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  1. #1

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    Where do you start in trying to learn to mix chords like this? It seems to be a mix of him playing chords that are melody voicings and chords that are the rhythm or backing chords. I can see some of the chords have the melody note on the 1st or 2nd string, while others seem to be a rhythm chord with only a couple of voices moving to keep the song moving.

    I know a lot of chords, and I am working on my single note lines but can someone tell me how to start learning to combine the two? Is there a magic book or DVD somewhere I can buy? Is it just a matter of knowing when he wanted to fill musical space with moving voices in rhythm chords as opposed to melodic voicings?

    I am at a lost on how to even approach this type of playing.




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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2
    Watching that first video and then rereading your question, I just had to laugh. Let me know when you find that magic book or DVD. I want one too. :-) That guy's a monster!

    I will say that if you start playing around with chord-melody, you can get to where you lead with the melody note and then fill in the chord. For me, that comes from just working on planting the melody-note-finger first, then the rest. With a little practice, it becomes second nature, kind of like planting the bass-note finger, and then adding the rest is pretty simple for most guitarists. Same thing backwards. You notice, for example, that most of the time he "happens" to land on the finger that plays the melody note in the chord. He just adds the other fingers. You learn to think ahead and see those kind of like planting the bass finger first.

    As far as the in-between fills and then getting back to the chords goes, I really think that a big thing is learning to hear and play on any eighth-note-triplet subdivision of any beat. (That's just to start. He ain't playing just triplet time base the whole time.) When you learn to hear and play those triplet polyrythms, you can make just about anything fit in time-wise while being systematic and making it sound purposeful. You can "move" the beat around and stay "in time" with the measure.

    If you play quarter-note triplets in place of would-be quarter notes, you pretty quickly end up with surplus "time" in the measure. You can fill-in with that surplus time and even steal a little from the next bar. I've never really seen this explained in a systematic way, although I know Bert Ligon does somewhat in one of his books (which I don't have). Maybe someone who knows more about how to talk about it better can explain.

    But look at a Real Book leadsheet for "Stardust", and then listen to every recording of it. Sounds like the performer is playing/singing straight eighths, but then they're ahead or behind in time. Those are usually triplets. Stardust is an incredible example. It'll make you crazy trying to reconcile what you're looking at with recordings. They're seriously messing with time on that tune. Nat King Cole's doing it (with sixteenth-note polyrythms I think) ...buys time at the beginning of one phrase, creating space. When you can land anywhere time-wise and make it work things really open up. Then, you're only limited to what you can actually play. (That's where I'm at.) :-)

    Sorry to geek out on this, but I've kind of been obsessing over it the last several months. I don't really have the playing content, but a lot of the time/fingering considerations can be addressed at lower skill levels as well. I think the assumption is that you basically have to just play at his level to start being able to integrate some of those other things, and I don't think that's necessarily true.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 01-15-2015 at 11:54 PM.

  4. #3

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    Where do you start in trying to learn to mix chords like this?
    Easier to say than do, but isn't this just the perfect kind of moment for transcribing.

  5. #4

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    Break it down to digestible parts and it isn't that big of deal physically. Musically however, is a different story.

    Darn that Dream melody first. Learn it inside and out. Hear how it was sung. Youtube it.

    Changes second.

    Simple chord melody arrangement third. Don't know where to start? Barry Greene's Mel Bay book or Mark Levine's Book adapted to guitar by Randy Vincent (Julian Lage's instructor).

    Fills? A million of them. Try to hear what's in your head first and foremost. Sing a fill, then transcribe the music in your head.

    Last...play a hundred, no, two hundred times.

    Be musical.

    It's all smoke and mirrors physically, the musical part is what were have to let go. Be human. A human will pick up on that vibe and you'll touch their hearts.

    Touch their hearts with what you got is a hundred times more musical than a bunch of shite...

  6. #5

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    I could write the magic book. It would have 7300 pages. And you would only be allowed to read 1 page per day. And on each page I would write the same 1 word: Practice! And in 20 years you would finish the book and if you had followed it and really understood it and applied it, you would realize that your starting to sound pretty damn good.

    This guy was born in 1970 and fell in love with the guitar at age 14. So he "finished my book" about 10 years ago!

  7. #6

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    nice!

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan
    Where do you start in trying to learn to mix chords like this?
    It's simple just transcribe it by ear without looking at what he's doing. I know, easier said than done. But that's how the masters did it. Copy Van Iterson since you like him. Buy his records!

