Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Sapphire Ng | Berklee Guitar Styles Skills - Jazz (Week 2) SPRING 2016 [Class Materials & Concepts]

Guitar Styles Skills - Jazz

Berklee College of Music
SPRING 2016 Semester

Class Teacher: John Baboian

[Week 2]

Regarding the "never ending guitar lines" concept introduced in class last lesson, class today started off on a really fun note. There were 8 students (including me) in this guitar lab class, and my instructor started off by playing a groove in the key of C, he then pointed out to us individually to play one by one, and one after the other "never ending guitar lines" over the chords Cmaj7, C-7, C7 or C-7(b5). John went 2 rounds through the class, and the two chords I was asked to play lines over was C7 and C-7(b5) where I played lines using C Mixolydian and C Locrian respectively. 

Concepts/content covered in class:

~ We were given a melody reharmonization handout titled "Someday My Melody Will Be Here" where the first line notated the melody in its most basic form, which then follows up with 9 other variations of reharmonization of the basic melody. 

[We were asked to play the chords and provide the comping as John demonstrated to us the melody variation examples. For melodies on the handout labeled 4 and 9, we were asked to play the chords on all the 3 beats of the bars in order to show a striking contrast between the melodic and accompaniment rhythm. For the rest of the melodies on the handout, we were asked to strum the chords only once per bar on the first beat of each bar, so that we can focus more on the reharmonization of the melody and also because the melodic example  does not contain any polyrhythm against the time signature.]

~ We were next given a handout titled "Simple Improvisation Ideas" containing guitar licks to the four major chord qualities in the major scale, Cmaj7, C-7, C7 and C-7(b5). We were given a little time to look at the notation and then asked to play them first time at a slower tempo and the second time at a fast tempo. The ability to sight-read was really important for this exercise. 

~ The transcription piece given this week as part of the selection repertoire for the midterm exam is Nuages (II) by Django Reinhardt. Some discussion was made surrounding the transcription, and it was pointed out that the person who did the fingering suggestions on the transcription probably was attempting to allocate fingering patterns considering that Django only solos with 2 fingers. 

~ The last material given in class is the tune "Cantaloupe Island" by Herbie Hancock. We were given a quick demonstration of the chord positionings and voicings for the riff of the tune and then asked to play the riff along with John. 

[For the riff, we play F-7 in root position in the 1st fret of the guitar, Bb major would be a triad in root position as well in the 1st fret, and then a voicing with fingers on frets 3, 3, 1 and 4 on the 5th, 4th, 3rd and 2nd strings of the guitar. This set of riff patterns can be transposed to the 4th fret to be played. For the D-7 chord in root position on the 5th fret, our instructor mentioned that if we simply remove the finger holding down the "A" note on the 4th string, 7th fret, D-7 instantly becomes a D-11 chord.] 

[For this tune, one option for improvising would be to use the Dorian mode. Solo using F Dorian, Ab Dorian and D Dorian respectively according to chord changes in the tune.]
Class Homework:

~ Find a song and play 8 bars of the melody, and then come up with a reharmonization of that 8 bars of melody. Be ready to play both the original version and reharmonized version of the melody in class the following week. 

~ Learn all the licks in the "Simple Improvisation Ideas" handout and play these licks in at least another key. John asked that we start to consciously incorporate these licks when improvising. 

~ For the tune "Cantaloupe Island", learn the melody, chord progression, riff and practice improvisation to it. 

~ Continue practicing the "never ending guitar lines" for the chord qualities of maj7, minor7, dom7 and -7(b5). 

Class Materials/Handouts:

Melody Reharmonization

Simple Improvisation Ideas

Cantaloupe Island

Nuages (II) - Django Reinhardt

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