~ classical conversions ~

~ listeners ~ dancers ~ teachers ~

~ Amer Afro Euro convergence ~

~ improv 1/8 notes and swing ~

~ so, you are a classical music artist ready to become a stronger improvising soloist, or an avid listener and lover of musics who just wants to know more about music's inner workings and silent architectures, a body in motion shaping dancer who looks for a deeper knowledge of form and structure, to further synch and shape your steps to the magic of an art that also naturally moves through time, perhaps a teacher of music looking for our traditional curriculum in a new format, the following topics, discussions and links for further studies are presented expressly for you :)

"I have to be my own teacher, curious to know the reason for things."
wiki ~ Laurindo Almeida

A classical conversion. In this method book, established Euro styled classical artists adding the Americana weave of colors have just two clear challenges just ahead. Both of these topics are about musical time and rhythm. Once understood and felt within, internalized even just a bit, all of your existing Euro rhythms take on a new shine and begin to become Americana energized. And with the pitches already in place through your musical training, our discussions and explorations for Amer ~ Afro ~ Euro improvisation, and to all points beyond, then begins anew.

The first challenge has to do with reshaping the big four beat by finding the pure Americana pocket on the 2 and 4 beats. This is the same 'four beat to the measure, 4/4 time', our own original heartbeat pulse, that lives all around the globe in all musics. We can simply internalize this 'Americana pulse' with snapping our fingers or clapping our hands, and by verbally counting out loud the beat numbers.

The second challenge is about phrasing musical tones within moving musical time. Here our interest is with the start and end points of our ideas / phrases and lines. The 'way we energize' or jazzup our ideas and bring the swing :) Cats call this 'forward motion.' Here we get to tie the two master 'bookends' to our studies together, through this shared sense of the same musical time we've all had all along.

For teachers, Essentials teaching method. The following teaching topics are a beginning way for teachers to use this book as one of their method books with their learners. For not all students learn the same ways, and there's also times when we just want to try something new. And once in motion we tend to stay in motion :) Following the links here in listed order should get some learning motion going.

Amer ~ Afro ~ Euro convergence. In this method book, established Euro styled classical artists adding the Americana weave of colors have just two clear challenges just ahead. Both of these topics are about musical time and rhythm. Once understood and felt within, internalized even just a bit, all of your existing Euro rhythms take on a new shine and begin to become Americana energized. And with the pitches already in place through your musical training, our discussions and explorations for Amer ~ Afro ~ Euro improvisation, and to all points beyond, then begins anew.

Improv. Those players transitioning from classical to Americana will bump into the near certain necessity of developing a solo voice. It's just too much a part of the music and too much fun to miss. Not overly present in the classical world, although at one point in history it was rumored to be. Herrs' Mozart and Beethoven were said to be the greatest improvisors of their day. Given a theme to variate, they could work the magic.

When starting out, if you're reading is strong, consider finding the written solos of the cats you dig and shed those ideas. Transcribing is a sure way into building a vocabulary. Sing the line / play the line is most likely the the original way into this self expressive magic. Speaking from the heart helps keep things true.

If entering the jazz world, chances are you'll be playing through the changes and not over them with a parent scale. If this is the case, knowing the theory of spelling chords completely into through their upper structure is a worthy goal. For in the improv of jazz, creating lines through changes is a core historical strand of its DNA.

Improv / 8th notes and swing. Eighth notes are the cashola of so much of the Americana magic for the improvising musicians. For classical players coming over to Americana, developing their eighth notes can become a essential component of their transition. The beginning of this could be based on playing 'even eighths', an unaccented stream of pitches and rhythms subdividing the big four into eight. These can be one pitch repeated, groups of pitches, intervals or arpeggios etc., easily shaped with the metronome.

Even eighths are super hip in today's musics and improv. With a notable big step into jazz in the 40's with percussionist Chano Pano with Dizzy Gillespie, the more 'even eighths' found a way into jazz and evolved the swing beautifully, and in some ways harder than the original dotted figure when employed in straight ahead settings. Of course, the musical environment we find even eighths today has evolved in its time and harmonies from back when accented eights were king.