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan
    Where do you start in trying to learn to mix chords like this? It seems to be a mix of him playing chords that are melody voicings and chords that are the rhythm or backing chords. I can see some of the chords have the melody note on the 1st or 2nd string, while others seem to be a rhythm chord with only a couple of voices moving to keep the song moving.

    I know a lot of chords, and I am working on my single note lines but can someone tell me how to start learning to combine the two? Is there a magic book or DVD somewhere I can buy? Is it just a matter of knowing when he wanted to fill musical space with moving voices in rhythm chords as opposed to melodic voicings?

    I am at a lost on how to even approach this type of playing.



    As you probably remember I transcribed the intro (until the band comes in) of the second clip. But I made one big mistake. I never fully digested the chord progression of the song. I never really understood what he was doing and why he was doing it.
    I am seriously thinking of transcribing the first clip but this time I would do it differently.
    Here's how I would approach it.
    For a start my goal would be to not just come away with the ability to parrot this piece for I know that he is actually improvising. I want to know how he is improvising because that's where the true knowledge is.
    • I would first download every version of this song I could find.I would listen until I knew how to sing the main melody.
    Just do it a bit every day. It becomes your main project. It may take a few weeks to become familiar with this piece.
    You're going to own this song. Why? Because it's simple. The chords are easy and there aren't that many.
    You're going to totally demystify it. Break it down into little sections that you can dominate. Strip it of it's power over you. Master the chords.
    • Now play the chords and learn them off by heart. Till you no longer need to look. Till you can say them in a row. Till you see how simple they are in a row. Just chords to be remembered. Run them through your head when you are away from the instrument
    • If you don't have it then go and and buy Transcribe. You will use it for the rest of your life.
    • Download the video and open it in Transcribe.
    • Play the chords you have learned from whatever source you got them along with the video. Even if they are not his inversions. Just play along with him until you can get all the way through. Just strum one chord per bar or whatever.
    You are just learning and internalising the progression. Now play it all over the neck. Completely demystify it and OWN it. Take away it's power over you. You should know it so well that you actually get bored with it.
    • Play the melody along with the video. Slow it down if you like. That's a great feature of transcribe.
    • Find out or work out what scales or modes relate to each chord. If you can get to the point of playing along slowly through the song then that's great. Just running the scales or modes and arps. You should be able to look at the chord and say "he should be using something like this scale or this arp or this mode"
    • Next thing is to learn how to put markers into transcribe. It's simple. Just read the manual.
    • Only take the first 4 or 8 bars and put markers exactly where his chord changes are,
    • Name the chord changes so you can see them in transcribe. Now you have little chunks to work on.
    • Work out what he is playing. This is the transcribing part. Take only the first chord. Do it one note at a time. Look at his hands and copy them. Transcribe allows you to highlight a section and repeat it until you get it.
    • If you can notate music then write it down so you can't forget it. If not then commit it to memory.
    Remember one chord at a time. Don't overwhelm yourself.
    • Study what he has done with that chord. He may be subbing a chord or playing some notes but you must understand WHY he did it. What scale or mode or arp did he use. Can I apply this to another tune? (yes of course you can)If you understand that then YOU can do it on another tune.
    • Move on to the next chord and repeat the process.

    I would spend 6 months on this as a pet project. Contained within this one piece is a wealth of knowledge. It's like a little gold mine or the answer to your dreams just sitting in front of you. It's there for the taking if you can figure out a method for you that allows you to pull it apart piece by piece and digest it. Make it yours. If you don't understand something then find the answer, here or elsewhere.
    If it becomes too hard then pick an easier piece and just destroy it. Take a simple Wes tune and completely digest it.

    Other people may approach it differently but this way works for me.
    Good luck.

  10. #9

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    Though the guy has very good technique and musicality, I do not see that he does something really special about texture... this is texture, it is how you put out musical ideas to real sound (in chords, lines, arpeggios, strikes, counterpoints etc.)

    I think the greatest obstacle may be in thinking

    Just do not think in chorsd and lines as separte musical entities... they just represent the same musical ideas in different means...

    No special books about it (nowdays people are used to a method book for any issue)... only experience, learning, knowledge of fretboard, harmony, fluid technique

    When I was a kid playing classical guitar - guys playing some songs in the street where I lived often asked: ok.. so how many chords do you know now? ... and I just could not understand the question... because I never learned chords.. I just knew all of them, because I just knew where they came from. (I mean chords not fliude shape changes!)

    There is no 'chord library' - only shapes may be somehow organized in this way.

