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  1. #1

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Nice!

  4. #3

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    Nice indeed.

  5. #4

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    Very nice. It is interesting that with years of playing, even when we're not 'thinking' tonally, we wind up playing tonally, perhaps with just different means of organization. Because, there's a difference between not thinking of a key and intentionally trying to compose atonally.

    At simplest we can also just try to intentionally avoid something 'normal' or what we would normally do, which is hard to do on the spot.

  6. #5

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    That was VERY cool!
    Can you please say a few words about how you recorded this piece?
    Like what Guitar/Amp/Interface/Effects/Recording-Software did you use?

    Thanks!


  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci View Post
    Very nice. It is interesting that with years of playing, even when we're not 'thinking' tonally, we wind up playing tonally, perhaps with just different means of organization. Because, there's a difference between not thinking of a key and intentionally trying to compose atonally.

    At simplest we can also just try to intentionally avoid something 'normal' or what we would normally do, which is hard to do on the spot.
    Yeah! This was very interesting try. I compose a lot parts of songs by using non-music related imagination (you can listen Korpijärvi or Spring's diversity on my youtube channel if you want). But here I tried not to think anything just produce a song where I don't know key and things like that. I have to practice this more.
    Thank you for your comment!

    Cheers, Mikko

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Christoph R. View Post
    That was VERY cool!
    Can you please say a few words about how you recorded this piece?
    Like what Guitar/Amp/Interface/Effects/Recording-Software did you use?

    Thanks!
    Hello Christoph R.!

    I use the cheapest equipment available. The guitar is my only electric one. It's Tokai stratocaster that was build for music store to try-guitar for Seymore Duncan mikes. Amp is Peavey Classic 30 little bit modified (I don't know how). Then it was recorded with Zoom h2 (like all of my videos are) and GarageBand. I made three tracks of the one track and used some effects like chorus, reverb, compressor, stereo and delay on different tracks and panned them to different speakers.

    I don't have money for good recording equipment so I try to invent ways to some how handle with these cheap ones.

    Thank you for asking! If you are interested you can check out free lessons from my site:
    http://mikkokarhula.wixsite.com/mikkokarhula

    Kindest,
    Mikko

  9. #8

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    Hey Mikko!

    Thanks for the quick reply and detailed answer!

    Great Sound you got there and on your other youtube-videos also!


    Best regards, Christoph


  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Christoph R. View Post
    Hey Mikko!

    Thanks for the quick reply and detailed answer!

    Great Sound you got there and on your other youtube-videos also!


    Best regards, Christoph
    Thanks Christoph!
    Keep on playing!

  11. #10

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    Just putting your heart in the music is good enough for me.

    Great Approach
    - KI

    "Don't play what's there, play what's not there"
    - Miles Davis

  12. #11

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    After reading this thread last night, I sat down with my Ibanez and started working on being less beholden to key and scale. Thanks for the kick in the ass.

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by beetle_rist View Post
    Just putting your heart in the music is good enough for me.

    Great Approach
    Thank you! So true!

    Cheers,
    Mikko

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpalumpacus View Post
    After reading this thread last night, I sat down with my Ibanez and started working on being less beholden to key and scale. Thanks for the kick in the ass.
    You are welcome! Theory, technique and music leaning overall is very important. But it's very interesting to find balance with things and try methods like this.

    Keep on playing!

    Here is some free lessons that might ins pirate:
    http://mikkokarhula.wixsite.com/mikkokarhula

    cheers, Mikko

  15. #14

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    I get this...I find myself starting in a key....thinking....ok your in Eminor...then drifting off somewhere...trying to finish up in Eminor.......What is really happening is we are using are ears...as we should......we may be drifting in and out of keys or something modal.......But the concentration is on the composition......Not a problem if playing solo.......

  16. #15

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    Being too hung up on key is a deal breaker for an improvising jazz musician imo. Jazz by nature, even at it's most conservative, is outside compared to other genres. I've told this story before but I used to play with a horn player who was way tripped out on what key the tune was in. And he was too good of a player to be thinking like that. He told me that he was once playing with some people and he asked one of the guys "what key is the tune in?" The guy just told him to make up his own key.

