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#1201306 - 05/18/09 05:37 AM Help
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Okay so here are some of the things I transcribed.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZBneAR4aTo

Pentatonic stuff+superimposing other ii-Vs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGgzQ8ODlhM

Gearld Claytons Block Chord Solo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5gcMTD8jZc

What I usually do is

1) transcribe them
2) play them at a slow comfortable tempo
3) If Possible play the solo with the recording.. if its too fast, I slow it down with amazing slow downer and play along with it
4) I take an idea I like in the tune and work them in all keys.

The problem is that a lot of stuff I've worked on just doesn't stick.. I work them very slowly, a lot of stuff just doesn't come out very well in my actual playing.. and some of the stuff like Block Chords, I've been working for years. They do come out sometimes, but It doesn't come out very naturally and I dont have ownership of these materials.

I feel the same way about learning new voicings, it takes weeks to be able to use them comfortable and months for them to become a part of me... esp since you have to work them in different keys.

A lot of my teachers told me that there are stuffed they've worked on that didn't come out until years later, sometimes decades.. so is this natural? how fast do you guys learn new things likfe voicings?

I guess in some ways its normal.. most people struggle to learn the left hand voicings in all keys at first, and it seems like it doesn't get easier since what you are tring to do become more complex.

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#1201320 - 05/18/09 06:46 AM Re: Help [Re: etcetra]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2993
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
in the Bill Evans interview with his brother, Bill says one of the big problems with aspiring pianists is learning from difficult solos. Go back to the original but in a nutshell, he demonstrates explaining that when they learn from those fancy solos, they try to emulate, but in a vague way, and it doesn't come out.
Then he recommends instead learning very simple motifs and developing on top of that.

In other words, developing your own sound.

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#1201385 - 05/18/09 09:48 AM Re: Help [Re: knotty]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Knotty,

I've seen the DVD, but I think what Bill meant was that you should take thing apart, break it down to the lowest common denominator and work on them from a little bit at a time, rather than taking the whole thing all at once. It's not that much different that Kenny Werner talks about.

I don't think what I am doing is 'vague emulation' as you describe it, since I am learning the solos note by note, and taking an idea I like in the tune and work them in all keys requires a very specific approach, there is nothing vague about it.

I've always had trouble with the whole idea of "developing your own sound".. a lot of great players I talked to told me that your own sound will naturally emerge from your practice and its not good idea to be too preoccupied with that. I've mentioned this in other posts too, but people like John Clayton, Oscar Pettiford, Kenny Garret learned how to solo by learning other people solos note by note..in fact John Clayton told Tamir Hendelman and his son Gearld Clayton to transcribe the entire "Canadiana Suite" By Oscar peterson, and Jeff clayton has given the same advice to me and other piano player friends of mine.

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#1201393 - 05/18/09 09:58 AM Re: Help [Re: etcetra]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
knotty,

btw I also want to mention that I've transcribed over 100 solos, most of the solos I transcribed before were much simpler than the ones I mentioned. So I am not jumping into these difficult solos from scratch.


Edited by etcetra (05/18/09 10:05 AM)

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#1201405 - 05/18/09 10:17 AM Re: Help [Re: etcetra]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2993
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
I used the words "emulate but in a vague way" because those are the words I remember Bill saying, I could be incorrect. If you posted samples of your own solo, I did not see them, and in any event, I would not imply that is what you do. Sorry for that confusion.

having said that:
for what purpose are you transcribing these solos?

and:
do you see a relationship between transcribing some of these solos above and
"learning new voicings, it takes weeks to be able to use them comfortable and months for them to become a part of me..."

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#1201459 - 05/18/09 12:11 PM Re: Help [Re: knotty]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I am transcribing those solos mainly because I heard something I like and I was curious as to see what was going on. It's one thing to know that you can play out using pentatonic scales, but its another thing to transcribe keeny kirkland or chick corea and hear&figure out how they do it. It really opened me up to things I have never thought of on my own.

For Gearld's Clayton's block chord solo, I actually worked it out in different keys. It gave me a lot of good ideas on what kind of voicings to use when doing block chord solos.. i.e. when to use dimished chords. Most of the stuff I transcribe I can already but, I don't do them as well as these guys so I want to find out how they do it to make it sound really good.