    I think this comes from the point that guitar is complex about fingering... so self-taught players tend to ascociate chord as an abstract musical sound with certain shape... that's why I often push beginners to study harmony on keyborad also - not play piano - just studiy harmony, voicing lines how they work out on the keyborad... keys show it much better than frets - and it makes harmonic and melodic thinking much less delpendent on guitaristic techincal issues.

    Frankly when I play guitar I often see keyboard behind - I do not think about it - it worls mechanically - but I think it works because I know immediately every note on the fretborad from my classical experience...
    Last edited by Jonah; 01-16-2015 at 08:57 AM.

  11. #10

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    Hey Jonah, Maybe you don't know that MVI is one of the most highly respected and accomplished jazz guitar players playing today. It's hard to name many guitar players who have so well internalized traditional jazz guitar and play it with such skill. Swing/language/taste/musicality/relaxed... MVI is great. I could see if you prefer a more modern approach, or like to hear some rock influence or something, but you mention in another thread you like Peter Bernstein: ask PB sometime what he thinks of MVI's use of texture.

    I get that this is the internet/taste is personal/yada yada, but my guess is if you like mainstream jazz guitar and you get some of MVIs recordings and listen carefully, you'll change your mind.

  12. #11

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    I get that this is the internet/taste is personal/yada yada, but my guess is if you like mainstream jazz guitar and you get some of MVIs recordings and listen carefully, you'll change your mind.
    For what? Your answer is really a bit strange for me, but maybe it is my fault

    Maybe I was not clear... but did I ever critisize Martijn? I answered to the TO, he said about Martijn's pllaying:

    t seems to be a mix of him playing chords that are melody voicings and chords that are the rhythm or backing chords. I can see some of the chords have the melody note on the 1st or 2nd string, while others seem to be a rhythm chord with only a couple of voices moving to keep the song moving.
    i do not see anything special for guitar playing in this approach discrtiption (it does not mean I do not see anything special in Martijn's playing.. I do not discuss him here at all).
    Last edited by Jonah; 01-16-2015 at 09:02 AM.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimPeak
    Don't know where to start? Barry Greene's Mel Bay book or Mark Levine's Book adapted to guitar by Randy Vincent (Julian Lage's instructor).
    Just tried to find the Vincent book at Amazon; no luck. Can you steer me to it, please?
    Thx

  14. #13

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    Seems to be this one - no?

    http://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Guitar-Voicings-Vol-1-Drop/dp/1883217644/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1421416136&sr=8-2&keywords=Randy+Vincent&pebp=1421416139495&peasin =1883217644


  15. #14

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    Dunno. I saw that but did Mark Levine write a book about "Drop 2" voicings? I was hoping it was a guitar version of Mark's comprehensive "Jazz Theory" book, with the examples pulled from guitar recordings rather than piano recordings... but maybe this is it? TimPeak, is this what you meant?

  16. #15

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    I saw that but did Mark Levine write a book about "Drop 2" voicings?
    No but by the content it seems to be it... modified for guitar.
    TimPeak?

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    For what? Your answer is really a bit strange for me, but maybe it is my fault

    Maybe I was not clear... but did I ever critisize Martijn? I answered to the TO, he said about Martijn's pllaying:



    i do not see anything special for guitar playing in this approach discrtiption (it does not mean I do not see anything special in Martijn's playing.. I do not discuss him here at all).
    Sorry, forget it. I had one of these moments
    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/duty_calls.png

  18. #17

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    It's not as difficult as getting his beautiful tone.

    As I usually do, I have different approach ... it's not just about lots of practice, and transcribing etc... if you don't understand what your playing, or are able to use specific melodic and harmonic applications... all your ever going to do is practice a lot of tunes.

    The tune has very simple harmonic targets, and Martin has his style of approaching those targets.

    You need to be able to hear and understand the harmonic approach...

    Remember... the lead line or melody is always heard first and is the basic reference for performance. And then your creating chord patterns and melodic applications of those chord patterns which support that lead line or melody.

    So just get the first four bars down... then the next etc... You'll develop a harmonic language which will represent what you hear or want. You'll then be able to apply versions of your language to any tune.

    Fmin. Martijn usually always use Melodic minor as back drop for his harmonic playing.

    So Fmin becomes Fmm... and also The related II- of Bb9#11.
    So you have F as your target and somewhat reference.
    That F can be the related II- of Bb9#11 for 1st bar beats 3 and 4.

    second bar has bVI to V7 chord. So each of those chords can also become targets... Play Db13sus to Db13#11 then use C7altered and Gb7#11 for the V7 chord, again The C7 can become a tonal target.

