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  1. #1

    Movement while comping, main approaches?

    Okay, so after reading about this abit, it seems like there is three main ways to create movment when comping? Please correct me if I am wrong.

    1. Barry's 6th dim scale(not really his, but ye, that approach).
    2. The approach mentioned here: http://in.music.sc.edu/ea/Jazz/Linea...%20Voicing.htm
    Which I guess is using normal chords to create movement. So for example on a static I chord you could play chromatic, the V chord etc.
    3. Harmonising scales


    Now in my last session with my teacher he told me to practice harmonising scales. He showed an example where he used fourths of G major, three notes, and then moved them all to the closest notes in the scale. He was very focused on me NOT trying to think what chords those three notes represented, but rather think of it as just playing the scale. It's about movement and melody. Of course, like when you have the whole scale practised, you don't play all the notes, but you create music/melody.

    Now I believe that is mentioned in Green's comping book:

    Movement while comping, main approaches?-edbe2175-c429-4f0e-873a-f4230a21f5f4-jpg

    What do you use when you comp? Also, I hope someone can help me clarify, if I am correct. I would really love to be able to start practicing this stuff, but I do not really know where to start. I think a combination of 2 and 3 is the way to go for me right now. Suggestions on books etc. to get started with this is very welcome. I want to end this boring comping style.

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  3. #2
    It's not just one thing. It's a lot of techniques which you mix and match on the fly.

    The goal, to my way of thinking, is to be able to sound like Ralph Sharon behind Tony Bennett. Ralph's comping could be a mini-symphony, particularly during the turnarounds. He didn't just hit chords. Rather, he make a little chord melody that fit the situation.

    If you listen to Chico Pinheiro's comping you'll hear the same sort of thing, but in a more recent style -- and with more intense rhythms than might not have made sense in Tony Bennett's band.

    So, some techniques:

    1. Learn to voice every four note chord with any of the four on top. Players often do this for the top 4 strings, middle 4 and lower 4, but some skipped-string voicings work too. You can grab them in ways which give you a free finger with which to put other notes on top or inside the chord. That gives you an improved chance to move from one chord to another to make a melody with the top notes.

    2. Harmonized scales, absolutely. I'd suggest special attention to Melodic Minor because there is no avoid note. Pretty much, you take any group of notes within a melodic minor and they will be interchangeable with any other group of notes. That's a little obscure, but here's an example. Suppose a tune starts with 2 bars of Fmaj7 and then 2 bars of Bb7#11. For the Fmaj7 you can move around by playing different inversions of it -- adding D or G if convenient and making a little melody.

    Then, when you get to the Bb7#11, think Fmelmin and pick any group of notes from that scale. You'll like some groups more than others, but they all sort of fit, especially if the bassist gives you the root.

    If you then move from one chord in the harmonized Fmelmin scale to another, it will work. So, you can play, say, Fminmaj7 with an Ab on top, then move to E7+9 with a G on top, to G7susb9 with an F on top .... and now you've got a simple descending melodic line on top of your chords. And it doesn't have to be Ab G F -- you can make any melody from Fmelmin.

    To get started pick some notes from Fmelmin and move them through the scale, memorizing the grips if you like them.

    3. Using movement from maj to dom7 chords. Using diminished chords as passing chords.

    etc etc.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 12-22-2018 at 07:12 PM.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    It's not just one thing. It's a lot of techniques which you mix and match on the fly.

    The goal, to my way of thinking, is to be able to sound like Ralph Sharon behind Tony Bennett. Ralph's comping could be a mini-symphony, particularly during the turnarounds. He didn't just hit chords. Rather, he make a little chord melody that fit the situation.

    If you listen to Chico Pinheiro's comping you'll hear the same sort of thing, but in a more recent style -- and with more intense rhythms than might have made sense in Tony Bennett's band.

    So, some techniques:

    1. Learn to voice every four note chord with any of the four on top. Players often do this for the top 4 strings, middle 4 and lower 4, but some skipped-string voicings work too. You can grab them in ways which give you a free finger with which to put other notes on top or inside the chord. That gives you an improved chance to move from one chord to another to make a melody with the top notes.

    2. Harmonized scales, absolutely. I'd suggest special attention to Melodic Minor because there is no avoid note. Pretty much, you take any group of notes within a melodic minor and they will be interchangeable with any other group of notes. That's a little obscure, but here's an example. Suppose a tune starts with 2 bars of Fmaj7 and then 2 bars of Bb7#11. For the Fmaj7 you can move around by playing different inversions of it -- adding D or G if convenient and making a little melody.

    Then, when you get to the Bb7#11, think Fmelmin and pick any group of notes from that scale. You'll like some groups more than others, but they all sort of fit, especially if the bassist gives you the root.

