Naima is a technical étude for front ensemble designed to focus on the double vertical stroke (block chords). It is based on a John Coltrane ballad from the 1959 album Giant Steps. I arranged this for the Glassmen Front Ensemble in 2011.
I created this visualization for my students to aide in their learning of the vibraphone part. The vibe part is somewhat challenging to memorize because it employs rootless voicings. An understanding of chord-melody jazz guitar will help.
In arranging Naima, I placed certain rules and limitations on myself. These rules and limitations were inspired by the chord-melody style of jazz guitar playing. Keep the following in mind when learning:
Guideline #1: The melody note is always on top and the chords are voiced downwards. If you’re used to learning chords by building up from the lowest note, stop and learn the melody first.
Guideline #2: Use the resonance and openness of a fifth to reinforce the melody. The first note under the melody (mallet #3) will almost always be a fifth below and will almost always be on the same manual of the keyboard - either both are white notes or both are black notes.
Guideline #3: In choosing notes for mallets #1 and #2, favor guide tones (thirds and sevenths) if these pitches haven’t been covered by mallets #3 and #4.