    So you have F melodic min. in bar 1 going to Ab melodic minor, to Db melodic min. in bar two.

    Part of the trick is how you modal interchange between these Melodic minor targets and other harmonic references also going on.

    Tonal targets can related to whats before or whats after... but what's important is they can have harmonic independence.
    That target can use it's own rules...

    Like I said Martijn uses MM modal interchange... a lot. Different usage than most american players. NO good or bad, just more euro in application. Not much blues etc...
    So anyway, Rhythm and articulations, rubato etc... all become tools to perform this harmonic language, like I said most of Martijn's relate to Melodic minor.

  19. #18

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    http://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Guitar-Vo.../dp/1883217644

    This is the one.

    Barry Greene's Mel Bay book is a great foundation for chord melody. No tabs, but chord diagrams are given above chord notations. Barry goes into everything, not just Drop 2 like Randy concentrates on in his book.

    As on online student of Barry Greene I find it helpful to have this Mel Bay book handy when studying his arrangements. Great devices from which with a lot of practice you can be musical and start to arrange your own songs.

    http://www.amazon.com/Solo-Jazz-Guit...ry+greene+solo


    Barry Harris (piano player) has a series of videos on youtube and a DVD available for purchase regarding the "6th Diminished Scale" and how to harmonize it to create movement. See the video below and read a review of Barry Harris' Harmonic Method for Guitar here:

    In the end, always think movement. Jazz is movement. Momentum, momentum, momentum.

    I heard someone say it like this: "the changes are destinations. you get on a plane, buckle up, fly to one chord, get out, visit, then get back on the plane, buckle up and fly to another chord, get off the plane, visit, then back to the plane to fly to next chord..." That is static no movement noise.

    You'll bore people to death even if you can shred.

    What great composers/improvisers do, be it Bach or Bill Evans, is they walk from destination to destination. Music is movement. Even if it's silly simple (Monk). As long as it moves and breathes and tells a story along the way, you'll be fine.

    Do this in your solos, comping and arranging and your phone won't stop ringing.


  20. #19

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    http://www.jazzand.com/Rick_Stone/Ar...im%20Scale.pdf

    Great article by Rick Stone on Barry Harris' approach to harmonic movement.
    Last edited by TimPeak; 01-16-2015 at 12:10 PM.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    It's not as difficult as getting his beautiful tone.

    As I usually do, I have different approach ... it's not just about lots of practice, and transcribing etc... if you don't understand what your playing, or are able to use specific melodic and harmonic applications... all your ever going to do is practice a lot of tunes.

    The tune has very simple harmonic targets, and Martin has his style of approaching those targets.

    You need to be able to hear and understand the harmonic approach...

    Remember... the lead line or melody is always heard first and is the basic reference for performance. And then your creating chord patterns and melodic applications of those chord patterns which support that lead line or melody.

    So just get the first four bars down... then the next etc... You'll develop a harmonic language which will represent what you hear or want. You'll then be able to apply versions of your language to any tune.

    Fmin. Martijn usually always use Melodic minor as back drop for his harmonic playing.

    So Fmin becomes Fmm... and also The related II- of Bb9#11.
    So you have F as your target and somewhat reference.
    That F can be the related II- of Bb9#11 for 1st bar beats 3 and 4.

    second bar has bVI to V7 chord. So each of those chords can also become targets... Play Db13sus to Db13#11 then use C7altered and Gb7#11 for the V7 chord, again The C7 can become a tonal target.

    So you have F melodic min. in bar 1 going to Ab melodic minor, to Db melodic min. in bar two.

    Part of the trick is how you modal interchange between these Melodic minor targets and other harmonic references also going on.

    Tonal targets can related to whats before or whats after... but what's important is they can have harmonic independence.
    That target can use it's own rules...

    Like I said Martijn uses MM modal interchange... a lot. Different usage than most american players. NO good or bad, just more euro in application. Not much blues etc...
    So anyway, Rhythm and articulations, rubato etc... all become tools to perform this harmonic language, like I said most of Martijn's relate to Melodic minor.
    this is a very important post.

    i think transcribing and learning tunes is extremely important, but you need more than that.

  22. #21

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    OK....

    So far, I am keying in on four of the things that I like about Martijn's performances above that you folks have identified:

    1) The ability to play that melody note and back it up with other notes (a chord or chord fragment) on top of the melody note in a way that sounds good, as well as play the rhythmic subdivisions and still know one's place in the song (thanks Matt).

