June 20, 2012 in Jazz Standards
“Ornithology” is a tune written by Charlie Parker. The word ornithology means the study of birds which makes this an appropriate title seeing as Charlie Parker’s nickname is “Bird”.
This tune is what we call a “contra-fact” which is a tune that is written over the chord changes of a previously existing tune. “Ornithology” is a melody written over the chord changes of “How High The Moon”
Click here to learn how to play How High The Moon
It is important to note that jazz musicians play two different melodies for bars 13-16 and the last four bars of the tune.
Listen to Charlie Parker’s original melody and than listen to Bud Powell’s rendition. Though Bird wrote the tune I think it is safe to say that in a jam session situation most people are playing Bud Powell’s version (I am not entirely sure if Bud Powell was the first one to record Ornithology this way).
My suggestion is to learn both so that you are prepared either way.
This tune is most commonly played in G major.
Buy Ornithology Mp3′s
Ornithology Chord Charts
Ornithology C Instruments
Videos to learn the melody/changes to Ornithology
Bassist plays the head on this one
This is a great movie called “Bird”. Definitely suggest checking it out.
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