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#1301095 - 11/07/09 01:15 PM When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing?
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
Believe it or not, in the music world there are people that don't really understand what the term "swing" defines or how it applies to music in general. I taught modern keyboards styles in a music store for about 8 years and had many classical students who wanted to learn jazz techniques. Some of the students had perfect pitch, excellent sight reading ability, great scale and arpeggio technique down, the passion to learn and practice. Some classical students who want to learn more about how to play jazz have to switch gears in their playing approach. Although jazz notation is printed on the page, we all have to "read between the lines' to understand a concept of how to play 'swinging" and the listener comments, "Man, that cat swings."

Rather than explain to my students, I brought in examples of famous jazz pianists of their interpretations of tunes they played on.

Here is my list, although endless, of pianists that I felt the students should check out and listen to and get an idea of what swing means.

1. Wynton Kelly's solo on Freddie Freeloader Miles Davis Kind of Blue Album
his solo is swing to the max and defines the term all the way
2. Bill Evans versions of Beautiful Love, What is This thing Called Love, Minority, Oleo, Stella By Starlight, How Deep Is The Ocean
3. Oscar Peterson versions C Jam Blues, Fly Me To The Moon, The Days of Wine and Roses
4. McCoy Tyner versions There Is No Greater Love, Speak Low, Have You Met Miss Jones
5. Jon Mayer versions, Solid, Lady Bird, Solar

There are many more examples, but I feel this will get students started in getting their playing into a swing feel.

BTW, many students who wanted to learn jazz piano had never heard of any of the tunes or pianists of the examples listed/

Please feel free to give us some examples you like too

katt

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#1301201 - 11/07/09 05:08 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: nitekatt2008z]
tremens, delirium Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/16/09
Posts: 155
why to define swing? let them feel it.
The good analogy would be when you come to a party you're stiff and boring, after few shots you start swinging a little and after smoke or two you're rocking, hopping and bopping etc
smile Same with playing piano, who said all notes are equal?
We have swinging in blood from the cradle rock time.

here is excellent example what swing is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ec7Hi9_WTq8

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#1301279 - 11/07/09 08:34 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: tremens, delirium]
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Oh please Delirium. Let them feel it and what comes out is "triplet feel" ala Lawrence Welk. Swing doesn't just come out of your own mind. It has to be emulated to be understood.

If we reference specific videos and describe what happens at :30 - :37 it could be more practical. But to leave it hanging and just say, "feel it" will go nowhere. I tried to "feel it" for years and then I go to my current teacher and discovered how off I was.

Even generalizing and saying listen to Wynton Kelly doesn't help because Wynton swings 10 different ways and so does Bill. And swing styles have evolved among modern players as well.

I've spent so much time examining swing with a Microscope that I think I can identify the variations and approaches. And probably copy it too. It's one of the exercises I did early on in my jazz study, emulate various styles. From that I realize that once you understand what you're hearing, executing it is mechanical and requires EXCELLENT TIME.
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#1301281 - 11/07/09 08:40 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: tremens, delirium]
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
Originally Posted By: tremens, delirium
why to define swing? let them feel it.
The good analogy would be when you come to a party you're stiff and boring, after few shots you start swinging a little and after smoke or two you're rocking, hopping and bopping etc
smile Same with playing piano, who said all notes are equal?
We have swinging in blood from the cradle rock time.

here is excellent example what swing is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ec7Hi9_WTq8



Except to "feel" something, you have to have a reference point and a starting point for those that need examples and something to relate to. Developing a sense of swing comes to some easier than others. It's also about touch and awareness.

As I stated before, the list of swinging players is almost endless.

katt

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#1301283 - 11/07/09 08:49 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: nitekatt2008z]
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Part of discussing Swing is to to define what is NOT swing, and not this oversimplification of "Long-Short-Long-Short" that people think they're "feeling".
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#1301302 - 11/07/09 09:55 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: jazzwee]
tremens, delirium Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/16/09
Posts: 155
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Oh please Delirium. Let them feel it and what comes out is "triplet feel" ala Lawrence Welk. Swing doesn't just come out of your own mind. It has to be emulated to be understood.


wrong.

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

If we reference specific videos and describe what happens at :30 - :37 it could be more practical. But to leave it hanging and just say, "feel it" will go nowhere.


wrong again, you never, ever get such things like swing right by analyzing it. If you do, it will be artificial and stiff. I'm not going to argue about that anymore it's too obvious, like 2x2=4. Someday maybe it will come to you.

p.s.
One more thing, not everybody can do it.

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#1301304 - 11/07/09 10:05 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: nitekatt2008z]
tremens, delirium Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/16/09
Posts: 155
Originally Posted By: nitekatt2008z

Except to "feel" something, you have to have a reference point and a starting point for those that need examples and something to relate to. Developing a sense of swing comes to some easier than others. It's also about touch and awareness.

As I stated before, the list of swinging players is almost endless.

katt


and I agree with all these, just played them few examples and rest it up to them. Again, swing is inside us from the birth.

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#1301316 - 11/07/09 10:45 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: tremens, delirium]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Originally Posted By: tremens, delirium

and I agree with all these, just played them few examples and rest it up to them. Again, swing is inside us from the birth.