    2) The modal interchange (as Reg has tried for years to pass on to us) which involves things like playing C Major, then C minor and such (this is a much simplified modal interchange example), to the effect that only a note or two actually moves, yet contributes greatly to the improvisation, along with using it to target chords (thanks, Reg). That modal interchange is critical in this type of improvisation, in my humble opinion.

    3) The rhythm fills in the space between the melody in which the chords keep the momentum of the song moving forward and the fact that you just can never know to many fills (Thanks, Tim Peak)

    4) The "singing" quality of his music that kind of lets you know its coming from inside, and that he has this song internalized inside and out to where he can take chances with the rhythm and the chords, and still remain within the harmony of the song, thereby adding interest and beauty (Thanks Jonah and Philco).

    I can see there is no shortcut. To be this good, you really have to have the song internalized. I checked out the Transcribe! website at its dealer, seventhstring. It is very interesting. I usually record songs on my Boss MicroBR and slow it down using its MP3 slowdown feature but it looks like that Transcribe! gives you so much more and sounds better when you slow things down. Thanks again, Philco.

  23. #22

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    Also, let me add that I can see the importance of transcribing. Even going the lazier route and looking at music others have transcribed, I can see some of the movement I hear in Martijn. My Robert Yelin books have what I would call an overabundance of chord "movements" in them.

    I can identify instances in which he strings 3 or 4 chords together of the same root and quality, such as D5, Dm9, Dm7, Dm11, Dm7, and then a little chromaticism going to Dbm7 and back to Dm7. These are all different iterations of Dm7 with the melody note on top.

    Another example is a run of Cm9add4, Cm7add4, Cm9add4, Cm7add4, all playing the melody.

    I don't see much modal interchange in the Yelin songs I have looked at so far, just chords of the same basic quality and root. I will start looking for this more in my sheet music to get a better feel for it.

    I think I am off and running.

  24. #23

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    There's tendency for guitarists to think they are playing melody "over chords". This is probably because most guitarists start by learning chords and never quite shake the mind-set that melody is subordinate to chords. It helped me to realize that the accompaniment (bass, chords, lower voices, whatever) should nearly always be subordinate to the melody. Fit them in where you can, but let nothing get in the way of the melody.

    An old Martin Taylor instructional video:

  25. #24

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    Don't want to be a gushing fool but I just want to say that I love this forum.

    This threads is a perfect example of what I love about it. A gold mine of information. The thought processes of different players. Like minded people and those with differing opinions all offering something to learn from.

    Reg, your post is so helpful and your opening sentence had me saying out loud " brother, you speak the truth"

  26. #25

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    Just for information, an interview by our friend Dutchbopper :

    I remember reading somewhere that you have been working hard on your trio playing over the last years and that it has taken you some time to feel confident in that format. How did you work on this?


    I have practiced chordal improvisation quite a lot lately. It’s different from a prepared chord melody. Before that I was focused more on single note improvisation. It took me a while to integrate chordal improvisations into my playing in such a way that I was more or less satisfied about them. I really searched for the right balance between those two and tried to make the transition from one into the other sound as natural as possible. But I’ll always be frustrated about the fact that I can’t comp myself like a piano player can.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by nado64
    Just for information, an interview by our friend Dutchbopper :

    I remember reading somewhere that you have been working hard on your trio playing over the last years and that it has taken you some time to feel confident in that format. How did you work on this?


    I have practiced chordal improvisation quite a lot lately. It’s different from a prepared chord melody. Before that I was focused more on single note improvisation. It took me a while to integrate chordal improvisations into my playing in such a way that I was more or less satisfied about them. I really searched for the right balance between those two and tried to make the transition from one into the other sound as natural as possible. But I’ll always be frustrated about the fact that I can’t comp myself like a piano player can.
    Very insightful for a great player such as this to say these things - especially about not being able to comp like a piano player. This lets me know that I will only be able to go just so far in copying a Bill Evans, for instance with his comping.\

    Thanks.

    That Dutchbopper has been a modern-day prophet of Jazz in his own right, spreading the word to both believers and non-believers. He has turned me on to different players with different ways of playing Jazz and it has been edifying and satisfying to say the least.
    Last edited by AlsoRan; 01-17-2015 at 07:46 AM. Reason: added clarification.

