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  1. #651

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    Week 11. Day 1 of "Blues for Alice" in G at 80 bpm. This was actually more like day two. We're stuck inside dealing with the winter storm. I had plenty of time to play yesterday, so I figured I'd get a jump on BFA in G. Like I stated the other day, I'm trying to play nonstop 8th note triplets throughout each 10 minute segment. It's a bit grueling. A bit monotonous. Rather challenging at times. Especially to place the accents in different spots to try to get this to swing more. My ideas would most likely be better and more musical if I didn't chug away on the steady 8th note triplets, but I'm going to try and stick with this per Howard's instruction. Faster tempos are definitely going to be problematic.

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  3. #652
    Had a nice full day of working on the guitar. I have to say that having the facility that has come from the ornamentation work here has been a joy. Working with pedal tones and approaches to chord tones and other notes is giving me a fluidity in being able to play in time. I will leave it for the lyric side to come with time but for now, it's nice to be able to play seemingly endless variations in time.
    I'm taking a three note combination, sometimes an arpeggio, sometimes a wide interval leap, or something else, and vary one note. Then that sequence, I'll apply to the changing harmony. A kind of modal workout.
    This is the key to being able to negotiate any changes at any speed and not fall into the gravity of "safe" notes and phrases (read as cliches and tired habits).
    It was a good workout for me.
    Earlier today I was working out all the different chordal combinations of modal interchanges as an alternative to the turnarounds given in the piece. WOW! There's some beautiful stuff there! For instance instead of the IV- to bVII7, I'm playing a phrygian on the V chord and a lydian on the #5. When any of you guys is ready to move into modal interchange, just say so, I'll post some supplementary posts that address that. In short: There are many ways the ear can be lead to the tonic I chord and in diatonic harmony, or harmony based on Melodic minor or harmony based on Harmonic minor, there are also many ways of going to their I chords. It's possible to work out the harmonies of those "alternative" modes so they return home in very hip and beautiful ways, and then when it resolves to the I, you are back in the piece on your tonality.

    Blues for Alice is a very hip way to work with this because there is a very simple duality here: Diatonic chords. And the chords that lead you to the next diatonic chords. Great platform for playing with rich harmonic approaches and their resolutions.

    I'm still going to do a little post on dominant harmony, don't worry. I'll see how ambitious I'm feeling tomorrow. Having fun.

  4. #653
    Week 11 day 3.
    Spent the time taking advantage of the fact that all the diatonic chords are so neatly ordered. I took a pretty simple melody, almost folk tune and started the G Maj with it simply embellished. When I got to the next diatonic chord, I transposed that idea into locrian, and then Aolean... . Great little workout for the ear and the fingers, and using simple embellishments kept me on my toes.
    Second 10 minute segment I did the same thing, this time choosing very different areas of the fingerboard for each diatonic segment. This assured that the roots and the fingerings would be different each time. Good workout.
    And the third time through I felt strong and warmed up enough that my motifs could be scramble around a bit. I really like this tune. It provides a really predictable form so I can pretty much set the bar where I want to and challenge myself each time. It's also solid enough and free of too many surprises so I can hear myself whenever I am tending towards some line that I know too well, and give me the time to set off in a new and unanticipated direction.

    I realize that making a solo isn't just about being able to play notes without tripping up, but also so importantly, setting up an idea that I will be playing, or setting off with. That's when I feel like I'm really the driver.
    The goal is to play a session without saying once: "No! Not THAT again!"

  5. #654

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    Week 11. Day 2 of "Blues for Alice" in G. I bumped up the bpm to 85 and continued to play steady 8th note triplets. I'm still a bit confused whether I should be strictly adhering to the constant triplets or not? JBN, are you playing steady 8th note triplets? The idea of creating motifs and playing them through the changes and other such soloing concepts seems quite challenging if I'm doing nonstop 8th note triplets. It almost becomes more of a physical workout than anything else. Like hitting the gym on the guitar!

  6. #655

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    I'm doing strictly 8th note triplets. It's very hard to get anything creative going while doing that, but I try, and every now and then succeed. I might succeed more often, but that damn tempo keeps increasing everyday, lol.

  7. #656
    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    are you playing steady 8th note triplets? The idea of creating motifs and playing them through the changes and other such soloing concepts seems quite challenging if I'm doing nonstop 8th note triplets. It almost becomes more of a physical workout than anything else. Like hitting the gym on the guitar!
    Yes, steady eighth triplets. I don't know about you, but if I can hear the sound of the triplet, I can play it. I can play at the speed of what I can hear. Inversely, if I don't have anything in my mind, I will undoubtedly stumble, and the stumbling cascades into the next beat, and the next...
    It's most important to me to have the figure in mind a beat or two at the very least.
    It IS like a workout. It's as much an exercise in hearing than in playing.

    I like brush painting. Sumi-e. When I was learning, I always wanted to make an image; something beautiful. So I'd take an image, picture it in front of me and start to paint. I soon realized that what I want to do is many steps away from what I could do. Each step I hadn't mastered, the side brush, the stalk, the leaf, the petal, all these things went into control of the brush so it looks effortless. That taught me a lot about appearing effortless; it takes a lot of practice and stumbling to appear confident.

    The HR project is a lot like painting crysanthemum petals, it's practice so you don't need to think notes with each triplet. The effect is cumulative. One triplet that forms a lower neighbor with the third of the chord, the next triplet that arpeggiates into the next octave, the next triplet that leaps up and settles on a note into the last triplet that comes down the scale into the next change. Four movements you've practiced separately and they all go together into a unified shape.

    If each triplet is a part of a family of triplet shapes that you know distinctly, then they are not three notes; they are one movement or gesture. By the same thought, if a phrase as a tritone sub going to an arpeggiated dominant triad that leads into the root of a chord, if all that is one practiced movement, you can do that with utter confidence and even bring it up a third and do it again with a variation. This is how you build up the contour of phrase lines that leads to the final statement you make at the end of the section.
    To do this, you have to have confidence with all the units involved. From micro to macro, each part plays a role and the more practiced, the more elegantly they can be played.

  8. #657

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    Quote Originally Posted by Socraticaster
    I'm doing strictly 8th note triplets. It's very hard to get anything creative going while doing that, but I try, and every now and then succeed. I might succeed more often, but that damn tempo keeps increasing everyday, lol.
    You're not alone!

