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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."

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August 21, 2008 | "Getting Into Jazz Mandolin" MB20835BCD: Marketing Thoughts
For part of the pre-release marketing efforts of "Getting Into Jazz Mandolin," we were asked to document target customer profiles and fresh angles for the publisher to distribute and make the market aware of the book. It's been an interesting endeavor both philosophically and practically, but with the perpetual self-examination every good author includes as part of the initial writing process, the answer to the questions should not be hard. We thought you might find some of the summary information of interest.

Why Jazz Mandolin?

The last half-century has produced an explosion of interest in guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, and other string instruments. Once relegated to simple folk music, these instruments are now in their heyday of popularity, enjoying an exponentially expanding immersion into a variety of more complex styles, from blues to jazz, to a wide array of world ethnicities.

Though rooted in nearly three centuries of European tradition, only in the last two decades the mandolin is just recently following closely on the heels of its more popular bigger brother, the guitar. From Cowboy chords, to Elvis, to Guitar Hero, the guitar of today is prominently main-stream, arguably surpassing the piano in status. The mandolin is poised to capture and captivate a similarly expanding market and popularity; all that has been missing is the published pedagogies necessary to equip the player to enjoy a broader array of musical styles. Until now...

Jazz is the natural evolving starting point, with its complex rhythmic and harmonic structure; Mel Bay writer Ted Eschliman has developed a strategic method to take the advanced-beginner folk mandolinist into the richly verdant vocabulary of jazz. With this language at his/her fingertips, the player can dig deep not only into jazz, but other equally complex genres, including classical, Broadway, Brazilian Choro, and many other challenging musical styles.

A clear, consistent course progression. The player starts with something already known (the Major Scale) and develops patterns that can be intuitively expanded. Jazz variations are introduced incrementally, and by the end of the book, the player should be relatively comfortable improvising.

Clear language. Advanced music theory is explained with unpretentious prose, uncomplicated terminology and good humor. A mandolinist could simply play through all the exercises, and at very least, get more proficient with the fretboard, at best build some higher level jazz vocabulary.

Supportive Audio. The 70-minute CD included gives audio examples, as well as limitless opportunity to practice and jam with the exercises. An additional web-based audio page on the website, "Webtracks" offers expanded opportunity to hear and interact with even more sound tracks and professional artists' interpretations of the music and concepts.

Tab and notation. Exercises are written in both standard notation and mandolin tablature to communicate proper fretboard positions. Fingering markings are included to suggest effective finger placement.

Posted by Ted at August 21, 2008 5:44 AM

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