Monday, June 19, 2006

CD 1.1 - Not a Jazz Waltz

My first tune on my my first CD  is in 3/4.

So its a  | 1 2 3 | 1 2 3 | etc but the tempo is at 132 bpm with an upbeat bossa like groove so it is not a waltz. The tune starts with an 8 bar intro where there is a one chord per measure change and which clearly established a typical 3/4 feel but then it gets strange in that most of the A and B sections there are two chords per measure but the beats are not evenly divided between the two chords. Jazz players, as confirmed by Jon, when confronted with a lead sheet in 3/4 with 2 chords per measure will evenly divide and therefore every chord would get 1 and a half beats i.e. a dotted quarter rhythm. However, in the case of this tune the first chord receives two beats and the second chord one beat. So against the 3/4 meter one gets this type of feel going:

ta ta-ah

where a ta is one beat and the ta-ah is the two beats.  I seem to be inverting these, right? Invariably, well at least to me my ear latches on to the “ta ta-ah” i.e. I catch the train on a one note pickup, the 3rd beat,  to the changes for the sections in question. I don’t mean that literally the section does start on 1 with a 2 beat chord but I don’t start synching with it, if that makes sense, until the 3rd beat. Lots of fun. Its has been challenging for me to do the comp on these changes since one has to face a one beat shift at 132 bpm on quite decently colorful Jazz chords. No power chords on this baby. Of course, the fact that in the past I was so obscessed with lead playing has come back to haunt me but I’m getting there. Truth be told , I have also been working on a second tune with decent technical challenges.  Jon thinks is an interlude to this current tune . More on that later. I worked a decent start to the melody. Most of the A section is pretty solid for a first pass and the melody is keeping a tango-ish ethnic feel. Another interesting aspect is that the phrases are breaking up into 5 bar phrases I believe driven by the lop sided placement of beats on the changes and just where my ear heard the cadence points i.e. the melodic places of rest.

This “composition focused” approach to the study of the guitar I’m sure will pay off. I know I’m getting better technically and I’m also becoming a better musician. Forcing myself to extract the music out of my head and committing to a structure is a struggle. The tendency to “doodle”during practise sessions is great. Having somebody of the musical caliber of Jon to bounce ideas off, to be taught about strategies, the gotchas and just the lingo of music is invaluable.

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