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  1. #1

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    I'm working through the book Joe Pass Guitar Chords (Alfred, 1986). In the section under Chord Forms labelled "Seventh", where he described dominant chords, he often specified D# in a chord with root G.

    Anybody know why? That is, why call it a #5 instead of a b13 in a dominant chord?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I wouldn't worry too much about it. These chords are often notated as G7#5 in real books. It doesn't mean augmented, it can be a G7b13 in a minor cadence. Enharmonic spellings of chords doesn't seem to be an issue that has been treated pedantically in jazz.

  4. #3

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    I don't honestly think Joe would have given a shit.

  5. #4

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    For an 'old school' player like Joe, jazz was always more of a 'by ear' than 'on the page/follow the theory' approach. He probably played some examples, talked about them a little bit, and someone else helped write it down and edit it. There's plenty of room for inconsistencies.


    For me, if what's 'going on' with a G7 chord relates to a C melodic/ harmonic minor or Ab melodic minor,, I'll write a lot of Eb's, if the G7 relates to G whole tone , I'll write more D#'s

    PK

  6. #5

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    From a practical point of view, you got to get used to seeing the same stuff written in different ways. Berklee has a standardised chord symbol notation, but you see all sorts of shit in books and big band charts.

  7. #6

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    You'll notice that he didn't name any of those chords. They are all Dom7 chords, many with tensions and altered tensions. I penciled the fuller names in my book for my own edification.

    Generally speaking, G7#5 or G7b5 are shorthand for implied bigger chords, but expressed in fewer voices, i.e. 4 voices. So D# is fine.
    Last edited by GTRMan; 09-27-2020 at 01:40 PM.

  8. #7

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    why D#?

    Depends on the context, like CM7-C#o-Dm7 going up and Em7-Ebo-Dm7 going down.

    I knew it as G7#5 for years and years. Only relatively recently has it been G7b13. The book was published in 1986. There you go.

    If the key is G, and the chord is GM7#5, it's bound to be a D#, not an Eb.

  9. #8

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    Whenever I hear someone play a G7#5 when it should have been a G7b13 it makes my ears hurt.

  10. #9

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    I suppose technically a G7#5 could also have a 13 as well....

  11. #10

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    But then altered scale enharmony is all messed up to begin with so *meh*

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I suppose technically a G7#5 could also have a 13 as well....
    13#5 is kosher. But nothing to do with what we're talking about, of course

  13. #12

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    7b6, on the other hand...

  14. #13

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    I thought G7b13 has both a D and an Eb, with Eb being played about an octave higher. Tough to play on guitar, easier on keys.

    G7#5 raises the D, so there's no D, only D#.

    As a practical matter I can't recall a situation where this made any difference, at least, not to my ears.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I thought G7b13 has both a D and an Eb, with Eb being played about an octave higher. Tough to play on guitar, easier on keys.

    G7#5 raises the D, so there's no D, only D#. ...
    Since the Pass book is about guitar chord fingerings, most of the chords that are extended beyond the 7th leave some notes out. So, some of the chords that spurred my query contain, as shown in the Pass book:
    G F B D# Ab
    G F B D# A#
    G F B D#
    F B D# G
    F B D# G Db
    (G) F B D# A# (root is not shown in chord fingering)
    and several others.

    A pedantically complete (my term) G7b13 chord would contain G B D F A C Eb. So Rpjazzguitar's observation is correct, but few or none of the chords shown in the Pass book are pedantically complete - they leave out some pitches so that the fingerings are possible and playable.

    When naming such "incomplete" chords, my usual practice is to name it by root, quality, and highest diatonic extension, and then indicate alterations from diatonic; e.g., G9 b13 or G13 #11. (If the composer meant a chord with a particular extension but not with any intermediate extensions, the "add" nomenclature comes into play.) So even if a chord as played was missing certain pitches between the root and the highest extension it would still carry the name. Maybe my usual practice is acceptable, maybe not; I'd be happy to accept comments on that.

    As someone suggested, the likely answer to my question is that the D# came from the transcriber's individual practices and did not necessarily carry some implicit music-theoretical baggage.