    If you then move from one chord in the harmonized Fmelmin scale to another, it will work. So, you can play, say, Fminmaj7 with an Ab on top, then move to E7+9 with a G on top, to G7susb9 with an F on top .... and now you've got a simple descending melodic line on top of your chords. And it doesn't have to be Ab G F -- you can make any melody from Fmelmin.

    To get started pick some notes from Fmelmin and move them through the scale, memorizing the grips if you like them.

    3. Using movement from maj to dom7 chords. Using diminished chords as passing chords.

    etc etc.
    Yes, you pretty much summarise what me and my teacher has talked about. He is insanely good at this stuff, but not that good at teaching it away. I wish there was some sort of book that could help me get started. I mean point 1, I somewhat got covered. At least for drop 2, drop 3, and closed chords. What I do here is a exercise by Barry. I open a fake book and choose a random tune, then try to voice each melody note that appears under a chord, with that chord. So let's say there will never be another you. first chord is Ebmaj7, with the note underneath being C. So I try to create a drop 2, then a drop 3, then a closed voicing that all has a C in the melody(top note). According to Barry, after a year you'll be able to do this on the fly.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by znerken View Post
    Yes, you pretty much summarise what me and my teacher has talked about. He is insanely good at this stuff, but not that good at teaching it away. I wish there was some sort of book that could help me get started. I mean point 1, I somewhat got covered. At least for drop 2, drop 3, and closed chords. What I do here is a exercise by Barry. I open a fake book and choose a random tune, then try to voice each melody note that appears under a chord, with that chord. So let's say there will never be another you. first chord is Ebmaj7, with the note underneath being C. So I try to create a drop 2, then a drop 3, then a closed voicing that all has a C in the melody(top note). According to Barry, after a year you'll be able to do this on the fly.
    I know that others pay attention to the difference between drop 2 and drop 3. I've never paid any attention to that. Maybe I should have. But, to take an example, suppose you want a high B on top of a G7. There are several practical ways to do this. How does it help to know which are drop 2 vs drop 3? (this is not an invitation to argue about it, I'm just curious if I'm missing something that might be helpful).

    The way I practiced it was picking a tune and trying to find a chord for every melody note, with voice leading as smooth as I could make it. Obviously, I didn't start with really fast melodies. And, shortly thereafter, trying to find cool sounding chord substitutions. I thought about chord, melody note, and voice leading. Sometimes, bass line if I was trying to do a solo arrangement.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I know that others pay attention to the difference between drop 2 and drop 3. I've never paid any attention to that. Maybe I should have. But, to take an example, suppose you want a high B on top of a G7. There are several practical ways to do this. How does it help to know which are drop 2 vs drop 3? (this is not an invitation to argue about it, I'm just curious if I'm missing something that might be helpful).

    The way I practiced it was picking a tune and trying to find a chord for every melody note, with voice leading as smooth as I could make it. Obviously, I didn't start with really fast melodies. And, shortly thereafter, trying to find cool sounding chord substitutions. I thought about chord, melody note, and voice leading. Sometimes, bass line if I was trying to do a solo arrangement.
    No it doesn’t matter, it’s just easier when you have a list to go through. The exercise you explain is basically the same, but you took every melody note and also practiced voice leading at the same time. I guess that will be step two for me.

    By the way, when I said harmonizing a scale, I also meant quartal harmony for example. That’s what my teacher showed me, I guess.

  7. #6
    Quartile harmony is very useful.

    I learned this way.

    Start with xx2233.

    Then move that up through the major scale, using the note on the E string, G, as the root. In fact, this same voicing appears in multiple major scales, including C G D F.

    Then, move it through the melodic minor scale, again using G as the root.

    12 keys, no cheating.

    Then, take the chords I mentioned, two bars each Fmaj7 and Bb7#11. Use any quartile voicing for Fmaj and move from one to another making a simple melodic line. Then do it for the Fminmaj scale against the Bb7#11. Keep doing this until you can use any of the voicings.

    Then, consider xx223x as a nice quartile voicing with three notes. You already know it, you're just omitting the note on the high E string. This time, move the note on the D string up an octave and play only the top three strings xxx230. Now, move it up through the two scales, major and melodic minor.

    12 keys, no cheating.

    And, when you've got that together, go back to the Fmaj7 Bb7#11.

    This is maybe 3 months of work. It changed the way I comp.

    Here are a few advantages.

    By voicing in 4ths the chords are more ambiguous. You can pretty much use the same grips whether the chord is Cmaj vs. G7. You keep 'em moving and don't hold one too long if you hear a clash.

