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  1. #1

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    Hey guys,

    Just wanted to give everyone a heads up about an app that's not quite out yet, but should be released publicly soon.

    It's called Harmony Cloud. It essentially will create randomized chord progressions that you can customize to be as simple as you want, or as complex as you want. Each time you refresh it, it will come up with a new one within the parameters you set.

    You can use it to help develop your ears to recognize harmonic movement, bass movement, inversions, chord qualities, etc. All sorts of stuff. It also gives recommendations for note choices to improvise over each chord as it's moving... so if you want to get away from lick playing, it will help minimize your ability to do that by providing you with the most melodically 'in' sounding notes so you can learn to listen and improvise based on melodies (rather than riffs) over random, unique, unexpected chord movements. Or you can close your eyes and just play without using the recommendations.

    It's going to be such a comprehensive app that they started a youtube channel to post videos on all the different types of things that a musician can do with it. It hasn't been released just yet, so currently there's only a few videos on the youtube channel. But might be worth keeping an eye on it, as I'm confident they'll be adding more as it gets released and as more musicians start working with it and chiming in on the communal conversation about what this little app can do.


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    Very interesting. One problem, I hate those iPads!

    But a good idea. It'd be interesting to see how I navigate his material after 6 years with the Charlie Banaco's/ Bruce Arnold method.

  4. #3

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    Excellent stuff. I will be able to retire my spreadsheet :-)

  5. #4
    Yeah, I'll be really curious to see how it goes for you I. There's no settings for tunes or 'known' progressions. Stefon designed it to be completely randomized. It always sounds killer and musical and legit, but the algorithm is designed to really keep you on your toes.

    It can be set to really simple stuff, like just root positions I IV and V chords. But he basically incorporated every possible variation of tonal harmony.

    If you turn on every option you get every inversion of the major and minor chords for the primary key, plus diminished chords and sus chords... then you get all the inversions of the chords within the relative minor and the parallel minor PLUS you can add in all the inversions of chords from non-diatonic keys.

    Including all major, minor, diminished, augmented, and sus4 chord types.

    It's heavy man. When I first downloaded the beta test, it defaulted to include everything, and I didn't yet know you could pull it back. I spent 10 minutes on it and was so confused and frustrated I gave up. It felt like it was designed for only a very small handful of gifted people. Then I was watching some of the videos on youtube of Stefon explaining it and realized you can customize it to suit where you are, or to bring in just one new concept at a time. Now it's REALLY fun to play with. I just have it on my iPhone. Not sure if it will be available for computers or if you need an iOS device.

    But definitely let me know what you think if you get a chance to mess with it. I'll be curious. I know ear training is a big thing for you. It is for me too, and this thing is probably the most comprehensive, intense, and educational tool I've seen in the technological realm for learning to build a stronger relationship with how I hear harmony.

  6. #5

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    Hi Sounds interesting, can it do anything more than ireal pro? I real is great however not being able to program chords to play on & is limiting.

    Will watch this.

    The Random thing lost me a bit, In ireal just change the key, press play in middle of Stella, Joy Spring,
    Laura, or whatever without looking to see where you are and play .

  7. #6
    It's totally different from iReal. iReal is about playing along with tunes. There are no tunes in Harmony Cloud. It generates random progressions based on the parameters you set. If you want something very simple, you tell it that... or you can add one new/challenging harmonic idea in at a time (like a modulation to the relative minor, or to the parallel minor, or to a non-diatonic key). But regardless, there's no predetermined structure. Everytime you set the parameters, it creates something entirely different. Even if you don't change the parameters, it will make as many new progressions as you want.

    It's sort of like sitting with a piano player who knows a lot about harmony and who is just going to improvise a chord progression for you. You can avoid looking at the screen and just try and hear what's happening, or you can look at the screen and it will tell you what it is and will offer you a suggestion of pitches to utilize to improvise over each chord.

    Not sure if that makes sense. But no, there's no tunes. It's totally random. And it will change the progression for you every time you ask it to.

    It's probably better if you just watch a couple of the videos and see it. I think it will make more sense than me trying to explain it.

  8. #7

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    Ear training is like 90% of my practice time, you could say I'm obsessed with it.

    But it's working.

    I took a lesson with Harvie S. He is a funny, funny, dude! Quarter notes, I gotta get my quarter notes nice and solid!

    Wake up call, I gotta learn more tunes by rote.