  9. #658

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    Yes, steady eighth triplets. I don't know about you, but if I can hear the sound of the triplet, I can play it. I can play at the speed of what I can hear. Inversely, if I don't have anything in my mind, I will undoubtedly stumble, and the stumbling cascades into the next beat, and the next...
    It's most important to me to have the figure in mind a beat or two at the very least.
    It IS like a workout. It's as much an exercise in hearing than in playing.

    I like brush painting. Sumi-e. When I was learning, I always wanted to make an image; something beautiful. So I'd take an image, picture it in front of me and start to paint. I soon realized that what I want to do is many steps away from what I could do. Each step I hadn't mastered, the side brush, the stalk, the leaf, the petal, all these things went into control of the brush so it looks effortless. That taught me a lot about appearing effortless; it takes a lot of practice and stumbling to appear confident.

    The HR project is a lot like painting crysanthemum petals, it's practice so you don't need to think notes with each triplet. The effect is cumulative. One triplet that forms a lower neighbor with the third of the chord, the next triplet that arpeggiates into the next octave, the next triplet that leaps up and settles on a note into the last triplet that comes down the scale into the next change. Four movements you've practiced separately and they all go together into a unified shape.

    If each triplet is a part of a family of triplet shapes that you know distinctly, then they are not three notes; they are one movement or gesture. By the same thought, if a phrase as a tritone sub going to an arpeggiated dominant triad that leads into the root of a chord, if all that is one practiced movement, you can do that with utter confidence and even bring it up a third and do it again with a variation. This is how you build up the contour of phrase lines that leads to the final statement you make at the end of the section.
    To do this, you have to have confidence with all the units involved. From micro to macro, each part plays a role and the more practiced, the more elegantly they can be played.
    Great post, JBN! Thank you! So much to work towards and aspire to!

  10. #659

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    Week 11. Day 3 of "Blues for Alice" in G. Still dealing with the unprecedented weather conditions down here in Texas. Playing guitar is a welcome distraction. I did my first 10 minute pass at 85 bpm. The second and third passes were at 90 bpm. Steady 8th note triplets. I realize I'm really accenting the one of each triplet. I'm trying to switch it up and accent the 2 and 3, but I must admit it's challenging. I'll keep working on that.

  11. #660
    It's not rocket science. Lessons learned from NASA.
    I remember building amateur rockets. I got a kit: tube body, cone, guidance fins, solid propellent and a lot of fun and care painting it. The thrill of hearing that swish and watching it disappear straight up, the pop of the parachute... it was easy to imagine the connexion with a spacecraft speeding towards another planet. You can make it, you can make it fly.
    Today is going to be an amazing test of a lot of people who put together a spacecraft that's about to attempt a landing on Mars. Yeah I'm a geek. I love that kind of stuff.

    That Perseverance Mars lander will touch down after being shot from Earth, flying through the atmosphere, slowed by a parachute, guided like a jet helicopter to a point in the landscape and gently lowered on a crane. Nice commute. A lot of well thought out steps. A lot of practice.

    Navigating a solo from the count off to the last bar can be a trip of its own. It might be like the model rocket, point yourself in the right direction (follow the changes), ignite the motor and everything is up to what you've already practiced up to this point. It goes up, you learn to keep your tempo and the next thing you know, you're safely on the ground again. SAFE!!!

    But taking the next step takes a change in thinking. So let's look at the role of putting together smaller steps into more complex and finely tuned phrases.
    Phrases, linear ideas that work with a specific harmonic structure, sometimes called "licks" and played with varying degrees of proficiency, originality and effectiveness, are the real muscle that goes on the bone structure of chordal harmony.
    By now, we're getting good at identifying and playing scales, running the appropriate arpeggios up and down (from the root on the top and the roots on the bottom) and even connecting those notes through the use of melodic passing tones and ornamentations (embellishments). We can now build larger and more sophisticated "tools" of melody.

    You can take a diatonic chord, or a dominant chord, or some changes you can hear. We're going to make our own licks that you practice, learn harmonically and melodically, learn how to adapt to the situation and call upon to be played effortlessly when the time arises, and vary as much as you want.
    Direction
    A phrase has direction. Let's say up.
    The simplest arpeggio in spread voicing takes you up quickly for example 1 7 3 5 (you pick your own, something from the head, smaller steps like 1 2 5 5...) and just hear it as you play.
    A phrase has contour. Let's say smooth. Now you take notes you want to ease into and preceed them with an approach note, if it's across a bar line, a pickup note. 1 b7 7 -3 3 b5 5 you get it. For a little crunchier, let's put twist in the line. Chromatic above, then chromatic below. b2 7 1 1(an octave above) b7 to 7...you get the idea. (Note: in case you haven't noticed, I assume you know how to find the notes of a scale by random access by now)
    Anytime you use a note that steps out of the scale, it's going to sound "out" or crunchy.
    So this idea of "planning out" a phrase may seem counter to the "light the fuse and enjoy the ride" myth. But this is the step that takes you to the next level.

    Create a line and practice it.
    This is your creative challenge. If I play 3 4 5 6 4 5 6 7 2 7 1, that combines scale segments with an approach note to the tonic. The next time I find myself about to play a hand habit (cliche), I take this out as a fast plug in unit, a lick or a prepared phrase and when you become really good, you can even play them as 16th notes. Or start it from the 5th. Or introduce a chromatic passing note. Or do an octave transposition (Dolphy was great at this), but the idea is once you have a melodic unit, it's got a solidity and it gives you freedom to create a line with much less wasted processing power.

    Introduce alternative harmony inside of a given structure. (more advanced concept)
    If you have a chord, or two chords within a space of time, you can use secondary dominant chords to "highlight" them. Preceed any chord with a 7th chord a 4th below or 5th above. Now you only need a few notes to convey the "out" quality these powerful chords impart, so study dominant harmony and resolution to master this "box of spices".
    But in this topic of creating your own "licks" or constructing your melodic phrases, you CAN be complex because you're going to practice these until you can call upon them effortlessly and as people hear them the effect is "How does he/she THINK that fast?!!"

    Adapt the phrase
    Change the ending of your phrase to dovetail into your next phrase.
    Use rhythm (outside of the HR projects of course) to change the weight and feel of the phrase
    Re-create the phrase with harmonic inversions or retrograde motion- More on these things in future posts!!

    When you have a phrase you think works, really assimilate it and keep it readily accessible.

