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  1. #101

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    Almost everyone I've spoken to on the subject seems to agree that modes shouldn't be introduced until the student has a good grasp on basic changes playing with chord tones and so on.

    However, I still frequently get students who know every mode under the sun, can't remember the tune and chords to a single tune and simply outline the chord tones of a simple progression. Worse thing is, they have been taught this way.

    I'm not talking about language, I'm not talking about Barry Harris or anything, I'm talking about the basics....

    So Jens putting this out there is helpful, as he has a good reach on YouTube, loads of subscribers. People who want lessons from me usually watch his channel :-)

    Scale based improvising - well scales are nice things... Modal improvising is obviously something again. Again, I think with all this stuff, it's best to let the music teach to you, the listen/play cycle. Then a theory book stops being a Dungeons and Dragons manual and starts actually being useful for something....

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #102

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    Very early on in my jazz playing, I was teaching beginner lessons at a small studio owned by a really great jazz piano player (RIP Joe)

    He became my kind of "jazz mentor" for a while. Basically we'd just play tunes and he'd kick my ass.

    But I remember the first time he heard me noodling in between lessons, he poked his head around the door and said "sounds good, can you play me a tune?"

    I played a somewhat solo version of "Here's that Rainy Day" and he said, "ah, nice. I stump most young guys with that question."
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  4. #103

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    How can you navigate the instrument if you don't "map" the right notes in all positions.
    Doesn't matter if you build off of it at least you know what you're adding or rejecting.

    Barry Harris has stated that he has seen classical students and good ones at that who didn't even know where they were in a progression!

    I've had students who couldn't make a statement in Eb because they couldn't map the board mix at Bb or any other position.
    If you can distinguish between rehearsing and practicing...you're better than half way there!

  5. #104

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    Quote Originally Posted by WILSON 1 View Post
    How can you navigate the instrument if you don't "map" the right notes in all positions.
    Doesn't matter if you build off of it at least you know what you're adding or rejecting.

    Barry Harris has stated that he has seen classical students and good ones at that who didn't even know where they were in a progression!

    I've had students who couldn't make a statement in Eb because they couldn't map the board mix at Bb or any other position.
    I don’t understand how this (true) statement relates to the subject of modes.

  6. #105

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    Might just be... that most guitarist and guitar teachers use term Mode, for being resulting notes when starting scales on each degree.

    So if you use all Scales.
    Major..... and it's modes

    Harmonic Minor... and it's modes

    Melodic Minor... and it's modes

    Harmonic Major... and it's modes

    Symmetric scales... and their modes, Diminished, Whole tone, Augmented, Pentatonics , blues, Bop

    So when you go through the basic process of working out the fingerings of each mode of all scales... you have a complete map of the fretboard.

    I mean this is one of the kid basics of playing the Guitar... throw in the arpeggios of each mode etc... This is what I went through as kid... little kid. By the time I was in High School I was working on the chords derived from all scales and their modes.... and then started applying this Guitar technique....to playing. (I wasn't aware of the term modes when I started... just scale degrees, learned from some older musicians when started playing gigs, jazz gigs... was also playing the rock gigs, I mean i was in High School...etc.)

  7. #106

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    Quote Originally Posted by Claudi View Post
    R 2M 3M 4 5 6M 7M IONIAN
    E F# G# A B C# D#

    R 2M 3m 4 5 6M 7m DORIAN
    E F# G A B C# D


    R 2m 3m 4 5 6m 7m PHRYGIAN
    E F G A B C D


    R 2M 3M 4+ 5 6M 7M LYDIAN
    E F# G# A# B C# D#


    R 2M 3M 4 5 6M 7m MIXOLYDIAN
    E F# G# A B C# D


    R 2M 3m 4 5 6m 7m AEOLIAN
    E F# G A B C D



    R 2m 3m 4 5- 6m 7m LOCRIAN

    E F G A Bb C D
    Don't forget Super Locrian, all flat (flatted 4th - only difference from locrian) I use the super locrian as the intro to my version of "Emily". Very haunting.

  8. #107

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Vinnie View Post
    Don't forget Super Locrian, all flat (flatted 4th - only difference from locrian) I use the super locrian as the intro to my version of "Emily". Very haunting.
    Why not share it with us. Sometimes I think this forum should be called JazzJournalists on Line.com
    If you can distinguish between rehearsing and practicing...you're better than half way there!

  9. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by WILSON 1 View Post
    Why not share it with us. Sometimes I think this forum should be called JazzJournalists on Line.com
    But the super locrian is just another name for the altered scale, which in turn is a melodic minor. Meat and potatoes stuff in jazz!

    The Altered Scale For Jazz Guitar (Scale Diagrams & Licks)

  10. #109

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    Altered scale is a better name for its main jazz application.

    Superlocrian gives its construction.... I think this is what the scale used to be called if the book 20th Century Harmony is anything to go by.

    The altered scale is an enharmonic respelling....

    Thing is I can think of four or five ways to derive the scale and they all teach you something about it...

  11. #110

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    Might just be... that most guitarist and guitar teachers use term Mode, for being resulting notes when starting scales on each degree.

    So if you use all Scales.
    Major..... and it's modes

    Harmonic Minor... and it's modes

    Melodic Minor... and it's modes

    Harmonic Major... and it's modes

    Symmetric scales... and their modes, Diminished, Whole tone, Augmented, Pentatonics , blues, Bop

    So when you go through the basic process of working out the fingerings of each mode of all scales... you have a complete map of the fretboard.

    I mean this is one of the kid basics of playing the Guitar... throw in the arpeggios of each mode etc... This is what I went through as kid... little kid. By the time I was in High School I was working on the chords derived from all scales and their modes.... and then started applying this Guitar technique....to playing. (I wasn't aware of the term modes when I started... just scale degrees, learned from some older musicians when started playing gigs, jazz gigs... was also playing the rock gigs, I mean i was in High School...etc.)
    Ha!

