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Beginner Eb alto trying to accompany guitar.

alexanderjohnny

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Hey all,

This is Alex. I just joined the website in hopes of getting some help. I'm somewhat of a new player but definitely new to performing.

I'm trying to get ready to accompany a guitarist and as an example, he has a song he's playing in what he says is the key of Eb. Thankfully for my transposing, that leaves me in the key of c.

I did not feel that my c major scale notes sounded very great over his song. Could it be that he's actually in Eb minor? Would that make a difference?
I'm new to much of this theory but have some basics down. In order to accompany his playing and include some improv, is there one scale that would fit across his whole song like the c minor scale, or do i need to find out his chord progression and then transpose each of those chords for my sax, to get my own chord progression to follow along?

Thanks a lot for your help. Here's an example of his song. David Bash - Darkness On The Horizon Feat. Staunc…: http://youtu.be/IKNWYNtUEls

Thanks a lot.

Alex
 

Tenor Viol

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How many flats in the key signature? If it's 3, then it the piece is in either Eb major or C minor.

If it's Eb major, then your key as you noted should be C major. If it's C minor, then you need to be playing A minor.

Eb minor has 6 flats int he key signature, so I feel that extremely unlikely!
 

alexanderjohnny

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How many flats in the key signature? If it's 3, then it the piece is in either Eb major or C minor.

If it's Eb major, then your key as you noted should be C major. If it's C minor, then you need to be playing A minor.

Eb minor has 6 flats int he key signature, so I feel that extremely unlikely!


Hey tenorviol,

Thanks for the reply. I am sorry i didn't specify that part. I don't actually have sheet music otherwise this process would be a helluva lot easier. I'm just going off of what he told me that his song was in Eb for guitar, so in my understanding that would be Eb major concert pitch, putting me in c major. and going off of playing by ear from one of his recorded songs I posted a link to in my original post. We are recently acquainted so i have yet to actually sit down and ham with him but was going to have a better idea of some sounds and fillers to add in to the song when we sit down to play.

At this point, I am just wondering, do i need to know his chords progression in order to accompany and respond to those chord changes or will the c major notes work throughout his whole Eb song?

Thanks
A
 

alexanderjohnny

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Welcome to the Café Alex

Jx

Thanks a lot. Glad to get some help, bc I am currently traveling abroad and away from my instructor. Haven't gotten a hold of him through email so this is next best. I am trying to establish myself as a musician after being mainly focused in visual arts for much of my career. Any help is appreciated. I just want to be able to get up and perform on stage with a group and at least have some sort of clue as to what to do.

A
 

alexanderjohnny

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Just play the notes that sound right.
Thanks for the feedback Colin. I'm attempting to do that but am also trying to understand a bit of the theory as well. Like I was staying in my response to tenorviol, I am going to hopefully see some more progress when I can actually sit down and meet with the guy and hash out some sounds.

Will Let you all know how things go.

Thanks a lot
A
 

jbtsax

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At this point, I am just wondering, do i need to know his chords progression in order to accompany and respond to those chord changes or will the c major notes work throughout his whole Eb song?
After listening to a bit of the recording you posted, I would suggest getting a copy of the chord changes to the song and transposing them up a 6th to your key. Playing just the notes of your C scale will not fit with some of the changes.
 

alexanderjohnny

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After listening to a bit of the recording you posted, I would suggest getting a copy of the chord changes to the song and transposing them up a 6th to your key. Playing just the notes of your C scale will not fit with some of the changes.
Hey jbt, thanks a lot for the advice. Very straight to the point. Ithink that's agreat idea as well. Will let you know how things go.

Cheers,
a
 

MandyH

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Thanks for the feedback Colin. I'm attempting to do that but am also trying to understand a bit of the theory as well. Like I was staying in my response to tenorviol, I am going to hopefully see some more progress when I can actually sit down and meet with the guy and hash out some sounds.

Will Let you all know how things go.

Thanks a lot
A
During the past 18 months, I have done 2 MOOCs which might be of use to you, both run by Coursera, and both free:
Jazz improvisation and
Fundamentals of Music Theory.