    And then,
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    ... As a practical matter I can't recall a situation where this made any difference, at least, not to my ears.
    This seems sensible - i.e., maybe dconeill should just calm down a bit and deal with the world as it exists, not as he'd like it to be.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I thought G7b13 has both a D and an Eb, with Eb being played about an octave higher. Tough to play on guitar, easier on keys.

    G7#5 raises the D, so there's no D, only D#.

    As a practical matter I can't recall a situation where this made any difference, at least, not to my ears.
    I think in its most common voicings one would tend to omit the D? I mean I certainly do.

    In terms of scales that parent that chord, that version of G7b13 belongs to the C minor key, so I think of it as a minor key dominant. But the G7b5b13 would be the G altered dominant. That chord could be patented by the whole tone or altered scale. But it is certainly non diatonic, while the G7b13 is diatonic to C minor.

    So then there’s the whole cross relation thing with #9s that are actually b10s; so for instance in Blue Bossa where the natural form of the minor Is played over the G7b13 that is derived from the harmonic. Modern theory books tend to interpret that as a #9 and might talk about the altered scale, but BB is a clearly diatonic melody .... (minor scales on dominant chords are common in jazz of course, but not only in the blues.)

    And that raises the issue of the fact that no one uses the superlocrian spelling
    C Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb
    but instead the dominant spelling:
    C Db D# E Gb Ab Bb

    which obviously breaks the alphabet rule unlike any of the other melodic minor modes, but no one wants be dealing with a flat 4.

    So yeah it’s a bit of a mess.

    So if I could hazard a guess as to the 7#5’s origin I’d say that it might be whole tone, which was the most popular altered dominant scale during the pre war era.
    C D E F# G# Bb
    but you could just as well spell it with a b13 as it’s not diatonic.

  17. #16

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    But (and I'm aware that no-one one in their right mind goes a crap haha) a spelling of the whole tone scale that goes
    C D E F# G# A#
    would make a lot of sense for its application on French Sixth (augmented sixth chords), such as we find in pre war jazz very frequently:

    Ab7(#11) C
    Ab7(#11) G7 Cm

    Here, enharmony conscious classical musicians would spell the chords
    Ab C D F#
    As the outer interval Ab-F# is an augmented sixth that expands to an octave G-G', which you find in both the C and G7 chords.
    G C E G

    In common practice harmony, flat notes such as the minor sevenths typically contract, for instance in a V7-I cadence.

    But obviously no jazz musicians care about that. And why should they (sub the second one for a minor II-V-I when soloing BTW, that's what Barry would do.)

  18. #17

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    The way Dick Grove explained the "V+7 chord in minor" is that the specification of b13 omits the "D" in favor of the D#.

    But specifying it as "b13" instead of "+5" or "#5" implies at least one other altered tension (one or more of the following: b9, #9 or +11). In that case it may be best to list those as oppose to assume. If none are there, make it Dom7+5 or Dom7#5.

    Several chord scales are possible, depending on which altered tensions are included.


    Grove was an arranger and pianist, not a guitarist.

  19. #18

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    On the scale issue.

    G7b13 is G B D F A C Eb, if you include the 9th and 11th. That's Cmelmin.

    But, often, you hear altered ninths with a b13, so it's G B D F Ab Bb Eb. Reordering, G Ab Bb B D Eb F. That's not a commonly named scale. Lower the D to Db and it's alt.

    But this is not really practical.

    I think the 7b13 designation is to make sure that note, the Eb in G7b13, is in the upper octave. Not that I've ever thought to play G7#5 any differently. Or maybe it's because the underlying scale is some kind of Cm, in which case you are really lowering the E, not raising the D.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan
    The way Dick Grove explained the "V+7 chord in minor" is that the specification of b13 omits the "D" in favor of the D#.

    But specifying it as "b13" instead of "+5" or "#5" implies at least one other altered tension (one or more of the following: b9, #9 or +11). In that case it may be best to list those as oppose to assume. If none are there, make it Dom7+5 or Dom7#5.

    Several chord scales are possible, depending on which altered tensions are included.

