Tal has a very characteristic approach to harmonizing melodies. If you are a bit familiar with his style and sound, you immediately hear it's him. Tal usually uses a pianistic approach to playing chord melodies because of the counterpoint possibilities and indepedence of movement. He alternates bass lines, melody and all kinds of voicings in his chord melody style. Other effects are single line fills, intervallic lines and chords moving under a repeated melody line. His large hands enable him to create voicings with five or six notes in them, with his thumb covering the root or the 5th of the chord on the last two strings. They also enable him to stretch for high range melody notes with his pinky while playing mid range chord voicings. He will often use his right hand index finger to hit a bass note on the 6th string. Tal often emphasizes the melody notes of a chord by strumming with an up stroke. The bass lines he uses keep the progression and the forward movement alive and in them he often prefers the 5th over the root. For a more detailed study of Tal's approach to reharmonization I recommend Steve Rochinski's book on Tal Farlow.
|The Jazz Guitar Syle of Tal Farlow|
I came across two transcribed solo pices on the Tube. The first one I would like to mention is Autumn Leaves. It's a personal favourite of mine. I read somewhere Tal was just warming up in the recording studio while the tape was already running ... It's a great one to study. Tal retuned his A string on the original recording but the transcription uses standard tuning.
And here's a transcription of Misty which he gives a rather advanced harmonic treatment.
There are many more solo Tal performances on the Tube for you to enjoy but these are the only transcribed ones that I found. You can buy the PDFs from Francois Leduc here.