Thursday, March 16, 2006

Perfect Pitch

Picture Iain Dixon, Sax PlayerI've been slowly recovering from the nastiest cold I've had in many a year. It's been very frustrating as I had so much energy following the jazz weekend I did recently. Almost back to health now. Just a lingering cough.

Anyway, I made it to a fortnighly improvisation workshop this week that I've just started going to run by a local sax player called Iain Dixon. He was one of the tutors on the jazz weekend. A player of some note who's worked with many of the jazz greats including Michael Brecker, John Surman and some pop greats such as Bryan Ferry and Primal Scream.

This weeks class was about the jazz holy grail of playing what you hear in your head. I'm not too bad at finding a note after one random guess on the fretboard i.e. relative pitch. However, Iain is suggesting it's quite possible to go straight to the note and that this is essentially a memory task. This seems formidably difficult to me but I'm going to try working towards it. Seems to be a case of just doing it until it works - simple eh? This means singing a note and then trying to get it straight off. Seemingly a black art but it must be doable. We tried this out in the class at length with mixed results but it's obviously something that will take much practice. I'm going to try the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Ear Training CD's in the car and get one of the Kratt chromatic pitch pipes. The task is to try and get the key for every track on the radio and check it with the pitch pipe. Eventually this pitch memory will stick. It would be great if I could get to this stage - one of many things that's now added to the jazz to do list.

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