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Conte de L'Incroyable Amour - Anouar Brahem

Continuing my look through Anouar Brahem's music, here's another old one. 

An interesting thing about Brahem is that is recordings are often not perfect performances, and this tune is another example of that.  The first time through the B section…

Sheet Music: Ana Wa Habibi by Mohamed Abdel Wahab

In 2001, I attended Simon Shaheen's Arabic Music Retreat and was exposed to a lot of "real" Arabic music for the first time. Up to that point, I had mainly been listening to what I could find at Tower Records. 

Qurb - Anouar Brahem

This is a lovely piece by Anouar Brahem, one he has rarely performed.  The main recording available is Thimar, with Dave Holland and John Surman. 

This album was my first experience with Brahem's music; it came out in 1998…

Taqasim Lesson: Rubato on the Beat & Polyrhythms

I thought I'd share a few thoughts about a general concept/technique in Arabic music that I think of as "rubato on the beat" or "out-of-time but in-time." I've never heard anyone use a specific term for this in Arabic, if…

Parfum de Gitane (aka Itr al-Ghajar) عطر الغجر

Here's my transcription of one Anouar Brahem's most popular pieces, Parfum de Gitane.   This sheet music is based on the version he plays on "Astrakan Cafe," which has some minor differences from the version he plays on "Barzakh."

This is…

Oud Position Study - Etude for first course

This is a little exercise I wrote to practice the higher positions and achieving consistent intonation on the oud.   The notes are all C major on the first string. 

I suggest following the fingerings exactly to get the intended benefits…

Lecon du Oud (Oud Lesson) - Anouar Brahem

I thought I'd repost some old transcriptions.  Yesterday's post of Anouar Brahem's "The Astounding Eyes of Rita" reminded me of some older transcriptions of his music that I did ages ago. 

I'd posted some of these ages ago on my…

The Whole-Tone Pentatonic Scale

This is a sound that (if memory serves) I first noticed when transcribing John Coltrane's solo on "I Hear A Rhapsody" from his 1957 album "Lush Life."  I don't think I've ever come across anyone discussing this particular scale, so…

"Zhivago" lick, Part 2

(Note: Originally published November 2009 - accidentally deleted, so reposting)

In the previous post, I put up a transcription of a signature line from Kurt Rosenwinkel's solo on "Zhivago" from The Next Step. The line is basically planing a…

Anouar Brahem - The Astounding Eyes of Rita

I've always been a fan of Anouar Brahem.  He's one of the first oud players I heard and is partly responsible for inspiring me to learn the oud in the first place (along with Rabih Abou-Khalil).  After met Simon Shaheen…

New Year - Old Posts

Once upon a time, I tried to blog about things I was practicing related to jazz.  Over the past several years, I've been much more focused on Arabic music and the oud, but I thought I'd repost my old musings…

Freedom and Limitations

I find myself thinking about this topic with some regularity.  It seems to me that “freedom” is often presented as a linear scale, with “limitations” in opposition to freedom, as if limitations are like chains that prevent us from being…

Here's where it starts

I'm going to be using this space to share what projects I'm working on, what I've been thinking about, and anything else I find interesting or cool.

I just finished composing some original music for a short documentary film, Beirut

Key-oriented perspective

It's very common in jazz education to encourage a chord-oriented perspective on improvisation. In many ways, this makes a lot of sense and can be a valuable way of analyzing the music. However, it runs the risk of one failing…

"Bill Evans"-derived Rootless voicings for guitar, part 2

Here are more rootless voicings for guitar, based on the "Bill Evans" left-hand style voicings.

These are mostly drop-2 chords, so unlike Evans's close voicings, these are open voicings. This does change the character of the sonority considerably; if the…

Added-Note Triad Applications

The uses of triads for an improviser are nearly limitless. As I hinted at in my previous post on digital patterns, adding a note to a triad to create a four-note group can create a lot of possibilities.  The…

Digital Patterns

Okay, I haven't posted in a year. Here's a little worksheet of common patterns that are often used by modern improvisers. John Coltrane was probably the first to make notable use of these kinds of patterns, which he did on…

Ear Conditioning

Here's an (IMHO) excellent exercise that trains your ears and works on connecting your hearing and improvising. I forget where I got the initial idea, but this the the procedure I've developed and found helpful:


Take a chord progression (maybe…

Maj7#5

Update: I linked some parts to my previous posts on Augmented Scale ideas.

Over at the All About Jazz forum, someone asked for suggestions about how to approach Maj7#5 chords. As this is a sound I'm fond of and…

Guitar Players: Learn all the notes--update

As a follow up to the previous post about how to learn the notes on the guitar neck, I made a graphic to visually represent the "white notes" on the guitar.  This is what you should 'see' when you look…

Starting and Ending Phrases, Cont'd.

One specific idea for using wider intervals in the beginnings and endings of phrases is to land on a chord tone and leap two chord tones up or down.  This is effective at both the beginnings and endings of phrases…

Starting and Ending Phrases

Large intervallic leaps and interesting rhythms can make phrases more compelling.  The most effective place to use both devices is at the beginnings and endings of phrases.  Intensifying one's focus on how one starts and concludes improvised musical phrases has…