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  1. #1

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    Hi. Does anyone have a complete system of creating upper structures to recommend? I mean 3 notes voicings. I base my chord play on drop2. I wanted to systematize my learning and I am looking for solutions for upper srructures. Has anyone found anything interesting and worth recommending in this regard?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Jordan Klemons in my opinion has a great system using upper structure triads. The format and his teaching style works great for me. Jordan I believe is a member here as well.

    www.nycjazzguitarmasterclasses.com

  4. #3

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    Mark Levine's book has a chapter explaining upper structures, but it's not really a system for learning to apply them to guitar.

    Still, there's enough there to get into it.

  5. #4

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    Fareed Haque's Jazz Comping course is about guide tones + extensions. Guide tones are played in the middle strings so they sort of correspond to those drop 2 voicings where 3 and 7 are in the middle:

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrev808925
    Jordan Klemons in my opinion has a great system using upper structure triads. The format and his teaching style works great for me. Jordan I believe is a member here as well.

    www.nycjazzguitarmasterclasses.com
    Jordan's approach is a great way to go.

  7. #6
    Thank You for all answers. There is a Hope...

  8. #7

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    Randy Vincent's 'Three-Notes voicings and Beyond' has a chapter about it... and considering what you are asking it has lots of info about various Three-Notes voicings derived with different approaches and their applications.

  9. #8

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    One simple approach to use, if starting from drop 2 voicings is the following:
    Drop 2 is 1 3 5 7. Change it into, and practice separately:

    1257
    1347
    1247

    These are easy to visualize on the fretboard if one is familiar with the drop 2 voicings as a starting point. You adjust the tensions depending on chord scale. If you analyze the voicings that result, you get all the extensions, you also get quartal voicings, triads over various bass notes, basically most applicable voicings on the guitar. It is really a theoretical simplification of the Mick Goodrick voicing method.

  10. #9
    Alter, thanks for the great tip. I'm looking for something like that. I am behind it to try to simplify everything and make it more enjoyable to use and learn. Your proposal seems to be.

  11. #10

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    If you like to stare into the Abyss, this pdf is fun:

    Guitar - Ben Monder - Practice Sheet.pdf | Harmony | Chord (Music)
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #11

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    Ben Monder, what a monster player! This is work that can take months to master, but will transform ones knowledge of the fretboard. Especially when you expand triads into 7th chords, and start to connect the inversions going up and down various scales... instant late Coltrane material!

  13. #12
    This PDF of Ben Monder is impressive! Is there a doctor in the room Is this an exercise for exercise? Does it teach making music? How to use it in a musical context? Mastering this material takes many months or years of practice. Probably a little shorter on the piano ... But we all know how demanding a guitar is. After reading this material, I understood even more how little I know and can do.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    If you like to stare into the Abyss, this pdf is fun:

    Guitar - Ben Monder - Practice Sheet.pdf | Harmony | Chord (Music)
    yeh... but geneally speaking it is all derivable...

    I am always tempted to do something like that when I 'unlock' some approach for myself... but always too lazy and too impatient... and I end with occasionally practicing just this or that...))

    I never was able to be that consistent....

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    If you like to stare into the Abyss, this pdf is fun:

    Guitar - Ben Monder - Practice Sheet.pdf | Harmony | Chord (Music)
    That is a frightening amount of work and I say this as someone who plays major 3rds tuning. I know my tuning simplifies things a lot but even then.. Holy moly. Oh well, no room to complain I guess!

  16. #15

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    I first saw this document 7 years ago and had that reaction...

    I'd say I can do quite a lot of it now, albeit not all internalised into my playing 100%. One step at a time mounts up.

    And, plus, it's not actually linear. It's like learning tunes. Your 200th tune comes easier than your 1st.

    You learn as much how to learn and work methodically through voicings as learn a stack of voicings. It's one thing doing an intervallic voicing through a mode never having done it and another to do a new one after having done a quite few of them. Probably if you get through everything on the pdf you'll be able to do it on the fly.

    (Also as a friend once said, that document basically IS Ben Monder.)

