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  1. #51

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    Anyway I think I made my point. The way you look at that line will influence and inform the way you develop it.

    we do get a bit hung up on ‘the right way’; I think there’s a lot to be said for developing *your* way of understanding... but since you base that on the music itself and ideas you pick up along the way you’ll always be relating it to something real... it’s not just self indulgence.

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  3. #52

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    Yes. My OP expressed my frustration with not being able to comprehend many of the posts dealing with theory in this forum. I hope to gain some type of insight in these posts to apply in my own playing. It wasn't the knowledge of theory I was seeking... it was knowledge of playing music, musical understanding, what works well musically.

    What came out in my posts was a frustration in the lack of sophistication in my sound. By being able to understand the discussions in this forum, I was hoping to add something to my own playing. What I'm finding is that reading about how to play music only goes so far and has little to do with actually improving one's vocabulary and the ability to express oneself.

  4. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Goofy it may be, but it’s also a common feature of many jazz lines from the swing and bop era.... see for instance ‘Donna Lee’
    more so than any other chromatic passing tone? In Donna Lee, it connects to the 7th of the V chord, so you dont have b6 and nat6 both on I, and there are plenty of other chromatic passing tones

  5. #54

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    We seem to have hijacked zigzag's thread...

  6. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by zigzag
    It wasn't the knowledge of theory I was seeking... it was knowledge of playing music, musical understanding, what works well musically.
    Exactly. Now we've got it!

    I think what might be useful would be if you could show us something you don't understand - say, a lead sheet, or a chord progression, or something like that. A real example would be good.

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    wonder what the ‘T’ stands for?
    Trivia? Trappings? T*rds?

    To address your point, though, I've revised the PS in my original post from "CST is not theory" to "CST does not encompass all of music theory".

    Best,

    SJ

  8. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by zigzag
    Yes. My OP expressed my frustration with not being able to comprehend many of the posts dealing with theory in this forum. I hope to gain some type of insight in these posts to apply in my own playing. It wasn't the knowledge of theory I was seeking... it was knowledge of playing music, musical understanding, what works well musically.

    What came out in my posts was a frustration in the lack of sophistication in my sound. By being able to understand the discussions in this forum, I was hoping to add something to my own playing. What I'm finding is that reading about how to play music only goes so far and has little to do with actually improving one's vocabulary and the ability to express oneself.
    Understood. I have been down that path with on-line info - and continue to be seduced by it regularly.

    In a recent thread about Someone in Love, I wrote what I thought was a somewhat pithy analysis of the tune.

    Later in the thread, I made a video of a two chorus solo -- during which I thought about nothing I had written. Further, I don't think there was anything whatsoever in the solo that really related to my prior analysis. That is, the theory gave me nothing useful whatsoever.

    There might be an argument that theory had informed my practice so that I was able to play a solo at all. That might be right. But, I still ended up thinking that I was convincing myself that reading theoretical statements and abstruse analyses of tunes wasn't going to make me a better soloist in the foreseeable future.

    Yet, I am aware that some excellent players have profited from learning and applying theory. And, I have myself, to a limited degree.

    But, overall, my advice, based on my path (and acknowledging that many better players did it differently) would be this.

    1. Learn to play melodies that are in your mind, instantly. Play along with everything you hear to build this facility. You need to get to the point where you can play a random melody you know starting on any fret/finger/string.

    2. Scat sing and play that.

    3. Then, when your lines start sounding stale, judiciously pick up and apply theory. Or just listen to music you like and play like that.

    a. Know what a tonal center is.

    b. Know the notes in the chords you use and where they are on the neck, instantly.

    c. Practice tunes that require only major and natural minor scales and chord tones. Watch your time feel, make sure everything swings.

    d. Adjust notes that don't fit by ear. So, for example, when you have a iim7b5 V7 im, you know how to stay on chord tones.

    e. Eventually, you'll need melodic and maybe harmonic minor and their obvious applications.

    f. There's lots of other theoretical or analytical material which can help, but you have to sip from that ocean. One tiny idea at a time. For example, if you can't hear the b9 on a V7 chord, practice putting b9s in your lines. Then do it for #9s, b5 and #5.

