Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 40 of 40
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    I am looking for suggestions about key things to look for when analysing chord progressions which will give me greatest insight into what is going on harmonically and hopefully improve my playing over changes.

    So far my very basic method for learning a tune is to learn the melody, then work out the chords and look at the function of each part within the song. I then play over each section to make sure I am correct in how I think the song is progressing. I also play the melody in various positions in chord shapes to get familiar with how key notes change and then right out a chart of each note over each chord and then see what the melody note is in relation to the chord.

    Is there anything else I should be looking at at a micro and macro level?

    Thanks

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    two suggestions at a micro level:

    - the voicing movement: internal movements of the soprano, alto, tenor and bass voices of the chords
    - the intervals in the chords and their sequences two by two

    the goal is to link chords and melody by the voicings and intervals, then to consider the fragmentation of intervals of 4 notes in 1/3 notes or 2/2 notes

    finally, the different voices can be connected by diatonic passing notes (refered to tonality) or chromatic notes

    vision changes and the playing opens up to contrapuntal possibilities

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Babaluma
    I am looking for suggestions about key things to look for when analysing chord progressions which will give me greatest insight into what is going on harmonically and hopefully improve my playing over changes.

    So far my very basic method for learning a tune is to learn the melody, then work out the chords and look at the function of each part within the song. I then play over each section to make sure I am correct in how I think the song is progressing. I also play the melody in various positions in chord shapes to get familiar with how key notes change and then right out a chart of each note over each chord and then see what the melody note is in relation to the chord.

    Is there anything else I should be looking at at a micro and macro level?

    Thanks
    Recognizing "tonal center" is a fundamental skill.

    Here's a link to an article that might be helpful.

    http://www.thejazzpianosite.com/jazz...modal-harmony/

    Partly, it's based on the idea that a lot of songs, particularly older standards, are composed of a lot of dominant to tonic movements. That's, for example, G7 to Cmajor. And, then, in front of the G7, you can add a Dm7. Since these chords gravitate towards Cmajor, they're considered to be in "C major tonal center". If you improvise using a C major scale over all three chords, it will sound consonant. Some people will tell you that you need to be careful where you play the F note and maybe the B note, but try it and see what you think.

    So, for example, Yardbird Suite starts on Cmajor, so that's C major tonal center. Then it goes to Fm7 and Bb7. You could see that as Eb major tonal center. Then, there are a bunch of chords which gravitate towards Cmajor, which you could simply play over in Cmajor tonal center. There are a couple of accidentals you may want to include. A better theorist will be able to explain this in terms of "secondary dominants", but for me, it's a question of thinking "background is Cmajor, with adjustments for a chord like A7, which takes a C# and maybe an F#".

    Then, leading to the bridge, it's Fm7b5 to B7b9, leading to Em. So, the tonal center becomes Em.

    Anyway, that's more or less how it works.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Babaluma
    I am looking for suggestions about key things to look for when analysing chord progressions which will give me greatest insight into what is going on harmonically and hopefully improve my playing over changes.

    So far my very basic method for learning a tune is to learn the melody, then work out the chords and look at the function of each part within the song. I then play over each section to make sure I am correct in how I think the song is progressing. I also play the melody in various positions in chord shapes to get familiar with how key notes change and then right out a chart of each note over each chord and then see what the melody note is in relation to the chord.

    Is there anything else I should be looking at at a micro and macro level?

    Thanks
    Do you internalize progressions by hearing and playing them? This is, not memorizing them, but a more abstract form of grasping how they sound, recognizing them even in different contexts when the chords are variously extended, altered, reharmonized, or otherwise different from "stock" forms?

    I find that when the source, process, and product are non-verbal ideas (not the usual objects of an analysis), they are much closer to "how it sounds and possibilities for how it could sound". Of course, those that have spent enough time looking at charts, sheets, and scores also learn to recognize "how it sounds and possibilities for how it could sound".

