ses­sion

Andy Saphir signs off the Ses­sion se­ries with a cool 70s-style jazz movie theme-in­spired piece.

Guitar Techniques - - Learning Zone -

I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of film and TV sound­tracks, re­gard­less of whether there’s a guitar el­e­ment to them or not. Grow­ing up in a house­hold where the mu­sic that was lis­tened to was pre­dom­i­nantly clas­si­cal (my brother is a clas­si­cal pian­ist), I was al­ways hear­ing dif­fer­ent types of solo piano pieces, con­cer­tos and the like. And although I might not be greatly knowl­edge­able about the vastly var­ied amount of mu­sic un­der the um­brella of ‘clas­si­cal’, and in­deed, I’m not clas­si­cally trained my­self, I feel con­fi­dent in my be­lief that some of these amaz­ing movie sound­tracks must be placed ‘up there’ along­side some of the great clas­si­cal pieces, with all due credit go­ing to the com­posers and mu­si­cians whose in­cred­i­ble tal­ent brings them into be­ing.

Now the pur­pose of this month’s les­son isn’t to teach you how to be a clas­si­cal or movie-sound­track com­poser (though it might hope­fully in­spire you!). I’m not a com­poser or ar­ranger, but it’s a slightly dif­fer­ent an­gle to the pre­dom­i­nantly stylis­tic ap­proach of pre­vi­ous lessons in this se­ries, in that I’ve con­trived an imag­i­nary ses­sion sit­u­a­tion where a TV or movie theme has been writ­ten, and a ver­sa­tile gui­tarist is needed to re­alise the com­poser’s or the pro­ducer’s vi­sion (for­tu­nately in this case, the com­poser, pro­ducer and gui­tarist are one and the same!).

What I’ve come up with is a mini ret­rostyle track which I’ve at­tempted to write to fit the movie or TV show for which I’ve fic­ti­tiously been com­mis­sioned; in this case, I’m pre­tend­ing it’s a 70s-style LA-based cop show or movie. The tune is in C mi­nor, and has a cool jazz feel with a funky bass and drum groove. It has an eight-bar in­tro, a 16-bar main theme (A sec­tion), a 10-bar se­condary theme (B sec­tion) and then a 16-bar solo over the main theme (C sec­tion). The 70s vibe is helped along by a con­sis­tent wah-wah ‘scratch’ guitar part that con­tin­ues through­out, with the chordal el­e­ment of the piece be­ing played by the rhythm guitar us­ing some nice jazz voic­ings.

Af­ter a 70s-style, funky sin­gle-note ‘pop­ping’ in­tro, the melody (A sec­tion) is sim­ple and singable (as a melody should be in a track such as this), and I’ve in­ter­preted it by go­ing for an ‘oc­taves’ ap­proach to give it depth, and played it with my thumb, Wes Mont­gomery-style, to help give it a more au­then­tic ‘jazzy’ feel. It’s in­ter­est­ing that we have Wes’ song Sunny in this is­sue, too, so per­haps one will help you with the other.

Although the dou­ble-stop-style B sec­tion

I’ve con­trived an imag­i­nary sit­u­a­tion where a TV or movie theme has been writ­ten, and a gui­tarist is needed to re­alise the com­poser’s vi­sion.

theme can be seen as a melody in its own right, I’ve ar­ranged it as a com­ple­men­tary, counter-melody part to the longer-note melody that you can hear the trum­pet play­ing dur­ing this sec­tion. Again, I’ve used fin­ger­style/thumb for this. Fi­nally, the solo (C sec­tion) isn’t de­signed to be flash. I’ve de­lib­er­ately gone with the vibe of the tune, pur­posely keep­ing most of the phrases straight­for­ward C Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic-based in order to make it catchy and fa­mil­iar. This is mainly an im­pro­vised solo, as I wanted a spon­ta­neous, un­con­trived feel, but above all, sim­ple, mu­si­cal, and hope­fully, cool.

If you’d like to con­tact me, go to www.andysaphir.com where you can also check out a video of me play­ing my coun­try guitar ex­trav­a­ganza, What The Cluck!

Vic Flick played ‘Bond’ on this Clif­ford Es­sex Paragon guitar

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