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Trouble identifying this run

dulcimistdulcimist New
edited August 2008 in Gypsy Jazz 101 Posts: 34
In one of Django's recordings of Minor Swing, not sure which one off hand, there is a phrase over E7 I don't quite understand.

It ascends like this: F G# B D F# G# B D F F# (Down beat on the first G#)

Actually, I think I just figured it out while typing this. Is it simply a mix of Fdim and E7 without the root (E)? I was stuck trying to think of what chord would include both the F and F#. Maybe there is, but I'm guessing it's simply a mix of those two arpeggios. Is that correct?



  • Matthias LenzMatthias Lenz Lucklum, GermanyNew
    Posts: 101
    Hi Andy,

    well, without the F# it would really just be the typical Fdim arpeggio over E7. Considering the F#, there´s several approaches to analyze this :

    1. With E7 being the V7 of Am, having F and F# in the arpeggio would just mean mixing the A Harmonic Minor and A Melodic Minor scale.

    2. Substitute Arpeggio Bm over E7, in this case Bm6. You could then see the F as chromatic approach note to the F#

    3. F is the b9 and F# is the 9 of E7. It´s quite common to mix up altered and non-altered tension notes, especially on a dominant chord.

    That´s all I can think of so far...
    It reminds me of the fact that good accompaniment is often reduced to simple chords in order to leave more space/freedom for the soloist when it comes to scales and arpeggios. In this example, playing straight E7 without any added tension notes gives the soloist the freedom to choose between and/or mix up the 9th and the b9th scale degree. Playing the arpeggio you described over an E7b9 chord would sound very "outside", especially because it finishes on the F#.

    Generally I think this is a great example of a great player who thinks/plays freely without being aware of musical limitations. I´m never really sure how far you can go with analyzing Django, but this example (fortunately) isn´t too much of a riddle :wink:

    I hope this helps
  • dulcimistdulcimist New
    Posts: 34
    Thanks Matthias,

    That's definitely the sort of stuff I was looking for. Also, good points about Django playing freely without too much limitation, and the idea of analyzing his playing with some amount of trepidation.

    I'm relatively new to jazz, coming from an Irish traditional (very diatonic) background, and playing an instrument not often thought of as a jazz instrument at all (hammered dulcimer), so I'm not only trying to learn what to play, but why it works as well.

  • Matthias LenzMatthias Lenz Lucklum, GermanyNew
    Posts: 101
    Hi Andy,

    I´m glad I could help you out !

    I only started playing Gypsy Jazz a few months ago, but this forum really provided lots of information that helped me to get over the first hurdle. So I´m really happy to finally bring something in as well...

    I´m quite firm when it comes to Jazz Harmony and analyzing (being one of those "weird" guys that likes theory), so I really appreciate your approach of learning and also understanding why things work. That´s the way to do it, in my opinion...

    So, if you got more stuff like that in the future, I´ll be glad to share what I know. You can even e-mail me if you like, I just love to get in touch with people around the globe.

    All the best to you,
  • dulcimistdulcimist New
    Posts: 34
    cool. thanks. I will take you up on that!!
  • Matthias LenzMatthias Lenz Lucklum, GermanyNew
    Posts: 101
    You´re welcome anytime :wink:

    Also, I´d be very interested in hearing some of your hammered dulcimer playing. Do you use it in a GJ context ? I know that a familiar instrument, the cymbalom, is very popular in Hungary. But in fact, I haven´t heard any of these instruments. All I know is that in GJ guitar playing there are certain "cymbalom patterns", some of them can be found in Michael´s picking book.

    So, is there any of your stuff that can be heard or seen, on YouTube for example ?
  • Joli GadjoJoli Gadjo Cardiff, UK✭✭✭✭ Derecho, Bumgarner - VSOP, AJL
    Posts: 542
    It's a good point, we don't hear much of it in gypsy jazz..
    Still, there's a lot of it on Matelo ferret's "Tziganskaïa and other rare recordings".
    For those who don't know Ferret is the one who plays famous waltzes like Montagne Ste Genevieve and Chez Jacquet often credited to Django by mistake.
    You'll a lot of cymbalon on this recording. :wink:
    - JG
  • Matthias LenzMatthias Lenz Lucklum, GermanyNew
    Posts: 101
    Thanks, Joli, for the hint. At the moment I am collecting tips like these in order to fresh up my CD collection.

    Ferret is definitely a big name. From what I know, the Ferrets were the first to play Musette with a swing feel to it. By the way, do you know anything about the background of "Valse á Bamboula" ? I heard that it´s also from the Ferret family, but couldn´t find out precisely who wrote it / performed it first. Any information on this ?

    Musette is my absolute favorite at the moment...
  • dulcimistdulcimist New
    Posts: 34
    Here is a little clip I put on Youtube quite a while ago, more as an experiment than anything else. It's not a GJ tune, just some rudiment exercises I was practicing at the time, based on Romane's book, "l'Esprit Manouche".

    I've got a new CD almost finished that will have three musettes on hammered dulcimer: Java Manouche, Annie-Zette, and La Roulotte. Alfonso Ponticelli is playing guitar on the recording.

    I'm just a beginner in GJ though, for the real stuff on cymbalom, check out Giani Lincan (on Tchavolo Schmitt's latest record), Marius preda, and the PaCoRa trio. Really good examples of GJ on cymbalom from those guys. Daniel Givone has a cymbalom on one of his recordings as well.

  • Matthias LenzMatthias Lenz Lucklum, GermanyNew
    Posts: 101

    I just watched that clip of yours. I really like it a lot !!! :D Man, I wish I had somebody in my area who plays this kind of instrument. Your playing sounds beautiful, honestly.

    It reminds me of a CD that I have, it´s one of my favorites. Do you know Stephan Micus ? He travels around the globe to collect and learn to play all kinds of exotic instruments. Then he brings them back home and records music with instrument combinations never heard before. On the album I have (it´s called "Athos") he plays a "bavarian zither" combined with a "sattar", which is a bowed instrument with a single melody string and ten sympathetic strings. There´s different stuff also...

    Also a very nice website you have. I´ll check the demos later, it always takes me ages because I have an internet connection at medieval speed. But I´ll check them out !!! Hope noone minds we´re getting a little off topic here ?

    Bye for now,
  • Matthias LenzMatthias Lenz Lucklum, GermanyNew
    Posts: 101
    Here´s a short extract of the Stephan Micus tune I was talking about.

    Since I respect copyright, I didn´t post the complete tune and cut down the quality a bit (still enjoyable to my ears). Hope you like it.

    What you´re hearing is Bavarian Zither and the Chinese Sattar, ain´t that beautiful ? Quite melancholic also...
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