    I think it's important to recognize that there are often posts on line which may require two years of work to master the material and, afterward, you still won't know any tunes. I recall a post on another forum about triad pairs against bass notes. There are multiple kinds of triads, each of which had to be played in conjunction with every other triad, in every combinations of keys, and then every combination of six notes against every bass note. How many combinations is that? What use is it to somebody who can't make a Bb major scale sound like jazz against a Bb major chord?

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by BWV
    more so than any other chromatic passing tone? In Donna Lee, it connects to the 7th of the V chord, so you dont have b6 and nat6 both on I, and there are plenty of other chromatic passing tones
    The first line could be interpreted as a I major bop scale going to the 3rd of the VI7. Such lines are common in Barry's teaching.

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by zigzag
    What came out in my posts was a frustration in the lack of sophistication in my sound. By being able to understand the discussions in this forum, I was hoping to add something to my own playing. What I'm finding is that reading about how to play music only goes so far and has little to do with actually improving one's vocabulary and the ability to express oneself.
    I learned to play jazz by learning tunes and copying solos off records, I did not use books or theory much. To some extent this was forced on me because I didn’t know any other way (I started in the days before the internet, and I didn’t really know of any useful books).

    Theory and books are useful in their place (I know a lot more theory now), but I still think learning by ear from the source was the most important element for me.

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    We seem to have hijacked zigzag's thread...
    Maybe, but that's okay. I've enjoyed reading the entire thread, and it's nice to be able to provide fodder for the group input. Hijack away my friends.

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by BWV
    There is no value in teaching this scale to someone who does not already know functional harmony.
    Actually, learning music the way we do is what holds one up when attempting to understand BH methods i.e. you know if you get Happy Birthday enough times in your life you're already wired.

    It might be interesting, if you could find, a person totally unfamiliar with traditional Western harmonics and start them in this method.

    The scale is a byproduct not an inspiration. It comes about after the 12 tone chromatic scale is bisected by three diminished chords.

  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    The first line could be interpreted as a I major bop scale going to the 3rd of the VI7. Such lines are common in Barry's teaching.
    What if he had written the E as a D? The line still works.

    I'm in an anti-theory mood. How is knowing that it's a bebop scale (if you keep the E) helpful in any way?

    It's like that thing that got discussed about playing from Bb through a C7 to a C#. Sure, it works. So do a zillion other things. I don't see how it's more helpful than recognizing that if you're playing on C something and moving to A dominant something, if you want the sound of the third, it's the C#. So, if you're feeling the potential landing on that sound, you can find your way to C# with any decent melodic statement.

    Now, if the idea is to train your ear so that you can hear the shift to the A dominant sound, then fine. But, there's nothing magical about that line, played in a bebop scale or not. And, the fact that the bebop scale comes out even rhythmically implies that you're going to play the entire scale. Are you? If you're making melody and not running scales, it strikes me as irrelevant.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 07-16-2020 at 06:04 PM.

  14. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by zigzag
    Maybe, but that's okay. I've enjoyed reading the entire thread, and it's nice to be able to provide fodder for the group input. Hijack away my friends.
    Actually there's nothing to hijack. There's nothing interesting about that Charlie Parker line. It's entirely diatonic (Bb maj scale) with the b9 over the dominant the only nod to 'jazz'. The rest is just the usual pretentious blah :-)

    Anyway, as we were saying, if you've got an example of the sort of thing you find difficult, that would be good.

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    What if he had written the E as a D? The line still works.
    Barry says: "the rule is more important than the note". (So adding a rhythmic filler note between 6 and 5 is more important than that it is a b6 in this context.)

    Well done! You noticed a thing.