  17. #16
    Being too hung up on key is a deal breaker for an improvising jazz musician imo. Jazz by nature, even at it's most conservative, is outside compared to other genres. I've told this story before but I used to play with a horn player who was way tripped out on what key the tune was in. And he was too good of a player to be thinking like that. He told me that he was once playing with some people and he asked one of the guys "what key is the tune in?" The guy just told him to make up his own key.

    Nice story and I'm happy that you shared it. Music is full of interesting aspects. It's never ending trip.

    I have published this video in Finnish forums and people has told stories like this:

    Barnie Kessel has practiced in dark room and also Finnish guitarist Rauol Björkenheim does this and teaches it. That way they try to get out of the visual aid and rely only their ears (I think). I think this is interesting. IMO darkness can interrupt concentration. But this is worth of trying.

    Another idea was to re-tune guitar maybe in random tune. And then play and get new harmonies that you are not aware of when taking certain chord form with your fingers.

    Interesting ideas.

    Cheers,
    Mikko

  18. #17

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    Improvising is an art form..it seems to me everybody takes a different approach...I guess based on how our brains are wired......If you listen to various pro's masterclasses you get that.....

  19. #18

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    I think that playing in the dark sometimes and to a lesser extent retuning the guitar are good ideas.

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by artcore View Post
    Improvising is an art form..it seems to me everybody takes a different approach...I guess based on how our brains are wired......If you listen to various pro's masterclasses you get that.....
    You are right!
    What I have worked out already is: IMO we are partly what has happened to us, good and bad things. Memories are attached to our feelings. And if we are not enchaining us to theory-only and technique-only thinking we might find different way to choose notes. When I compose often some memory comes to my mind and it's loaded with feelings. I try to carry with that feeling and choose harmonies that support it. So I think that we choose notes that affect us, notes that we find pleasant, unpleasant, scary, happy etc. and we all have lived different life and have different memories and feelings come out differently.

    This is one way to be unique.

    I'm sure that many can find that gibberish but I believe it because it happens in my head.

    If some one is interested you can join my Facebook group "Creative Concepts for Guitar" and share your own ideas.

    Kindest
    Mikko

  21. #20

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    Beautiful.

    I don't hear it as Atonal but wandering nicely through various Chordal Centers ...but who cares what I think ?

    Sounds really nice and Modern and 'Harmonically Expanded ' and well played and composed !

  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Robertkoa View Post
    Beautiful.

    I don't hear it as Atonal but wandering nicely through various Chordal Centers ...but who cares what I think ?

    Sounds really nice and Modern and 'Harmonically Expanded ' and well played and composed !
    Thank you! And yes I do care what you think. That´s why this video is in this forum.

    I always try to make music that I find beautiful to my ears even when I make "ugly" note chooses. They are there for in reason to make things after that or before that more beautiful.

    I wanted this composition to be hew to me and still tonal. I haven't ever composed atonal song. I haven't try to hear it in my head maybe I wouldn't hear it.

    Cheers, Mikko

  23. #22

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    yeah i guess atonal = attempting to not have a center, while "keyless thinking" would mean more so trying to not be thinking about keys at all, whether in or out. I dig that the original attempt here wasn't to avoid having a tonic.

    I think it also could be argued that anything "atonal" that still uses the 12 pitches does in fact have a key center, just the key centers are switching quickly, and it becomes a stretch to justify.

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci View Post
    yeah i guess atonal = attempting to not have a center, while "keyless thinking" would mean more so trying to not be thinking about keys at all, whether in or out. I dig that the original attempt here wasn't to avoid having a tonic.

    I think it also could be argued that anything "atonal" that still uses the 12 pitches does in fact have a key center, just the key centers are switching quickly, and it becomes a stretch to justify.
    You couldn't say it better. Thank you JakeAcci!

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci View Post
    yeah i guess atonal = attempting to not have a center, while "keyless thinking" would mean more so trying to not be thinking about keys at all, whether in or out. I dig that the original attempt here wasn't to avoid having a tonic.

