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Jazz warm-ups What is swing? Articulation Scat! Other considerations - jazz scales - rhythm & syncopation
Jazz warm-ups
What is swing?
Articulation
Scat!
Other considerations
-
jazz scales
-
rhythm & syncopation
-
harmony
-
Melody
Improvisation
Rehearsing
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Listening and resources

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Warm-up exercises

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Still do „sirens‟ and the usual exercises. The purpose of warm-ups is to prepare to sing, more so than to learn jazz-style instruction, but some exercises provide the opportunity to use jazz phrasing and scat syllables at the same time. Warm-ups should not be overly complicated; complexity is best left for the repertoire. A few exercises done properly will suffice. Some traditional warm-ups can be „jazzed up‟, but some best left as they are. Most choir directors will have mixed repertoires rather than purely jazz so will require a variety of straight and swing exercises.

  • Siren „singggg- up and down a few times, extending each time.

  • „Whoooo‟ – similar but good for falsetto and higher range

  • „Me-Ahhh‟ – to a 5-note scale, major or minor. Separate vowels and open the jaw.

  • „Bumble Bee‟ straight; remember the „l‟. BB can be swing with scat syllables such as du-va, with dwi on the highest note. Take slowly to enhance the swing-quaver space.

  • “I must sing my half notes…” is an excellent exercise and best left as it is. Semitone focus so important: the foundation of western tonality. Choristers tend to augment this interval, often the cause of poor intonation.

  • Scales and arpeggios, swing and scat:

Design your own warm-ups based on the scat syllables and rhythms you learn today.

What is Swing?

a light rhythmic spring, easy to feel but almost impossible to analyse or describe.

-Grove Jazz Encyclopaedia

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Swing probably made its appearance from about 1910. Jazz musicians play quavers unevenly in terms of both accent and duration, although there is considerable variation in style among players, and at different times in the

history of jazz. Therefore there‟s more than one way to swing! Swing phrasing

is crucial to jazz and creates forward momentum.

www.musiceducationworld.com Swing probably made its appearance from about 1910. Jazz musicians play quavers unevenly in terms
www.musiceducationworld.com Swing probably made its appearance from about 1910. Jazz musicians play quavers unevenly in terms
www.musiceducationworld.com Swing probably made its appearance from about 1910. Jazz musicians play quavers unevenly in terms

A correct ratio for swing quavers cannot be given precisely. Not only is the duration or space between swing quavers a personal thing, but also the placement of notes in regards to the beat. Some musicians like Billie Holiday played deliberately behind the beat (slightly late). This is not the same as

slowing down or „dragging‟, but gives the illusion of slowing the tempo when in fact it isn‟t, and gives a more relaxed feel. The opposite, playing slightly in

front of the beat is known as „pushing‟ or being „on top‟ of the beat. Count

Basie is a great example of this.

Swing is most often played in quadruple meter, with beats 2 and 4 getting a secondary pulse after traditional strong beats. The off beats feel stronger than 1 and 3.

www.musiceducationworld.com Swing probably made its appearance from about 1910. Jazz musicians play quavers unevenly in terms

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www.musiceducationworld.com Rhythm Syncopation is the stressing of a normally unstressed beat. By moving the accent before
www.musiceducationworld.com Rhythm Syncopation is the stressing of a normally unstressed beat. By moving the accent before
www.musiceducationworld.com Rhythm Syncopation is the stressing of a normally unstressed beat. By moving the accent before
www.musiceducationworld.com Rhythm Syncopation is the stressing of a normally unstressed beat. By moving the accent before

Rhythm

Syncopation is the stressing of a normally unstressed beat. By moving the accent before or after the expected stress, we create syncopation by anticipation, or by delay. Hence many jazz phrases begin on an off-beat.

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This is difficult for most of us and certain rhythms need to be familiarised. The combination of swing and syncopation can be challenging. When rehearsing, exaggerate the phrasing and use prosody.

Harmony

Jazz rarely uses triads. Extension refers to 7ths, 9ths, 11ths and 13ths. Alteration refers to the semitone adjustment of a non-essential chord tone, namely the 5 th and/or the 9 th . Substitution refers to using a related chord that fulfils the function of the original chord, the most common example being the tri-tone substitution that involves the dominant chord. These possibilities and combinations offer possibilities for harmonic complexity and hence the renewal and reinterpretation of melody. However, with more chromatic movement in the inner parts, intonation becomes an issue.