    There are more things we can do but consider this as a suggestion of getting into a higher orbit with expanding your thoughts from notes you know well to phrases you know well.
    Happy flights!

  12. #661

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    Week 11. Day 4 of "Blues for Alice" in G. I sticked with 85 bpm. I'll probably take another run at the exercises later this evening and bump up the beats per minute a bit. Still trying to stop always accenting the one. It's difficult for me. Ghosting the one helps me accent the 2. Trying to accent the three as well. Or I'll simply try to keep the propulsion of the steady triplets going, but focus on syncopation to get different accents to pop.

  13. #662
    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    Week 11. Day 4 of "Blues for Alice" in G. I sticked with 85 bpm. I'll probably take another run at the exercises later this evening and bump up the beats per minute a bit. Still trying to stop always accenting the one. It's difficult for me. Ghosting the one helps me accent the 2. Trying to accent the three as well. Or I'll simply try to keep the propulsion of the steady triplets going, but focus on syncopation to get different accents to pop.
    Try creating lines where the previous notes lead into the 1, and where 1 is a strong chord tone and the following subsequencial notes create direction. If the third note of the triplet is some kind of approach note to the next set of triplets, it will want to move off and find resolution on the 1. Listen and develop your ear so individual gravity towards individual notes create the pulse.
    It's good you're trying to find a way to play groupings that sit right for you; it means you're using your ear. When you find the personal formula or rule that makes sense, your lines will ring true.

    I'm starting to experiment with note groupings that don't fit: A two note series or 4 note groupings in the time of triplets. It REALLY makes things sound off and it's a sure way to create the unusual sound. It's actually very effective in throwing everything off a little bit and when I revert back to swing eighths, it comes as a huge rhythmic resolution.

  14. #663
    Week 11. Day 5
    Inspired by D'A Fan, I worked out a line that changed accents between 1st 2nd and 3rd notes of the triplets. This is very tricky, that's why I worked them out ahead of time, then practiced them until they started to come together. Boy! When I got these up to speed! That is an OUT sound. And on dominant phrases I started to move this phrase up a half step, to give it a tritone sub flavour... There it is! The Michael Brecker sound!
    Practicing your own licks and making them smooth. I can't recommend this enough.
    It was choppy, and exhausting, but very cool!
    One hint: If you go "out", come back in on a strong beat on a strong note.
    One note: Anytime you introduce a chromatic note, whether it's one chromatic approach or an entire section as a tritone sub line, it's going to take the listener by surprise. What may sound intentional to you, can have the impact, the magic of surprise to the listener. Just make sure you land solidly and with intention.
    Practice these things until they're smooth. The newer the idea, the more you'll need to practice it.

  15. #664

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    Week 11. Day 5 of "Blues for Alice" in G. I quickly realized I wasn't as locked in this evening. It's been a long, trying week with the bizarre Texas weather and infrastructure failures. For the first 10 minutes I started at 95 bpm. That was kicking my butt. Then I went down to 90 bpm for the second pass and I still felt kind of sloppy. The last time I threw caution to the wind and bumped it up to 100 bpm. Surprisingly, for the first few minutes that was my best playing of the evening. Everything was nice and in synch. Lines were flowing. Not necessarily the most original ideas. A lot of stuff I've been doing all week, but I felt like I was getting some of the "Super Chops" benefits. Fatigue began to set in so the last few minutes were a bit rocky. Of course, I realize my ideas can always use improvement. But one thing that intrigued me about this course was the idea of improving my right hand technique. Really adhering to the steady triplets for 10 minutes seems to be helping. Especially when I go back to actually playing music. I feel my time is tighter and my right hand is more in control.



  16. #665

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    Week 11. Day 6 of "Blues for Alice" in G. My final stab at BFA. I continued to focus on my tempos with steady 8th note triplets. I started off at 95, went to 97 for the second time and 100 for the third time. It's fascinating to witness the brain having a hard time keeping up at times. My right hand was pretty solid. Certainly there were moments I dropped a beat and had to scramble to jump back in. I've also had to keep my pick from sliding out of position between my thumb and finger. Just that little distraction and adjustment is enough for me to go off the rails for a moment. As is often the case after 2 weeks of the same changes, I'm looking forward to moving on with something fresh in week 12.

  17. #666
    Week 12 Modal and blues vamps. Developing focus, interesting lines and accountability in what you play.
    This week Project presents a challenge unlike anything we've done before. There are 3 distinct extended modal areas that are either really easy to play over, exceptionally difficult to play with or both.
    Our three areas will be F dorian in section A
    C dorian with dominant harmony
    F blues
    Here's the printed material. I'll provide ideas, analysis and commentary once we start the week's work.
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-21-6-41-05-pm-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-21-6-41-22-pm-png
    HR ideas. Use this as a reference guide of suggestions and think about what he's doing, why and how.
    If you find yourself lost, noodling or utterly frustrated, these ideas can be great springboards to new places.
    And remember, seek out the unusual fretboard position and tame it. Seek out the unusual hand movement (like sliding using a single string) and master the shifts they give you.
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-21-6-41-47-pm-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-21-6-42-27-pm-png

  18. #667

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    Week 12. Day 1 of Modal Madness at 85 bpm. Wow, this was challenging. Talk about long run-on musical sentences! I've enjoyed playing modal tunes in the past like Maiden Voyage or So What. But this was different. Perhaps it's the constant barrage of steady 8th note triplets. I'll have to spend a little time, test my reading skills and check out some of Howard's lines. Also, in general I find when I'm doing the 8th note triplets I'm playing much more up and down the scale/arpeggio as opposed to skipping strings and leaping around the fretboard. Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how this exercise progresses over the next two weeks.

  19. #668

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    Week 12. Day 2 of Modal Madness at 90 bpm. The first pass tonight almost felt like a waste of time. I spent a few minutes picking out some of Howard's suggested lines in hopes of finding some direction and guidance. To be honest, I didn't really find much in the way of guidance. It seems to me that Howard isn't playing over each specific chord at all. That allowed me to free up more in passes 2 and 3 and really just think of the key centers, while certainly being mindful of the chords. The second and third time through were better and more enjoyable. The grind of the nonstop 8th note triplets is both physically and aurally exhausting.

