Eric's Homemade Stuff

An infrequent blog of stuff I make, including music.

Building Phase Dance - Part 1

I am starting to learn the tune, “Phase Dance” by Pat Metheny. It’s an uptempo piece from his early days and I really like it and want to play it. This series of posts is going to document how I build up the tune. Here’s a video version from 1977.

The first step was to hunt for transcriptions. I have the “Pat Metheny Songbook” from 2000 and it has the tune. This songbook has the official arrangements approved by Pat. First step for me was to learn the opening riff on Stick. Here’s what’s in the book for this.

However, when I listened to Pat’s versions, this didn’t sound right. I found a bunch of videos on YouTube of people covering the tune and they all used this transcription. Then I would listen to Pat and it was not what he was playing. Lots of musicians will play their own tunes differently, but every version I could find of Pat playing the beginning was the same and not like what was in his own songbook.

I started notating my own and found a few others who had done the same. To my ears, with the help of some transcription software, this is much closer to what Pat plays.

Here’s what they sound like.

Phase Dance Opening Riff

The next step is to add the opening bass parts and get them running smoothly.