I apologize for missing last week—to my thousands and thousands and many thousands-a-more readers. I have been busy with teaching and stuff of the sorts; I also somewhat neglected putting the time in to write the post.
Ranting on about excuses, are we? And maybe exaggerating on the reader count.
For once, I shall say you are completely right. They are nothing but excuses, and only slight exaggerations.
I knew I was right all along, but thank you for confirming.
Without further ado, lets dive into it.
I discovered this song last week while listening to the Learn Jazz Standards podcast. It is one of the five songs off the stellar album Kind of Blue, by Miles Davis—and a whole bunch of other legends, such as Coltrane. I was already in love with So What off the album, but I had never really listened to Freddie Freeloader.
In the episode of the Learn Jazz Standards podcast, Brent talked about how transcribing solos is essential to learning how the legends composed and played. He recommended Davis’ solo in the song Freddie Freeloader for all levels, seeing as it is not extremely quick nor too note-heavy.
He explains, in his opinion, that the best way to transcribe jazz solos is as follow—his simple acronym LIST:
Listen: Brent explains that listening to the solo is an essential part of the process or properly transcribing a solo. And when he says listen, he means listen, listen, and listen some more when you think you have listened enough. All this listening must be done as actively as possibly, to be able to fully take in the solo.
Internalize: this step comes hand in hand, from my understanding of his LIST method, with the listen step. The point of this step is to ingrain the solo into your brain so that you know it inside out.
Sing: once you have listen countless times and internalized it properly, the next step is to sing over the song. You need to be able to sing with the tune. It is more important to sing with proper rhythm instead of singing with perfect pitch.
Transfer: only once you have managed to sing over it perfectly in rhythm are you then allowed to go sit at your instrument and start transcribing the solo. The solo doesn’t have to be on the same instrument as the one you play.
It is supposedly—and I can believe it—easier to transfer it, aka transcribe, after having internalized it, and learnt it so well that you almost feel that you came up with the solo.
I decided to take up Brent’s idea: transcribing the solo from Freddie Freeloader. I decided this last Monday, and since, I have listened to the song at least 100 times, rewinding from when the timer hits 4:29—when Davis ends and Coltrane begins—back to 2:13—where Wynton Kelly ends and Davis starts.
I am hoping to be able to sing over the tune properly by next Monday so that I can finally start transcribing this solo next week!
Have you ever done any musical learning by ear? If so, to which song? Was it similar or different to the process listed above?
Side-note: if you really want to understand this blog post, you must read if over 100 times and internalize it, and the be able to recite it from start to finish. Only then will you understand truly how it was constructed.