    That last part about "how it could sound" is important. When you work out the chords, there are multiple solutions, different functions, and a lot of variation in how even a simple melody line may be played over chords (especially displacement by leading and lagging with respect to the harmony)... basically, "the map is not the territory" kind of thing.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Navigation yeah

    I think what you're doing is great ....
    I try to do what your doing
    and
    i sometimes write the important melody notes
    ('reduced melody' trombonist Ed Byrne's thing Byrne Jazz - Home not affiliated)

    onto to the chord of the moment

    eg in 'the end of a love affair' in Ebmaj
    i write first chord as Fmin9 etc etc etc

    Quoting bits of the melody is good
    and it helps me with navigation

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Where the top and bottom voices are going. That's the indicator. Work from the outside in. Get the bass and lead then fill in the middle. Western music is directional. That's why they're called progressions.

    Look for contrary motion, then improvise in the other direction of the bass voice. If the harmony is more static (not moving) then it's more of a challenge. Then you lean on the groove more, or go in and out. Or just be simple and poetic, like the blues players. It's hard to be interesting on one or two chords---at least for me. Much easier to play against the motion.

    Also, be contrapuntal: if the harmony is slow play against it. If it's simple there's room for you to be complex. If it's already complex be simple. Contrast is more interesting then 'painting with one color'...

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Babaluma -

    The trouble is you've asked a simple question that has a BIG answer.

    It's a bit like going to another country with yourl phrasebook and asking a local 'Where is the Post Office?'. And the guy waves his hands around and goes 'Binhgd gydssbnni iygbb huyedbn nygf hhngfcxr gfccbv'. Easy to ask the question but you might not understand the answer!

    It might be easier if you googled this subject, to be honest. There are lots of sites that deal with it. Here's a video by Jens Larsen that demonstrates a simple way to do it. He speeds it up at the end a bit because he wants to keep it short but his instruction is clear and good enough if you can follow it.

    Ultimately it's more complex than this (because there's usually more than one option of what to play over the chords) but this is a good start. He's done more videos on this same subject as well.

    The point is: keep it very simple till you've got the idea.


  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Recognizing "tonal center" is a fundamental skill.

    Here's a link to an article that might be helpful.

    http://www.thejazzpianosite.com/jazz...modal-harmony/

    Partly, it's based on the idea that a lot of songs, particularly older standards, are composed of a lot of dominant to tonic movements. That's, for example, G7 to Cmajor. And, then, in front of the G7, you can add a Dm7. Since these chords gravitate towards Cmajor, they're considered to be in "C major tonal center". If you improvise using a C major scale over all three chords, it will sound consonant. Some people will tell you that you need to be careful where you play the F note and maybe the B note, but try it and see what you think.

    So, for example, Yardbird Suite starts on Cmajor, so that's C major tonal center. Then it goes to Fm7 and Bb7. You could see that as Eb major tonal center. Then, there are a bunch of chords which gravitate towards Cmajor, which you could simply play over in Cmajor tonal center. There are a couple of accidentals you may want to include. A better theorist will be able to explain this in terms of "secondary dominants", but for me, it's a question of thinking "background is Cmajor, with adjustments for a chord like A7, which takes a C# and maybe an F#".

    Then, leading to the bridge, it's Fm7b5 to B7b9, leading to Em. So, the tonal center becomes Em.

    Anyway, that's more or less how it works.
    This is very much how I think. It was actually a bit of a revelation to me that the progressions are so good in classic songs that you are pretty much guided towards consonant and disonant sounds, I started finding my fingers going to notes that suggested where the song was going without really thinking, just by letting the tonal centre lead me. This actaully got me playing rather than being paralysed seeing all the chord changes whizz past.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    I’m going to plump for the simple approach. This worked for me.

    learn a LOT of tunes. Look out for patterns.

    be a collector, not a theorist

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    One addition to Christian's post: always follow your ears. Good playing . . . Marinero

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    Do you internalize progressions by hearing and playing them? This is, not memorizing them, but a more abstract form of grasping how they sound, recognizing them even in different contexts when the chords are variously extended, altered, reharmonized, or otherwise different from "stock" forms?

    I find that when the source, process, and product are non-verbal ideas (not the usual objects of an analysis), they are much closer to "how it sounds and possibilities for how it could sound". Of course, those that have spent enough time looking at charts, sheets, and scores also learn to recognize "how it sounds and possibilities for how it could sound".

    That last part about "how it could sound" is important. When you work out the chords, there are multiple solutions, different functions, and a lot of variation in how even a simple melody line may be played over chords (especially displacement by leading and lagging with respect to the harmony)... basically, "the map is not the territory" kind of thing.
    Yes 100% agree this is how I aim to learn, works much better for me although I am sure others prefer a more theoretical way.