  20. #669
    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    It seems to me that Howard isn't playing over each specific chord at all. That allowed me to free up more in passes 2 and 3 and really just think of the key centers, while certainly being mindful of the chords. The second and third time through were better and more enjoyable. The grind of the nonstop 8th note triplets is both physically and aurally exhausting.
    There's a LOT of freedom to make melodic solos when there's this much open space. It can be scary to jump into that much open space, so it's up to the soloist to make the boundries to work within.
    The big challenge in Project 6 is learning to hear content and learning to play what you hear. There are no changes that'll carry you through a lapse of interesting notes; it's all out there.

    Create small divisions, like smaller rooms when you're working with a large piece of real estate. Develop a sense of complementary ideas. Purposefully create a phrase that sets up an answer or response. Climb up the register of the sonic soundscape by steps, by three steps up, one step down, ...create your personal strategies for lines. For each phrase you create, make the appropriate response to it. By contrast, by resolution to the tonic, by using different intervals. This "digging into your phrase tool rulebook" is too often overlooked as a soloing strategy, and it leads to more winging it and winding up in a cliche trainwreck. With solid building blocks comes the vision to create alternatives.

    You can make structure out of rhythm. I know we're restricted to triplet eighths. Yeah it makes you work harder, it'll broaden your abilities when you finally have that freedom. Look at triplets and make rhythmic phrases where the weight is on the first, then the second, then the third. Try this first without the added complication of notes. Accent on 1: Elephant. Say it. It's got the kick on the first beat. Accent on 2: Amoeba. Say it. It's got the rise in the middle. Accent on 3: Apple Pie (OK I'm hungry, it's all I could think of). YOu can use whatever words you want. BING de bap, ba DEE ba, budda BING. But make a solo with a flow and compose it with triplet accents. Very often with me, if I can hear the rhythmic flow clearly, the choice of notes follows easily. Try this.

    Work with wider intervals and break your ear out of scale thinking. Scales on modal playing are deadly. There's some misguided notion that says that "modal" playing is running modal scales. Make your own rules of what the contour, construction, purpose, shape and texture of your solo is. It's YOURS.
    Practice going up the scale in 6ths, or 4ths, and really make it smooth. Don't avoid wider intervals because you can't play them, practice them until you can. Then find ways to keep your mind and ear open and know they are there to break you out of scale mobius hell.
    Make an initial phrase with phrases in leaps, answer it with more melodic scale passages.

    Use sequences. Try creating "micro phrases": things that might not lead you anywhere on their own, but move them around, up chord tones, up or down on whole tones, on a diminished scale... and then when you "answer" in your resolution phrase, do it in a way leading back to the tonic. The contrast is nice and dramatic.

    Go "outside". Make a six note phrase, two triplets, and answer it, reflect it, or even repeat it a half step up. Sure it's allowed, and it highlights what you just played, and it makes a LOT of tension, and it welcomes a resolution phrase.

    Learn to play two not phrases over three note time. This is a tough one for when you have time to work it out slowly, but working phrases that are not in time with the cadence given is a valuable skill.

    All these things are things you will need to think about, and practice, and work until you can hear them. In other words, there's a lot of work to reach the next level, but that's what this project is meant to do: bring your ear, and your ideas to a level that's not fixed to the luxury of changes and given cadences. This is the test of your control of your toolset.

    Give it patience. See if you can get good things out of this challenge. It'll give you some powerful things when you go back to more conventional forms.

  21. #670

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    Week 12. Day 3 of Modal Madness at 90 bpm. I decided not to bump up the bpm this evening. Per JBN's suggestion, I really tried to focus on the rhythmic aspect of the music in tonight's exercises. As is often the case, the first pass was a bit sluggish and less inspired. Passes 2 and 3 were better. I tried to let go as much as possible and be free over these sparse changes while concentrating on the rhythms. I tried to channel a great drummer in how I played the accents. I also took JBN's suggestion and thought of specific words with accents on the first, second or third syllable. It was a bit tricky to do that while keeping the onslaught of steady 8th note triplets going. I can see how focusing on a word like this would be great when practicing at slightly slower tempos. Tonight felt better than last night. Progress!!

  22. #671

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    Week 12. Day 4 of Modal Madness. Tonight's session seemed both more productive and more enjoyable. I steadily bumped up the beats per minute. The 3rd time through I was at 100. Once again I really tried to focus on rhythm, syncopation and accents. Admittedly, much of the time I was swept up in the steady 8th note triplets with too much of an emphasis on the one. But at least I'm mindful to try and get out of that pattern and break it up. I'm also finding that each of the three subset forms in the exercise have their own unique voice that lends itself to not only different note choices, of course, but different phrasing and feel. As much as we can differentiate phrasing and feel while keeping the triplets going.

  23. #672

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    Week 12. Day 5 of Modal Madness. What a difference a day makes. Last night I was enjoying the exercise and I felt like I was making some good progress. My headspace wasn't that great this evening and it showed in my playing. I never really felt that inspired. This modal section started to feel like a waste of time tonight. Just a bunch of noodling to try and improve my physical stamina with little to no musical content. I find myself dreading pushing through this modal stuff. Ironically I enjoy playing over modal tunes. I don't know. Chalk it up to a bad night. There's always tomorrow.

  24. #673

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    Week 12. Day 6 of Modal Madness. Kind of more of the same. I was more connected today, but I admit I'm happy this week is over. I'm not particularly enjoying the modal exercise. For the first time in 12 weeks Super Chops is feeling like a chore, something I need to get through. Bracing myself for week 13.

  25. #674
    Conclusion of week 12. The wall is a big one here: forming a vocabulary of small groupings while forming a musical idea that employs those groupings.
    This was something that I was so jealous of when I was listening to players like Kenny Garrett, David Binney or Jerry Bergonzi; "modern" players with a seemingly super human power to endlessly string together notes that seemed impressive to play, and like a Monet painting, made sense when you stepped back and viewed the sum of the brush strokes as a distant whole.

