This JazzPianoSkills Podcast Episode explores a Key of Db Major Harmonic Workout (Block Chords, Traditional and Contemporary Shells, Two-Handed Voicings) + Rhythmic Comping Patterns
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Every JazzPianoSkills weekly podcast episode introduces aspiring jazz pianists to essential Jazz Piano Skills. Each Podcast episode explores a specific Jazz Piano Skill in depth. Today you will discover, learn, and play a Key of Db Major Melodic Workout. In this Jazz Piano Lesson, you will:
A Key of Db Major Harmonic Workout
How to "think" within the Key of Db Major, Harmonically
Block Chords, Traditional and Contemporary Shells, Two-Handed Voicings using common harmonic motion AND various Rhythmic Comping Patterns
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Dr. Bob Lawrence
President, The Dallas School of Music
Dr. Bob Lawrence 0:32
Welcome to jazz piano skills. I'm Dr. Bob Lawrence. It's time to discover, learn and play jazz piano. Today you're going to discover a key of D flat major harmonic workout. And you're going to learn how to think within the key of D flat major harmonically. And you're gonna play essential jazz piano voicings, block chords, traditional contemporary shells, two-handed shapes, using common harmonic motion, and various rhythmic comping patterns. So as I always like to say, regardless of where you are, in your jazz journey, a beginner intermediate player, advanced player, or even if you are a seasoned and experienced professional, you're gonna find this jazz panel skills podcast lesson exploring a key of D flat major harmonic workout to be very beneficial. If you are a new listener to the jazz panel skills podcast if you are new to jazz piano skills, I want to welcome you and I want to personally invite you to become a jazz piano skills member. There are many benefits and all you have to do to become a member. Simply visit jazz Pannell skills.com And once you arrive at the homepage, you can begin to explore and poke around a little bit. Check out all of the jazz educational resources, the materials the services that are available for you to use to help you significantly improve your jazz piano skills. For example, as a jazz panel skills member you have access to all of the educational podcast packets, the illustrations, the lead sheets, the play alongs that are available for every weekly podcast episode. These are invaluable educational tools that I developed each and every week to help you along your jazz journey. And you certainly want to have these packets in your hands as you listen to this podcast episode. And you certainly want to have them sitting on your piano when practicing as well. You also as a jazz panel skills member have access to the sequential jazz piano curriculum, which is loaded with comprehensive courses using a all of the courses using a self-paced format educational talks, there's interactive media there's video demonstrations in all 12 keys of the jazz panel skill being taught there are play long files and much much more. You also as a jazz panel skills member have a reserved seat in the weekly online master classes that I host each and every week. These are in essence, a one-hour lesson with me. Like I said each and every week. You also have access to the interactive online Fakebook that Fakebook contains jazz standards from the Great American Songbook, you'll enjoy chord changes lead sheets, there are harmonic function lead sheets play along files, historical insights, they're inspirational recordings and chord scale relationship diagrams, and much more. It's an ever-growing collection of tunes that you should have absolutely discover, learn and play. And also as a jazz panel skills member you have access to the online jazz piano skills community, which hosts a variety of engaging forums, there are podcasts specific forums, course specific forums. And of course, there are just general jazz piano forums for you to enjoy as well. You have access to all of the forums and you will have the ability to contribute to them. You will have the ability to encourage others and to benefit from other's right, share, engage and grow the jazz panel skills community is awesome. You'll also last but certainly not least, you will also have access as a jazz panel skills member to unlimited private, personal and professional educational support provided by me whenever and as often as you need it. Again, just visit jazz piano skills.com To learn more about all these wonderful educational opportunities that are awaiting you and how to easily activate your membership. Now there are several membership plans once you get there. There are several membership plans to choose from. And I'm certain there is one that is perfect for you. But nevertheless, if you get there and you've had some questions, please reach out to me, let me know, I'm always happy to spend some time with you, and to help you in any way that I can. Okay, so let's discover and learn to play jazz piano, let's get after the key of D flat major harmonic workout. All right, I go through this little routine every time, every time we begin our exploration of a new key. And of course, I'm going to go through it again right now, simply because it's simply because I just enjoy the dramatics of it right. So are you ready? You can say it along with me if you wish, right? The key of C major is over the key of F major over key B flat major o over the key of E flat major
Dr. Bob Lawrence 5:54
