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  1. #1

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    I got this book as soon as it came out, but I have no idea what to do with it. Anyone?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    There should be some replies but in the meantime look at this thread.
    Creative Chordal Harmony for Guitar (Tim Miller/Mick Goodrick)

  4. #3
    There's a very broad spectrum of playing improvisational guitar spanning from memorizing tabs of the greats to real time voice led composition in four voices using any non doubling intervallic combination of notes over a given harmonic structure.
    The book does assume you have enough curiousity to bring you beyond 4 part harmony stacked in thirds and their inversions.
    It'd be really helpful answering your question if you could say a little about where you are in your knowledge of the guitar, what you want to do and how committed you might be to actually wanting what this book might give you.
    In short, I found it most useful to players who've been steeped in the harmonies of jazz with a decent knowledge of 4 part chords in different voicings. If you can get around and really want to know "What are those other notes and how can I own them in a way that's eluded me by seeing chords in thirds and the conventional way of classifying them as stacked triads and the resulting tensions?"

    In short, it's a book that offers ways of looking at "alternative" harmonies so you can use them in a conventional (tune based) situation. But if you aren't so solid on what the traditions are, the concept of alternative might make this material challenging without that context.

  5. #4

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    +1 on whatever "Jimmy" (David) tells us!

    I like playing through the Stella etudes with a backing track, and finding new sounds that tickle my brain! Then I'll go back and review what is going on in that section. Like most of Mick's stuff -- endless possibilities!

    [Or, as Zappa would say, roll it up and smoke it -- it'll really get you out there!]

  6. #5
    I'll just offer a small anecdotal perspective.
    I once taught a class for beginning students. One of our first chords was a D chord. When we learned D minor, a student noted "That's a D chord with a minor note, right?"
    If you're playing a tune in D minor, it's a different world. So not really.
    I once taught a student who was learning jazz for the first time. We were studying dominant chords. When we learned the D7, he ventured "So it's like a D major with a flatted 7th, right?"
    If you're creating a line of tension to approach the tonic through a dominant function harmony, it's not at all that way. It's a different world. So not really.
    In each of these cases, we're adding some variation of what the student already knows, but what's ahead is unseen from that perspective. That comes when the ear brings that sound into the lexicon; when sound makes it a living thing. The EAR is what forms the distinction between what you knew and what is new. Your ability to control those sounds, to take them from interesting "mistakes" or "chance encounters" into a system of use and creative tool use, that's what the perspective shift is.

    So when Mick was still putting together the almanacs, he was also discovering and codifying the many harmonic possibilities outside of the convention. He told me "I feel like I've discovered the ocean. We've just been living and fishing and swimming in the shallows close to the land, but the ocean is deep and vast. There're all sorts of deep sea fish with glowing appendages that we never knew about. Well now I'm cataloging them so we can use them."
    This book is a practical application of the behaviour of some of the unknown things that are NOT merely chance alterations of familiar things. A coelocanth is not a goldfish with big stumpy fins.
    So when he refers to a chord as a 7th chord no third, that's just a name for a box you can put that chord in. Inside that box is a sound that, once freed of the prejudice we've acquired from traditional harmony, will open up behaviours and sounds that can be as world changing as learning to use an altered chord in a dominant turnaround situation.
    Page 2 of the book lays out the catalog of new chord types. There are quite a few, granted. But each one of them is a unique prism that will allow you to introduce refractions of light that change your aural perception.

    So yeah, it's a book of enormous significance. And the fact that it uses recorded examples over a standard that covers many of the most common harmonic situations in context, is a real boon.

    My advice is that it's best appreciated by and aimed towards good swimmers familiar with off shore waterways and fishermen. I don't mean to discourage anyone, but merely to say that having a restless curiousity born of a need for growth beyond a particular genre of harmonic improvisation will make the perspective less intimidating. If your questions come from boredom with what you know, then here are a bunch of possible answers.