    I think it also could be argued that anything "atonal" that still uses the 12 pitches does in fact have a key center, just the key centers are switching quickly, and it becomes a stretch to justify.
    Yes. And just for me a Key is often too broad of a Concept ( with 6 Chordal Scale Degrees / Secondary Dominants etc etc ) so I try to think of Chordal Regions or Chordal Centers- the Vibe of the Chord and Color of the Voicing because everything flows toward that Chordal Center at phrase endings ...
    And some voicings are beautfully ambiguous and some Chord Sequences are bordering on Atonal because they are continually modulating or ambiguous...but still someone improvising or Singing has to land on a chord tone so I call it a chordal center or region ...
    Yes ...I am oversimplifying whether an Aminor 7 is a ii in Gmajor or a i in Aminor ...but hopefully I would react to that AFTER the Aminor 7 chord...or maybe not...lol.

    Anyway what I like about the OPs Composition is it has a really nice floating quality...not too dissonant...sounds good feels good.

  26. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Robertkoa View Post
    Yes. And just for me a Key is often too broad of a Concept ( with 6 Chordal Scale Degrees / Secondary Dominants etc etc ) so I try to think of Chordal Regions or Chordal Centers- the Vibe of the Chord and Color of the Voicing because everything flows toward that Chordal Center at phrase endings ...
    And some voicings are beautfully ambiguous and some Chord Sequences are bordering on Atonal because they are continually modulating or ambiguous...but still someone improvising or Singing has to land on a chord tone so I call it a chordal center or region ...
    Yes ...I am oversimplifying whether an Aminor 7 is a ii in Gmajor or a i in Aminor ...but hopefully I would react to that AFTER the Aminor 7 chord...or maybe not...lol.

    Anyway what I like about the OPs Composition is it has a really nice floating quality...not too dissonant...sounds good feels good.
    Thank you Robertkoa! Nice thinking, It taught me some new things. and I completely agree with you. I love to analyze everything but there is moments in my compositions where I just let it flow and don't want to think about the keys, tonic, chordal center...In this little composition I tried to make it wholly with out thinking these things. It was actually hard in some parts. I hope this example helped someone in someway of one's playing.

    Here are a lot of amazingly wise people on this site and if you are interested you can join my guitar group in Facebook (Creative Concepts for Guitar). There are great players from my home land Finland and from other countries too that share their ideas for playing and practicing.

    Kindest, Mikko

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee View Post
    Being too hung up on key is a deal breaker for an improvising jazz musician imo. Jazz by nature, even at it's most conservative, is outside compared to other genres. I've told this story before but I used to play with a horn player who was way tripped out on what key the tune was in. And he was too good of a player to be thinking like that. He told me that he was once playing with some people and he asked one of the guys "what key is the tune in?" The guy just told him to make up his own key.
    I just could not disagree more! You don't have to be 'hung up' on key, but if you didn't spend some solid years learning to play tunes with an 'inside' approach---knowing the tune's lyrics, the different keys it's typically played in---you've missed IMO (and I'm playing jazz for almost half a century) the core of the art. Playing 'out' (or 'key-free) can be just as cliched and tired as 'in', if the player is uninspired (or, well, untalented). You can find much freshness in a key, a tune, a genre by LISTENING AND RESPONDING.

    Young players always seem to think they have to re-invent the wheel. Not so, you just find a new angle to turn it at. I don't understand this discussion, or, frankly, find it productive.

    And I find that statement about 'jazz....more outside by nature' (unless you mean in a sociological sense---as in created by 'outsiders') patently absurd and just plain WRONG. Jazz was THE popular music of the '30s in the US. by virtue of its very 'understandablity' (and danceabilty). It became more harmonically sophisticated and less a 'peoples' music' in following decades. That was both good and bad IMO. Of course music has to evolve and grow---but the classic elements: swing, melody, good self-editing by good soloists (read: don't go on and on saying nothing just to play long), the ASB repertoire, blues and Latin influences will ALWAYS be the plasma of this music, whatever you do harmonically---or how 'hip' or 'out' or key-free you want to get.

    If you forego the basics of ANYTHING....

