Transcribe – Work Song

Transcribing Work Song

‘Work Song’ was written by Cornet player Nat Adderley and is performed here by his brother Julian, ‘Cannonball’ Adderley. It is a blues, but not in the strict 12-bar sense and swings like crazy!

My reason for choosing this song as a ‘transcription’ exercise was to highlight how important it is to learn music off recordings.  The internet is a fantastic resource, but if all you do is learn to play along with the sheet music that somebody else has written down, how are you going to learn how to process this information yourself?

Many students come to me saying they struggle to improvise, to come out with creative ideas, or to keep going in a solo.  I know I have, at times REALLY struggled to play solos like the way I want to, the answer is to LEARN THE SOLOS OFF THE RECORDINGS BY EAR!

Think that’s too hard?  I don’t, let me show you how…..


Your Responses to Work Song

Well done to all of you who have taken the task to transcribe sections of ‘Work Song’ from the Cannonball Adderley album Them Dirty Blues. It’s not easy, but you will have started skills that will pay you back by the bucket load!

Work Song Lesson 1

This lesson works through the opening of ‘Work Song’ which shows you a great way to use the blues scale on a head.

Work Song Lesson 2

The most important part about mastering any skill is breaking it down into manageable sections, and this is no different.


Dan Forshaw

I'm passionate about creating inspirational experiences through music and other arts. A life changing experience under the influence of the music of John Coltrane lead to study in New York and London. My thesis was on the Theology of John Coltrane as expressed through A Love Supreme. I perform across Europe with various jazz groups and teach through my innovative website, I'm a total Apple Geek, Cricket, Rugby, F1 and Football fan and I'm learning to listen opinions before giving my own!