    Having the patience to work with any one of these chordal groups, and internalize them on an AURAL level will be key to changing your perspective. In that way, a study group is a really good idea.
    I think this was what Mick had in mind one summer when he gathered a Goodchord camp, and for two weeks people from all around the world gathered to for a harmonic gestalt guided by this material.
    Now we have computers. Maybe something can come of collective curiousity and the time we have available while we wait for the world to come to health.

  7. #6
    I'll also make a distinction between a more traditional approach which we'll call a harmonically functional tonal approach wherein available 12 tones play a heirarchical role where the essential triad (or 7th chord) core serves as the unit by which other notes are "tensions" of, and a more textural or modal role based on the intervallic and harmonic relationships between individual notes.
    A friend had worked a long time with tonal harmony and he started to explore harmony with a drone. In getting to know all 11 chromatic notes relative to a pedal point, or drone tone, unlocked an entire spectrum of note combinations that informed relationships of tension, consonance and dissonance which are really useful in creating chords and chordal melodies but are not based on 1 3 5 7 units. This modal approach is closer to Indian music's take on melody/harmony than western harmony.
    This chord/scale take on harmony sees triads as three note combinations not necessarily built on thirds, sees closer harmonies such as clusters and irregularly spaced triads as part of a larger fabric. This is the way Mick Goodrick saw the ordering of 12 tones as adapted to a tonal situation.

    Get it in your ear. Put aside the prejudices of western harmony. Learn to hear sonic textures. Apply the language in a broader ordering that coincides with tonal harmonies. Acquire fluency in what you find. Play music.
    It's apparent to me that this broader way of finding a sonic logic was what drove and provided the elusive quality of Allan Holdsworth's music. Nothing he played sounds triadic based but it is an extremely consistent system of found harmonies played with its own harmonic weight.
    He also often referred to the uncommon chord.

    So the Creative Chordal Harmony is in one sense, a bridge to another way of thinking, and it requires an aural commitment for the student to create his/her own system given the options and exhaustive example set within that book. It also gives tonal examples in the exercises, but the actual task of putting it together, in a very Mick-like manner, he leaves for the student.

    Good luck
    Last edited by Jimmy blue note; 04-07-2021 at 06:51 AM.

  8. #7
    Except for the chapter on fourth voicings, I did not get much out of this book. I did get a million more usages from the Almanac volume 2 from the "The Motherlode"

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jangle Rainart
    Except for the chapter on fourth voicings, I did not get much out of this book. I did get a million more usages from the Almanac volume 2 from the "The Motherlode"
    Took me a long time until I realized that internalizing all the types of chords that are NOT based on thirds so I could know them as well as I could traditional triads is a huge commitment to each family. It felt like travelling to a different country and staying until I could master the language, nuance and subtlety of each country before moving on to the next country.
    That book, as it's presented is a practical catalogue, like a movie with subtitles in that language. It's nice to hear the sampling of those chords but they're nowhere near fleshed out in that book; that's a task well suited for the next pandemic lockdown.

  10. #9
    "The next pandemic lockdown"!? Hope we'll not get a new one anytime soon! I really don't need any fu..ing lockdown to keep practicing!

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jangle Rainart
    "The next pandemic lockdown"!? Hope we'll not get a new one anytime soon! I really don't need any fu..ing lockdown to keep practicing!
    Let's hope we learned our lessons this time around, yeah. With vaxers, and with music, I guess it's a matter of knowing what you want your outcome to be and having the presence of mind to follow through to the end. I wish you success.
    As to the relevance of the chordal groupings put forth in the chordal harmony book, there are intervals which we've become accustomed to hearing. These are built around thirds and emphasize chord tones, so we get those sounds highlighted.
    By breaking a scale down into narrower, and wider intervals, and developing a consistent system of those chord groupings, one can expand their aural vocabulary to use, embrace and creatively and consistently employ those oft underutilized intervals. Once someone can integrate a chordal system that say, uses three notes in a row (clusters for example or spread clusters) it opens up a harmonic colour palette that might or might not be beautiful or useful to you, but it takes the self discipline to explore that system thoroughly since it's not something you're gonna learn in music school. Add the chromaticisation of resolving voice led notes for horizontal linear colour and there's a huge potential in each of those chord groups.
    In short, the material in that book lays out a lot of work that nobody but yourself is going to uncover.