    I'm in an anti-theory mood. How is knowing that it's a bebop scale (if you keep the E) helpful in any way?
    See my point above. It's driven the records. I got interested in bop scales when I heard musicians play them in solos. It's useful to label common shapes and objects people use; actually helps you recognise them for one. The standardisation of these labels is really not as important as people seem to think.

    It's like that thing that got discussed about playing from Bb through a C7 to a C#. Sure, it works. So do a zillion other things. I don't see how it's more helpful than recognizing that if you're playing on C something and moving to A dominant something, if you want the sound of the third, it's the C#. So, if you're feeling the potential landing on that sound, you can find your way to C# with any decent melodic statement.
    I don't actually understand what you mean here. Whatever it is, I'm sure it's all going to be just fine.

    Now, if the idea is to train your ear so that you can hear the shift to the A dominant sound, then fine. But, there's nothing magical about that line, played in a bebop scale or not. And, the fact that the bebop scale comes out even rhythmically implies that you're going to play the entire scale. Are you? If you're making melody and not running scales, it strikes me as irrelevant.
    These questions are all kind of irrelevant. It doesn't really matter what personal map someone makes of the music to understand it and work with it. The important thing is that they start with the flipping music and their ears, not some book, and certainly not this crappy forum.

    So, bop scales are a trope of jazz, even in Louis solos. They pop up a lot. It makes sense to have a name for them and 'bebop scale' (a term I dislike) is popular in edu. But ultimately it really doesn't matter, however seems to you a convenient way to understand the language and concepts of your favourite players is fine. You aren't taking any exams.

    Transcribe some horn players and get back to me...
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-17-2020 at 06:01 PM.

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    Transcribe some horn players and get back to me...
    There you have it. I don't transcribe bop. I'm just not that enamored of it. I do occasionally transcribe horn players. In a recent couple of Stan Getz transcriptions, he's more likely to add the #11 than the b6. And, the fact that adding the b6 makes the rhythm come out right, is irrelevant to what I'm trying to do. For me, it's all about the melodic line generated by a different kind of process. So, a lot of this is what you like and what you want to play.

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by zigzag
    How many of you play a 13th chord and don't know it's a 13th chord when you play it?
    I had to think about this. It's a more subtle question than it might first appear. You seem to be talking about the instinctive ability to play not just a 13th chord but any chord or phrase that might objectively be described as 'jazz'. It's the instinctive part that is the difficulty. There do seem to have been musicians that have done this effortlessly. I listen to the 22 year old Frank Morgan and wonder how he could have assimilated the genre so comprehensively. I have some ideas on this but nothing that solves the problem of how to create jazz.

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irishmuso
    I had to think about this. It's a more subtle question than it might first appear. You seem to be talking about the instinctive ability to play not just a 13th chord but any chord or phrase that might objectively be described as 'jazz'. It's the instinctive part that is the difficulty. There do seem to have been musicians that have done this effortlessly. I listen to the 22 year old Frank Morgan and wonder how he could have assimilated the genre so comprehensively. I have some ideas on this but nothing that solves the problem of how to create jazz.
    I read that statement over many times and I still don't know how to view it. My first instinct was to say 'of course NOT' since I have never played a chord where I didn't know what chord I was playing. Then I thought of my friends, that play mostly blues and rock, and the few so called jazz chords they play. They don't know what chord they are playing (other than the root), but only the specific voicing I showed them. E.g. if we haven't played in a while before we start I show them the voicing and say; remember the B part starts with this C chord. There is no reason to say 'this C maj 7 chord' since that wouldn't help them remember the voicing.

    But then I realized that since I'm trying to add block chords to my solos (instead of just my typically 8 note solo), that I do use 3 note chords that based on trial and error I know 'work' but I really don't know them by a specific chord name. I.e. I'm doing what my rocker friends do; just memorized specific voicings that work.

    Thus I've been humbled!

  19. #68

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    I was really talking about hearing the chord, as in "I don't think of it as a 13th chord when I play it, but if that's the chord I want, then I'll play it," knowing its sound and using it. I suspect that practically everyone on this forum can name the chords they play, even if they have to think about it for a second. Knowing the sounds you want instinctively.

