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Forum Contributor 2015, seeker of the knowing of t
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In trying to impart more of a jazz feel to my playing im trying to play scales and patterns with the off beat emphasis.

I've found this quite a challenge and almost feel like I need to " re-learn " how to play in time....

What I'm trying to do is run things like a bebop scale 1-8 so it's symmetrical.

Where before I'd count in my head and tap my foot "1 and 2 and" in a straight feel now I find I'm using "ooh - dat - ooh -dat"

Is this the right approach do you guys think? Are there other ways to get the back accent feel going?


Cheers
 

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I believe you have the righ idea, but I think "dat" will make it sound a bit rooty.

I would prefer to think "oo dee oo dee oo dee oo dee ", especially if you are using bebop tonguing (ie you slur on the beat and tongue the ands.

And don't try to bounce the 1/8 notes too much. If you get the bebop tonguing, you don't need the so much of the triplet feel.
 

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I'd say: start very slowly and increase the tempo. record yourself and check. It's not too hard to nail the on beat even when the tempo is fast, but there's still many ways to mess up the off beat and make it sound sloppy. it is important not to tongue hard or it will never swing. the standard off-beat-tonguing barely touches the reed, making the interruption of the airstream very short. Of course, you can throw in some more percussive, harder accents to spice up the lines.
If the tempo is comfortable, you can alternate swing 8ths (or triplets) with 16th runs, which will give you a better feeling for the different rhythmic concepts. Of course, as Pete said, swing 8ths usually sound exaggerated when played as if they were the first and third notes of a triplet so do not force them. It just has to sound right and swinging, which leads us to the "record yourself", again.
 

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Listen/learn to play tons of Lester Young and then work on speeding up the licks he uses on solos with the help of a metronome. Lester may not have been of the bebop era but his phrasing is what Bird used to create the bop language. Bebop is difficult to learn quickly takes years. I have been working on that genre for 30+ years and am still not 100% with it especially when improvising.

Best.

B
 

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Listen/learn to play tons of Lester Young and then work on speeding up the licks he uses on solos with the help of a metronome. Lester may not have been of the bebop era but his phrasing is what Bird used to create the bop language. Bebop is difficult to learn quickly takes years. I have been working on that genre for 30+ years and am still not 100% with it especially when improvising.

Best.

B
Lester young bounces a lot more than most bebop guys. For me his phrasing is really hard to imitate.
 

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Couple of weeks ago my professor introduced the concept of "playing behind the rhythm section" and the first example he made me listen to was Lester Young. Oh boy, what a difficult thing to do (playing behind the rhythm section)...meaning, not playing notes exactly on the beat, but also not late. I'll work on it from here to eternity.
 

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Sing solos.

The connection between brain and voice is shorter (and learns a hell of alot faster) than the connection of ears, mouth, tongue, fingerings, horn. etc.

If you sing the first two choruses of this Dexter for a month. I guarantee results, because in essence IMO if you have *good examples* of jazz feeling *according to your personal tastes*, if this is ingrained into your ear and voice (through singing solos), then whatever you want from the instrument can be attained because it's in your ear and head.
 

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Couple of weeks ago my professor introduced the concept of "playing behind the rhythm section" and the first example he made me listen to was Lester Young. Oh boy, what a difficult thing to do (playing behind the rhythm section)...meaning, not playing notes exactly on the beat, but also not late. I'll work on it from here to eternity.
It's funny to see someone struggling with exactly the opposite. I never played anything else then jazz. If i try to play funk it sounds crappy because i play behind the beat too much
 

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"record yourself and check"

I have a very poor recording system, but it does record the attack and sustaining of notes. Anything that does that will help you hear how you are doing in getting straight 8s and swing 8s under control. Playing along with an easy line from a CD will help, too.
 

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I believe you have the righ idea, but I think "dat" will make it sound a bit rooty.

I would prefer to think "oo dee oo dee oo dee oo dee ", especially if you are using bebop tonguing (ie you slur on the beat and tongue the ands.

And don't try to bounce the 1/8 notes too much. If you get the bebop tonguing, you don't need the so much of the triplet feel.
This is really good advice.
 

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Sing solos.

The connection between brain and voice is shorter (and learns a hell of alot faster) than the connection of ears, mouth, tongue, fingerings, horn. etc.

If you sing the first two choruses of this Dexter for a month. I guarantee results, because in essence IMO if you have *good examples* of jazz feeling *according to your personal tastes*, if this is ingrained into your ear and voice (through singing solos), then whatever you want from the instrument can be attained because it's in your ear and head.
Excellent tipp.
Hank Mobley also has played excellent swinging heads and solos.
I'd recommend this one:
 

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Good advice so far. I would just had that many people learning to do this put too much space between the notes. You can have the perfect articulation and feel but if you have too much space between the notes it sounds old fashioned.

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I used to have that a lot until i found out there was the A key was leaking very badly
 

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"I would just add that many people learning to do this put too much space between the notes."

I agree with this. Any check of high school jazz on youtube will show lots of choppy articulation when trying to swing.
 

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Good advice so far. I would just add that many people learning to do this put too much space between the notes. You can have the perfect articulation and feel but if you have too much space between the notes it sounds old fashioned.

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What exactly do you mean? How can you have perfect articulation AND feel and still have too much space between the notes? I'd say that at least one of the two is seriously messed up if there is "too much space".
 

