Linear Harmony #3 – From Point A to Point B

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Let your counterpoint guide you and write from the top down. Don’t worry about chords until it sounds good. Think about the beginning and the end of the phrase and how you want to get from point A to point … Continue reading

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I’m wondering about it crowd-sourcing. There are many ways to go. I want to do a project of varying sizes of ensembles, with some crossover classical/jazz elements, and some free jazz. “Serious” music. That’s what they used to call it … Continue reading

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Linear Harmony #2 – Inner Roots and Voice Leading – Pt. 1

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The layering of chords, with inner roots and strong voice leading are an important part of linear harmony; it’s a melodic way of writing with chords, and with apologies to Schoenberg and Debussy, a jazzy way of using “Klangfarbenmelodie”, or … Continue reading

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Reblogging a Brian Lauritzen Post

Originally posted on Brian Lauritzen:
A couple of days ago, an article appeared in Bloomberg that was so misinformed, so short-sighted, so petty, so ignorant, and so utterly ridiculous that to let it go unchallenged would be irresponsible. The article…

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Linear Harmony #1: Almost Chords but Not Quite

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I started talking about linear harmony a while ago in “Lines Intertwining” (with apologies to Spinal Tap), and a few other Top-Down posts, like Melodic Pedal Points; in other posts I’ve discussed freeing up lines and counterpoint and not worrying … Continue reading

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OKeh is coming back; even though it’s w

OKeh is coming back; even though it’s with Sony, it’s OK The NYT:

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The First Jazz Composer?

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Claude Debussy? Discuss…. Professorscosco is worn out by the holidays, a burning, but very cold rooftop New Years jazz gig, and a long bike ride today, and is thus not inclined at the moment to pontificate about music theory. But … Continue reading

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This is a fantastic and inspirational interview with Dave Brubeck. What is particularity striking is how he was onto contrapuntal jazz writing with his octet/nonet before the Gil Evans/Miles “Birth of the Cool” sessions in 1948. So, despite his influences of Fletcher Henderson, Ellington etc, he was even early in his career able to think outside the box and apply counterpoint, and eventually polytonality and multi-rhythmic(ness?) to his writing. Plus he seems like a really cool guy–maybe his openness and personality helped him bridge the vast gap between the jazz and classical worlds.

Today Is The Question: Ted Panken on Music, Politics and the Arts

A recent press release from the Detroit Jazz Festival stated that 90-year-old Dave Brubeck, advised by his doctors that it would be a bad idea for him to travel, had cancelled his scheduled concert, A vivid force in American music since the latter ’40s, and a charismatic performer, Brubeck shines in the public eye, and it will be a shame if his performing career is over.

I had a wonderful opportunity to interview Brubeck four years ago, for a Jazziz story focusing on his involvement in education. It was a narrative article — the unedited transcript appears below, following four expository paragraphs.

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Few jazz musicians can discuss the whys and wherefores of jazz education so eloquently as pianist-composer Dave Brubeck, whose career could serve as a case study in how to blend the conservatory and the working world beyond.

A household name since Time magazine placed his…

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Top Down #7: Melodic Pedal Point and Vertical Dissonance

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We hear melodic pedal points all the time in blues, country, rock, jazz and classical…. it’s a complicated, jargony name for a simple concept: a note in the top voice repeats or sustains while other voices move underneath. A high … Continue reading

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Top Down #6: Melodic Motion–Space is the Place

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You can give your writing rhythmic tension by varying the “groove” under a melody, melodic line, or syncopated figure. You can also create space for counterlines and more music material under, after and around your melodic figures. This adds a … Continue reading

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