    Grove was an arranger and pianist, not a guitarist.
    A G7#5 would be in that case, diatonic to the C minor key. So, a diatonic option, but in CST terms that's G mixolydian b13, or G mixolydian b9 b13? But I can see Grove's logic.

    Something else to be needlessly pedantic about, your use of #11's
    • #11 would imply half-whole harmony, so a natural 13th and 5th
    • In the context of a b13 I would expect to see b5

    But, that's the modern standardised Berkleeoid system. In older and less standardised resources, such as Big Band pads, you see other stuff.

    For instance, I'm not sure Coltrane. McCoy Tyner or Wayne Shorter would have differentiated between a 7#11 or 7b5 a lot of the time.... in terms of practical voicings they are often identical, and those players had a penchant for using diminished scale or other options such as blues phrases than the more vanilla melodic minor chord scales that have become standard.

    For instance McCoy Tyner plays half-whole rather than the more obvious and vanilla lydian dominant on the IV7#11 chord in the Wayne tune Deluge.

    Speaking of Wayne, Juju is a good tune incidentally for that 7#5 into whole tone tonality. Real Book and iReal has that symbol, B7#5. I wonder what Wayne had?

    But in the end... chord symbols are an imperfect system. I think one might be forgiven at first for thinking jazz is the study of chord symbols, and it really isn't.. they have kind of outgrown their role as a shorthand....

  21. #20
    Thanks to all who chimed in. Lots to chew on here. But I've calmed down a little now.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    A G7#5 would be in that case, diatonic to the C minor key. So, a diatonic option, but in CST terms that's G mixolydian b13, or G mixolydian b9 b13? But I can see Grove's logic.

    Something else to be needlessly pedantic about, your use of #11's
    • #11 would imply half-whole harmony, so a natural 13th and 5th
    • In the context of a b13 I would expect to see b5

    But, that's the modern standardised Berkleeoid system. In older and less standardised resources, such as Big Band pads, you see other stuff.

    For instance, I'm not sure Coltrane. McCoy Tyner or Wayne Shorter would have differentiated between a 7#11 or 7b5 a lot of the time.... in terms of practical voicings they are often identical, and those players had a penchant for using diminished scale or other options such as blues phrases than the more vanilla melodic minor chord scales that have become standard.

    For instance McCoy Tyner plays half-whole rather than the more obvious and vanilla lydian dominant on the IV7#11 chord in the Wayne tune Deluge.

    Speaking of Wayne, Juju is a good tune incidentally for that 7#5 into whole tone tonality. Real Book and iReal has that symbol, B7#5. I wonder what Wayne had?

    But in the end... chord symbols are an imperfect system. I think one might be forgiven at first for thinking jazz is the study of chord symbols, and it really isn't.. they have kind of outgrown their role as a shorthand....
    Grove had the IV9(+11) as one “chord family” in minor, and the V+7 or V7(b13) as another.

  23. #22

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    G7b13 and G7#5 are different chords, as identified above, the harmonic limitations of the guitar notwithstanding. The bass player and pianist are going to treat them differently, so we need to understand the difference. Otherwise we're going to sound wrong.

    Ditto the G7b5 and the G7#11.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan
    Grove had the IV9(+11) as one “chord family” in minor, and the V+7 or V7(b13) as another.
    That makes sense.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    Otherwise we're going to sound wrong.
    OMG! Not sound wrong. I mean if we don't have a theory of jazz soduku we might actually have to start swinging and using our ears and coming up with melodies.

    The recorded history of jazz is full of harmonic clashes, and absolutely no-one cares, why? Because those people are playing awesome music. The same pianist can play a 9 in one hand a b9 in the other, and NOBODY EVEN NOTICES. (My favourite is Lester Young playing B on the C7 in Lady Be Good....)

    Chord symbols are like tax returns or the bible - not to be taken literally. The way chord symbols have taken over jazz education and harmony is a classic example of mission creep. What started off as a sketch of the harmony is now seen as the harmony itself.

    I suppose a lot of jazz students are frightened of improvisation and the capacity for playing 'wrong notes', because they've been taught to.

