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Cello Lessons: “Minor Swing"

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Minor Swing,
one of the quintessential
gypsy jazz tunes.
Gypsy jazz is a subset of jazz.
And it's got a lot of fast guitar chords,
and a lot of virtuosic playing.
And it is particularly friendly,
to string instruments.
Stephane Grappelli was an incredible
gypsy jazz violinist and
he co-wrote this tune
with Django Reinhardt.
They had a very famous gypsy jazz duo,
guitar and fiddle, and
their kind of the gold standard for
gypsy jazz music.
And so
this tune is a great tune because the solo
section is got a lot of fun chords.
The general scale of this tune,
it's in A minor.
And on the solo section,
I kind of alternate between
maybe an A natural minor,
A aeolian which works over the one chord,
and the four chord, the D minor
It's the same notes in A,
Aeolian as they are in D, Dorian.
So, that A natural minor chord, or scale,
is gonna work over this whole tune
potentially, but, on the E seven chords,
the five chords, we wanna have a G sharp.
So when we raise the seventh in the root
scale, becomes A harmonic minor.
So you wanna keep in mind, when you play
G sharp, or when you play G natural.
The solo changes,
have one small variation.
At the end, four bars from
the end of the solo changes,
you've got a B flat dominant seven,
to an E seven,
to the A.
That's a cool cadence, however,
some people often times in a jam
situation will not play the B flat seven.
They'll just hang on the five chord.
Because, well, it's easier and so
you don't actually have to change scales
if you leave out that B flat seven chord.
However, I wanted to leave it in here so
that we can work on all the chord scales.
And everything that we've been
laying the groundwork for so
far in the jazz curriculum.
The other interesting thing about
this tune is the head, the melody at
the beginning of the tune, is different
than the melody at the end of the tune.
So the head of the beginning
is just like this arpeggio
that goes back and forth
every bar.
But the head at the end of the song
It repeats the arpeggio in
in those three chords, so
it's actually a different
melody at the end.
And you may have noticed that
in the performance of this tune,
I kind of sang a little bass riff.
[NOISE] As we went to
the repeat of the opening head.
That is a key part of this tune,
actually is that base fill.
There is a hit on that E seven,
and that space is for
a base player or frankly,
any other instrument.
You could fill it melodically.
But traditionally,
it is a bass that gets that fill.
I'm gonna cover a bunch of specific
topics that can help you improvise
stylistically in this tune
Minor Swing coming up.
But, before you embark on those videos,
I do want you to play the melody so
many times that you just get bored of it.
I want you to memorize the melody,
and even memorize the chords.
All of our chord scale, and
arpeggiating the chord ground work, and
isolating the guide tones.
This is the time for
you to do all of that.
Right when you're beginning
to work on the tune.
So that everything else that we work on
from here on as a strong foundation and
you understand the harmonies and
the structure of the tune.
So happy practicing, take a little
while to go through that stuff.
Luckily, it's a short tune, so
there's not nearly as many chords as,
say, Autumn Leaves.
But, I do want you to put in that work.
In jazz they call it shedding.
You need to shed this tune.
You need to play all these chords and
So, happy shedding.