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Ron Carter's Line over F Blues Transcribed

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Intenzity, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. Intenzity


    Oct 15, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Hey guys,

    Here is a transcription of 13 or so choruses of Ron Carter walking over F blues with all the notes analyzed.


    Full file here:

  2. nickbass


    Apr 29, 2005
    Northants, UK
    Thanks - haven't looked at all of it yet, but can see that the analysis is a bit misleading, as you've matched the notes to the "standard" blues changes rather than to the changes the group are actually playing. So in bar 14, the group aren't playing a whole bar of Bb7 but choosing to go back to F7/C via a Bbm7 or Eb7, hence the Db in the bass. And in bar 20 there obviously isn't an Am in earshot, as the bass is playing A7/C#. It's quite an important point, as from your analysis a beginner could be led to believe that it's OK to swap minor and major thirds at will, whereas what's happening here is that the group are choosing specific harmonic paths through the changes each time round.
  3. Intenzity


    Oct 15, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Good points, but the notes and chords are what I copied out of the transcription book put out by Abersold for that tune. They had all those chord changes over the line, and yea, some of them are a little interesting, but that's what they had, so I didn't edit them, just put down what they considered the "right" changes.

    And there are some enharmonic things going on, in one measure there is an A min, and he plays a "C#" (it even has an accidental in the book), but it came out as a Db on this analysis, even though it still gets listed as a third. Still working on getting all the enharmonic spellings worked out.
  4. In measure 27 - I am curious why, if you're going to reference the C as being the 5th of F7, are you then refering to the D in the same measure (a whole step up) as the 13th. Yes D would be the 13th of an F an octave lower - but in this context I would assume you would call it the 6th.
  5. Intenzity


    Oct 15, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Just convention. And based on what I have seen other analysis do, they label all the notes by their extension, 9=2, 4=11, etc, regardless of the octave.

    In this case, since the bass is down below or equal to the piano, there probably wouldn't be any note above the octave of the bass note of the chord, (or very few), but eh, the labels are not as important. If you want to think 6 instead of 13, thats fine. Its just nomenclature.
  6. nickbass


    Apr 29, 2005
    Northants, UK
    The convention is - 13 if it's a dominant chord and 6 if it's a tonic - a very useful distinction!
  7. Intenzity


    Oct 15, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Nick, you are right. I will submit all future transcription to you for review and approval prior to posting.
  8. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Yes. Thank You, nickbass.

    "god is in the details..." - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
  9. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I had that book when I was a kid and it was moderately helpful. RC's constructive, musical busy-ness is a continuing inspiration.

    But this particular sheet shouldn't be treated as gospel. For example, bar 22 has 4.5 beats worth of material in it. There are some other questionable transcription calls in the line too.

    Personally I've never spent time transcribing other folks' improvisations, but in the Jazz Education Era it seems to be a required rite of passage.
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    This is a great example of why I favor the concept of jazz as improvised melody over the paradigm of chord scales. But even so, this kind of exercise can still be useful not in spite of the notes that don't seem to make sense, but rather *because of* them. These notes force us to transcend the "paint by numbers" chord-scale approach and look at what's really going on, which in every case on this page (to my ears, anyway) is a longer term delayed melodic resolution or release. As an educator in a university jazz program, sometimes I have to bite my tongue when these kinds of discussions are taking place and remember that wonderful old adage from the Dalai Lama, "one cannot transcend anything until one has first attained it". In this case, if we must explain every note, the shortcomings of this type of analysis force us to look further, which can be useful in the end.

    On a related note, I've known Jamey for 30 years and taught at his summer workshops for almost 20. I remember him telling a story about Ron Carter being uneasy when Jamey approached him about publishing these bass line transcription books; apparently Mr. Carter felt that this kind of thing was better heard than seen. Perhaps he found the idea of academic jazz analysts picking apart his knowledge of chord scales to be off-putting?
  11. rasbass


    Dec 29, 2002
    Upstate NY
    I enjoy looking at transcriptions to see how the lines are constructed. Thinking about structure and style and trying to internalize more variety in my playing helps keep me from getting into "ruts"- repeating similar patterns for similar changes and falling into "automatic pilot" mode.

