Thursday, February 16, 2006

Daily recordings

I spent a month last year working with some fellow researchers at the university of Goettingen, in Germany. Curiously, they did not only share with me their passion for GIS and other computer-related stuff, but also their love for music (specially jazz), so I packed my jazz guitar and twice a week we met at the rehearsal room to share our musical ideas. When I came back home, along with all the work we had done together, they gave me a bunch of mp3 files with all the sessions we had played during those days. Although I hadn't noticed it, they had recorded every single minute that we spent playing, so afterwards they could listen to it and analyze their playing. Although they liked my jazzed-up style of playing, I was not very inspired when improvising (their sound was, indeed, a bit "dark" for my particular taste), but I kept those files and listened to them once I arrived, trying to isolate the worthy licks (not many...) and analyzing the wrong (or not so worthy) ones.

I put those mp3 files in a separate folder in my hard drive, and forgot about them until a couple of days ago, when I found them while browsing my collection. And when I listened to those recordings I realized what a great idea it is to record whatever you play, so I have decided to start doing it and using the computer not only to record "serious" songs, but also as a valuable tool for learning and practising.

Yesterday it was my first day. I recorded a 8-bars chord progression that I had been playing from a few days ago, in the key of D major (then copied and pasted it ad infinitum), and after a couple of minutes playing over it I got a quite interesting lick. I stopped recording, practiced that lick a bit so I could use it as the main motive for the song, and then recorded a little tune (you can download it here). And all that in not more than 10-15 minutes. The song is bad, it contains dozens of mistakes, but the more I listen to it, the more I learn about my own style. After those 15 minutes, I started playing some scales and some standards, but I did not record them. Right now, I am mostly interested in my improvisation skills.

If I get some good results from this, I might upload some of these mp3 files. The songs are going to be probably rather weak, but at least the sound is quite fresh...

By the way, the chord progression of the above file is:

DMaj7 | C#7b5 | C#Dim | Bm/D | GMaj7 | C# 7#9 | F#sus4 (X2)

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