Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 45 of 45
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Hey guys,

    I'm really obsessed with voicings and opening up the fretboard in terms of comping these days. I tend to find myself in situations where I don't really have time to check out the music - like getting the charts only shortly before a rehearsal/gig, having to learn so much new music that I just can't prepare everything, playing in bands that decide on the music spontaneously or playing with people, who don't like to rehearse (or don't need to anymore) - and I oftentimes struggle with that.

    I mainly have a hard time with original music that I can't listen to in advance (cause there are no recordings) and especially with quickly moving harmony (like 200bpm + and 2-3 chords per measure).Sometimes I feel like one of the main issues is that I can't come up with voice leading on the spot that will make the chords sound right to my ears.

    I've been working on many different things (drop 2, drop 3, drop 2+4, drop 2+3, triads, spread triads, super spread triads, shell voicings, 3rds, 7ths, 10ths, guide tones, lot's of stuff with tensions, movement à la Barry Harris etc.) but I'm having a hard time accessing and combining all the material.

    I really dig Pasquale Grasso's playing and what Bach wrote for the lute. I admire how they elegantly maneuver between 2, 3 and 4 and sometimes single notes and make it feel so natural. That's basically what I'm heading for.

    When I for instance comp a blues I can easily do that with a certain set of voicings. But I have a hard time switching between the different types (e.g. drop 2, drop 2+4, 3rds and 10ths in one chorus or something like that). And when it's music that I don't really know things easily fall apart.

    Do you guys have anything like a routine that you do to make voicings more accessible? Something that helped you see/hear them instantly and grab and voice lead them even with fast tempos and unknown music?

    Do you have any suggestions what to work on in order to move more freely across the fretboard and combine different types of voicings in a musical way?

    Of course I sometimes wonder if my expectations are too high. But then again I keep seeing piano players who seem to do just fine under the same circumstances. And I keep wondering if it's the difference between the instruments or if piano players work with different methods in order to develop freedom when it comes to comping. Do you guys have any thoughts on that? Do you have any insights on how piano or vibraphone players practice? And do you think it's possible to translate that to the guitar?

    Thanks and cheers

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Reading your post it seems like you know what to do, but just can't execute as well as you'd like. You just need more time in the saddle....so yes, your expectations may be too high. Get your rewards from smaller accomplishments to keep motivated and growing. They add up surprisingly quick.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Put in the time to create the chord voicings that are in the same basic neck position, it gives the best voice leading, and there's no shortcut, it takes time.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Philidor View Post
    I tend to find myself in situations where I don't really have time to check out the music...
    You really need to have time to explore music, if not the music you will be playing, other music that will help you internalize discovered things. When I practice I explore, usually examining one song to discover things. For example, today I was playing with Tenderly. There is a part that is usually represented as repeating the same thing - the Fm7b5 | Bb7 | Fm7b5 | Bb7 Bdim7 | Cm7 part. This is the kind of thing I like to play with because although I did not compose the tune, I don't really hear it going like that. To me, the repeat of the Fm7b5 to Bb7 should not be a repeat of the harmony but a different sound to herald the move to Cm7. It barely does that with the insertion of the Bdim7. // So I explore and play with it until I hear what I think is missing. The important thing is that what I discover extends to other tunes. In this case I changed things up to go like this... I changed the first Fm7b5 to xx4446 x8887x->x89811x and the Bb7 to x111212xx, then the second Fm7b5 to xx4446 x8887x, the Bb7 to xx567x, and the Bdim7 to x8988x... this adding additional chords mimics the melody line in the top notes, which adds movement, and I've "swapped" the order of two chords in the "repeat" to signal and point that movement toward Cm7. // Whether you do things like this using the books or charts or if you do it by ear (like me), the thing is it's necessary to put in the time exploring these things. If you can't get the charts or the decisions on what is going to be performed in time, you need to do this exploring with other tunes and internalize what you learn so that when a musical situation is presented you may recognize how what you have learned may be applied by extrapolation. // I get the sense you are attempting to be systematic in your approach, but that is likely too slow as a performance methodology. Internalization takes time when practicing, but ultimately allows for lightning fast flexibility when performing.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    yea common guitar problem...

    Do you already have the fretboard together, by that I mean, you can play any chord pattern anywhere, which leads to being able to have any note on top of those voicings. Which opens the door to being able to play melodic lead lines on top of chord patterns.

    And obviously... you need rhythmic skills and then have some comping concepts. These are more about recognizing Form and how to perform within that form etc...

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    My 2 cents is if you want 1000 more voicings to become always available, you'd have to use each of those 1000 times in proper places.It's a joke of course.. but sadly kinda true in my case.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    knowing how to harmonize scales and all the inversions of the chords in them..on all sets of strings in ALL positions in ALL keys
    .
    from there..realize you can use substitutions for many chords..and you can just use the 3rd & 7th of the sub chord .. minor third subs..tri-tone subs and so on..
    .
    you can place a V7 function chord before any other chord in many progressions and it will project movement in a progression..and in some progressions I-V-I-V-I type sounds work well
    .
    any series of chords can be used in turnaround flavored progressions..scale wise..half step,,whole step..minor and major thirds.. circle of fourth and fifths..chromatic and whole tone..
    these can carry over many standard progressions and work in many situations..
    .
    of course when working with other musicians talk over any tips and insights they may have on the tune your playing..
    .
    yes of course the melody must be considered at the start of a tune as well as the bass line..but using counter point and voice leading you can create the feel of playing many chords while only moving one or two fingers..
    .
    the start of the Steely Dan tune Peg..
    .
    Gmaj9 - F#7#9 - Fmaj9 - E7#9 etc..very cool sounding effect with descending chromatic bass movement and whole step descending top note-- but not revealing a tonal center -- the 7#9 chords could be seen as 13b5 chords...(C13b5 - Fma9 / V - I movement)
    .
    There is always a related chord within finger reach of any other chord..see how many I - V IV - V and V -I types you can find in the first five frets
    play well ...
    wolf

