About This Picture
A conversation with Clifford...
I have procrastinated for years to put a website together, and here we are. I want it to be more than an advertisement. I want there to be some dialogue about music, practicing, life.
to start out by sharing that I keep a notebook of phrases or
"licks," something that I might sit down and improvise and then say, "I
like that. Can I play that in all 12 keys?
Hmmmm........not so well!!"
So, I then
write it in my manuscript notebook and practice it in every
key. Then, I pick a tune like "All the Things You Are," for
example, and I try to play the phrase a lot while improvising over each
takes on new shapes as I play it over the changes of any
given tune. For example, if the phrase outlines a
iiø-V-i progression in a minor key, as seen in Example 1
when you CLICK
HERE*** (new window opens),
I'll change the
notes to work over a ii-V-I progression in a major key, if that is what
the tune requires (Example 2). I then choose a voicing for my
left hand, and play that voicing in every key, while I play the phrase
in my right hand in the respective keys. Sometimes I might
change the inversion of the voicing so it sounds better in a certain
range on the piano, for a particular key. In this regard,
multi-tasking, though not my forté, can be a good
thing. Often, I'll discover that the phrase works over many
different chords - different from the chords over which it was
originally intended to be played.
As I previously stated, these phrases often come from improvising at the piano, but they also might come from another player's solo. When I hear something that intrigues me I transcribe it. I place brackets around a phrase/lick or the bars of a solo, and then I copy it into my notebook, after which I practice it in all 12 keys. It can be so frustrating at times to feel like I could play a much better solo if it was just in a different key. So this work is to try and prevent that uncomfortable experience.
My friend, the amazing guitarist Steve Khan, recommended that I include the musical examples (Example 1 and Example 2) in all 12 keys, so that is what you see. Notice the key signature for the A-flat minor version is the A-flat major key signature. I did this to avoid using the B-major key signature. I would never want to read "sharps" for the notes while looking at "flats" in the chord symbols. Also, I switched to D-flat major (instead of using C-sharp major). I hope I never see a C-sharp major key signature!!
invite you to share your thoughts...
Copyright © 2006-2009 Clifford Carter