    I mean, sure, everyone should know this stuff. Or at least knew the fretboard well enough that, say, flatting the 6 in a major scale in every position is not a big deal ...

    And yet, I constantly come across students who know at least some of this stuff who are non functional as musicians.

    Lack of experience? Probably.

    From my teaching room perspective, just being able to outline the most basic vanilla chord progressions in all positions would be an important objective. Screw the modes of the harmonic major before they can do that.

    People who learn modes play too many notes anyway, fall over themselves rhythmically until they have this shit together. That’s the priority for most.

    What constitutes a beginner or advanced student is very relative...

  12. #111

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    The difference between the Dorian and Melodic Minor is only one note. Sometimes that #7 can sound interesting, sometimes it doesn't...

  13. #112

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    yea Christian... I was just trying to define Wilson 1's point about mapping.
    But I like your point about playing to many note and the "falling over themselves rhythmically). Personally the steady 8th sound is just as bad as falling over themselves.

    Most teachers teach what they Know, right. Whether it's the complete picture... or not. Most students learn or map the fretboard for what they know...again whether big picture or part of the picture.

    When one learns how to count to 10.... if you skip a number. You can still get to 10. You can still get to 100 etc... but you'll begin to hit some walls the further along you get. Yea, lousy analogy.

    Yea Rag... Melodic generally relates to Dorian as does Harmonic Minor is to Natural or aeolian. Disclaimer... very general statement. Like most oneliners. Like that counting to 10 while skipping a number analogy.

  14. #113

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    From my teaching room perspective, just being able to outline the most basic vanilla chord progressions in all positions would be an important objective. Screw the modes of the harmonic major before they can do that.

    People who learn modes play too many notes anyway, fall over themselves rhythmically until they have this shit together. That’s the priority for most.
    People who study chord tones are also susceptible to playing too many notes, they just use a smaller note collection.
    Good rhythm and the ability to construct coherent phrases are different events than pitch content.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Many forum members have astutely pointed out a true fact, that all notes of a scale/mode are not equal.
    The tendency seems to divide the notes in a binary way, basic chord tones + remaining scale tones.

    I would go further. All chord tones are not equal. 1, 3, 5, etc. are all unique.
    Furthermore, the inversion or voicing of the same notes although related are also not equivalent either.
    Ex. compare a ma7, b2, b9 or ma3, m6, ma10, b13

  15. #114

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    yea Christian... I was just trying to define Wilson 1's point about mapping.
    But I like your point about playing to many note and the "falling over themselves rhythmically). Personally the steady 8th sound is just as bad as falling over themselves.
    Hell yeah!

    Most teachers teach what they Know, right. Whether it's the complete picture... or not. Most students learn or map the fretboard for what they know...again whether big picture or part of the picture.

    When one learns how to count to 10.... if you skip a number. You can still get to 10. You can still get to 100 etc... but you'll begin to hit some walls the further along you get. Yea, lousy analogy.

    Yea Rag... Melodic generally relates to Dorian as does Harmonic Minor is to Natural or aeolian. Disclaimer... very general statement. Like most oneliners. Like that counting to 10 while skipping a number analogy.
    I’ve been having a think though. There are few players in the category I identified who really know their scales actually. I think really putting that stuff together comes from getting roasted in real life situations. That always encourages me to spend more time on scales....

  16. #115

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    Quote Originally Posted by bako View Post
    People who study chord tones are also susceptible to playing too many notes, they just use a smaller note collection.
    Good rhythm and the ability to construct coherent phrases are different events than pitch content.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Of course that’s absolutely true.

    However, being able to outline a chord progression clearly in a few notes does a lot to get rid of that nervousness about playing the changes. Or at least it did for me.

    Many forum members have astutely pointed out a true fact, that all notes of a scale/mode are not equal.
    The tendency seems to divide the notes in a binary way, basic chord tones + remaining scale tones.

    I would go further. All chord tones are not equal. 1, 3, 5, etc. are all unique.
    Furthermore, the inversion or voicing of the same notes although related are also not equivalent either.
    Ex. compare a ma7, b2, b9 or ma3, m6, ma10, b13
    I would entirely agree with you again. The 1 has a very specific function in bebop for instance....

  17. #116

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    Sometime during the first year I played guitar, my teacher gave me an arrangement of Malaguena. Afterward, I was able to improvise lines that sounded "Spanish" to my ear. Years later, I found out I was playing phrygian mode. I just played the notes that gave me that sound. I never thought about a fingering or a theory.Years later, I became interested in Forro music, which is often played using lydian dominant mode (4th degree melodic minor). I could hear that #11 on the dominant chords, so I could play it, without ever having to think about a fingering. It still seems to me that that was a good way of learning a mode (not modes, plural). One sound (mode) at a time.Now we're talking about things like harmonic major. That's C D E F G G# B C. Knowing that doesn't actually help me. Not until I pick an application and try to learn the sound. Then, for example, I can hear a 7b9 sound. At that point, I can find the notes by ear without thinking about fingerings. I can hear (not quite as efficiently) maj7#5 -- and find those notes by ear. At some point, I hope to learn the sound of some other application. I don't know how "modes" is usually taught. I'm not recommending one approach over another. I'm just commenting that the way it worked for me was one sound at a time -- and I found those sounds in songs, not books of theory. If I can hear the sound, I can play it using only the basic skill of being able to play a line by ear. Same as if I'm trying to play C Ionian over Cmaj7. I know the sound, so I can play the notes.

  18. #117

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    I'd absolutely go with that, one thing at a time. Not 'Learn a million things first, then make music'!