    Same is even more true for melodic minor. No avoid note. Everything you try works. So, when you see that Bb7#11, you think Fmelmin and instantly know you can play any one of the voicings above. Or you can think any voicing at all of Fminmaj7, Gsusb9, Abmaj7#5, Bb7#11, C7b13 Dm7b5 or Ealt. They all will work! And it won't even matter if you voice them in quartile or tertian harmony.

    Next time you start a tune that has 4 bars of Gmaj7 up front, you pick your quartile voicings and move them around making countermelody. If the tune then goes to Gm7, you can do the same grips you'd use for Bbmaj7, or you can see if a different minor scale might sound better. But, you won't have to sit there playing 4 beats of Cmaj7 per bar, or two beats each of Cmaj7 C6, or even moving from one maj7 grip to another.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Quartile harmony is very useful.

    I learned this way.

    Start with xx2233.

    Then move that up through the major scale, using the note on the E string, G, as the root. In fact, this same voicing appears in multiple major scales, including C G D F.

    Then, move it through the melodic minor scale, again using G as the root.

    12 keys, no cheating.

    Then, take the chords I mentioned, two bars each Fmaj7 and Bb7#11. Use any quartile voicing for Fmaj and move from one to another making a simple melodic line. Then do it for the Fminmaj scale against the Bb7#11. Keep doing this until you can use any of the voicings.

    Then, consider xx223x as a nice quartile voicing with three notes. You already know it, you're just omitting the note on the high E string. This time, move the note on the D string up an octave and play only the top three strings xxx230. Now, move it up through the two scales, major and melodic minor.

    12 keys, no cheating.

    And, when you've got that together, go back to the Fmaj7 Bb7#11.

    This is maybe 3 months of work. It changed the way I comp.

    Here are a few advantages.

    By voicing in 4ths the chords are more ambiguous. You can pretty much use the same grips whether the chord is Cmaj vs. G7. You keep 'em moving and don't hold one too long if you hear a clash.

    Same is even more true for melodic minor. No avoid note. Everything you try works. So, when you see that Bb7#11, you think Fmelmin and instantly know you can play any one of the voicings above. Or you can think any voicing at all of Fminmaj7, Gsusb9, Abmaj7#5, Bb7#11, C7b13 Dm7b5 or Ealt. They all will work! And it won't even matter if you voice them in quartile or tertian harmony.

    Next time you start a tune that has 4 bars of Gmaj7 up front, you pick your quartile voicings and move them around making countermelody. If the tune then goes to Gm7, you can do the same grips you'd use for Bbmaj7, or you can see if a different minor scale might sound better. But, you won't have to sit there playing 4 beats of Cmaj7 per bar, or two beats each of Cmaj7 C6, or even moving from one maj7 grip to another.
    Great advice. My comping needs work too, you reckon you could show in a vid how you apply these ideas to a Standard, a Blues, a Modal tune and a Shorter tune? (not asking for much am i? )...

  9. #8

    Movement while comping, main approaches?

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Quartile harmony is very useful.

    I learned this way.

    Start with xx2233.

    Then move that up through the major scale, using the note on the E string, G, as the root. In fact, this same voicing appears in multiple major scales, including C G D F.

    Then, move it through the melodic minor scale, again using G as the root.

    12 keys, no cheating.

    Then, take the chords I mentioned, two bars each Fmaj7 and Bb7#11. Use any quartile voicing for Fmaj and move from one to another making a simple melodic line. Then do it for the Fminmaj scale against the Bb7#11. Keep doing this until you can use any of the voicings.

    Then, consider xx223x as a nice quartile voicing with three notes. You already know it, you're just omitting the note on the high E string. This time, move the note on the D string up an octave and play only the top three strings xxx230. Now, move it up through the two scales, major and melodic minor.

    12 keys, no cheating.

    And, when you've got that together, go back to the Fmaj7 Bb7#11.

    This is maybe 3 months of work. It changed the way I comp.

    Here are a few advantages.

    By voicing in 4ths the chords are more ambiguous. You can pretty much use the same grips whether the chord is Cmaj vs. G7. You keep 'em moving and don't hold one too long if you hear a clash.

    Same is even more true for melodic minor. No avoid note. Everything you try works. So, when you see that Bb7#11, you think Fmelmin and instantly know you can play any one of the voicings above. Or you can think any voicing at all of Fminmaj7, Gsusb9, Abmaj7#5, Bb7#11, C7b13 Dm7b5 or Ealt. They all will work! And it won't even matter if you voice them in quartile or tertian harmony.

    Next time you start a tune that has 4 bars of Gmaj7 up front, you pick your quartile voicings and move them around making countermelody. If the tune then goes to Gm7, you can do the same grips you'd use for Bbmaj7, or you can see if a different minor scale might sound better. But, you won't have to sit there playing 4 beats of Cmaj7 per bar, or two beats each of Cmaj7 C6, or even moving from one maj7 grip to another.
    Yea, thanks. This is great. You use this when comping non modal tunes as well right? Two bars of G major in ornithology, you can make a cool little line with quartal Ionian or Lydian voicings, instead of staying Gmaj for two bars.