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    Navigation yeah

    I think what you're doing is great ....
    I try to do what your doing
    and
    i sometimes write the important melody notes
    ('reduced melody' trombonist Ed Byrne's thing Byrne Jazz - Home not affiliated)

    onto to the chord of the moment

    eg in 'the end of a love affair' in Ebmaj
    i write first chord as Fmin9 etc etc etc

    Quoting bits of the melody is good
    and it helps me with navigation
    Oh please expand on this approach for "end of a love affair"?

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    Where the top and bottom voices are going. That's the indicator. Work from the outside in. Get the bass and lead then fill in the middle. Western music is directional. That's why they're called progressions.

    Look for contrary motion, then improvise in the other direction of the bass voice. If the harmony is more static (not moving) then it's more of a challenge. Then you lean on the groove more, or go in and out. Or just be simple and poetic, like the blues players. It's hard to be interesting on one or two chords---at least for me. Much easier to play against the motion.

    Also, be contrapuntal: if the harmony is slow play against it. If it's simple there's room for you to be complex. If it's already complex be simple. Contrast is more interesting then 'painting with one color'...
    Thanks for the interesting suggestions, it is very easy to just play licks and not focus on the movement of the song so good things to keep in mind and practice for me!

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Babaluma -

    The trouble is you've asked a simple question that has a BIG answer.

    It's a bit like going to another country with yourl phrasebook and asking a local 'Where is the Post Office?'. And the guy waves his hands around and goes 'Binhgd gydssbnni iygbb huyedbn nygf hhngfcxr gfccbv'. Easy to ask the question but you might not understand the answer!

    It might be easier if you googled this subject, to be honest. There are lots of sites that deal with it. Here's a video by Jens Larsen that demonstrates a simple way to do it. He speeds it up at the end a bit because he wants to keep it short but his instruction is clear and good enough if you can follow it.

    Ultimately it's more complex than this (because there's usually more than one option of what to play over the chords) but this is a good start. He's done more videos on this same subject as well.

    The point is: keep it very simple till you've got the idea.


    Thanks very much, I will check this out. Yes I thought I may open a can of worms with this topic! I definitely aim to keep things simple at first, I have no choice

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I’m going to plump for the simple approach. This worked for me.

    learn a LOT of tunes. Look out for patterns.

    be a collector, not a theorist
    Good advice! I am trying to get together two sets of tunes to play with a friend, it is only ten songs or so but already I am seeing similarities and patterns emerging as well as the different requirements needed when playing on II-V-I tunes and a Wayne Shorter song!

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Babaluma
    Thanks very much, I will check this out. Yes I thought I may open a can of worms with this topic! I definitely aim to keep things simple at first, I have no choice
    Great. It is a big subject. I think I'd put these things in order of importance:

    Tonal centres.

    5-1 and 2-5-1 progressions, major and minor, and similar standard progressions like 6-2-5-1-4 as in All The Things You Are. You might wonder what that DbM7 was doing there.

    Always check the chord that follows a dominant. An A7 might go to a Dm, not a D maj - which changes the nature of the A7 and therefore the notes you play over it.

    Or it might not resolve to a one chord at all so you have to figure out whether the implied tonality is major or minor (play it and see).

    And watch out for 'backdoor' subs - like Fm7-Bb7-CM7. They can explain seemingly unrelated 2-5s in the middle of a tune.

    Melody notes in relation to the chord. In Stella there's an Ab7 which seems harmless enough... except the only note over it is a D - which makes it a 7b5 chord. In Corcovado there's an Fm7 - Bb7 which you might assume was all in Eb... except the notes are only belong to Eb over the Fm (F dorian) but then it suddenly uses a natural E over the Bb. Or that very brazen Bb note right in the middle of a perfectly ordinary G7 in Blue Bossa (just grit your teeth and play it). Stuff like that.

    All of which means that function really matters - so always take chords and melody together.

