hi folks, i'd like to invite you to visit my new website at www.davefrankjazz.com. there are lots of burnin' video and audio tracks to njoy, info on my joy of improv and breakthrough to improv books and videos, and updates and schedules of free public master classes and concerts at my new york school.

come by anytime and say hello, don't be a stranger ranger!

keep swingin,

dave frank
assoc. prof., piano dept.
berklee college of music
director, dave frank school of jazz
There are 22 comments, leave a comment.
you shouldn't come here shouting in all capital letters for the sole purpose of hyping your products for sale.

welcome to learn jazz piano. jazz+ must be in a crabby mood today.

i'll try to drop by when i get a chance.
hi dave,

i want to take this opportunity to tell you that i found your dvd very helpful. it was recommended to me on this site actually. i'll definitely check out your web site.

sorry about that.

the website for the dave frank schhol of jazz is up. there are some things to buy on there, but don't buy em. just come by to say hello and hear and listen to lots of burnin solo jazz piano for free:)

hey dave,

why do the people at berklee call extensions "tensions" when in fact many extensions are not tension notes at all?

for example, the 9 in a major 9th has no tension at all, yet you guys call it a tension.

is this just an example of people too lazy to pronounce the whole word (eg. "comping" vs "accompanying") or is it simply an example of the secret language of "berklee-ese"?

this seems odd to me that notes in the lower part of the chord which are clearly exerting tension (ie a 3 against a b7 or a b3 against a major 6th) are not labelled as "tensions".

in addition, i would like to learn the history of how that word became popularized in the berklee culture and its first documented use (and/or inventor).

i have asked some other berklee people here about that nomenclature, but i have never gotten an answer that made any real-world sense.

the two year course in big band arranging (block chords) i took from berkelee labeled

1 3 5 6 as "chord tones" on major and minor i chords and
1 3 5 7 as "chord tones" on a minor 7th or dominant 7th

anything else was called a "non-chord" tone (2, 4, 7)

"non-chord" tones were also called "tensions". they have various rules for dealing with "resolved tensions" and "unresolved tensions." it's too long and complicated to explain on a forum but it all made sense.
hi jazz+, my experience is that anything greater than an octave on a chord is called an "tension". this would apply to all forms of 9,11,and 13. the word is not a berklee thing as far as i know, all 9,11's and 13's are usually called tensions in my experience. some tensions, like the natural 9 and 13, could be further described as "bright tensions", whereas the b9, +11, b13 can be considered "dark tensions".  

that's right.

sorry for the harsh response ealier, dave.  
i mistook you for a drive spammer.

if you act now i'll sell you 3 books for the price of 2!

call 1 800 iwishiwasbillevans:)

isn't he dead?
very good jazz site, dave.  
you are a cat playing jazz!
thank you folks for illuminating me. i really was interested in knowing that answer.

how about 1 book for the price of 0 ?

(it never hurts to ask)
hi dave,
would you have a transcription or an accurate chord chart relating to the "c of joy" song you perform on your website. i am interested in getting down that walking base line style. can you offer any advice,

hi elwapo, thanks for writing. the changes are lennies pennies, or pennies from heaven in minor, but for some unknown reason the chorus in dm changes to alone together haha.

about the walking bassline:

the wb is a quarter note melodic line made up of steps and some leaps that intersects the chord changes, often at the root (although not neccessarily). it's best to work your fingers off practicing the lh alone for 7 incarnations, then put it together with simple rh lines - you can start with one or two notes at a time in the rh, then gradually increase the complexity of the rh lines. i have my victims start by writing out wb's to tunes, then improvising slowly lh alone in about 6 keys, (or with simple rh comping)to 2-5-1 progressions, trying to explore every possibility of bassline movement between each chord. in this case, the possibilities are:

2 moving up to 5 moving up to 1
2 moving up to 5 moving down to 1
2 moving down to 5 moving down to 1
2 moving down to 5 moving up to 1

then you can go to more complex progressions, doing the same thing -  

iim7b5 v7 im6
i -vi-ii-v-i
i - iii7 - vi7 - ii v i, etc.