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by P4guitar View Post
    Reading your post it seems like you know what to do, but just can't execute as well as you'd like. You just need more time in the saddle....so yes, your expectations may be too high. Get your rewards from smaller accomplishments to keep motivated and growing. They add up surprisingly quick.
    Exactly! I do feel like on the one hand the foundation isn't strong enough for what I'm trying to do and on the other hand I feel like some of the material that I know pretty well I don't play because I don't find it musically convincing in certain places.
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Put in the time to create the chord voicings that are in the same basic neck position, it gives the best voice leading, and there's no shortcut, it takes time.
    Thanks! I spent quite some time on voice leading Drop 2s and triads. But when I deal with unconventional changes and fast moving harmony I still don't feel very confident with it. Have you ever done anything like practicing random cycles with specific voicings? Not sure if that's a waste of time.. Also in many situations I think I just don't like drop 2 voicings and my ears demand something else. I should probably put in more of this work for other groups of voicings as well. Do you have any suggestions for working on switching between different types of voicings?
    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    This is the kind of thing I like to play with because although I did not compose the tune, I don't really hear it going like that.
    That's really interesting because I know that phenomenon really well. Sometimes I read a chart and it only makes sense after I listen to a recording. And many times I just come to the conclusion that it hasn't been written down very well. Oftentimes I feel like the choice of the right top notes is key and I wonder how piano and vibraphone players seem to make great choices on the fly.
    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    I get the sense you are attempting to be systematic in your approach, but that is likely too slow as a performance methodology. Internalization takes time when practicing, but ultimately allows for lightning fast flexibility when performing.
    That's probably very accurate! How much time do you spend on internalizing material like that? Do you just go through tunes over and over again? For weeks? Months? Any specific approaches you use? Do you literally compose whole choruses of comping?
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    yea common guitar problem...Do you already have the fretboard together, by that I mean, you can play any chord pattern anywhere, which leads to being able to have any note on top of those voicings. Which opens the door to being able to play melodic lead lines on top of chord patterns. And obviously... you need rhythmic skills and then have some comping concepts. These are more about recognizing Form and how to perform within that form etc...
    Thanks for the great questions! What exactly do you mean by "play any chord pattern" and "any top notes"? I know my note names really well, as well as my triad and 4 note arpeggios. I know triad inversions and Drop 2 voicings pretty well and I'm aware of the top notes and I'm working on knowing all the note names in them instantly. But sometimes I feel like my reaction time is too slow in order to play unknown and especially fast music. Sometimes I'm also not sure if I'm not well trained enough, or if certain things that I've actually worked on just don't come to mind because they don't seem like a musically valid choice.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    I don't give advice here now because I'm not eligible. Just some thoughts&observation because I've been learning roughly the same thing for a while. Tried to be systematic with this but..First and last - good comping always needs way less than has put in.. meaning the number of voicing options. If the chord is correct, THE major thing is to play it right. Meaning right time and right dynamics - the timbre, maybe accent on some certain voice, the lengths of the chords etc. And most important is timing of course - I found that sometimes you can play with good time (the common tick) but still be off and sound "out" or rather - "by yourself". Helped me a lot when started focusing on making it match and support the soloist or the general groove rather than doing "keep it.keep it.keep it" by myself.It never sounds boring if it fits well rhythmically and the main purpose would be to support and push anything that's going on. Noticed this a long time ago when comping simple pop&rock 4-chord tunes. Got it sounding awesome sometimes.. then started with jazz and surprisingly it sucked so much although there was lots more interesting chords to play with. Rhythm rules more than the number of voicings. As far as I know now, this rule applies to jazz comp also.But to open up the voicings as in OP asked.. of course there can be a good system. Starting from basics - there are a lot more options and things to do with chords than for mere single line scales. Pretty much all exercises that can be used for scales can be used for chords also. It's much harder though. But here's my observation - at the end of the day after going through the basics like a good student - using them in real music is like starting over. My case each tune gets to be treated separately and in unique way. I have to put some serious time into them with some new chords very carefully... or! the voicing's and movements have to be super super comfy and insanely well practiced to just pop up at the right places. That last option takes so. much. time. Fortunately it really is not the most important thing ever in jazz comp. Well, at least for me right now.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Philidor View Post
    How much time do you spend on internalizing material like that?
    It's ongoing and the majority of what I'm doing when practicing. I typically begin by making up something or playing song parts just to warm up, but I will hear something interesting and stop to explore. It might be a part that is similar to another song (chords or lines) but with a subtle difference in harmonic move, so I will discover how it works and investigate how it applies to other songs with a similar movement. At this point I'm playing with parts, and those parts may be transposed for a while in order to better confirm just how the thing that caught my ear is harmonically different. What I'm listening for is how harmonic relationships support other harmonic relationships; then I test their application generality with more songs (usually just the parts of songs where it happens)... and finding exceptions in some songs is another "something interesting", so I often find about two hours has past and I have yet to actually play fully through a song, but I have discovered some things, know how they sound, and know the how of when and where they may be applied to express parts of many songs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philidor View Post
    Do you just go through tunes over and over again? For weeks? Months?
    I really acquire more general abstractions of moving harmonies that are made manifest in the parts of many songs. "Learning how a tune goes" means grasping the song form, the rhythm, melody, and progression harmony, the style and mood, etc. Once I know "how the song goes" (which to me means I hear it in my head), I just need to examine and explore any "new to my ear" harmonic or melodic moves which I have yet encountered, recognized, or discovered. Everything for me is about the grasp and integration of these things; pretty much the only time I really play completely through a tune is when performing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philidor View Post
    Any specific approaches you use?
    My philosophy of learning music is that "How?" is always the fundamental question. What, when, and where have huge domains of possibilities, but first answering "How?" invokes the excluding reduction of "Which?" on the domains of what, when, where, and ultimately why.

