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How to Play Nardis by Miles Davis

A Few Thoughts on Nardis by Miles Davis

The first thoughts that come to my mind when listening to this tune are slow, scary, and mysterious.  The version that I listened to was a trio recording with Bill Evans on piano playing the melody off of his album Explorations.  The form of the piece is AABA.  I find the A sections to have more of a mysterious quality whereas the bridge, or the B section, has a lighter more continuous feel.  In the limited space that I have, I will explain some of the reasons why this is so.

The emotion that the piece presents is primarily due to the melody and harmony.  The A sections are more mysterious sounding because of the large leaps that characterize the melody early on.  It is also due to its inherent minor sound.  I think that the most mysterious portion of the melody is in the second bar when the melody goes from D# to E, up an octave to an E and D# again, and finally down from a C to a B.  We see here that the melody uses upper and lower neighbors with an octave in between to create a very disjunctive motion.  This large interval (octave) surrounded by the smaller intervals (minor seconds) creates a very open sound.  This openness contributes to the mysterious quality of the A section.

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