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The notes they play
August 23, 2011 4:11 PM   Subscribe

"So What", by Miles Davis, as animated sheet music
posted by rollick (17 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

 
Captures the loose energy of the piece. Nice find.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:20 PM on August 23, 2011


Man, I've voiced my dislike of Miles Davis before here, but Bill Evans changed everything with this song. You can actually see it here – starting at 0:36 – Bill first started basing his chords on fourths rather than thirds here. Those chords are called "So What" chords to this day. That innovation, combined with Bill's pushing Miles to get into modal playing, really changed the world of jazz.

Thanks for this. Really great.
posted by koeselitz at 4:24 PM on August 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Heh, finished listening to this record not 10 minutes ago and was thinking to myself "I wonder if there's a good video of that to post on facebook?" Thanks!
posted by Lorin at 4:46 PM on August 23, 2011


I would pay huge money to have more music done like this. Wow. What a great find. I'm so glad you shared this.
posted by hippybear at 5:09 PM on August 23, 2011


Also relevant: ImproViz (links in top left corner) - compares and contrasts Davis/Adderley/Coltrane styles in All Blues.
posted by kersplunk at 5:15 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Giant Steps (!) 1.75M views lol
posted by victors at 5:22 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, that sheet music totally loses the subtleties of the base.
posted by egypturnash at 5:44 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


what terrible people, to be around and make this music. assholes, to a man!
posted by es_de_bah at 5:52 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is pretty cool, just like the Giant Steps version I enjoy.
posted by xtine at 6:01 PM on August 23, 2011


Very off-topic, in a way, but I'd love to see this kind of animation applied to great jazz.

Also, egypturnash (or maybe you were kidding), I got the impression that the sheet music -- like all sheet music, I guess, but especially transcriptions -- loses plenty of subtleties all round, not just with the bass. I mean, Miles Davis' playing is all about subtleties -- notate it at your peril. But I applaud whoever did this for their patience in animating all that stuff, and I bet this is amazingly useful to jazz students.
posted by uosuaq at 6:25 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hearing the clearly-deliberate slurs in the bassline and seeing the notes trail by without any notice of them was just driving me nuts. This may be an animator thing: if you're gonna time something onto every note, then you'd damn well better be aware of the changes during the notes, too, and animate something to them, damnit! Or so says the part of my brain in charge of critiquing motion-set-to-music that has squeegasms at a good Betty Boop short.
posted by egypturnash at 9:42 PM on August 23, 2011


the amount of work that went into these animations had to be gruesomely huge and they are remarkably faithful to the aural and written version.

it sounds like you have a problem with the way music is notated in the late European mode, in which case: welcome to the world of written music. it is no better at capturing performance in any genre. it is a very, very primitive and rudimentary hint system.

I'm pretty sure more than one guy was plugging away at the Betty Boop cartoons. And the drugs were better, closer to the source.
posted by victors at 11:07 PM on August 23, 2011


If you think this is hard to notate, try playing it! It should be easy, right? Just two chords. But there's just so much going on here. It's very humbling.
posted by tommasz at 5:31 AM on August 24, 2011


I would pay huge money to have more music done like this.

It's not quite so dynamic, but there's tons of sheet-music + audio videos of classical piano music, especially 20th century compositions, on YouTube. A couple of good creators are Hexameron and musicaignotus, to get you started.
posted by dfan at 6:24 AM on August 24, 2011


If you think this is hard to notate, try playing it! It should be easy, right? Just two chords. But there's just so much going on here. It's very humbling.

They were not performing So What under the same constraints as anyone who is attempting to reproduce it. Faithfully replicating any improvisation note for note is kinda difficult. They were doing that off the cuff, and when you come back to re-produce it exactly, you end up having to memorize what becomes a random string of notes. The aural sequence ends up looking kind of like a player piano roll in my head.

It is educational though, to really pay attention to the way improvisers modify their lines. I learned to play bass to a lot of semi-improvisational stuff, like live Cream and Allman Bros. and it helped me to understand how to approach improvisation. It's not unlike chaos theory. There's a subset of possibilities, but the combinations become almost infinite, even within that subset.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:12 AM on August 24, 2011


It's so cool to watch the soloists' styles play out visually. What a fun video!
posted by TheCoug at 10:43 AM on August 24, 2011


My brother majored in Jazz Performance. A large part of his assigned out-of-class work was transcribing solos from recordings. It always struck me as kind of backwards, like when a Latin text would have you translate sentences from English to Latin, but I'm sure was educational in exactly the same manner.
posted by 7segment at 3:42 PM on August 24, 2011


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