    While exploring I will notice for example that a harmony move of a chord change in a part of a song is similar to that in the part of another song, but the other song has one or more additional harmony moves between the two "source" and "destination" chords of the first song. My question is how might I select and navigate pathways from source to destination in general, how can I come to know the pathways, how do I recognize the circumstances that would suggest a particular selection among these pathways for a particular tune, etc?

    I mentally transpose so as these beginning and ending chords of these parts of the two songs are functionally enharmonically identical (which may or may not entail transposing the two songs to the same key) and listen in my head to hear these two different parts of the two songs being interchanged, and that swap's effects on the sound of the songs. I test this on the instrument, then examine the effects of changing the chord type of the source chord, and of the destination chord, and of the chords between them. I extend any positive generalities to other songs and keep an ear out to hear any exceptions, which I explore as well.

    All of this accumulates in my mind's ear's music-space mapping of the sounds of these experiments - I am learning the sounds of these relationships, not the names of these things or the names of their relationships. The operations by which I construct, interact, manipulate, and navigate the harmonic relationships hierarchy within this music-space (identification, recognition, classification, comparison, selection, ordering) just simply uses "the way it sounds".


    Quote Originally Posted by Philidor View Post
    Do you literally compose whole choruses of comping?
    Yes and no, in the sense that a whole chorus may really comprise familiar pathways which may be comprised of component pathways themselves, but I may not play the same thing in various circumstances. How I proceed depends on how the others are sharing their interpreting of the tune at that moment. I might chose pathways that have fewer and less complex harmonic moves if the bass is soloing or semi-soloing for a bit (playing something more than foundation). If the drummer lightens up clear and soft I might select pathways that have faster more complex harmony changes to balance that space. I might signal the form change to the next section (as opposed to a repeat of the section just played) by choosing a pathway that is harmonically different from those I have used to that point in the tune, or something similarly "novel" (like an implied modulation or a borrowed chord change spanning just two beats or so) to indicate that the finale is imminent. Of course some tunes support more flexibility to do this kind of stuff than some others which might have a more restricted expected "characteristic" sound. As always, "musical judgement" is the most important high level answer to to all the fundamental "How?" questions.

    I must stop here because my low blood caffeine warning light is flashing, I'm out of coffee, and I need to prepare for a special event show tomorrow with some people I have not seen for many months. Maybe not the best and certainly not the only way, but hoping something in all this picture of how I do it is helpful.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Just out of interest, how many people view/hear harmony stylistically here?

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    I also play in situations where I have to play a chart I've never seen, without even enough time to look it over. Some of them have a lot of chords in small print at a high tempo. Oftentimes, I'll never play the chart again. //

    Playing something that will work well in that sort of situation can be very difficult.//

    Let's assume, for the sake of discussion, that, at least, it's a well written chart with appropriate chord symbols. That is, the chord symbols are big enough to read, well placed within the bar, the name of the chord relates to the harmonic structure of the tune, and, frankly, that they're not too weird (I recently saw Csus(b13) to C7(_9) (not a typo, there was an underscorei -- it may really be a Bbmajor triad to a Bbdim triad with the bass playing C, but who knows)). Let's assume that the chords are not written out notes-on-a-staff with multiple squeezed-in accidentals, or in bass clef. I have seen all of that, repeatedly.//

    With chords flying by at 200bpm, maybe the first thing to do is to figure out what rhythm you're going to play. To keep it simple, lets say half notes, maybe on the beat, or maybe syncopated, depending on the tune. Short or long? //

    The question is going to be, can you go from one chord to the next with an amount of movement that is physically possible? //

    Obviously, the more voicings you know, the more likely you are to have the one you need nearby. //

    But, there's another way to approach this. If you instantly know all the notes in each chord symbol (or, at least, enough of them) you are likely to recognize which notes move and which don't as you go to the next chord. This knowledge allows you to pick just a few notes that will work and which you can reach fast enough. Often, 3rds and 7ths will work. Other times, you want to be playing some kind of hipper line, but that's going to be tough at 200 bpm with 2 or 3 chords per measure. Playing a syncopated line like would be used for a horn background can sound great, but you'll have to be careful not to conflict with the piano. Frankly, that's easier in a situation where the chords are going by as fast and you know the tune really well. //

    As an aside, I never heard the term "drop voicings" until after I learned most of them, not realizing that there was some underlying structure. Thus far, I've never been in a situation in which I suddenly became aware that I needed to know this information. I may be missing something. It seems to me that in a situation in which you're reading chords that fast, there probably wouldn't be time to think about which "drop" voicing you want. Well, at least, I can't imagine doing it. It's enough to think about "minimal movement to make good voice leading".

    I'd suggest taking a picture of one of the charts and posting it. This kind of thing is way easier to talk about in relationship to a specific piece of music.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    I explored Bluesette's chords for a few hours. Just for funSorry - it's a bit rugged. Didn't practice, only explored and recorded to remember it tomorrow.bluesette.mp3 - Google Drive

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Philidor -

    So let's get this right. You turn up to something and get thrown some charts of

    a) original music you've never seen before
    b) have to memorize in a trice
    c) fast tempos
    d) 2/3 chords per bar
    e) with people who can't/won/t/don't rehearse

    and you're kicking yourself because you're not Superman?