    At some point, as I worked on concentrating on embellishment groupings as something I could do effortlessly, my hands learned to do them thoughtlessly, and then the big danger occurred: How NOT to be mindless while being free of obsessive or ponderous thoughts. Having a bigger purpose, a larger arc, a sense of what I wanted the phrase to do so I could use the appropriate note grouping I'd practiced.
    So this week I'm using very specific three note groupings, just running them until I can call on them.
    . Three note approach group: Two chromatic or diatonic approaches to a specific note. First to chord tones, but later down the road to even passing scale steps in sequence. This puts the note of emphasis at the END of the grouping.
    . Movement groupings: Three notes that move in a specific direction, either up or down, either by step, by arpeggio or by wide spaced chord voicing (1 3 5 is a close voicing, 1 5 3 is those notes in a wide array, and of course those can be in inversions or 1 2 5, or 1 3 6, etc). This puts the notes of emphasis on all three notes.
    . Movement off of a note: Three notes that begin on a defined melody note and two notes that act as "pickup notes" to the next grouping. This is a tough one cuz I really have to know where I'm going to but it is also an exciting one because it can sound really exciting in the chromatic ostensibly random scattering of notes 'til you resolve to the next triplet.

    Those are the three ones I worked on this week. And no, it doesn't always sound "melodic" or as defined as when I'm thinking merely in eighths, but that's not what I'm after in my work this week. This is like going to the gym and working on specific muscle groups, or learning the bamboo leaf then the stem in Sumi-E painting.
    And when I DO make the long arc connection and am led to a certain pitch that defines that phrase, I can repeat that note(s) or change direction and suddenly there's a very purposeful run to a very complex line.

    That's what I've been doing, and I'm getting better at putting together lines that I don't have to think about, but can see and plan with thoughtful foresight.

    Very exciting stuff. I'm grateful for the wide open expanses of dorian where the chords aren't shifting beneath me. It gives me a nice field to work out in.

  26. #675
    Week 13. Modal workout. Project 6-B
    This week's project is in three distinct tonal areas. C Dorian, G dorian with dominant turnaround and C blues.
    Similar to last week's project, it's a real challenge to root out and face the things and habits that we've perhaps begun to rely on to get us through changes; things like outlining chords and relying on the next chords to save you from monotony, limiting expanding your use of unusual intervals, etc. Well there's nowhere to hide here. So it's the challenge to think about ideation, consciously controlling a melodic idea and developing or creating a new one.
    Believe me, the things you can face and conquer in a modal exercise like this will make you a sharper, more defined player when we return to a changes based tune, which we're returning to next week.
    Look at this as a treasure hunt for vocabulary and strategies in line shaping.
    Here's this week's challenge:
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-28-4-40-29-pm-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-28-4-40-55-pm-png
    Use as a suggestion of options if you're so inclined
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-28-4-41-10-pm-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-28-4-41-28-pm-png

  27. #676
    Week 13 Day 1 Breaking the ice.
    Well coming out of what turned out to be an hour and a quarter of working with project 6-B, I'd say it's feeling really solid. Solid like my fingers are doing things I don't expect them to be able to do.
    But if I have to be honest, I have to say that over 35 minutes of that time were spent feeling like I'd never played the guitar before: Not being able to find my stride, not hearing what I was doing, feeling that everything I played was awkwardly contrived, knowing that my time sense was full of stops, hesitation, stupid things I've done too many times before.
    Something in me though, something that I've gotten good at in these 13 weeks kept saying "Melt the ice. You know there's something you've done that is nothing like this."
    I took a break. Put aside my expectations, listened to a Villa Lobos prelude recording, and returned. Big difference.
    My guitar felt like it had "warmed up" while I was away. It resonated. I listened to the sound and resonance of the guitar. I heard the air between the notes and the sustain of the strings. And I felt my self think rhythmically. And it all fell together. I could envision the line as a whole. I could repeat it. I could vary it melodically and rhythmic emphasis.

    I can't describe how I got there, the key that unlocked the "zone" or even anything that quieted my doubts. But it's a faith I now have everytime I pick up the guitar; the faith that the music will emerge.

    If I'm away from the guitar for more than a day, it takes a long time. If I'm tired, it takes a long time. If I'm distracted, it takes a really long time. And if I doubt myself, give in to frustration, I might not even get there. But somehow the living part of the music lover in me does find my hands, my ear and the map I have of the fingerboard. And when they talk, it feels like the ice has broken.

    Gotta say, the regular routine of this 50 minute session is doing some very unexpected things and showing me things I wouldn't have believed otherwise.

    Maybe I'll play a little more.

  28. #677

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    Week 13. Day 1. Very inspiring post from JBN. My experience tonight wasn't as enlightening, but I did enjoy the process more this evening. I let go more. I was more exploratory across the fretboard. I was trying to get more rhythmic. I was playing at 95 bpm, so not blisteringly fast, but I kept the groove going well. That "blues" section is the oddest part of the exercise to me. Especially that plain C major chord. G minor pentatonic always sounds better to my ears than C minor pentatonic or C blues. Anyway, it was a productive night. I was speaking to a musician friend I respect and admire tonight. He really encouraged me to keep going. I certainly intend to!

  29. #678

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    Week 13. Day 2. I steadily bumped up the bpm to 100 by the third time through. Felt like a lot of more of the same. I was trying to capture more arpeggios, harmonizing Bb major in the first section, grabbing Eb melodic minor over the Ab7b5, etc. That "blues" section still sounds weird to me.

    I searched the internet hoping to find audio or video of someone playing steady 8th note triplets for some inspiration. Unfortunately I couldn't find anything. I feel like it would be helpful to hear how someone else is mixing up the accents to provide some syncopation and different phrasing while locked into a steady barrage of 8th note triplets.

  30. #679
    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan

    I searched the internet hoping to find audio or video of someone playing steady 8th note triplets for some inspiration. Unfortunately I couldn't find anything. I feel like it would be helpful to hear how someone else is mixing up the accents to provide some syncopation and different phrasing while locked into a steady barrage of 8th note triplets.
    By removing the melodic content, or at least overtly, we can get some ideas. Sometimes working harder at the foundation level, you can feel where you can't think...if you know what I mean.
    Drummers might give some ideas. I had the great honor of knowing the drummer Alan Dawson (who taught Tony Williams). He was also a vibes player and piano player. His drumming actually sang, and people who played with him were always playing better cuz they heard the melody he was playing through the drums.
    Anyway, see if these feels translate to things you can melodicize.


    Hope this gives you a nice handshake into the challenging world of melodic rhythm.