Once comfortable, a first level advancement of even eights is to accent the off beat eight note. This approach can be viewed as a direct evolution from the traditional swing eights as based on the looping feel of the dotted 8th / 16th pattern. Compare the possibilities. Example 5.

Mix and match? Use all of the feels to shape the expressive contour of your idea? Unless it's the style you totally dig or the one for your gig, might want to be careful of practicing and getting too deep into the lope-ing eights, for when you want to even things up, it might be a challenge to shake it out of your chops. Muscle memory and all of that ya know :)

For listeners. If you like music and want to learn more about how all its theory comes together to create a limitless art, then read on ! To begin ...

... just pick a favorite song

and place it in a style

sing and listen along to the song

and count along ... 1 2 3 4

and find the top ... :)

Style is like variety in a way, like our various varieties of apples. Green ones, green and red ones, red ones, stripped ones etc. With these we can create a spectrum of colors. We do the same with our styles of music. A spectrum of styles. There's some history too of course, but also an incredible correlation between the # of pitches in a song and style. We've in theory just the 12 right? So, from one through 12 we get this sort of parallel.

musical style
kid's songs
folk blues gospel
bluegrass rock country
pop
jazz
# of pitches
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
musical style
kid's songs
folk blues gospel
bluegrass rock country
pop
jazz
# of pitches
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

Listening in a nutshell. For those that want to improve their knowledge and enjoyment of the music they love, the next few ideas will create a pathway of study that combines history with style. So we explore the 'style of an era' and the explore to understand what music elements were used to ceate 'that' sound.

Any song written in 'C' is going to have pitches in common, regardless of the year it was written. So we pick a classic song we totally dig. From any style. This 'classic' song will have other 'covers' from other artists from different eras.

Then listen to each version. One or two will stand out in enjoyment. From here we go to the history and the trending of that unique era, and really forward from there based on your curiosities..

Realize that players had sounds that was good for business and a steady payday. A lot of it is history now to us, but as such we can one at a time in historical order, or not. decide what are the chords like? Any arpeggios? Quarter note bass line and rhythm? Boogie woogie left hand motoring? A big band of horns shouting out the news :) Moody introspective, airy muted modal horn lines at blistering tempos.

So in listening we simply track the elements to understand. Turns out the history timeline coincides with a style line that helps define defines why a

common pitchesTurns out that decade by decade, each of the 'go to' 'C' chords for writing popular song changed a bit with the times. We can clearly hear these 'changes' in the styles s of all our styles

knowledge and ebecome better liteners to the music they love, the

The following discussions simply correlate the music we each love with its historical place on our Americana timeline. What we as listeners can easily develop is to hear the 'era', and understand the basic music elements, composer were using to create a 'style of and era.'

The chord chord on 1910 jass bands by 1920 we're solid 'C'7th chords. etc

A song in 'C' played in .

start here :)

For dancers and choreographers.

This next discussion simply looks at the Americana musical elements that sets our Americana weave of aural colors apart from the other indigenous styles of music from around the world. The top to bottom format should be helpful for teachers who need a step by step curriculum to begin a student's artistic evolutions in music. For classical artists with technique and reading chops looking to improvise. For dancers who are looking to better shape their movements to the flow of the music and perhaps create their own vocabulary of moves that corresponds with their music. And for listeners of all stripes just curious about what makes our Americana music's tick.

Review and coda. So in transitioning from the legit world into Americana, once a cat can conjure a 2 and 4 based groove from right outta the thin air, good things will happen. Once in the groove, singing melodies known deep in the heart become the first lines to swing. Once these rote lines are swinging, no limit at all. The 1/8th note is the currency of Americana improv, subdividing the big 4, the common time we roll too. Even eights rule the day today, off beat accents a next challenge. Finding the triplet feel and a gallop completes the entry level chores for the classically trained artist.

"Music helps remind people of their own humanity."
wiki ~ Danny Kortchmar