  19. #118

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    Let me give another example. Suppose you have a ii V in F. You play /Gm7 C7/ Fmaj7 /.Now, suppose you insert an Amaj/F in front of the Fmaj7. Try it 3x333, 3x231x, 1x222x, 1x221x. Two beats each, nice and slow. To me, that's a pretty easy sound to hear because the voice leading is so obvious. Play that a few times and maybe it will stick in your mind. Scat sing a line that uses the C# leading to the C note in Fmaj7. When you sing a line you like, put it on the guitar. If you can sing a line and play it, maybe you just learned a new sound that you can access at will. If it helps, you can remember that the key note is the #5 of the I chord. Let me make that a little clearer. In this process, the basic skill is being able to imagine a line in your mind and play it instantly. It seems to me that this skill is half of jazz (the other half is imagining a good line). If you can do that, you don't need to think about fingering patterns. So you don't think,"oh, it's A/F, that's third mode D melodic minor, I'm in fifth position so I'll hop onto my 5th position D melmin fingering". Rather, you hear the line and your fingers play it automatically. Of course, not everybody wants to construct a solo this way; some approach soloing by finding cool ways to put together patterns, the sound of each of which, presumably, they can hear. And, eventually, either approach leads to automaticity, or so I would imagine. A theoretician might begin by thinking about A/F as Fmaj7#5 and relate that to third mode Dmelmin. Or maybe think of it as F harmonic major. Maybe the theoretician arrives at this point in the process of considering all the modes of melodic minor and harmonic major and working through them. Using the first approach, you learn one sound and one context (ii V I) to apply it. It's pretty easy to get this into your playing. How would it work using the other approach? You'd have a scale/mode which applies to a maj7#5 without a specific harmonic context. To make this clear -- you'd have the chord and the scale, but not the chord progression that might be in a song. You'd then have to find a context (or contexts) in which it might apply. So, you might get to something like the first approach, perhaps with multiple applications. Nothing wrong with that, although, to me, it can quickly get overwhelming. BTW I got the idea of the A/F from Toninho Horta who has used it in different arrangements. It's a strong sound and easy to hear. I don't know where he got it.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 10-08-2019 at 04:42 PM.

  20. #119

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    I wrote that last post with a bunch of paragraph breaks which weren't preserved.

  21. #120

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    I wonder if this is Dirk's way of pushing us into brevity.I wonder.Paragraph break.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  22. #121

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    He has to be told

    para test

  23. #122

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    That worked

  24. #123

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Let me give another example. Suppose you have a ii V in F. You play /Gm7 C7/ Fmaj7 /. Now, suppose you insert an Amaj/F in front of the Fmaj7. Try it 3x333, 3x231x, 1x222x, 1x221x. Two beats each, nice and slow. To me, that's a pretty easy sound to hear because the voice leading is so obvious. Play that a few times and maybe it will stick in your mind. Scat sing a line that uses the C# leading to the C note in Fmaj7. When you sing a line you like, put it on the guitar. If you can sing a line and play it, maybe you just learned a new sound that you can access at will. If it helps, you can remember that th key note is the #5 of the I chord. Let me make that a little clearer. In this process, the basic skill is being able to imagine a line in your mind and play it instantly. It seems to me that this skill is half of jazz (the other half is imagining a good line). If you can do that, it seems to me that you don't need to think about fingering patterns. So you don't think,"oh, it's A/F, that's third mode D melodic minor, I'm in fifth position so I'll hop onto my 5th position D melmin fingering". Rather, you hear the line and your fingers play it automatically. Of course, not everybody wants to construct a solo this way; some approach soloing by finding cool ways to put together patterns, the sound of each of which, presumably, they can hear. And, eventually, either approach leads to automaticity, or so I would imagine. A theoretician might begin by thinking about A/F as Fmaj7#5 and relate that to third mode Dmelmin. Or maybe think of it as F harmonic major. Maybe the theoretician arrives at this point in the process of considering all the modes of melodic minor and harmonic major and working through them. Using the first approach, you learn one sound and one context (ii V I) to apply it. It's pretty easy to get this into your playingHow would it work using the other approach? You'd have a scale/mode which applies to a maj7#5 without a specific harmonic context. To make this clear -- you'd have the chord and the scale, but not the chord progression that might be in a song.You'd then have to find a context (or contexts) in which it might apply. So, you might get to something like the first approach, perhaps with multiple applications. Nothing wrong with that, although, to me, it can quickly get overwhelming. BTW I got the idea of the A/F from Toninho Horta who has used it in different arrangements. It's a strong sound and easy to hear. I don't know where he got it.
    With that kind of crazy logic one could argue that if you actually spent some time copying jazz phrases and voicings by ear and eye one could learn to play jazz without knowing that much theory.

    Obviously that’s stupid though. No one ever actually learned like that in the history. Luckily for us, theory books existed to tell Buddy Bolden what to play. Otherwise we would still be playing polka.

  25. #124
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    So you don't think,"oh, it's A/F, that's third mode D melodic minor, I'm in fifth position so I'll hop onto my 5th position D melmin fingering".
    So many words, thread after thread, imagining the inner thought life of supposed Jazz theory illuminati, who play without using their ears and somehow think words and formulae fast enough to play.

    Who are you actually talking about? Who do you imagine thinks this way? Or is this just made up and imagined?

  26. #125

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    rpjazzguitar -

    I hear what you say, I'm not laughing at it. You're saying - at least I think you are - that playing by sound/ear/memory is better/more reliable/quicker/more authentic than merely trying to apply theoretical concepts.

    I agree, but don't you think there's a danger of playing parrot-fashion? Like the bird that imitates a sound but doesn't understand what it's saying. Like your Malaguena example, you know where the notes are to get that Spanish-y sound and you just keep playing it.

    Then later you find it's a C major scale. Then later still you find it's the Phrygian mode of C major, from E to E. Which is probably unnecessary.

    But it's not really either/or, is it? Ignorance is no substitute for knowledge. On the other hand, it's equally ignorant to know all the theoretical terms and concepts but not be able to relate them to producing actual music on the instrument.

    I'm sure there are two kinds of players. One prefers the practical action of finding the notes, listening, applying, and so on. The other likes his book knowledge and uses it to translate what he knows into producing music.