  28. #27

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    I liked this a lot.

    Within a piece, the tonal colour of where you're at harmonically at a given moment will always, at least partly, be determined by what preceded it. There's an implied key centre for reference, contrast, juxtaposition etc.

  29. #28

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    Such big words.

    Oy vey. No wonder people don't like jazz anymore. Worry about playing for people and reaching them instead of these fancy-shmancy concepts that only musicians understand.

    Ahh, I'm wasting my 'breath'. Youth is wasted on the young. Go ahead, do your thing...

  30. #29

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    There is relatively little activity in this sub-forum and I think we should welcome any original contributions. If they are not to our liking and we have no positive* criticism to offer, there is always the option to "keep it to ourselves". Being polite here.

    (*I meant constructive)
    Last edited by Peter C; 10-05-2018 at 06:45 PM.

  31. #30
    I never understand that reiterated fact in the forums: Somebody is not agree with Everybody and one from that mayority accuse Somebody of being negative and destructive.

    Only because Somebody isn't agree with you? What the hell is that kind of reasoning?

    The opinion that is contrary to your opinion is probably the one you'll learn the most. This modern and increasing culture of wanting likes everywhere is really unproductive

    Quote Originally Posted by fasstrack View Post
    Young players always seem to think they have to re-invent the wheel
    Agree.

    About the video: it's really nice that any musician write and play their own music as they please. That's the base of the artistic creation. But let's not forget that we haven't invented neither the artistic creation nor the lack of a tonal axis nor the atonal paths nor the keyless thinking when composing (actually I hear a very clear tonal patterns in that solo guitar music).


    Quote Originally Posted by Peter C
    Within a piece, the tonal colour of where you're at harmonically at a given moment will always, at least partly, be determined by what preceded it. There's an implied key centre for reference, contrast, juxtaposition etc.
    That is partially true, although false in many cases. There are millions of scores with actual atonal music with no key center at all, neither in the analysis nor the human perception.

    It's not only about to write music with a certain theory in mind or not, but to write music having listened to thousands of diferent music styles from diferent countries from diferent centuries, etc.

  32. #31
    Hi guys!

    I see that this original post is gaining some discussion and there are some disagreement also. Every opinion is very welcome. Critical feedback invites reflection and gives new point of views. Also positive feedback develops because it gives believe to receiver's work IMO.

    I will give my opinion to statements that maybe concerned about my video:
    -About young players re-inventing the wheel:
    I'm not trying to re-invent the wheel. My mission was personal. I wanted to challenge my self and examine method that is actually quite natural to me. I wanted to know can I compose whole song with this idea that comes every now and then in my other compositions. I thought that this is quite fun way to compose. I find it inspiring and I hoped that if I post it here some people will be inspired too.

    And it's relative am I young or not. I'm turning to 36 this year and some concern me middle aged. To this age I have played several styles and I want always find something new to keep it fresh. This video was not indication how one should think and play. It was just one little idea in this wide sea of ideas we share.

    -About atonality and tonality:
    My goal wasn't to make atonal music. I have never done it and I don't even know how to compose actual atonal music. My goal was simply to surprise my self and compose music that sounds pleasant to my ears.

    -About that people don't like jazz anymore was claimed here to be due to people like me who don't worry about playing for people and reaching them instead of creating these fancy-shmancy concepts that only musicians understand.

    Actually most of my time I spend with dealing music related subjects goes to reaching the people. Finding gig opportunities, being in touch with gig orderer, finding people who can help in music field, finding students, making posters, arranging rehearsals etc. etc. When I have time after this and my day-job and taking care of my kids I might do these videos and maintain my website and Facebook group where I give my ideas with transcription and backing tracks for free to anyone. I play variety of styles and they don't all include this "fancy-shmancy concepts" but things within I want to give experiences to listeners.

    And IMO people like jazz very much. We have a lot of players and jazz festivals here in Finland. But I think that since jazz's golden days there have been arose so many other styles to listen to. Focus of the majority population is somewhere else also the money is there. Unfortunately.

    I hope this gave picture of my thought despite my English.

