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Michael Crean SDNW 0012

What are some of Django's most repeated phrases?

vincevince Davis & San Francisco, CANew
edited September 2012 in Gypsy Jazz 101 Posts: 133
I just ran across this (http://www.djangobooks.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8) great essay Michael wrote and subsequent discussion in 2005. Definitely one of the most interesting and encouraging essays I've read about jazz.

At one point, Michael says:

I think its perfectly acceptable for a musician to play Django's music, even note for note, if they do it well with the trad. technique. These solos are classic and are worth repeating. If you've got some good original ideas, then use those too. If you don't, then steal other peoples! You'll sound better. I always tell my students that a good musical idea is a precious thing. If you've learned a phrase: you can execute it technically, you understand how it fits with the harmony, etc...you should make as much use of it as you can. Django did...he repeated the same ideas for over 20 years. How else can we fill this void we call a "solo?"
(my emphasis).

What are some of examples of these same ideas? I'm not looking for transcribed solos, but could we get some sort of annotated listening going on? I'd really like to hear these.
I don't know whether I'll ever be an excellent player if I keep practicing, but I'm absolutely sure I won't be if I stop.
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Comments

  • Svanis1337Svanis1337 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 424
    Haha, I know so many of these by heart and I hum them regularly but I don't know how to share these without it sounding/looking ugly. :D They're just the epitome of licks! It's hard because he often modulated them, slightly mutated them to make them more interesting. Even though they're licks they always sounded a little different between tunes. They were always living and breathing and never stale. Always contextual. To me they don't sound the same out of context, and they're sometimes so mutated between tunes, how can you break them down?

    One is like this or similar; Root, whole step down, half step down, half step up and moving up the fretboard.
  • kevingcoxkevingcox Nova Scotia✭✭✭✭ Dupont MD50
    Posts: 298
    I haven't heard many interviews, but I would guess probably something like " Ouf, mes doigts ! J'en ai marre de cette histoire là ."
  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited September 2012 Posts: 2,786
    Start transcribing or playing other peoples transcriptions and you will start to see the patterns.
    They are repeated all the time but with little variations (timing, note sequence). Once you've worked thru some transcriptions you will be able to transcribe yourself faster since you will immediately hear familiar phrases and know the left hand fingerings.

    I've been amazed sometimes you will hear a Django play a phrase that sounds totally different, then when you transcribe it you see it is very similar if not the exact fingering as another that you are already familiar with but he was such a master of phrasing/nuance that he just changes it up a little bit and it sounds completely different.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,853
    vince wrote:
    Django did...he repeated the same ideas for over 20 years. How else can we fill this void we call a "solo?"
    [/i] (my emphasis).

    What are some of examples of these same ideas? I'm not looking for transcribed solos, but could we get some sort of annotated listening going on? I'd really like to hear these.

    Wow, blast from the past!

    The Gypsy Picking and Gypsy Fire books are packed full of Django's standard phrases. I'd start there....

    Michael
  • pinkgarypinkgary ✭✭✭
    Posts: 282
    Wow, blast from the past!

    Michael

    It must be nice to know people are still getting a lot from these things. :)
  • Denis Chang's DVDs are also a great source of phrases.

    I'd suggest using one or two of these sources to get some basic phrases under your fingers and then transcribing your own. It's been said here before, but it really is the best way to get this stuff under your finders.
  • vincevince Davis & San Francisco, CANew
    Posts: 133
    I have Gypsy Picking and all of Denis's DVDs (amazing!!) — I was curious about hearing some examples of Django's musical phrase reuse and evolution over time. I guess I'm curious about the reuse in terms of musical history as much for learning. Did Django borrow them from melodies of the time, songs so old we may not even recognize them?

    The two phrases I recognize a lot (mostly because my ears need more training) are the diminished run over a dominant and the diminished sweep run over the high strings. I imagine these were traditional gypsy folk phrases?
    I don't know whether I'll ever be an excellent player if I keep practicing, but I'm absolutely sure I won't be if I stop.
  • There is a scholarly paper (well...its a book) written by Benjamin Givan called "The Music of Django Reinhardt" and you can find some discussion of it here:

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7496

    I had forgotten about this until now, but it should give you some answers. I read it last year, as I have access to a university library. It is a very detailed analysis of common motifs in Django's playing and how it changed through different periods of his musical career. If you are familiar with the paper with the analysis of the Charlie Parker motifs, then you will find this quite similar.

    He also transcribed a great number of solos, which are available through a link in that thread above.
  • vincevince Davis & San Francisco, CANew
    Posts: 133
    Very cool, thanks jkaz!

    I also ran across this post by Denis about the progression of Django's solos: http://www.djangobooks.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=7125#p7125

    Very interesting indeed. There are so many great posts here, it just takes careful searching (I think I was searching for "Coquette 1946" to find that — such a brilliant solo!!).
    I don't know whether I'll ever be an excellent player if I keep practicing, but I'm absolutely sure I won't be if I stop.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,786
    Hey Vince, is this the version of Coquette that you are looking for?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDRso33eMp0
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