About Me

My photo
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Developing a rhythmic concept Part V: Even More Herbie!

In this example we see how Herbie uses his rhythmic concept in combination with upper structures to generate melodic material. The example was chosen because it shows both the use of triads and 4ths structures as upper structures. The first system is a vertical rendering of the melodic line to show both the type of upper structure as well as the harmonic rhythm. Note that the harmonic rhythm is displaced by a triplet eighth which we already saw in Part IV. This displacement seems to be Herbie's favourite way of playing his signature polyrhythmic groupings. I would consider to be the foundation of Herbie's rhythmic concept in general.

The bellow transcription is from mm 65-70 which starts at 3:56.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Developing a rhythmic concept Part IV: More Herbie!

Here is another example of the kinds of lines you can build using Herbie's Eighth note groupings. The chord progression is a II-V7-I turn around. Note that it is possible to displace the beginnings of the groupings. You can basically start on any of the 3 triplet subdivisions. Also by combining eight and quarter note triplets you can create larger grouping. This quickly becomes complex as it modulates the meter. So make sure when you're practising longer phrases that you teach yourself how to resolve metrically modulated phrases. As you'll see the more complex your rhythmic concept the more easily it is to train wreck your solo!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Developing a rhythmic concept Part III

Ok so now that we've been trying to think more like a drummer both at our instrument and away from our instrument I though it would be instructive to find some real live music performances to model and study. Remember the goal is to try and use polyrhythms and formulate some new concepts in your own improvising. The example I've chosen is from my own mentor Herbie Hancock who is someone I've spent a lot of time studying and emulating.

Herbie has had some very developed rhythmic concepts in his playing ever since he burst on the jazz scene in New York at the young age of 21. I find it exhilarating to follow the development of how Herbie expands on these concepts throughout his career. Recordings of Herbie from 2015 next to recordings of him from 1962 bear an incredible resemblance in the way Herbie presents his conceptual elements of rhythm, harmony, and melody. And yet we also hear a remarkable maturation and deepening of these musical elements.

The clip below is from 1964 and demonstrates one of Herbie's hallmark rhythmic concepts. After navigating the changes during the exposition part of many of his solos Herbie is then able to continue to build intensity by using some basic polyrhythmic groupings in different interesting ways. In this case he's basically taking a scale and organizing it into subdivisions of quarter note triplets.

The exercise below demonstrates a way of taking Herbie's rhythmic concept during the last part of his solo. The bar numbers are a bit messed up because I transcribed the solo off the original released recording in which Herbie's solo is heavily edited to take out 2 choruses of material. But just advance the solo to the end part where they stop blowing on the form and are vamping over a II-V7-I-VI cycle.