  20. #69

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    zigzag -

    Show me an actual example of the sort of thing you find difficult. You've said a lot more than the sound of 13 chords.

    To be honest, if you have no real examples then it implies your questions are merely general. Therefore they'll have general, open-ended answers.

    I think the simple thing is, as I said before, that there are merely gaps in your knowledge - to which the answer is grab a book or look at the internet and start filling in. Otherwise the thing will just drag on without resolution.

  21. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irishmuso
    I had to think about this. It's a more subtle question than it might first appear. Y hi ou seem to be talking about the instinctive ability to play not just a 13th chord but any chord or phrase that might objectively be described as 'jazz'. It's the instinctive part that is the difficulty. There do seem to have been musicians that have done this effortlessly. I listen to the 22 year old Frank Morgan and wonder how he could have assimilated the genre so comprehensively. I have some ideas on this but nothing that solves the problem of how to create jazz.
    I learned a Kurt Rosenwinkel tune the other day and I have no idea what I would call half the chords if I had to write it down.

    I know the theory that I could find good names, but the names aren’t terribly important until you need to write a chart, or talk nonsense on the internet. They are just sounds.

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by zigzag
    I was really talking about hearing the chord, as in "I don't think of it as a 13th chord when I play it, but if that's the chord I want, then I'll play it," knowing its sound and using it. I suspect that practically everyone on this forum can name the chords they play, even if they have to think about it for a second. Knowing the sounds you want instinctively.
    Joe Pass said there are only 3 chords: Major, minor and dominant. Which I think is a useful concept to bear in mind when jazz chords seem a bit confusing.

    A 13th is just a colour tone on a more basic chord, that’s how I think of it. So for example if the tune has a G7 chord shown on the chart, I might play a G13 if it sounds good, if it doesn’t clash with the melody, if it voice-leads well into the next chord, etc. But I’ve done that so many times now that I don’t have to think about it, to me it’s just another available flavour of a dominant chord. Same goes with all the other colour tones or extensions available on the chords. Of course with altered dominants you have to pay a bit more attention, but it’s still a matter of experience and using your ear, as far as I’m concerned.

    Actually I don’t use that many chords, in fact I got most of them originally out of the Joe Pass chord book. You just try them on tunes and eventually you get to know the shapes and sounds of them, and can use them where appropriate without much conscious thought.

    I guess a big part of it is just knowing and recognising the sound of each chord by ear. I know the sound of the 13th extension for example, same goes for all the other chord extensions, colour tones, voicings that I use.

  23. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by jameslovestal
    I have never played a chord where I didn't know what chord I was playing. But then I realized that since I'm trying to add block chords to my solos (instead of just my typically 8 note solo), that I do use 3 note chords that based on trial and error I know 'work' but I really don't know them by a specific chord name
    I can't speak for the OP, but this describes me at the moment with pretty much all 'non standard' chords. I know movable major, minor and seventh chords by name and shape but flat 5, diminished, augmented etc are just 'chords that make that kind of sound'.

    This is OK so long as I am only playing the 3 or 4 tunes I currently know (I'm a beginner), which I have painstakingly worked out, but it is a bit like reinventing the wheel each time I stumble onto a sequence that works - i.e. working out the chord I hear in my head and not always even realising that that chord is the same flat five chord that I played in that other song because I'm fingering it slightly differently... It's a very inefficient use of time, and as a middle aged man with a kid and a full-time job I have almost zero time!

    So I'm making forcing myself through exercises in books and videos called things like 'get to know the fretboard' (finding Vinnie Raniolo & Fred Sokolow teaching materials particularly useful, also the Hal Leonard Swing & Big Band guitar book) because ordering myself to actually mentally note names and shapes and fingerings will ultimately magically create more useful time spent on the guitar in my life,.. if that makes sense.

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    Joe Pass said there are only 3 chords: Major, minor and dominant. Which I think is a useful concept to bear in mind when jazz chords seem a bit confusing.

