Thursday, 17 May 2012



Jug a tea? No just swing please!
Jazz Workshop

Jug a tea? No just swing please!
One of the main things that jazzers need to develop is being able to play in swing time.
This is all about the eighth notes or quavers as we call them in the UK. If you have eight quavers in a bar, then when you play them as in classical music, all the notes sound the same length - no problem there - until you want to 'swing' them.
What does that mean? Well, when you listen to a piece of jazz in swing, listen to the drummer playing the high hat cymbal. It should be easy to hear because you'll hear the rythmn 'jug-a-tea'.
The drummer will be playing - jug-a-tea, jug-a-tea, jug-a-tea etc.
(Cue for old joke, when playing latin he will play 'jug-a-coffee' instead!)
How can aspiring players find the swing in the rythmn. One method is to imagine a bar full not of eight quaver, but twelve of them in four groups of three.
What you've now got of course is 12/8 time signature, and it sounds like:-
da da da - da da da - da da da - da da da
you can count all 12 beats or the four groups of three -
(the basis of compound time signatures)
Now we're nearly beginning to swing, because if you take out the middle one of each of three, and replace them with rests -silence- you get
da (rest) da, da (rest) da, da (rest) da, da (rest) da etc. Try saying that aloud and you'll be getting a 'shuffle' beat, often used in 60's pop music.
Squeeze the two da's in a bar together and you'll be swinging! Its much easier to hear than to explain, so book yourself onto a jazz workshop if you want to be a real swinger!
Happy Jazzing
Peter Willson
Butlers Jazz Workshop, France August 13th -17th 2012
Ring 01323 833770 (UK)
+44 1323 833770 (International)

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