    Personally, I'd tell 'em to find another guitar player. And suggest they use BIAB or something :-)

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Philidor -

    So let's get this right. You turn up to something and get thrown some charts of

    a) original music you've never seen before
    b) have to memorize in a trice
    c) fast tempos
    d) 2/3 chords per bar
    e) with people who can't/won/t/don't rehearse

    and you're kicking yourself because you're not Superman?

    Personally, I'd tell 'em to find another guitar player. And suggest they use BIAB or something :-)
    Memorize? I thought he meant just figuring out how to play it. I have met some musicians who memorize very well, but I don't know anybody who could do that with somebody's original tune, played once, with a zillion chords.

    Other than that, I have played in that kind of situation, including sometimes with a paying audience. More often, it's rehearsal band stuff, where the band has such a big book that they don't repeat anything anytime soon.

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    He said

    "having to learn so much new music that I just can't prepare everything"
    I'm assuming learn means memorize.

    I don't know anybody who could do that with somebody's original tune, played once, with a zillion chords.
    Fancy that.

    Like I said, I know what I'd do and it wouldn't be blow them a kiss.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    I did actually do a gig like that once. He gave me a list of about 25 or 30 old swing tunes that I wasn't familiar with. I said 'Just tell me what key it's in before you begin'. So I played it by ear and got applauded etc. Sheer luck, probably. But really a pointless experience.

    I think some immature people think 'professional' means being able to perform feats a Deep Blue computer would be proud of. I don't. In my experience it means knowing what you're doing, knowing who you're playing with, being thoroughly prepared, and therefore giving the best performance you can - that's professional.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    I did actually do a gig like that once. He gave me a list of about 25 or 30 old swing tunes that I wasn't familiar with. I said 'Just tell me what key it's in before you begin'. So I played it by ear and got applauded etc. Sheer luck, probably. But really a pointless experience.

    I think some immature people think 'professional' means being able to perform feats a Deep Blue computer would be proud of. I don't. In my experience it means knowing what you're doing, knowing who you're playing with, being thoroughly prepared, and therefore giving the best performance you can - that's professional.
    I'll take "professional" as you're good enough to get repeat business for money.

    That said, there is another view extent, which is that you're a master of everything a jazz guitarist might conceivably be asked to do.

    I would take that as you know how to sound good in a broad range of contexts -- and not all the stars need to align for that to happen.

    You can read a chart adequately, the first time.

    You can handle a standards gig without reading.

    You can solo appropriately in the styles of a range of eras.

    You can play solo guitar and can back up a singer.

    You have great time and your comping is propulsive.

    You conduct yourself the way a professional should: on time, prepared, pleasant etc.

    etc etc.

    I have met a few players at that level. It's very impressive. But, there are plenty of successful musicians who do their own thing and can't handle some, or most, of the above.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    rp -

    Really I've said my piece, but as you've gone on...

    Absolutely, but my comments were general whereas yours are specific to jazz players. Couldn't agree more, what you say is spot on. Most gig-fit performing jazz guitarists (and other instruments) would come into that category, especially with standards. Although I suspect they're fairly rare.

    But what the OP is describing - if I've got it right, and according to his own description - is pretty extreme. I wouldn't work for a band like that. The results onstage wouldn't be good.

    To be honest, I'm not sure I completely believe what he says either. After describing a disastrous scenario he admits he 'struggles with it' a bit. I'd do more than struggle with it, I'd tell 'em where to shove it!

    But I repeat myself :-)

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    rp -

    Really I've said my piece, but as you've gone on...

    Absolutely, but my comments were general whereas yours are specific to jazz players. Couldn't agree more, what you say is spot on. Most gig-fit performing jazz guitarists (and other instruments) would come into that category, especially with standards. Although I suspect they're fairly rare.

    But what the OP is describing - if I've got it right, and according to his own description - is pretty extreme. I wouldn't work for a band like that. The results onstage wouldn't be good.

    To be honest, I'm not sure I completely believe what he says either. After describing a disastrous scenario he admits he 'struggles with it' a bit. I'd do more than struggle with it, I'd tell 'em where to shove it!

    But I repeat myself :-)
    We're in agreement. I've seen all of it but the memorization. Last week I went to Beautiful, The Carole King Musical, which is finishing a 5 year run on Broadway in a few weeks. It was incredible, but that's not why I'm bringing it up. I took a look at the orchestra pit. Every chair had a chart open in front of it. If those guys aren't expected to memorize a show, who could be?