I would think that both would help you understand a bit more about what notes to use where and with what chords.

I don't know when either will run again, but I'm sure a quick internet search will turn up something useful.
 

alexanderjohnny

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During the past 18 months, I have done 2 MOOCs which might be of use to you, both run by Coursera, and both free:
Jazz improvisation and
Fundamentals of Music Theory.

I would think that both would help you understand a bit more about what notes to use where and with what chords.

I don't know when either will run again, but I'm sure a quick internet search will turn up something useful.
Thanks a lot Mandy. I will definitely look into this.
 

aldevis

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Is your guitar player really good?
I ask this because usually guitarists' less favourite key, unless they detune the guitar half step lower, like Stevie Ray Vaughan.

After listening to a bit of the recording you posted, I would suggest getting a copy of the chord changes to the song and transposing them up a 6th to your key. Playing just the notes of your C scale will not fit with some of the changes.

This is the way to go
 

aldevis

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I listened to the recording, and harmony is all over the place.
 

Colin the Bear

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And that from a modal master lol. I think experimenting and just playing what sounds good might not be the worst advice after all.
 

alexanderjohnny

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Is your guitar player really good?
I ask this because usually guitarists' less favourite key, unless they detune the guitar half step lower, like Stevie Ray Vaughan.

This is the way to go

Aldevis,
yes he's very experienced. They have the flute player in there as well, which I'm assuming is reason for the Eb key sig in the first place.

And when you say the harmony is all over the place, do you mean it seems a bit random and needs a bit of reworking?
i thought it seemed a bit dissonant.

Thanks for the help all.
 

aldevis

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And when you say the harmony is all over the place, do you mean it seems a bit random and needs a bit of reworking?
i thought it seemed a bit dissonant.

Please keep in mind I am an ageing grumpy poor professional saxophonist.
People in my position, seldom invent anything, so follow your taste before my comments.

One guitar player in the recording has a strong Towner/Gismonti influence.
He uses plenty of free strings, hence my question about detuning the guitar to be in Eb, rather than E
In his case I would just find some tonal centres and improvise around them. It is the part that I found more interesting.

Another guitar player has more of a "jazzy" 175 sound. he is improvising on simple licks that sometimes clash with harmony. My suspicion is that a DJ/producer might have stuck together two sections and fragments, regardless of harmonic rules. Nothing wrong in this, but it sounds a bit odd and not in my taste.
On the other hand there is a version of "Round Midnight" with Amy Winehouse, where the producer did the same. It makes my ears cringe, but his bank account is nicer looking than mine.

Then there is a song-like form in the middle, that could be the actual part in Eb (I cannot check now) and can be approached in a more traditional way.

Time to approach the concept of "form"...

I hope it helps
 

alexanderjohnny

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Please keep in mind I am an ageing grumpy poor professional saxophonist.
People in my position, seldom invent anything, so follow your taste before my comments.

One guitar player in the recording has a strong Towner/Gismonti influence.
He uses plenty of free strings, hence my question about detuning the guitar to be in Eb, rather than E
In his case I would just find some tonal centres and improvise around them. It is the part that I found more interesting.

Another guitar player has more of a "jazzy" 175 sound. he is improvising on simple licks that sometimes clash with harmony. My suspicion is that a DJ/producer might have stuck together two sections and fragments, regardless of harmonic rules. Nothing wrong in this, but it sounds a bit odd and not in my taste.
On the other hand there is a version of "Round Midnight" with Amy Winehouse, where the producer did the same. It makes my ears cringe, but his bank account is nicer looking than mine.

Then there is a song-like form in the middle, that could be the actual part in Eb (I cannot check now) and can be approached in a more traditional way.

Time to approach the concept of "form"...

I hope it helps

Thanks for all the insight. Wow! You've got a good ear man. The guitar parts were pieced together because one guy is from Italy, collaborating with another guy in Australia. Crazy stuff.

I'm going to check out that Winehouse song top see what you mean.

Thanks for the words of wisdom.
 

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