    Etc, etc. I was hoping not to get into this, I really was. Good luck! :-)

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Babaluma
    Oh please expand on this approach for "end of a love affair"?
    the end of a love affair in Eb

    |F- |B7. | Ebmaj7. | %. |

    ok so the reduced melody (the important notes) seem to be
    the notes

    |G. | G. |D. | %. |

    so I'd think (and possibly write on the sheet)

    |F-9. |B13. | Emaj7 | %. |

    etc etc

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    the end of a love affair in Eb

    |F- |B7. | Ebmaj7. | %. |

    ok so the reduced melody (the important notes) seem to be
    the notes

    |G. | G. |D. | %. |

    so I'd think (and possibly write on the sheet)

    |F-9. |B13. | Emaj7 | %. |

    etc etc
    This is sometimes called the "half note melody" - a reduction or simplification of the melody line to just the two most important notes per bar. It serves as an organizational concept for questioning, revealing or discovering attributes of an existing melody line (chord tones, extensions, alterations, motion, etc.), and so usually provides information about the character of the progression, but also inversely may be conceived as an answering construction design strategy suggesting which notes to consider, and how (playing around them, into them, out of them, through them, etc.), for improvised solo lines...

    This is an especially nice idea because it is quite natural and easy to apply it (both as questioning and answering) to any tune - you don't need pencil, paper, or your instrument in hand, don't even need to be in earshot of actual music. You can do this all in your mind while on a walk or a drive... learning how to ultimately do it while performing.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    I rip apart tunes...four bars at a time..track the melody and then see what chords were used and see if they work ok or can be modified..if the melody has a D note and the chord is CM7 change it to MA9 see if it sounds better..see how the chords are connected..is there a moving bass line (or any moving voices) connecting them..check their inversions to see if its a better fit with the bassline...

    many "sheet music"--realbook type chord charts for tunes can be reharmed and sound much better and make more visual/ harmonic sense..if you come across a chord that dosent seem to fit a harmonic function..it could just be named wrong..

    few tunes have a "stand alone" chord in a progression that cannot be part of the harmonic function of a tune...now..this is in relation to many standards..
    if we are going into bop/freejazz/fusion..then all bets are off...as many are written with static passages with a series of chords that may be unrelated and that may be
    the composers style of writing..and to get accurate sheet music for such works may be a hit and miss type of thing..this is where your ears are your guide

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    So... what's the point of analysis?

    Personally analysis is where I start when learning or performing a tune. Analysis is helpful for understanding and performing music. It's one of many tools to help improvise and accompany when performing.

    Analysis deals with and uses the melody, the changes and the rhythm... all within a FORM. It helps get a better understanding of the obvious as well as the underlining structural organization of music.

    Your generally trying to....simplify a tune into smaller musical elements and what function and relationships those elements play within the structure of that tune. What makes that tune ... Like or Different from other tunes.

    Analysis, (as well as learning or memorizing a tune), begins with the "FORM".

    The melody as well as the chords... and the locations of those notes and chords... within the FORM.

    All elements of the tune are part of the analysis... the melody, the changes, the rhythm all in relationship to a Tonal Center(s).

    Melodies and changes within a form imply Key centers or tonalities within a tune.

    For labeling use upper case Roman Numerals.They imply the quality of the chord,(maj, min etc) and the note or chord relationship to a Diatonic Context. Not a specific key. They help define interrelationships between melodies and chords within tonal contexts.

    Analysis has theoretical references and also Sound references... what the music sounds like. There can be a few possibilities.

    So approach...

    Start with the...Form
    1) "Form".... AABA, ABA, 12 bar or 16 bar Blues, organize the shape of the space.
    2) Use melody to expand labels of chords.... if the melody has a b9th, add that to chord symbol
    3) Find the important Functional locations of Chords and melody within the Form. Forms have implied Targets.
    4) From above info... and ears... determine tonic, the key. Look for cadences at end of phrases , end of sections.
    II V I's, V I's, II V's, IV I's. First or last chord of tune or section is often the Tonic.
    5) label all diatonic chords.
    6) label all non-diatonic chords, Look for passing and approach chords. Borrowed chords, secondary and extended
    Dominant chords, substitute chords. Look for Cadences for possible modulations.

    Use standard Jazz common analysis symbols...

    1) Key centers are shown below the bars.
    2) Arrows represent dominant resolutions, or functions of V7 to I chord
    3) Dotted arrows represent Sub V7's, and extended or interpolated dominants. (cycles)
    4) Brackets below imply II- V
    5) Dotted Brackets for II- subV7's
    6) Bracket above chords imply... Chord Pattern. (CP) Chord patterns work and are like Turnarounds.