This conversation kind of reminds me of a movie I saw.. this girl was playing jazz for the first time with a band, and she was sounding square, and the sax player told her 'relax, just feel the music man".. and all the sudden she was playing all these hip stuff on the piano. Now if only things were that easy on piano!!

I'd like to see tremens delirum do afro-cuban jazz just by 'feeling' and see how far he goes before he gets kicked off the bandstand.

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#1301332 - 11/07/09 11:26 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: etcetra]
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Delirium, since I already know how to swing and I know how I learned it (through detailed analysis), please tell me how you would teach a student to swing?

Do you sit there for an hour and tell your student:
D: "Feel it"
Student: "I'm trying"
D: "Feel it some more"
Student: "What about this?"
D: "That's not right, you don't have the right feeling".
Student: "Err...What is that feeling"?
D: "It's a feeling. That's all".
Student: "I don't think I'm coming back for any more lessons...."
D: "Ouch---I felt that".

smile
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#1301334 - 11/07/09 11:29 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Or here's the other approach.

Teacher: Wiki or someplace will define swing as a triplet eights where the first eight consists of two of the eights in the triplet. Now feel that.

Student: Thanks Lawrence (Welk). That's great!

Sigh....
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#1301359 - 11/08/09 12:39 AM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: jazzwee]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Of course there are a lot more to swing that triplet or numbers, there are a lot of nuances like laying back, playing ahead of the beat..etc.

It's like learning a new language.. having swing is like having the right accent to speak a language, its what makes you sound authentic. At first you learn by imitating, and after a while the accent will just come naturally.

It's something you have to learn to 'speak', it's not going to just happen magically just by "feeling it".. Same thing for Latin, funk keyboard stuff.. you are not going to play montunos in time and play the right rhythm/notes just because you feel lit.

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#1301367 - 11/08/09 12:58 AM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: etcetra]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3621
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: etcetra

This conversation kind of reminds me of a movie I saw.. this girl was playing jazz for the first time with a band, and she was sounding square, and the sax player told her 'relax, just feel the music man".. and all the sudden she was playing all these hip stuff on the piano.


I've, um, seen that movie too. Later on doesn't she try to play a Chopin prelude in recital (presumably "square music"), relax, and then launch into Giant Steps?

It's always seemed to me (speaking as an amateur jazz pianist) that there's nothing wrong with a basic definition of swing as a subdivision of the beat into triplets, with a pair of eighth notes being played on the first and third triplet. Is that all there is to it? Of course not. Does this capture the essence, the soul, the poetry of swing? Of course not! But as with many things, start with the basic technical definition, and then spend a lifetime exploring what it really means. It's useful to define the 12-bar blues chord structure, even though you obviously haven't "defined" the blues artistically. It's useful to carefully define what makes a sonnet, even though you obviously haven't defined that whole artistic endeavor either. What's wrong with a cut-and-dried starting point for new students?

-Jason
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Schubert D.899/4, Chopin op.25/2

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#1301368 - 11/08/09 01:05 AM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: etcetra]
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Well that's the whole point. Swing was never about triplet feel. Never was. Except for Lawrence Welk (70's TV show for you young ones).

Swing is about upbeat accents. Complete Time control (Metronome...Gyro). Being placed off balance by the upbeat focus. And there are absolutely many ways of achieving this, amount of accents, sometimes by eighth note length, sometimes by laying back, sometimes by proper application of space, sometimes by syncopation. But it can all be emulated if you understand what the player is doing in each case.

I do agree that it is a hell of a difficult thing to put into words, that's why I probably would focus on a specific player, video and segment to identify what is being done. And it has to be a specific time because each player will vary swing styles even in one tune. But I disagree that this is mysterious whatsoever. If it were, it cannot be taught.
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#1301374 - 11/08/09 01:12 AM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: jazzwee]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
beet31425

yea when we practice, its about taking things apart and analyzing them so that you have a way to work on them. That's why we learn alphabet and grammar in language..Again there is a HUGE difference in what you do in practice and what you do when you are playing. Sure, having your voice/feeling it, all those things are relevent in performance, but practice requires completely different mentality. What makes music great is the inspiration, and the amount discipline/training that one do to let that inspiration come out freely.

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#1301604 - 11/08/09 01:12 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: etcetra]
KlinkKlonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 351
Tristano - Line Up

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#1301609 - 11/08/09 01:21 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: KlinkKlonk]
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
Originally Posted By: KlinkKlonk
Tristano - Line Up


Tristano, absolutely, the king of swing. I have an old cassette tape of Lenny's live recordings in his NYC loft, amazing. Two of my jazz teachers studied with him.

katt

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#1302016 - 11/09/09 10:50 AM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: nitekatt2008z]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2328
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
My jazz piano teacher 20 years ago simply told me that you should get this strong feeling to dance to swing (even if your not a dancer); dance without thinking a pattern of 1-2-3 or forward back or whatever. Yeah baby, its is a feeling, and even Oscar said too many new jazz artists shamelessly don't have it.
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#1302018 - 11/09/09 10:53 AM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: Emmery]
tremens, delirium Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/16/09
Posts: 155
Originally Posted By: Emmery
My jazz piano teacher 20 years ago simply told me that you should get this strong feeling to dance to swing (even if your not a dancer); dance without thinking a pattern of 1-2-3 or forward back or whatever. Yeah baby, its is a feeling, and even Oscar said too many new jazz artists shamelessly don't have it.


bingo, was his name...
you either feel it or will never get it.