  31. #680
    Week 13. Day 3
    I wound up watching those drumming vids and it's like looking beneath the waves after having lived in a beach house; it's humbling and inspiring.
    I spent a good amount of time formulating a way to phrase lines like a drummer assigns different drums and cymbals to cover different registers. I tried this with dyads, even single lines with chordal accents.
    Wow! This opens up a lot of possibilities. Thinking like a drummer.
    So the first two 10 minute blocks were just getting in the groove with notes in different registers. I have no idea if it sounded like anything or if it was crap, so much was I concentrating on picking out rhythms and groupings.
    The third one through I was playing melodic lines and those rhythm groupings were starting to feel natural. I can feel a real growth in my playing by utilizing rhythmic thinking. There's definitely potential to follow this road a long way.
    ' never would have expected this.
    Thanks D'Aquisto for having so much trouble with this! Great incentive to mine deeper.

  32. #681

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    Week 13. Day 3. I'm glad my questions about steady 8th note triplets could inspire JBN. Thanks for the videos. I watched them. Definitely some good information there. Especially the second video. But since we aren't supposed to be dropping beats for this exercise some of those examples I'll have to work on outside of Super Chops.

    Tonight was enjoyable. Maybe my headspace was better, but everything flowed more easily. It's ironic, I often find the less I think about what I'm doing the better it is. Or so I believe. It's more interesting. More chances are being taken, etc. I continue to really try and work on rhythm and syncopation. But I must admit sometimes I get caught up in the sheer brute force of keeping the right hand going with those constant 8th note triplets. After a bit I realize I sound a bit like a machine gun and I try to back off and play with more dynamics. Not only is that a good idea, it allows me to rest a bit and avoid building up more tension in my body.

  33. #682
    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    But since we aren't supposed to be dropping beats for this exercise some of those examples I'll have to work on outside of Super Chops.
    I'll but a pedal or a note in the bass to mark the time, a kind of counterpoint with the voices in the higher or middle registers. So there's a note, it's still steady eighths, but the rhythmic patterns are still there. This same idea is what the clave is based on.
    Counterpoint concepts out of metric superimposition and rhythmic patterns. Who would've thought this would have come from working with SuperChops? Yet more unexpected and unanticipated grounds to break.

    These are more modern soloing ideas, but definitely something to explore. When I was doing a weekly duo with Mick, sometimes he'd do a solo with just rhythmic patterns, with muted notes, and I didn't understand what he was doing, it sounded like some kind of morse code to me. One time a drummer was listening and his jaw just dropped; it was like he got the code. But as he went on, he introduced pitches to these rhythms and by the end of the solo he was playing rhythmic, harmonic and melodic counterpoint. I should have recorded those little compositions he made.

  34. #683

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    Week 13. Day 4. Pretty good session this evening. I was feeling a bit drained from the day when I picked up my guitar. I backed down the bpm a hair to accommodate my slightly sluggish mood. Kept trying to experiment with rhythms. Although truthfully the vast majority of the 30 minutes is keeping those triplets going with an emphasis on the one. I found that when I would slip up for just a second it created some space that allowed me to swing my way back into the 8th note triplets more than I was doing before. So then I tried to find the swing in the groove as much as possible. I attempted to pull off some pedal notes like JBN suggested, especially in larger intervallic leaps. That exposed more of my right hand picking deficiencies. I also tried to think like a drummer as JBN noted. That would center me back to really focusing on the rhythm more than the specific notes.

  35. #684
    Week 13. Day 5.
    This was a busy day. I was really tired. There's a lot of that going around. Honestly, I thought I'd rather sleep and skip the routine, but there's something powerful about the inertia of a routine, and that alone got me started.
    I loosened up my fingers on easy things, chromatic movements that didn't sound like music at all (left hand Index, Middle, Ring, Pinky alternating one finger to change string sets each time). When the hand warms up it feels good. That was the first 10 minutes, alternating the chromatic pattern with modal sounds that can be found within. This gave me chromatic modal and it warmed up my fingers.

    I should note here that anybody who works with Super Chops can make up their own "challenges" or "exercises" based on the notes and abilities they have at that point and IF you apply regular steady force with your will, your boundries WILL yield. The only thing between the you you were and the You you can be is the doing, especially when your body, your judgemental self, or your over critical instant gratification bystander self tells you to stop...tells you you CAN stop.

    Second set of 10, I was thinking of "intention" in my notes. Do I want to make a "strong" statement? Do I want to make a gently descriptive statement? Do I want to make a sharply angular statement? Is it time to complete a thought? Is it time to move onto a fresh idea? Intention was the exercise for the rest of the session. Each time I found myself playing something that wasn't intentional, I would go somewhere else unexpected.
    This turned out to be as challenging as breaking in a new dog sled team, but a thoroughly invigourating and satisfying key to a good session. I was tired going in, I felt alert and pumped at the end. And, I'll note, I was thinking rhythmically (even working with triplets).

  36. #685

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    Week 13. Day 5. Ah, the end of the Monday-Friday work week. I had an excellent session this evening. I felt inspired. I had purpose. I was trying to be as musical as possible and really make lines that I might actually want to play. Lines that swing. Not that I succeeded all the time, but it was inspiring. One thing I'm focusing on as well is releasing tension. That steady onslaught of 8th note triplets can get me to tighten up my shoulders and fatigue my forearms. I forget to breath sometimes, too. I'm really attempting to release that stress for all the obvious reasons. Last day tomorrow. I'm traveling for the first time in a year next week for a couple days, so I plan to get a jump on week 14 Sunday. No rest for the dedicated!

  37. #686
    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    One thing I'm focusing on as well is releasing tension. That steady onslaught of 8th note triplets can get me to tighten up my shoulders and fatigue my forearms. I forget to breath sometimes, too. I'm really attempting to release that stress for all the obvious reasons.
    SO glad to hear you say this. I think this is especially relevant in the context of building up speed and chops. During my time at Berklee, a few very important life lessons came to me from other students. One of them was developing the right physical muscles to enable your body to play better; not necessarily just faster, but better-smoother and with more balance that keeps you in control.
    A friend had the privilege of teaching some of the top jazz guitarists in the world who came to study with him. Almost monthly, he'd be frustrated and angered by some student who didn't heed the warnings about over practicing. It'd cost more in down time and in every case could have been avoided by stretching before playing, avoiding too much sheer repetitive playing, especially in wider stretches, avoiding brute strength "grips" in chording, sitting or standing in a relaxed position, taking breaks or most importantly, backing off at the first signs of pain or tension.
    He had one student who was an extremely adept, dedicated and talented who was obviously putting in the time, yet his playing was always fluid despite his most remarkable high level of proficiency. This was a kid who, as it turns out, was a sort of genius where he grew up in CA but was also very deep into Alexander technique body work, so much that he considered balancing or even giving up his performing to pursue body work. I think in the end, serious awareness of one's body and serious awareness of one's instrument are integral to serious expression with him. It was always an experience to play with Jules, his playing radiated that sheer joy that comes from somewhere much deeper than the hands. This was a great lesson through example.
    As natural as breathing. Great lesson.