    Luckily there is a good cure for this - go and check out what the musicians actually recorded.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    G7b13 and G7#5 are different chords, as identified above, the harmonic limitations of the guitar notwithstanding. The bass player and pianist are going to treat them differently, so we need to understand the difference. Otherwise we're going to sound wrong.

    Ditto the G7b5 and the G7#11.

    I take your statement to mean that the bassist will play the Perfect 5th on the G7b13 chord?


    What voicings should the pianist and guitarist play for that symbol?

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    OMG! Not sound wrong. I mean if we don't have a theory of jazz soduku we might actually have to start swinging and using our ears and coming up with melodies.

    The recorded history of jazz is full of harmonic clashes, and absolutely no-one cares, why? Because those people are playing awesome music. The same pianist can play a 9 in one hand a b9 in the other, and NOBODY EVEN NOTICES. (My favourite is Lester Young playing B on the C7 in Lady Be Good....)

    Chord symbols are like tax returns or the bible - not to be taken literally. The way chord symbols have taken over jazz education and harmony is a classic example of mission creep. What started off as a sketch of the harmony is now seen as the harmony itself.

    I suppose a lot of jazz students are frightened of improvisation and the capacity for playing 'wrong notes', because they've been taught to.

    Luckily there is a good cure for this - go and check out what the musicians actually recorded.
    Hmmm.

    • Formal education does make an effort to achieve accuracy, when possible.
    • And it's true that beginning improvisation studies focus on building skills at playing specific devices, including chromatic devices.
    • But - later studies teach one how to force altered tensions on unaltered chord symbols, as well as outside playing.
    • Finally, most jazz studies programs have 2-4 improvisation classes. That's 6-12 hours of a 120-hour bachelors degree. So, there must be other drivers for teaching specificity in chord symbol notation beyond instrumental improvisation studies.


    Any ideas?

  28. #27

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    The bassist should play what sounds right and so should everyone else. It is convention/tradition that the chord symbol can also (and most often) be written as a 7#5, no reason to be so pedantic and overcomplicate it, but that's what we do. OP's head must be spinning.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan
    Hmmm.

    • Formal education does make an effort to achieve accuracy, when possible.
    • And it's true that beginning improvisation studies focus on building skills at playing specific devices, including chromatic devices.
    • But - later studies teach one how to force altered tensions on unaltered chord symbols, as well as outside playing.
    • Finally, most jazz studies programs have 2-4 improvisation classes. That's 6-12 hours of a 120-hour bachelors degree. So, there must be other drivers for teaching specificity in chord symbol notation beyond instrumental improvisation studies.


    Any ideas?
    jazz colleges don’t actually teach people to play jazz. They are a chiefly excuse to get talented young people together to learn together and play jazz. People learn to play jazz by listening to it and doing it; and most educators are hip to that and I think see their teaching as supportive of that central learning process.

    And everyone of those teachers would tell you the same thing; that you can’t learn to play jazz in a few hundred hours. It takes years, and much of it is learned by doing gigs and learning the real skills; and by checking out the music yourself.

    Education products are something else; they are removed from context and contain information that seems authoritative but is much less useful than people think.

    But I don’t want anyone to take my word for it... you could go away and actually check out the music: how much transcription are you doing at the moment?
    Last edited by christianm77; 09-27-2020 at 01:08 PM.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    The bassist should play what sounds right and so should everyone else. It is convention/tradition that the chord symbol can also (and most often) be written as a 7#5, no reason to be so pedantic and overcomplicate it, but that's what we do. OP's head must be spinning.
    Well at least I admitted it

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    The bassist should play what sounds right and so should everyone else. It is convention/tradition that the chord symbol can also (and most often) be written as a 7#5, no reason to be so pedantic and overcomplicate it, but that's what we do. OP's head must be spinning.
    fyi, there is a specific point of view on this regarding the treatment of the chord fifth.

  32. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    ... OP's head must be spinning. ...
    I have a son in college, and a daughter struggling to launch herself into a very strange world. It takes a lot more than an argument about a chord name to set my head a-spinning.

