Exploring Rhythm and Time in Fingerstyle Jazz Songs

Posted by Sean McGowan

Contemporary jazz musicians add interest to well-worn standards by exploring rhythmic feels and time signatures that are different from the song’s original version (or the way it’s usually played among musicians). For example, you might add a bossa nova feel to a song that’s normally played as a ballad, or perhaps take a burning uptempo song and explore its harmonic nuances as a ballad. Jerome Kern’s “All the Things You Are” has been played just about every way imaginable! You could also convert a song into another time signature.

Example 12a_b: Fingerstyle Jazz Essentials
Click to enlarge.

The most common conversions tend to involve changing a 3/4 song into 4/4, and vice versa. Example 12a shows the 4/4 melody in Example 1, which is converted to 3/4 in Example 12b. Notice that the melodic pitches are all intact; we’ve adjusted therhythms to allow the melody to fit the new time signature.

Excerpted from Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Essentials

Receive lessons, songs, advice, and news like this straight to your inbox

Join the Exploring Rhythm and Time in Fingerstyle Jazz Songs discussion