    It might be argued that the old players, who were largely self-taught, learnt by listening, watching, copying, and applying it. That would probably carry more weight than a purely theoretical approach.

    On the other hand, as far as I know, many of them have said they regret not learning music and that their lives were definitely enhanced by knowing what it was they were playing.

    So, personally, I wouldn't kick theory out. But there's theory and there's theory. One should understand some of it otherwise one's understanding is too basic. But one doesn't have to be a music scholar to play good music either.

    A complete player has both, the practical ear and finger-based understanding and at least a good knowledge of what he's playing and why. But I've absolutely no doubt at all that the better players have always been the ear players. Music is a practical art, not a cerebral one.

    So fundamentally I agree with you, but not entirely. It's not either/or by any means. But when the conceptual overshadows the practical too much then we've stopped playing real guitar and started playing brain guitar.

    In short, it's the vast difference between knowing and understanding. But I suppose that's a bit philosophical...

  27. #126

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    I'm not laughing at it either. I think that we are getting so estranged from actual hands on learning sometimes with jazz people do come out with all kinds of stuff about how you can't learn this music without theory.

    @matt - no, this beast exists. But none of them can actually play, so you won't find them among professional musicians.

    I see theory as emergent from music, not prescriptive. What is the purpose of theory? Well it
    1) allows us to conveniently label musical objects
    2) allows us to abstract an element of music which allows us to extend and develop and idea we hear in other music.

    The latter example - 'concepts' if you like - is certainly not limited to players with a formal background. I think it is simply a function of being a musician checking out music. If you see a player do a certain thing over a certain chord and you see them do it a few times, you notice a pattern.

    Actually in this interview with Jimmy Bruno and Bruce Forman, for instance, they really get into some of the interesting names the old players gave to chord progressions... Don't tell me that Django, for instance, didn't have some private label for the m6 over dominant sound...

    https://www.guitarwank.com/podcast (Epi 185)

    Now most of us have had exposure to jazz books at least, we tend to use similar terminology, so a lot of that is lost. But the process can remain the same. Take for instance Reg's very personal approach to CST. He uses the familiar terminology in some ways, but in other ways his concept is totally idiosyncratic and can be challenging to understand at first.

    There's also a very important capacity for 'misunderstanding' the second category. For instance, I think it was probably a misunderstanding of Parker's music to emphasise upper partials and thereby develop CST... But it was also an important plank in the development of modern jazz. In fact in Bird's own time the 'reinterpretation' of his music was already underway. For instance the famous quote:

    "I'd been getting bored with the stereotyped changes (harmonies) that were being used all the time. ... I found that by using the higher intervals of a chord as a melody line and backing them with appropriately related changes I could play the thing I'd been hearing. I came alive."

    Is not actually a quotation of Bird's but originally an interpretation written by a Downbeat copywriter, at least according to Conrad Cork in his book Harmony with LEGO Bricks. But that single statement can be related to much of what came after, and was no doubt read voraciously by young musicians desperate to understand what was going on in Parker's music (and Parker's music does of course contain notes that can be interpreted this way - although the same can be said of '30s improvisors.)

    In fact we even hear this essential narrative (that Conrad Cork would characterise as skewed by Western European perceptions of music) by no less than Dexter Gordon, or at least his character in the movie Round Midnight. (Later Wynton Marsalis would debunk the same historic narrative, essentially agreeing with Cork's narrative.)

    But the distinction I would make is that Parkers music might have been misinterpreted, but that's not just OK - that's actually necessary for the evolution of music. 'The words of a dead man are modified in the guts of the living.'

    I think one thing theory books do is shut down people's own explorations by appearing overly definitive. Many things will be repeated from player to player, but some players will hear something different in the same players, and that's where a lot of the creativity comes from. The music itself has a way of teaching you about yourself.

  28. #127

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    Apologies for the typos, I can't seem to edit posts... .

  29. #128
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    @matt - no, this beast exists. But none of them can actually play, so you won't find them among professional musicians.
    I'm not saying the beast doesn't exist. I'm just saying it's silly to talk as if EVERYONE who understands anything theoretically has to be thinking this way all the time to play, and they're not using their ears etc.

    It's presented as if it's a binary choice: either you're an ear player or a theory thinker. This is simply false . The fact that there are people who understand more theory and can actually play is beside the point. There are plenty of great players who can do both at a very high level.

    And these written out fantasies , imagining players having to think certain way to play while not being able to play anything by ear.... Ignores the fact that a great many players we can apply some Theorie also have fantastic years and can play things that they understand "by ear" as well.

    A lot of condescension and PITY on people who "HAVE to think that way" and elaborate imaginings of how they think, to the point of being insulting.

  30. #129

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    'The words of a dead man are modified in the guts of the living.'
    Whereas here, of course, it's mostly the other way round. The playing of the living is being modified by the dead... :-)

  31. #130

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Whereas here, of course, it's mostly the other way round. The playing of the living is being modified by the dead... :-)
    It’s a nice two way street. You have to be in touch with the ancestors.

  32. #131

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    I have heard that ancestor worship is only a way for your family to control you even after they're dead

  33. #132

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    Tried to post, but new site update rendered division of paragraph ineligible. See PDF, sorry.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by bako; 10-09-2019 at 08:55 AM.

  34. #133

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    Quote Originally Posted by bako View Post
    Tried to post, but new site update rendered division of paragraph ineligible. See PDF, sorry.
    illegible :-)

  35. #134

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    illegible :-)
    Yes, thanks.