    Next up is a lesson with Richie Vitale... really excited about that too.

    Maybe after that is Stefon Harris himself? I am moving out of NYC soon (end of June) so I want to milk every last drop that NYC has to offer, musically.

    What's the wait list like for Stefon? I heard that it is next to impossible to study with Bergonzi, even Ben Assflack would have to wait... grrr... not a fan of Ben's work.

  9. #8
    Not sure what Stefon's waiting list is like... or if he even takes students outside of the school stuff. I know he's crazy busy. But if you're able to work with him, I think you'd probably dig it. His ear is so ridiculous. I never studied with Banacos or anyone from that lineage... but I've read about him and heard you and others talk about it. I think there are a lot of similarities but also a lot of differences to the way Stefon approaches it. I think you'd enjoy seeing someone who's ear is that developed but who has a different take on it.

    And his scientific-esq approach to bridging the gap between harmony and melody... and how to really improvise within any given tonality is so helpful. I'm basically throwing away everything I thought I knew that I'd accumulated over the last 22 years and am starting over and reconstructing everything from the ground up. It's going to take some time... years probably... but the sounds I've been finding by utilizing his way of thinking are so gorgeous. And I'm super excited to develop an entire harmonic and melodic vocabulary based on them.

    But if you're able to meet up with him before you leave, you definitely should take advantage of him while you can. You're also more than welcome to hit me up and set up some Skype lessons after you move if you want, as the majority of what I'm doing these days is the guitar-based application of his ideas. But why settle for Skype with me if you could do in person with him?! haha

    Where are you moving?

  10. #9

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    Just the sort of thing I've been looking for. I suppose if I were being devil's advocate (or an old fart) you could say - well why not just transcribe more tunes/solos etc etc, play along with records, which is a fair point.

    But, I can see that there are all kinds of imaginative ways we can torment ourselves with this one... Excellent *rubs hands with masochistic glee*

    My spreadsheet is a very simple way of randomising a four chord progression on a random set of roots and random chord qualities - but I still have to play and record the progression, and then forget it. That said, playing the progression is good practice for voicings and voice leading etc.

    FWIW I am building up a dropbox of random chord loops, which I then practice soloing over by ear.

    This sounds like one of the applications of the new app.

    I'm going to upload my practice spreadsheet (it's very rough looking) in case it might be of interest or use to someone.
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-25-2015 at 08:13 AM.

  11. #10

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    BTW nice to see you back Alex

  12. #11

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    Technically, programming isn't random per se. Random is similated by offering a wide selection of choices and criterion.
    Providing tools to control the range of possibilities, allows the user to fashion a progressively challenging curriculum.
    I'm curious to see what decisions were made to balance between open ended possibility and common usage.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    BTW nice to see you back Alex
    Thanks, I have to make sure to keep it nice and easy and not get to riled up over on these parts.

    The reality, as I see it now, is you really gotta commit to singing to really connect to the sounds in your head. Problem is, my singing voice is horrible and my gf hates it when I practice solfege.

    That's why I am excited to be on break for a week or so. Get more singing in. Sing through Stella and play it like I should. My thing is, if I approach music any other way, I go back to old habits. I start playing positional shapes and my sound is very limited and disojointed. All the musicianship has proved to me that the guitar is just an instrument, not a mandate. The real music has to come from the inner ear. If I can't hear it, then I can't really play it and own it. That's just me and my current state in this journey towards musical expression.

    Like I've said before, you gotta find yourself in that journey we call music in these here parts.

  14. #13
    Yeah, everyone's just got to find what works best for themselves. You know I'm big on singing stuff as well, but honestly, I'm guessing you wouldn't dig the way I do my singing practice. It's different from yours. I know yours comes from the Banacos lineage, so I have no doubt it's powerful and helpful. And maybe in 10 or 20 years once I've truly internalized the stuff I'm after right now I might give that stuff a shot. But for now there's only so much time in the day and we have to pick and choose. I guess my point being that yes, I agree, we all have to find ourselves in the journey and make choices about how best to do that that are in alignment with what feels right.

    Because really, I know guys with massive ears that don't practice any singing stuff. They've developed their ears just by listening really closely and paying attention in their own way. If it works for them, who am I to tell them otherwise? There is a certain type of singing I personally find helpful and try to do everyday, just for a few minutes to warm up... but again, different from what you're after.

    For now at least.