  22. #21
    Thanks for the great contributions everyone! I'll try to clarify a bit and give a few examples. With the "not enough time to prepare"-part I didn't mean memorize in fact. More something like: You get a call for a gig in 5 days and a list of 20 possible tunes, no rehearsal or just 1. In that case I'd be very far from living up to my own standards. I know my own expectations are pretty high, but what I'd be able to play in comparison just isn't funny.I've never really played in a band that would rehearse more than 2 times for a gig in my entire life. I think I might be lacking experience as well. When we were young (like 15-16) my friends would often just show up to the gigs, bring a couple of tunes, and have a 20-30min rehearsal during the soundcheck. Not just easy stuff. Aaron Parks, Steve Coleman, Monk... I remember when I was expected to play Evidence (which I didn't know at the time) from the chart at 240bpm and we had 5mins to rehearse it. These guys today play in bands and record with Kurt Rosenwinkel, Aaron Parks, Jeff Ballard, Thomas Morgan etc. and I have to be honest: I always felt quite like the village idiot beside them.A month ago I had a rehearsal for a new duo with original music. I asked the other guy to send me his music in advance a couple of times but he was either too lazy or wanted to see how well I'd do. I was then expected to sight read an Eric Dolphy type of tune (lots of eigth notes an triplets, complex harmonic structures, even no tonal center to rely on in this case) at 220bpm. I was able to learn it by ear in 20mins and even bring it up to speed but I could tell he was annoyed that I took so long. We then moved on to another song that'd constantly switch btw 7/4, 5/4, 4/4 and 9/8 and I'd have to sight read rhythmic layerings on top of that while he played a counter part. He's also the type of guy who doesn't like to and doesn't have to rehearse stuff like that more than twice for a gig.I'll show you an example of what I had to play during a rehearsal last week tomorrow. With this music it was really like: even if I sit down and try to figure it out I can't come up with a satisfying solution. To a degree this is certainly due to how this type of music is supposed to sound like in my head and that my expectations are pretty high and maybe too high. But I also think I could be trained better and I feel like piano players do a much better job in these situations and I just wonder if it's possible to become that competent on the guitar with the right strategies. Sometimes I also wonder a lot if my fundamentals aren't strong enough.Thanks a lot to all of you again - really means a lot to me that you help me work through this and share all these great insights and valuable opinions!

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    The real question is why you're putting yourself through this craziness and allowing yourself to be abused by arrogant twats like the guy you describe.

    another song that'd constantly switch btw 7/4, 5/4, 4/4 and 9/8 and I'd have to sight read rhythmic layerings on top of that while he played a counter part
    Huh? Do what?

    How many threads have you started about this now? Three? Four? You were still complaining about 'expecting too much of yourself' back in April 2017. That's over three years ago.

    You also brought up this 'learning' business back then. Someone said:

    Well, "learn and master" isn't really synonymous with "learn for the first time at tempo on the bandstand by sight-reading"
    So I'm wondering if anyone can really help you. Although you certainly seem unbelievably grateful for it all

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    The real question is why you're putting yourself through this craziness and allowing yourself to be abused by arrogant twats like the guy you describe.l
    Reading a mixture of time signatures in the same chart is challenging to most musicians. I've sat through discussions about how to count the transitions -- with pro horn players.

    Horn players and pianists typically started reading young and have been doing it ever since. Guitarists, not so much. It's possible to be a pretty good reader for a guitar player and a fair (at best) reader for a musician.

    Pro arrangers do not typically do stuff like this, in my semi-limited experience. They maintain awareness of the playability of the chart.

    As for the player who expects you to do this ... if you can't and he hires you a second time, that's hard to understand. But, I've occasionally played with people who were maybe more interested in feeling superior than having the music sound good.

    I've heard one long term pro talk about feeling "unsafe on stage" because he was criticized for every tiny failure. It's an interesting concept. I definitely prefer to play with people I feel are supportive and non-judgemental.

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    The real question is why you're putting yourself through this craziness and allowing yourself to be abused by arrogant twats like the guy you describe.
    If I hire a union guy because he says he's got the skills and can cover the music, I hope he's not sitting at home calling me a twat because he's not enough of a pro to deliver the skills he told me he had. There are others that do have the skills waiting for the work.

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    If I hire a union guy because he says he's got the skills and can cover the music, I hope he's not sitting at home calling me a twat because he's not enough of a pro to deliver the skills he told me he had. There are others that do have the skills waiting for the work.
    I'm not sure you've read all the posts about this. We're not talking about driving a road-digger :-)

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    I don’t think he was arrogant. I think people who are really good at music just get a bit puzzled when someone can’t do something that is to you fairly straightforward. Also, you know, high level players learn music VERY quickly.

    That’s some tough stuff to pull together phillidor.... I can’t help but feel if I was in harms way in that way I’d improve as a player super quick. Time to get roasted, I think. It’s been too long...

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Well, fact is, we don't really know, do we? Either the guy's just a good, conscientious, top-class musician/composer doing what any player of that ilk does in that world, or he's not. And either Philidor is just a moaning minnie who can't get his stuff together, or he's not.

    Don't ask me. Bit of both, probably :-)


  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    In solidarity with Cosmic and Christian: .................................................. .................................................. ........................ There are gigs to be had that challenge us and we dig in and can rise to the task with focused shedding.There are other gigs where the differential between present skills and requirement is too wide to catch upin time to keep the gig. In many cases, there will be other players ready to step in and get the job done.None of this reflects malicious intent of bandleader composer/arrangers. When faced with such a scenario as a player, it is an honorable choice to strengthen our weaknesses to prepare for such situations in the future.

  30. #29
    I guess I misunderstood the direction of the thread, but I put the following together on Reg's process for learning voicings on the fretboard (or at least what I understand of it).

    It's somewhat different from other approaches I've seen over the years here, but it is systematic. Diatonic chord subs to yield would-be extensions etc, developing voicings for single chords across the entire fretboard systematically. Learning MM/altered voicings as a complete note set in a similar way to accommodate chromatics (vs one-note-at-a-time chord alterations)...



    I'm definitely not at the level of many in this conversation. It's an ongoing process, but this approach has helped me a lot personally.

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    I guess I misunderstood the direction of the thread, but I put the following together on Reg's process for learning voicings on the fretboard (or at least what I understand of it).

    It's somewhat different from other approaches I've seen over the years here, but it is systematic. Diatonic chord subs to yield would-be extensions etc, developing voicings for single chords across the entire fretboard systematically. Learning MM/altered voicings as a complete note set in a similar way to accommodate chromatics (vs one-note-at-a-time chord alterations)...