  36. #135

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    To quote Yogi Berra, "A lot of the things I said, I never said". Somewhere in there I acknowledged that there are multiple paths which lead to the mountaintop, or, if not, I meant to. I was reacting to the various posts I've read over the years talking about large groups of scales, modes and fingerings in a kind of isolation. Some have explicitly suggested practicing multiple fingerings for each - to cover the entire fingerboard. The idea is that eventually it becomes all one big fingering for each and fluency is attained. I'm not clear how all this gets applied to songs, but, somehow, it does. And yes, there are players who learned, think and play that way. Not just on guitar, btw. I'm not putting that down. I'm just saying that it never worked well for me. And, I described the approach worked better. To sum it up: I found it more effective to learn one sound at a time, and, once I had the sound fully incorporated in my mind's ear, I could play it without ever thinking about fingerings. I gave examples using modes of melodic minor. I also pointed out that, if you have the basic skill of being able to play what's in your mind, you don't have to think about fingerings.Aside: how often do we see posts about how to improve your ability to immediately play a line that pops into your mind? In other posts I've acknowledged that practiced fingerings are useful at high tempo. It comes down to what will get sounds into your playing most efficiently. That isn't the same for everybody, apparently. There's nothing here that excludes anything else. However you go about this, there's a great player who did it some other way. But, I'd add one point. There are great players who don't know any theory. Andres Varady (read his GP interview) comes to mind. Are there great players who can't hear the sounds nor find the notes without thinking about theory? I doubt it -- even if they used theory to get to where they are. I wonder if a lot of players focus on theory because it's easier.Edit: still no paragraph breaks.

  37. #136

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    Yea... back around. I know I've already said this a million times... If you can't play, by that I'm implying, you don't have the physical skills.
    Lousy rhythm.... haven't figured out the TIME thing yet.
    Don't have the technical skills on your instrument together yes... walk and chew gum
    Don't understand Music... or at least have a system where you can Perform music with other musicians and actually hear what they're playing...

    These are very basic skills required to play Jazz, If you don't have them. Modes or any other physical or mental understandings aren't really going to make any difference.

    It's not that complicated... you need chops to play Jazz. It actually doesn't get in the way when you actually understand what your playing. You can actually look, hear and be aware of many possibilities of what to play. You can still play heartfelt beautiful music... even without memorizing, live with feeling and still be ahead and behind the Moment. I've never heard a Pro say his chops, knowledge or skills got in the way.

  38. #137

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    There’s no Theory. There’s theories.

    A lot of the differences are simply nomenclature. Not all.

    Varady will have his own way of looking at music. A theory.

  39. #138

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    illegible :-)
    No, ineligible. He lined up on the O-Line.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  40. #139

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    ... I don't get that...

  41. #140
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    ... I don't get that...
    American football humor...

  42. #141

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    Oh, well...!

  43. #142

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    Knowing modes, at least as most guitarist think of them... is simply playing scales starting on each scale degree. Which really isn't a theory or theories thing, right. It's a very physical skill which requires basic technical skills on your instrument.

    Simple technical skill, you can use any fingering etc... I mean... the notes don't change. There are only 7 notes. 7 scales degrees to start on. If you can't do that anywhere on the fretboard, you don't need theory lessons.... you need beginner lesson on the instrument.

    Same thing can be said of getting into the rest of the scales, then arpeggios. This is all very physical guitar skills. Not theory, theory is the part where relationships between note and chords are labeled and guidelines of how those notes and chords react to each other and which notes and chords have control of the relationships. Obviously very simplified, but My point is Learning how to play your instrument is not theory.

    What seems to be the problem for most guitarist... they don't know how their instrument is designed and don't know the basic mechanics of how to play it.... If you have your guitar skills together... you can use the guitar to help see and hear what music theory is. But if you try to use the guitar to understand music harmony/theory and can't really even play the instrument.... your going to hit the same walls...

    Basic Tonal and Modal Theory/ Harmony.... isn't that complicated. Tonal music has a few basic guidelines for how notes and chords react to each other. Melodic guidelines are just accepted common practice usage with harmonic guidelines... Functional Harmony.

    Modal music just changes the guidelines, the tonal harmonic guidelines... from Ionian to different modes. You can expands the guidelines of what notes control harmonic movement or rest... and what the notes are that have what level of control.
    Now we're talking about theory and harmony. You can apply theory and harmonic guidelines to your playing.... I do all the time.

    It's not complicated because I did all the guitar basics when I was a kid.... same with other instruments. Piano is the easiest, because it is the instrument most musicians learned and worked from. Basic technique is simple, 12 notes and only one way to play each one. Easy to play melody and chords...etc...

    Back to the guitar... if you can't play any scale starting on any scale degree, or arpeggio from any degree again anywhere on the fretboard. What do you expect.... your going to magically be able to develop great improve using both techniques .... live in real time. Then try and incorporate theory and harmonic concepts into developing that improv.... Come on, and you wonder why you get mixed up, hit mental and technical walls....are always in slow motion.

    So practice needs to be organized.... 1) the technical BS. or whatever you want to call actually learning how the instrument works and how to play it.
    2) the performance skills.... where you learn tunes, try all the different approaches, bring in theory and harmonic concepts.

    The discussion of how to learn... RP's post above was really good. He pretty much laid it out... there many ways to learn how to play, and he broke down what worked for him.... His approach is pretty standard. learn tunes, the different sounds, be able to play what you hear. My point is the theory/ harmony aspect aren't required... but basic guitar skills... should be. You tend to become good at what your able to play. Your performance skills tend to reflect your technical skills. You can memorize and eventually get up to speed and maybe even be able to perform new music live.