    Have a nice spring and let those strings to sing!

    kindest, Mikko

  33. #32

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    I think a lot of stuff that does 'connect' with an audience might start in a laboratory of some sort. People do appreciate creativity, and I see a lot of what we explore in this forum (at least for the more advanced players) as experiments. "Is there something here?" Is a good question. The alternative might just be playing Joe Pass solos over and over!

  34. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by MikkoKarhula View Post
    I'm not trying to re-invent the wheel. My mission was personal. I wanted to challenge my self and examine method that is actually quite natural to me. I wanted to know can I compose whole song with this idea that comes every now and then in my other compositions. I thought that this is quite fun way to compose. I find it inspiring and I hoped that if I post it here some people will be inspired too.

    (...)

    My goal wasn't to make atonal music. I have never done it and I don't even know how to compose actual atonal music. My goal was simply to surprise my self and compose music that sounds pleasant to my ears.
    I think I understood your goal and found pretty nice that you share your personal researchings I actually replied to a couple posts in the disscusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikkoKarhula View Post
    Actually most of my time I spend with dealing music related subjects goes to reaching the people. Finding gig opportunities, being in touch with gig orderer, finding people who can help in music field, finding students, making posters, arranging rehearsals etc. etc. When I have time after this and my day-job and taking care of my kids I might do these videos and maintain my website and Facebook group where I give my ideas with transcription and backing tracks for free to anyone. I play variety of styles and they don't all include this "fancy-shmancy concepts" but things within I want to give experiences to listeners.


    IMO, the last 50 years have increased the obsession for the aproval of the listeners and this has radically changed the way composers do their stuff. When we are too worried of being accepted by the audience, the risk of not being ourselfs is the main killer of creativity. Due this I think we are living the poorest age of our music history in terms of creativity
    .

    PS: As you can see, my english is worse than yours. Sorry

  35. #34

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    Chema, I think you're way off the mark (vas muy descaminado) regarding the definition of positive* criticism and this being the poorest age for creativity, though I found your music on youtube very interesting.

    (*I meant "constructive" - must have been busy when I wrote it)
    Last edited by Peter C; 10-05-2018 at 06:40 PM.

  36. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter C View Post
    Chema, I think you're way off the mark (vas muy descaminado) regarding the definition of positive criticism and this being the poorest age for creativity, though I found your music on youtube very interesting.
    It's possible that my limited english has taken me the wrong way. In this case I am sorry

    And when I say "poorest age of music" I'm not replying anybody here. Just a thought of mine (divagando! ) when I check the obsession people have nowadays with the "likes" of the global audience. It seems to me there are too many cliches, but, again, I am sorry, because, as you said I'm off the mark (meando fuera del tiesto :-).

    And thank you very much for your comment about my stuff.
    Last edited by Chema Mrua; 02-26-2017 at 10:41 AM.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chema Mrua View Post


    Agree.





    I never meant to tell anyone what to do, how to write, how to wipe their bottoms, etc.

    I think experimentation/innovation is necessary---or music will NEVER progress. I DO think that people sometimes unwisely IMO get into what I term 'the culture of the new'---and that can be as big a dead end as doing the same old formulaic stuff ad nauseum.

    I think it's best we HEAR something, and develop THAT---then worry later about what the tonality, # of bars, etc. are. Composition-by-number (or formula) never appealed to me. Hear something, write it down, make sure it's playable or singable and makes sense range and execution-wise for the players/vocalists involved. Figure out what it is theoretically later---or let others do the post-mortems. But at least SOME knowledge of what you are getting at in solid musical terms will definitely stand you in good stead, as you will be more confident and sure-footed writing your piece. As long as that knowledge doesn't take over and impede the flow.

    I like Bill Evans's statement from a 1978 interview with Marian McPartland:

    'Intuitition should LEAD knowledge, but if it's out there on its own you're gonna flounder at some point'.

    And I DO apologize for coming off a bit opinionated, or even nasty. Let's all write our asses off---and bring some beauty into this messed-up world.

    Joel
    Last edited by fasstrack; 02-26-2017 at 12:34 PM.

