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Working out the changes: Cherokee

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Basscat125, Jun 11, 2014.


  1. Basscat125

    Basscat125

    Aug 3, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland.
    none yet
    Hey guys im having a real hard time learning the changes to the tune cherokee ,
    Ive got the melody down but im finding it really frustating to learn the changes by ear! HELP!
     
  2. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    I'm not sure exactly what sort of help you're looking for, but the bridge to Cherokee is a series of ii-V-I progressions, down a step each time, starting in the key a half step above the tonic key. So if you're in Bb, the bridge is a ii-V-I in B, then in A, then in G, then in F.
     
  3. Basscat125

    Basscat125

    Aug 3, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland.
    none yet
    Thanks Man thats good to know! I really just want some advice on how to work out chord changes that are tricky like Cherokee. I.e. whats the process involved?
    are there any tunes that i should learn before cherokee to make the process of figuring it out easier?
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2014
  4. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    In the beginning I found it very helpful to not switch to learning by ear directly. What I started doing was trying to train my ear. I would actually use a chart first without the intent on memorizing the changes by the chord symbols or what not. I'd get used to the root movement and have and idea of how it goes. The next step is to sing the third of each chord, or a guide tone, while playing the root on the bass. This starts to develop my ear to hear the chord quality of what it sounds like on a bass without any other distraction. Go slow with it, and start to hear how the colors changes with the chord qualities with just the bass by itself. Also pay attention to essential elements of certain chords. For example, playing the #11 on the second chord for A Train. It does not sound right if that isn't accentuated.

    Once I had this "sense", it was far easier to launch into learning everything by ear because I trained my ear muscles to be able to identify how tunes move and hear them independently from a recording. I've done this for a couple years now and I've gotten pretty good at learning completely by ear but I will still reference a chart sometimes just to correct my own hypothesis of what the chords are.

    Still, memorizing the melody by ear is a neccessary step at some point. Being able to sing the melody while playing the roots or walking is extremely helpful.

    It's what worked for me.
     
  5. Basscat125

    Basscat125

    Aug 3, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland.
    none yet
    i will definitely try that hdiddy roughly how long for each day would you do this? would an hour be enough everyday? i plan to work through the tune pretty thoroughly and then some. this method looks great as it seems so logical! i can't wait to test it out tomorrow in the shed!! cheers again man!!
     
  6. chicagodoubler

    chicagodoubler

    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    Cat, do you play piano?
     
  7. Basscat125

    Basscat125

    Aug 3, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland.
    none yet
    .no.. ...
     
  8. Basscat125

    Basscat125

    Aug 3, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland.
    none yet
    if you could list for me some important stuff that i should work on with piano it'd be killer! i'm gonna spend an hour an 2-5-1 today at the keys. i realise the importance of having basic piano skills, i never really had time during the school year, but i suppose the summer is as good an opportunity as any to learn.
     
  9. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I don't know. I never practice in terms of # of hours or minutes on a given subject. I just go until I either find that:
    * I've got it down to the point where it's comfortable and I don't have to work for it to come out anymore. I know I have it when I walk away from the bass to do something else and my head keeps singing it just for fun.
    * I got bored and want to do something else. I'll then revisit it later that day or the next day.
    * Run out of time.

    That first point is pretty important to me. I have to learn to "love" the melody first. Once i can't help but sing the melody, everything else just flows so much easier in learning things.

    Once I have the basics down (melody, root movement, guide tone movement) I'll usually do a mix of:
    * Sing the melody play the root note (or walk)
    * Sing the melody and play the guide tone
    * Play the melody and sing the root note
    * Play the melody and sing the guide tone

    If I'm ambitious I'll start "trading" with the above combinations mid-song. Again, I just do things til I'm "comfortable" with it. I don't do it til it's "mastered". For some reason I want to say it's not what this is about.

    I'll do this for a week over the same tune for little bits at a time and things start to sink into the subconscious. That's what I'm after. That way when I haven't played the tune for a couple months, most of the time I can just sing the melody to myself and it starts to bubble back up on its own with not that much effort. Maybe it takes a couple choruses but the retention is far better for me than trying to shed hard on a tune like most people do I guess.

    Do this for about 3-4 tunes initially, then swap over to learning things completely by ear. And even then, I'm still going through the process but the only difference is that I'm picking out the melody, roots and 3rds using my ear instead of going off of a chart.
     
  10. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    One point about the piano. I think it's good to use a little bit of piano. Not so much to learn it on the piano but that it provides an absolute reference for pitch. If you can play against a piano just to match it's intonation in your head - it's probably ideal. The goal is to have the right pitch as accurate as possible in your head. I haven't really done it that much with bass but I have done it during voice lessons and it's extremely effective.

    I do something similar but usually I pull out the guitar to do it. Guitar is great because you are also learning where the notes are on the neck if you only use the lower 4 strings.
     

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