over and the key of A flat major over, they're all long gone. See, doesn't it feel good to say that. And to know that you're moving on? It should because it's a big deal. It's a very big deal to keep forging ahead no matter what. No matter how well you think you have a handle on the essential jazz piano skills in previous keys, or how shaky you may believe your jazz piano skills are in previous keys. The point is, the point is that we keep moving forward, forward motion. The key to developing our jazz panel skills and becoming an accomplished jazz pianist is forward motion. I mentioned this point last month and I want to bring it to your attention once again. If you are truly serious about wanting to improve your jazz piano skills, your jazz piano playing which I know you are, then your goal should be to experience as much data as possible. In other words, you have to have a plan in place that allows you to cycle through essential jazz piano skills in all 12 keys. Write a plan in place to explore all 12 keys not every day. But a plan in place that cycles through those 12 keys on a consistent basis. Now, your jazz journey must always be experienced. And as I just mentioned forward motion. As I like to say you can not allow grass to grow under your feet. And you've heard me say this before to the number one reason why people find it difficult to improve their jazz playing is because they always practice the same things in the same way and the same keys over and over and over again. In essence, they are just simply running in place. Right they're like that hamster in that weight on that wheel that is running, running in place. They never push forward. They never move through the keys as we have set out to do this year 2020 to 12 months 12 keys, essential jazz piano skills, voicings scales, arpeggios chord scale relationships, improvisation, and rhythms. Such a good plan, such a good approach, such a good time frame. So today, we begin tackling the key of D flat major. And so as I have stressed over and over. Once we move on, we move on. In other words, we do not try to sneak back to the previous keys in the wee small hours of the morning. Without anyone looking to simply check it out. How well do we remember the voicings, the scales the arpeggios, stop
Dr. Bob Lawrence 9:11
it, none of that it's time to move on. The books on the key of A flat major are closed. And on the key of D flat major, we go we move ahead and as we have done with the previous keys that we have explored this year, key of C F B flat E flat, we begin harmonically we're going to explore the seventh chords of the key of D flat major. D flat major seven E flat minor seven F minor seven, G flat major seven a flat dominant seven B flat minor seven, C half diminished seven using four specific approaches to voicing each of those chords, each of these chords right? Blocks, traditional shells, contemporary shells, and two-handed shapes. And we will then as we did in the keys of F, B flat, E flat, and a flat, apply those voicings to various rhythmic comping patterns, which as you know, become increasingly more and more challenging each month. Now, I want to remind you that you can take the various rhythmic patterns, the rhythmic comping patterns that we have studied in the keys of F, B flat, E flat, and a flat and play them using the voicings we are about to get under our fingers for the key of A flat, right. That's not only okay, it's a great idea. And you should absolutely be carrying these various rhythmic comping patterns forward throughout the year, as we move through all 12 keys. Last week I gave it I gave a pretty deep and insightful explanation as to why this is so very important. And I want to take a minute right now to further expound upon that excellent explanation today. Now, you know, we always talk about developing improvisational vocabulary. And whenever this topic comes up, it is always discussed from a melodic point of view, right. In other words, the expression improvisation vocabulary has become synonymous with melodic playing, which is really only a third of the entire picture. In addition, to place an emphasis on melodic development, we need to spend time discussing and focusing on harmonic development and rhythmic development when the topic of improvisation vocabulary is mentioned. And that is precisely what the harmonic workouts are all about right, harmonic and rhythmic development. So when studying a solo, a melodic transcription, we do so if we if we do it correctly, we do so in such a way that the ideas the approaches to melodic development displayed by the artist, serve as a launching pad or gateway to the discovery of our own melodic creativity. In other words, we don't study a Bill Evans transcription in hopes of becoming an inferior replica of Bill Evans. Right, we study a Bill Evans transcription, so that Bill Evans can introduce us to our own creative reservoir. If you have not given time to thinking about this, then I strongly encourage you to do so. And think about this as well. When we focus on a harmonic development, voicings, and rhythmic development time, we should be doing so in the spirit of discovering our very own and unique form of musical expression. And again, this is exactly what these harmonic and melodic workouts are all about. The voicings I share with you are to help you discover the sounds the harmony that you are drawn to. And the rhythms I introduce are done so to help you develop a stronger internal sense of what I like to call expressive time. Last week's discussion and this week's discussion
Dr. Bob Lawrence 13:50