    At this point in my life, I had looked at the Almanac as the silver (gold or platinum) lining of the lockdown. No, I didn't even scratch the surface of Chordal Harmony.
    We should have a discussion on how much physical time and discipline it takes to be an auto didact and how anybody manages it :-)

  12. #11

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    yea... I would also say you need to have basic musical understandings.
    And like mentioned above... you need to have a reference... that reference needs to start with understanding Functional harmony, which is just guidelines of how notes react to each other within a Musical Framework.

    That Tonic, subdominant and dominant thing is the framework and the guidelines are how notes react or create movement, (or not), and which notes control the guidelines. The pecking order...

    Generally the 1st expansion of that Framework is use of Borrowing, (the relative and parallel BS) and Subs.

    Then you get into Modal Interchange where the Guidelines change... the types of movement and which notes control that movement.

    At that point.... you can use those modal concepts, expanded modal concept to create as many musically organized Functional systems you choose.

    The typical approach is... Have a Reference, create Relationships and Develop them with musical organization.
    Your expanding your concepts of hearing... getting out of the Vanilla thing.

    You do need to have really good Technical and Performance skills .... all the info, books, teachers etc... do nothing if you can't play.

  13. #12
    Tim Miller on the CD's track 1 sound pretty good, much more interesting that the exercises, which are pretty boring, but still, the way is playing is not really my preferred cup of tea... On the other hand, just take Cycle 2, close triads in fourths from the Almanac volume II, play them on a mixed sets of three adjacent strings, create comping melodies with the top voice, add rhythms and you'll get instantaneous Herbie Hancock or McCoy Tyner left hand, which is more my stuff than the more jazz-fusion Holdsworthesque from Tim Miller demonstration playing on the Creative Chordal Book.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jangle Rainart
    Tim Miller on the CD's track 1 sound pretty good, much more interesting that the exercises, which are pretty boring, but still, the way is playing is not really my preferred cup of tea... On the other hand, just take Cycle 2, close triads in fourths from the Almanac volume II, play them on a mixed sets of three adjacent strings, create comping melodies with the top voice, add rhythms and you'll get instantaneous Herbie Hancock or McCoy Tyner left hand, which is more my stuff than the more jazz-fusion Holdsworthesque from Tim Miller demonstration playing on the Creative Chordal Book.
    Yea... I remember the 60's and even the early 70's. Was a fun way to play, and the venues were larger also. Anyway... post some of your playing, I use to really dig that playing. style.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    Attachment 83185
    Here's the chart in C. I'll make up a lead sheet for this tune based on Roman numeral chord identities instead of chord letter names.
    Attachment 83186
    Using quarter notes to create a bass line:
    Exercise suggestion:
    After you can play the roots of My Romance with Half and whole notes, try filling in the other beats of the measure with either other chord tones or passing notes to chord tones. Try to keep beats 1 and 3 with strong chord tones and experiment with notes that feel good and make a melodic bass line on 2 and 4.
    This is the stepping stone between a disciplined and strong bass line and playing melodies that convey harmony, which we'll be doing next week.

    You might be mindful to work on these new ideas in smaller bite sized pieces. For instance, work with only the first 4 bars until you can really be imaginative and sure footed with the changes. You now have one system, one solid phrase that you shouldn't need to look at a page for. Break the piece up into "episodes" of phrases that you know intimately so you can playfully transition from one familiar section to the next.

    Have fun!
    Wrong thread JBN?

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    Wrong thread JBN?
    Dang! Oh yeah. Now where'd I put the one from here?