    I'm definitely not at the level of many in this conversation. It's an ongoing process, but this approach has helped me a lot personally.
    Thanks! This is a very helpful video. Among other things, I now understand Reg's use of the terms reference and organization.

    If I might ... maybe I misheard something ... when you play Eminmaj as the second chord of the cliche, are you thinking of it as part of E harmonic minor? Is that right?

    This is a very helpful point, a reminder about the value of substitution at just about any point in a tune.

    Aside: I learned a system that sounds like it's more or less equivalent. Warren Nunes' teaching was that all major type and all dominant type chords from the major scale are interchangeable. So, in his view, Cmaj7, Em7, Am7 (and Gmaj7, the way he viewed it) were interchangeable. Similarly, Dm7, Fmaj7, G7, Am7 (Am7 goes both ways) are interchangeable.

    I don't recall Warren mentioning it, but Mark Levine wrote that all chords from the Melodic Minor scale are the same chord, because there's no avoid note.

    These two principles get you in Reg's ballpark, if I understand it correctly. So, in this view, for example, when you get to that Eminmaj7, you can play F#susb9, Gmaj7#5 etc etc , up to Ebalt.

    And, of course, you can still use other ideas for substitutions, like tritone, alternating diminished chords with other chords etc.

    So, thanks again for the video. Content was great and the recording made it easy to hear.

    I've never really worked through harmonic minor in the same way, so I won't comment on that.

  32. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Thanks! This is a very helpful video. Among other things, I now understand Reg's use of the terms reference and organization.
    Thanks for the kind words. Yeah, these are the two biggest terms of disambiguation in what he's talking about in a lot of this material IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    If I might ... maybe I misheard something ... when you play Eminmaj as the second chord of the cliche, are you thinking of it as part of E harmonic minor? Is that right?
    yes. I would call that the functional reference for that chord.
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post

    I don't recall Warren mentioning it, but Mark Levine wrote that all chords from the Melodic Minor scale are the same chord, because there's no avoid note.

    These two principles get you in Reg's ballpark, if I understand it correctly. So, in this view, for example, when you get to that Eminmaj7, you can play F#susb9, Gmaj7#5 etc etc , up to Ebalt.
    Yeah. That's one way to think of the Eminmaj7, but I was using B altered (kind of the MM sub for the "functional reference" of the V7 of E HM. So, Em-Eminmaj7-Em7 becomes Em-Balt-Em
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    So, thanks again for the video. Content was great and the recording made it easy to hear.

    I've never really worked through harmonic minor in the same way, so I won't comment on that.
    Really appreciate the kind words. Means a lot. I would love to get reg's take on all of this. Corrections, additions etc. a lot of this is just things I put together piece by piece trying to understand etc.

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    I guess I misunderstood the direction of the thread, but I put the following together on Reg's process for learning voicings on the fretboard (or at least what I understand of it).It's somewhat different from other approaches I've seen over the years here, but it is systematic. Diatonic chord subs to yield would-be extensions etc, developing voicings for single chords across the entire fretboard systematically. Learning MM/altered voicings as a complete note set in a similar way to accommodate chromatics (vs one-note-at-a-time chord alterations)...
    I'm definitely not at the level of many in this conversation. It's an ongoing process, but this approach has helped me a lot personally.
    Oh cool, oh that's all really familiar and straightforward to me then. Solid advice.I was just about to upload a video about how you might want to organise your voicings into scales so as to use them to harmonise melodies and create chord solos and comping leadlines. Everyone has a version of this. Barry Harris is one way. Wes has his version. Lage Lund has his own way, and so on. There's only so many diatonic scales and most melodies are composed of diatonic scales. For chromatic melodies, you have other options of course, but it's probably best to start diatonic, as that will give you the most bang for the buck.In terms of passing tones, the Wes way is the dim7 chord. That works. But if you don't like that sound, there are other options too.

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    T

    Yeah. That's one way to think of the Eminmaj7, but I was using B altered (kind of the MM sub for the "functional reference" of the V7 of E HM. So, Em-Eminmaj7-Em7 becomes Em-Balt-Em
    .
    I'm having trouble understanding this terminology. "MM sub for the functional reference of the V7 or EHM"

    Balt is not within EHM, even though B7b9b13 is. So, is this just taking the liberty of adding the D and maybe the F? Or are you referring simply to using an alt chord as a sub for the B7 within EHM -- and thinking of the alt chord as a MM chord, even though it's from CMM?

    Thanks in advance for clearing this up.

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    Actually, the early jazz reference would be Em B+ Em7 Em6/A7So the B+ reference might be, for instance, whole tone in the swing to bop era. Takes you out of the diatonic world. You still hear this in Wes's playing, Four on Six, Smokin at the Half Note. Later on (at some point?), altered became the more popular sound, but it has a lot in common with whole tone, of course.

  36. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I'm having trouble understanding this terminology. "MM sub for the functional reference of the V7 or EHM"

    Balt is not within EHM, even though B7b9b13 is. So, is this just taking the liberty of adding the D and maybe the F? Or are you referring simply to using an alt chord as a sub for the B7 within EHM -- and thinking of the alt chord as a MM chord, even though it's from CMM?

    Thanks in advance for clearing this up.
    yes.

    Sorry. I'm saying it in somewhat of a confusing way probably. I was just kind of trying to answer the common objection on the front end: what does C melodic minor have to do with E minor?

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    yes.

    Sorry. I'm saying it in somewhat of a confusing way probably. I was just kind of trying to answer the common objection on the front end: what does C melodic minor have to do with E minor?
    Thanks. Seems like the theory gets a little frizzy around the edges there.