    Bill Evans does that a lot, doesn’t he?

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by znerken View Post
    Okay, so after reading about this abit, it seems like there is three main ways to create movment when comping? Please correct me if I am wrong.

    1. Barry's 6th dim scale(not really his, but ye, that approach).
    2. The approach mentioned here: http://in.music.sc.edu/ea/Jazz/Linea...%20Voicing.htm
    Which I guess is using normal chords to create movement. So for example on a static I chord you could play chromatic, the V chord etc.
    3. Harmonising scales


    Now in my last session with my teacher he told me to practice harmonising scales. He showed an example where he used fourths of G major, three notes, and then moved them all to the closest notes in the scale. He was very focused on me NOT trying to think what chords those three notes represented, but rather think of it as just playing the scale. It's about movement and melody. Of course, like when you have the whole scale practised, you don't play all the notes, but you create music/melody.

    Now I believe that is mentioned in Green's comping book:

    Movement while comping, main approaches?-edbe2175-c429-4f0e-873a-f4230a21f5f4-jpg

    What do you use when you comp? Also, I hope someone can help me clarify, if I am correct. I would really love to be able to start practicing this stuff, but I do not really know where to start. I think a combination of 2 and 3 is the way to go for me right now. Suggestions on books etc. to get started with this is very welcome. I want to end this boring comping style.
    Don't worry about comping for now. Practice the exercise like a good student :-)

    When I comp, I use a lot of stuff I no longer have to think about too much.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Don't worry about comping for now. Practice the exercise like a good student :-)

    When I comp, I use a lot of stuff I don't have to think about.

    Well the reason I got the exercise was to generate movement when comping. Also I wasn't totally sure how to practice the exercise, as it wasn't very clear. So I thought I should head here for some advice I think what my teacher was talking about, is harmonising a scale with quartal harmony.

    So, what do you use?

  12. #11
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    Actually, I have been practicing a load of new harmony stuff for 8 months .... It has yet to show up much in any of my actual real world comping. It will though...

    Be patient.

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Actually, I have been practicing a load of new harmony stuff for 8 months .... It has yet to show up much in any of my actual real world comping. It will though...

    Be patient.
    Cool! Hope it will. What kind of harmony stuff?

  14. #13
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    This stuff is guaranteed to give you movement.


  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by znerken View Post
    Okay, so after reading about this abit, it seems like there is three main ways to create movment when comping? Please correct me if I am wrong.

    2. The approach mentioned here: http://in.music.sc.edu/ea/Jazz/Linea...%20Voicing.htm
    Which I guess is using normal chords to create movement. So for example on a static I chord you could play chromatic, the V chord etc.
    This approach is the basis for Fareed Haque's Truefire comping survival guide, there's a thread on here about a possible study group to work through that....

    The Van Eps method book (the 50 page one, not the 3 volume tome) will have you harmonising scales all over the place...

  16. #15
    Another point that's worth thinking about early is when you actually play the chord(s), whichever chords you pick.

    This is just as important, and maybe more difficulty, than working out voicing options.

    It's all about the feel of the music, but it also informs how many voicings, notes and fragments you're going to play as you comp.

    One basic division is whether you try to play the pulse or just outline the harmony (meaning, playing mostly as one chord gives way to the next while leaving space when a chord doesn't change). Pianists do it all the time. So, for example, in my two chord example, the pianist hits the Fmaj7, or arpeggiates it, or plays a little line with the chord tones, but, for most of the two bars of Fmaj7, the pianist is leaving space.

    Then, just before the transition to the Bb7#11, the pianist suddenly gets active. The pianist wants to lead the listener, and the other musicians, into the chord change. One of the simplest methods is to slide in from a half step above. So, you could play a B7#11 right before the Bb7#11.

    Now, the B7#11 is a chord within F#melmin. So, you could play F#minmaj7 and B7#11 as if it was a qujick ii V, then move right to the Bb7#11, probably played one eighth note before the bar line. Then, you might wait until the one of the next bar to play it again (or not).

    I hear pianists to this sort of thing all the time. Guitarists, not so much. I prefer to play with pianists who play this way. I like the space. It leaves room the guitar and the other instruments. The pulse is heard in the bass and drumset. It can sound great in the piano or guitar but the band can sound great without it too.

    So, as you find these voicings, think about transitions.

  17. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by znerken View Post
    Well the reason I got the exercise was to generate movement when comping. Also I wasn't totally sure how to practice the exercise, as it wasn't very clear. So I thought I should head here for some advice I think what my teacher was talking about, is harmonising a scale with quartal harmony.