    As it turns out, I don't care at all what the chord is called. My interest was more in the nomenclature of the harmony (which of course affects the chord name) than in the chord name per se. I guess I have a preference for flats over sharps, but I'm not quite sure why. - perhaps because of sax players. There are hints to reasons for the nomenclature in some of the replies.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    jazz colleges don’t actually teach people to play jazz. They are a chiefly excuse to get talented young people together to learn together and play jazz. People learn to play jazz by listening to it and doing it; and most educators are hip to that and I think see their teaching as supportive of that central learning process.

    And everyone of those teachers would tell you the same thing; that you can’t learn to play jazz in a few hundred hours. It takes years, and much of it is learned by doing gigs and learning the real skills; and by checking out the music yourself.

    Education products are something else; they are removed from context and contain information that seems authoritative but is much less useful than people think.

    But I don’t want anyone to take my word for it... you could go away and actually check out the music: how much transcription are you doing at the moment?
    Lol. OK, So - if one is a performance major in jazz studies they don't teach you how to play jazz, eh? Is that because they are not teaching you how to play, or they are teaching you another style? (rhetorical. both questions are nonsense).

    I'm really not giving you a hard time, but one thing that really amuses me is how you constantly knock jazz ed, yet make your living as a jazz educator, among other styles no doubt.

    I say again, if something can be learned, it can be taught. If jazz can be learned, it can be taught - and is. I'm more and more convinced that you don't have a very good idea about what is taught in a top flight American jazz program.

  34. #33

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    I don't get it. What the hell is the problem? I haven't read all the posts so forgive me, but I'm lost with the major league problem calling it D#. Please excuse my ignorance. Augmented 5. It's not a flat 6 or 13. Also there no rule on earth that says you HAVE to play all the intervals spelled out in a chord, even if you play piano. And you don't have to say (no 5th, no 9). That's voicing whether you're wring a big band arrangement like Maria Schneider or Vince Mendoza or Billy Pumpkins.

    Confused. Sometimes guitar players (especially) get lost in the minutia and loose the picture.

  35. #34

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    Suffice it to say, the larger one's responsibility the more they have to know.

    For example - are we a trumpet or sax player, or are we arranging for a large jazz orchestra, maybe even with strings and voices? (rhythm section too of course).

    The guitarist can always employ reduction strategies when approaching chord symbols. The rest is somebody else's problem.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    I don't get it. What the hell is the problem? I haven't read all the posts so forgive me, but I'm lost with the major league problem calling it D#. Please excuse my ignorance. Augmented 5. It's not a flat 6 or 13. Also there no rule on earth that says you HAVE to play all the intervals spelled out in a chord, even if you play piano. And you don't have to say (no 5th, no 9). That's voicing whether you're wring a big band arrangement like Maria Schneider or Vince Mendoza or Billy Pumpkins.

    Confused. Sometimes guitar players (especially) get lost in the minutia and loose the picture.
    I think post #6 cuts it.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan
    Suffice it to say, the larger ones responsibility the more they have to know.

    For example - are we a trumpet or sax player, or are we arranging for a large jazz orchestra, maybe even with strings and voices? (rhythm section too of course).

    The guitarist can always employ reduction strategies when approaching chord symbols. The rest is somebody else's problem.
    But so can the piano player.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I don't honestly think Joe would have given a shit.
    Joe said he thought of chords in only 3 ways, major, minor, or dominant 7. (With augmented and diminished chords coming under one of those groupings, depending on the context.) It's a matter of how much (or how little) color you feel like adding at the moment. Get used to the sounds. To paraphrase Hamlet, "The sound's the thing!"

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Joe said he thought of chords in only 3 ways, major, minor, or dominant 7. (With augmented and diminished chords coming under one of those groupings, depending on the context.) It's a matter of how much (or how little) color you feel like adding at the moment. Get used to the sounds. To paraphrase Hamlet, "The sound's the thing!"
    That's the way I tihnk of chords. Major, Minor and Dominant. I don't know where I got that concept. In college my classical theory teacher simplified it more: Just Tonic and Dominant. I studied with Howard Roberts. Maybe it came from him. Maybe it came from Warren Nunes. IDK. But it makes infinite sense. Simplify BEFORE complexity. The color tones and chords have context.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    But so can the piano player.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    sure, and they do.

    someone made the point that we have to get it right sonically in a band scenario, another made the point that we don't really have to.

    so, let's say someone intends to arrange for a very large ensemble and will specify what each and every instrument plays - and - they are going to play this chord to the 13th with all tensions/altered tensions. (9,11,13)

    spell the chord.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by dconeill
    I have a son in college, and a daughter struggling to launch herself into a very strange world. It takes a lot more than an argument about a chord name to set my head a-spinning.