    Here we have the idea that the second chord D# G B can be seen as coming from EHM. Or, for that matter EMM. If you view it as an EMM chord then you can (per Levine and others) sub in every other chord that uses only notes from that scale. That doesn't include Balt, but, in fact, it sounds fine to me when I try it. So, the theory makes a very useful point, i.e. that the second chord can be thought of as coming from a different scale, which opens up reharm possibilities.

    But, at the same time, the theory we have been talking about doesn't account for all the possibilities and there may well be things suggested by the theory that don't sound very good.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 10-16-2019 at 07:21 PM.

  38. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    cana
    Thanks. Seems like the theory gets a little frizzy around the edges there.

    Here we have the idea that the second chord D# G B can be seen as coming from EHM. Or, for that matter EMM. If you view it as an EMM chord then you can (per Levine and others) sub in every other chord that uses only notes from that scale. That doesn't include Balt, but, in fact, it sounds fine to me when I try it. So, the theory makes a very useful point, i.e. that the second chord can be thought of as coming from a different scale, which opens up reharm possibilities.

    But, at the same time, the theory we have been talking about doesn't account for all the possibilities and there may well be things suggested by the theory that don't sound very good.
    Yeah. That's where melodic minor is used pretty differently. It's not used in a traditional functional way. B altered is used for altered dominant functions relative to Em, not really as much with functional relationships to C minor.

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    B altered is used for altered dominant functions relative to Em, not really as much
    with functional relationships to C minor.


    VII7 to either I minor or I major is not an unusual move.
    Here's a melodic minor sequence:

    B7alt > CmMa7 > B7alt > CmMa9

    X B D# A D X .......... X C G B Eb X ........... B X A C F X ........... X Eb B D G X

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    yes.

    Sorry. I'm saying it in somewhat of a confusing way probably. I was just kind of trying to answer the common objection on the front end: what does C melodic minor have to do with E minor?
    great vid..thanks for taking the time to "explain" concepts that take most players years to incorporate in their playing..

    the "jigsaw puzzle" approach to harmony just dosent work for many and it seems to only create more confusion and fustration..

    Ripping apart the major scale and learning harmonizing the chords embedded in it..in all positions and inversions-and in ALL KEYS..becomes the base for more advanced harmonic (and melodic) concepts..yes--its alot of work..(it took me years to feel comfortable with some keys (Gb Bmaj Db)

    In doing so you will begin to see obvious and subtle connections between keys and chord movement and then you begin to see/hear moving voices and chord changes that result from same..and then--the mixture of both..

    when you rip apart some of the classic standards that master musicians and composers wrote..many of their melodic lines can be harmonized in several different ways..and still work !! here is where the illusive "experimentation" comes in..its like discovering secrets of music..and all rules and methods be dammed..its the ole' "if it sounds good.." it works..

    one thing that is confusing to many is the use of minor scales within a major key...the three minor chords and the mi7b5--plus the synthetic Harmonic/melodic/and others- are a treasure of discovery to be had for those who explore the depths of mixing these scales and chords in and out of their tonal range and chord functions..and the realization that you may be in very different key which allows resolution with out any preperation-(ii7 - V7 type cadence)..but will lead you back to the origional key..or not...

    over time and practice of course..you may begin to travel without fear of getting lost in these harmonic realms..

    thanks again for the video...
    play well ...
    wolf

  41. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by wolflen View Post
    when you rip apart some of the classic standards that master musicians and composers wrote..many of their melodic lines can be harmonized in several different ways..and still work !! here is where the illusive "experimentation" comes in..its like discovering secrets of music..and all rules and methods be dammed..its the ole' "if it sounds good.." it works..
    Yeah. I definitely love the discovering secrets part. It's funny. After after talking some of this the other day, I looked at some tunes that have that major chord CESH thing going (make someone happy/wee small honours) and realised that it's basically the same as the minor chord patterns, just repelled as 6 chords instead of minor.

    Went from being something that I hated because it felt limiting and cheesy to something very cool that I could play with a lot more options and freedom. And all immediately, by just making a connection,versus having to practice something new a lot.

    I like that: discovering the secrets of music.

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    Yea... Matt, your really sounding great. Pretty good breakdown of how I approach playing. Once you get through the door.... playing becomes pretty easy. Of course there's more, but you seem to get the basic approach of using Function as means of creating motion for playing, both comping or soloing.

    It works with.... complete analysis type of musicians like me...or just being in the moment and bouncing off whatever works approach. Point being, it's not a theoretical way of playing.... It's a method of labeling chords. Can be as simple as calling all chords.... an "A" "B" or "C" chord. Not maj, min dom etc... Tonic, Subdominant or Dominant.

    Those labels imply a type of movement or non movement, (Static), or at least the perception of. You do need an analysis or some method of defining the movement, Some like gravity, tonal Gravity... When you begin to expand the use... theory comes more in to play. Theory is just musical organization.

    And as Matt seem to be doing... once you understand how the guitar is designed, you use a fretboard organization system that uses that guitar design for playing music.

    Part of what helps me make tunes work, harmonically etc. I perform from analysis. I choose or select, (or someone else or something chooses), which and how chords and melodies function within.... THE FORM. Those choices tell me what are the levels of musical importance within a tune. This creates rhythmic, the harmonic rhythm, the functional harmonic rhythm of a tune. It can change, but there is a basic starting point. The Reference, can be harmonic, melodic, rhythmic, dynamic, articulative... whatever.

    I then can start creating musical relationships. Matt was using Diatonic subs as a means of expanding basic changes of a line cliche.

