THEME WITH ALTERNATING GHOST NOTES – VIDEO 3/6 Etude of the Standard “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love”




This week’s new video from the “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love Standard Study” series illustrates how to play the theme with alternating ghost notes, i.e. mixing ghost notes with other techniques: long notes and legatos.


If you haven’t seen the previous video 2/6 from last week, I strongly advise you to watch it and work on it before this one, otherwise it will be more difficult to alternate between the detaché bowing of ghost notes and longer note values as well as legatos. To learn how to play ghost notes, I also recommend that you first work on my free lesson on ghost notes.


By forcing oneself to use at first only the ghost notes with a continuous detaché bowstroke in the right hand, it becomes possible to acquire an independence between the right hand and the left hand, which has a new role that we did not necessarily use before (muting the string by touching it). These exercises are also very beneficial for learning how to swing!! The end goal is to play the theme while swinging, and then apply that to improvisation, as I show in the first video of the series!


Only then can you move on to the next exercise: alternating between ghost notes and other elements! On the other hand, be sure to try to keep a basic rule concerning the detaché: to use a downbow on the downbeat, push on the syncopation (the upbeat), and always initiate the bowstroke movement with the fingers.

Here is this new video:



How to mix ghost notes and other techniques?

  1. Add long notes (quarter notes, half notes) followed by pauses to complete phrases. Thus, the phrases will be able to settle and you will play phrases with a beginning and an end!

  2. Tie notes together: preferably the second eighth note with the third, and not the first with the second.

    Indeed, the swing will be much more bouncy because the change of bow will be done on the syncopation, and thus the accent will naturally be on the syncopation.

    You can also tie three or more notes together!


Overall, you should gradually acquire more swing in your playing thanks to these exercises which you can also apply in improvisation, and not only to play the theme.


The importance of the metronome

It is important to work all the exercises in this series with a metronome: indeed, with the goal of swinging, this working tool is essential. Put it on all beats first (quarter note tempo in the video: 120), then put it on half note (60), but be careful! The click of the metronome should be on beats 2 and 4. Indeed, in jazz and gypsy jazz, the high beat is not on 1 and 3 as in marches or other music we are used to (as classical musicians), but on 2 and 4.

Listen to a drummer playing swing; choose a medium tempo, so you don’t get lost rhythmically; you will notice that the drummer accentuates beats 2 and 4. So if you’re playing with a drummer but you’re not used to this new emphasis, in your head the beats 2 and 4 that the drummer plays will be 1 and 3, and you’ll start to play upside down!


Learn to play on 2 and 4

So start by putting the metronome on, and count 1,2,3,4 while saying 2 and 4 on the click. Try to keep this count for a long time.

Then, play the melody of the theme you are working on or another melody you already know, always keeping the metronome on 2 and 4. At first, it’s a very difficult exercise, like turning your brain around… Then gradually it will become natural, by dint of training it!



I hope you enjoyed this little jazz violin lesson, and you can put it to good use! In the meantime, feel free to share it on social media!


Below, you will find a PDF to download with the score of the standard I can’t give you anything but love, as well as a small point-by-point summary of the article. So, you will be also kept up to date with the latest news from the site!


See you soon for new articles and new videos!


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