The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    Hi guys, I would like to share our new ebook with all the bebop progressions by Charlie Parker fully analyzed. We took a long time to finish it but at last is done. We also put a nice video together that kind of shows what’s inside the book. Check it out!


  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    But Bird didn't use chord scales per se, isn't that a post 70's "thing"....

  4. #3

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    Looks great, but when is Mapping Tonal Harmony Pro coming to PCs?

  5. #4

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    The piano series for chord upper structures and quartal voicing's is very complete. "No voicing is left behind" indeed. Nice work mDecks Music!

  6. #5

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    CST is taken for granted too much today...

  7. #6

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    Past realities are often understood through a lens applying the analytic methods
    of the present. It is highly likely that this will not lead one directly into the mindset
    of the creator simply because they lived in a time before said analytic method
    came into prominence. The best person to explain how Charlie Parker conceived
    of what he played would be Charlie himself. Secondarily would be musicians that
    worked closely with him. The rest of us are just applying the tools of understanding
    we are familiar with and "best guessing".

    Two Common Contemporary Analysis Filters:

    Note/scale content equating everything in relation to the chord symbol.

    Arpeggios/chord tones combined with diatonic and chromatic passing tones.

    Two Others:

    Some people say that Parker's most important contributions were rhythmic.
    This one seems to receive far less attention.

    Others explain his usage of certain note sequences to be best understood as
    "alternate paths" to a harmonic target.

    Each perspective can potentially yield something useful to a practitioner
    regardless of how inaccurately they replicate the mindset of the creator.

  8. #7

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    I would say the numbering of progressions has long been a basic tool of harmonic analysis.
    So is the process of trying to explain the appearance of different notes.
    Modes are just another filter applied to this task.

    Analysis without serious listening study will always be lacking something fundamental.

    What relationships or info would you deem most worthy of presenting to help others
    increase their understanding of the music of Charlie Parker?

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    it's quite shocking what passes for analysis these days. the information age seems to be over.
    My favourite one is Polyphonic. A YouTube channel mostly concerned with explaining the lyrics of songs to (I must presume) the very young.

    It really is remarkable how obvious the ‘analysis’ in this channel is and how everybody in the comments raves about it as if it’s frickin genius.

    Grumble grumble brains melted through video games something something get off my lawn etc

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by bako
    djg,

    I watched the video when 1st posted and rewatched it after your comment.
    I would say the numbering of progressions has long been a basic tool of harmonic analysis.
    So is the process of trying to explain the appearance of different notes.
    Modes are just another filter applied to this task.

    Analysis without serious listening study will always be lacking something fundamental.

    What relationships or info would you deem most worthy of presenting to help others
    increase their understanding of the music of Charlie Parker?
    Well I think you know my answer to that lol.

    But I’ll always say, go to the primary source and find out what works best for you. If you can seriously get something out of the modal approach looking at Parker’s music, than fair enough. All I ask is that you use your lugholes.

    That’s what led me to Barry.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by bako
    djg,
    ....
    What relationships or info would you deem most worthy of presenting to help others
    increase their understanding of the music of Charlie Parker?
    Hey Bako, I've noticed over the years that your knowledge of Pitch Collections is probably second to none on the forum, consequently I'd guess that you're more of a modern player (ie, post mid 60's) as opposed to a Bebopper ... Perhaps I'm wrong? Either way, I think the handful of Bird's successors that carried his torch for a while cracked the bop code somewhat by first copying Bird's solos - a lot - then gradually recognised how he applied his 2 or 3 hundred favourite devices in various situations, then learned to develop their own bag of tricks which were deployed in a similar way. Chord tones, extensions, chromatics, patterns, embellishments sure, but also a predilection for melody as well as a deep understanding of the Blues - all against the background of the music they heard all their lives, including thousands of hours of Swing ...

    All of which makes it nearly impossible to produce a modern day Bird. Not to say there is no merit in studying some of Bird's solos, but to analyse them through a post 70's lens by associating chord types to chord scales seems like an odd thing to do. I remember people trying to apply the Aebersold recommended chord scales at the back of the Omnibook to Bird tunes and thinking how lame it sounded. Then again, some people might actually like the idea of, say, John McLaughlin playing Blues for Alice...
    Last edited by princeplanet; 09-01-2019 at 09:39 PM.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    Hey Bako, I've noticed over the years that your knowledge of Pitch Collections is probably second to none on the forum, consequently I'd guess that you're more of a modern player (ie, post mid 60's) as opposed to a Bebopper ... Perhaps I'm wrong? Either way, I think the handful of Bird's successors that carried his torch for a while cracked the bop code somewhat by first copying Bird's solos - a lot - then gradually recognised how he applied his 2 or 3 hundred favourite devices in various situations, then learned to develop their own bag of tricks which were deployed in a similar way. Chord tones, extensions, chromatics, patterns, embellishments sure, but also a predilection for melody as well as a deep understanding of the Blues - all against the background of the music they heard all their lives, including thousands of hours or Swing ...