    So, what do you use?
    These things have a habit of turning into a textbook, so I won't list. I use a lot of different things. Mostly, I am interested in voiceleading - at least I think.

    Putting a intervallic structure through a scale is a very common practice exercise. Teaches the neck really well. Also quartals sound good. I usually find three notes suffices in a band....

    I rarely use the voicings you posted in a duo because they are in annoying place register wise and I wouldn't like playing over them myself.. Also a bit too ambiguous. In a band, good, but listen to the soloist.

    In fact I would most often use those 4-note voicings in solos! Getting a McCoy Tyner vibe.

    In a duo situation I tend to use a lot of spread triads and movement based on sliding up and down by semitones, barry harris stuff etc.

  18. Idea for getting those chord-scales in the fingers and glue some meaning and musicality on them
    Not purely a comping exercise but something to add some spark to mundane Monday routine maybe.
    Pick a simple tune. play it in harmonic intervals first, then in 3-note chords. When getting bored, change the tune
    exampleCS.mp3 - Google Drive
    It's quite tough, skipped a few, struggled a lot there. Both mentally and fingerly.
    Some tunes lend themselves very well to be played like that, some sound real bad with some intervals or chords. Imo it's not worth practicing the bad ones "just because".

  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by znerken View Post
    Cool! Hope it will. What kind of harmony stuff?
    Or I’m sure it will, just takes time to become intuitive.

    It’s Jordan Klemons stuff - triads with added notes in inversions. Sounds very cool, but have to map the neck in a whole new way....

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    Idea for getting those chord-scales in the fingers and glue some meaning and musicality on them
    Not purely a comping exercise but something to add some spark to mundane Monday routine maybe.
    Pick a simple tune. play it in harmonic intervals first, then in 3-note chords. When getting bored, change the tune
    exampleCS.mp3 - Google Drive
    It's quite tough, skipped a few, struggled a lot there. Both mentally and fingerly.
    Some tunes lend themselves very well to be played like that, some sound real bad with some intervals or chords. Imo it's not worth practicing the bad ones "just because".
    Sounds sweet! The first time through the tube is with quartal voicings? What’s the name of the tune?

  21. Quote Originally Posted by znerken View Post
    Sounds sweet! The first time through the tube is with quartal voicings? What’s the name of the tune?
    The tune is from Samba de Janeiro. I've made a list with dozens of those from pop music just to get better with scales and stuff like that.
    1.3rds
    2.4ths
    3.6ths
    4. triads: 2nd inversion
    5. 3-note 7th chords with 5th degree omitted.

  22. #21
    To the people who practiced the quartal voicings in regards to comping. Did you first learn them in voicings of 4 notes? Easier to make 3 from 4, right?

    And also, I see a lot of people analysing what chords fit over what, but isn't the essential point that you can play all the chords you harmonise from the scale? So if there is a dorian chord for two bars, you can play all 7 chords. If there is a mixolydian chord for 1 bar, you can play all the 7 Phrygian chords?


    Am I missing something here?

  23. #22

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by znerken View Post
    To the people who practiced the quartal voicings in regards to comping. Did you first learn them in voicings of 4 notes? Easier to make 3 from 4, right?

    And also, I see a lot of people analysing what chords fit over what, but isn't the essential point that you can play all the chords you harmonise from the scale? So if there is a dorian chord for two bars, you can play all 7 chords. If there is a mixolydian chord for 1 bar, you can play all the 7 Phrygian chords?


    Am I missing something here?
    You can, but you have to use your ear. For example, in the major scale you get this shape five times xx2233. Those may work better than the other two shapes. In the melodic minor, anything goes, but you still have to use your ear to avoid mud.

    I use 4 note chords on the top 4 strings, but three notes on strings 4 3 and 2. I don't play the note on the A string, usually, in a stack of fourths. Too close to the bassist. Can sound muddy.

    I'd suggest taking a look at Reg's comping videos on youtube.

  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    You can, but you have to use your ear. For example, in the major scale you get this shape five times xx2233. Those may work better than the other two shapes. In the melodic minor, anything goes, but you still have to use your ear to avoid mud.

    I use 4 note chords on the top 4 strings, but three notes on strings 4 3 and 2. I don't play the note on the A string, usually, in a stack of fourths. Too close to the bassist. Can sound muddy.

    I'd suggest taking a look at Reg's comping videos on youtube.
    I will! Reg uses this stuff? I just played a Dmin7 pedal, and tried all the voicings on the top string set, and I think it sounds great. The fact that you sound like you play “outside” and in at the same time is cool! Such a easy but great way to create melody and movement.