  44. #143

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    Knowing modes, at least as most guitarist think of them... is simply playing scales starting on each scale degree. Which really isn't a theory or theories thing, right. It's a very physical skill which requires basic technical skills on your instrument. Back to the guitar... if you can't play any scale starting on any scale degree, or arpeggio from any degree again anywhere on the fretboard. What do you expect.... your going to magically be able to develop great improve using both techniques .... live in real time. Then try and incorporate theory and harmonic concepts into developing that improv.... Come on, and you wonder why you get mixed up, hit mental and technical walls....are always in slow motion.So practice needs to be organized.... 1) the technical BS. or whatever you want to call actually learning how the instrument works and how to play it. 2) the performance skills.... where you learn tunes, try all the different approaches, bring in theory and harmonic concepts. SNIP.
    I'm still not getting paragraph breaks, so I put in // where they should be.Much appreciated. Just to carry this discussion one step further, or maybe I'm circling back to the original question about modes, here's my experience. // I first heard the word "modal" when I was a teenager and I heard some older players talking about Miles Davis. I recall learning to play Milestones, (second version), but I had no idea what "modal" meant. At that time, I was playing standards of the 30s and 40s and doing something I thought was improvising. Most likely it was employing chord shapes with passing tones.// Years later, I heard some other guitarists talking about modes and I still had no idea what it meant. //Still later, I studied with Warren Nunes who hated the term modes. But, he taught what he called "patterns" which were, in fact, the modes of the major scale. His system had two kinds of chords, he called Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 was Imaj7 iiim7 Vmaj7#11 ivm7. Type 2 was iim7 IVmaj7 ivm7. I can't recall what he did with viim7b5. He then used all the chords within a type completely interchangeably and soloed with his "patterns". Reg may correct me, but I think that some of what he has posted may be, more or less, equivalent. //Warren said there were five sounds to jazz, Major, minor, melodic minor, diminished and whole tone, iirc. I never heard how he taught the modes of melodic minor or anything about diminished or whole tone. //Looking back, I was using "modes" to a limited degree, but I still had no idea what the word meant or how the concepts were constructed or applied. //Then, I started reading the usenet guitar group. A lot of posts mentioned modes. I should have gone to a book called something like Principles of Jazz, Vol I (for Dummies), but I don't recall thinking of it. Instead, I tried to figure out what the posters were talking about. \\I recall one recommending internalizing the sounds of the modes by recording drone notes and playing the modes against them. So, something like improvosing using all white keys played against each of the 7 drone notes in a Cmaj scale - which is probably how I was thinking about it. I spent a little time with that, but I don't think it helped that much. //Around that time, GP had a long series of articles (Arnie Berle, perhaps), each of which would have dots on grids for some scale or mode. I don't recall how he said they should be used. I could never learn that way. But, otoh, I could read so I was more interested in note names and standard notation than dots. //I recall reading posts which basically recommended working through fingerings of modes in 5 places on the neck. Similar thing with arpeggios. But, I don't recall how they were supposed to be used. //I became aware, at some point, that some people thought that you used Dorian Mixo and Ionian (or Lydian) for a ii V I, a different mode against each chord. But, I also recall seeing Jimmy Bruno, on video, completely trashing that notion. So, honestly, I still wasn't sure what I was supposed to be doing with modes. Frankly, I may not have progressed much from there. //I also became aware that some tunes, with So What being the classic beginning example, were based on modal thinking and I could hear the difference. //Eventually, I realized that I could play Ionian against Imaj7 by ear. I could hear it against a ii V I. Warren taught this as "tonal center" based playing, which I think is consistent with Jimmy Bruno's video -- with apologies to Jimmy if I have misunderstood him. //I found out at some point that Flamenco sounding music (forgive the oversimplification) was phrygian, and I could hear that and find the notes (I would focus on the b2 and the rest would flow) Mixolydian came easily. Lydian Dominant was next; that #11 really stood out. Lydian came a little harder as did, surprisingly, Dorian. Even now, Dorian seems less distinctive to my ear than, say, Lydian dominant. //Each time I was able to get a sound firmly planted in my mind, I could use it. I was never able to master all the dots on those grids. I find the notes by playing a note and knowing where the note I want to play next is by sound. Mostly, I don't have to think about it in linguistic terms. Sometimes I think, "lydian dominant would sound good here" and I'll calculate the #11 to make sure I nail the sound. But, more often than not, the solo heads south at the moment I start thinking that way. //I'm still not sure that I "know" modes in the way I imagine a Berklee student is supposed to know modes. If you say, quick, play Db mixolydian, I'd have to think for a moment. If I was playing a ii V I in Gb, I'd probably have an easier time finding the notes. //I'm guessing that I've barely scratched the surface of what others are doing with modes in theory and practice. But, to the extent I've got any of it, it came, as I've been saying, one sound at a time referencing a song. And, finding the notes with the basic skill of being able to play an imagined line. //

  45. #144

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Each time I was able to get a sound firmly planted in my mind, I could use it... find the notes by playing a note and knowing where the note I want to play next is by sound... don't have to think about it in linguistic terms.... one sound at a time referencing a song. And, finding the notes with the basic skill of being able to play an imagined line.
    That is so much how I taught myself to play... direct, by the sound of things, no naming or internal verbal self thought when performing; when practicing and exploring I'm thinking a little differently, but still not naming anything, more like abstract classification and identification of new sounds and their harmonic relationships with respect to how they are produced with the instrument (which continues to happen often while I'm performing, too); most of what I learn now emerges during performance itself. // I think most of us eventually come to know the modes and various other scales in some way or another. I personally invented Lydian Dominant about 30 years ago and subsequently learned about 20 years later that it was already "common knowledge" in the Jazz world. I suspect most all of what I have invented or discovered may be just like that, but I will say that things I find on my own have a different more internalized feel than things I might have picked up from external references with the things already laid out. // Modes are inversions of scales with varying corresponding tonal centers. However, if you find the Lydian Dominant prior to the Melodic Minor like I did, you may consider the LD as the basis and the MM as one of the inversions or modes of LD rather than LD as one of the modes of MM. I did and still do, if I think about it for a little bit. Similar to enharmonic notes or the choice between a ridiculous key signature and its enharmonic easier key, if you are playing by sound, for sound, it doesn't really matter. I play "modes" without calling or thinking of them as such, and I've invented some modes that I'm sure some studied reflection would exposed as some of the more exotic ones already named, documented, and long ago part of theory.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  46. #145

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    Back to the guitar... if you can't play any scale starting on any scale degree, or arpeggio from any degree again anywhere on the fretboard. What do you expect.... your going to magically be able to develop great improve using both techniques .... live in real time. Then try and incorporate theory and harmonic concepts into developing that improv.... Come on, and you wonder why you get mixed up, hit mental and technical walls....are always in slow motion.
    Sorry, who was this in response to?