    I DON'T think you need to know all this to be a jazz guitarist. But it's amazing what you can build up if you feed it regular little bits of time everyday.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    If you like to stare into the Abyss, this pdf is fun:

    Guitar - Ben Monder - Practice Sheet.pdf | Harmony | Chord (Music)
    An infinite number of specific things to get in your mind and under your fingers. But, we're musicians, so we take them one at a time.

    Take every one of those Cmaj7 voicings through the Cmajor scale. Then 8 specific additional chord types. Then an unspecified number of substituting 2s and 4s into the types. All possible string combinations. And, although he didn't mention it, I'm guessing it might be good to do in all 12 keys.

    Then, there's moving every possible triad through 3 different scales. 12 keys.

    Then, for 10 different chords, learn an average of 5 or 6 different names for each and do that in 12 keys. This is any easy one, because it's only about 700 things to know, which is easier than some of the other stuff.

    You have a good shot at getting all this down, provided you believe in reincarnation, and you're right about it.

    Some number of lives down the line, you get to work on the arps on the last page.

    And, after that, if you're still interested in music, you can learn some tunes. At that point, you can start eliminating all the voicings you now know but don't sound good, are too hard to play, or you just can't figure out how to use them to enhance a tune. Maybe it would be better just to figure out nice chord melodies on your own and learn the voicings you like.

    That said, I do think it's worthwhile to know how to move triads or larger chords through scales. But, the way I see it, getting even one sequence under your fingers to the point where you can apply it to a tune, in any key, on a gig, is hours of work. That is, starting with only one voicing, moving through the major scale, and then getting it down in 12 keys is a lot of work. Ben Monder is talking about doing that for an uncountable number of voicings.

    I've seen recommendations like this before. One post, lifetimes of work, after which you still don't know any tunes.

    Just out of curiousity, what is the Berklee standard for this sort of thing? How is it taught there?

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I first saw this document 7 years ago and had that reaction...

    I'd say I can do quite a lot of it now, albeit not all internalised into my playing 100%. One step at a time mounts up.

    And, plus, it's not actually linear. It's like learning tunes. Your 200th tune comes easier than your 1st.

    You learn as much how to learn and work methodically through voicings as learn a stack of voicings. It's one thing doing an intervallic voicing through a mode never having done it and another to do a new one after having done a quite few of them. Probably if you get through everything on the pdf you'll be able to do it on the fly.

    (Also as a friend once said, that document basically IS Ben Monder.)

    I DON'T think you need to know all this to be a jazz guitarist. But it's amazing what you can build up if you feed it regular little bits of time everyday.
    You know... for me funny thing is that when I start to play tunes I rarely use that stuff -- it is strange but it is often that when I practice or do some 'free noodling' I can use it a lot... but when I play real tunes I do not feel I need it... with tunes I have very integral feeling ... and these things often go across ny inner hearing... I often use very limited and very conventional stuff just focusing on staying melodically authentic... and probably dropping out everything that makes an obstacle to it

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    You know... for me funny thing is that when I start to play tunes I rarely use that stuff -- it is strange but it is often that when I practice or do some 'free noodling' I can use it a lot... but when I play real tunes I do not feel I need it... with tunes I have very integral feeling ... and these things often go across ny inner hearing... I often use very limited and very conventional stuff just focusing on staying melodically authentic... and probably dropping out everything that makes an obstacle to it
    I’ve had most success using new voicings etc in arrangements until they become part of my playing. In the end I take individual voicings I like and use them.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I’ve had most success using new voicings etc in arrangements until they become part of my playing. In the end I take individual voicings I like and use them.
    Yes, I see what you mean... it is the way.
    I have problems with making arrangements of jazz stuff (I can do arrangements - I did a lot of classical music transcriptions and quite tricky ones where yu had to add a lot or to drop out a lot)...
    Basically.. I learn the tune, I learn the changes... and then I sort of improvize, noodle around ... not quite of arrangement but I add some ideas conciously to check them but mostly it is very much led by melodic movement... I feel it like I am trying to fumble the way - every next time a bit differently...
    So I keep a lot of 'a choice on the spot' approach...

    But disatvantage is that often there is not time to apply new concepts that way... I generally move around the same routes just walking a bit away.
    But maybe it is ok for me? In general I am a persona that likes to turn around the same plot, idea, image again and againg... so meaybe it is ok...