    I need to go... but I'll post some examples of how I personally make quick analysis of tunes I don't know or new music on gigs... same thing as prefab examples.... just with melody adjusted chords, and harmonic bigger picture. Complete note collections implications from both melody and chords.
    After a while...you have-pre done analysis memorized for most tunes, and can see and hear common practice, You know what harmony is used with melodies, and common chord patterns.... the extensions and how they work together with melodies and chord progressions.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Interesting discussion. However, from my perspective, we need some clarity. All good musicians either KNOW music theory or have an instinctive sense of theory based on years of playing changes and understanding the relationship between progressions and melody. But, in my opinion, when one's focus becomes inordinately imbued with mechanics, there is a real danger in losing sight of the musical message/creativity and creating a never-ending math problem where the music has the real potential to lose its spirit as it is over-analysed like an algebraic equation. And, of course, "spirit" was the genesis of music before "mechanics" when vocal music was used to record history, heal a sad spirit, express joy, or celebrate Man's successes. And, wasn't this the origin of Folk Music, Blues, Traditional Jazz, Dixieland and Rock Music? We are creators. We are not mathematicians. So, I am not advocating the dismissal of theory, but rather that it has it correct place when we practice our sometimes illusive Black Magic. Good playing . . . Marinero

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Babaluma
    Good advice! I am trying to get together two sets of tunes to play with a friend, it is only ten songs or so but already I am seeing similarities and patterns emerging as well as the different requirements needed when playing on II-V-I tunes and a Wayne Shorter song!
    I think it’s the best way tbh. All this stuff on the thread, I presume it’s all good info tbh haven’t read it, but it all comes from somewhere usually personal experience mixed with what theory that person has found useful.

    some patterns only emerge after 100s of tunes.

    this type of classification is natural to the human mind. We are pattern recognition machines - sometimes in a bad way haha. That is was music theory is really. What’s changed is people tend to use the same names for stuff.

    but you know what? There’s still no established nomenclature for common progressions for jazz tunes. I wonder why?

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    LOL... I dig your magic, Marinero.

    But I'm fairly sure the OP... is still in the process of discovering the basic elements and tools... and what they are.
    I love magical tools... but generally they are still just tools and technical BS. As soon as we pick up an instrument.... we're no longer using magic, we're using a tool. Still need to learn what the potions are and how to use them.

    But... your point is still very TRUE. It's just that... us using that Black magic or that Black magic using us thing, or at least being aware of.

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    As Alan Moore would remind us, Science is the child of Magic

  26. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    So... what's the point of analysis?

    Personally analysis is where I start when learning or performing a tune. Analysis is helpful for understanding and performing music. It's one of many tools to help improvise and accompany when performing.

    Analysis deals with and uses the melody, the changes and the rhythm... all within a FORM. It helps get a better understanding of the obvious as well as the underlining structural organization of music.

    Your generally trying to....simplify a tune into smaller musical elements and what function and relationships those elements play within the structure of that tune. What makes that tune ... Like or Different from other tunes.

    Analysis, (as well as learning or memorizing a tune), begins with the "FORM".

    The melody as well as the chords... and the locations of those notes and chords... within the FORM.

    All elements of the tune are part of the analysis... the melody, the changes, the rhythm all in relationship to a Tonal Center(s).

    Melodies and changes within a form imply Key centers or tonalities within a tune.

    For labeling use upper case Roman Numerals.They imply the quality of the chord,(maj, min etc) and the note or chord relationship to a Diatonic Context. Not a specific key. They help define interrelationships between melodies and chords within tonal contexts.

    Analysis has theoretical references and also Sound references... what the music sounds like. There can be a few possibilities.

    So approach...

    Start with the...Form
    1) "Form".... AABA, ABA, 12 bar or 16 bar Blues, organize the shape of the space.
    2) Use melody to expand labels of chords.... if the melody has a b9th, add that to chord symbol
    3) Find the important Functional locations of Chords and melody within the Form. Forms have implied Targets.
    4) From above info... and ears... determine tonic, the key. Look for cadences at end of phrases , end of sections.
    II V I's, V I's, II V's, IV I's. First or last chord of tune or section is often the Tonic.
    5) label all diatonic chords.
    6) label all non-diatonic chords, Look for passing and approach chords. Borrowed chords, secondary and extended
    Dominant chords, substitute chords. Look for Cadences for possible modulations.