Understanding jazz harmony is not difficult, but fun and beautifully logical.

Students in years 10

-12

have

the option of

learning this in schools. The

combination of jazz rhythm and harmony challenges our personal

musicianship and teaching/modelling pedagogy. Monitor your 4-beat conducting pattern.

Rehearsing

Teaching is not the only form of instruction: you don‟t have to „do it all‟

yourself. Get the students involved in our musical society. Go to eisteddfod competitions, festivals, and check out other school/university choral concerts/rehearsals. Put music on in the school environment, the shared network, and introduce them to You Tube choral videos. Aspire to upload your choir on YouTube.

Jazz usually takes place in the context of an actual or simulated jam session. Can we reproduce this in rehearsal? There is ritual and behaviour involved:

-interact with each other, audience, audience participation, personal modesty and generosity. Your students will show effusive appreciation of the creative efforts of their peers.

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  • Always model to your choir and maintain eye contact.

  • Use call and response techniques and consider a drum kit backing or/and finger clicking. Jazz quavers tend to accelerate. Why?

Improvisation:

A good starting place for improvising is with the Blues, a recurring 12-bar musical structure that in its simplicity needs only 3 primary chords, and one scale the Blues scale. Model simple patterns to the choir in a call-response context and in time, encourage the choristers to lead this. Don‟t try and use all the notes of the Blues scale, 2-3 notes is fine for starters, especially given the challenges of swing and articulation. See warm-up sheet for the structure of a Blues scale. Listen to the jazz repertoire to get a feel for the style.

Example: Blues Franca (see end of document) Articulation

Jazz articulation is rarely even and tempered. In early jazz history, white music was based on the accurate reproduction of a set composition whereas Blacks had no such tradition, but tended to see music as a means of personal expression. This is perhaps why jazz melodic lines are spiced with accents and dynamic changes; so that it seems to take on the characteristics of speech. Our speech is full of prosody and accent. Jazz singing should emulate this. Singers have to make a real effort to articulate. Exaggerate this in rehearsal.

Scat and improvisation

The origin of scat can be traced back to West African musics where percussion patterns were often vocalised, for example ‘boom de de boom’. Melodic scatting more likely originated in the USA but this is not certain. One story has it that during a performance, Louis Armstrong dropped his lyric sheet and thinking quickly, wordlessly sang the rest of the tune as if he were playing it. One of his phrases was „scat a lee dat‟ and someone called it

www.musiceducationworld.com  Always model to your choir and maintain eye contact.  Use call and response

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scat. Armstrong was the first to record scat vocals, and is credited with making it an art form.

Scat is the vocalisation of sounds and syllables that are musical but have no literal translation. They are nonsense syllables. Scat was considered a novelty device in early New Orleans jazz, but legitimised due to the artistry of Armstrong about 1926. In particular, Armstrong’s scat was a clear imitation of a trumpet, and his scats rivalled his trumpet solos in virtuosity and expression.

Choosing syllables is entirely subjective but must fulfil a jazz syntax function (like speech) and therefore syllables must contrast appropriately to reflect the intended articulation.

NB Dot is pronounced like dut as in dug. Be careful not to sound the
NB
Dot is
pronounced like
dut as
in
dug.
Be
careful
not
to sound
the

consonant t. This is mostly not sounded. Similarly, bop. Why?

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Beginning syllable suggestions:

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Short vowels: a (like pizza), e (like p), o (like rock) Long vowels: u, ah, aye, oh Vowels can be articulated with consonants B, D, W.

Listen to and copy the masters before developing your own repertoire of scat syllables. Eventually the serious jazz musician has to develop their own voice.

“You can‟t join the throng „til you write your own song”.

Rehearsal tips:

  • Click on beats 2 and 4 whilst scatting

  • Use a drum kit backing (swing)

  • Put metronome bell on beats 2 and 4

  • Model aurally using call and response

  • Practise slowly and deliberately

  • Exaggerate the articulation heavily

Lester Young to Max Roach

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www.musiceducationworld.com Etc F rom Scat - Vocal Improvisation Techniques by Bob Stoloff Jazz 4 Choirs workshop

Etc

From Scat - Vocal Improvisation Techniques by Bob Stoloff

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Vocal drum kit

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Vocal drum kit www.musiceducationworld.com Listening, Resources & Repertoire In jazz, artist‟ performances are more important than

Listening, Resources & Repertoire

In jazz, artist‟ performances are more important than the compositions

themselves (charts).