  38. #687

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    Week 13. Day 6. I must say I am very happy to be through the modal phase. Today was good. Last night was better. I continued to focus on my feel and rhythm. I also tried to bring as much awareness as possible to my posture, relaxing muscle tension, etc. To that end, I didn't push the bpm too much. I plan to jump on week 14 tomorrow to make up for a hole in the upcoming week.

  39. #688
    Hello, I would like to join this group. It was with great surprise that I realized studying Super Chops in 20 weeks that on altered chords the scale indicated is simply the diatonic of the tonal center. Many times I come across chords with sharp 9 and 13 and get lost thinking "I have to play the altered scales to stay in tune". This is not true, the tonal center is the key to staying within the chord changes. I intend to follow the lessons and share the experiences in this group.

  40. #689

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    Quote Originally Posted by mauriciopcsouza
    Hello, I would like to join this group. It was with great surprise that I realized studying Super Chops in 20 weeks that on altered chords the scale indicated is simply the diatonic of the tonal center. Many times I come across chords with sharp 9 and 13 and get lost thinking "I have to play the altered scales to stay in tune". This is not true, the tonal center is the key to staying within the chord changes. I intend to follow the lessons and share the experiences in this group.
    Welcome! Nice to have someone else jump on board. Look forward to your insights and experiences!

  41. #690
    Quote Originally Posted by mauriciopcsouza
    Hello, I would like to join this group. .
    How exciting! Welcome. I look forward to your being a part of our little family.
    All along I've been hoping there were others following in these 20 weeks. Good to hear from you mauriciopcsouza!
    You've come just in time for the really fun part of the program! We've done the harmony work, fasten your seat belts!

  42. #691
    Week 14. Now that we have the layout of the track, time to throw it into the next gear:
    A week of projects we've covered, at a higher speed. Something old, something new
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-03-07-4-27-26-am-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-03-07-4-28-14-am-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-03-07-4-29-24-am-png
    I'll try to include a more in-depth look at each of these daily projects on each day. Each day, evaluate your top speed at this point in your development. Set this threshold not only for how fast you can play, but also for how fast you can think, how accurately you can visualize the entire fingerboard as you shift and how fast you can hear. Know what part of this equation you're weaknesses reside and keep your focus on providing a balance. That's when you will play at your best.

  43. #692
    Weekly thought to consider: Play everything by ear.
    Soloing, improvising, composing in real time, no matter what you call it, the moment you form a partnership with the piece you're working on, you're in a dance with the harmonic and melodic character of the song.
    To really engage with the song, you need to know your instrument, have your fingers so comfortable they can move in time without hesitation, establish an intimate awareness of the topography of the piece and MOST IMPORTANTLY, be able to hear content before you move. Yes, it's the ability to play by ear that all the practicing is preparing you for.
    You can practice patterns, or arpeggios, or scales, or licks, or someone else's ideas (inspired by transcription) but none of these things will cut your way through a solo, allow you the freedom to express, make choices that flow, and build, construct and craft a coherent solo if you don't hear the music.

    If you can sing it, you're hearing it. If you can groove with rhythmic integrity and swing, you're hearing it. If you can make a choice among the options available to you, you're hearing it. And HEARING is the way you tame your hand, achieve speed, strength of sound and a solid line in time. This doesn't come from your hand, it doesn't come from just listening to other people playing amazing stuff, and it doesn't come from knowing tons of theory. It comes when a piece reveals something to YOU, something you hear.

    If you can't hear it, you can't play it; well, maybe you can but it'll stop there. Hearing lets you compose in the world of sound.
    Practice so your ear can expand what you know, and when you know it and your fingerboard, your chops will be as limitless as your ability to hear.
    If you really play your instrument, you'll feel this. If you practice mindfully, you'll get it.

  44. #693

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    Week 14. Day 1. Since I'll be away a couple days in the middle of the week I got a jump on week 14. First, great post from JBN earlier. So true about hearing what we're playing so we can make music with intention rather than allowing our hands to make all the decisions. I wish I could say I was hearing everything I was playing tonight, but that would be untrue. A couple things. I didn't do steady 8th note triplets the first couple weeks they were thrown at us. Probably my mistake. I think I committed to the steady triplets beginning with exercise 5A. So I hadn't played constant triplets over these expanded "ATTYA" changes before. The odd harmonic curveballs that Howard throws our way made things even more challenging. The third time through this evening my memory banks seemed to kick in and I was able to recall some of the ideas I played over the various tritone subs, etc. But Howard's changes remain challenging. Regarding tempos, I'm just not sure how much I'll be able to get beyond what I'm doing. I started off at 90 bpm to refresh myself with the exercise. Then I bumped it up to 100 bpm, but at times I felt sloppy and out of control. Muscle tension started creeping in as well. So the last time through I went down to 98 bpm and that felt better. I don't mean to put a ceiling on myself, but I can't imagine getting anywhere near the target tempo of 144 while playing continuous 8th note triplets. Especially over these changes. Lastly, I really enjoyed having an entire week to devote myself to the exercise at hand. With each passing day I was able to crawl deeper inside the changes. Obviously that won't be the case this week. I realize this is review, but with an exercise as harmonically complex as Howard's version of "ATTYA" more time would always be appreciated!

  45. #694
    As we go into the white waters of the last 7 weeks:
    From here to the end, we won't be encountering any new forms in the projects, but rather really working with the very wide variety of song types offered, and integrating them into our own playing with increasingly useful and by our own choice, increasingly challenging real time chops building.
    So I thought it's a great time to take an overall macro to micro look at the layers of playing a piece with some practice ideas.
    I see any piece of music as a journey. It can be as easy as a walk in the park if you've done it a million times, or it can be climb to the top of Everest if it's the first time OR if you look at it as composing something extraordinary for the first time. But either way seeing the plan is the key.
    It'll make soloing much easier, more sophisticated and this knowledge will make getting "off book" way easier.
    So I'll break my process into pieces and then take that process and apply it to our Project 4-A visit.

