Category Archives: Composing

Composing and Recording Music for Film

In an earlier post, I talked about the challenge and fun of “Composing Music to Poetry“, but recently I had the chance to take that experience to an entirely new level, when I was asked to write and play some … Continue reading

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Dizzy Gillespie’s “Con Alma”…a New Reharmonization

When you say the name, “Dizzy Gillespie,” many people think of the iconic trumpet player with the puffy cheeks, his crazy looking trumpet with the upswept bell, and the comedic personality…playing flurries of notes at lightning speed, all while soaring … Continue reading

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Composing Music to Poetry

I’ve written music to lyrics before, but until recently never had composed music to poetry.  To me this seemed like it would be a challenge, for there was no overtly repetitive rhythm or sense of an all encompassing meter.  I’ve … Continue reading

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The Ultimate Motivic Cells

Motivic cells are a great way of adding structure and continuity to a composition or improvised solo, and to help avoid some of the cliches that spring from arpeggio or scale based patterns (for more info, click on the links … Continue reading

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Collaborative Composing: Part Two

Could you imagine Mozart and Beethoven working on a composition together?  Would they compliment each other or kill each other?  Would the results be better, worse, or the same quality as their individual work?  While collaborating with someone during the … Continue reading

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Oleo: Not Just a Reharmonization

Sonny Rollins is one of my favorite musicians, and I’ve always loved playing his tune, Oleo…at least the melody.  It is based on rhythm changes, the 32-bar AABA form chord progression borrowed somewhat from the old tune “I’ve Got Rhythm,” … Continue reading

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Collaborative Composing

Every once in a while I get to to work on a piece with someone else.  Sometimes that person is a lyricist, a poet (coming soon), a choreographer, a student, or in my dark past, even an advertising copyrighter…but most … Continue reading

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Reharmonization: The Girl from Ipanema

This beautiful bossa nova led the way for the greater influx and influence of Brazilian music into the world of jazz (on the left are pictures of the composer’s original manuscript, and the original girl from Ipanema, Helo Pinheiro).  I … Continue reading

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Problem Solving: Getting Your Eyes Adjusted to the Dark

What would you do if you knew the answer to your problem was in a particular room, and yet when you opened the door to that room you found it was completely dark?  Of course you would reach for a … Continue reading

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Using “Shapes” to Improve the Structure of Improvised Solos and Compositions

Although it’s important to learn the spelling of a song’s chords, and their related related scales and modes, utilizing those materials creatively while improvising or composing in a way that also reflects a strong sense of form can be a … Continue reading

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