    All of which makes it nearly impossible to produce a modern day Bird. Not to say there is no merit in studying some of Bird's solos, but to analyse them through a post 70's lens by associating chord types to chord scales seems like an odd thing to do. I remember people trying to apply the Aebersold recommended chord scales at the back of the Omnibook to Bird tunes and thinking how lame it sounded. Then again, some people might actually like the idea of, say, John McLaughlin playing Blues for Alice...
    Jazz educators IMO are at their worst when they try to second guess the way they learned themselves. Do as I say, not as I do. You might not have to write the Omnibook, but, well... You'd learn more by writing a couple of pages than reading any amount of Aebersold scale suggestions.

    The reason for this back in the 50s, 60s and 70s, I think, was always an attempt to make jazz education respectable, academic seeming, but distinct from classical. Hence more written material, including the Omnibook, and overarching theories such as CST.

    The joke now is the classical educators are starting to want to emulate the apprenticeship and ear based training approaches traditionally used by jazz musicians....

    I always found it annoying that Aebersold, in common with many jazz transcribers, left out key signatures. Parker looks a lot simpler in a key, because rather a lot of his music is basically diatonic, with the type of chromatic embellishments that you might also find in Bach and Mozart. It's like the received wisdom that Parker was some sort of harmonically crazy post tonal music affected the analysis from the get go.

    Of course the rhythmic language is the main thing that distinguished Parker from his predecessors, and even quite a few of his successors.

    I'm transcribing Joel Frahm's solo on the Prophet is a Fool ATM, and one of the things I notice - in common with a lot of modern stuff - is that much of the language is derived from bebop, even where the harmony is very out and modern. The reason why people study bop is because it teaches language. They don't need it to teach harmony. The harmony is straightforward enough most of the time.

    But bop teaches useful little cells and ideas that can be applied in harmonically very modern ways. So really, most people are still playing bebop in one way or another. Maybe it's time to move on? ;-) (I have no idea how)

  13. #12

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    Pitch collection practice for me is a form of ear training.
    The thought that is I will become more familiar with content by playing it consciously.
    I am not so interested in executing the "apply this to that" formulas.

    a predilection for melody as well as a deep understanding of the Blues - all against the background of the music they heard all their lives, including thousands of hours or Swing ...
    Well stated.

    2 or 3 hundred favourite devices, chord tones, extensions, chromatics,
    patterns, embellishments
    All of these can certifiably be found in the music if you go looking for them
    and can provide a path study/exploration.








  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by bako
    Pitch collection practice for me is a form of ear training.
    The thought that is I will become more familiar with content by playing it consciously.
    I am not so interested in executing the "apply this to that" formulas.



    Well stated.



    All of these can certifiably be found in the music if you go looking for them
    and can provide a path study/exploration.







    I'm sure you know that people like Thomas Owens have done this. But I'm betting that by studying it for years one may be none the wiser. Wasn't there a 12 year old kid from Sicily a few years back that sounded uncannily like Bird? Apparently he was improvising, if so, maybe we should all ask him about it, and not Thomas Owens, or Jamey Aebersold, or the OP.... ?

  15. #14

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    So, in order for me to play An Oscar for Treadwell (exemplified in the video), I'll have to learn "Dorian b2" and "Lydian sharp somethin'". Why not learning to make a proper ventriculoperitoneal shunt?

    Here, I will try a shorter & concise harmonic analysis:



    PhD dissertation

    An Oscar for Treadwell

    by Charlie Parker

    Harmonic analysis:



    It's a friggin Rhythm Changes in C!

  16. #15

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    If Charlie Parker was a guitarist he'd have been a shapes player.