    A 13th is just a colour tone on a more basic chord, that’s how I think of it. So for example if the tune has a G7 chord shown on the chart, I might play a G13 if it sounds good, if it doesn’t clash with the melody, if it voice-leads well into the next chord, etc. But I’ve done that so many times now that I don’t have to think about it, to me it’s just another available flavour of a dominant chord. Same goes with all the other colour tones or extensions available on the chords. Of course with altered dominants you have to pay a bit more attention, but it’s still a matter of experience and using your ear, as far as I’m concerned.

    Actually I don’t use that many chords, in fact I got most of them originally out of the Joe Pass chord book. You just try them on tunes and eventually you get to know the shapes and sounds of them, and can use them where appropriate without much conscious thought.

    I guess a big part of it is just knowing and recognising the sound of each chord by ear. I know the sound of the 13th extension for example, same goes for all the other chord extensions, colour tones, voicings that I use.
    That's pretty much how I've come to view harmony... I was aware of Joe Pass's ideas but I had to understand it as a player.

    It might be worth adding that in straight-ahead old school jazz guitar that 13th is most likely a melody note, as are most of the extensions and so on you'll find in lead sheets. Most of these traditional jazz chord grips have the extensions in the top voice(s).... when comping extensions will form a new melody line.

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Milton
    I can't speak for the OP, but this describes me at the moment with pretty much all 'non standard' chords. I know movable major, minor and seventh chords by name and shape but flat 5, diminished, augmented etc are just 'chords that make that kind of sound'.

    This is OK so long as I am only playing the 3 or 4 tunes I currently know (I'm a beginner), which I have painstakingly worked out, but it is a bit like reinventing the wheel each time I stumble onto a sequence that works - i.e. working out the chord I hear in my head and not always even realising that that chord is the same flat five chord that I played in that other song because I'm fingering it slightly differently... It's a very inefficient use of time, and as a middle aged man with a kid and a full-time job I have almost zero time!
    I know it's really really hard, but it will get easier. Any short cut you take will only mean more work later... I found this out the hard way.

    Keep learning tunes. As a person with limited time, one's focus should be on playing music. Don't worry too much about learning to improvise... the more you learn the more you'll have to play.

    Also, try to learn melodies by ear... It'll seem harder at first, but they stick better, and you'll get better at this.

    Fretboard mapping etc is something you can keep on the back burner and it will develop over time, just make it part of your routine.

  26. #75
    If you took many years of lessons, devoted that much of yourself to figuring this craft out, and are still lagging, then the problem is the way you learn. The problem is you. I know, because this was me!

    I took, and and only "passed" Music Theory in the 80's in HS with a 65 mark. I could not read music. I could not relate the staves to my brain, to my strings. There was a massive lag built in. I'm a really smart person. I've figured out far more complicated concepts than the letters of A-G. I have been obsessed with music since birth. Why wasn't it coming easier? If I'd devoted this much time to the pursuit of economics, I'd be running the world bank. I am an incredibly fast reader of text, but every good boy deserves fudge was wiping the floor with me.

    I never gave music up, I just kept playing new tunes, jamming my pentatonics, working in an arpeggio when I was feeling buck wild. I sat on that plateau from 22 to 47.

    Then, in what I now realize was an act that saved me, I went to a doctor, and the doctor screened me for Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. She saw in my narrative all the hallmarks of this condition. She prescribed me a pill. Within a week, I was no longer anxious, I no longer tried to just whip through my days. I was soaking in the life around me like I never had before.

    But music. Music was where this has had the greatest results for me personally. I can learn like I never could. I could always flip open a Real Book and follow the time, read the chords. I would figure out the first note of the melody, and "cheat" the rest of the melody by ear. Played hundreds of paid gigs this way. And no one has to believe the following, but I could instantly read music on the first day this medicine kicked in. First day. I was no Stravinsky, like a 4th or 5th Grader, but it was there. All that frustration and all that effort that seemed to go nowhere for all those decades. I hadn't gone nowhere. My brain wasn't absorbing information correctly. Doesn't mean I'm not a brilliant guy, I just had my windows rolled up on life's information highway.

