Tag Archives: composition

Linear Harmony #4 – Inner Roots and Voice Leading Pt. 2

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…the effect is fluid and free, almost like a composition is improvising with itself. I like this technique and I use it often. Thinking about strong lines and counterpoint first, and chords and harmonic movement second can make it all … Continue reading

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“Hudson City Suite” – a Short Film by Gabriel Judet-Weinshel

When you surround yourself with blazing musical and visual talent, this is what happens. Gabe is a good friend, a filmmaker, writer and musician, and a longtime collaborator. He put this together using location footage from Jersey City, NJ, interviews, and … 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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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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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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Top-Down #5: More off the Grid

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When your phrases breathe and have some space, counterlines and background figures come more easily. When you write from the top, everything fits, because you decide how much space to allot each element, then you fill in the rest. When … Continue reading

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Top Down #4: Rhythmic Control and Moving off the Grid

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One goal of writing from the top-down is to compose more expressively. Not that your melodies need any help to be expressive, but perhaps there’s a way to “open it up” more. Thinking about your music with flexible rhythmic feel … Continue reading

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Top Down #3: Phrase Length and Form

Listen to some old-school blues tracks, and dig upon how some phrases/lyric lines are longer than the 4 measures that we’re used to. The performer goes to the IV chord, back to the I, to the V, when it feels … Continue reading

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Top-Down #2: Phrase Length, Strength, and the Third Dimension

There’s nothing wrong with strict song form, standards, blues, etc., and I have no objection to chord progressions – some of my best friends have strong resolutions. But, jazz music’s two big building blocks, song form (4-8-12-16 bar structure) and … Continue reading

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Scoring and Controlling Improvisation #2–Cells and Solos

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Writing “free” notation in jazz for pitched instruments is a challenge. While rhythm section players are used to making up their parts (reading chord changes, following ensemble figures with rhythmic notation), there might be some head-scratching at the session in … Continue reading

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