Transcription: Midgets

Tune: Midgets
Composer: Joe Newman
From the album: I Feel Like A Newman
Leader of the session: Joe Newman
Released: April 1956
CD: Black Lion BLCD 760905
Transcription starts at 3'31"; ends at 4'12"
Tempo: 260 beats per minute at 0'01" / 276 beats per minute at 4'44"

Three widely held beliefs about Freddie Green's style are: 1) he always played three note chords, 2) he always changed the chord voicing on every beat, and 3) his playing always held the tempo rock-steady. This recording shows these beliefs to be myths.

Listen closely to the "chords" sounded by Freddie. One string or two strings produce clear, unmuted tones with pitch; the remainder of the strings are muted and produce no pitch.

Listen to bars 25 - 28. Freddie clearly plays the same "one note chord" for sixteen beats, i.e., the voicing remains static.

Listen to the end of the tune, then quickly go back to the beginning. Notice the slower tempo at the start.

Bar 10 is harmonically interesting. Freddie plays a tritone of D/G# over a C7 harmony, creating a C9+5 chord on beats 1 and 2. It was unusual for Freddie to choose a voicing that contained an altered note, the augmented fifth in this case.

As always, Freddie places the vast majority of the clearly sounded notes on the 4th string and the 3rd string. The transcribed notes show only the pitches that can be definitely discerned.

Left hand fingerings are not included; experiment to find fingerings that work for your technique. Note that Freddie often changed his left hand position on beat one and beat three, even if there is no harmonic change, and that Freddie used his left thumb to mute the sixth string.

Transcribed by Michael Pettersen
March 2005

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