Jazz Piano Lesson #45 - Trill and Grace Note Exercise.pdf
I've mentioned many times before on this blog how big a fan I am of technical exercises. I feel like my playing is at it's best when I have some sort of daily technique routine. Almost every exercise I work on is played and sung through all twelve keys. For this reason, the technical exercises (ala Hanon) I've been writing lately have been really challenging both my technique and inner singing voice. I have to remind myself that daily slow and patient practice is the key to making these exercises feel effortless.
This week's exercise focuses on two important concepts. The first is building speed. I once read the Franz Liszt spent the majority of his technical practice time playing trills. It was his opinion that trill practice was the key to his technical mastery of the keyboard. I think there's some truth to his opinion. After only a week of practicing this exercise I felt much more comfortable playing on fast tempo tunes.
The second concept presented in this lesson is the idea of adding ornamentation to your lines. Ornamentation (trills, grace notes, mordents, appogiaturas, etc) became very common in early Baroque composition and performance. This tradition of ornamentation was often payed homage to by Classical composers who immediately followed the Baroque period.
Ornamentation later started to appear in jazz music as well. First in grace notes and slight modifications of Ragtime tunes by Stride pianists and later in be-bop improvisations by pianists like Bud Powell. Take a listen to any solo by Bud Powell, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner or Herbie Hancock and you're bound to hear them using some of these devices.
View and download the sheet music: Jazz Piano Lesson #45 - Trill and Grace Note Exercise.pdf