Swing 8th Notes and Jazz Rhythm
In jazz, the term "swing 8th notes" indicates that eighth notes are performed unevenly. And because the exact notation of swing eighth-notes is neither possible nor very practical, jazz musicians use regular eighth-notes with the indication, swing to the note, swing eighth-note.
The key to swing 8th notes is that -- play accent on upbeats, pop on the offbeats (also, not necessarily be 2/3 and 1/3, as long as first note is a little bit longer than 2nd note for each pair).
Here's what a score appears like (straight 8th notes) and what it should be approximately played like (swung 8th notes):
Straight 8th Notes vs Swing 8th Notes
P.S. Some idiomatic jazz rhythm:
Blues riffs are simple melodic ideas derived from the blues scale or major blue scale. They would work over different harmonies and let soloists focus on the rhythm of your phrases and articulation.
Call and Response
Call and Response in Blues
The most important aspect of jazz improvisation is the ability to listen. The call and response technique involves the sharing of musical ideas between the leader and his/her followers.
Each note within a chord has a specific harmonic, melodic, and tonal function, as well as a specific voice-leading behavior. The guide tones of any dominant 7th formations are the 3rd and the 7th note. The pair of notes form the interval of the tritone.
Guide Tones of Dominant/Minor/Major 7th Chords
How to deal with guide tones in chord progressions? How to connect chords using the principles of good voice leading? Principles of voice leading:
- Common tone retentions.
- Parsimonious voice leading (moving mostly by step, avoid skips between consecutive notes).
- Contrary motion between the voices.
Here's an example of original realization and its adjustment:
Voice Leading Example: Original Realization
Voice Leading Example: Adjusted
From measure 1 to measure 2, the chord changed from B flat to E flat. The leading tones changed accordingly: the 7th will go down to the 3rd and the 3rd will go down to the 7th. This is a common behavior of guide tones in a chord progression related by descending fifths.
Measure 4 shows a typical instance of "251" progression resolving the Eb7 chord in measure 5. Also, this is how the "common tone retention" practice behaves like, the third of F minor is heard as a common tone and becomes the 7th of the next chord.
Voice Leading Example: Contrary Motion
The above figure shows an example of contrary motion: from measure 7 to measure 8, the outer notes go contrarily. It also serves for register adjustment.