Thursday, December 20, 2012

George Shearing and his Etude - Chapter Two...

You  will know of the existence of that unique arrangement by Glenn Miller I came across, if you have read my Dec. 6 blog.
As this particular arrangement possesses sufficiently challenging  barriers that compare to difficulties  we find in various classical etudes, I thought that I might accept the challenge by working on it.
The primary problem in this 'etude' is the problem of Memorization. I have never before made an attempt to memorize material that is extemporized, then frozen onto manuscript. It is a surprisingly difficult process, I can assure you. First of all, the arrangement is centered around an isorhythmic pattern in the left hand.  As I had mentioned in my earlier blog, there are over 400 notes  in the left hand on four pages, almost all of which are in steady-moving 16th notes. With the repeat section that  Shearing desires, there are actually almost 500 notes, all in the left hand, coupled with chord formations in the right hand, redolent with Shearing's wonderful sense of harmonic colorization, which gives us almost 1000 notes to have to encounter. All this, plus the reality of notes that were in improvised form, as Shearing himself must have played it - rather strange; I cannot find evidence of a Shearing recording of this arrangement.
And so it is a rather challenging event to come face-to-face with; namely, an event that is based upon reliance of  memorization in order for it to come into existence.
And so, some days ago, I began the process of memorizing this  music in manuscript form   that was actually an improvised approach to this tune by George Shearing; NOT a piece predetermined by form and structure we normally connect to a classical composition.
Well, I  am pleased to tell you  that I just recently have been able to play these 900-plus notes without resorting to the manuscript; all within a matter of days. The final aspect is to determine what to do with these notes now that they are memorized.
So, at this point of time in  my life's experience,  I can now feel certified in the reality that this old muscle positioned between my ears is still working.

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