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  1. #1

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    I was looking for study materials for jazz articulation and found an article called Interpretation ofJazz Band Literature by Sergeant Major John Brye.

    There is a paragraph about Swing Note Values I don't quite understand.

    "The top line of example d-2 shows a typical jazz band line written as it would be on a jazz band part. The bottom line puts the example in12/8 time to demonstrate how these figures would be literally written and actually played. Notice that all quarter notes and quarter note equivalents are played short, all connected eighth notes not followed by a rest are played long, and that the last eighth note in the second measure (which is followed by a rest) is played short.

    Each of the first three measures in exampled-3 contains one eighth note which is followed by a rest. In these circumstances, the eighth notes are to be played as if they were short quarter notes(or quarter note equivalents). Even though eighth notes may be marked with a staccato as in the third measure, they must be given the duration of a short quarter note (roughly two-thirds of a beat), rather than that of a staccato eighth note(roughly one fourth of a beat). Be sure that there is no separation before the last eighth note in the third measure."

    My question is, is it a common practice to play eighth notes followed by a rest, to step across the rest like what we see in example d-2 last beat of the 2nd measure, by giving it two-thirds of a beat?

    Also, could anyone please recommend me some materials as a guild line to learn jazz articulation?


    Beginner questions about swing 8th note value-screenshot-2019-05-01-3-16-53-am-jpg

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  3. #2

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    Attempting to map swing time into straight time might provide a useful initial introduction, but this approach will take you only so far. It's not a substitute for understanding the literature. The best way to understand swing time is to listen to a lot of jazz so that you can internalize "swing feel" without excessive analysis.

    The posters on this forum frequently provide audio and video clips of jazz masters... start by listening to any of those.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by leywes View Post
    "The top line of example d-2 .... the last eighth note in the second measure (which is followed by a rest) is played short.

    Maybe I'm misreading this, but his 12/8 interpretation seems not to play the last 8th of bar 2 short, but actually long... it hangs over the barline. Perhaps some better readers/arrangers than myself will differ, but IMO the accent does not shorten the note. A staccato marking or simply eliminating the first 8th of the following bar would seem to be more consistent with the stated intent to play the note "short".

    But, honestly, trying to map the easy-to-read top line into the 12/8 straight-time interpretation felt like more trouble than it was worth. Just spend an hour listening to Benny Goodman and you'll understand swing time ... it's certainly not as hard to do as this analysis might make it seem.

    To answer your original question, no I don't think it's common practice to release a note late, stepping on a rest that occurs on the next downbeat. I think most jazz band conductors would call you out for that, especially if you played like that in a horn section.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by leywes View Post
    I was looking for study materials for jazz articulation and found an article called Interpretation ofJazz Band Literature by Sergeant Major John Brye.

    There is a paragraph about Swing Note Values I don't quite understand.

    "The top line of example d-2 shows a typical jazz band line written as it would be on a jazz band part. The bottom line puts the example in12/8 time to demonstrate how these figures would be literally written and actually played. Notice that all quarter notes and quarter note equivalents are played short, all connected eighth notes not followed by a rest are played long, and that the last eighth note in the second measure (which is followed by a rest) is played short.

    Each of the first three measures in exampled-3 contains one eighth note which is followed by a rest. In these circumstances, the eighth notes are to be played as if they were short quarter notes(or quarter note equivalents). Even though eighth notes may be marked with a staccato as in the third measure, they must be given the duration of a short quarter note (roughly two-thirds of a beat), rather than that of a staccato eighth note(roughly one fourth of a beat). Be sure that there is no separation before the last eighth note in the third measure."

    My question is, is it a common practice to play eighth notes followed by a rest, to step across the rest like what we see in example d-2 last beat of the 2nd measure, by giving it two-thirds of a beat?

    Also, could anyone please recommend me some materials as a guild line to learn jazz articulation?


    Beginner questions about swing 8th note value-screenshot-2019-05-01-3-16-53-am-jpg
    I like Jazz Ears quite a lot. Can’t remember the author.

    Yeah there’s a 12/8 lilt to jazz and I agree the off beat placements but if you play the eighth notes like that it won’t sound good.

    In practice get use to feeling the swing offbeats and play eights very even and smooth. That will hey you in the ball park.

    NEVER try to articulate a swing feel. Just feel those offbeats.

    Do it along with records.

  6. #5

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    jazz ears the app on I-phone? worth the price you'd say, Christian?
    White belt
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  7. #6

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    That notation is a shuffle not swing but it is closer to swing than the straight and common practice way of notating. But it makes it harder to notate and read, and the musicians might play that as a shuffle and not swing if they saw it written that way.

    Still, I don't think the rests are correct. The notes would be more accurate like this:
    Attached Images Attached Images Beginner questions about swing 8th note value-swing-png 
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    Frank (aka fep)

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758 View Post
    jazz ears the app on I-phone? worth the price you'd say, Christian?
    No it's a book