    I tried to force myself making complete arrangement of standards but it does not work for me... I just get bored quickly...

    and also I notice that I often am not happy with the things that many others seem to be happy with .. I often see many accomplished solo guitar players - very smooth and all... but I also realize that with all my admiration this is not what i want to do... and I come back to my blind fumbling.. eventually i seem to have come at peace wit hmyself - that it would rather be awkward, with faults but that way... then clean and smooth but the others' way (however pretentious it may seem)

    though I agree that it slows my development... but I am not really ambitious.

    Sometimes when I play in real time playing I hear like i want to do something but I can't - this is where I clearly understand the disatavantages of my process.

    But I also notice that finding my way out of it on the spot (even if I have to stop for it) is extremely effective for the future practice...

    when I hear something and have to figure out how to make it turns out more effective way for me for future playing than when I find new abstract idea and try to incoroporate it into music
    Last edited by Jonah; 07-22-2020 at 06:00 AM.

  21. #20

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    I really think the porous nature of the divide between composition and improv is a bit overlooked.

    (One of my aims is to get rid of this divide in my own playing. But that’s another subject.)

    Arranging tunes has always been central to jazz. Composition and arrangement is a really valid way to work on improvisation and vice versa.

    Non notated music is always a ‘black box’; the process is not obvious right away, And in jazz that’s a real spectrum, from pure improv to worked out set pieces and arrangements.

    we put this all under the umbrella ‘improvisation’ ...
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-22-2020 at 08:22 AM.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I really think the porous nature of the divide between composition and improv is a bit overlooked.

    (One of my aims is to get rid of this divide in my own playing. But that’s another subject.)

    Arranging tunes has always been central to jazz. Composition and arrangement is a really valid way to work on improvisation and vice versa.

    Non notated music is always a ‘black box’; the process is not obvious right away, And in jazz that’s a real spectrum, from pure improv to worked out set pieces and arrangements.

    we put this all under the umbrella ‘improvisation’ ...
    You shift it a bit in the perspective of general discusiion (style, history, education, common practice) which is in this particular case out of interest to me as in this particular case only my personal feeling of the proper process makes real sense to me (which does not exclude listening to others and trying what they do).

  23. #22

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    I really think the porous nature of the divide between composition and improv is a bit overlooked.
    I have a close friend who is brilliant classical improvizer (and has been since he was 13-14), he always had compositional ambitions and he composed and does compose now... but it is very obvious that his real thing is improvization.

    It is sort of personal modus operandi/vivend/creandi

    Most of stuff being composed in jazz I do not cosider true composition - it is rather a continuation of improvizational mentality for me

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    You shift it a bit in the perspective of general discusiion (style, history, education, common practice) which is in this particular case out of interest to me as in this particular case only my personal feeling of the proper process makes real sense to me (which does not exclude listening to others and trying what they do).
    I think ‘proper process’ starts with the music; as you indicated. The theoretical stuff comes in later when you have the musical chops to make it into music.

    But; as a basic set of exercises Monder’s syllabus can be used over the long term to develop a stronger command of fretboard harmony. the only thing I’d say is don’t mistake this for actually learning to play jazz haha; OTOH if you can basically play jazz voicings are a nice resource.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    I have a close friend who is brilliant classical improvizer (and has been since he was 13-14), he always had compositional ambitions and he composed and does compose now... but it is very obvious that his real thing is improvization.

    It is sort of personal modus operandi/vivend/creandi

    Most of stuff being composed in jazz I do not cosider true composition - it is rather a continuation of improvizational mentality for me
    I’ve never been comfortable calling myself a ‘composer’ for that reason. I know some actual composers and I can’t do that thing they can. I couldn’t write a convincing sonata for example.

    So, we have to accept some basic terminology to be able to discuss these things at all; but the terms are inadequate if only because they are often borrowed and repurposed from Western music.

  26. #25

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    Which is to say the dictionary definition of improvisation doesn’t really describe what Miles, Oscar, Louis etc were doing EITHER

    ‘something that is improvised, in particular a piece of music, drama, etc. created spontaneously or without preparation.’

    We are stuck with these words, but we have to realise they are inaccurate (like ‘solo’, ‘transcription’ and so on); or that they at least have a different meaning in jazz (like ‘dominant seventh chord’ and ‘ii V’)