Summer 2020: Questions & Answers

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What is the difference between a fake book and a real book? Both fake books and real books are collections of lead sheets, that is, pieces presented simply as melodies and chord symbols. Some jazz musicians use these collections at gigs to have a wide array of tunes at their disposal. The term "fake book" is used as a broad category for these colle...
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5 Things Every Piano Teacher Needs to Know About Jazz

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Grace Bunday
Thank you very, Jeremy. About the rhythm, do you apply the same principles to the accompaniment? When the accompaniment is an Albe... Read More
Wednesday, 06 May 2020 14:46
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Spring 2019: New Music Reviews

 (S1-3) Imaginations Books 1 and 2, by Kevin Olson.  Kevin Olson has a knack for creating fresh and original sounds at every teaching level. While incorporating the reading, rhythmic, and technical skills needed to advance the piano student, Imaginations offers a wide variety of appealing pieces. With titles like "Android Attack," "Pengui...
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November/December 2018: New Music Reviews

(S3-4) Big Phat Jazz Piano Solos: 10 Big Phat Band Classics, arranged by Gordon Goodwin. (S3-4) If you're not familiar with the name "Gordon Goodwin," you probably haven't played in a high school jazz band in the last fifteen years or so. Goodwin's music has achieved near ubiquity in the jazz e...
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Connections between the music of the United States and Claude Debussy

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It has been more than one hundred years since Claude Debussy was composing masterpieces that were part of a general revolutionary movement that challenged European musical traditions. Debussy was looking for ways to distinguish himself as unique and French, while at the same time using sources from other countries. He found inspiration in varied an...
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Bringing it Home

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For a pianist without high-level management, organizing a tour can feel like an impossible undertaking. There are many reasons why touring is harder than ever before: venues for classical and jazz music have been shuttering their doors all over the country, audiences are far from guaranteed even at the most reputable venues, most major papers no lo...
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May/June 2018: New Music Reviews

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(S5) Pacific Preludes by Christopher Norton, CD recorded by Iain Farrington Christopher Norton is well known for his contemporary works in jazz, pop, Latin rhythms, and even musicals. His Pacific Preludes Collection is an interesting set of fourteen pieces based on folk melodies from countries bordering the Pacific Ocean: the United States, the Phi...
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Closer Look May/June 2017: New Ways with Bach

(S4) Bach Meets Jazz: 15 Well-Tempered Classics, arranged by Phillip Keveren. Phillip Keveren's latest arrangements will entertain anyone who loves Bach. In Bach Meets Jazz, Keveren cleverly adds a jazzy spin to fifteen popular Bach works. All the original melodies in these two-to-three-page arrangements are recognizable throughout, and the setting...
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What jazz contributes to the classical pianist

There is a long tradition of teaching quality classical piano in Canada. There are also a myriad of support systems to teach theory and written scores in a variety of contemporary styles. Then there's jazz. Some teachers like it and some don't. Others don't feel knowledgeable enough to include it in their studios. For many teachers it is a big unkn...
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Comping 101 - Accompanying Students

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Accompanying students is an enjoyable way to transfer musicality from veteran to rookie efficiently without so much "teacher talk."  For students, it  • tightens up their sense of time;  • helps them listen while playing;  • enables them to feel more like "real musicians";  • prepares them to play in ensembles;  • and ...
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Introductions

A good musical introduction creates anticipation for the listener by suggesting the key and style of a tune about to be played. Ready? Go!  The easiest way to set up a tune is to play a V7 intro chord. This works because it takes advantage of our expectations about functional harmony. Since most tunes begin with the I chord, a V7 chord pl...
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Variations

She always wore a cherry-red coat... She always wore a cherry-red coat. At least that is what I remember she wore, whether that fact is true or not. Her gray hair surrounded her head in a fluff that looked like a halo pushed slightly askew, and she walked quickly, her back bent slightly forward in what looked like anticipation, but was probably ost...
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Interpreting jazz accents

Accents are a fascinating thing. I mean the kind that keep Americans from understanding folks from across the pond and vice versa. I'll never forget landing at the Edinburgh, Scotland, airport and hailing a cab to my hotel. The cabbie said something to me that sounded vaguely like a phrase I should understand. It might as well have been Martian, fo...
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All’s well that ends well

Jazz pianists face innumerable decisions when playing a song from the American Songbook. Every time we perform a song by Cole Porter, George Gershwin, or Duke Ellington, we address questions about key (we are not obliged to play the tune in its original key);tempo (should it be slow, medium, fast, or free); rhythmic background (shall we try sw...
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A Party for the Fingers

Margaret Goldston's Jazztoccata (Alfred) has been a huge success with my late-intermediate students. The composition's strong rhythmic drive exudes energy, and the C-minor key gives the piece an introspective quality that my older students welcome. One student beamed with delight as she told me that it sounded like a piece a professional pianist wo...
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Diminished seventh chords, and, pardon the expression, half-diminished seventh chords in jazz and popular music

Diminished seventh chords In jazz and popular music, diminished chords are invariably played as four-note chords, rather than triads, whether the chord symbol says Cdim (C °) or Cdim7 (C ° 7). A diminished seventh chord consists of a diminished triad plus a diminished seventh above the root of the triad: However, enharmonic spellings are fre-q...
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How do you create solo piano arrangements from a fake book?

Today's jazz pianists learn to play within many different contexts. They might find themselves in a big band, a combo, or by themselves as keyboard soloists. As soloists, they must supply the harmony, rhythm, and melody while only being given a lead sheet version of a song as a guide. At the professional level, this skill can be quite complex. Howe...
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Chord Substitution

One thing that has always drawn me to jazz is the harmony. It is fascinating to hear how a single chord change can define one artist's interpretation of Autumn Leaves or Night and Day from another artist's interpretation. Applied judiciously, these harmonic variations will add touches of color to your own arranging and performing. When one chord is...
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An aural journey through "Spring is Here"

I recently performed a concert celebrating the arrival of spring with a program featuring songs with the word "Spring" in the title. It Might As Well Be Spring, Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most, You Must Believe in Spring, and Joy Spring proved to be fun to play and provided me with many harmonic and rhythmic opportunities. Of ...
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The rhythms of jazz: Syncopation

An important aspect of rhythm (in any style of music) is the alternation of accented and unaccented musical elements. When the accented elements differ from what is expected, we have syncopation, an essential part of jazz. This article will examine two kinds of syncopation first outlined by Winthrop Sargeant in his pioneering 1938 work Jazz: Hot an...
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Piano Magazine is the leading resource for pianists, piano teachers, and piano enthusiasts. We bring you informative, interesting, and inspiring ideas on all aspects of piano teaching, learning, and performing. The official name of Clavier Companion magazine was changed to Piano Magazine in 2019.

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