  26. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by znerken View Post
    I will! Reg uses this stuff? I just played a Dmin7 pedal, and tried all the voicings on the top string set, and I think it sounds great. The fact that you sound like you play “outside” and in at the same time is cool! Such a easy but great way to create melody and movement.
    I don't know if Reg thinks this way or not. Maybe he'll chime in.

    What I do like about Reg's comping is great time feel and voicings that always sound good. Since time feel is more important than anything else, arguably, I thought I'd mention him.

  27. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Or I’m sure it will, just takes time to become intuitive.

    It’s Jordan Klemons stuff - triads with added notes in inversions. Sounds very cool, but have to map the neck in a whole new way....
    Oh cool. We haven't talked much in a while, Christian, so I didn't realize you were still working at it. It does take some time to re-map things, but I find if the new mapping is mixed with really specific, rigorous application (like focusing on 1 or 2 voicings or movements and running it through the circle of 5ths or tunes or something) that they can start seeping into our playing pretty naturally. Sometimes at least. I find that type of practice more helpful than the etude memorization, but I still write them because (a) it's good for me to constantly push myself and see what all is possible and (b) I want to help others remember just how "complex" an approach is possible using only the most basic ingredients once they're engrained.


    Anyways... back to the OP.

    The more I tumble down this rabbit hole, the more I think it can all be narrowed down to two basic categories.

    (1) Creating movement INSIDE of a single tonality/chord
    (2) Creating movement to get from one chord to another

    There is some overlap for sure... for example if we're vamping on a I chord, we can superimpose the V7 to create tension, and that means we can then employ (2) to also create movement between the I and the V7 rather than just jumping back and forth which is still techniques creating movement inside a single chord... but by utilizing techniques available from chord movement.

    I think when it comes to (2) that the most helpful thing I've done is to study jazz arranging. Learning the techniques that big band arrangers use to harmonize a melody as the rhythm section moves through a progression can be extremely helpful. The basic "traditionally" accepted techniques like diminished passing and approach chords, dominant approach, chromatic approach, diatonic, etc. Learning those techniques and then practicing putting them on the guitar.

    As for (1) I find the stuff that I work on that Christian was talking about to be the most useful. Which is all about being able to see and hear specific notes that function as melodic resolution points that help define the harmony, and then to fill in melodic tension notes that can be used to create movement while still defining the chord.

    Like for instance, if I wanted to move around inside of an EMaj7 chord, I personally don't prefer jumping straight for movement that's purely from the diatonic scale. Because not every note inside that scale defines the EMaj7 chord as well as others. If I land on a dyad that's A and C#, that's in the scale, but it would be hard to convey this as anything other than an inverted IV chord if I'm playing in a trio and the bass player is vamping on the low E. Which is fine. But I want to have control over that. I want to know where my targets and my bullseyes are. If I want to express a movement to the IV chord, that's cool. But we're no longer defining the Emaj7... we've moved away from it. Which I think should be done intentionally. Instead I would isolate the triad the best defines the chord, and then fill in other notes around it to create melodic tension and movement while still keeping me planted inside the chord I'm trying to express. So I might end up with some ideas like... possibly with some additional diatonic or chromatic passing notes between if I want to have less skips and jumps...

    Emaj7 (G# minor triad)
    (0)xx16.14.16
    (0)xx13.12.11
    (0)xx899
    (0)xx647
    (0)xx424
    (0)x644x

    EMaj9 (B major triad)
    (0)xx16.16.16
    (0)xx13.12.14
    (0)xx11.9.11
    (0)xx877
    (0)xx444
    (0)x647x

    EMaj13(#11,9) - (F# major triad)
    (0)xx15.14.16
    (0)xx13.11.14
    (0)xx11.9.9
    (0)xx676
    (0)xx324
    (0)x637x

    EMaj7(#11,#9) - (D# major triad)
    (0)xx15.16.16
    (0)xx13.11.15
    (0)xx12.9.11
    (0)xx886
    (0)xx344
    (0)x638x

    etc etc

    The other work around, I think, is the quartal approach that's already been mentioned. For me though, I'm too obsessed with triads... so I tend to stick with sucking as much juice out of them as I can... though I've gotten a lot out of quartal in the past and see myself going back to it again at some point.

    Crazy how many options there are from just these 12 stupid little sounds.
    Last edited by jordanklemons; 12-24-2018 at 05:22 PM.
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  28. #27
    I have a slight noob question, but I wonder how you visualize the quartal voicings when you think about a scale? I tried with Dorian, and okay, there is only four different shapes on a string set, but how do you make sure you hit the right ones? Do you have some tips here?


    Thanks!

  29. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by znerken View Post
    I have a slight noob question, but I wonder how you visualize the quartal voicings when you think about a scale? I tried with Dorian, and okay, there is only four different shapes on a string set, but how do you make sure you hit the right ones? Do you have some tips here?


