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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds Only in the last tune of our 4 waltzes we’ve looked at did we really kind of bring it to an end. We played it colla voce first and then we used the 2 chord vamp to establish time. Then we played it in time - if we had a rhythm section we could play it with a rhythm section. Again, when we get to the end we can extend that vamp section for as long as we wish and then end on those 2 pause bars. So that’s something with a beginning and an end. Now the idea of playing something colla first and then picking up in time is quite a regular one for all sorts of tunes but, again, particularly in waltzes.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds The very first tune we looked at “Someday My Prince Will Come”, we can play it colla first and then pick up into time.

Skip to 1 minute and 41 seconds Using that dominant pedal F, 3 crotchets to the bar to establish the time. We can make that last longer if we want to. What about when we get to the end? What’s a typical ending?

Skip to 2 minutes and 23 seconds We could use the F pedal for a bit and then go down to, essentially, a B flat pedal where we play an Amen. We could actually do our standard vamp.

Skip to 2 minutes and 54 seconds Just finishing there on B flat triad. Something like “All Blues” - it has such a canonical format - the original is so strong that it’s pretty hard to do anything else with it really. So you start of with

Skip to 3 minutes and 14 seconds and then after a while add

Skip to 3 minutes and 19 seconds so you could end like that as well. When you get to the ending

Skip to 3 minutes and 43 seconds with a rallentando.

Skip to 3 minutes and 49 seconds If you want to add something to it put in a sharpened eleventh.

Skip to 3 minutes and 56 seconds That’s a kind of standard rallantando on that vamp. The other thing you could do is the drums could drop out after a while so that there’s only the piano and the bass player. Then the piano could drop out and the bass could be playing on its own.

Skip to 4 minutes and 18 seconds However many times the bass player feels it was appropriate before it does a rallantando to finish. It’s also possible to do that last 4 bars 3 times. That is another option - but not many people do that - but you could. Finally “It’s A Raggy Waltz”. As it turns out I played this last week with my trio in an Oxford College and we played it pretty conventionally all the way through until we got to the last chorus. In the last chorus I did something different - slightly quirky - but the trio picked up on it and it sounded a bit like this.

Skip to 5 minutes and 46 seconds Slightly jokey, but the idea was we played dotted crotchets in the middle

Skip to 5 minutes and 55 seconds slowing down.

Skip to 6 minutes and 3 seconds Then slowly playing the last A section and speeding up.

Skip to 6 minutes and 21 seconds It’s slightly easier if you don’t have to play it in root position. More ideas on beginnings and endings in waltzes.

More on Beginnings and Endings

We look at some ideas for how we can begin and end the waltzes we have met.

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Learn Jazz Piano: III. Solo Piano and Advanced Topics

Goldsmiths, University of London