Oscar Peterson - Transcription Exercises

In this thread we explore the style of Oscar Peterson.

Oscar Peterson Biography:

Download full biography: Oscar Peterson Biography.pdf (18.3 KB)

Legendary Oscar Peterson - is considered one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, 8-time grammy winner and appears on hundreds of recordings. His swinging virtuosity is something that every jazz pianist have to check out!

Important Discography To Start With:

Download full suggested discography: Oscar Peterson - Suggested Discography.pdf (17.0 KB)

  • Charlie Parker: Jam Session 1952 - w/ Charlie Parker, Benny Carter, Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster, Flip Phillips (sax), Charlie Shavers (tr), Ray Brown (b), Barney Kessel (gt) & J.C. Heard (dr) 1952
    Spotify Album Link Here

  • Stan Getz And The Oscar Peterson Trio - Quartet w/ Stan Getz (sax), Ray Brown (b) & Herb Ellis (gt) 1958
    Spotify Album Link Here

  • Night Train - Trio w/ Ray Brown (b) & Ed Thigpen (dr) 1962
    Spotify Album Link Here

  • Tracks - Solo Piano 1970
    Spotify Album Link Here

What Do These Exercises Cover?

  • Exercises on this thread are built to give the students a deeper view on Oscar Petersons style, soloing, comping as well as an overall look into the tradition of jazz through his artistry.
  • Exercises are transcription-based, following with a closer look into certain details of his playing. This way we can combine ear-training with learning the language of jazz, as well as analyzing closely what is happening.

Tuomo, these are a great series of lessons/exercises.

Under the text for “What Do These Exercises Cover?”, you have “Wynton Kellys style” instead of “Oscar Peterson’s.” Just thought I’d mention it.

Thanks Scott, you were right, fixed!

Transcription Exercise No. 1

Pennies From Heaven - Album: Stan Getz And The Oscar Peterson Trio

This transcription exercise covers the piano solo (right hand only) from the track ‘Pennies Of Heaven’ ,starting at 3m42s.

Click here for the start of the solo, and find the entire recording below on Spotify and YouTube:

The Assignment:

Transcribe the missing parts of the following transcription:

Pennies From Heaven Transcription Exercise.pdf (23.9 KB)

  • Right hand : transcribe the missing bars

The full transcription will be posted in 2 weeks with an analysis of the solo as well as details about what we can learn from the solo, and how to practice with it.

If you have any questions with the exercise, post them in this thread.

Have fun!


Hi @Tuomo :wave:

Firstly thanks for setting this exercise. I’ve been listening to this record for a few years now and this exercise inspired me to start transcribing from it. It’s the first time I’ve transcribed from an Oscar Peterson solo which was fun.

I spent around an hour or so each day for the last week and I’ve just finished my first draft of the transcription. I’ve scanned it and turned it into a PDF:

Hayden Transcription - Peterson’s solo on Penniess from Heaven.pdf (1.6 MB)

I’m sure there are a few inaccuracies in my transcription :grin: but generally I’m happy with it.

Would you be able to post the XML file of this? That way we can pull it into our notation software (Sibelius/MuseScore/Finale etc…) and complete the notation that way.

We could also create a thread showing how to use MuseScore which is free to download. I think there is one somewhere in the forum. I will find it.

But yes it’s a very nice study that you have set here and I learnt a lot from it. It would have been much more difficult without the bars you had already filled and so the format made it more accessible and fun for me.

Now I’ve got the bulk of the notes down I will be focusing on playing along with the recording to emulate Oscar’s exact phrasing and articulation. I’ll post a recording once I’m happy with it. I’m also going to transcribing some of Stan Getz’s sax lines in his extensive solo sections.

Thanks again!

Hi guys,

@Hayden, here is the musescore file, so everyone can add the bars easier:

Pennies From Heaven Transcription Exercise.mscz (18.6 KB)

Great, job, I’ll be posting the entire transcription/practice tips in few days!


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Full Transcription & Selected Analysis No. 1

Pennies From Heaven - Album: Stan Getz And The Oscar Peterson Trio

Click here for the start of the solo

Here is the full transcription of the piano solo, with bass notes written on the left hand to make practicing the solo easier:

Pennies From Heaven Transcription.pdf (43.2 KB)

And here a selected analysis:

Pennies From Heaven Analysis.pdf (152.5 KB)

If you have questions, comments or ideas, please write them to the thread,



Love the analysis Tuomo, thanks for compiling these documents as they ad an extra layer of clarity to the transcriptions.

Lots of food for thought with your examples and notation.