  47. #146

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    I think we can all agree that the player should reach an end point of instrumental competence where all this stuff is known, both on the instrument and by ear. (and while there are differences from player to player, school to school and in terms of the nomenclature, but most of the stuff is common)

    If I sing you the notes of the Dorian mode, you don’t need to know the theory to repeat it... it’s just a set of notes, a melody... BUT - the big problem with such approaches is always getting the motor memory involved which requires physically consistent practice. Same fingers etc.

    That’s where a fretboard label such as ‘D Dorian position V’ can help the guitarist organise their learning. And yes we can presumably all agree with this basic truth - you can’t develop technical skills without this type of chunking.

    There’s no way Birelli and Varady etc didn’t do this. I don’t believe it. They may not have called it ‘D Dorian position V’ but they must have practiced constituent positions and fingering patterns.

    Personally I (at least currently) see modes as a concept and a sound independent of fretboard mapping. For instance if I play an F triad on an A7 chord, that’s an application of a modal concept without using scalic fretboard mapping.

    But I am aware Reg deals with it in a different way and it seems from what I understand that the modal fingerings and sounds are more integrated in the way he thinks about it.

    There’s many ways to systematically map the fretboard, I think there’s some value to investigating a few approaches. I’ve had fun
    - CAGED for instance suits plays who start by mapping chord tones using basic grip/shapes but want to expand out into scales.
    - A 7 position system might suit players who see scales first and want to expand into playing them in arpeggios, intervals and triads.
    - A one octave cell system could suit players who are preoccupied with language and how it relates to scales and arpeggios.

    Ultimately you need to be able to play without thinking all the scales from the bottom of your instrument to the top and back again in all intervals. So the above options can be seen as ways up the mountain.... ultimately the distinction should be pedagogical.

    Anyway.

    How long it takes to get there, how this information is introduced and how a teacher introduces it alongside other material, including actual music, is a much more interesting and difficult question to answer IMO.

    One thing I think Reg and I have in common I think is that we see the live experience as the focus of the learning, and this stuff as preparation.
    Last edited by christianm77; 10-10-2019 at 06:58 AM.

  48. #147

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    Hey Christian... most of my comments are not directed at anyone, more general. My comments you quoted were part of my rant about the difference between 1) technical skills on your instrument and 2) performance skills. And how it is crazy to expect to be able perform jazz when you don't get your technical skills together.

    There are no right or wrong approaches for learning how to play jazz guitar. It would depend on what your goals are, how well you want to be able to perform, where and what you want to perform.

    The mode fingering comments are not what or how I think, they are what many Guitar teachers and students use as labels for playing scales starting on each degree. I personally can think, be aware of sounds and possible musical relationships while performing, I don't need to think or choose fingerings unless I want to, there are mechanical relationships. Example... I use functional relationships all the time to help create musically organized movement when soloing or comping.
    So I'm soloing over Fmin and say I'm developing a G and Bb..... thing, I can mechanically create a Harmonic organization blanket using those two notes and expand that chord functionally to become F-dorian to Ab lydian then back to F- dorian then down to D-7b5 locrian. So mechanically I create three sounds from this application...and it will work within a form that creates a organized shape that help create a sense of repeat, which create forward motion. So the two notes become,
    G-Bb.... (F- dorian)
    Bb-D... (Ab lydian)
    F-Bb....(F- dorian)
    Eb-G... (D-7b5 loc.)
    I can expand these simple modal relationships... there are many mechanical approaches. Musical Mechanical relationships that are organized with References. I guess it's somewhat like having sounds that I know and understand and have gone through the technical possibilities before. I have organized guideline of how single choices have effects or results, where the music can go. Organized guidelines within organized space, form. Like having fingerings and technical fretboard organization, I can think about them or not, maybe thinking about what to eat, or drink.

    When you become aware of composition and arranging, you begin to become aware that there are musically organized guidelines for how and why "sounds" work together. Embellishment also has organization beyond what one's ears may hear, like or understand at any moment. You can learn these organizations from common practice (tunes) and eventually develop understandings or instincts that your able to hear or use while you perform. The same can be with fingerings, labels etc... But it can take a long time, and you might miss some things. Who cares, it's a personal choice, I guess.
    Last edited by Reg; 10-10-2019 at 11:33 AM.

  49. #148

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    Of all the topics in playing Jazz, the modes is one that inevitably presents the big fundamental question that Reg is raising - how do you acquire technical skills? // It looks like there are basically two extreme answers: //- the analytical preparation - deliberately learning to "play any scale starting on any scale degree, or arpeggio from any degree again anywhere on the fretboard" kind of thing, and ultimately capturing all of melody, harmony, and rhythm in this comprehensive approach. This is the Berklee and similar music schools' method and philosophy of attempting to be able to do everything so as to be able to do anything. For the development of pros that anticipate needing to be able to do whatever comes up or is required, this is the canonical music training system. //- the prehensile ear - as in "everything you need to know may be heard within and grasp from the songs you want to perform". This is the listen, play, and learn method and philosophy of attempting to more directly be able to do everything you want to do and not attempting to potentially be able to do things that may never come up... to paraphrase Wes, "I only practice things that I would play in songs during a performance". //Of course most of us are somewhere in the middle of these extremes, so the question remains: How do we acquire technical skills (and is, or how is, learning about the modes part of that)? It's a tough question because it really depends on experience. One who has studied so that they think about keys, notes, scale degrees, other formal music structure etc. is challenged to confront a couple of methodologically different explanatory interpretations of what the modes are and how to grasp them and apply them. On the other hand, those who play by ear may intuit that in an abstract sense, especially because of the diatonic basis for Western music forms, so many series of pitches may be technically interpreted as some mode of something or a part of various modes of other somethings, one might wonder if they are ever not playing some mode!?
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  50. #149

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    Man I hope they sort the paragraph thing out soon. Lots of interesting points in your post Paul...

