Phrasing Aid

Open Phrasing Aid (opens in a new window)

Speech sounds will be used when singing the rhythms. You are free to use any sounds you like; however, below I provided a list of sounds that are traditionally used in jazz phrasing.

African American music often creates an image of a continuum of quavers/eighth notes with both stressed and ghost notes. These notes are usually thought of as the background. The stressed notes will create a rhythmic pattern. When practising phrasing, it is recommended that you give the rests a sound of their own, whispering them. You should also divide longer rests into crotchet/quarter rests. In the example below, the rest sounds are marked with small letters.

As jazz rhythms mainly consist of crotchet and quaver progressions and triplets, it is possible to implement most rhythms with a few syllables. In order to achieve the round nature of typical jazz phrasing, we will apply consonants B and D. Quavers are the core of jazz melodies. For these, we will use syllables DOO-BEE or OOO-BEE and place slight accent on the latter syllable. Crotchets are sung with the syllable DAAn, with the n to mark a break and a rest inherent in a crotchet. This rest makes the crotchets swing. Notes longer than a crotchet are sung with the syllable DAAA, with the duration shown by notation. The following example will show you the necessary syllables. The Phrasing Aid will allow you to listen to them.

Example 64
example 64

The following example shows the syllables written out. You can write the rhythm in the Phrasing Aid and listen to how the syllables sound.

Example 65
example 65

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