I decided to make this post because I was wondering what the learning curve was like for other people when they are learning new things. I was curious as to whether other people experienced what my teachers experienced.. like something you worked on 10 years ago suddenly coming out in your playing.

I guess the relationship I am seeing is that its a pain in the @ss to learn anything that is new, and it doesn't get any easier no matter what level you are at smile

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#1201691 - 05/18/09 07:15 PM Re: Help [Re: etcetra]
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
Hey etcetra. Trying to remember solos from other players that are transcribed don't always translate to our own purposes, at least in my situation. I tried to memorize Bill Evan's solo that he played on "Laura" and it just didn't jell, just bits and pieces. Then Chick's solo on "Spain" and forgot it. Chick said in an interview years back, he transcribed and memorized all of Horace Silver's solos off records. Bill Evans influences were Bach, WTC and he said he learned every lick that Bud Powell played and applied it to his thing. Last night on youtube, I happened to listen to Oscar Peterson's live version of the Horace Silver classic, Nica's Dream. Man, was he going at light speed on that tune, ridiculous 2 handed bop lines, which he pulls off effortlessly, before his bad stroke and a block chord solo that left me stuck in the wind. I actually watched OP at the piano, along with my fellow classmates demo some voicings when he appeared at Berklee to give a talk and play a little for us. Man, that guy's hands could stretch not only major/minor tenths with his thumb and 4th finger with his left hand, but he could alternate between 4 and five to get this smooth 10th transition. I think he said he could stretch a 13th if needed.

The reason I bring up this point is, I can barely make the Db/F tenth with thumb and 5, so there is no way to pull off OP's technique into my own playing, even if I transcribed and memorized it. My hands can't pull it off. Now, I can "clone" some of OP bop lines and voicings and apply them, but that block chord solo on Nica's Dream he pulls off is unbelievable. OP was in his prime then. I had to wipe my forehead after hearing him do that, he even had me sweating!

So some solos by master players just don't fit our minds or hands and touch. So if you can't remember the transcription, that's ok, you still gained something from taking it down. It all fills into our brains somehow. Just my $$

katt


Edited by nitekatt2008z (05/18/09 07:18 PM)

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#1201881 - 05/19/09 01:01 AM Re: Help [Re: nitekatt2008z]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Katt,

Thats a very interesting point... I remember transcribing and stealing other stuff and some stuff came to me a lot easier than others.. its weird how learning works. everyone has different strength and weakness... I remember when i was in school I improved in some areas much faster than others, but I struggle more than others on other areas of music.. some people couldn't get bebop lines into their playing no matter how much they practice, and some people had a lot of trouble playing in time..


and as far as the stuff I am working on. I guess you never know when it will actually sink in and come out... but everything you work on do influence you.. and sometimes they come out in ways you don't expect.

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#1202275 - 05/19/09 04:10 PM Re: Help [Re: etcetra]
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
Etcetra, I almost forgot to include this next point on your thread here. I also went to see Bill Evans, Horace Silver's group and organist Jimmy Smith at the Jazz Workshop, both at different times when I was attending Berklee in the early 70's. Back then there seemed to be more access to watching the players up close. On the Bill Evans night, Bill was playing with Eddie Gomez on upright and Marty Morell I think on drums. Bill was on the grand on the side of the stage and you actually could stand behind him and watch him play as about a dozen or so attendees had the good fortune to do. I hadn't realized how large Bill's hands were. He had no problems effortlessly playing stretched intervals like major/minor tenths in the left hand and soloing long phrases with his right hand. I was first semester I think and a newbie jazz student and had never seen nor knew much about 2 handed spread voicings. That was a real revelation seeing the master at the piano in a live situation.

Then when the Jimmy Smith Trio was on, at the end of the set, JS invited a few of us on stage as he sat at the B-3 and did some demos of his blistering right hand solo technique and LH walking bass patterns and the pedals. His right hand was going so fast, it was a blur like like a hurricane! He wasn't sloppy either, he hit every note with perfect precision as he was cranking out his LH bass in perfect time, no struggles of course, HE DA MAN, or was until he passed on to the big jam in the sky somewhere. Well, anyway, I went home and started learning about Bill Evans voicings and JS right hand riffs and licks. When I saw them live doing their thing, it didn't seem as impossible to apply some of their styles to my own efforts. OZ had let us see him behind the curtain for a gaze.