    Use standard Jazz common analysis symbols...

    1) Key centers are shown below the bars.
    2) Arrows represent dominant resolutions, or functions of V7 to I chord
    3) Dotted arrows represent Sub V7's, and extended or interpolated dominants. (cycles)
    4) Brackets below imply II- V
    5) Dotted Brackets for II- subV7's
    6) Bracket above chords imply... Chord Pattern. (CP) Chord patterns work and are like Turnarounds.

    I need to go... but I'll post some examples of how I personally make quick analysis of tunes I don't know or new music on gigs... same thing as prefab examples.... just with melody adjusted chords, and harmonic bigger picture. Complete note collections implications from both melody and chords.
    After a while...you have-pre done analysis memorized for most tunes, and can see and hear common practice, You know what harmony is used with melodies, and common chord patterns.... the extensions and how they work together with melodies and chord progressions.
    Thanks for the very detailed information here! Can I ask what book the pdfs come from please?

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    MIT Press Journals

    Sorry don't have more... I was looking for examples, they are pretty generic, but work.

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    As Alan Moore would remind us, Science is the child of Magic
    Love his BS. Art is the science of manipulating... and to get there... Shamanism, (not to be confused with Scamism), is the path towards interaction and enlightenment.

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Apparently the HBO series of Watchmen is really good

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    Identify the Tonal Centre? Too general, too simplistic...

    Play a specific corresponding pitch collection for each chord? (cst etc) - too complicated!

    Break down Tonal centres to divide into Tonic related chords as opposed to Dominant (or alt dom) chords? Yup, works for me!

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    I prefer the three act structure

    setup
    rising tension
    resolution

    but more resonant than numbers or trad theory terms? Also helps you tell a story....

    An obvious example is the chord sequence that we all know and love, the ii v I, but that’s just one of a load of progressions that do basically the same thing.

    (In general the reason one would favour a ii v I over, say, a ii biiio7 iii is down to the melody and bassline of a song, as well as your personal taste, which is one reason why learning tunes is important, but when it comes to solos you can invent a new melody, and of course reharmonise the existing tune.

    This is part of the reason why I think (within one key) of subdominant (one place)/tonic (another place), because the dominant is the conflict that gets you from one to the other. It is not of its self stable.

    of course that ending up place might itself be a tension place - so the narrative becomes episodic, such as the B section of a Rhythm tune.

    too much status quo (tonic) and we end up with the equivalent of episodic tv eg in a turnaround which can be comforting, but larger narrative arcs and structures can be made by keeping away from that particular resolution.

    and is with any fleshed our narrative this structure occurs on different levels within music.
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-10-2020 at 06:04 AM.

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    When I studied thorough-bass on lute (kind of similar comping thing - only from baroque) I asked a friend of mine who was very much experienced to make different contextual excersises for me... like those that I did in jazz for some guys -- I like doing that stuff... not just pattern, or theoretic idea application...
    but something more specific - like something that provokes you to move into some particular direction in realization...
    and also not just standard turnarounds but things more individual - more complex...

    I had to play from figuered bass line (a bit like playing from pure chord sybols) and there were different stipulation - sometimes very free - sometimes very strict... but at the beginning I struggled a lot becasue I did not have much experience and often I could not read the chord quickly.. could not figure out what the figuers mean on the spot.. and because of that I tried to interprete bass notes and figuers as chords... like ok 'this is triad' and 'this is bass moving to 7th inversion and here diminished going to modulate and so and so on... ''
    Of course I tried to connect it in classical rules and all that... but still I tried to think in chords...

    And suddenly I realized that it is not the right way... I have had enough background in music in general - I could hear chords and harmony and form well...

    What I had to do actually - and what I did - was to think of just a melody agains the bass... yes I still knew what was going on harmonically ... but now I was released becasue everything was balanced between two main poles - bass as a fundumental and melody as modt individual ecpression...

