously, though, my comping skills have yet to be honed (though I think that's right around the corner). I can say that I've witnessed live comping gaffes, even among the pros, so I do believe it's a fine art that must be carefully crafted. I can't offer technical advice, but, philosophically speaking, all comping should be sensitive to what others are doing. It should complement and enhance, not detract.

I dug Kreisler's rather festive analogy.

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#1136024 - 08/03/05 08:45 AM Re: How Do You Comp?
wfred Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/05
Posts: 42
Loc: pocahontas AR
I hope folks interested in comping techniques, voicings, etc have visited the Melbay site. The 12 Bar Blues article presents several excellent changes(one reflects voicings that I related in the earlier post). Anybody make good use of tritone voicings in both LH/RH? How about voicings, changes, etc. like or similar to those in the Parker Blues?

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#1136025 - 08/03/05 10:17 PM Re: How Do You Comp?
dpvjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 287
Loc: phoenix az
I must confess to being one of those over compers on the gig and there are many reasons ego, nerves,ego,lack of experience,boredom,more ego. I always record my performances always live and usually a sax, guitar,piano {me},bass, and drums. This way i can go home later and die a 1000 deaths for realizing and hear just what havoc i wrecked. I started to work on this problem years ago first by trying to leave my ego at home and second addressing my lack of voicings and how to apply them properly. For the last three years people have said how nice it sounds and how smooth the music is. Also being a jazz musician I play with different players most of the time so i have to apply very relax but sensitive to the other player needs first kinda approach. Less is best or KISS keep it and stupid so you do not detract but add even if it is silence.

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#1136026 - 08/03/05 10:18 PM Re: How Do You Comp?
dpvjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 287
Loc: phoenix az
I must confess to being one of those over compers on the gig and there are many reasons ego, nerves,ego,lack of experience,boredom,more ego. I always record my performances always live and usually a sax, guitar,piano {me},bass, and drums. This way i can go home later and die a 1000 deaths for realizing and hear just what havoc i wrecked. I started to work on this problem years ago first by trying to leave my ego at home and second addressing my lack of voicings and how to apply them properly. For the last three years people have said how nice it sounds and how smooth the music is. Also being a jazz musician I play with different players most of the time so i have to apply very relax but sensitive to the other player needs first kinda approach. Less is best or KISS keep it and stupid so you do not detract but add even if it is silence.

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#1136027 - 08/03/05 10:23 PM Re: How Do You Comp?
dpvjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 287
Loc: phoenix az
I meant by KISS is Keep it Simple and Stupid

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#1136028 - 08/04/05 02:13 AM Re: How Do You Comp?
Poiter Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/20/03
Posts: 19
Some late thoughts:

For my money Kreisler is right - listening is the key. The comping exercises in the melbay article will help you develop the 'independent' expression of your left hand (and right hand when comping somebody else, not yourself), that is the ability to just play the chord at any spot in the bar, without having to think about what notes you are going to play (hope this makes sense).

What I mean is that you are separating the rhythm & harmonic part of comping. The harmony part should become 2nd nature, so that you can just thump out a comping rhythm that is in "tune" with the soloist, without having to worry about "OK - he's going up to a flat-9 run there - what notes do I use to comp for a flat-9 chord?". If you've done the hard yards at home, a flat-9 voicing is just like breathing, and then you think about the rhythmical element of the comping...

... which for my money is THE most important part.

I hope this makes sense - I know what I'm trying to say, but it's hard to word. In short, rhythm is the key - dodgy rhythm, dodgy comping, and the rhythm part is all about listening to the moment - listen to the rhythms those around you are utilising it, and join in with them..

cya
Pete

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#1136029 - 08/04/05 10:04 AM Re: How Do You Comp?
Rodney Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/04
Posts: 735
Loc: Caledon ON, Canada
Take a look at this course. I've used it to develope basic accompaniment skills. Skip the introductory books as they're really meant for absolute beginners. The writing style assumes a child is learning but the material is still sound.

http://quenmar.com/

BTW:

This is not specific to any one type of music.

Rodney

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#1136030 - 08/05/05 11:30 AM Re: How Do You Comp?
Rob Mullins Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/10/04
Posts: 318
Loc: LA CA
Hi,
My book "Blues Step by Step" shows how comping evovles from the most basic version of C Jam Blues to a very involved version. All examples are recorded and written down. Seems to work well for my students. Book info is at www.planetmullins.com/book.htm.
_________________________
Rob Mullins
www.planetmullins.com
28th album on sale now.

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#1136031 - 08/07/05 11:20 AM Re: How Do You Comp?
dpvjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 287
Loc: phoenix az
Hey Rob just went to your web site and it looks great. Lots of goodies and freebees i like that hope everyone here makes use of it. I go to LA alot to hear music and the next trip i hope to drop by and see you and introduce myself. dpvjazz

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#1136032 - 08/07/05 07:31 PM Re: How Do You Comp?
Rob Mullins Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/10/04
Posts: 318
Loc: LA CA
Hi,
Dpv, the next straight ahead jazz gig will be at Steamers. Do drop in.
_________________________
Rob Mullins
www.planetmullins.com
28th album on sale now.

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