  17. #16

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    Somebody alluded to Jamey Aebersold's method of transcribing Bird solos being annoying. I concur. For me the C Omnibook is almost unusable. If the song's key is Bb, F, whatever, it's written out in the key of C! Gimme a break... how was this supposed to make things better, or easier, for the player? Had I realized this earlier I never would have bought the book.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    If Charlie Parker was a guitarist he'd have been a shapes player.
    I don't agree. He was a rhythmic and melodic genius, and his ability to start/stop lines anywhere would have necessitated getting out of standard guitar shapes. He was an obsessive practicer -- could play anything in any key, which for a horn player takes an awful lot of work (there's a reason you don't see a lot of standards in A). And by all accounts, he had phenomenal memory and aural recall. All of that suggests to me he would have had little difficulty getting out of shapes.

    And on the flip side, the guitarists that sound the most like him (Jimmy Raney, Pasquale Grasso) aren't shapes players, either.

  19. #18

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    I’ve had to think about this one. I need to talk to a horn player.

    Here’s the thing I guess, if Parker hadn’t been a sax player would he have played the same shit?

    Well he shares a main influence with the other Charlie (christian) in Lester young. So both represent a development of what Prez was doing. And Charlie was of course a heavy shapes player despite being the first guitarist to come not from banjo, but trying to imitate a horn.

    In terms of imitating what bird did historically play on saxophone on guitar, well that pushes you into some non guitaristic territory (though there are guitaristic ways to play some of that stuff, which Jimmy certainly used) and there are kind of lots of shapes and licks which Bird used. He was to some extent quite a lick oriented player.

    Which leads me to suspect a lot of what he did was natural to the horn. Which would suggest that his approach on guitar would have been to find things natural to that instrument.... But I’d need to ask a Sax player.

  20. #19

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    Yea... looks like great work.... but most jazz players already know this shit or can already play it. I mean most parker tunes, like most single line players... don't really understand harmony.... they just play... You embellish... and when you get better those embellishments become collections of pitches. I could go on... but. I did think the analysis work and presentation looked great. Pretty standard... and really what most should have together. Could be great learning tool... Memorize and perform approach... most guitarist don't want to put in the time to actually understand etc... so if you just want to play and learn from playing... might work great.

    I mean... the trick is to be able to play analysis and new relationships from analysis, and develop them.... LIVE, in real time.

    When you play... there can be many analysis... harmonic organizational references ... going on simultaneously. If you don't know or can't hear the possibilities... that's what the results will be... not bad or wrong.

    So if someone soloing plays... a b9 on a minor chord with the context of a II- V7 with typical function.... what do you hear?

    Is that b9 just an approach to the V chord.... D-7 G7... the b9 or Eb could just be an approach chord ... Ab7 or F#7 etc... or does that Eb hint that the soloist is opening the melodic minor door... Cmm or maybe the har. Maj door ... obviously if your unaware of possibilities... your not going to think or hear what or where the improve might go.

    Sometimes.... playing basic chord tones... just doesn't work. Years ago.... soloist would use tune melodic references to cue or hint
    at possible directions for harmonic directions.... short melodic figures from standards, or well known solo figures .... most can hear Blues licks and get what they imply.... with reference to the Tune being performed. maybe even simple Borrowing concepts.... Borrowing usually implies use of Relative Minor or Parallel Minor... harmonic common practice harmonic practice... anyway I thought it looked cool... I wish more musicians who want to play jazz already knew these typical analysis possibilities.

    When I'm playing a tune at gig or performance... I always make quick mental analysis of any new tune or someone's composition. It only takes seconds.... it's just part of the Road map process before playing... It doesn't become easy by not doing it.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    But Bird didn't use chord scales per se, isn't that a post 70's "thing"....
    Hello, new member post here, so please be kind, for it’s length, going off topic, and generalizations.

    Yes, the 70's I can speak about with authority.
    1970's ask anyone "Jazz" along with "learn" as key words and always seemed the same answer was given as a combination of "scales/modes".

    Then it progressed to "modes" as the grail of improvising Ad infinitum.

    From reading this page of this forum, happily I read and have the impression that for most of you, this "misdirection" has been dealt a death blow and reason for all of you being players and not "students".

    Two kinds of people "those that run with it " and "those that become professional students".

    Personally 1970’s , it took longer because I had to do the work without living in Kansas City or having Jazz era mentors.
    I had to learn to "reboot" my thinking and stop looking at things in relationship to scales.
    One summer I wrote out spiral notebooks of scales for every possible altered chord type with rulers and pens, had my own homemade "guitar Grimore" in about 18 notebooks. Waste of time thinking in scales. Never sounded like anything. No wonder.

    "Joe Pass Guitar Style" was/is the best beginner book.
    It took awhile to begin to understand what I was looking at. Chords and how they stack in thirds. The riffs are chordal shapes/tones. Thinking chords.