is certainly a lot to process and digest. So think about it. And of course, if you have any questions, as always, let me know. So today we tackle the key of D flat major and the educational agenda for today is as follows number one, we begin our key of D flat major harmonic workout for the month of June. Number two, we are going to play essential harmonic voicings that you need to discover learn and play - the block shapes, traditional shells, contemporary shells, and the two-handed shapes. Number three, we're going to utilize a very, very relaxed, very comfy ballad groove of 70. Breathe in, breathe out. Nice. Number four, we are going to explore 12 comping rhythms focusing on the eighth note, triplet, rhythmic pattern. And number five, we're going to apply our rhythmic comping patterns to the classic 251 progression in the key of D flat major If you are a jazz piano skills member, as always, I want you to take a few minutes right now hit the pause button, I want you to download and print your podcast packets, the illustrations, the lead sheets, the play alongs. Again, your membership grants you access to all of these educational podcasts packets for every weekly podcast episode. And as I mentioned earlier, you should absolutely be using these podcast packets when listening to this episode. And of course when you are practicing now if you are listening to this podcast on any of the popular podcast directories such as Apple or Google, Amazon, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and so on, then be sure to go directly to jazz panel skills podcast.com. To access and download your podcast packets, you will find the download links within the show notes. One final and extremely important note that I include in every podcast episode, if you are listening, and you are thinking that the key of D flat major harmonic workout and the various skills that we are about to discover, learn and play our over your head, then I say to you, so what? No worries. Please continue to listen continue to grow your jazz panel skills intellectually by listening, right? Every new skill is technically over our heads when first introduced. But
Dr. Bob Lawrence 16:29
that is exactly why the first step is always to just simply listen. We placed ourselves smack dab in the middle of conversations where we're lost where we're hearing things that we may have never heard before. And we're hearing terms that maybe we have never heard before. And in doing so we are forced to grow intellectually. And I say it all the time. All musical growth begins upstairs conceptually mentally before it can even begin to come out downstairs physically in our hands. So sit back, relax. Listen to this podcast lesson now to discover and learn the play. It will come in time, I guarantee it. Okay, the very first thing I want to address is the very last page of your lead sheets packets. It's labeled skill 17. The title of the page is copying rhythms and you will notice there are 12 rhythmic patterns labeled letter A through letter L. And you will also notice that these rhythmic patterns focus primarily on the eighth note triplet pattern. You will also notice that each of these rhythmic patterns is played with the 251 progression. Right and that's exactly what we are going to do today. Now do not by Brett bypass practicing skills one through 16. Right don't get the cart ahead of the horse. So spend some time with skills one through 16. In your packet, all four voicing types should be practiced right first with without any rhythm, right just practice in and of themselves. Right your blocks your contemporary traditional contemporary shells and your two-handed voicing skills one through 16 and be sure to use the play alongs that are included in your podcast packets. Obviously, I do not have time today. In this podcast episode to play through all 16 exercises and all 12 rhythmic patterns, I'm going to trust that you do not like I said get the cart ahead of the horse and practice skills one through 16 Right so make sure you have a handle on each of the four voicing types as applied to the chords found in the key of D flat major, then turn your attention to developing your comping scales using the voicings as you play the 251 progression in the key of D flat major. That's right E flat minor seven to a flat dominant seven to D flat major seven. Okay, so let's dig in. Here we go. Pattern a line A, okay. I'm going to play through this line four times of course again using the 251 progression and I'm going to use today I'm going to use the two-handed voicings so you can use any of the voicings that you'd like the block shapes or the traditional shells, contemporary shells, but I'm going to use the two handed voicings today. And in fact, you can even before using the voicings, you can use a single note a single note like E flat and then for the two chord, A flat for the five chord, D flat for the one chord. Use that single note to get acclimated to the pattern to the triplets. Then add the voicings after you're comfortable with the pattern so feel free to do that as well. So if you look at letter A right away we have a You know, we have half note on counts one and two and measures one and two, we have triplet, triplet on count three and measure one and two, well not just measure one and two, measure one, two and three right half notes followed by triplets. So I want to bring the ensemble in, and I want to play through this pattern four times. Again, nice and comfortable tempo 70, and play through it four times, I want to pay very careful attention to how I articulate these triplets. Okay, I don't want to rush I don't want to anticipate and get out in front of the beat. So it's, you know, you might be thinking 70 Is, is easy, but you know what playing slower tempos does not automatically mean easier. So, here we go. I'm gonna bring out a sample and here we go at a tempo of 70 line A. And here we go tackling these eighth note triplets. Check it out, and let's see what we think here we go.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 21:59
