String Groove on Public Television! The String Groove class is featured on this segment of "Ben Around Town". Chicago Public Television
String Groove in Sweden
ESTA Newsletter, Fall 2003 issue"Book & CD: Inspiration for Improvisation"
Translated from Swedish
When Anna Braw and I met during the Christmas holidays, she had with her a book, together with a CD for me, authored by American Violinist, Edgar Gabriel. The purpose of the book is to teach violinists to improvise. We put the CD on and began to play through 12 pieces, all in different musical styles. It was very interesting, and we were overjoyed listening to it. It was also forwarded to the Swedish ESTA Conference planning group, who were so impressed with it, that they decided to invite Edgar to come to Sweden to show his material and teach it to string players. He accepted the invitation. We hope he will also have similar books for the viola and cello (published since this article). The following is a review of the contents of "String Groove®."
Edgar Gabriel's introduction states his book "String Groove" is directed toward fiddlers and violinists, starting from newcomers to advanced who want to learn to improvise. For those who are familiar with improvisation on the violin, the contents are extremely helpful and can help them develop their own personality in their performance just like the great composers - Bach, Beethoven and Mozart, who were outstanding improvisers. The book will enable a musician to find a brand new side to his instrument. Edgar emphasizes that a musician should listen to good improvisations, as his/her role model.
"String Groove" consists of 12 compositions by Edgar. The first one is an Irish Jig and is followed by Smoothe Jazz, Swing Jazz Blues, Medium Rock, Slow Middle Eastern Pop, Old Time Fiddle, Cha-Cha, Heavy Metal Blues, Cajun, Waltz, Pop Blues, Swing Jazz and Hip-Hop Funk Jazz.
In addition to the 12 songs, the 60 pages contain easily understood text, with good illustrations and very good teachinginstructions.
At the end of the book, you will find theory, which discusses interval, (key) tone chords, music style swing like a sector of equipment which is necessary to reinforce the sound which is played along with a much louder instrument. There is a CD which accompanies the book with violin played by Edgar Gabriel, and accompanied by different instruments.
"Blue Bows", a blues composition, is the third composition in Edgar's book A previous issue of ESTA featured a concert of "Blue Bows". About 100 violinists from all over Sweden, together with "Triple and Touch" played this piece in May. This String Groove chapter provides background on blues and gives instructions on how one can learn to play the blues. As a start, one should know the blues scales which are based on the pentatonic scales, with the addition of tritones. Edgar follows with 18 ways on how one learns to improvise.
I could never improvise, but after reading the book and listening to the CD, I started to catch on and found it a lot of fun. I continued to study the book further into the philosophy and history of "blues". Then I followed a more lengthy piece on harmony and learn how to do chords. At the end of the chapter, there is some theory regarding blues with helpful information for one to pursue more deeply. Edgar lists some very good improvisations, which I think the violinist will find when he listens tothe CD.
Edgar has laid out the book in an easy-to-read material and good type with large notes. Here and there, you will find a drawing of "Mr. Groove", who clarifies with commentary. I think the book is a fine teaching tool, and I can really recommend it. It is already available forpurchase in Sweden.
I look forward to meeting Edgar Gabriel October 27-29. Hope the many of you can come to Gothenburg in the fall to becomeacquainted with this exciting and glorious music.