    Django had been a Chord player first. His first recording he's playing a guitar "bango'' only chordal rhythm. Would make sense he'd use chord shapes as templates and his ear to further develop his amazing solos after his mishap. I can only image that Django was looking at the chords on the frets when he played solos.



    Omni book looking at the transcriptions when I had my first copy;
    "why is Parker playing a Gb before a G min 7. But the 7 is flat! It's F. Gb is not in a G DORIAN scale?
    Where/ how does major 7 a Gb fit in?
    Oh yeah its the 3rd of D. Learned it's referred by as a "backcycle"; Cycle of FOURTHS not fifths ( is to confuse you and keep you coming back for lessons)

    Albeit while I used the "OMNI" book, I took it for granted it was sacrosanct and at face value as being correct.
    Not until 5 years ago when I fully delved into VLC media player and slowed Charlie down, "HEY! he isn't playing those notes!"
    Lots of errors in the OMNI and the Owens material , but those were transcribed in an era where maybe they could have slowed it down with a tape deck, possibly.
    Myself, I was using a portable 45 player. The kind little girls had at sleep over's listening to the Monkee's. Dropping the tone arm hoping to hit the right note/phrase each time, every 2 seconds hoping to hear it.

    So both books are still phenomenal works. But should be thought as "in the style of ....etudes."
    You have the technology now (to slow playback/pitch remains) and doing your own transcription is best, and once you realize what you are hearing comes from chords and substitute chords not from a scale per se will be the breakthrough.

    The Parker "chili house” epiphany of "higher intervals" story line / urban mythology i.e. “bopper's play flatted fifths we drink ours", was first brought to the attention of the public, albeit a “jazz” public courtesy of Downbeat magazine;
    quote;

    “Charlie’s horn first came alive in a chili house on Seventh Avenue between 139th Street and 140th Street in December 1939. He was jamming there with a guitarist named Biddy Fleet. At the time, Charlie says, he was bored with the stereotyped changes being used then.
    “I kept thinking there’s bound to be something else,” he recalls. “I could hear it sometimes, but I couldn’t play it.”
    “Working over “Cherokee” with Fleet, Charlie suddenly found that by using higher intervals of a chord as a melody line and backing them with appropriately related changes, he could play this thing he had been “hearing.” Fleet picked it up behind him and bop was born.”

    “No Bop Roots In Jazz: Parker” by Michael Levin and John S. Wilson — 9/9/1949 Downbeat magazine.

    Jazz and Other Things: - No Bop Roots In Jazz: Parker. Interesting 1949...

    My supposition is, while working with the guitarist "Biddy".
    Possibly Fleet was noodling on the fret board, playing a 9th chord up the frets in ascending minor thirds, like guitarist's do when bored. Not knowing anything other than how it sounds “cool” and is easy, because a guitar tuned in fourths and a major/minor third/ aka “Spanish” tuning (devised by Moorish mathematicians in Spain), lends itself to that shifting paradigm of shapes and tonality, unlike the piano.
    Perhaps that’s how Parker found the insight to the “stairway” to ”higher intervals" which is terminology used by the authors, not Parker’s words.
    C9 Eb9 Gb9 A9 has two pairs of tritone's aka a diminished 7th chord; the basis for tritone substitutions.

    Plus if we knew exactly what books (certainly nothing about modes or some Slominsky book, more 19th century like Boehm would be a guess) Parker played from during his 3-4 12 hour daily routine, while high on inhalers soaked in coffee as a training aid other than ( Thank you Paul Desmond) the Klose book, we'd know just how much more the classical influence is a part of the vocabulary of Parker.



    Chordal progression, simplistically stated; if it's not a tonic , its a V.

    Tension/release.

    7 chords built from 3rds in a Major scale.
    3 chords function as V and 3 are Tonic/I with the subdominant pinch hitting for both. 60/40 V to the I due to the root note of IV being the b7 of the V chord.

    Any chords outside of the original key Tonic is simply modulations , using the same V to I ratio in that key until it modulates back to the original key.
    Sounds simple on paper.

    I find that this is easier than remembering what scale goes with each chord or as in the case of the "Bird Bebop Progressions (e)Book" grouping
    scales in too many chordal key centers. Instead of scales you have your arsenal of motif's that fit into a I or a V sound.

    Motif's/ patterns that are derived from:
    I iii vi as options for I.

    ii V vii are the sources for V function.

    IV. The root note ( b7 of V ) being the jump "off/into" transition for chords I to V , V to I.

    This is basic vanilla.