Nice, see I told you 70 Don't automatically think 70 is going to be an easy tempo, right? Especially when we're trying to articulate triplets. And letter A, we had those triplets placed on count three of measure one, two, and three. But now check out letter B. Our triplets are going to take place on count one of measure one, two, and three. So we're moving them from count three to count one. And count carefully. All right, we've got a tied note on end of measure three going into measure four, hold your voicing all the way through that all the way to count three be very meticulous about how long you're holding these note values. Okay, so let's bring the ensemble back in. And let's check out letter B. Here we go.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 23:52
Love it beautiful, right nice, and relaxed. So now check out Letter C right and letter A and letter B. We had our triplets falling on count three and letter A we had our triplets falling on count one and letter B. Now we're going to mix it up a little bit and letter C we have triplets that and measure one on count three. Check out measure three we have triplets on one and three, followed by measure four with those triplets coming in on count three. So again, same tempo same groove, same feel. Let's bring the ensemble in and let's check it out. Here we go.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 25:26
Alright, so now letter D. Now it's time to kind of ratchet it up a little bit. We've noticed in letter A lines A, B, and C, everything's falling on the downbeat, not the case starting with letter D, we have our eighth notes falling on the backside of count three and count forward measure one, we have triplets on one and three and measure two, we have triplet, measure three with the eighth note, the last eighth note of the triplet tied to count two and three and four. And then we have a triplet on count two and measure four. So a lot more going on in line D, than we've then we have experienced in lines A, B, and C. So let's get after this. Let's bring the ensemble back in and listen to letter D, here we go check it out.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 27:17
Very nice, not easy, but very nice indeed. So now let's take a peek at letter e. that we've been ignoring counts to count for until now. And letter E are triplets are falling on count to count for of measure one and two. Check out measure three, we have a rest on that downbeat of one which believe me is going to be hard. You have to count silence coming on count to hold it through count three and four. And then check out measure for repair eighth notes on count one and then here we go with these syncopated eighth notes on the back side of count two in the back side of count three. So we have some new twists that we have to deal with here with letter E. So let's bring the ensemble in Let's get after it and see what this sounds like. Here we go check it out.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 29:09
little trickier indeed right? No doubt about it. So now, let's move on to letter F. letter F, we have you know, measure one, you have three quarter notes. I'm just going to warn you right now do not bang those quarter notes. Do not just plop the hand down and play those quarter quarter notes mindlessly to go into that because you're focusing on that triplet on count four. I want you to hold each one of those quarter notes for their full value than the triplet on count four followed by a pair of eighth notes on count one. So don't anticipate and rush those eighth notes on count one of measure two either. Then you have to come in on the end of four and measure two you have a triplet with the back the last eighth note of that triplet tied through the rest of the measure. Right, we're drew up to measure count for that measure. And then we have a syncopated eighth note again on the backside of count four. So it's very tricky. Play this as musically as you possibly can. And again, the quarter notes full value on those first three quarter notes here we go let's check it out and see what we think.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 31:24
See, when you really start paying attention rhythmically, and holding notes for their full value, not just the quarter notes, but those triplets as well and those eighth notes, it changes the whole sound of the pattern. So often we clip quarter notes, we clip eighth notes, everything becomes almost kind of like a staccato, like a staccato articulation. I want you to think very legato. Jazz is a legato music. Right, listen, listen to guys play, and you'll hear the legato Enos of their plane. Okay, so now, letter G, again, we ratchet it up, check it out, we have our familiar, eighth note, quarter eighth pattern on counts one and two of measure one and counts one and two of measure two, followed immediately with a triplet, eighth note, triplet, triplet. All right, and then measure four again we have coming in on the backside of count one. So we have a new little twist here and letter G as well. So let's bring the ensemble in. Let's take a listen. Let's check it out and see what we think here we go.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 33:37
Nice, right, very nice. Now, letter A we're going to we're going to add a new twist again, it but yet, we're familiar with these rhythmic ideas from our previous harmonic and melodic workouts we have eighth note followed by a dotted quarter note and measure one right eighth note followed by dotted quarter note, and then we have a triplet on count one and measure two. We have that eighth note followed by a dotted quarter note tied to a half note and measure three, ending with a triplet on count one and measure four. This should be a lot of fun. So let's bring the ensemble and check it out and see what we think here we go.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 35:20
