[Dixielandjazz] Playing blue notes

Williams, Bob robert.c.williams at eds.com
Wed Mar 16 08:22:00 PST 2005

I notice the trombone isn't included.  I certainly hope you're not
characterising it as a "slide trumpet!"


Bob Williams
Trombonist Extraordinaire and 
The Worlds's Most Modest Man
mailto:slushpump1 at comcast.net

-----Original Message-----
From: dixielandjazz-bounces at ml.islandnet.com
[mailto:dixielandjazz-bounces at ml.islandnet.com] On Behalf Of Robert Smith
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2005 12:25 AM
To: Dixieland Jazz
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Playing blue notes

Several families of instruments can produce blue notes. These are: the
violin family; the slide trumpet family; the human voice; fretted string
instruments (by pushing the string to one side with the finger on the fret);
Swanee whistles keyboards with a glissando lever. Other instruments can
"bend" tempered notes, e.g. woodwinds, valve brass (half valving)
Instruments with fixed notes (e.g. pianos) can only produce pseudo blue
notes by playing two adjacent notes together (in Ken Gates' example E and
Eb). Thelonius Monk does this. I think most people can hear blue notes when
they hear Bessie Smith sing, or when Johnny Hodges plays the blues, just to
quote a couple of examples - there are a thousand others. Outside OKOM,
composer David R. Holsinger (ASCAP) wrote "The War Trilogy: 1971", and in
the 1st movement ("Rebirth and Awakening: New Day One") he has written
quartertone glissandoes for the trombones, e.g. from B to a flattened B#.
This can certainly be heard. In fact, Ken, I'm sure you will hear the
difference when the notes are played in sequence.


Bob Smith
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