    Altered 7 chords are substitute sounds.
    i.e dominant 7 - 5, 7 + 5 ,7 b9 ,7+9 is just a minor 9th/Major 7th/dim arpeggio built on the b9 of the V chord.

    G7 alt = Abmin 9th/Ab Maj 7/9 B dim - D dim - F dim- Ab dim 7th chord

    Playing a pattern/arpeggio with panache over a ii V , with what on paper would seemly be wrong can be made to work as it outlines a "chord". The audience would hear the logic of the inherent fundamental overtones and make the connection. Logic of order would be easier to accept aurally than scales built on whole /half step intervals that end on a hesitant sour note.

    It's just another way of looking for material for improvisation other than just scales only, which is throwing handfuls of darts in the pub hoping to score a bull's eye. Chordal tones and arpeggios may be used as altered substitutes or as substitutes for an altered sound for tension on any chord.


    The caveat is none of this is set in stone.
    Last edited by Dirk; 03-29-2020 at 09:17 AM.

  22. #21

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    Hello, new member post here, so please be kind, for it’s length, going off topic, and generalizations...

    I never give likes, but if I did, I'd give this (your first post!) the biggest "like" I could. Every student of Jazz should be made aware of all the information in your post. It's a lifetime's work, but at least it has a defined goal - ie - you will be far more likely to sound like the "greats" of the pre 70's era than if you took the CST route.

    The novice should be made aware that a post 70's CST approach to learning Jazz will probably not lead one to sound like the mid century boppers. This may sound obvious to some of us here, but we need to remember that people come to Jazz from pop/rock/blues very often and expect that any modern book teaching "Jazz" will surely teach the "scales" that Wes or GB used. They could spend the next 10 years learning a thousand scales, only to then realise the "greats" were not even thinking in terms of scales!

    THIS IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FOR NOVICES HOPING TO TRANSITION TO JAZZ ! (unless of course they 100% wish to learn to play more "modern" styles...)

  23. #22

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    Yeah, that’s an epic first post!

    Those coming often to this thread will not be surprised when I say I agree with you.

    I think social and historical contexts are important. In the 1970s modes and scales were the big thing as most of the professors were trying to get away from swing and standards and cash in on that sweet rock and roll dollar... sorry I mean explore exciting new horizons of improvised music. ;-) But they had a basis in playing jazz by ear and being on the bandstand with older mentor figures.

    Also everyone was mashed.

    So when I read posts by someone like Reg that read like a cross between Hemingway, haiku, a physics textbook and the Tibetan book of the dead, I kind of put it in that context. (Forgive me, Reg.)

    So I think those who don’t have contact with real world jazz musicians imagine jazz improvisation to be the spontaneous generation of music from groupings of pitches on isolated chords. In practice I doubt even Gary Burton does this in real time. We all have preferred sounds,melodies and pathways through a tune.

    Also these days we can’t take experiential immersion in actual playing with older musicians for granted even for for the most capable students. A constant complaint I hear among experienced jobbing players is that top ranked conservatoire students can’t play regular, everyday gigs.

    So the style of educational material I think needs to be rethought. It’s not 1974 any more. (Although it sounds like it wasn’t fit for purpose back then either judging from your post.)

    I suspect with all of us here we agree that the guitar is fundamentally a grips based instrument.

    You might use complex theory to justify those grips, but grips remain a very good way to organise the fretboard, as true now as it was in the 1930s. And this seems to be the case of Reg, at least if I grasp what he’s saying.

    what’s interesting about Reg is I probably and most of my contemporaries know (or at least use) about ten times the number of voicings he does, but he gets maximum mileage out of what he knows. I think that’s the secret. Contexts...

    Also you can hear early players using what we would now call modes. It’s not all arpeggios, and step wise motion is an important aspect of melodies. You also hear harmonic aspects of this, altered scales, Harmonic major all sorts... The more you get into Django the more scales you hear.
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-03-2019 at 08:12 AM.

  24. #23

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    Also I think a key point is the failure by many to understand the difference between the value of a general music theory that governs pitch choices and directly useful advice on improvisation. The latter is street knowledge that doesn’t translate well to an academic syllabus.

  25. #24

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    [QUOTE=christianm77;992896]Yeah, that’s an epic first post!


    '...a cross between Hemingway, haiku, a physics textbook and the Tibetan book of the dead...'

    Priceless!

  26. #25

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    ^ Please don't revive this deep state mad at theory thread.