The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #101

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    On the guitar, the concept of a song is a category. A category consists of three things:
    - a collection of objects. These are the lines and harmonies of the song.
    - a collection of morphisms for each pair of objects. A morphism is a map between two objects in an abstract category, here that is the mapping of the song's pitches between keys (transposition).
    - a composition (binary operation). Here, the composition of morphisms means transposition is associative; transposing F to Bb same as F to A, then A to Bb.

    An isomorphism is a map that preserves relations among elements. If those elements are names of notes and chords, that mapping (transposition) will be abstract and difficult, however still verbally and musically isomorphic.

    For we who play by ear, both "in ear relative pitch" transposition and "relative mechanical displacement" on the finger board are isomorphic up to usable finger board, but also fast, natural, and effortless.


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #102

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    Quote Originally Posted by jackalGreen
    I might have got the idea from Bill Evans.
    I think that's where I first heard of it too. Someone told me that when Bill first learned a tune, he would learn it in every key. I made a few efforts to cram 12 key practice but it didn't work. Eventually I told myself, eff this I'm going on a daily program.

    When I started back up again guitar, just from zero....forgetting everything about minor pentatonics and riffs and power chords and all that...I had it in mind from the very beginning to learn tunes in Bb, Eb, Cm, Ab, C, F. For me it was about deliberately avoiding any kind of cowboy chords and learning the fretboard in a more abstract way than I thought about it as a young teenager screwing around copying Jimmy Page and all that, playing in boxes and running blues licks.
    That's also sort of how it felt to me on keys not being fluent everywhere. Not being able to play abstractly because I was locked into these little cells of knowledge instead of having the whole keyboard worked out.

  4. #103

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    I could write a book about this. For now I'll just make a little note here.

    Of all music ever written and performed, the keys some of you think of as jazz-keys are mostly in obscure minority. For example Eb and Bb combined account for less than 10%. (The reason you may think of these keys as Jazz-keys is that they are horn-friendly as horns are what we call transposing instruments). There's a saying "Strings like sharps, horns like flats".

    Please, please understand that most standards have been performed, recorded and archived in different keys, by different artists. Also observe the fact that the original composition was often written in a different key than what later got popularized in Real Book.

    Clearly, the most important keys (in the sense that everybody agree these are reasonable, regardless of you being a guitar player, a piano player or a horn player) are C, G (one sharp) and F (one flat) that combined account for about 50% of the Real Book content. So, if your goal is to make it easy for other people to reproduce your song, then pick C, G or F.

    As a band leader your responsibility is to arrange a song so that it suits the band setting and the soloists, most notably the vocalist. Basically you must pick a key that's within the range of the singer.

    Some keys could be regarded guitar friendly, in the sense we can make frequent use of open bass strings; E, A, D. These keys are very rare in Real book, combined less than 2%. In other words Real book is not guitar friendly. But of all music on Spotify these keys combined account for more than 25%.

    Every key got its own color, meaning that music would be perceived differently depending on the chosen key. Meaning that when we transpose a piece we are going to change its color.

    There are solo guitar arrangements (not necessarily in E,A or D) that couldn't be performed in any other key without having to re-tune the instrument or possibly use a capo daster. And there are riffs and licks that are dependent on key. As a guitar player you have to understand that everything can't be played in any key. Still you have to be prepared to find solutions when presented an awkward key.
    Last edited by JCat; 05-25-2023 at 07:14 AM.