EXERCISE: Play the theme with ghost notes- VIDEO 2/6 Standard study: “I can’t give you anything but love”

VIDEO 2/6 Etude for the Standard « I CAN’T GIVE YOU ANYTHING BUT LOVE »



Here is the 2nd video of the series of 6 videos on the study of the standard “I CAN’T GIVE YOU ANYTHING BUT LOVE”. This new video aims to show a very useful exercise for interpreting the theme, which will allow you to free yourself from the score and make the theme sound great using syncopations and swinging! So you’ll see how to use détaché bowing and the ghost notes to swing a theme that is written with a lot of quarter notes and long values in the Realbook, and thus give more importance to the syncopations and play with it to develop other musical ideas in the interpretation of the theme. The practice of détaché bowing and ghost notes also allows you to have the characteristic sound of the jazz violin, this special touch where you can perceive lightness and air between the notes.


The exercise contains two important elements:

1) Play continuous détaché with the right hand.

Try to use your fingers as much as possible: the right hand and wrist should be flexible like springs, but the attack of the sound should come from the fingers which allows for rhythmic precision. Try to use as little bow as possible, to prepare yourself to play faster and save excess movement in order to achieve faster tempos later.

2) Play the theme with the left hand, alternating between sustained notes and ghost notes.

To make a ghost note, just touch the string with your fingers instead of pressing like a normal note. It’s exactly like when you want to make a harmonic and you can’t make it sound: this is the sound you want, in order to create a kind of breath that contributes to the swing. On the other hand, you shouldn’t try to make the harmonic sound either, and so for that I recommend that you also touch the string with the other fingers.

With this technique we try to create a sound that resembles wind instruments. This sound gives the suggestion or effect of breath, which can be heard in many jazz instrumentalists such as trumpeters or saxophonists. Jazz and gypsy jazz guitarists constantly use this technique of muffling or dampening the sound with the fingers of the left hand in their accompaniments and in their improvisations.

If you have never made ghost notes, I strongly advise you to look at my video jazz violin lesson, which deals with swing bowing and ghost notes.


Exercise objectives

I want to make it clear that this is an exercise; the goal is not to play the theme this way indefinitely. It’s a path to swinging, and once you’ve practiced it, the next step is to free yourself from it. The objective will be to manage to play the theme using the ghost notes and alternating them with other materials, as I do in the first video of the series. Obviously, this exercise can also be practiced improvising over the tune’s changes.

In the next video I’ll post next week, I’ll show you how to mix ghost notes with long notes and legatos.

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