  28. #27

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    I can really see what KIRKP and matt.guitar.teacher are saying about the melody and harmony being one. I especially am going to focus on playing the melody such that I land on a note that will allow me to add or play it as part of a chord.
    I first noticed this part of guitar technique when I viewed Vic Juris in this thread posted, a few years ago by Cosmic Gumbo I believe.

    Vic Juris


    Yes, I will really focus on this technique and approach of visualizing the notes and the chords as being the same thing. I have been aware of this for awhile but it took this thread and another by a new member to really bring this idea back to the forefront of my thinking.

    I am finding that I am as moved, entertained, and impressed by great chord melody as I am by my first love - the fiery, bebop, technically challenging but beautiful single-line improvisations of men like Wes Montgomery and Pat Martino (and others).

  29. #28

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    Hey AlsoRan... There are many approaches for solo guitar or chordal improv... melody and chords don't need to be one or the same thing, they can be contrapuntal or separate. What you might end up with is a collection of structural forms that you can apply to different tunes.

    The structural forms are somewhat preplanned templates that help you have a shape for your chordal improv. There is always open sections and possibilities for change... but you'll have... again a preplanned shape for your performance.

    Simple elements, like modal interchange to min from maj or visa version. modulating up or down 3rd, somewhat like Bill Evans did, Time changes etc... unlimited choices. You just develop a few organized arrangements that you can drop on any tune.

    I'm not sure you understand Modal Interchange, it's different from borrowing. One of the difference is the functional or chordal movement that results from the application... Modal Interchange can reflect the targets and their modal implications as compared to the original tonal reference. Those chord color or quality notes can have different references.

    Another detail... D-7 going to D-11 etc... really isn't chordal movement... just different voicings or melodic movement. Chordal movement usually implies root changes or references. D-7 to E-7 or D-7 to Dma7.

    The difficulty of solo chordal improv... it really requires all your musical skills.

    See how many different ways you can play the 1st four bars of You Don't K W L I... Not rehearsed... how many ways you can perform the melody with the changes now. You can play with the melody and changes etc... See if you can have 5 or 6 different versions...

  30. #29

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    So far, I am keying in on four of the things that I like about Martijn's performances above that you folks have identified:

    1) The ability to play that melody note and back it up with other notes (a chord or chord fragment) on top of the melody note in a way that sounds good, as well as play the rhythmic subdivisions and still know one's place in the song (thanks Matt).
    I did not mean to sound arrogant... sorry if i did.

    What was surprising for me that you initial post you pointed out in Martijn's playing the features that practicaly any accomplished solo guitar player has - take Joes Pass, Barney Kessel, Kenny Burrell, Jimmy Bruno, Peter Bernstein, Ted Greene and many others when they play alone they all mix chords and lines and play comping chords to gether with melody, make moving in harmony changes, play long lines and outline harmony knowing where they are etc. ... each in his own way they do it...

    Check this please for example. He also does it...


  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    Hey AlsoRan... There are many approaches for solo guitar or chordal improv... melody and chords don't need to be one or the same thing, they can be contrapuntal or separate. What you might end up with is a collection of structural forms that you can apply to different tunes.

    The structural forms are somewhat preplanned templates that help you have a shape for your chordal improv. There is always open sections and possibilities for change... but you'll have... again a preplanned shape for your performance.

    Simple elements, like modal interchange to min from maj or visa version. modulating up or down 3rd, somewhat like Bill Evans did, Time changes etc... unlimited choices. You just develop a few organized arrangements that you can drop on any tune.

    I'm not sure you understand Modal Interchange, it's different from borrowing. One of the difference is the functional or chordal movement that results from the application... Modal Interchange can reflect the targets and their modal implications as compared to the original tonal reference. Those chord color or quality notes can have different references.

    Another detail... D-7 going to D-11 etc... really isn't chordal movement... just different voicings or melodic movement. Chordal movement usually implies root changes or references. D-7 to E-7 or D-7 to Dma7.

    The difficulty of solo chordal improv... it really requires all your musical skills.

    See how many different ways you can play the 1st four bars of You Don't K W L I... Not rehearsed... how many ways you can perform the melody with the changes now. You can play with the melody and changes etc... See if you can have 5 or 6 different versions...
    Thanks for taking the time to respond, Reg.

    I do understand that D7, D11, etc.. is just different voicings in the dominant family using the same root, and it can reference for instance, the G Major Scale, since it is the chord based on the fifth. While modal interchange would take that D7 and maybe go to Dmin, which would reference for instance C Major or BbMajor scales.