    As it turns out, I don't care at all what the chord is called. My interest was more in the nomenclature of the harmony (which of course affects the chord name) than in the chord name per se. I guess I have a preference for flats over sharps, but I'm not quite sure why. - perhaps because of sax players. There are hints to reasons for the nomenclature in some of the replies.
    I think people get the impression that it’s more standardised than it is. I mean, if chord symbol notation made any sense C7 would mean C major seventh, not dominant.

    It’s an organic system that grew up around the needs of musicians, from the simple charts of the Tune-dex system to the more involved chords of big band charts to the modern standardised system of Berklee, there’s quite a bit of variation

    you see a lot of differences from old big band charts to Brazilian songbooks to French jazz charts. While I see no reason not to use the Berklee standard if you are an actual working musician you’ll see it all!

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    That's the way I tihnk of chords. Major, Minor and Dominant. I don't know where I got that concept. In college my classical theory teacher simplified it more: Just Tonic and Dominant. I studied with Howard Roberts. Maybe it came from him. Maybe it came from Warren Nunes. IDK. But it makes infinite sense. Simplify BEFORE complexity. The color tones and chords have context.
    You have the melody note, the basic chord quality and anything else you want to put it in there.

    Start with the melody.
    Add bass.
    Add middle voices.

    Solo on the basic chord function and the melody.

  43. #42

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    If, by G7b13, we mean this G B D F (A) (C) Eb. That's a G major triad in the left hand and an F7 in the right hand on keys.

    On guitar it's a challenge.

    This sounds good to me, but I never played until this thread.

    x5355x Dm9
    35344x vs 3x344x G7b13 vs G7#5 (arguably); they sound different
    Cmaj7

    The chord naming conventions leave something to be desired. Most of us, when seeing a G7b13, will probably alter the ninth, so how should the arranger tell you which 9ths (b or #)? Same thing for omitting the 5th. What about the 11th? If you say, well, in that case, the arranger needs to write out the notes on a staff, that's exactly my point. The naming conventions leave something to be desired.

    In Brazilian charts you might see G7(9)(b13) or similar.

    Warren Nunes, btw, taught two kinds of chords "Type I and Type II". They were major and dominant. Subdominant was dominant in his system.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan
    Lol. OK, So - if one is a performance major in jazz studies they don't teach you how to play jazz, eh? Is that because they are not teaching you how to play, or they are teaching you another style? (rhetorical. both questions are nonsense).
    No. because you show up to the school already being able to play jazz, or you learn through playing with your peers and teachers, being in that environment where everyone is practicing and listening, maybe you get gigs through the college and so on. Everyone I have spoken to says that’s the best thing about it, not the lessons (although they can be useful.)

    Several experienced jazz educators have told me the most important thing is cohort: teachers have less influence than you’d think.

    Most students out of college aren’t very good at playing gigs yet either (they might have great chops but nothing else.) They need to spend a few years learning the ropes. That’s all sorts of lessons not just playing related.

    I'm really not giving you a hard time, but one thing that really amuses me is how you constantly knock jazz ed, yet make your living as a jazz educator, among other styles no doubt.
    well it is kind of funny. It takes a degree in education to become this skeptical about pedagogy.

    Anyway, I think jazz educators are great! They understand all this implicitly and would tell you the same thing.

    Jazz edu itself has a lot of inherent issues....

    students who are capable are self directed learners, and the ones who don’t advance so well need to be spoonfed. So you need to try to make more of the self directed ones. Pedagogy should IMO always be geared towards that.

    I say again, if something can be learned, it can be taught. If jazz can be learned, it can be taught - and is. I'm more and more convinced that you don't have a very good idea about what is taught in a top flight American jazz program.
    Saying it doesn’t make it true. Much learning in the world is not geared around explicit teaching. Traditional apprenticeships for instance. People pick stuff up in an environment where it is being done.

