The Outside Shore – Official Web Site of Marc Sabatella

My name is Marc Sabatella, and I welcome you to my web site!

Some of you may know me as a professional jazz musician and educator or through my involvement with music software; some are more familiar with my photography; some with my painting or other visual art; some might even remember me as a former systems programmer or know of me through other interests we share.  I am perhaps best known online as the author of A Jazz Improvisation Primer – the freely browsable text that has been read and appreciated by countless musicians around the world since 1992.

I hope you find what you are seeking here, and maybe even discover some things you didn’t realize you were looking for!

Improved Note / Accidental Layout In MuseScore 2.0

My involvement with the MuseScore (open source notation software) project continues to deepen.  At first I just helped with documentation and support.  Then I dusted off my programming chops and wrote some plugins, and then started bug fixing.  Last summer I went further and implemented a whole new flexible chord...Read More »

Solving an iPhone battery life problem

I’ve been a happy iPhone user for several months now. Last weekend my battery suddenly started draining much faster than usual. I normally can make it through the day with plenty to spare, and the meter shows the battery depleting at a rate of just a few percent per hour....Read More »

The Accessible Music Notation Project

An important announcement!

Some of you may know that I have been working on and off over the past few years on tools and methodology to support blind musicians as well as educators working with them.  I have managed to put this work to good use in my own teaching, but...Read More »

Colorado Plein Air

The impending end of summer means a lot of things to a lot of people, but for Denver-area artists, one thing that many of us look forward to is the Colorado Plein Air Festival (formerly the Denver Plein Air Festival). It’s an organized but increasingly broad event in which artists...Read More »

Solo Piano Concert at the Denver Public Library

This Thursday – June 13 – I will be performing a solo piano concert for the new “brown bag” lunch series at the Denver Public Library. I will be playing a numch of my original compositions that I think work especially well for solo piano. Maybe a standard...Read More »

Gift of Jazz Presents Graduation Concert for Jazz Education Courses

The students of the Gift of Jazz spring courses are proud to present their graduation concert at Dazzle ( on Wednesday, June 12, at 7 PM. The concert will be hosted by the instructor for these courses: professional pianist, composer, and educator Marc Sabatella ( . Tickets are...Read More »

Other Scale-Based Voicings

There are other logical ways of constructing voicings; too many to describe individually here.  Most approaches are similar in that they they associate a scale with each chord and construct the voicing from notes in that scale. By using a scale approach, you can devise your own patterns for voicings....Read More »

Close Position and Drop Voicings

The simplest voicing for a four note chord is the close position voicing, in which all the notes in the chord are arranged as close together as possible.  For example, a C7 chord might be voiced in close position as “C E G Bb”.  This is referred to as root...Read More »

Polychord and Upper Structure Voicings

The basis of a polychord voicing is to play two different chords at the same time, such as one in the left hand and one in the right on a piano. The relationship between the two chords determines the quality of the resultant chord.  These are always two handed voicings...Read More »

Quartal Voicings

A style of voicing made popular by McCoy Tyner is based on the interval of the fourth.  This type of voicing is used most often in modal music.  To construct a quartal voicing, simply take any note in the scale associated with the chord, and add the note a fourth...Read More »

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