    Welcome back.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87
    Thanks, I have to make sure to keep it nice and easy and not get to riled up over on these parts.
    Whenever this happens to me, I like to look at this image and ask myself - 'would Django give a ****?'

    Harmony Cloud practice/ear training/harmony/improvisation app-citanesdjango-gif

    If that doesn't work, I like to look at this:

    Harmony Cloud practice/ear training/harmony/improvisation app-001751145-jpg
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-25-2015 at 06:50 PM.

  16. #15
    The app is finished and officially available in the app store. I just bought it. It's $9.99. Really fun stuff in it!

    If anyone else ends up getting it, please chime in here and let us know what you think and how you're using it.

    It's called Harmony Cloud.

  17. #16
    destinytot Guest
    Thanks for the heads-up!

  18. #17

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    I hope they do an android version.

  19. #18

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    thanks for the heads up. going to check it out now!

  20. #19

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    Bought it. Just perfect for true improvisation by ear and inspiration for composing
    Thanks for the link !

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by jordanklemons
    The app is finished and officially available in the app store. I just bought it. It's $9.99. Really fun stuff in it!

    If anyone else ends up getting it, please chime in here and let us know what you think and how you're using it.

    It's called Harmony Cloud.
    Harmony Cloud practice/ear training/harmony/improvisation app-imgres-png

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeromesteele
    I hope they do an android version.
    Seconded. There's more of us than iphone users after all...

  23. #22
    Yeah, I don't know if/when a droid version will happen. I know apple and droid have different processes for getting apps out. I heard Stefon talk a lot about the mac process, but I don't recall much talk of the droid process. Doesn't mean it's not in the works. Might be worth reaching out to them and asking.

  24. #23

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    Hey Jordan,

    I am a jazz guitarist as well and I am thinking of buying this app. I see in the videos that it is mostly triads on the app. I know that Stefon's approach to harmony is triad based, but I am wondering if there are seventh and extended chords? Either way, I'm probably going to get this, it looks great.

    Thanks in advance!

  25. #24

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    Jordan this looks absolutely amazing - if not in its current stage then as it (hopefully) develops. Will definitely be purchasing this and tinkering around with it at some point. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this resource. Exhaustive things like this can be great not only for our own musicianship, but as teaching tools with students as well. I do a lot of stuff with my students using this site: and some of them get really into it. Apps and games are very valuable in this day and age when it can be hard to just focus and create your own structure.

  26. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulla
    Hey Jordan,

    I am a jazz guitarist as well and I am thinking of buying this app. I see in the videos that it is mostly triads on the app. I know that Stefon's approach to harmony is triad based, but I am wondering if there are seventh and extended chords? Either way, I'm probably going to get this, it looks great.

    Thanks in advance!
    Hey Sulla,

    So you seem to be familiar with Stefon's triadic approach... have to spoken/studied with him? It is very much triad based, but goes so far in depth with advanced harmony as well (both in terms of harmonic motion and vertical harmony and extended chords).

    I personally have not even scratched the surface with this app. When I first got it it seemed so far over my head I literally could not keep up in the slightest. Everything was going in one ear and out the other with little to no recognition. I finally realized there was a menu where I could simplify things and start at the beginning and bring in one new topic at a time. So I set it all the way back to just root position triads of the I IV and V chords. That's it. I'm near perfect at this, but surprisingly, not 100%... which seems like something I should be ashamed of as a professional musician. So I'm sticking to the most basic stuff with the goal of slowly increasing the complexity to involve the inversions, minor chords, diminished, mode mixture, non-diatonic, etc.

    As far as I've seen, I haven't noticed any 7th chords or advanced upper structure stuff. It seems to be more about learning to hear the function and movement of lower structure harmony. But the thing is, once you learn to hear and utilize triads in a very deep sense... the upper structure stuff is the same. For instance, the Maj7 chord is really just a major chord with a minor triad sitting on top of it starting on the 3rd. You can learn to hear, compose, and improvise melodies around that triad... and that's ultimately what gives the tonality of a maj7 chord. So I personally feel there a huge benefit to avoiding extensions and focusing on JUST triads during certain parts of our (my) practice time.

    That said... if you're looking to jump over that approach of getting a deep sense of perfection with the simple stuff before going advanced, then no.. I don't recall seeing any extensions or even 7th chords in the app. I'll try to remember to check when I have some free time and let you know for sure... but I'm pretty sure it's not there. Doesn't mean he won't add an "advanced" update to the app at some point.