    Thanks!
    Ahahahahahaha

    You do know the relevant dorian scale all the way along each string, right?

    Told you it was good for fretboard mapping ;-)


  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Ahahahahahaha

    You do know the relevant dorian scale all the way along each string, right?

    Told you it was good for fretboard mapping ;-)
    So yes, I guess the answer is, you should practice each and every scale until you can harmonize/play it then. I just thought there perhaps there was some patterns. There’s tons of scale patterns vertically, after all :-)

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by znerken View Post
    I have a slight noob question, but I wonder how you visualize the quartal voicings when you think about a scale? I tried with Dorian, and okay, there is only four different shapes on a string set, but how do you make sure you hit the right ones? Do you have some tips here?


    Thanks!
    Nothing simple, I'm afraid. You can memorize the scale degree that's on, say, the top string for a given shape.
    But, that's not how I actually did it. I learned the notes in all the major and melodic minor scales I use. So, I started thinking about individual notes. Eventually, with repetition, your fingers find the right notes and leave the linguistic part of your brain out of it.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by znerken View Post
    So yes, I guess the answer is, you should practice each and every scale until you can harmonize/play it then. I just thought there perhaps there was some patterns. There’s tons of scale patterns vertically, after all :-)
    You’ll work it out, you’re bright. There’s always patterns.

  33. Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Nothing simple, I'm afraid. You can memorize the scale degree that's on, say, the top string for a given shape.
    But, that's not how I actually did it. I learned the notes in all the major and melodic minor scales I use. So, I started thinking about individual notes. Eventually, with repetition, your fingers find the right notes and leave the linguistic part of your brain out of it.
    I disagree here. The brain can handle everything we, the lazy repeaters, care to put in there. Just need a good method. I remember when I first started to try and mentally "glue" the scale degree on each note on the pattern, I just went "this is the 1st, thats the 3rd". The dumbest way possible . When started to play the triads on the patterns (glue them on the pattern there), it started to make more sense and was way easier. Currently (started a few months ago) I sing and play simple tunes on the scale patterns (glue them on the pattern again) and singing the scale degree numbers. Works like magic. Should have done that 15 years ago.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    You’ll work it out, you’re bright. There’s always patterns.
    That was a nice compliment!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  35. Oh, holy macaroni. Now I remember one exercise that I figured out a year ago or so. Using some random note generator (all kinds of options there online), while it plays those notes, the practicing maniac plays chords as scale that suits with the note.. Change key of that scale for sure. This was good to get to know how your next chord would sound in advance without being restricted to one key only. Lots of freedom there.

    I guess when this gets too easy or something, some random interval generator would be the next. Less freedom then but that way inching towards the chordal freedom would be somewhat less painful.

  36. #36
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    Bear in mind that some soloists (for whom you are comping, after all) will not thank you for this. They want to hear the chord progression fairly unambiguously. Channeling McCoy-Tyner's-left-hand-on-guitar stuff at them may result in some adverse reaction- if you do it, it had best make musical sense and not just be "hey, man, that's cool and hip" for the sake of cool and hip. Other soloists will dig the heck out of it and want more. So knowing your audience is important.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    Bear in mind that some soloists (for whom you are comping, after all) will not thank you for this. They want to hear the chord progression fairly unambiguously. Channeling McCoy-Tyner's-left-hand-on-guitar stuff at them may result in some adverse reaction- if you do it, it had best make musical sense and not just be "hey, man, that's cool and hip" for the sake of cool and hip. Other soloists will dig the heck out of it and want more. So knowing your audience is important.
    The trane digged it :-)


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  38. #38
    Recommended recordings where you can clearly hear the pianist using the quartal to get movements? I am currently listening to




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  39. #39
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    The main questions should be: what makes it move... mostly the same old thing ' tension-release agins harmonic rythm'

    (For exmple playing just invesions make no movement to my ear, but making bass line through the inversions can create a movement etc.)

    so all we need is to hear that it fits original harmony sounds (maybe extends and ornaments but still fits) and what is makeing tension-release and where...

    actually it could be one does not need so many tools...

    My main problem is the sound I want to hear and its organization.. tools are fin and fun to try but they do not always make a sound I want to hear.

  40. #40
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    [QUOTE=znerken;921627]The trane digged it :-)

    And how many people are you going to get to play with who have ears like that? Trane was one of the most skilled musicians ever. For most of us, the people we get to play with are not on that level. If you get to play with folks like that, my hat's off to you.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  41. #41
    [QUOTE=Cunamara;921921]
    Quote Originally Posted by znerken View Post
    The trane digged it :-)

    And how many people are you going to get to play with who have ears like that? Trane was one of the most skilled musicians ever. For most of us, the people we get to play with are not on that level. If you get to play with folks like that, my hat's off to you.