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#1302059 - 11/09/09 11:43 AM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: tremens, delirium]
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
I'm sure a student will pick up on that quickly Delirium. wink

You sure love bingo though smile
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Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Piano 88
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#1302740 - 11/10/09 01:37 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: jazzwee]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
You can practice simulating swing and if you practice for enough hours (hundreds) you will eventualy feel it subconsiously all the time... unless you have some sort of inate rhythmic disabilty. It seems to me that most students have not had enough exposure to swing rhythms to feel it right away.

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#1302743 - 11/10/09 01:39 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: Jazz+]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
There is the straight ahead swing (the triplet aproximates it : 66.666 % to 33.333%. Most people vary it, like evening it out to around a 60% to 40% ratio. It varies at different tempos and with each player and even from tune to tune.

Accenting the "and" more than the downbeats is characteristic, as is laying back (Miles) or even playing slightly ahead of the beat is used for a dramatic effect (Errol Garner).

Then you have the even eighths in modern jazz. Accents of some of the eights gives even eighths jazz it's mild swing feel.


Edited by Jazz+ (11/10/09 02:26 PM)

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#1302772 - 11/10/09 02:16 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: Jazz+]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
And let's not forget the technical aspect either.. you are not going to be able to swing at 300bpm just because you "feel it", you will actually need to learn how to do it physically.

It's like anything you do, like martial arts, you are not going to do a judo throw just because you feel it, you are able to do it because you practiced enough to make it a second nature.

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#1302782 - 11/10/09 02:24 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: etcetra]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
At 300 bpm I go with even eighths smile

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#1302784 - 11/10/09 02:27 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: Jazz+]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
ECM (Edition of Contemporary Music) is a record label founded in Munich, Germany, in 1969 by Manfred Eicher. They put out the first records where I heard jazz players using even eighths.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECM_(record_label)

The first ECM release was Free at Last in 1969 by American pianist Mal Waldron. For some years the label specialised in jazz, releasing recordings by pianists Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Paul Bley, and Art Lande; saxophonist Jan Garbarek, vibraphonist Gary Burton; guitarists Pat Metheny, John Abercrombie, Ralph Towner, Bill Connors and Terje Rypdal; bassists Eberhard Weber, Charlie Haden and Dave Holland.

The label's output shares a certain common aesthetic framework, including a crisply nuanced recording sound, repertoire consisting mostly of original compositions by the artists, most of which did not swing in the conventional sense, and often stark and minimalist photographic cover art. Some detractors characterized the sound as cold and the music, and presentation, as Eurocentric. Others have credited the label's early aesthetic approach as a precursor, for better or worse, of the new-age music movement.



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#1302940 - 11/10/09 07:47 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: Jazz+]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Jazz+

I was told by some of the teachers that you can still get some swing feel by accenting the off beat some of the time. I can't really do it myself so I am not sure smile

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#1304000 - 11/12/09 12:28 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: etcetra]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Here is some 300 bpm swing, listen to the Griff on the Autumn Leaves clip:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/recsradio/radio...01&disc=001

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#1304034 - 11/12/09 12:54 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: Jazz+]
tremens, delirium Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/16/09
Posts: 155
when you fall in love do you guys also analyze what is happening in your stomach so deeply? or do you just play (with her) what you feel? LOL

lot's of fun here...
smile

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#1304055 - 11/12/09 01:43 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: tremens, delirium]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Of course when you first fall in love you really don't care about anything else, but after a while you realize how much work it takes to make something work and last. You have to take time to understand each other and learn to accept each other's shortcomings and improve on them, and keep the good things going.

When you start playing, you don't really care if anything sounds good or bad, you just have fun, but after a while you learn things so that you can do it better and in a more meaningful way.

Ignorance is not a bliss.

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#1304062 - 11/12/09 01:52 PM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: etcetra]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Here is some 300 bpm swing, listen to the Griff on the Autumn Leaves clip:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/recsradio/radio...01&disc=001

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#1306397 - 11/16/09 12:52 AM Re: When Someone Asks Me To Define Swing? [Re: Jazz+]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Swing eighth notes are generally played legato (slurred). Accenting the "and" between each beat slightly is also a common swing characteristic.

Various Rhythmic Swing Approximations:
1:1 = eighth note + eighth note, "straight eighths." (accent the "and") play rhythm from introduction with no shuffle, as straight eighths (help·info)
3:2 = long eighth + short eighth, "swing" or "shuffle" play example with light swing (help·info)
2:1 = triplet quarter note + triplet eighth, triple meter; "medium swing" or "medium shuffle" play example (help·info)
3:1 = dotted eighth note + sixteenth note; "hard swing", or "hard shuffle" play example with hard swing (help·info)

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