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Jazz Sax Lessons: Phrasing a Melody: If I Were A Bell

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On this lesson, phrasing a melody,
we're working with if I Were a Bell.
We're not gonna talk about anything
specific in terms of technique or
accidentals like we have or dynamics
like we have or the notes like we have.
We're gonna talk about purely phrasing,
just the music.
And so,
I'm gonna do a little less talking and
a little bit more playing of the melody.
But as you listen to me play this melody,
I want you to follow along on your
chart and know that now we're
not in the recording studio right
recording notes exactly verbatim.
Now I'm reading a lead sheet on a gig and
I'm kind of interpreting the melody.
I'm phrasing the melody.
So the things to be thinking about
too in all your phrasing, number one,
make sure that, I'm going to embellish
the melody somewhat as should you.
But just like articulations and
everything else, less is more.
So if you take a melody, like a beautiful
classic melody like If I Were a Bell, and
embellish it to the point
of nonrecognition
you've gone obviously way too far.
So but on the other hand,
if you just play the notes in
the paper you haven't gone far enough.
So this is one of those artsy
subjective kinds of things.
I'm just gonna give you an example.
But I was going to say that make sure
that one thing to think about is if
you do embellish a melody to the point
that you're adding other notes make sure
that those notes you know fit
the chord that you're playing over.
You know fit the key.
Fit the chord and makes sense.
In this case too it really is
helpful to think of it as a singer.
You want to be singing this
melody as you're playing it.
That's why we practice so hard so
that we're able to play as close
to what we're hearing as possible.
My daughter Katie is an incredible singer.
She, if she hadn't gone into
acupuncture what she is now,
she got her undergrad from USC
as a musical theater student.
I bring that up and that musical theater,
she had a degree in musical theater.
Incredible singer and as she was growing
up I would hear her in a room singing and
I think, man that's totally not fair.
I mean, you know, she can phrase so
beautifully and it just comes out.
I've gotta practice four hours a day
before I could even come close to that.
So the more we put time
into our technique,
into the ability to play, the more we
have control over what we're doing so
that we can make better music,
and that is the goal.
So, I'm gonna play this melody down.
I'm gonna repeat it so
you can hear it twice.
And you know, along with
the different notes that I play,
I might mess with the rhythm somewhat.
I'm obviously gonna use some
of my jazz articulation, and
jazz inflections and
things, scoops and bends.
But again, less is more so
be wary of that.
So here we go with my interpretation of,
If I Were A Bell.
Okay so as I'm playing this melody and
trying to phrase it differently, if I were
to play it a hundred different times,
I'd come up, hopefully,
with a hundred different versions.
And if you were to do the same thing,
so would you.
So the things that we want to be thinking
about when we're phrasing a melody is to
always Always make better, don't detract.
Don't do so much to a melody
that you're taking away from it.
And also, make sure that when you add
something that's not on the paper,
that it's in time, that it's helping the
feel of the song, and that you're in the.
You're in the right key and you're playing
notes that don't detract from the chord.
So you know have fun with
this is kind of one of those
just musical exercises that,
I'd love to hear you.
I know I've said this on practically
every lesson, but it's true.
I really would encourage
you to record yourself.
Not only do I wanna hear your,
see and hear your videos,
but it does help to record yourself
when your playing these things.
So it just As one more level
of commitment on your part.
It's great to practice, obviously,
but when you're recording yourself,
it kinda forces you to play
it a little bit more solid,
so another good reason to do those videos.
Okay, so have fun phrasing.
If I were a bell.