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Posts: 337
Reply with quote  #1 
I was playing through 'Night Wes today and had some thoughts on it and also on David Oakes' and Paul V.'s transcriptions of it into music notation. First, it's interesting that Ted considered it a composition and not just a blues like any other blues handout he gave out. In a way, all his handouts are either original compositions or original arrangements. But 'Night Wes has some unusual features for a blues so I guess it merits being an "original composition". It's particularly interesting at the end: the parallel chords under blues scale melody. What is the harmonic analysis here? Ted left it out. Even Paul, who is usually scrupulous about adding chord names, left them out here. Because of where Ted put the fret number, we know that his eyes were on the soprano for all these parallel chords. Mine was, too, when I played it. But is the soprano the root of the chord? That would make the first chord an E6sus. Parallel 6sus chords with the sixth in the bass? That's kind of odd. I hear them as add9 chords, making the first chord an A/9. Perhaps another interpretation is 11 chords, making the first chord a B11. This first chord contains the same notes as the B11 chord that ends the sheet. But perhaps no interpretation is the best interpretation. This is just a blues melody with parallel chords under it to fill out the sound. Chord names imply functional harmony whereas here the harmony is just color to underscore a melody. It's interesting that a number of other shapes could be substituted and it still sounds good. Paul suggested the 6/9 for those challenged by a guitar with no cutaway and that works. I also tried dominant chords of various kinds and they, too, sounded pretty good. But Ted's choice has a nice, almost 70's fusion sound. He didn't often move the same chord shape in parallel so it's interesting to examine this case where he did. One thing that puzzled me was the "2" on the fourth fret just under the note dot on the diagram before the C9 chord. I couldn't figure that out until my student said that it's just a finger number. Of course! You use finger 2 (the middle finger) on the dot to set up the C9 that follows. David Oakes had that figured out in his transcription that includes finger numbers. The big difference between David and Paul's transcriptions are the triplet bass lines versus the eighth and two sixteenths bass lines. Paul comments that you can do it either way. At first, from Ted's sheet I played it with the triplet, as David notates. I thought about the other way but the triplet felt right in a swing feel. But now I feel that the eighth, two sixteenth way is also good IF it's played swing. Played straight, it's too stuttery. But swung, so that it sounds like a quarter and two sixteenths underneath a triplet bracket, also gives a nice feel. Anyway, this illustrates how notation can sometimes remove inherent ambiguity and how returning to the source for your own interpretation is perhaps important. In my view, both transcriptions are missing the slide indication at the end of bar 11. Put some dashes between those chords to show the slide! Here David shows a triplet rhythm and Paul an eighth and two sixteenths. I played it more like Paul's notation swung. But I would instead notate it with a grace note chord sliding into the last chord of bar 11. Most of all, I want to encourage you to improvise off this tune. It's really fun to change up the bass lines, throw in E blues licks, play around with different parallel chords like I suggested above and so on. The lazy feel gives you plenty of time to throw in ideas of your own.

Posts: 1,773
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi James,
Thanks for your comments and observations about this tune and the "compilations" by David Oakes and me.

In a private message to me James wrote to tell me about a couple of typos in my comments page:
From my comments page:
"...On the first grid diagram (the pick-up measure) he wrote the counting as, “4 & a”, which led me to interpret this as a quarter-note followed by two sixteenth notes.  This rhythmic figure is to be played throughout the piece for all of the base lines."

James wrote:
You mean "eighth-note," not "quarter-note". 
And you mean "bass," not "base".

Yes, on both accounts.  My goofs…!  Thanks for pointing this out.
Unfortunately I can't go back and correct them, but I'm hoping anyone reading through the pages will understand.

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