then improvise lh wb alone, one chorus at a time, over a standard (always slowly to start, like met 66). after your wife serves you with divorce papers, speed up the tempo of lh improv, then add the rh lines, graudually increasing complexity.

you can try intentionally varying the note placed at the point of chord change to include, 3's, 5's, possibly 7's or tensions if it works melodically and your audience is suffienctly soused. the leaps in basslines are intersting, the most common one is an octave leap often at the point of chord change. leaping from 1-5-1 (straight up or down) also is good, or arpegiating the chord of the moment in the bassline is sometimes a nice break from the usual wb stepwise motion.

to me the wb style is truly a mysterious possibility in the jazz piano world..really, how is it possibile to improvise 2 lines at the same time? it is as we all know! it's a natural (although hard-won) possibility of the brain-hand coordinating mechanism. learning and becoming comfortable with it it a matter of traing the brain to handle 2 tasks at once. it's like juggling while riding a unicycle. you gotta get your unicycling down before you start with the juggling:)

thanks for your question, hope this helps.

hi dave,
your question helps alot and thank you very much for taking the time to answer. i tried to contact you via your site to see about wev tuition but i cant seem to get through on the address provided. as far as wb lines are concerned i have been practicing the following;

a)becoming comfortable with root 5 motives in all keys
b)practicing ascending and descending linear wb lines through standard progressions. dorian / aeolian from minor descending wb lines and altered / locrian for altered and half diminished chords.
c) transcribing lines (trying my best anyway) from lenny tristano and neil olmstead tracks.
as far as improvising the right hand over these base lines i really appreciate your advice on this as i was thinking in the same fashion. just start slowly with simple rh lines and progress from there. i have been practicing hal galpers forward motion technique / excercises over my wb lines i.e. the placement of strong chord tones over the stronger beats (1 and 3) and trying to start my lines on the up beat. i have to say though, i really admire your playing, thanks again,
hi ew, sounds like you're on the right track. you can reach me anytime at email dfrankjazz?@aol.com or dave@davefrankjazz.com.

keep the lh swingin!

hi dave- thanks for dropping by!  you've got a nice touch on the piano, and a lot of good information to share as well.  good combination :)
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
thanks, scot. it's a little known fact that i have only 7 fingers, having lost the other three in a high-stakes dreidle game at hebrew school in 1976.
hi dave - one thing i noticed from just watching "c of joy" is how open you keep the rh (i.e you seem very comfortable leaving your fingers spread over a wide area). is this something that you consciously practiced to achieve or has it evolved this way naturally? also (and related to the first observation) your technique on the outside fingers appears effortless - i'd be interested to hear any comments you'd care to write on how you've approached developing this aspect of your technique.

hi pringe, thanks for writing. in terms of technique, i think of two parts -  

1) having all the finger muscles equally developed through exercises like hanon, or jazzhanon, gradually increasing tempos. as you increase tempo, it's important to intentionally relax at the wrist and elbows, as the natural tendency is to tense up there.

2) i conceive of technique as being all flow. the basic feeling in the hand feels like a "wave motion". it's like the difference between karate and tai chi - karate movements are separate from one another, whereas tai chi implies one underlying flow that connects the various movements. the conception of playing as a flow enables the most relaxed speed to develop, and keeps the hand mechanism protected.

the wide open hand position comes naturally as a result of not avoiding the 4th and 5th fingers in the rh line. i often think of   a "figure 8" or infinity sign to describe the movement the whole hand moves in relaxed waves of motion, changing directions often.

the wave motion concept is integral to the technique exercises too, plus a jazz pianist playing technique exercises imo should play them in swing 1/8th,  not straight 1/8th. it's more fun, swings and doesn't get boring. also it useful to hum along as you do the exercises, to conccet the hands with the inner ear.

hope this helps, amigo!

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