Wind Surfer

  1. Blue Surf
  2. Keyboard Left hand
  3. Practice
  4. Scales for Improvisation
  5. Downloading Bay

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BS 1. Blue Surf

Blue Surf is one of the 12 bar Blues songs from my Blues Book.

It is a simple and gently soothing song, just what the doctor ordered after too much of everything during the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

If you play a single note instrument (sax, trumpet, flute, etc.) play all the top notes of the melody. If you have a friend you can play the piece in harmony together.

(Flutes play the melody one octave higher as written.)

Audio 1

This song is especially useful for wind instrument players to work on good tone quality over the long notes.

You can also experiment with dynamics (variation in loudness).
Start for example moderately loud (mf means 'mezzo forte') on the first note.
Then come down to soft (p means soft - 'piano') in the second bar, and crescendo (gradually increase volume) from soft (p) to loud (f) on the last note of the phrase.

Ending a phrase in this way creates tremendous energy and excitement in a song if you do it correctly. The famous baritone sax player Gerry Mulligan was an absolute master at this technique.

The GRP Records CD "Little Big Horn" (GRP D-9503) recorded by Mulligan in 1983 (with Dave Grusin on keyboard) has some good examples.



For a full explanation of various terms used to express dynamics see Jazclass - Music Notation Lesson 2.

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BS 2. Keyboard Left Hand Analysis

Keyboard players can use one of the very popular boogie woogie bass patterns in the left hand for this song.
Coordination between both hands is quite easy, as the rhythm for bass and melody are the same.

Audio 2

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BS 3. Practice

There are four different ways you can play this song.

1. Play the melody (Audio 1)
This is quite obvious of course. You can play either the top line or the bottom line, as I also play the melody on the Play-a-Long track.

2. Invent a 3rd line harmony (Audio 3)
Experiment with a third harmony line, either below or above the two written parts on the score. (The track plays C7, F7 and G7 chords,use scale-tones from their respective Mixolydian modes.)

3. Fills on the long notes (Audio 4)
Play little counter melody segments over the long notes, especially at the end of each phrase. But keep it simple and be careful not to overdo it.

4. Full out improvised solo (Audio 5)
The melody also functions as a perfect backing riff. You can solo freely over it and try to react to the riff.
The Play-a-Long alternates choruses with and without the riff in the background.

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BS 4. Scales for Improvisation

Here are some C instrument scales for improvisation.

  1. C minor pentatonic (over whole chorus) = C Eb F G Bb C

  2. C blues scale (over whole chorus) = C Eb F Gb G Bb C

  3. Mixolydian modes :
    C7 = C D E F G A Bb C
    F7 = F G A Bb C D Eb F
    G7 = G A B C D E F G

Here are some Bb instrument scales for improvisation.

  1. D minor pentatonic (over whole chorus) = D F G A C D

  2. D blues scale (over whole chorus) = D F G Ab A C D

  3. Mixolydian modes :
    D7 = D E F# G A B C D
    G7 = G A B C D E F G
    A7 = A B C# D E F# G A

Here are some Eb instrument scales for improvisation.

  1. A minor pentatonic (over whole chorus) = D F G A C D

  2. A blues scale (over whole chorus) = D F G Ab A C D

  3. Mixolydian modes :
    A7 = A B C# D E F# G A
    D7 = D E F# G A B C D
    E7 = E F# G# A B C# D E

C instruments are : keyboard, guitar, flute, recorder, trombone, violin
Bb instruments are : clarinet, trumpet, tenor sax, soprano sax
Eb instruments are : alto sax and baritone sax

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BS 5. Downloading Bay

File Name




Music Notation - for Keyboard



Music Notation - for Bb & Eb instruments



Play-a-Long : Blue Surf


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Copyright © 2000 Michael Furstner. All rights reserved.