    Top flight programs are self selecting. If you can’t already play you aren’t going to get into Julliard. What is taught isn’t how to play, but finesse, possible ideas and directions, professional advice, next level polish; but being in NYC helps (massively) with the learning to play jazz side of it.
    Last edited by christianm77; 09-27-2020 at 02:57 PM.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan
    sure, and they do.

    someone made the point that we have to get it right sonically in a band scenario, another made the point that we don't really have to.

    so, let's say someone intends to arrange for a very large ensemble and will specify what each and every instrument plays - and - they are going to play this chord to the 13th with all tensions/altered tensions. (9,11,13)

    spell the chord.
    Absolutely not. It's called taste. The piano player is NOT beholden to play ALL the notes in a given chord. I already talked about big band. Of course. that's specific arrangements. I'm talking about a person reading a chart and playing music - a pianist. There's a G7b9+11,b13 chord. He can decide what it is he wants to play - UNLESS the arranger says it's important to emphasize that +11and b13. O, good. Otherwise he or she can pick based on his or her personal taste and aesthetic.

    Believe me, I play with a LOT of great piano players. I see and hear this happen ALL THE time.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    Absolutely not. It's called taste. The piano player is NOT beholden to play ALL the notes in a given chord. I already talked about big band. Of course. that's specific arrangements. I'm talking about a person reading a chart and playing music - a pianist. There's a G7b9+11,b13 chord. He can decide what it is he wants to play - UNLESS the arranger says it's important to emphasize that +11and b13. O, good. Otherwise he or she can pick based on his or her personal taste and aesthetic.

    Believe me, I play with a LOT of great piano players. I see and hear this happen ALL THE time.
    In theory, it's the arranger's call -- and I have heard arrangers with big ears remind players of what is in the chart.

    In practice, the extensions are usually in the horns and the job of the comping instruments is either to play those extensions or just play the vanilla notes -- and -- not to clash. So, for example, if the chord is a #9, you can play that note or omit it, but you can't play a natural 9.

    OTOH, I play arrangements where the horns are consistently voiced in unison and the tune is made interesting by the chord voicings (usually lydian for this arranger). The piano and guitar have to play the lydian sound or the arrangement fails.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    No. because you show up to the school already being able to play jazz, or you learn through playing with your peers and teachers, being in that environment where everyone is practicing and listening, maybe you get gigs through the college and so on. Everyone I have spoken to says that’s the best thing about it, not the lessons (although they can be useful.)
    Show up already being able to play jazz? Ideally, sure, and true for some. But for most, it's more like being able to play a little jazz.
    Listening? Yes you have to listen otherwise will not pass several classes.
    Playing - You will play for your teacher, with your teacher, for juries, and in required ensembles. Gigs are another topic altogether. (There aren't any, remember?)


    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Several experienced jazz educators have told me the most important thing is cohort: teachers have less influence than you’d think.
    Maybe, but it depends on what we're talking about.

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Most students out of college aren’t very good at playing gigs yet either (they might have great chops but nothing else.) They need to spend a few years learning the ropes. That’s all sorts of lessons not just playing related.
    Q: How is that different from ANY other profession?
    A: It isn't.


    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    students who are capable are self directed learners, and the ones who don’t advance so well need to be spoonfed. So you need to try to make more of the self directed ones. Pedagogy should IMO always be geared towards that.
    Q: How is that different from ANY other field of study/major?
    A: It isn't.

    In fact the best schools will "council you out" and there is no such thing as "spoon feeding" for those who are really struggling to cut it. They are advised to become a music minor or pick another field altogeher.

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Saying it doesn’t make it true. Much learning in the world is not geared around explicit teaching. Traditional apprenticeships for instance. People pick stuff up in an environment where it is being done.

    Top flight programs are self selecting. If you can’t already play you aren’t going to get into Julliard. What is taught is not how to play; but being in NYC helps with the learning side of it.
    True with other majors too. A solid program with the right mix of topics and classes should help the highly motivated reach their objectives where a 4-year degree is concerned.