    I am now ready to explore this modal interchange idea to see where I am going wrong. You have explained it well in many posts, but I just was not ready for it.

    Your many posts on the topic provide a ready reference on how it is used and I will look through them soon.

    For now, I am just happy to hear the word "preplanned" somewhere in Jazz improvisation, with respect to little personal ways to approach a chord, and I take that to heart. I have been slowly adding them to my right now very limited little bag of tricks.

  32. #31

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    Martijn is great, so tastefull and warm, and by far never boring over others mentioned in this thread imho. Here is another solo version of dthd, great player who knows his stuff like crazy and for any curious has a lot to say about impro/learning jazz on a ton of yt vids/masterclasses that are well worth watching.

  33. #32

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    Ha! Ha! I have a sidebar if I may interject...

    I read through several modal interchange threads as well as articles from other websites and I found it amusing that there is some argument among Jazz intelligentsia as to when one is using modal interchange, parallel modes, secondary dominants, etc..

    We have to be careful not to get caught up with terminology and pedagogy. The most important thing, IMHO, is to know what someone is doing - regardless of what you call it.

    I get that.

    Still, I appreciate the pearls of wisdom and I understand my present development and how they pertain to it. Some will be short term goals, others long term.

    Luckily, I am motivated by these wonderful artists and others to stay the course.

    Back to the woodshed with the advice you have given, supplemented with books. Now I have to make this stuff sound good!

  34. #33

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    Modal interchange is a reference for different harmonic movement.

    When I modal Interchange Fmin to Fmm, what's different is how I use the Modal Character of Fmm. The organization of how I create chordal movement does not have to be based on Maj/Min functional harmony.... V7 chords don't need to have dominant resolution. Instead I use the modal organization based on Fmm for chordal movement.

    Parallel modal applications generally still have functional harmony as organization for chordal movement. As do Borrowed, Dominant, secondary Dom. and extended dom. as with any of standard Subs or related chords, or chord patterns.

    The difficulty is generally they're going on the same time. Which is why using targets for organization helps organize any of the different relationships you choose or develop.

    I can use Dominant chords as tonal, sub dominant or dominant... I don't have to use the tritone as all controlling power.

    Think of playing any standard in a blues style... generally most call what doesn't fit in their box... embellishments, chromatic, passing, approach.... anything but another set of buttons.

    You don't need to play or hear in this style or approach... but it's nice to have the option. You asked.

  35. #34

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    I got it Reg!

    We are all busy and I appreciate your breakdown. More importantly, I understand, especially about not having to use the dominants to resolve. That's huge!

    Click!!

  36. #35
    destinytot Guest
    Where do you start in trying to learn to mix chords like this? It seems to be a mix of him playing chords that are melody voicings and chords that are the rhythm or backing chords.
    My two cents says a good place to start is by slowly noodling well-chosen* standards in two-part counterpoint on a piano/keyboard. This brings a practical understanding of melodic and harmonic intervals which can then be transferred to the guitar.

    Moreover, it establishes an order of playing/practising based on the principle of 'music first' - i.e. the sending of music via the body through an instrument - and not the other way round.

    *songs/melodies that 'speak' to you
    Last edited by destinytot; 02-08-2015 at 08:40 AM.

  37. #36

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    I agree with destinytot's approach with arranging standards. Here I'm not talking about a finished, classical-style arrangement, but rather a blueprint of the song's structure, rhythm, melody, and harmony. When I create arrangements from YT of songs for which I cannot find a Real Book type sheet music, I determine the tempo of the YT video, set that up in my Sibelius software with key signature and a melody and guitar accompaniment staves, and play along in real time focusing on the bass root and fifth with the left hand and the melody with the right. Once I've created my song 'blueprint', I can rehearse the midi file and elaborate the transcription if I wish as far as necessary. Because the performance is ultimately always "improvised" off this blueprint, I can make tempo changes temporarily to elaborate on a second solo guitar part. For example I can voice the melody as vibes or strings, to work on a solo guitar part beyond restating the melody.

    One funny thing is that in some ways I actually prefer to keep a bare guitar accompaniment, as it leaves a more open improvisatory harmonic space to experiment. One nice thing is that this is far more stimulating to me than just a metronome, though I use those as well.

    I'm actually working today on But Beautiful. I recorded yesterday in G, in which the melody begins to challenge my tenor vocal range. So I transposed my existing arrangement in to E with click or two and rehearsed it last night. Hopefully I can finish a recording today to upload to YT and / or soundcloud. I hope some of the recording will aspire to sound as complete as Martijn, but ...whom I kidding! The guy is real good.

