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orange1973

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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #1 
Hello,

first I would like to thank you all so much for your great pdfs, mostly for Ted's sheets about improvisation in the style of Bach. I share Ted's admiration for this genius composer, and I really love Ted's approach.

At the moment I'm trying to figure out some chord progressions in Claude Debussys works for solo piano to give my voicings some new colours. Does anybody know if Ted was also interested in Debussy? Does anybody have some hints?

All the best,
Thomas, Lisbon 
barbarafranklin

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Thomas,

Ted & I both LOVED Debussy. All I have on hand right now is my piano music from "La Fille Aux Cheveux de Lin" (Girl w/the Flaxen Hair) which Ted & I put the chords in. Well, first I wrote in what I would name the chords & after I finished Ted changed some to what he would name them. Hope you can read this. We didn't do much written analysis of Debussy but we sure listened a lot!!!!
Barbara


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orange1973

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Reply with quote  #3 

Barabara: I thank you a lot for your PDFs. I will take a deep look! Until soon, Thomas

John

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Reply with quote  #4 
Greetings -
I don't know if this will be helpful but here goes:
I often take the piano music of Satie, Debussy, Takemitsu, Bill Evans, etcetera and, while listening to a recording, follow along with the written score...
when I find a voicing I particularly like I stop everything, notate the chord in my manuscript book, and then begin to move it through systematic inversions ...in this way I learn several new voicings in a sitting and get to enjoy some great music as well. 
Often a new tune of mine will come out of that initial time of sitting with a new chord and looking for places it might like to go...I'd be interested to hear from others about their approaches too!
Buddy_Love

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Reply with quote  #5 
John,

Great idea.  Thanks for sharing that.

Dan
orange1973

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks for your reply, John. I do it in a similar way, never play the whole written score, but cut the most interesting parts and use them for other tunes. Debussy, for example, offers great voicings to finish a song. He likes to "sparkle it out", if you know what I mean. Really great for ballads. Well, I'm still in the beginning phase with our friend Debussy, maybe in some months I will post some results. Thanks again for sharing your ideas, John.
Thomas
John

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Reply with quote  #7 
Hi Everyone -

I'm glad the ideas I wrote about hit home for some of you. Another strategy
I failed to mention is that when looking through piano scores or orchestral scores you may find wonderful voicings of a particular spacing that don't seem remotely playable. One idea for that situation is to take a little time & transpose the voicing into perhaps the one key where you can use open strings to preserve the integrity of the spacing. Of course the resultant voicing will be far less usable and in far fewer contexts, but it still might be nice enough to build a tune around. 

I remember pianist Warren Bernhardt talking to me about how Bill Evans would have voicings that he only used in lower registers and others he only used in higher registers. They wouldn't speak clearly if in an improper register. Bill was sensitive to this & worked out really specific voicing based on register.

J.S. Bach certainly seems to be the master of this as well. He considers the weight of each of the pitches he uses, how far apart their spacing is, how they combine in the air, etcetera. I'm sure that his experience as an organist taught him much about what happens to combinations of pitches in a large space ( like a cathedral ). Edgar Varese's advice to Morton Feldman about writing was similar as well...to consider how the pitches will fill space and how fast they will speak from the stage.

In a private lesson with George Van Eps he told me that if I played a major 10th interval I didn't ever need to put the 5th between them since that combination of pitches brings out an audible 5th. i.e.: G on the 6th string, B on the 3rd string...play them together and listen for the "D" note ringing out between them...this is another level of orchestration.

Hope some of this is of interest...I really enjoy looking over what everyone contributes to this site! Thanks again from John in very snowy Maine
barbarafranklin

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Reply with quote  #8 
Hi Thomas,

I found the guitar version of Debussy's GWTFH that Ted wrote for me. Perhaps this can give you some idea of how Ted was able to structure the piece from piano to guitar. He took it from the original Gb and put it in E.

Hope this is able to give you some ideas.

Barbara


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Barbara Franklin
omobob

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Reply with quote  #9 

What a gem! Thanks.

ChemicalChords

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Reply with quote  #10 
There is a great website on the Internet called http://www.pianosociety.com and it has a great deal of piano pieces written by many famous composers that you can listen to for free. I love to listen to these recordings if Im studying or doing homework. Theres a fairly large amount of recordings wriiten by Debussy. Many pieces also have the sheet music posted right next to the music link so you can follow along!!!

P.S. Did ted ever grow his nails out for say... picking harmonics or playing classical guitar?

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PaulV

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Reply with quote  #11 
Regarding fingernails, Ted told me in 1984 or '85 that he cut my nails years ago and found that he could get a great sound without them.  So he had no nails.  It shocked me a bit, but he seemed to be able to get a good "bite" without nails, even for harmonics. 
Another guitarist who plays great fingerstyle jazz without nails is Tuck Andress.  In his "Fingerstyle Mastery" video he said, "I cut my nails year ago and never looked back."  (By the way, does anyone know if Tuck ever studied with Ted?)
--Paul

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--Paul
SteveBrodie

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Reply with quote  #12 
I brought up Tuck's name to Ted in my June meeting.  Ted was familiar with him, and told me he liked "that rhythm thing" he did, but Ted didn't mention to me that he had met him.

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YoungBlood

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulVachon
Regarding fingernails, Ted told me in 1984 or '85 that he cut my nails years ago and found that he could get a great sound without them. 
--Paul


Is it here that I read that Ted felt only a select few could actually get a good sound with nails? Maybe it was that Jim Carlton interview... but I remember reading that Ted thought that Lenny Breau and a few others were good with nails, but most can't get a good sound with nails.

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orange1973

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Reply with quote  #14 

Barabara: Thank you very much for posting the Debussy sheets! They are great, already tried them out. Yours, Thomas

barbarafranklin

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Reply with quote  #15 
I think I've posted this somewhere else a while back but..... The ONLY fingernail Ted had & used was his right thumbnail. B.
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