    And as far as entrance? True with Julliard and classical because it's more standardized - much more standarized. Jazz is different. For jazz there are auditions and entrance requirements for sure - but - there is no expectation that 18-year old kids will arrive already blowing like a hotshot pro in the jazz style. In other words, there is no expectation that the average incoming freshman is another Pat Metheny.

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    If you were a musician you’d understand what I mean.
    Well I am, though not a pro musician. I have formally played and studied two instruments, still studying one. That makes me a musician.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    Absolutely not. It's called taste. The piano player is NOT beholden to play ALL the notes in a given chord. I already talked about big band. Of course. that's specific arrangements. I'm talking about a person reading a chart and playing music - a pianist. There's a G7b9+11,b13 chord. He can decide what it is he wants to play - UNLESS the arranger says it's important to emphasize that +11and b13. O, good. Otherwise he or she can pick based on his or her personal taste and aesthetic.

    Believe me, I play with a LOT of great piano players. I see and hear this happen ALL THE time.
    I understood you Henry. Two scenarios...

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    In theory, it's the arranger's call -- and I have heard arrangers with big ears remind players of what is in the chart.

    In practice, the extensions are usually in the horns and the job of the comping instruments is either to play those extensions or just play the vanilla notes -- and -- not to clash. So, for example, if the chord is a #9, you can play that note or omit it, but you can't play a natural 9. ]

    OTOH, I play arrangements where the horns are consistently voiced in unison and the tune is made interesting by the chord voicings (usually lydian for this arranger). The piano and guitar have to play the lydian sound or the arrangement fails.
    Perhaps talking at cross purposes? I think you are referring to the arrangement whereas solos can be a lot faster and looser.

    Depends on the music too. You might reharmonise a standard on the fly, and boppers tend to focus on the basic functions, but if it's some modal chart, those specific extensions are probably specific to the tune, and shouldn't be mucked around with. I also feel Brazilian music is more specific about that stuff.

    That's the thing BTW - that stuff can't be taught. It's things an experienced player would do based on their ears and taste. Sticking to the chart is always a safe bet, but it's not the way experienced jazz improvisors approach straightahead tunes.

    Also, the change in the style of harmony - as Barry Harris puts it 'they used to harmonise melody, now they melodicise chords.' The reification of the chord symbol is one of the most significant evolutions in jazz over the past 50 years...

  50. #49

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    In PLAYING situations you play what you hear/want. IN MANY cases you can play a natural 9 when a b9 is written. Not so much in the big band arrangement in the melody or soli sections where it’s all notated. But in the improv section I see this all the time. In many/most cases charts are written in the most basic manner. I used to play with this great pianist Jessica Williams. Look her up. Phenomenal player. All her charts are C, G7, Am, Eb. But in actuality it was Cmaj7, G7b9+11, Am9b6, Ebmaj7+11. She didn’t need to write that down. Use your ears. You have what you need. Basic functions of the chords.


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  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Perhaps talking at cross purposes? I think you are referring to the arrangement whereas solos can be a lot faster and looser.
    My post was about the meaning of chord symbols. Specifically, when a guitarist is playing an arrangement with horns.

    In that situation, the chord, including extensions, is likely to be played in the horns. The chord symbol is likely to include those extensions, so that the band, as a whole, is playing that chord. In that situation, the guitarist can play those extensions or not. What he can't do is play extensions that clash. I also pointed out that if the arranger is in the room and has good ears, he will notice when something is wrong. Wrong notes or missing notes.

    I have almost no first hand info about college jazz programs. My guess is that the peer group interaction aspect is a big piece of it. But, there are courses in which fundamentals are taught, like ear training, developments in jazz from a historical perspective, reading, required listening (not really taught, but guided and made unavoidable) and so forth.

    My belief is that a motivated student can be taught to play jazz, or maybe, prepared to play jazz. Usually, there is a ceiling to this approach. OTOH, if the course of study included playing frequent 3 hour sessions with great jazz musicians, and a lot of time in NYC jazz clubs, that ceiling will probably end up being higher. Not feasible in reality but theoretically possible, based on my own experience doing something like that.