Would you consider this a jazz-blues piece?

Posted by: StarStealer

Would you consider this a jazz-blues piece? - 11/04/12 05:19 PM

I considered putting this in the teacher's forum, but then figured other composers would know best(???) Though I'm not sure how familiar you composers are with beginning piano music. Let me know if I should post there instead.

Anyway, I wrote a beginning composition for one of my students. An extremely easy pre-grade piece for a student that's been playing for less than a year. But I've been informed by other teachers that it doesn't fit the jazz-blues style so I wanted some other opinions.


Here is the Image File from dropbox.

And here is the Midi File from dropbox.

If you don't think it fits the jazz-blues idiom could you please tell me why and perhaps provide a suggestion for making the song fit it more.

Thanks! (By the way, I've always lurked on the teacher's board but never really came here that much!)
Posted by: Exalted Wombat

Re: Would you consider this a jazz-blues piece? - 11/04/12 07:54 PM

Well, it certainly demonstrates the 12-bar blues chords in the simplest possible way! It's maybe even what a sensible pianist would play to accompany a blues singer (though probably at a quarter the speed of your MIDI file). But, standing alone, it hasn't really got enough content to be described as any style in particular.
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Would you consider this a jazz-blues piece? - 11/04/12 08:49 PM

The main issue is the lack of reference to the kinds of rhythms and scales associated with the jazz/blues idiom.

For it to qualify, it might have a swing feel, use elements if the blues scale, and use more 7th chords (and extensions thereof), as straight major and minor triads are pretty rare in that genre. This is all likely to add significantly to the difficulty, of course!

If I had to give your piece a label, I would say it was more "rock 'n' roll".
Posted by: LoPresti

Would you consider this a jazz-blues piece? - 11/06/12 12:04 AM

Originally Posted By: StarStealer
If you don't think it fits the jazz-blues idiom could you please tell me why and perhaps provide a suggestion for making the song fit it more.

StarStealer,

Welcome to the Forums!

You have gotten some good feedback about WHY your piece, as it is, does not really give the feeling of jazz OR blues.

Here are a couple of SIMPLE modifications that might help, without increasing complexity too much:

[1] In the bass clef, measures where there are four quarter notes, tie-over the second and third quarters, effectively making the rhythm || quarter – half – quarter |

[2] In the treble clef, measures where the triads descend in thirds, crush the second note from a half-step below. Beginning students can do this easily by using the same finger: D# > E, G# > A, and A# > B

[3] Completely eliminate measures 5 through 8, 11 through 14, 17, 19, 22 through 26.

(Do not forget to add the half-rest in the current measure #27.)

I realize these are good sized edits, but if you are striving for a blues feel while keeping things very (VERY) simple, this should help.
Ed
Posted by: LoPresti

Re: Would you consider this a jazz-blues piece? - 11/07/12 02:01 PM

StarStealer? Are you still with us??
Posted by: StarStealer

Re: Would you consider this a jazz-blues piece? - 11/13/12 10:33 AM

Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat
Well, it certainly demonstrates the 12-bar blues chords in the simplest possible way! It's maybe even what a sensible pianist would play to accompany a blues singer (though probably at a quarter the speed of your MIDI file). But, standing alone, it hasn't really got enough content to be described as any style in particular.


Yes! Well that was my goal, to create the simplest jazz-blues piece I could for one of my students. The student is only five and is just learning to read music.

I'm sorely tempted to upload a piece from one of my student's method books. To me, my piece is in line with these very simple pieces. One in particular, repeats the same theme using the regular jazz\blues progression and then at the very end uses a jazzy chord. And there are no black keys, ect until the very end. So there was very little material.

This was actually my outline for the piece I wrote, with the only difference being this one was published by Glover and mine isn't it. And the published one got no complaints, so I guess I felt that was a little unfair.
Posted by: StarStealer

Re: Would you consider this a jazz-blues piece? - 11/13/12 10:37 AM

Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
The main issue is the lack of reference to the kinds of rhythms and scales associated with the jazz/blues idiom.