    Maybe this isn't the root of your issue. But it must be for someone else out there. All the other rough pieces of life have smoothed out a lot since as well. If your music is suffering, then you know the problem is deeper down. Care enough to properly link your jazz hands to your jazz brain. I was just singing Minor 6 chords to myself, and thinking how crazy that would have been a few years ago. If I could see myself now back then, I would have sworn I got a music professor's brain in a Freaky Friday-incident. Just my two cents. And fifteen other unsolicited dollars, but from my heart, it has really been a miracle for me. Maybe you don't have what I have, but if you want to learn music, and you love it, and your brain feels untrainable, talk to one of these brain docs. Turns out they know their brains.

  27. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chickasaw Mick
    If you took many years of lessons, devoted that much of yourself to figuring this craft out, and are still lagging, then the problem is the way you learn. The problem is you. I know, because this was me!

    I took, and and only "passed" Music Theory in the 80's in HS with a 65 mark. I could not read music. I could not relate the staves to my brain, to my strings. There was a massive lag built in. I'm a really smart person. I've figured out far more complicated concepts than the letters of A-G. I have been obsessed with music since birth. Why wasn't it coming easier? If I'd devoted this much time to the pursuit of economics, I'd be running the world bank. I am an incredibly fast reader of text, but every good boy deserves fudge was wiping the floor with me.

    I never gave music up, I just kept playing new tunes, jamming my pentatonics, working in an arpeggio when I was feeling buck wild. I sat on that plateau from 22 to 47.

    Then, in what I now realize was an act that saved me, I went to a doctor, and the doctor screened me for Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. She saw in my narrative all the hallmarks of this condition. She prescribed me a pill. Within a week, I was no longer anxious, I no longer tried to just whip through my days. I was soaking in the life around me like I never had before.

    But music. Music was where this has had the greatest results for me personally. I can learn like I never could. I could always flip open a Real Book and follow the time, read the chords. I would figure out the first note of the melody, and "cheat" the rest of the melody by ear. Played hundreds of paid gigs this way. And no one has to believe the following, but I could instantly read music on the first day this medicine kicked in. First day. I was no Stravinsky, like a 4th or 5th Grader, but it was there. All that frustration and all that effort that seemed to go nowhere for all those decades. I hadn't gone nowhere. My brain wasn't absorbing information correctly. Doesn't mean I'm not a brilliant guy, I just had my windows rolled up on life's information highway.

    Maybe this isn't the root of your issue. But it must be for someone else out there. All the other rough pieces of life have smoothed out a lot since as well. If your music is suffering, then you know the problem is deeper down. Care enough to properly link your jazz hands to your jazz brain. I was just singing Minor 6 chords to myself, and thinking how crazy that would have been a few years ago. If I could see myself now back then, I would have sworn I got a music professor's brain in a Freaky Friday-incident. Just my two cents. And fifteen other unsolicited dollars, but from my heart, it has really been a miracle for me. Maybe you don't have what I have, but if you want to learn music, and you love it, and your brain feels untrainable, talk to one of these brain docs. Turns out they know their brains.
    Interesting. You had attention deficit disorder, but you were strong in other, more complicated subjects. Why was ADHD holding you back in music but not in other subjects? I don't know much about ADHD but I thought people with ADHD are generally slow readers but you said you were an incredibly fast reader. Is there a specific relationship between ADHD and musical ability?
    Last edited by Tal_175; 08-10-2020 at 09:28 PM.

  28. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    Interesting. You had attention deficit disorder, but you were strong in other, more complicated subjects. Why was ADHD holding you back in music but not in other subjects? I don't know much about ADHD but I thought people with ADHD are generally slow readers but you said you were an incredibly fast reader. Is there a specific relationship between ADHD and musical ability?
    Language based learning disability is common in ADHD, but not 100%. I recall seeing numbers from 45% to 70%, depending on the study and how things were defined.

