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  1. #26

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    To any fellow guitarists starting out with "the old chord charts", whether your own or jazz standards, like Ralph Patt's internet site, I'd advise a modicum of flexibility when voicing the changes. It doesn't have to be all 6's and 9's. But it could be... Ralph Patt gave the bare-bone skeleton charts of most of the standards. He let's us fill in the blanks. The Jazz Pirates New Orleans Jam Book, Guitar Guy and Jim Bottorff's sites are just as good. Pop Coffee's site is a mainstay for Tune-Talk... Do a search on his site for "charts".

    I prefer to view the chord charts/lead sheets in my notebook as a guide only, with the chord symbols only suggesting possibilities. Each symbol is like a menu, from which I can select, from all the possible chord tones, just the ones that express the moment and resolve interestingly into the next voicing. But, till I learn the tune, the chart is a useful thing. And creates a reliable record of things I did years ago.

    Rather than playing every chord tone in the symbol, I can reduce the voicing on the first chorus and then embellish it on the next. In the key of C, G13-5-9 can be reduced to G7 while CMaj can be embellished to CM69. Of course, once you've warmed up to the tune, you can put the chart aside. You can eventually reduce or embellish chords on sight.

    The examples in the Johnny Rector Deluxe Encyclopedia of Chord Progressions use that format. Each example of four bars is written four times. Starting from the simple, original, old-style to "modern" 7ths, then 9ths, then 13ths, then altered, then with tritone subs, passing chords, inversions, ...

    Of course, the symbols I've written down on a chart will imply a particular sound and omit chord tones that I don't associate with the song. If I'd never buy a V13th in the song, then it might be written as a V79, with the option of playing a V7 or V79. Months later, I might add the 13th. I can slow the tempo and play the same tune as a ballad with richer voicings or speed up the tune and use three note guide tone grips. Again the chart is merely a guide and you will be able to do this on the fly.

    The chord symbols printed on sheet music are at best a snapshot or tonal-averaging of the measure. In the extreme, there could possibly be as many as 8 different chords in a measure. Usually this is boiled down to 2 "averaged" voicings on beats 1 and 3. However, it's best for the accompanist to pick and choose where and when the grip is applied to the melody so that the accompaniment harmonises the melody and coincides with the soloist or vocalist. Fingerstyle (PIMA) is very useful there. A lot of drama occurs between the beats...

    Perhaps the current way of placing chord symbols on sheet music is due to plectrum style strumming, where a measure of Dm7-5 on beats 1-2 and G7-9 on beats 3-4 must be dealt with quickly. Fingerstyle (PIMA) lets one pick and choose the extensions and alterations more conveniently, and not necessarily on the beats. Joe Pass...

    I always remind myself that chord charts are only a guide and were not meant to become a crutch. The more one uses a particular chart, song and key, the easier it becomes to start re-writing it on staff paper in musical notation. Memorising the tune is quite important as it makes for better ensemble playing, if you get the chance.

    Tab has it's place, too, as it will indicate, at a glance, the fingerboard patterns and positions. One can quickly view the field and strategise fingering. In fact, I read that much of early lute or guitar music was often written this way. Tablature and chord charts have their place on the journey to notation.

    One way I've found to beat "Real Book Burnout" is to reduce the harmony of the entire tune down to Tonics and Dominants. Re-write the chart on graph paper as IMaj and V7 (or im-V7). Eliminate all the 2-5's, o7's and passing chords, line cliches, inversions, extensions, alterations, turnarounds and substitutions. Then, play the tune that way and hear what it's really all about. Keep playing the reduced version until you can "hear" what is missing. Then slowly start to reassemble the song, one chord at a time, with your ear at the helm. You may end up back with the Real Book arrangement, but you could stumble onto something completely different. Less 2-5's perhaps. Stronger V7's. Either way, it's an enjoyable learning process and one may better appreciate the extra parts and their reason to be.
    Last edited by StringNavigator; 05-03-2021 at 01:55 PM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #27

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    Firstly, thanks for taking the time and effort. I really appreciate it. I really do.

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    It's like, I can know a tune really well, but put a chord chart in front of me and I will stare at it.
    I'm like that with chord sheets and lead sheets.

    Quote Originally Posted by StringNavigator
    I prefer to view the chord charts/lead sheets in my notebook as a guide only, with the chord symbols only suggesting possibilities. Each symbol is like a menu, from which I can select, from all the possible chord tones, just the ones that express the moment and resolve interestingly into the next voicing. But, till I learn the tune, the chart is a useful thing. And creates a reliable record of things I did years ago.
    Same here. I write chord sheets using major, minor, m7b5, dim, 7, just like Ralph Patt. It's enough to see what the tune does. I don't really like it any more detailed than that in writing.

    Quote Originally Posted by StringNavigator
    One way I've found to beat "Real Book Burnout" is to reduce the harmony of the entire tune down to Tonics and Dominants. Re-write the chart on graph paper as IMaj and V7 (or im-V7). Eliminate all the 2-5's, o7's and passing chords, line cliches, inversions, extensions, alterations, turnarounds and substitutions. Then, play the tune that way and hear what it's really all about. Keep playing the reduced version until you can "hear" what is missing. Then slowly start to reassemble the song, one chord at a time, with your ear at the helm. You may end up back with the Real Book arrangement, but you could stumble onto something completely different. Less 2-5's perhaps. Stronger V7's. Either way, it's an enjoyable learning process and one may better appreciate the extra parts and their reason to be.
    Pretty extreme re. chord type reduction but really interesting!

  4. #28

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    The way I've found to avoid 'Real Book Burnout' is to avoid the Real Book.

  5. #29

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    That should do, actually

  6. #30

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    hey alez... At some point you might actually learn comping styles. Generally guitarist are all middle mud or they try and create cool voicings with dissonant intervals.

    I think it was mentioned above... but rhythmic placement, which can be expanded to become actual Harmonic Rhythmic application, (not just the basic changes), is generally how comping works. Obviously context is the starting point, but when you don't have an organized Harmonic reference for chord progressions.... you'll get that mud thing, or the conflicts with notes.
    And although simplifying and playing less is cool.... again another reason why guitarist just generally suck at comping.

    I know I've posted before... Why don't you actually start a thread where you pick tunes and I'll gladly post examples, I can comp as well as anyone. And I understand Harmonic rhythm, I can musically breakdown why and what I'm doing with musical relationships to the tune in context. (and I don't need to rehears etc...) Get past the basics, melody and changes. Generally comping, the voicings are constructed from the top down. You could just use the tunes from the jamb of the week... whatever works for you.

    And if the real book is a problem... it's not the books problem.

  7. #31

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    I've heard lots of players who can solo really well.

    I've heard way fewer who can drive a band with their comping.

    In fact, my current feeling is that one of a thing that separates pros from amateurs is this ability. The pros play in a more propulsive way. On top of the beat, more harmonic movement and, ultimately, more groove.