Groups

Manhattan Transfer

New York Voices

Idea of North

Adelaide Connection

Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross (Yolande Bevan)

Swingle Singers

 

Soloists

Louis Armstrong (mid 1920s on)

Cab Calloway („30‟s)

Ella Fitzgerald (bebop). Listen to How High the Moon from her Berlin concert. As a scat vocalist Ella was unrivalled. Check out her recordings with Louis Armstrong.

Dizzy Gillespie (bebop)

Anita O‟Dea

Chet Baker (west coast, simpler)

Kurt Elling (contemporary, mainstream, vocalise)

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  • Lennie Tristano promoted the ensemble.

usefulness of

scat

in

teaching jazz

  • Bob McFerrin

Books and instruction

  • Vocal Jazz Style by Kirby Shaw

  • Scat! Vocal Improvisation and Techniques by Bob Stoloff

  • Blues Scatitudes by Bob Stoloff

  • Jamey Aebersold collection: More than 100 books with backing tracks for learning jazz repertoire and style.

  • An Explanation of Vocalise by Leonard Feather

  • Vocal Instrumentation: An Instrumental Approach by P Coker and D

Baker

  • Scatting and Bopping by K Henriques

  • Modern Harmony Method by Michael Griffin

Repertoire

Pieces composed and arranged by Kirby Shaw. Check out the arrangers below. Publishers Hal Leonard and Alfred have a large collection. Browse local music stores.

Recommendations:

2-Part

Side by Side (level 2) Bye Bye Blackbird (level 2)

arr J. Althouse arr J. Althouse

SSA

Stormy Weather (level 3)

arr J. Althouse

I Can‟t Give You Anything But Love (level 3) All or Nothin‟ at All

arr D Riley and J Althouse arr Kirby Shaw

It Don‟t Mean a Thing if it ain‟t Got That Swing arr Mac Huff

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Route 66

arr Ed Lojeski arr Kirby Shaw

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It Might as Well Be Spring Steal Away Chattanooga Choo Choo You made me Love You Who can I turn to Fifty Ninth Street Bridge Song

Steppin‟ Out with My baby Evr‟y Time I Feel the Spirit

Nobody Knows the Trouble I‟ve Seen

SSAA

Smoke gets in your Eyes

My Foolish Heart Caravan

SAB

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arr Ed Lojeski Spiritual arr Mac Huff arr J Althouse Arr J. Althouse Arr. F. Metis arr Kirby Shaw arr William Dawson arr GM & AP Puddy

arr R Hunter Washington Young arr Mark Brymer

Basin Street Blues

arr Ed Lojeski

SATB

Blue Skies

arr Steve Zegree

Makin‟ Whoopee

arr Kirby Shaw

Georgia A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square Witness

arr Kirby Shaw arr Kirby Shaw arr Jack Halloran

Trickle, Trickle Sweet Georgia Brown Over The Rainbow Spain Too Darn Hot Summertime

arr Kirby Shaw arr Kirby Shaw arr Roger Emerson arr Rutherford arr Mac Huff arr K Shaw

Listen or download recordings to a number of these songs (plus lots of traditional repertoire) at:

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Arranging your own jazz choral music

Skills and knowledge required:

  • Vocal ranges

  • Harmonic construction

  • Chord progressions

  • Choosing chords from vertical and horizontal perspectives

  • Chord voicing

Reference eBook:

Modern Harmony Method (2 nd Edition) by Michael Griffin http://www.musiceducationworld.com/?q=modernharmonymethod

Enjoy performing your own arrangements and contribute to the choral repertoire. Be careful with swing, some things not meant to be. Use your own

judgement. You don‟t have to introduce many jazz elements to get the desired

effect.

Thank you for downloading my Jazz 4 Choirs paper. Please understand that this is for individual teacher use and not for workshops, professional development or commercial organisations without my permission. I am available to present Jazz 4 Choirs to members of your choral society, and to school choirs looking for a choral jazz experience. In addition I shall be presenting this at ISME Beijing August 2010. See you there!

Michael griffin M.Ed Studies, B.Ed (Music), A.Mus.A (pianoforte)

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www.musiceducationworld.com Jazz 4 Choirs workshop for ECIS Hamburg Nov 09 Michael Griffin ©

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