For it to qualify, it might have a swing feel, use elements if the blues scale, and use more 7th chords (and extensions thereof), as straight major and minor triads are pretty rare in that genre. This is all likely to add significantly to the difficulty, of course!

If I had to give your piece a label, I would say it was more "rock 'n' roll".


I could definitely, see this piece as being more rock and roll as opposed to jazz, because of the "driving" rhythm.
Posted by: StarStealer

Re: Would you consider this a jazz-blues piece? - 11/13/12 10:45 AM

Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Originally Posted By: StarStealer
If you don't think it fits the jazz-blues idiom could you please tell me why and perhaps provide a suggestion for making the song fit it more.

StarStealer,

Welcome to the Forums!

You have gotten some good feedback about WHY your piece, as it is, does not really give the feeling of jazz OR blues.

Here are a couple of SIMPLE modifications that might help, without increasing complexity too much:

[1] In the bass clef, measures where there are four quarter notes, tie-over the second and third quarters, effectively making the rhythm || quarter – half – quarter |

[2] In the treble clef, measures where the triads descend in thirds, crush the second note from a half-step below. Beginning students can do this easily by using the same finger: D# > E, G# > A, and A# > B

[3] Completely eliminate measures 5 through 8, 11 through 14, 17, 19, 22 through 26.

(Do not forget to add the half-rest in the current measure #27.)

I realize these are good sized edits, but if you are striving for a blues feel while keeping things very (VERY) simple, this should help.
Ed


Thanks for the specifics! I was racking my brain trying to figure out how to make this fit. The best thing I had come up with was making the quarter notes swinging eighth notes. It always helps to have an impartial opinion.
Posted by: StarStealer

Re: Would you consider this a jazz-blues piece? - 11/13/12 10:49 AM

Originally Posted By: LoPresti
StarStealer? Are you still with us??


Yes. Just super busy. Plus I'm not great at logging into things. For instance, the last time I logged into facebook was over a year ago! I'll log back in one day.....
Posted by: LoPresti

Re: Would you consider this a jazz-blues piece? - 11/13/12 01:50 PM

Originally Posted By: StarStealer
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
StarStealer? Are you still with us??

Yes. Just super busy. Plus I'm not great at logging into things.

Most of us want you to feel welcome here, StarStealer. It is certainly your perrogative to check back in here frequently, or not - as you wish. But I will venture to speak for many others on the Forum -

Most of us are busy, so we completely understand that.

When someone posts up a question, or invites comment, many of us (busy or not) take the time to really think about what is being asked, to read a score, to listen to a clip, and then to respond.

You are not asking a question about plumbing. You are asking a group of experienced COMPOSERS for their advice or opinions. Most here are only too happy to assist someone who is serious about learning.

Once you have posted a topic, it is simply common respect and courtesy, to check responses from those who have taken their time to help, and to ask further questions, or make more comments, or simply write Thanks. JUST LIKE YOU HAVE DONE HERE today.

Conversely, those who post and then disappear (P.A.D.S.), become known for that tendancy, and are offered future help according to their demonstrated thankfulness and appreciation.

Ed
Posted by: StarStealer

Re: Would you consider this a jazz-blues piece? - 11/13/12 11:05 PM

Well, so sorry to have bothered you all then in anyway.

I'll refrain from posting from now on since I know that living with someone who is mentally ill is a bit chaotic and I won't have time to check forum postings 24\7, especially during the "bad" days.

Peace and hair grease. cool
Posted by: LoPresti

Would you consider this a jazz-blues piece? - 11/14/12 12:33 AM

StarStealer,

I am sorry to see that you are taking my suggestions as personal criticism. They were not intended as such.

In any case, I hope all the comments folks offered were helpful to you, along with my detailed recommendations for your blues/jazz piece.

Ed