LearnJazzPiano.com archives: Pastel Shades (not bright!)
Brotherdavies -- 04/04/2005, 11:38:27 -- #12442

One of the many mysteries of jazz piano is how an old standard can be played so that the melody is clear and precise but the notes sound somehow a little plaintive, like there is some subtle shading in there. Just enough shading to take the brightness out of a major key melody - perhaps pastel or pale is the best way of putting it.
When I try adding altered notes to achieve this sound there seems to be too much discord and it is not the sound I have in mind.

Bill Evans seems  to play melodies in this style.

Is there an EASY way of playing melody so that this effect can be created on basic arrangements (eg particular harmony notes to add to a ii-V-I) or are we talking about major reharmonisation work?

'Embraceable You' in the Key of F (See Ralph Patt) sounds quite rich when I play it, but how can I get the more plaintive sound without changing his chords completely?

Oh, I am talking about solo piano only!

Hope someone can help!

7 -- 04/04/2005, 14:34:31 -- #12453
In my mind that's the same as a singer asking how to make his/her voice sound more plaintive.

The answer (IMHO) is simply to play with a more plaintive emotional state.

"It's not what you play, it's how you play it"

A more precise answer is "touch the keys as if they were butter rather than margarine." LOL

marksdg -- 04/04/2005, 18:20:58 -- #12462
Rather than harmony, maybe it is what people do with rhythm and changing notes that sounds "plaintive".  Also, adding quick leading notes can do this.  Jazz melodies are often played unharmonized.

Brotherdavies -- 04/07/2005, 18:56:15 -- #12575
Thanks for your replies guys - looks like I just have to play with a bit moe feeling!

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