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This isn't necessarily for you, SaxPunter, because I know you're ahead of this, but for anyone just trying to start out developing a "jazz feel," get the basic sheet music for When The Saints Go Marching In. Use a metronome and play it with perfect rhythm (as indicated on the sheet music). It should sound a little disappointing -- a bit reminiscent of a 5th grade band practice. Then start playing it the way you know in your heart it should be played. Get comfortable with it and start mixing things up. After you're satisfied with the way you're playing it, start analyzing what you're doing. Capture the feel of that, and start extending that same feel to other tunes. In addition to making you happy, you'll be well on your way to developing your own voice. Just don't be afraid to swing!
 

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This is the best definition/explanation of swing I've ever read:

Swing is "A kind of rhythmic expression that seems to be indigenous to AfricanAmerican
culture developed in jazz of the first half of the 20th century.
Known as swing, this structure can be thought of as modified duple subdivisions
of the main pulse, or as modified triplet subdivisions, or both concurrently.
As duple subdivisions, they divide the interval of a pulse into two
unequal portions, of which the first is slightly longer. They are occasionally
rendered in triplet notation as a quarter note followed by an eighth note;
however, this exaggerates the typical swing ratio, which tends to fall in the
gray area between duple and triple and is strongly tempo dependent, typically
lower for fast tempi and higher for slow ones (see Collier & Collier,
1996 and references therein). An individual musician has a particular range
of preferred ratios and particular ways of manipulating them, which together
form crucial dimensions of that individual's sound, rhythmic feel,
and musical personality.
<snip>
it is not apparent why the interval would be divided unequally
in the first place. It would seem even simpler and more economical if there
were no such difference in duration between the first and second of two
consecutive swung notes. But the point is that this difference facilitates the
perception of higher level rhythmic structure. An immediate consequence
of the swing feel is that it suggests the next level of hierarchical organization.
In conventional terms, the swung eighth -note pairs are perceptually
grouped into the larger regular interval, that is, the quarter note. If all
subdivisions were performed with exactly the same duration, it would be
more difficult to perceive the main beat. The lengthening of the first of two
swung notes in a pair amounts to a durational accentuation of the beat.
(Often in practice, the second note of the swung pair is given a slight accent
in intensity, as if to compensate for its shorter duration.) Hence swing enhances
the perception of the main pulse."

-Vijay Iyer from Embodied Mind, Situated Cognition, and Expressive
Microtiming in African-American Music
 

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Hak, thanks for that, I agree, that's a really good description of what is actually happening when the cats are swingin.

In 1972 I got a fellowship to the Tanglewood festival, as an alto sax player, since they needed one for a couple of avant-garde compositions. (I guess they couldn't find one in the graduate program at New England Conservatory, at least one that could afford to hang out in the Berkshires for a month.)

One of the compositions had some 5-tuplet notations, with the first three and the second two notes tied together. I had spent a lot of time working on odd tuplet divisions, so I approached it in a classical manner. But upon hearing the piece during the first rehearsal, it became obvious that the composer was going for a "jazzy" sound in this part of the piece, and I asked him why he had notated it that way (which was hard to read), instead of just writing eighth notes and saying "slight swing". I don't remember his answer, but I continued to play it that way, and he was happy with it.

The point being, swung eighth notes are NOT triplets, exactly, they ratios do change dependent on tempo, and the descriptions Hak quotes are right on the money.

I think the best approach is to try to exactly cop the feel that some one you like has, by transcribing a solo and playing along.
 

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This is the best definition/explanation of swing I've ever read:

Swing is "A kind of rhythmic expression that seems to be indigenous to AfricanAmerican
culture developed in jazz of the first half of the 20th century.
Known as swing, this structure can be thought of as modified duple subdivisions
of the main pulse, or as modified triplet subdivisions, or both concurrently.
As duple subdivisions, they divide the interval of a pulse into two
unequal portions, of which the first is slightly longer. They are occasionally
rendered in triplet notation as a quarter note followed by an eighth note;
however, this exaggerates the typical swing ratio, which tends to fall in the
gray area between duple and triple and is strongly tempo dependent, typically
lower for fast tempi and higher for slow ones (see Collier & Collier,
1996 and references therein). An individual musician has a particular range
of preferred ratios and particular ways of manipulating them, which together
form crucial dimensions of that individual's sound, rhythmic feel,
and musical personality.
<snip>
it is not apparent why the interval would be divided unequally
in the first place. It would seem even simpler and more economical if there
were no such difference in duration between the first and second of two
consecutive swung notes. But the point is that this difference facilitates the
perception of higher level rhythmic structure. An immediate consequence
of the swing feel is that it suggests the next level of hierarchical organization.
In conventional terms, the swung eighth -note pairs are perceptually
grouped into the larger regular interval, that is, the quarter note. If all
subdivisions were performed with exactly the same duration, it would be
more difficult to perceive the main beat. The lengthening of the first of two
swung notes in a pair amounts to a durational accentuation of the beat.
(Often in practice, the second note of the swung pair is given a slight accent
in intensity, as if to compensate for its shorter duration.) Hence swing enhances
the perception of the main pulse."

-Vijay Iyer from Embodied Mind, Situated Cognition, and Expressive
Microtiming in African-American Music
I disagree with the last part, it's easier for me to divide straight 8ths. And what the hell has race got to do with it, wasn't it louis armstrong the first one to do this? So it's indigenous to the louis armstrong culture :D
 
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