MY FIRST G-NOTES 3G SESSION
By: Yossi Zweig
Yesterday I was fortunate to sit in on a G-Notes 3G session.
What is a G-Notes 3G session you might ask? In simple terms it is a new and important musical project and collaboration from three of the most important people in Jewish music:
Producer and owner of the project is the composer extraordinaire who single-handedly changed and upgraded the Jewish song of our music, Yossi “G”reen;
Next is the world renowned music director, Broadway arranger and legendary pianist, Yaron “G”ershovsky.
Finally, the man who has been notating and recording on computer and paper all sheet music for every concert/band for the last 15 years, Avremi “G”ourarie;
What brings these three huge talents together? The answer is a project that has been almost fourteen years in the making called “G-Notes.” G-Notes is the brainchild of Yossi Green and hopes to be a breakthrough product which has been lacking in the Jewish music world. It’s a music book, a book about music, a songbook, and then again, it is so much more than that. Any basic Jewish music books that had been available to the public up to this time (and there are very few) has had just the basic melody written out in sheet music form along with basic chords and some guitar charts. Basic melody is what you hear when someone is simply singing a song unaccompanied by any form of harmony. Yossi explained that “G-Notes” will be a music book to feature full piano arrangements for the Intermediate piano player! It is the FIRST of its kind! When a seasoned pianist or keyboard player is playing a song they use all ten fingers. The song itself or basic melody is what is being played by the tenth rightmost “digit” which is the pinky finger. The rest of the fingers playing are enhancing the melody, playing chords of all kinds of sophistication and bringing out the beauty and depth of the song while taking the listener’s appreciation to a higher level of enjoyment.
Yossi tells me how over the many years he has received countless calls from renowned pianists and prestigious music schools all over the world wanting to hear/play/teach his compositions. When he is then asked where a book with his music can be found for purchase or loan, he always has had to respond sadly, “I don’t have one.” G-Notes hopes to finally address this issue par excellence!
As I write these words I am watching the work proceed. In today’s session they are working on the song “Hashem Hashem” or as some might know it as “Shloish Esrai Middos” which was originally featured on Avraham Fried’s “Shtar Hatnoim” album.
The process begins with Yaron Gershovsky playing the song on the piano while Yossi hovers over him like a hawk making sure the melody of the song is exactly what he composed and wants the song to sound like. Yaron is playing the piano with a pencil either stuck behind one ear or lodged between his gritted teeth while he jots down all the changes in musical notation. The back-and-forth erasing and correcting of each song can take a while. Following this process a very specific musical style is worked out for each song. A decision is then made whether extra music like an intro or interlude or outro will be employed in the song. It is only then that the song gets an arrangement which is very playable by the intermediate piano player. The completed song now slowly comes to life as a new and improved musical composition. It is only then that the work moves over to Avremi G and the computer where the serious notation begins. All the previous work is carefully notated and entered into the computer. The computer can then play back the entered file while changes can still be suggested both by Yaron and Yossi who has the final word. After each song’s completion the sheet music is printed out by the computer and the work returns to the piano where Yaron is waiting to play it from the newly annotated sheets as if he never saw it before after which Yossi signs off if he approves. At times it just doesn’t sound right to Yossi and the work goes back to the drawing board. Finally, after all changes and corrections have been made the final file is saved and printed out and the song is complete. The team can now proceed to the next song.
As a side note, just watching Yaron play over each section of the song again and again while jotting down music notes, is an amazing process to watch. Now, everyone has seen Yaron in action at myriads of concerts over the past 25 plus years on all the stages accompanied by many other musicians. But there is just something different about being in a room where he is dominating the piano without any other musician or vocalist! It is totally entrancing and mesmerizing!
G-Notes will not just be a music book for people that want to learn to play Yossi Green’s compositions, but SO much more than that. The “Book” will include notes with double lyrics for each song in both Hebrew and English. Each syllable carefully lined up on its corresponding music note. That’s right, it will accurately tell you which word belongs to which note ensuring you to be able to play and sing like a pro. In addition, each song will have the history of the source behind it, the memorable stories which inspired it or were inspired by it, a very specific English translation, photos at times and many vignettes and ruminations, all written by Yossi.
We are not talking about some cheap music store book here. The final product will look something like a cross between a Sefer and an Art Book. If that is still not enough for you, G-Notes will also include a CD of Yaron Gershovsky playing ever song in the book the way it’s supposed to sound! This first set will include 36 of the greatest hit songs of the past 30 years, the years that defined our music!
Yaron at work on the piano
Yaron jotting down all the changes in musical notation
Avremi G working on Yaron’s musical notation
Yossi & Yaron listening to Avremi’s computer playing back the music
Yossi & Avremi discussing the song
Yaron making some changes
Yaron playing back the NEW notation for Yossi G