“Ornithology” – Charlie Parker for Guitar

by | Jazz Standards

Sorry, the YouTube video has been removed due to copyright restrictions.

Charlie ParkerThis is the first in a series of Charlie Parker compositions I will be teaching in the coming months. I believe these pieces are important to learn for any guitarist aspiring to become a jazz player. And that is simply because the lines that make up these tunes embody the melodic and rhythmic elements of the bebop idiom!

In this lesson I want to teach you the head to “Ornithology”, a piece Bird wrote over the changes to “How High The Moon”. In the video which includes full notation and TAB, after playing the piece at tempo, I break it down and teach each segment at a slow tempo. I also point out some of the fingering challenges you may encounter on guitar as well as how to overcome them.

I am making a PDF with TAB (for the sight-reading disabled…lol) available for download, absolutely FREE for every lesson in this series! So be sure to login and download it so you can follow along.


The “Ornithology” PDF with Notation and TAB can be downloaded for FREE .  You must be logged in for download link to be visible.

[Content protected for Jazz Guitarists Series, Elite, Elite 3 Month, Elite 6 Month members only]


    • Richie Zellon

      Thanks, and yes I am now aware. I didn’t directly transcribe it from the recording but instead from the original Omnibook which I am told has been edited since I purchased it almost 40 years ago. There are even more variations in other sources such as the Real Books and other publications! Unfortunately once you upload a video on YouTube there is no way to make corrections or even include a note except in the info section below where it goes unnoticed. In my 2nd post in this series (Yardbird Suite), I address these discrepancies on the video.

      • Greg Brown

        Thanks Richie, I now fully understand. As you stated in the Yardbird Suite video, “its the nature of jazz” 😉

  1. Duncan Herring

    I first started my attempts to learn jazz tunes in the year of 1966. I knew nothing about any transcriptions of Bird’s work that might have been available at that time during the sixties. Thus, the only way that I could copy the solos of bebop masters such as Bird or subsequent post-bop jazz masters such as Miles Davis was to locate and hang out with someone who could play these solos or to bite the bullet and transcribe these incredible works for myself. I did do some transcribing; however, most often I simply gave up after learning the original chords to these tunes. Transcribing was simply too much work! Learning to play the solos of jazz masters can be a much more direct process these days. Even someone like me, who has difficulty getting his or her self to transcribe these beautiful works, can now learn to play these wonderful solos simply by doing as much work as it took for me to learn the chords that were involved. Some things in life certainly do get substantially better as time goes on.

    • Richie Zellon

      Thanks for the feedback Duncan! I agree, there is absolutely a wealth of information to learn jazz today in comparison to the 60’s!

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