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  • Learning Jazz by Slowing it Down - Caravan

    Caravan by Wes Montgomery is one example of a jazz classic that has a substantial jazz guitar solo in it. Jazz music, almost by definition, contains much improvisation, therefore there is no sheet music from which a song can be learned. Furthermore, many solos are played at quick speed which can make it difficult for a person that is trying to learn such a song.

    Song Surgeon is a software product for both MAC and Windows machines that slows down the speed or tempo of the music. By slowing the music down, jazz players are able to hear not only what is being played, but also how it is being played, hammer ons, pull-offs, bends, etc.

    A survey of guitar players revealed that slowing down the tempo of a song makes it easier to learn a song. Survey results show a 2-10 fold increase in learning speed with the average being 667%.

    The short video below shows Song Surgeon in action as it is used to slow down a part of the guitar solo found in Caravan.

    One additional thing that needs to be re-emphasized is that changes made in Song Surgeon can be permanently saved. What this means in practical terms is that once you make and save changes (whether tempo, pitch, or EQ), the saved file can be opened and played in any player, whether on WMP or your MP3 player or iPod, or burned to a CD. – and the song will play with the changes you have made to it in Song Surgeon.

    If you haven't done so, I strongly encourage you to download the demo (button at the top right of this page) and try Song Surgeon yourself. It is one thing to see or listen to someone else; it's worth a whole lot more for you to try it yourself.