Monthly Archives: June 2014

Keeping Tabs

I used to play a fair bit of Japanese sankyoku music on my maplewood shakuhachi (couldn’t afford the bamboo variety!) with koto players Hideko Dobashi, Rie Yanagisawa (who also played shamisen) and later in Toulouse with Takaya Odano. Unlike Western … Continue reading

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Let’s Build a Wall!

In my young day they didn’t have jazz courses. You had to blunder about picking up tips, trying stuff out and bluffing where necessary. So when I play with the young players here in France what sticks out to my … Continue reading

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Musical Chromosomes

Working with whole tone panpipes has for me been a liberating experience, a shortcut to what they call stage 4 competence in NLP or what I call “mindless playing”. For those unfamiliar with Romanian panpipes, I should explain that the semitones are obtained … Continue reading

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Reading Between the Dots

One of the commonest exercises in  jazz improvisation methods is the transposition exercise. You are given a lick or an arpeggio, usually in the key of C, and you are required to practice it in all twelve keys. The assumption … Continue reading

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Six Seconds Make a Seventh

Six seconds make a seventh? Is time expanding? How do they do that? Simple! The same way as two thirds make a fifth! Two fifths make a ninth, but three of them make a thirteenth, which is also twelve seconds. … Continue reading

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What about harmony?

That’s right. What indeed? MOVES notation is a single-line notation. It notates melodic ideas. Its aim is simple and single-minded. To get you playing like singing in the shower. You can go on to more complicated stuff after you master this. … Continue reading

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Anyone trying learn the bridge of Jimmy Rowles’ sublime composition “The Peacocks” will end up consciously or otherwise doing a MOVES breakdown of the patterns it contains. In the illustration you can see the bracketed patterns are {-1 -3 -1 +3} and {-9 … Continue reading

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What Boys Like

When I taught beginner’s sax to ten-year-olds I used to ask them what was the first tune they wanted to start work on right away. There was a clear sex divide in their preferences. “Doh, a deer” and “East Enders … Continue reading

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Seventh Heaven

Like Monsieur Jourdain in Molière’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme who didn’t realise he had been talking prose all his life, most of you have performed faultless major and minor seventh leaps (± 10 or 11) without thinking. Yet if asked to sing … Continue reading

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Slow down

Teachers never tire of telling students to play it slowly, and students often cannot see the point. One thing I can suggest is that you use the time to conjure up a yearning for the next note, so that when it … Continue reading

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