    Of all the topics in playing Jazz, the modes is one that inevitably presents the big fundamental question that Reg is raising - how do you acquire technical skills? // It looks like there are basically two extreme answers: //- the analytical preparation - deliberately learning to "play any scale starting on any scale degree, or arpeggio from any degree again anywhere on the fretboard" kind of thing, and ultimately capturing all of melody, harmony, and rhythm in this comprehensive approach. This is the Berklee and similar music schools' method and philosophy of attempting to be able to do everything so as to be able to do anything. For the development of pros that anticipate needing to be able to do whatever comes up or is required, this is the canonical music training system.


    Well, I had a laugh with my missus who is learning the ukulele for fun. She busks through a few standards like Misty and Embraceable You learning chord shapes as we go... And then she says on the ukulele forums there are people who say you need to learn all of the jazz chord voicings before you learn any songs.

    So needless to say we found this hilarious.

    Of course being able to busk some standards does not make you a jazz player - on the ukulele or any other instrument, but it does show an essential confusion at the heart of the way people think about this music. For instance the songs are kind of separate to jazz. We improvise and often compose jazz on standards. Standards themselves might be film themes, pop songs, musical theatre numbers, classical themes, folk tunes (and even jazz compositions.)

    So a structural understanding harmony, is quite simply, best reached by learning a shit ton of songs. If you learn a few hundred mid-century tunes you will see the patterns. There is no textbook or course that will do this job better. Berklee can't do this, for instance. It can give you the tools, but ultimately it can't teach you that.

    This won't make you a jazz musician, but it will teach you the basic framework, and it will (or at least used to) get you playing... to play jazz you have to learn, among other things, ways to play these changes in an improvised line.

    Now for the current musician, this model is now heavily complicated by some rather obvious issues which I'll pass over.

    //- the prehensile ear - as in "everything you need to know may be heard within and grasp from the songs you want to perform". This is the listen, play, and learn method and philosophy of attempting to more directly be able to do everything you want to do and not attempting to potentially be able to do things that may never come up... to paraphrase Wes, "I only practice things that I would play in songs during a performance". //
    To be honest, I would be quite surprised if a musician like Chris Potter, Kurt, anyone at the top of the field now, would say any different. When you are at college you can practice 12 hours a day. Pro musicians, esp. those with families have little time to practice. They might have warm up routines, playing scales etc, but that's well, warm up. Besides, Kurt plays a lot of scales when improvising. Fair enough.

    What's the point of practicing something you don't use in performance?

    Perhaps the early years are a bit random. Throwing a lot of stuff at the wall, seeing what sticks, learning how you assimilate information, which methods seem to work best for you. College has a responsibility to expose you to lots of influences and information, not all of which you will find useful or interesting. Having some teacher grill you on scales and arps is certainly an important part of that... You learn who you are, develop the basic skills to at least go and do some gigs.

    Of course most of us are somewhere in the middle of these extremes, so the question remains: How do we acquire technical skills (and is, or how is, learning about the modes part of that)? It's a tough question because it really depends on experience. One who has studied so that they think about keys, notes, scale degrees, other formal music structure etc. is challenged to confront a couple of methodologically different explanatory interpretations of what the modes are and how to grasp them and apply them. On the other hand, those who play by ear may intuit that in an abstract sense, especially because of the diatonic basis for Western music forms, so many series of pitches may be technically interpreted as some mode of something or a part of various modes of other somethings, one might wonder if they are ever not playing some mode!?
    I would suggest that this not nearly as much as a dichotomy as we think it is. This because jazz is a language, and we interpret language not as individual molecules of information, but as words, sentences and thoughts.

    Why the hell do we practice scales, arpeggios and patterns?

    Well, quite simply they represent fragments of musical information. No one really improvises by play individual notes. We improvise lines. Lines are built up of a - little bit of scale here, bit of arp there, bit of enclosure there, a leap, another scale fragment etc. By training our hands to learn scales and so on we prepare ourselves to execute this stuff.

    If you spend any time transcribing music, you will come across scales and arpeggios.

    The note re: modes. OK, so Mozart is using the notes of C major scale on a G7 chord. Is that a mode? (This relates to another point re: the purpose of analysis...)

  51. #150

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    Yea as I posted after 1st new comment by John Tom, "I'm giving up on Modes". I commented,

    "Wise choice, and I'm a pro and get modes, modal and just about anything else with music. Get your technical skills together.... your guitar technical skills.... if you can't play your instrument... all the knowledge in the world won't help you."

    But we must enjoy going through the process of venting. I perform with many great musicians that don't get modes or modal and don't care about them. Some are very vanilla, some can really play and many are somewhere in the middle. But most do have their technical skills together. The results are very obvious to musicians, but not many musicians check out live music, so who cares.

    Musicianship isn't that complicated, you don't need musical degrees and years of studies. I was playing gigs long before I went through the education process, I went to music schools to learn how to compose, arrange, learn terminology, theory etc.. I did learn better organizational systems for developing better musicianship. I don't believe it hurt my playing, but I could already play and sight read. All the scales, from each degree, arps, chords, etc... basic technical skill on guitar were worked by the time I was in High school.

    The transcribing drills, playing by ear, and on and on were also just part of basic musicianship. I am talking 60's and 70's, if you didn't have your skills together, you didn't get a chance to play out much. I still enjoy performing live. I don't enjoy memorize and perform gigs. I love playing new music live... just as I did as a kid. Part of the Jazz performance skills thing.

    Maybe it's just that most weren't performing back when modal concepts were part of performing jazz. Live jazz etc... I'm older and was playing jazz gigs and the modal sounds and styles were cool, the concepts opened tunes for incredible live improv. The interact and react thing. The music scene was still alive, jazz was on the rise. Sorry.... yea dump the mode and modal things.

    I think it's interesting that most don't seem to understand modal music concepts beyond giving examples. Again who cares.