Singing Guide: Jelly Roll Morton

Singing Guide: Jelly Roll Morton

Vocal technique, exercises, tips and relevant resources

Are you a beginner or advanced singer?

Jelly Roll Morton is a pivotal figure in the history of jazz piano. Born in New Orleans in 1890, Morton was a talented pianist and composer who combined elements of blues, ragtime, and Latin music to create his unique style of jazz. Morton was known for his virtuosic playing, inventive approach to harmony, and use of complex rhythms.

If you're interested in learning to play piano like Jelly Roll Morton, there are several key techniques and approaches that you'll need to master.

1. Develop a strong sense of rhythm

Morton was known for his syncopated and polyrhythmic playing, and you'll need to practice these techniques extensively to achieve the same level of skill. Consider starting with the Pitch Training game on Singing Carrots, which can help you develop your timing and rhythm skills.

2. Use harmonic color and contrast in your playing

Morton was famed for his use of harmonic color and contrast in his music. You'll need to become comfortable with complex chord progressions and learn how to use dissonance and tension to create a rich and engaging sound. Check out Singing Carrots' article on voice registers and vocal break to learn more about how to use your voice in different registers to achieve different tonal colors.

3. Master the art of phrasing

Another key technique that you'll need to master is phrasing. Morton was a master of subtle phrasing, and he often used pauses and rests to create tension and striking musical effects. Singing Carrots' article on how to analyze your voice can help you to develop your own sense of musical phrasing and articulation.

4. Play with and for others

Finally, it's important to become comfortable with playing with and for others. Morton was known for his improvisational skills, and he often played with other jazz musicians in a variety of settings. Consider using the Singing Carrots' vocal range search to find songs that showcase Morton's complex harmony and syncopated playing, and practice them with other musicians in your local area.

By paying close attention to these and other key techniques, you can learn to play piano like the legendary Jelly Roll Morton. Good luck!

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