Download JAY MCSHANN's HOOTIE BLUES

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Transcript
SOURCE The recording of Hootie Blues used for this transcription was taken from the album Vine Street Boogie, which was released in 1994 by 1201 Music Americas LLC. The original recording took place at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1979 where McShann performed a solo concert consisting of original compositions as well as two of Duke Ellington’s compositions (Satin Doll and I’m Beginning to See The Light). Every song from this concert is represented on the album Vine Street Boogie. TRANSCRIPTION METHOD McShann’s Hootie Blues was transcribed using a computer program, Transcribe! This program allowed me to reduce the speed of the recording up to 5% of its original speed without altering the pitch in any way. This software was particularly useful for segments containing pitches and rhythms that the human ear could not detect at the original tempo. KEY SIGNATURE AND TEMPO The key signature of Hootie Blues is E-­‐flat major and the tempo is approximately one hundred and five beats per minute in 4/4. In one instance, the meter changes to 5/4 for the duration of measure 8. I chose to notate it this way as I felt McShann’s phrasing here was best notated in this fashion, particularly in the context of his rubato introduction. i RHYTHM The tempo of this piece is specified at the top of page 1. The eight notes should be interpreted as swung as illustrated below. GRACE NOTES McShann uses numerous grace notes throughout this performance and my intent was to capture all of them using traditional notation (see example below). In most cases, a grace note on the pitch of F-­‐sharp precedes a G-­‐natural. This is common practice particularly with jazz and blues pianists and emphasizes both the F-­‐sharp, or flatted 3rd belonging to the E-­‐flat blues scale, as well as the G-­‐natural or major 3rd of E-­‐flat major. ii TRILLS Trills have been notated in areas where the notes go by too quickly to be captured with traditional notation. A trill would have been what McShann had in mind in these instances and simply consists of rapid repetition of notated pitches such as in measure 25 below. FEEL One of the most intriguing aspects of this transcription involved McShann’s “feel” particularly as it relates to his treatment of the swing rhythm. It is difficult to notate a stylistic characteristic such as this since it is so personalized and embedded into the organic make-­‐up of McShann’s playing. To McShann, this “feel” is something that he probably rarely (if ever) analyzed himself. Upon listening however, we can conclude that this interpretation allows the music to swing in a particularly unique fashion. In the example below, I have attempted to articulate the sound that we hear on the recording, which is most prevalent in McShann’s left hand. It should be noted however that this “feel” does transfer to the right hand at times and can only be fully understood by listening to the recording. Remembering that the below eighth notes are swung as described on page 1, this “feel” is illustrated best with a staccato marking on the eight-­‐notes occurring on the downbeats, while the eighth notes on the up beats receive accents. The staccato marking indicates that McShann plays iii these eight-­‐notes with a short attack. While this is indicative of swung eighth notes in general, McShann exaggerates this principle. A similar exaggeration if you will, is applied to the accented notes as well. RUNS In several instances, McShann plays runs, or a series of notes that pass by very quickly. In many cases, McShann is able to fit up to seven pitches within the space of a quarter note. In situations where these runs extend for a beat or more, I have attempted to notate them so that the reader is able to identify downbeats and where they correspond with left hand activity. For example, in measure 39 provided below, I could have notated the phrase as one continuous run of 18 pitches without regard to where particular notes line up with the down beats. Upon careful listening, one can hear that the pitches G-­‐flat, A-­‐flat, F-­‐sharp and B-­‐flat line up on the down beats of beats 1, 2, 3 and 4. iv TEXT & VOCALS McShann sings three verses, all of which consist of a typical AAB text form associated with a twelve-­‐bar blues. A Hello little girl, don’t you remember me? A Hello little girl, don’t you remember me? B Now the time ain’t been so long, but I’ve had a break you see. A Well I’m doing alright (yes, yes Lord), but I found a little cupid doll. A Well I’m doin’ alright, well I found a little cupid doll. B Well she lives three flights up, and she sends me with a smile. A Well she calls me her lover, yes and a beggar too. A Well she calls me her lover, well and a beggar too. B Now ain’t you sorry little girl, that my new little girl ain’t you? McShann sticks mainly to pitches belonging to the E-­‐flat major blues scale and in several instances he can be heard sliding up or down from one pitch to another. I have notated these occurrences as glissandos. v