    Having resources like this posted is appreciated- thanks Intenzity.
  12. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    id say its just the opposite. in the old days the masters learned by transcribing (bird and trane are known to have done a ton of it, as a matter of fact trane transcribed a ton of bird...) in the "jazz education era" people are trying to learn how to play jazz from a book, of which there are now many, and thats a good thing, when used wisely
  13. Intenzity


    Oct 15, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    first of all, any mistakes in there are mine from when I copied the notes down. But in m22, that is a triplet, not an extra beat, the triplet beam is a little obscured by the interval label.

    You guys are hilarious...it's the ol' "How many musicians does it take to screw in a light bulb" joke every day up here.
  14. I know this will probably rain on someone's academic parade but…. All this micro analysis and detailed one up-manship fails to take into account what the rest of the ensemble was playing at the time Mr. Carter made whatever musical choices he made. A strictly academic approach never seems to address the fact that great jazz playing is a moment to moment improvisational and conversational art form that often bends or breaks many cherished classical, theoretical and harmonic conventions.
  15. P.S. That's why I love it so much! :cool::bag::cool:
  16. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member


    A common convention, ( not a "rule" ), is to consistently place the triplet beam above the staff. Just a suggestion...
    Also, you're missing 2 ties in bar 5 to bar 6 ( the Bb), and from bar 6 to bar 7 ( the B natural).
    It's not my intention to "pile on", but to encourage you to have someone proof-read your material for errors and/or clarity, before publication.

    Thanks for your time and interest.
  17. Intenzity


    Oct 15, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Ohhh "preferably a bassist". Subtle.

    And I am not addressing any specific poster, but thanks to you all for the feedback and addressing what intervals need to be called and when, notation software choices, your personal thoughts on the value of transcribing, analyzing, listening to other bass players, and how jazz needs to be taught or not. I know you think your way is THE right way. Thats why they are called opinions. I know you KNOW your way is the right way. I know. We all know.

    Missing the forest in the trees here - the transcription is just a resource to study and analyze one of the most recorded bass players in the history of jazz and see how he handled, at one moment in time, on one day, probably the most common song form we get asked to play. For free. By clicking once.

    Should you look at it in the context of the recording? OF COURSE. Should you follow this as the gospel way to play F Blues? NO. Its just a study resource. If you are already at the point where Ron Carter's playing has nothing to offer you, great, my hat is off to you. I can still learn some things from that guy.

    Really, I need to put some kind of disclaimer like that when offering a free transcription up here? Really?
  18. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member


    I have edited my post:
    "It's not my intention to "pile on", but to encourage you to have someone proof-read your material for errors and/or clarity, before publication."
  19. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Have you listened to the track?( $0.99 iTunes). The issue here is that the written chord changes are not always reflecting what is actually being played. That is not "micro analysis" or "a strictly academic approach", that is critical listening, IMHO. For example, the pianist consistently voices A7#9+5 instead of Amin7 in the first half of bar 8 of the 12 bar form, ( and for each subsequent chorus, except the final chorus where he moves - F7, Bb7, Fadd2/A, D7., BTW). An inexperienced player might infer that it's OK to "think" C# on an Amin7 chord because "RC did it". I would have hoped that Aebersold, ( or the OP), would have taken the time to correct the published "generic" (blues) chord changes, as I assume these materials are aimed at beginning/intermediate players who are attempting to decipher and absorb the jazz vocabulary. It only clouds and confuses the issue when materials are published, (however well-intentioned), that are inaccurate or incomplete.
    Thanks for your time and interest.

    BTW - you must know Dave Loeb!?
  20. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Don, have you ever recorded a jazz play along?