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Improvising Blues Piano [Paperback]

Martin Mann
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 21.45
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Book Description

Oct. 1 1997 Music Sales America
(Music Sales America). Unlock the mystery of blues improvisation as you develop an understanding of different blues styles. Inside, you will find everything you need to know to get you playing the blues straight away. All exercises and examples are professionally demonstrated on the accompanying CD.

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars too many gaps to be useful Jan. 2 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Mann's book begins by laying a basic groundwork in chords, scales, bass lines, and theory, and then moves on to cover the differences between various styles. There is enormous ground in between that is left uncovered, and I was unable to get much out of this book despite doing the exercises and listening to the accompanying CD. The book doesn't have enough examples fully written out, and the examples on the CD are too difficult for a beginner to imitate (though I will admit the possibility that I simply don't have the talent...). Mann should have taken us step by step, adding one element then the next, and showed us the steps in music notation as well as by example.
The book lacks a discography, despite Mann's repeated exhortations to listen to blues performed live and in recordings.
On the other hand, the musicianship on the CD is excellent, and includes half a dozen example performances in various styles that are worthy of an audio CD by themselves. Mann clearly knows his material, and has a background imparting it to others in person.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ok, but you can do better. Sept. 23 2002
By J. Meng
Format:Paperback
Martan Mann can most definately play piano. The accompanying CD may almost be worth the price to hear him play. However, you're looking for instruction if you're reading this. I don't want to slam his product too hard. I'll just say he doesn't teach well and there's not allot of real meat here for beginners. I've also purchased Andrew D. Gordon's 100 Ultimate Blues Riffs. Riffs in all keys with many many different basslines and virtually zero instruction. Then, finally, I got my hands on something I absolutely love and can recommend wholeheartedly to anyone without a vast musical background who wants to play the blues. Check out the book/cd combos level 1 and 2 by David Bennet Cohen. You won't be dissappointed. I just ordered "Improvising Blues Piano" by Tim Richards and am very excited about it as well. One more you might look into.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rich but flawed Nov. 26 2000
Format:Paperback
This is not a book for beginners or even intermediate players. I have taken piano for 10 years and I was mystified by much of the theoretical information. Turns out even my piano teacher, who majored in theory, had difficulty figuring out what was going on. What became clear as we puzzled it out was that Mann often left out steps in theoretical reasoning, or bent classical theory rules, or threw in some esoterica that even someone advanced in theory would find challenging. If it weren't for my piano teacher's help, I would have been at a loss and very frustrated. As it was, I wonder what Mann can have been about. Is he one of those who can play but not explain the steps in a learnable fashion? Or is he out to dazzle the poor initiate? With my teacher's help, however, I have learned a lot about theory applied to blues style and this and the exercises have been quite useful. I didn't find the CD much help, since the text is not keyed well to the CD. However, Mann plays a compelling blues piano. Wish I could play like him. Final assessment:This book will deepen your experience with blues theory significantly but isn't easily accessible or user friendly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Teach Yourself To Play Blues Piano June 14 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book assumes that the reader can read music and has a basic understanding of music theory. It provides useful exercises and examples of various styles of blues piano. More importantly, it provides an explanation of the exercises and examples, as well as practical advice as to how to master them. The CD which accompanies the book contains recordings of the author playing the examples in the book. Timing and feel which are especially important in playing blues music are very difficult to transcribe correctly and more difficult for a student to correctly interpret. Being able to listen to the CD minimizes these problems. This is a good example of what music self study guides could and should be.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ok, but you can do better. Sept. 23 2002
By J. Meng - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Martan Mann can most definately play piano. The accompanying CD may almost be worth the price to hear him play. However, you're looking for instruction if you're reading this. I don't want to slam his product too hard. I'll just say he doesn't teach well and there's not allot of real meat here for beginners. I've also purchased Andrew D. Gordon's 100 Ultimate Blues Riffs. Riffs in all keys with many many different basslines and virtually zero instruction. Then, finally, I got my hands on something I absolutely love and can recommend wholeheartedly to anyone without a vast musical background who wants to play the blues. Check out the book/cd combos level 1 and 2 by David Bennet Cohen. You won't be dissappointed. I just ordered "Improvising Blues Piano" by Tim Richards and am very excited about it as well. One more you might look into.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique guide through pro tricks June 10 2005
By Christopher J. Benz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I think the reviewers are being a little harsh on this book. It never professes to be a 'Blues Piano for the complete beginner' text - it's called 'Improvising Blues Piano' which implies that a certain amount of knowledge has already been reached. It's actually a pretty rare resource, because it is a very accomplished blues player offering his advice and personal tricks and methods for improving playing. More importantly the playing and taste on this cd sounds great and miles away from the plodding cliched beginners stuff on most collections.

Doubtless, the pressure was on him by the publishers to make some concession to the 'absolute beginners' audience but on the whole it's a great book/cd combo because it tries to teach stuff that music instruction books usually can't tell you - things like which scales real blues players prefer to improvise with, or good techniques for learning new intervals. If you've already done a beginners book and want to start playing stuff that actually sounds good then take this book on as a resource - you'll delve in and out of it but it'll be a good friend as you bring style and art to your playing.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars too many gaps to be useful Jan. 2 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Mann's book begins by laying a basic groundwork in chords, scales, bass lines, and theory, and then moves on to cover the differences between various styles. There is enormous ground in between that is left uncovered, and I was unable to get much out of this book despite doing the exercises and listening to the accompanying CD. The book doesn't have enough examples fully written out, and the examples on the CD are too difficult for a beginner to imitate (though I will admit the possibility that I simply don't have the talent...). Mann should have taken us step by step, adding one element then the next, and showed us the steps in music notation as well as by example.
The book lacks a discography, despite Mann's repeated exhortations to listen to blues performed live and in recordings.
On the other hand, the musicianship on the CD is excellent, and includes half a dozen example performances in various styles that are worthy of an audio CD by themselves. Mann clearly knows his material, and has a background imparting it to others in person.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Improvising is the key to blues April 30 2008
By reviewer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The key to this book is in the title, "Improvising". If you're looking for hand-holding examples and complete scores this is not the book for you. If you want to get the big picture quickly and reinforce that with applied theory and excellent audio examples, then this book is perfect.

This book would be worth the price if it were reduced to three or four pages and the CD. All of the blues scales and fingerings are provided on one page (28). All of the popular blues forms (basic, gospel, jazz) and chord transitions along with a simple and straight-forward method of developing a blues style are provided on facing pages (84 - 85). Follow these with a review of important soloing ideas (29) and you're ready to play.

I am a drummer and had no trouble with the music theory sections. The comprehensive overview of the various blues forms was the roadmap I needed. This roadmap gave me the ability to quickly pick out bass lines and chord transitions from a recording and play enough on the keyboard to give a bass or keyboard player examples of the style and sound I'm looking for.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teach Yourself To Play Blues Piano June 14 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book assumes that the reader can read music and has a basic understanding of music theory. It provides useful exercises and examples of various styles of blues piano. More importantly, it provides an explanation of the exercises and examples, as well as practical advice as to how to master them. The CD which accompanies the book contains recordings of the author playing the examples in the book. Timing and feel which are especially important in playing blues music are very difficult to transcribe correctly and more difficult for a student to correctly interpret. Being able to listen to the CD minimizes these problems. This is a good example of what music self study guides could and should be.
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