Harmonimonk #1.1 — Hackensack — Monk Solo First Chorus Bars 1 thru 8

From the album “Criss Cross”

Hackensack ya-da….. mention Lady Be Good

Solo Section Description and Adaptation

In his opening solo section, Monk provides an ingenious demonstration of how to retain the entrainment possibilities of a repeated riff without verbatim phrase repetition. He opens with a two-bar call and response pattern and repeats it another 3 times, introducing  tonal variations that provide convincing voice leadings along with rhythmic alterations that intensify the initial groove intention. Having promised the ear a catchy riff, Monk manages to keep the commitment without ignoring the harmonic progression. The basic rhythmic shape is restated in all four repetitions: responses are rhythmically identical in shape and placement; call phrases augment the original shape and shift the original placement from the upbeat of one to the upbeat of 4 in repeats 2 and 3 and then the upbeat of 3 on repeat 4. Here’s my adaptation for harmonica and its notation hackensack-a1 

Exercises Based on Solo


Below are the notes of exercise 1, which is organized into four 2-bar call-response couplets. The intent here is to repeat the same phrase with alterations of the last note  to realize a voice leading line that tracks the harmonic progression ( mostly via 3rds and 7ths ). Different rhythmic shapes are used for call and response phrases to help the ear understand which is which. As in the solo, the repeated phrase begins on a non-chord tone and the tonal direction is downward with periodic leaps back up to a repeated starting note ( or pretty close to it). In this case, the home key’s major sixth is the starter instead of the major second, suggesting the 13th upper chord extension instead of the 9th of the I major chord:

D-C-A  – D-C-Ab

D-C-G – D-C-F#

D-C-F —  D-C-E

D-C-A-F#  – C-Bb-G-E

The recording demonstrates how to use this tone sequence with various call-response rhythm patterns and progressively   get less literal with it.

 riff #2

C F G – C F G Ab

C F G – C F G F#

C F G – C F G E

C F F# – C F G E

01. September 2013 by sigmonky
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