    A piece and ultimately a personalization of that piece into something new (solo) is always a respectful partnership with the harmonic DNA of the piece. That harmony is the geography, the topography, the lay of the land that we will landscape and remodel.
    The DIATONIC harmony is at the core. Identifying the key areas is my first step. It tells me where, when and how to prepare shifts in my ear, hands and conceptual arc. Within a key area, there are always options you have to reharmonize freely. Some common interchangeable chords are:
    I III- VI- are tonic chords. They share many of the triadic notes. That's why sometimes a standard will return to the I chord and the HR project will have a III chord written in.
    II- and IV chords are similarly known as subdominant chords and function in a sibling way.
    VII-7b5 and V7 chords are of a dominant quality. They are the crucial descriptor, adjective and compellingly moving chords that are at the core of Secondary Dominant movement and the all pervasive tritone substitution HR is so fond of.

    Study tips: learn your harmony in roman numerals. It puts you in touch with the harmony in a universal and personal perspective. It's also crucial to thinking of the landscape as something you can really solidly build on in real time.

    Diatonic chords can often be used as harmonic fills you can create harmonic melody from. This is really handy when you're providing complementary chordal material when comping. Soloists will love you if you can do this well.

    After I am on solid ground with the topography of the land, I take not of the features of the landscape and how they are brought to life by the flora and fauna that live on it. In music terms, these are the realm of DOMINANT FUNCTION CHORDS. Mauriciopcsouza, this is partly an answer to your question in post 688.
    Dominant or 7th chords are ways that you can make any diatonic chord more interesting. You partner a chord with a dominant chord a 4th below (G7 up to C) or a fifth above (G7 down to C) or a whole step below (Bb7 up to C) or our tritone sub progression (Db7 down a half step to C). These work with the diatonic harmony to make the journey three dimensional. These are the spices that make a good piece of food into a memorable dish. There are many scale choices that go into putting together a powerful dominant chord vocabulary, like there are many words that make an eloquent speaker.

    Lydian dominant often finds use as a tritone sub half step down chord.
    Mixolydian variations with b9 and/or b13 often finds use resolving to a minor.
    Mixolydian altered, or symmetrical scales like whole tone (Monkish sound) or diminished scale can go with anything with great effect IF YOU HEAR IT.

    Suggestion: Pick a dominant scale and a resolution point and practice it as a loop until you can really hear it musically. The danger of dominant chords is players use them without hearing them. I mean you can't just know the notes and plug them in; you have to work with them until you find the special notes that SAY something. That takes time and an open ear. Put in this time and you will play more effectively with fewer notes. You'll say volumes in one triplet. Make dominant chord understanding a priority and you'll sound like you're saying something.

    Between diatonic harmony and dominant chord approaches, that pretty much gives me a solid take on any solo journey. I see and hear what's coming up and I can make the choices that make each solo a challenge and a satisfying and expressive composition.

  46. #695
    Project 4-A and ATTYA as seen through the analytical filter:
    Diatonic Key areas
    Ab bars 1-5
    C bars 6-8
    Eb bars 9-13
    G bars 14-20
    E bars 21-23
    A bar 24, though actually more like a chromatic passing chord
    Ab bars 25-36
    note that bars 7-8 contain a diatonic group of chords that creates movement but works in the key.

    Dominant Areas
    Tritone Dominants coming down from 1/2 step above:
    Measure 4
    Measure 6
    Measure 12
    Measure 14
    Measure 16
    (Measure 24)
    Measure 27
    Measure 32
    You'll notice there are a LOT of these. That's why you learn this tool intimately, so you can meet these passages creatively.

    I'll get into modal interchanging and some more tasty functional tools in future posts. This should give you some maybe helpful things to think about for today's project. These tools will serve you for all the things we do from here on out.
    Hope it's useful!

  47. #696
    Here's Tuesday's project. The form is familiar, the keys are different. Ready. Set...
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-03-08-9-04-37-pm-png

  48. #697

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    Week 14. Day 2. I crammed in a double session this evening. I did 4B before dinner and 5A after dinner. My left forearm is exhausted. It feels weak and tingly. Probably not a good sign. Interestingly my right hand is holding up well from a physical standpoint, but my left forearm is suffering. I also spend a lot of time typing at the keyboard during the day, which doesn't help. Anyway, it was a good session. For me this is more of a physical exercise to some degree than a creative line constructing exercise. At least, if I'm going to keep the steady triplets going, which I'm doing. I pushed 5A up to 110, but I fell apart frequently, so I backed off a bit. I may try to tackle 5B and 6A tomorrow so I don't fall behind while I'm away later in the week.

  49. #698
    Week 14 Day 3 Wednesday
    Revisiting the diatonic and dominant relationship: Blues for Alice plus
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-03-09-5-12-39-pm-png
    Take this at the speed you're in control with.
    Look the piece over before you jump in. Establish where you're working in the harmonized scale, take a look at where the dominant chords preceed those areas, put them in your mind and if possible, hear these and play by ear, off book.
    If that means a few run through with just the chords (comping) then yes, that's an excellent way to refamiliarize yourself.

    Here's a suggestion. Play the root of the diatonic chords on the guitar, also play a simple chord for the dominant sections...and sing a solo. This is the best way to gauge if you have the music in you. Don't worry, you're not Stevie Wonder or Eddie Jefferson, but just get your imagination and your ear working together. That's best done with a sung line, no guitar to save you. When you can hear your line, you play it.
    That's the goal to strive for.

  50. #699

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    Week 14. Day 3. I turned to 5B tonight. I think these Blues For Alice changes are my favorite to work with in the program. It's easier for me to
    get off book and really internalize the changes. Especially since we don't have 6 days to play them. I felt the lines flowing nicely and creatively. I tried to follow my ear as much as possible as opposed to just letting my hands dictate everything.

    I'm out for the next couple days. I'll be back to finish 6A and 6B over the weekend.

  51. #700
    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    Week 14. Day 3. I turned to 5B tonight. I think these Blues For Alice changes are my favorite to work with in the program. .
    Me too. One key. Secondary dominants and tritone subs all in one neat tune. Work on these these things individually, put them together in a tune like this and in a lot of ways, you've got it all in one ball of wax.
    I also like it because with the ostensibly simple form, I can hear what's coming up easier, and challenge myself NOT to do what I might be heading for.
    Practicing spontaneity