Charlie Parkers's Solo on "Bloomdido" Analyzed

So I have been hammered by what appears to be flu cancer and have been totally sick for a week, so it got me in front of my computer to do some nerd stuff with a very cool set of tools for music analysis called Music 21. It is written by some smarty pants that go to M.I.T, well, la de da, but they make it available for free, so when the revolution comes, we won't put them up against the wall. Not first anyway.

Music21 is a set of Python libraries (its a computer language) that knows about music. And boy, does it know stuff. This thing was written to analyze music and it can slice and dice musical info every way you want from last Tuesday.

Want to know the key of a tune? Psh. Easy.
Want to know how many "C" notes there are that are also 16th notes? Make me do something hard. Done.
What to label every note of a Charlie Parker solo so you can see what the relationship of each note is to the chord is played on?


Yup, it can do stuff like that.

So for your analytical pleasure, I give you from the "Omnibook" Charlie Parker's solo on Bloomdido (a blues) with all of his notes labeled against each chord.

So what.

SOOO, this lets you break down and see the recipe for his licks.

For instance, instead of thinking of a lick as going "G A Bb C D C D", if you can see the relationship that those note have against a chord, say in this case G min, then you can use that lick on ANY minor chord. Rather than note names, if you think of the relationship these notes have, "Root, 9th, b3, 11, 5, 11" rather than just their names, this lets you see how they work against that chord, what their function is. If you want to do this lick in D minor now, play those notes - R, 9, b3, 11, 5, 11. It's a lot faster.

So here is the full pdf for your viewing pleasure. The file was taken from a Finale file someone posted on the internet, and I don't know where I got it, so if it was you, thanks.

And here is Bird and Diz playing it, also with notation. This uses the Omnibook, and its not exactly the same as the version I got, but it is really close.

Music21 is pretty powerful and interesting, so if you are into music analysis and computers, check it out. More stuff to come using it in the future for sure. And if anyone has a solo or a bass line they want analyzed, just let me know. It needs to be in either a notation file format (Sibelius, Finale, etc.) or in MusicXML, with chord symbols on every measure, no empty measures.



JCirrito7 said...

Do you possibly have Birds Intro on Just Friends done with music21

Unknown said...


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