Comping Minor Swing on the violin


Comping Minor Swing on the violin

In this video I explain how to accompany/comp Minor Swing on the violin, using the two lowest strings, according to Pierre Blanchard’s method.





How I comp jazz standards on the violin

The violin is not strictly speaking a comping instrument, it must be said! Personally, I use violin comping techniques from time to time, in certain circumstances: when I play in a duo, or in a trio with a double bass to accompany the guitarist’s solo …

But accompaniment isn’t something I do all the time, because when I play with comping instruments like guitar or piano, I find it sounds better than when playing violin, and I’d rather let them!

Despite this, it is still useful to learn jazz on the violin comping for certain configurations, as well as to train your ear and above all memorize the changes well! You can also make your own backing tracks with this system.




Pierre Blanchard’s jazz violin method

Pminor swing violinFor this violin comping technique, Pierre Blanchard developed an excellent jazz violin method : « Le Jazz au violon”. Almost all of Volume 1 is about this accompaniment technique! This is really a good violin method that I have used and highly recommend.

Volume 2 is also very well done: Pierre Blanchard uses Minor Swing as a basis for introducing techniques and gradually adds new elements to the vocabulary of jazz violin improvisation >!

To buy Pierre Blanchard’s “Le jazz au violon” method book (in French!), click here.




The choice of notes to comp on the violin

To play a standard chord, you will have to choose two notes: one on the G string and one on the D string. You have the choice between the 4 notes of the chord: root – third – fifth – seventh. I like to give priority to the third and the seventh, which are the notes that give the color of the chord. The fifth is good too, especially for a piece like Minor Swing, because guitarists often play the chord without a seventh, but with the sixth.

The root is played by the double bass, so we’re not going to give it priority. But in some circumstances, for example if you’re playing in a duo, using the root can still be a good idea.

This choice of notes must be made according to fingering: listen to the sound of the chord according to the chord progression!




The first chord in Minor Swing: A MINOR

For the first chord of Minor Swing which is A minor, I play the third (the C on the G string). For the D string, I prefer the fifth. The seventh sounds less good because it requires the third finger, parallel to the do-of the G string.


For other chords, I suggest you download the sheet music at the bottom of the page.




The violin accompaniment technique: the right hand and the left hand


The right hand

I’m going to use a technique to strum like a guitarist with the index finger or the thumb.

  • With the thumb

with the broad side of the thumb, try to strike both strings at the same time! You should not hear each string sound individually, but a single sound with both notes.

For this accompaniment technique, Pierre Blanchard has made an excellent method: “Le jazz au violon”. Almost all of volume 1 talks about this accompaniment technique! It is really a good method that I have used and that I recommend to you.

  • With the index finger

    we also hear the fingernail, it gives something more sonorous

It is essential to strike both strings at the same time, you should not hear the two separate notes!


The left hand

It is important to mute the notes with the fingers of the left hand, like guitarists!

These are ghost notes, it’s the same principle that I explain in my lesson on jazz violin detaché bowing, except that the technique is used for comping.



2 important points for comping on violin:

  • In this technique taught to me by PIERRE BLANCHARD, we always use the G string and the D string.
  • We accentuate beats 2 and 4, to get a swing feel




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Below you will find a PDF to download with a short summary of this article and the sheet music containing the notes you can play to accompany Minor Swing on the violin. Plus, you will also be updated on the latest news on the site!

See you back here soon for new articles and new videos!


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