    Sorry for this log intro.. in jazz with its realtively free vice-leading it is even easier to do than in classical... (if you play melody with conviction you can through in almost any interval or chord that you hear fits and it will work)

    So my idea - it s great to hear fundumental form first of all --- not turnarousnds but the form of the songs in overall sense - what it ALL goes and how..

    then it is nice to be able to hear typical turnarounds - but ii-v-i per se or triton sub is not harmonic analyzis... analysis is when you catch something meaningful not just technical.... meaningful is there only in realtion to form and all the aspects: melody harmony rythm...

    My One And Only Love ... it has very simple beginning like I - vi - ii (or IV) - V... very basic.. thousands of song used it... but lets check houw the melody goes over it...
    This ascending pentatonic line sounds actually like a pick that normally would have been before the 1st bar and reached the top note on the 1st beat of the 1st chord... but here it is shifted and melody comes to the top only at the IV chord...

    THis is what's important for analysis - how we hear relations between different levels - different techniques: typical progession, pentatonic, ascending line, meter and harmonic rythm... all that works together...


    There are other tunes then that use similar approach... but in their own way like Polka Dots and Moonbeams and so on...

    My humble idea: study patterns of course, study harmony - nu remember this is only techniques... analysing is about music.
    Last edited by Jonah; 02-11-2020 at 02:45 AM.

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    As someone asked earlier, what is the point of analysis? Define what you expect analysis to accomplish for you first and then people will have more targeted answers.

    If one is trying to figure out how to solo over the changes, then I suggest just playing the chords: chord tones or CST if one is really determined. Later one can add fancier stuff: subs, blues, more scales, various Greek numbers followed by tonic, triads, ad nauseam. As always, scales and devices are not music in themselves. They are good finger and ear training. Good music tells a story and the story telling is an art not easily accessed through analysis and theory.

    If one is after something else, then again define what analysis is expected to provide.

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    Well, the OP said:

    I am looking for suggestions about key things to look for when analysing chord progressions which will give me greatest insight into what is going on harmonically and hopefully improve my playing over changes.
    I think that's fair enough. If a progression is unfamiliar or looks tricky then it's a very good idea to analyse it to some extent, it'll obviously clarify what can be played in improvisation.

    I'd say only highly experienced players can launch into a tune they don't know cold. Any kind of technical task requiring skill needs to be reconnoitred properly before one begins. It's just common sense, really.

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    I had a guitar teacher say, "think simple, play fancy". So when analyzing try to get down to the vanilla changes.

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    If you can imagine a good sounding line over the changes and play it instantly, you don't need analysis. That said, even players who can do that might be able to use analytical ideas to find new sounds.

    But, us mere mortals often can't do it that way. So, the analysis helps keep you on the right track in terms of getting particular sounds (and avoiding clams).

    Suppose, for example, if the chords are Gm7 C7 Fmaj7 and you want to get a tritone sub sound on the C7. It may help you to know that the notes of Gb7 will get you there (emphasizes #11 and b9). You might also benefit from knowing that the notes of Dbm will work to get a slightly different sound (that's b9 3 and b13 from the point of view of C7). You might benefit from knowing that the notes of Dbmelminor (Calt) will get you even further (altered 5ths and 9ths). Or, you might just say "F tonal center" and play notes from the Fmajor scale. Just to name a few commonly used ideas.

    Those are all examples of theoretically based ideas which lead to particular sounds. But, to return to the first point -- if you can imagine a good line and play it, you don't have to know any theory -- and there are great players who do it that way.

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    Try analyzing some tunes in reverse. I.e., start with the last chord and work backwards to understand how the preceding chords took you there.

    Once you understand it in terms of chord names, look deeper in to voices. First the melody and bass voices, then the inner voices—but again working backwards from where you want them to resolve.

  38. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    MIT Press Journals

    Sorry don't have more... I was looking for examples, they are pretty generic, but work.
    This is great thanks a lot!

  39. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    Identify the Tonal Centre? Too general, too simplistic...

    Play a specific corresponding pitch collection for each chord? (cst etc) - too complicated!

    Break down Tonal centres to divide into Tonic related chords as opposed to Dominant (or alt dom) chords? Yup, works for me!
    I think you end up doing this anyway as you can hear the pull of the dominant related chords and respond accordingly but good to have in the back on ones mind!

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    I had a guitar teacher say, "think simple, play fancy". So when analyzing try to get down to the vanilla changes.
    right, I’m stealing that

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    If they're too vanilla it could be very misleading. But 'think simple, play fancy' is clever enough.