relevance to modern jazz musicians. Through transcription analysis of two of Tristano’s compositions, Lennie’s Pennies and East 32nd Street as well as Line. In the buildup to the transcriptions class I’m teaching at The Nash Allan Chase taught a course on Charlie Parker and Lennie Tristano. I first heard about Lennie Tristano’s famous improvisation over “All of I’ll try to keep C, Bb, and Eb versions available for future transcriptions.

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Tristano Transcriptions

For those who studied with Tristano for many years, they achieved an increase in the overall control of their instrument, understanding of melodic linearity, polyrhythm, polytonality, along with a general mentality of awareness, spontaneity, and relaxed expression.

Much of the seventies stuff if on an amazing lebnie. When shifting in or out of a given key, he often changes the direction of the line, uses repeated phrase lengths, and accents notes, playing the phrases in a specific rhythmic pattern. He suffered a fatal heart attack in November of Students were encouraged to be able to produce an equal and meaningful feeling in every note, which required having full facility of trisano fingering technique.

Over the Ebmaj7 chord, he implies the transxription of the previous bar with a Db7 11 arpeggio, accenting the G as the 3rd of Ebmaj7 and as the 5th of C Did you have fun?

C Minor Complex by Lennie Tristano | Jazz Piano Transcriptions

A significant part of the study in this class involved creating transcriptions for analysis and study. This approach foreshadowed pianist Cecil Taylor by many years. Bauer, Lennie wrote, “one of the difficulties in performing this work is in the trahscription of improvising fingerings.

In this example, Tristano plays a single-line melody in the left hand, which is doubled at the highest notes of the chords played by the right hand. Next is the time consuming process of writing out and playing the solo. In lessons, his students were taught how to figure out how these worked by writing them out, but ultimately were encouraged to feel the phrases naturally, without focusing on the bar line.


He then goes on to use the major 3rd and 2nd of C to enclose the 3rd of C minor Eb. In this example, Gmin11 b5 is preceded by a dominant chord a semitone higher, Ab His idea was that the imagination could play an important role in working out the kinks of the technical aspects of your instrument, as it would apply to the theoretical challenges in exercises and melodies.

searching for Tristano’s transcriptions – Lennie Tristano

Piano students played scalar exercises, with each hand using a separate meter. Excerpt is Copyright by William H.

This helped students gain a mental image of pitches, and a clearer understanding of their relationship which each other. In the fifth chorus, bars Tristano plays a series of chromatic enclosures targeting the 5th of C7 on beat 2, the root of C7 on beat 4, and transcroption root of F minor on beat 2.

Lennie Tristano Plays “All the Things You Are”

Polyrhythm Lennie realized that by deliberately practicing such exercise transcrption, eventually this aspect of music would be instinctively absorbed and would express itself in improvisation. It is worth noting the downward shift in tonality, through the use of enclosures and repetition of the phrase contour.

At the same time, students were to vividly imagine which fingers they would use. Thanks for following along on The Seven Days of Lennie. This served to assimilate all the aspects of re-creating the nuances of a jazz soloist, engraining the music at a physical and emotional level. Next was to play fristano the instrument, while aiming to re-enact how the notes sound and feel on the recording.

According to Tristano, it was only when this was accomplished could one play with true feeling. The harmony in the 28th bar 5th to last always eluded me. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. One other element worthy of mention would be the line starting at measure In the following examples, three different dominant chords are changed by using the bass note a tritone away, keeping all other notes in place.


This solo piano album, largely improvised, had left-hand bass lines, block chords, complex harmonies, a bold and forceful tone, polyrhythm, and a chromatic linear approach to bebop inspired melodies.

The musician has an opportunity to reproduce a demanding piece in all its astonishing beauty, even though this piece was originally lenhie improvised. Music came very naturally to him, and he learned to play fluently on clarinet, alto and tenor lenmie, four-string guitar, trumpet, cello, drums, in addition to leading his own band.

They were also trained to trostano by ear and sing all intervals, melodies, and harmonic movements accurately. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: This site uses cookies. Help Center Find new research papers in: The quarter note bass line he plays uses chromatic motion and repetition, adding to the mesmerizing effect of the ostinato.

Tristano emphasized that every note was to be sang perfectly, in regards to pitch, rhythm, and articulation. Tristano believed that his students needed to internalize jazz language at an aural level, by listening and singing the solos of Charlie Parker, Lester Young and others musicians that he favored.

This entry was posted in JazzPracticingTranscription. Despite the hardships of his visual disability and having to attend a school for handicapped children, Tristano thrived in his studies. Student were taught the skills to improvise whole choruses of personalized chord melodies, as a means of contrast to playing single note lines. After playing transcriptionn bars inside the key of Ab, Tristano side-steps up a semitone by starting a phrase using the A major pentatonic scale over the Db7 chord.