    As I was reading through the thread, RP mentioned seeing C7susb13 C7_9... In isolation, I would just assume V7susb13 to V7b9 which could be, G-7b5 to C7b9... basic Harmonic Minor II V. If the _9 means something else... I would just hear it. In a tune... the analysis would make the choice pretty obvious, from quick analysis.

    So I guess the answer to Philidor's question would be...

    1) you need a system to be able to organize and create voicings. ( based on the guitar), that repeats and transposes.
    1a) you need a system of being able to realize those voicings...(fretboard organization)
    2) Then the performance thing... a system of performing the voicings live. (how to use the voicings)

    1) and 1a)... I use 12 fret repeating patterns with 6th string root positions scale degrees and implied chords. The 7 positions as basic starting reference for organizing the space within those 12 frets and 6 strings. This doesn't mean I play scales etc... if you ever watch my playing, I jump all over and play more in the arpeggio style. I play notes that imply chords. There are only three basic types of Function right. The rest is just what you want to play.
    I use complete note collections... all the scales and arpeggios. (that does't mean you need to play them all). I'm not big on embellishments without organization. Organization could just be what you know and like and then the results of what your able to play... as long as it can repeat.
    2) When comping I use the "style", (Christian reference), to start with, and usually comp with lead lines, (just the top note of chords I choose to play), melodic lead lines, somewhat like what Matt was doing, top note of voicings connected with melodic figures from implied harmony. I generally use groove figures above my Chord Patterns. They tend to help imply the style and harmonic motion.
    And then, what Matt was also getting into, organizational expansions of single chords to becoming Chord Patterns that have the same Functional harmonic implications. (all the different approaches for creating subs... or just expanding one chord to having a harmonic life within it's self).

    Matt was using diatonic 3rd above and below, relative and parallel organizations. I just have some more levels of expanding harmony.

    His Line Cliche Emin with descending line E Eb D C# became E-7, A7alt. E-7 A7. I use Modal Interchange for organizing the expanding of the Line to become complete note collections.
    Basic Choices,
    E-7, aeolian, (and anything from the reference)
    B7alt. super Locrian, (or whatever you want to label) Could use F7#11, right.. or a chord pattern
    E-7 Dorian
    A7 mixo

    I could then expand those chord choices... create chord patterns from each chord, Or I could change the basic starting chords developed from the line cliche. I also use rhythm and create patterns within patterns. Strong beats and weak beats.

    So just like eventually the fretboard becomes just one 12 fret pattern that repeats, so do chord patterns with different lead lines. You can just play instinctively... hear sounds, or you can be conscious, like me and make choices and know where you want to go harmonically using Tonal Targets. The important locations within the Form of the tune your playing.

    And when your comping you make choices based on the analysis or just how you hear the tune, the melody and basic changes. To create your comping part. And when someone solos... you listen and interact with them.

    There are reasons why music begins to have feel, a groove etc... especially in rhythm sections.

    Again cool vid Matt.... thanks

  43. #42

    User Info Menu

    I think I posted a sort of framing question elsewhere to forum participants which is 'how important to you is the study of stylistic harmony?'

    I want to ask that because there's often discussion of what is possible (and a lot is possible) but what is actually done within that framework depends on your tastes and ... the style of the music. The way you teach or study will be different depending on which.

    So, things like diminished 7th chord and whole tone scales to me are stylistic. I like them in some gigs I play, and tend to avoid them in others.

    So, I would say style is quite important to me. Do I take this tune to church? Am I referencing the 1930s? Or is it more 60s? Am I going for a more contemporary sound? This sounds very intellectual, but actually it just sort of happens naturally. Push an acoustic guitar into my hands and put a violin or clarinet on stage with me, and I almost can't help sounding a certain way. Put me on stage with a post-Trane style sax player and I wouldn't even think to play the same chord voicings. I suppose you could say this is too much like being a session musician, and a jazz musician has an identity and voice that is individual.

    So to what extent when are you listening to music and boning up on theory are you learning history or epochs, or just taking what appeals for your own sound?

    How much is it affected by the communities which you play in? For me it's all affected... I mean I never wanted to play 1930s music particularly, it's just that's the music that I knew everyone was playing at that time. But I also find the history interesting now as a result of having to cover those gigs.

    I sometimes wonder if I should have just done my thing and let the chips fall where they may..... otoh I think understanding history has made me a stronger player over all, not that I think it necessary to check this out to be a strong player.

  44. #43

    User Info Menu

    Lastly I think what is interesting about Barry Harris is he teaches idiom. Almost no one does this in jazz.

  45. #44

    User Info Menu

    Yea Christian... I was trying to support your point. There is another thread I saw about being embarrassed about not knowing tunes and part of knowing tunes is knowing and understanding "styles". This awareness can influence all aspects of how one performs tunes.

    So when performing, your either entertaining with the music or your performance skills. Besides the common background BS.

    I gig with lots of different bands, singers etc... I can entertain with my playing, which is just a skill thing and being aware of the audience and how to bring them into the performance, or By playing the tunes, the music which brings them in. So maybe at smaller venue where the audience is close etc... you or the band is asked to perform a tune from specific musician, monk or Herbie... whom ever. The point is they're into the music, the stylistic thing becomes the focus, the feel and locking in etc... Or you notice that there are a bunch of guitar geeks at gig... and are digging your playing... so you go off on your personal burnin skills, ( obviously with feeling, in the moment, balanced and extremely musical...), point I'm entertaining with my playing, the stylistic thing becomes secondary.

    And yes, comping and what voicings you use can be part of that.

  46. #45

    User Info Menu

    Sure, I understand. I think it's an interesting question to ask oneself though - how do you listen?