I bought all the Bill Evans transcription books, about 25 of his LP's/Tapes/CD's and am still studying them. I learned some JS licks, but I can't pull them off at the speed as he can of course, but I did filter in some of his style into my own thing.

I think what I'm trying to say is: seeing a master musician in a live performance is a invaluable learning experience. It seems to take the mystery out of the magic. The first time I heard Miles Kind of Blue album and Bill Evans So What voicings, I never heard chords like before and I couldn't seem to figure them out from the record. Finally another advanced student I heard in a practice room next to me was jamming on So What on the Yamaha upright s/consoles we had in all the practice rooms. Finally after listening, I went over to his room, they all had glass windows and stood there and watched him grooving. He stopped playing and opened the door and invited me in. I asked him about the voicings and he showed them to me in the original record key, Dm/Ebm and then in other keys. After that, an avalanche of jazz piano harmony was revealed to me in an instant and I haven't been the same since, hehe.

I have had great teachers, one on one who showed me what they were doing and then told me to go home to the piano and start working out for my own thing and the doors were finally opened. After being shown how some things were done, it enabled me to start learning how to take stuff off records because I then had a starting point. Just some thoughts

BTW etcetra, I always enjoy reading and learning from your threads/posts here, thanx much!

katt


Edited by nitekatt2008z (05/19/09 04:16 PM)
Edit Reason: spelling

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#1202397 - 05/19/09 08:22 PM Re: Help [Re: nitekatt2008z]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
katt

thanks, and thats an amazing story about Jimmy Smith. You are right, it does make a big difference to have others who are better than you show you stuff. I was able to learn a lot, sometimes more from my friends from school than my teachers.

I am curious though.. when i read about someone like Aaron Parks, I can't help but think they've been blessed with a different kind of learning curve.. i mean for most people learning the left hand voicings all keys takes some time.. it takes tons of repetition until it becomes second nature, but there are few people who are able to learn much faster most of us.

I knew this trumpet player who started playing jazz in college, he didn't have good chops but he played some incredibly complex and musical line for a 2nd year trumpet player.. I took him to a jam session at my school and he blew everyone away.. and most of the people there played jazz for much longer than this guy but nobody came close to playing the kinds of line he played.

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#1202444 - 05/19/09 09:44 PM Re: Help [Re: etcetra]
JazzPianoEducator Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/09
Posts: 203
Loc: Denver, CO
Etcetra,

First off, I know exactly what you are feeling. Transcribing is a lot of work and usually you don't realize the benefits you are getting until much further on down the line. One thing I can say is to be patient. When you are learning complex solos, bop lines, etc, you are not going to be playing them naturally in your own voice for a while. In my experience, I found myself waiting gig after gig for things to sink in and they seemingly never did. It was only until perhaps a year or two later that I'd realize that I was playing certain lines derived from solos I worked on previously.

When you've learned a transcription, don't try to force playing bits of it in upcoming gigs, performances, practices, etc. When you force them, they will sound un-natural. Try to just play in your own voice and if you've spent enough time working through various transcriptions you'll find that your voice will begin to be a mix of all the players you are trying to emulate.

Bottom line, if you are putting in the time to learn these solos note for note and you are trying to take risks in your own playing while still keeping your own voice, you WILL see benefits. Oftentimes, you won't even recognize the benefits until you really analyze your own playing.

Speaking of that, have you transcribed your own solos? If you haven't, it's a great exercise. Approach it just as you would another solo--record it, write it out note for note and memorize it. You'll start to understand the common phrases you play and you can conceptualize how you can alter them and perhaps add to them. You should also find some really cool things in your playing. If you do, remember them and congratulate yourself. Those moments will help lead you closer to finding your own voice...

JPE
_________________________
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#1202472 - 05/19/09 10:28 PM Re: Help [Re: JazzPianoEducator]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
JPE,

yea its funny, i remember working on a solo and things did come out in my playing.. but it was a part of the solo that I didn't really work on and didn't intend to emulate. It's strange how all this learning process work.

I agree that it doesn't really help to force the new stuff in our own playing in performance.. they just don't sound that hip when you are 'trying'.. and I realized that those things come out very differently than I expected. Like Chick Corea/McCoy Tyer pentatonic stuff.. I did learn some of the ideas note-by-note, but I ended up doing them my own way when it actually came out.