    Well, my teacher, who studied with Jim Hall. He is the one who showed it to me. He is a great comper, and use it all the time.

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    You’ll work it out, you’re bright. There’s always patterns.

    I think I found one way that makes it very easy for me. So I have 5 positions for major scale. I just mapped two of the Quartal voicings underneath each 5 position. Want to play a mode, think of the parent major scale(which is how Barry does it).


    Want to harmonize melodic minor, do the exact same. I have 5 positions to play melodic minor in.


    Want to harmonize pentatonic? The exact same, 5 positions.



    Seems to work rather good.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by znerken View Post
    I think I found one way that makes it very easy for me. So I have 5 positions for major scale. I just mapped two of the Quartal voicings underneath each 5 position. Want to play a mode, think of the parent major scale(which is how Barry does it).


    Want to harmonize melodic minor, do the exact same. I have 5 positions to play melodic minor in.


    Want to harmonize pentatonic? The exact same, 5 positions.



    Seems to work rather good.
    Good stuff :-)

  44. #44
    interesting thread, with a lot of great advice!

    I'll offer an approach that is a bit different but may be useful: do some arrangements for a big band. specifically, harmonize the melody and write comping figures for the other horns.

    you can use a lot of the approaches in this thread to generate this kind of material. you can also write counter-melodies and harmonize those.

    I'm suggesting this because it's really hard to write accompaniment for horn players and *not* include a significant amount of interesting harmonic motion. And the best accompanists absolutely take something from big band arranging in this regard.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald View Post
    interesting thread, with a lot of great advice!

    I'll offer an approach that is a bit different but may be useful: do some arrangements for a big band. specifically, harmonize the melody and write comping figures for the other horns.

    you can use a lot of the approaches in this thread to generate this kind of material. you can also write counter-melodies and harmonize those.

    I'm suggesting this because it's really hard to write accompaniment for horn players and *not* include a significant amount of interesting harmonic motion. And the best accompanists absolutely take something from big band arranging in this regard.
    Good point!

    I think this connects to the wider point that it’s really good to write stuff. Improvisation and composition/arranging have a really intimate relationship.

    We sometimes get a bit over purist about the idea of being true improvisers, but purism is pretty much always for chumps.

  46. #46

    Movement while comping, main approaches?

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Good stuff :-)
    Damn, just realized I forgot the inversions. That would mean 4 inversions for each position, if you used three note voicings. For four notes I guess not all of them are as usable. Anyway, I guess one could start with the “standard” ones, which I guess is closed voicings. 14 voicings there just for major. Then melodic minor. I think inversions will have to wait....


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  47. #47
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    Things get out of hand very quickly. Combinatorics.

  48. Quite a few of them inversions turn out to be useless (some 7th chords sound bad, some are uncomfortable). But still worth to go through all of them to see whats what.

    Also, if it goes under the topic of "movement" - the inversions themselves ain't the best to jump around. Because they tend to jump with larger than 2nd intervals with the top note. That goes against good voice leading or.. rather this can be irritating to soloist while moving "too much".
    ... but surely they are worth remembering. Because the good voice leading need the inversions combined with other inversions and whatnot. That's a rather big topic to tackle.

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I think this connects to the wider point that it’s really good to write stuff. Improvisation and composition/arranging have a really intimate relationship.
    You know, I recently read Wayne Shorter's biography and it's clear he spent a *ton* of time writing, and that that has had a non-trivial impact on his improvising. I know that when I'm writing a lot, it definitely influences my improvising (usually in a very positive way).

    For no particular reason I've never really gotten into writing jazz solos, but a lot of people do this. But yeah, I think doing things like big band writing and writing tunes and playing other instruments is perhaps undersold as a means of improvement.

  50. #50
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    Movement while comping, main approaches?

    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald View Post
    You know, I recently read Wayne Shorter's biography and it's clear he spent a *ton* of time writing, and that that has had a non-trivial impact on his improvising. I know that when I'm writing a lot, it definitely influences my improvising (usually in a very positive way).

    For no particular reason I've never really gotten into writing jazz solos, but a lot of people do this. But yeah, I think doing things like big band writing and writing tunes and playing other instruments is perhaps undersold as a means of improvement.
    I can believe it.

    IIRC Miles Davis described Wayne as a ‘real composer’ and mentioned the way he would write not only the melody and chords but bass lines and so on. He might not have studied composition formally like Herbie Hancock, but he certainly sunk in the hours.

    Personally I haven’t written solos, but I do write heads. I also write a lot away from the guitar, either at the piano, notation software or by ear to manuscript which is of course great for the ears.

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