  38. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by fasstrack View Post
    I never meant to tell anyone what to do, how to write, how to wipe their bottoms, etc.

    I think experimentation/innovation is necessary---or music will NEVER progress. I DO think that people sometimes unwisely IMO get into what I term 'the culture of the new'---and that can be as big a dead end as doing the same old formulaic stuff ad nauseum.

    I think it's best we HEAR something, and develop THAT---then worry later about what the tonality, # of bars, etc. are. Composition-by-number (or formula) never appealed to me. Hear something, write it down, make sure it's playable or singable and makes sense range and execution-wise for the players/vocalists involved. Figure out what it is theoretically later---or let others do the post-mortems. But at least SOME knowledge of what you are getting at in solid musical terms will definitely stand you in good stead, as you will be more confident and sure-footed writing your piece. As long as that knowledge doesn't take over and impede the flow.

    I like Bill Evans's statement from a 1978 interview with Marian McPartland:

    'Intuitition should LEAD knowledge, but if it's out there on its own you're gonna flounder at some point'.

    And I DO apologize for coming off a bit opinionated, or even nasty. Let's all write our asses off---and bring some beauty into this messed-up world.

    Joel
    Nevermind Joel! It's actually very good that discussion is stimulated. I agree with you and it was well stated.

    I'm coming up with these methods instinctively and I have learned that it's part of my personality. Despite the attempt to find new things I play the very old music. Yesterday I was playing gypsy jazz acoustically in catholic celebration (althought I'm not catholic) and we had players who didn't know a bit of theory. Even no names of keys. So I'm not categorize things to new and old, bad and good. Every influence can be turned into knowledge. Like these posts.

    Kindest, Mikko

  39. #38

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    I clicked on other stuff by our friend Mikko immediately after watching the first video and found this. Better than words:

  40. #39

  41. #40

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    Yeah. By the way, I just played the first video to my 11 year old pop-loving daughter and she thought it was "a bit too jazzy for her liking, but pretty good".

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikkoKarhula View Post
    Nevermind Joel! It's actually very good that discussion is stimulated. I agree with you and it was well stated.

    I'm coming up with these methods instinctively and I have learned that it's part of my personality. Despite the attempt to find new things I play the very old music. Yesterday I was playing gypsy jazz acoustically in catholic celebration (althought I'm not catholic) and we had players who didn't know a bit of theory. Even no names of keys. So I'm not categorize things to new and old, bad and good. Every influence can be turned into knowledge. Like these posts.

    Kindest, Mikko
    As long as we realize that nothing---and NOBODY---comes from nothing. Listen to Charlie Parker with Mcshann---KC blues and standards with a new sound and new, exciting ideas---but VERY rooted. Or slow down his Embaceable You to 1/2 speed---and hear Coleman Hawkins.

    I think, also, there's a difference---not always understood---between 'originality' and 'innovation':

    A child spreading finger paint in a way unique to him can be said to be, in a sense, original. A musician who plays his own music his own way after years of work, introspection and study may come up with something new and unprecedented. But it may never have any influence on anybody---thereby not making music progress.

    Innovators, OTOH, make a contribution by their originality both coming out of what was already there AND replacing that thing with something better. THAT'S progress: utility by others, and moving music (or fill in your own other endeavor) forward.

    I know a talented guy who plays two saxophones fused together (no names, but some of you will figure his identity out). His foundation and justification to me is that he plays very well on one horn, knows harmony and tunes and the jazz tradition. But he 'hears' this other thing. It's not just the two-horn configuration (which he invented, BTW). His phrasing and spacing are unique to him---so much so that I find it hard to comp for him----better to lay out b/c he might come in anywhere, and I'm not a mind-reader.

    The point, sadly, is that it's all for him----he's influenced NOBODY, and beyond some recordings he's made his music will likely die when he does. That's a classic case of definite and worthy originality----but NOT innovation.

    Do you see my point?