I do transcribe myself from time to time.. but i usually transcribe the parts I like.. there are some things I've done years ago that I wonder how in the world I manage to pull it off back then.

btw thanks katt and JPE, you guys have been very helpful every since I came to this forum.

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#1202652 - 05/20/09 09:30 AM Re: Help [Re: etcetra]
JazzPianoEducator Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/09
Posts: 203
Loc: Denver, CO
Glad to help!

Another thing that I do to try to make a transcription my own is to write a head influenced by the solo you just transcribed. It forces you to use your own voice a bit more while still pulling from ideas you picked up in the transcription...
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#1203250 - 05/21/09 07:29 AM Re: Help [Re: JazzPianoEducator]
dario77 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/09
Posts: 35
Hi, I am also doing some transcriptions lately, but there is a strange problem, when I play the tune I that I am listening to on trumpet or when I whistle I have no problem. But when I try to play it on piano than it seems that my fingers wants to follow certain lines that were learned before. It seems that my fingers are connected to my brain in the different way my chops and lips are when I play the trumpet.


Edited by dario77 (05/21/09 07:32 AM)

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#1203386 - 05/21/09 11:24 AM Re: Help [Re: dario77]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
dario that's a very good point, i have that problem too... when i learn something new my fingers will want to 'default' back to what i am used to playing. I think its easier not to 'hear' what you are playing on the piano than it is for trumpet and other instruments because you're playing is not directly related to your voice, or your breath.

For me i realized that its very important to pay attention to the fingering.. the new line you are learning might require a different kind of fingering than you are used to, and if you don't fix that you might be prone to playing what you know, simply because your fingering is not efficient enough to play that new idea.

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#1203940 - 05/22/09 10:54 AM Re: Help [Re: etcetra]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Just a little update...

I was rehearsing with a band today and we were playing Chamelion.. it was weird, because all these funky stuff I never played came out of me all the sudden.. I remember transcribing solos from "herbie's" chamelion CD like year and half ago, I tried to learn the first part without writing them down. It always baffles me that these things come out years after you work on them.

All i can say is that patience is one of the biggest virtues you can have in music... esp if it takes years for things to come out. It also gives you a perspective on your expectation about progress... that its best not to have one at all and just keep on working at it. things will come to you when its supposed to.

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#1203999 - 05/22/09 12:30 PM Re: Help [Re: etcetra]
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
Hey etcetra. Sounds like you are starting to get playing more now with groups and such. I am curious what kind of keyboard rig you are using and amps/PA? When I play with the jazz trio, I'm playing for the Sunday Brunch this Sunday, we play some funk like WaterMelon Man, Chamelion, Tough Talk, etc. I have a pretty cool 'Herbie" type Rhodes on my 2 Casio 88's. I run an Alesis NanoVerb with some delay and it comes out fairly close to the record. But the most authentic Rhodes software are samples I use in GarageBand on my MacBook. Some of those sounds are astounding.

I think playing live puts us in a situation where things we have learned just start pouring out instantly. because we have no time to think, just play what develops.
I live in LA and this city is so big and stretched out, it takes a lot of driving around to find open jazz/blues jam sessions. In Boston, jams were everywhere and easy to get to. Just another thought on playing. good luck!

katt


Edited by nitekatt2008z (05/22/09 12:31 PM)

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#1204370 - 05/22/09 11:39 PM Re: Help [Re: nitekatt2008z]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
katt,

Yea, I stopped playing for the entire last year because of tendinitis, and I've only started playing again since begging of this year. I started showing up to jam session, and lately I've been called to sub, and I am booking myself for a pretty low pressure gig. You are right, playing gigs can have that effect on you... you suddenly realize that something that you've worked on has become second nature. you can't just stay at home and practice all day and not gig

The public transportation is good so i don't have a car.. the only downside is that you can't really lug your stuff around. but most gigs here provides me with keyboard and sound system, and I have my casio px110 that i bring to wedding gigs.

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#1204391 - 05/23/09 12:20 AM Re: Help [Re: etcetra]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Beware of tendonitis and the whole Casio line.
_________________________
Roland FP-4 digital piano, Mason & Hamlin acoustic piano.

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