Saxophone Forum


by kelsey
(793 posts)
6 years ago

Tonal Memory

With all the new things on the market to help you learn to improvise, some of those things may hurt more than help. Doing transcriptions develop your tonal memory. If someone else does them for you, or if you have a computer program that does it, your missing the part that really helps. It's best anyway to listen to the masters so many times that you can sing along with their solo on a recording and then try to play it. Don't even write it down is the best way. Learn it by listening and remembering. This is the way the masters learned to play so it must work............Kelsey

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  1. by LC
    (25 posts)

    5 years ago

    Re: Tonal Memory

    I do not remeber what I just posted. Does that mean i suck at jazz?

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  2. by adetenor
    (68 posts)

    4 years ago

    Re: Tonal Memory

    Right on Kelsey. ...saxandbass "transposition can be a real treat".....i'll send mine over.Roy M.......???later.adetenor

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  3. by chalazon
    (547 posts)

    6 years ago

    Re: Tonal Memory

    right you are, mr. kelsey..this is Dexter Gordon month for me..nothin' but Dexter, all day long...ah yes..

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    1. by blackfrancis
      (396 posts)

      6 years ago

      Re: Tonal Memory

      I must concur, especially with the singing along. Just be careful with learning from the far-out cats or you'll have atonal memory.

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  4. by saxandbassplayer
    (42 posts)

    6 years ago

    Re: Tonal Memory

    I definitely agree with you Kelsey. The first transcription I ever did was Cannonball Adderley playing Au Privave, and since then transcribing has been a real treat to do. I will recommend one thing, that sometimes computer programs like The Amazing Slowdowner can really be helpful... specifically when you have some of them cats playng one or two licks that are ambiguous and pass by before you even get started. But transcribing really opens a lot of doors, gives ideas, and even can give a fun activity to do with peers. Me and another sax player in the area know sometimes just play through something like the Au Privave solo, just as a fun little hobby. Who are some of your favorite artists to transcribe from?

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    1. by kelsey
      (793 posts)

      6 years ago

      Re: Tonal Memory

      I don't transcribe. (jazz solos anyway) I listen to the Greats long enough that I memorise their solos. Then I incorporate parts of their stuff into my own playing. Jazz should be spontanious and intuative. If I copy large parts of a solo I'm not creating anything but just counterfiting a solo by someone else..........Kelsey
      Barry Kelsey

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      1. by Roy McGrath
        (7 posts)

        5 years ago

        Re: Tonal Memory

        hey kelsey, I was wondering what your thoughts where on tonal memory and its relationship to consciousness/unconsciousness it seems that the road you've taken is more of an "unconsious" absorption of material, im not judging your musicianship, just saying that I guess that your transcription process is associated towards what your inner ear hears more? I practice alot of patterns, and do a decent amount of transcriptions, yet I tend to see that at the moment of spontaenous improvisation I have a certain way of hearing things. regardless of how much of a specific artist I listen to, my ears tend to go somehere else in my playing. I tend to play outside diatonic changes, not in an alterations based way, more of a planned dissonant structure sort of way... just wanted to know how you do it! roy

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        1. by kelsey
          (793 posts)

          5 years ago

          Re: Tonal Memory

          Bird, Trane, Dexter, none of the greats that I am aware of did transcriptions!! They listened and learned from each other, then came up with their own sound. I listen to recordings enough times so I memorize solos!! (I don't write them down) Some of their ideas will end up being incorporated in my own playing. I do this consiously!!! I don't play outside the changes. If it sometimes sounds that way, it's either a mistake on my part or my extension of the changes dosen't agree with what the Keyboard player is playing!
          Barry Kelsey

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        2. by knorter
          (205 posts)

          5 years ago

          Re: Tonal Memory

          Kelsey-- I'm agreeing with your overall points but for the kids playing at home I'd just like to clarify that while the definition of "transcription" would imply writing something down, the more accepted definition these days means what you were advocating. Learning to play something by ear. Upon careful reading of your posts on this subject I know what you really mean, but it made me flinch when you said the greats didn't transcribe. No they probably didn't write things down but they did learn each other's solos by ear and imitated each other. Semantics? Yes but for those people out there who associate the term transcribing in a more liberal way to include learning a material from its aural source, I didn't want there to be confusion. Play on. Just looking out for the kids. Kristy

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        3. by kelsey
          (793 posts)

          5 years ago

          Re: Tonal Memory

          Kristy, What..............??? You are agreeing with me again?? Too many music educators have kids copying recordings. They write the solos down, then play them as close as their chops will permit. People even have transcriptions of solos on the web for free!! What I really mean is, and only as far as I'm concerned, I don't transcribe music, unless someone pays me to do it. I have learned to play by listening a lot!!!
          Barry Kelsey

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        4. by LC
          (25 posts)

          5 years ago

          Re: Tonal Memory

          Kelsey, I am curious. Can you play a solo "note for note" from a recording of on of the greats that you speak of. For example, if I asked you to play Joe Henderson's solo on Take the A Train from the Lush Life album could you do it? I don't care if you can but I'm just asking.

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        5. by kelsey
          (793 posts)

          4 years ago

          Re: Tonal Memory

          No, I don't play the any memorised solo. If I am listening to a recording for the 20th time, I know exactly what's comeing up, and I can sing along with it!! I think this helps me come up with my own stuff. When I practice I make up my own exercises! Some come from something I've heard other players do, one that I've listened too lots of times........Kelsey
          Barry Kelsey

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        6. by Mobile Band
          (27 posts)

          4 years ago

          Re: Tonal Memory

          ". . . If I am listening to a recording for the 20th time, I know exactly what's comeing up, and I can sing along with it!! . . . In my expereience, this is the most important point! It is the rhythmic value, the handling of time , feeling exactly the interaction solist with band and so on. This can be done well by singing. It gives an additional support for ones playing to know exactly which tones are played, which relationship to chords is there and so on. But the main thing is already done with singing, copying the phrasing, the time etc etc. The rhythmic consciouesness (time, FORM especially: where am I in that moment now in the form? Most important. Not necessarily in a intellectual way with counting, but feeling it). swing berlin jazz band

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        7. by dgallego
          (27 posts)

          3 years ago

          Re: Tonal Memory

          Nothing beats listening to Jazz recordings, playing along, and improvising. Music is an active thing. If you can not play at least listen. If you do it right, sheet music unneeded becomes instinctive. Most of all it is a fun way to learn.

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