    As for myself: I had a college professor who suggested making up 'artificial scales' and basing pieces off those. I simply could not---WOULD NOT do it. And I found his music contrived and cold---like I found many of the serialists. (Milton Babbitt and the late Pierre Boulez were interesting at the least. {Sondheim studied with Babbitt, BTW})

    I absolutely want to---NEED TO grow as a composer. But I believe that the materials already out there can still be worked with and reshaped and one still have one's individual and strong voice. I admit to being mostly an 'ear' person. I started a long piece years ago that had a black-humor story narrated by someone off-stage, and used modes that I didn't understand. I took it to my then-instructor, the late, great Bill Finegan. He said 'you have a lot of courage'. I never finished the piece, and once Bill told me I was gonna have a tough time b/c 'your music is too sophisticated for the average player'. He advised me to 'write a simple melody'. I was, naturally, crushed (I ADORED Bill), and wonder if my plunge into traditional ASB songwriting was at least in part a way of answering my teacher. (I think not---it's in my blood, my dad playing show music around the house when I was 3 or 4--and I memorized the scores to Porgy and Bess and West Side Story at that age)

    But he ate his words when he heard my tune Not a Bad November---and was so impressed (NOTHING impressed that guy, he heard it ALL, and was friends with Strayhorn and Wilder) he told me to send it to Tony Bennett!

    So, where I am now is that I want to be a successful songwriter, earning money at it, and believe there can NEVER be enough good songs in the world. But the 'curious child' is still alive, gets bored, feels often at a creative dead end (playing more than writing) and feels the need to grow and push the personal envelope---again, based on materials already extant.

    Dizzy Gillespie called it 'evolution'...
    Last edited by fasstrack; 02-26-2017 at 04:33 PM.

  43. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter C View Post
    Yeah. By the way, I just played the first video to my 11 year old pop-loving daughter and she thought it was "a bit too jazzy for her liking, but pretty good".
    Hey Peter C! Tell your daughter that she almost made me cry. Compliments from children can be so honest.
    Thank you!

  44. #43

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    It's really interesting that this has started such an intense discussion. I suppose there'll always be those who prefer a tune they can understand whereas others, for some reason, get off on sounds. It's also interesting that when music isn't really music at all and just ghastly to listen to it's generally recognised by both types of person.

    Personally, I've done a lot of experimentation over the years. Some of it was fairly extreme, some not so, but with me it was always a flirtation, not something lasting. In the end I've gone back, despite myself, to simple tunes with some emotional and human content about them. I think you've got to really, otherwise you lose touch with yourself.

    But the title of the thread is about music not in any particular key. I wrote this the other day and, whereas it never strays too far from a certain area, it's not really 'in' anything. Some might find it heavy going, but it is what it is. It's called Potsdam and I've no idea why, the name just popped in from somewhere.


  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by fasstrack View Post
    I just could not disagree more! You don't have to be 'hung up' on key, but if you didn't spend some solid years learning to play tunes with an 'inside' approach---knowing the tune's lyrics, the different keys it's typically played in---you've missed IMO (and I'm playing jazz for almost half a century) the core of the art. Playing 'out' (or 'key-free) can be just as cliched and tired as 'in', if the player is uninspired (or, well, untalented). You can find much freshness in a key, a tune, a genre by LISTENING AND RESPONDING.

    Young players always seem to think they have to re-invent the wheel. Not so, you just find a new angle to turn it at. I don't understand this discussion, or, frankly, find it productive.

    And I find that statement about 'jazz....more outside by nature' (unless you mean in a sociological sense---as in created by 'outsiders') patently absurd and just plain WRONG. Jazz was THE popular music of the '30s in the US. by virtue of its very 'understandablity' (and danceabilty). It became more harmonically sophisticated and less a 'peoples' music' in following decades. That was both good and bad IMO. Of course music has to evolve and grow---but the classic elements: swing, melody, good self-editing by good soloists (read: don't go on and on saying nothing just to play long), the ASB repertoire, blues and Latin influences will ALWAYS be the plasma of this music, whatever you do harmonically---or how 'hip' or 'out' or key-free you want to get.

    If you forego the basics of ANYTHING....
    Quite right... BUT that's what's happening anyway. Obviously Mikko is a good, experienced player. His speed, technique, sense of harmony, etc, testify to that. If he didn't already know the basics - and way beyond the basics - he couldn't do this stuff.