    Jay
    Last edited by targuit; 02-08-2015 at 11:59 AM.

  38. #37

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    UPDATE: in answer to my own Q, it's a 2x12 HRD, per this post on forum member Dutchbopper's blog (thanks DB!)

    ========

    And in the "Resurrecting Zombie threads from over five years ago" category :-) anybody know which amp(s) MVI favors in studio or performance? I did see his blog post about tone coming from the fingers and I wholeheartedly agree that he walks that talk acoustically. But I do also like his amplified tone. In the vid of him playing Nica with Pete Bernstein it looks like he's using a HotRod Deluxe or something like that... and the vid above shows some sorta stompbox just behind his left knee on top of the amp, which also might be a HRD.

    Not that it matters a lot - he undoubtedly sounds great through just about any amp - but I'm curious.

    Anyone?

    SJ
    Last edited by starjasmine; 02-25-2021 at 10:56 PM.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by starjasmine
    And in the "Resurrecting Zombie threads from over five years ago" category :-) anybody know which amp(s) MVI favors in studio or performance? I did see his blog post about tone coming from the fingers and I wholeheartedly agree that he walks that talk acoustically. But I do also like his amplified tone. In the vid of him playing Nica with Pete Bernstein it looks like he's using a HotRod Deluxe or something like that... and the vid above shows some sorta stompbox just behind his left knee on top of the amp, which also might be a HRD.

    Not that it matters a lot - he undoubtedly sounds great through just about any amp - but I'm curious.

    Anyone?

    SJ
    I looked around the internet with google. I could not find any answers. There are interviews and articles where he talks about that magical ES-125 that he got from another guitar legend, but there does not seem to be any discussion of his preferred amps.

    Sorry.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan
    I looked around the internet with google. I could not find any answers. There are interviews and articles where he talks about that magical ES-125 that he got from another guitar legend, but there does not seem to be any discussion of his preferred amps.

    Sorry.
    Check Dutchbopper's blog: Dutchbopper's Jazz Guitar Blog: Bop Till You Drop

    Martijn plays a Hot Rod Deville through a Zoom fx-module/preamp, I think a G2.

    As far as I know he also uses this setup in the studio, but I'm not sure.

    Martijn's setup on the right in the pic, Joe Cohn's on the left:


  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay
    Check Dutchbopper's blog: Dutchbopper's Jazz Guitar Blog: Bop Till You Drop

    Martijn plays a Hot Rod Deville through a Zoom fx-module/preamp, I think a G2.

    As far as I know he also uses this setup in the studio, but I'm not sure.

    Martijn's setup on the right in the pic, Joe Cohn's on the left:

    Now you have me questioning my Google search technique. The word "amp" and "Martijn Van Iterson" did not show up in any of the search results. Something told me to go to his blog as it normally has a lot of good info that one might not find elsewhere.

    Lesson learned and thanks.

  42. #41

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    I wonder how many Jazzers begin with only the melody and allow the changes to develop naturally based on THEIR EARS? Try this approach sometime. You might be surprised how this method develops your ideas and musical personality . . . not someone else's! And, it can be practiced at a very elementary level for beginners. I learned this approach in my early 20's when I studied improvisation with Chicago Jazz pianist Willie Pickens. You'll be amazed what you discover about yourself.

    Play live . . . Marinero

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    I wonder how many Jazzers begin with only the melody and allow the changes to develop naturally based on THEIR EARS? Try this approach sometime. You might be surprised how this method develops your ideas and musical personality . . . not someone else's! And, it can be practiced at a very elementary level for beginners. I learned this approach in my early 20's when I studied improvisation with Chicago Jazz pianist Willie Pickens. You'll be amazed what you discover about yourself.

    Play live . . . Marinero
    Great idea.

    This is kind of how I write my own little original songs that I play. As you said, it is rewarding to experience the chords that your ears prefer in regard to what the melody note might be. I often create chord fragments (due in part to Martijn's influence), and often find that these fragments can be parts of several different types of chords. I mainly try to determine if it is going to be Major, Minor, or some sort of Dominant. It can be a fun study in making music.

  44. #43

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    Thanks, LittleJay! I found another of DBs blogposts and saw your reply after I posted my update (which, incidentally, now has a link to a different DB blog entry that features an interview with MVI.)

    AlsoRan, I had the same experience with El Goog. NO luck searching the words amp, amplifier, or gear!

    Thx again!

    SJ