This is quite a workout, isn't it? Oh man, I tell you plain rhythms and we're just getting started right? We're not even halfway through the year yet this this is fun. So now take a look at letter I. Now we have triplets back to back, we have a half note on count one a measure one followed by eighth note triplets on counts three and four, we repeat that same rhythmic idea. And measure two, we have a breather and measure three, kind of think about everything and recover. But don't think too long measure for backside eighth notes on the upbeat of count one, count two and count three. Again, be very careful with those play those musically just Don't jab at him play him musically. So here we go. Let's bring the ensemble in and let's take a listen to letter I check it out here we go.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 37:16
See that's a little different, right when the triplets are back to back, as they were in letter I right on counts, three and four back to back. Well now we're going to we're going to do the same idea but we're going to put those triplets on counts one and two. So we have back-to-back triplets on counts one and two and measure one we have backed back triplets and on counts one and two and measure three, measure two tricky eighth note on the end of 1/8 note on the end of two. Alright, so count carefully and again pay attention to note values. How are you playing those note values? Are you playing them for their full value? Okay, so here we go. Let's bring the ensemble in. Let's have a little fun letter J.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 39:02
Nice right, so that's, that's a great rhythm, the practice right eighth note triplets back to back whether you place them on measure on counts three and four or one and two. Always a challenge. But now check out letter K. Okay, this was a new twist to coming in on the and of one so we have an eighth note on the backside of a count one followed immediately by a triplet. And we do the same thing in measure 2/8 note on the backside a count one followed by a triplet and check out measure three. Same rhythmic motif on counts one and two and counts three and four. The eighth note on the offbeat followed immediately by a triplet and we do the same thing in measure four. Very tricky. Count carefully have fun. So let's bring the ensemble and let's check it out and see what we think here we go.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 40:57
not easy at all. Not easy at all, especially again at a tempo of 70. Right? So easy to anticipate and get out in front of these rhythms, especially with these triplets at that tempo. Very easy to do. So. Alright, so now our last rhythmic line of the Day letter L. And here we go, we're putting triplets. eighth note triplets on count one, count to count three, of measure one and measure two, right, we have a little breather and count and measure three, followed by eighth note triplets again, on counts one and two of measure four. Okay, take a big breath. Here we go. Let's bring the ensemble in and check it out here we go.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 42:52
Well needless to say if, if you're new to eighth note triplets, then this workout, this workout is going to be challenging, right. But you can you can get it, you can do it, I guarantee it, spend some time with them. Well, we have done it again, we have unpacked an amazing amount of information in one very short one very fast. Our next week, we jump into a key a D flat major melodic workout. So enjoy this week tackle this harmonic workout and get ready for the melodic workout. Next week, I will introduce some new rhythmic twist for that workout as well. So as I have been stressing every month, hang in there with me this year, you're going to experience a ton, I mean a ton of jazz piano growth. You will love where you are musically a year from now I guarantee it, you'll feel the difference. And most, most importantly, you'll hear the difference in your plane. And once again, I want to encourage all jazz panel skills members use those podcast packets, the illustrations, the lead sheets to play alongs to guide you and help you study and practice these rhythmic patterns. Okay, these are educational tools that that that will help you gain a mastery of the jazz piano skills conceptually physically and of course, musically. And finally, always, always, always, always be patient. Developing mature professional jazz panel skills takes time. We all want it to happen so fast. But it takes time begin structuring your practicing after the plane demonstrations that I modeled for you today in this podcast episode and you will begin to see feel and hear your progress I guarantee it. Well, I hope you have found this jazz panel skills podcast lesson exploring the key of D flat major harmonic workout and diving into the eighth note triplet to be insightful and of course beneficial. Don't forget if you are a jazz piano skills Ensemble Member I will see you online Thursday evening. At the jazz panel skills masterclass, that's 8 pm Central time to discuss this podcast episode lesson exploring a key of D flat major harmonic workout in greater detail, and to answer any questions that you may have about the study of jazz in general. Again, be sure to use the educational podcast packets, your illustrations, your lead sheets, or play alongs for this podcast lesson, and of course, be sure to dive into the jazz panel skills courses to maximize your musical growth. Also, make sure you are an active participant in the jazz piano skills community. Get out there, get involved, introduce yourself, contribute to the various forums, make some new jazz piano friends, always a great thing to do. You can reach me by phone 972-380-8050 Or by email Dr. Lawrence, email@example.com. Or you can use the nifty little SpeakPipe widget found throughout the jazz piano skills website to contact me. Well, there it is. There's my cue. That's it for now. Until next week, enjoy the key of D flat major harmonic workout. And most of all have fun as you discover, learn and play jazz Piano
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