Tuesday, July 12, 2005


The past couple of days I’ve been working on daily transcribing exercises. I started with Keith Jarrett’s Koln Concert, then moved to his trio version of Stella By Starlight. I worked on the harmonic movement with the Koln concert and it I started playing with a dropped-D tuning to get the most out of the voicings. When I was looking at Stella By Starlight was learning only the melodic lines of his intro to the piece. It reminded me of Bach’s cello suites in that the melody contained so much harmonic motion. When the trio fully went into the piece I was kind of at a loss as what I wanted to look at and after a couple of days I went to iTunes to find more inspiration. I downloaded verisons of Stella by: Joe Lovano, Chris Potter, Bill Evans, Miles Davis & I added a version that I have in my own collection: Tuck Andres. I took all of these tunes and burned them onto a CD. I did this yesterday and I had a chance to transcribe the first chorus of the Chris Potter version. I forgot that I also did some work on a Phillip Johnston solo. It’s got wild harmonic movement and I’m just looking at the solo right now. It’s quite intriguing. It’ll take me a little while to get through.

All of these exercises have been great work for my ear as far as recognizing intervals and understanding melodic direction or intention. I’m working on the playing on one string exercise over the chords to Stella By Starlight. I like this exercise because the available melodic notes changes throughout the pieces, so I really have to listen to get it right. In fact, when I use my intellect, or think of a note by it’s letter I frequently wrong. But if I’m just cruising along and listening to my ear, it all works out.

I’ve been working on ear training exercises as well, but I haven’t been writing down the results. I think I’ll get back to that soon.

All in all, I’m seeing progress in my ears, and I recognize some of the extra work I need to make more of an impact: recognizing intervals, and hearing intervals before I play them.


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