    It's not like classical where you play the page, this is like jazz where you make it up as you go along (!). That's the basis of any improvisation in any medium. If the basics aren't there it would just sound like a stupid mess, which it doesn't.

    Psychologically, it might be an attempt to break out of the patterns inevitably formed by much ordinary playing, like a prisoner trashing their cell. Once you've got it off your chest you calm down again :-)

    I find the best way to get freshness into the music is to leave it and do other things. Clear the mind, let some air in. Unfortunately most good musicians are somewhat locked into their interest and it can drive them too much.

    Just my thought for the day

  46. #45

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    perception is about realations anyway...

    When you look at some building you may not understand the archetectural theory... but somehow you can percieve it a single integral entity, you probably feel the balance of parts, rythm of details or arches or whatever...

    Otherwise we just would not be able to identify it a mass...

    Same thing with music.. if we can understand that 'this is the beginning of a tune and this pause is not the end yet' then that means it is alrea a language we understand somehow...

    Actually it's not the theory that is an issue... we can exclude 'key-thinking' but excluding 'key-hearing' is much more difficult...

    but it is the concept of using theory... and when we delibrately choose to ignore theory we then choose another concept.
    I am not sure it would make me feel more free... in both cases 'concept rules'

    tbh I never tried to get rid of theoretic concepts I know..
    just because it was kind of personal ambition... I supposed that if I would be able to do something really worthy - a theory then would be a good tool for me..

    If the theory somehow gets in... well then this is what I am really worth.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah View Post
    realations
    You probably mistyped that but I like that, it should be a proper word :-)

    we can exclude 'key-thinking' but excluding 'key-hearing' is much more difficult...
    True.

  48. #47
    I'd just like to point out a single thing but often misunderstood: there are many theory perspectives from which we can write or think our compositions. Theory, as many people think, is not synonymous of tonality (or key); atonality is not synonymous of serialism, and composig music without a theory system in mind is not equal to a non analyzable result.

    Sorry, I just needed to say it.
    Last edited by Chema Mrua; 02-27-2017 at 09:05 AM.

  49. #48

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    I never meant to tell anyone what to do, how to write, how to wipe their bottoms, etc.
    well you should not exclude the last... this is where a good advice is always appreciated

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah View Post
    well you should not exclude the last... this is where a good advice is always appreciated
    Don't tempt me...

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    It's not like classical where you play the page, this is like jazz where you make it up as you go along (!)
    That's a really interesting topic: Even if you don't 'play the page' has jazz gotten too codified, too 'set'?----especially b/c most young players are learning it in school, and codification is not only schools' credo but their PAYCHECK.

    Among the players I know, many are tops in many, if not most departments---except, sadly, the most IMPORTANT: there are few REAL improvisors out there. I mean seat-of-your-pants-f' it-I'm gonna-let-it-rip-and-f-the-'mistakes'. Most players, especially in the last 50 years, have more going on with craft, slick harmonic moves, fill-in-your-own than real in-the-moment improvising. It takes COURAGE to do that, and looseness (which is one main reason why cats use 'recreational substances).

    My friend Steve, an outstanding alto player who basically quit, once told me 'I've had a bellyfull of 'really good musicians'. I can dig that.

    Why do people play it safe? Fear. Fear of 'failure', banishment from the herd (humans are the foremost of herd-thinkers---b/c among the animal kingdom they can actually THINK). That's both good news AND bad: Good b/c you can really break away from the herd mentality if you've the gumption and trust in what you are doing. Bad b/c the wrong kind of thinking can put us right back with that herd, and this is why real progress and creative breakthroughs in ANY endeavor are so slow in coming and so relatively rare.

    The final irony: once real originality or innovation occurs, followers jump on the bandwagon---and in a matter of years it becomes conservative, safe, tried-and-true. It's always the followers---self-appointed 'keepers of the flame'---who turn diamonds into zircons.

    And that's MY thought of the day...
    Last edited by fasstrack; 02-27-2017 at 07:22 PM.