  29. #78

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    Too busy these days to read through all the comments, but my gut feeling is that the OP hasn't really "learned" enough tunes. Memorize 12 tunes to the point where you can play each one in at least two different keys without any assistance, including soloing, comping, etc, then re-assess.

    Note: 12 is a lower number. Once you get to 30, things get much easier.

  30. #79

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    I think zigzag's got it all wrong, hence his problem. He doesn't need to re-think theory, he has to understand theory, then he can apply it. Most of what is called theory isn't really theory anyway, it's just music.

    Find a simple tune. Find out what to play over it. Play it. Simple :-)


  31. #80

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    What's more important in Boxing? Footwork? Or punching power? Or both? You can be a world champion with the fanciest technical footwork but no power in your punches, conversely, you might have a killer right hook that you only need to land once. The object is to "win", right? So I guess you just choose what suits you best.

    But in Jazz, the object to "win" can only relate to "winning" gigs etc. While that's important to some (and that's diminishing every year), perhaps the object should be to get some satisfaction from this jazz guitar caper, and the more effort you put in, the more satisfaction you reap. Which probably means that finding short cuts or hacks in order to bluff your way into making people think you're OK at jazz guitar is short changing yourself - you're not enjoying your own playing as much as the casual listener might! Now I don't think this is a popular idea on this forum, but for me, I'm far more interested in amusing myself that entertaining others, and I get deep satisfaction making my own musical discoveries, and working them into my playing, painstakingly if need be.

    So what's this got to do with the question of how important theory is? Well, Theory helps to make you the complete musician. Knowledge of how music works influences what you hear, and what you eventually play, which in turn leads to other little "discoveries" that only music theory helps you to understand and develop. It's a wondrous never ending cycle. Sure, Wes didn't read music, but he knew a lot of theory and applied it everywhere, so knowing theory is not about reading music (although it needn't hurt). When I was a young flashy noodler people thought I was some kinda prodigy, but I always had impostor syndrome, I never enjoyed playing as much as it probably seemed (to others). But when I realised satisfaction in music would only come from impressing myself before others, my real musical journey began...

    So I say theory helps you be the complete musician - you hear better, understand better, practice better, analyse better, compose better, play better.... It opens doors where you choose to go as deep as you dare, and rewards you in kind. Advanced Jazz Guitar is a high form of Art, make no mistake, and Art is not Sport, nor is it a Science.

    So, technical footwork or knockout punch? Well, it's surely way more fun to have both! Go ask Floyd Mayweather ! ...

  32. #81
    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    Interesting. You had attention deficit disorder, but you were strong in other, more complicated subjects. Why was ADHD holding you back in music but not in other subjects? I don't know much about ADHD but I thought people with ADHD are generally slow readers but you said you were an incredibly fast reader. Is there a specific relationship between ADHD and musical ability?
    I've always had pretty prodigious reading skills, text-wise. A very early reader, I have advanced degrees in English and Lit. I can read a novel faster than anyone I know.

    I don't think, personally, that treating this condition has "enhanced" my musical ability. It 100% has enabled, however, a new focusing ability in my brain, and all the years of musical "book learning" I have tried and failed to apply to my guitar are making sense to me suddenly. I knew what a minor chord was. I could tell you what a ii V I progression was. I could play both on my rig. But I could never sync it all together. So I compensated for this inadequacy by playing by ear. But I wasn't "hearing" things well. I couldn't read music with enough speed to make it useful- I could just comp off a chart.

    I am still giddy every morning- I have been doing a two or three hour practice session in the mornings, and I'm just profoundly happy at this newfound focus. A former song and dance man, finally getting his inner-Barney Kessell together. I always hated professions like this. Oversharers. I know, I know. But man, if one other jazzer got his or her swerve on like this, I'll have served my purpose. It's astonishing how poorly one can nurture their very strongest aspects. I am now re-learning everything, and doing sight-singing for the first time (holy whackamoley is THAT ever good for your guit-playing).

