Dealey's Django Jingle

An introduction to a style of chord progression and rhythm used in minor swing jazz.

Ultimate Guitar
Last time (Dealey's Dixieland Diddy) we looked at a New Orleans style of minor swing jazz. Today, we are going examine an eastern European style of minor swing jazz, gypsy jazz. If you followed along with Dealey's Dixieland Diddy the degree of difficulty here will be a lateral move. It even features the same chord shape - the first inversion minor triad (m3-5-1-m3) - only this time it will be one fret higher (pinky at the sixth fret) making it a jam based in the key of C minor. The hardest part is getting used to changing chords every beat.

To very loosely describe the nature of the rhythm, it is based around a 5/16 feel - [1 - and - e] - making the length of one beat to be: one quarter note plus one sixteenth note. When compared to how we normally perceive four beats as 4/4 time, every measure of four beats would contain one extra quarter note: i.e., the gypsy beat is slightly longer in length. Sometimes it is a good idea to remind ourselves that hearing four beats in groups of four does not always mean that the time signature is 4/4. The relationship between beat and time signature can be very misleading to the untrained ear, sometimes you need to pull back the surface and look inside to get the complete picture.

Below the text chord chart is a visual of one complete cycle. Every chord gets one beat, every row of four can be felt as one measure. The last row of three chords can be interpreted as, three in place of two. There are less chords to memorize than one may think upon first glance. The first row repeats for the third measure, and the first two chords of measure A are also the first two chords of measure B.

Dealey's Django Jingle - 100 BPM

Measure A: Cm7 [335343] - Cm7/Eb [66554x] - Db9 [44344x] - Db9 [44344x]

Measure B: Cm7 [335343] - Cm7/Eb [66554x] - Eb11/Ab [411311] - G7 [353433]

Measure A: Cm7 [335343] - Cm7/Eb [66554x] - Db9 [44344x] - Db9 [44344x]

Measure C: G6/9 [300030] - G6/9 [300030] - AbMaj7 [465544] - G7(sus4) [353533] - G7 [353433]

Repeat until exhausted.

To feel the rhythm, start by make your right hand say the timing: "1 - and - e...1 - and - e...1 - and - e...1 - and - e...1 - and - e." Say it with your mouth, as well as with your right hand, and then tap your foot to the beat. One might notice that the word, and, is not a mono syllabic word; but, somewhere in between one and two syllables in length. This makes it a powerful tool for dialling meter in relation to the beat; it has flexibility in how long it takes you to say, as well as how hard you hit the "d" sound.

If you are a finger-licking-chicken-picking kind of player, play the "1" with your thumb and rake "and - e" with your fingers. If you have any flamenco under your belt, you can put those techniques to work here. If using a pick, make sure not to hold it too firmly; keep your strokes to a really soft attack, flicking your wrist gently to make the force required. Try putting the heaviest accent on "e," which is the second downstroke. Follow the second downstroke, with another downstroke to hit the next "1," and repeat that right hand sequence. Once you get the hang of that rhythm, you will be able to feel yourself branching away from, and supplementing that rhythm all while maintaining the basic core rhythm to which you could return on half-a-moment's notice.

About the Author:
Dealey is a Vancouver, Canada based guitarist, songwriter, recording engineer and producer. He is the author of, The Relative Nature of Chords: A Street-Smart Field Guide for Guitar. Watch for exclusive excerpts on Ultimate-Guitar! You can support his ventures through buying his music - here & here - and, by contacting via email to order a personal copy of "The Relative Nature of Chords."

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