    Many musicians and artists suffer from this and related conditions. I know many personally who I'd love to tell this story to, but I've hit the internet instead. It's the last I'll speak on this, because I'm not preaching, and nobody wants to hear someone drone on, and I certainly didn't want to hijack the thread. I really dig this forum. But do you drink 58 gallons of coffee a day, but don't feel a "buzz" from it ? Do you hate mundane tasks/jobs at home or work more than other folks? Did you ace tests in school with a low average because you didn't do homework and played your guitar instead (I did). Are you a slob? On your guitar, do you feel as if you're not grasping something in the music that you're supposed to be hearing, despite pouring yourself into it? That's why I posted this here. I just can't believe the difference in myself since I got a little push.

    I want to end this post with one of those commercial disclaimers about dry mouths, stroke, loose stools or constipation to really nail the effect....

  33. #82

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    "There is some evidence to suggest that students with ADHD can excel at music, as they can possess the ability to totally focus on something (like a piece of music) if it really interests them"

    Music and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – SCIPS

  34. #83

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    "There is some evidence to suggest that students with ADHD can excel at music, as they can possess the ability to totally focus on something (like a piece of music) if it really interests them"

    Music and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – SCIPS
    ADHD presents differently in different people. Some can't focus on anything. Others can focus when something is sufficiently interesting to them -- but can't focus very well otherwise. Many can focus on something which is sufficiently fast moving, but can't focus if something is slower (video games vs reading, for example). I haven't seen any evidence that music is different,; it may simply be that people love it.

    The treatment is generally stimulant medication. It works. It also has side effects which are troublesome.

  35. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by zigzag
    I've been committed to playing and learning on and off for close to 25 years. From 2002 to 2012, I took lessons from a very competent teacher, and I suspect my issues have more to do with my shortcomings than his. He taught me scales, modes, the cycle of fifths, intervals and chord structure, and the basics of reading notation. After all of this, I think I have developed a somewhat intuitive feel for intervals on the fretboard, but much of theory beyond what I was taught escapes me. When I read posts on this board about chord substitution, dropped chords, voicing, etc., none of it really makes sense to me. I think part of my problem is that my reading skills are poor, and I don't readily associate notes in a scale or on the fretboard with their actual note names... just their scale/chord intervals.

    I struggle with music theory... even though I am very good at math, I don't really get music logic. Have I already identified the shortcomings I need to work on, or are there other recommendations for things I need to work on or ways I need to perceive or conceptualize music logic?
    Music theory concepts are expressed:
    - verbally in writing and speech (word definitions and relationships)
    - numerically (scale degrees, intervals, Roman numeral progression chords)
    - graphically in standard music notation (visual marks, symbols, and signs)
    - mechanically (geometric kinesthetic patterns and shapes)

    But music and its logic are invisible, which suggests its logic manifests a different kind of space. All music theoretical expressions comprise inconsistent or incomplete analogies - they don't share in the phenomenological mode of music which is an auditory logic space. When people mention that theory is descriptive, not prescriptive, this is what they mean. In the music learning process, the theory analogies are grasped looking backward - the things are encountered and heard first in auditory space, then the names, numbers, images, and motions of them may be recognized and attached. It is just the collecting and holding of things not yet grasped that produces confusion.

    It is OK; time listening to music, playing, and listening to your playing will introduce you to these things even before you know their names... let the theory passively naturally back fill what you learn and focus on figuring out songs. Everything you need to know is already in the songs you want to be able to play.

  36. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I
    Find a simple tune. Find out what to play over it. Play it. Simple :-)
    And of course, find out what not to play, which is subject to both subjective and objective assessment. Playing some favourite outside lines can, in certain settings, lead to suggestions that you should start your own band.

  37. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irishmuso
    And of course, find out what not to play, which is subject to both subjective and objective assessment. Playing some favourite outside lines can, in certain settings, lead to suggestions that you should start your own band.
    Yes, and also what not to play :-)