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  1. #376

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    Day 1 done - 119 days to go. I'll post my reflections on Week 1 towards the end of the week when I have more data and perspective.

    Happy Solstice, Saturnalia, and Festivus.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #377

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    Hey, everyone. I'm confused. Are we doing Baubles, Bangles and Beads? Is it a waltz? A Bossa? Or are these chords Howard put down that are similar to BBB, but not necessarily the same? I'm a little lost and I haven't even started yet! Thanks.

  4. #378

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    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    Hey, everyone. I'm confused. Are we doing Baubles, Bangles and Beads? Is it a waltz? A Bossa? Or are these chords Howard put down that are similar to BBB, but not necessarily the same? I'm a little lost and I haven't even started yet! Thanks.
    I took the ireal pro BB&B, converted it to 4/4 and transposed it to D. For now I'm passing on the chromatic stuff HR does.

  5. #379
    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    Hey, everyone. I'm confused. Are we doing Baubles, Bangles and Beads? Is it a waltz? A Bossa? Or are these chords Howard put down that are similar to BBB, but not necessarily the same? I'm a little lost and I haven't even started yet! Thanks.
    Project 2A has a similar harmonic movement to BBB but it's NOT the tune. Yes astutely observed for one, the project is in 4, Baubles is in 3. Turnarounds are different. Ending is not as long. The melody won't fit because of the time signature difference.
    It's an exercise unto itself.
    I'll get into strategies and observations as soon as I have some comments to create feedback on.
    1) Get to know the movement of the key areas.
    2) Work with the transitions between key areas. I may have a mini lesson and digression this week on modulations and turnarounds.
    3) Listen and get a feeling for the pacing before you begin, have music in your head before you try to pull it from your guitar.
    4) You might take it a letter at a time. A, for a while, B similarly but in different key, C tightens up your time and changes and D back to the original A with a twisty ending. Work a loop thing if you'd like, so you see it as distinctive "plateaus" of tonality. Then we build ladders between.
    5) remember you're doing a lot of choruses, so have something you have in mind, and work on that for a chorus or two. Floating and noodling on changes without a goal is a deadly trap, avoid it.
    6) These are like workouts. Don't think you must have profoundly beautiful works of note. That comes quite unexpectedly when you have working tools, technique and line segments in your fingers. Just keep moving, the music will come with profound beauty and purpose when your hands effortlessly obey your ear. THAT skill we're working on here.

    I'll talk about Secondary Dominants, substitutions and concentration techniques later this week. Hang in there.

  6. #380

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    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    Hey, everyone. I'm confused. Are we doing Baubles, Bangles and Beads? Is it a waltz? A Bossa? Or are these chords Howard put down that are similar to BBB, but not necessarily the same? I'm a little lost and I haven't even started yet! Thanks.
    I think HR’s changes are pretty similar—but not identical—to BBB. I plan to play in 4/4.

    Edit: Oops sorry for the duplicate answer.

  7. #381

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    Great. Thanks for the clarification, everyone!

  8. #382

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    Week 3 Day 1. 50BPM Used the modified version of the BB&B in ireal pro. I can hear the harmonic flow of this much better than the cherokee projects. By my third time through it was starting to actually starting to flow a bit. Still clumsy and boxing myself into corners but a couple sections sounded fairly coherent.

  9. #383

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    Week 3. Day 1 of Modified BBB at 60 bpm. I started at 60 bmp to try and get to the target of 84 bpm by the end of the week bumping up 5 bpm every day. Anyway, I inputted the Howard Robert's changes into iReal Pro. As I was doing so I was thinking this is going to be a train wreck. But much to my pleasant surprise, like guido5 said, I quickly discovered a nice flow to the changes. There are certainly those jagged, rough transition spots I need to really work on. I especially find the Bbm9-Bm9-Cm9 section a bit of an odd surprise. Treating each chord as its respective major 7th helped me a bit. Anyway, it's good to be back at it.

  10. #384

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    Somewhat rough sailing for me tonight at 54 bpm. I have the changes maybe 90% committed to memory and found myself getting lost in the form because of those pesky transitions—yes, we're in D maj tonality here for awhile, but which odd m7 transition am I about to get clobbered with?

    On a positive note, I am finding some landmarks in the tune, and only had to glance at the chart a few times during the several choruses I played—often I was able to sit and listen for a moment to re-orient myself. I used a combination of shell voicings and HR altered voicings, and I think HR's voicings make good landmarks. Probably a crutch—I think ideally you'd like to not to have to rely on one specific voicing to guide the way. I just need to spend some more time outside the actual practice session to internalize the form, I think.

    A concrete weakness I've identified is playing over ii-V-I with the root of the I on fifth string.

    Something cool: the times I have managed to navigate through those m7 transitions what I play doesn't sound terrible. It's kinda amazing how bad it can sound to play accurate chord tones over these transitions—it is really challenging to make them sound musical and connect from chord to chord in a musical way. It's also really challenging for me to hear the correct scale I should be pulling the non-chord tones from over these quick two beats m7 chords. Sounds bad when you play, say, a natural 2 or 6 when the tonality wants a flat 2 or 6. Nothing wrong with a simple motif repeated over each chord, I think, but much harder to do when you are required to play 4 notes per chord instead of a simple two note, rhythmically interesting bee-boop repeated over each chord.

    Onward!

  11. #385
    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr

    Something cool: the times I have managed to navigate through those m7 transitions what I play doesn't sound terrible. It's kinda amazing how bad it can sound to play accurate chord tones over these transitions—it is really challenging to make them sound musical and connect from chord to chord in a musical way. It's also really challenging for me to hear the correct scale I should be pulling the non-chord tones from over these quick two beats m7 chords.
    Thought I'd just share a thought or two on Letter of the law vs Spirit of the law.
    ANY time you have a piece in front of you, you have a choice of what you're going to play. It's not a mandate to play anything anyone else says is important. The goal of a realized soloist is to fully understand what the composer was hearing, and to fully understand your own ear and to play yourself convincingly.
    These HR changes are there to prompt you to hear something that may not be natural to you, your fingers or your ear. But put something solidly yourself in there so you can appreciate alternatives, in their own time. Know and hear the bone structure before you go about re-setting the bones.
    For example, when I first run through these changes, I hear the "A" as being in the key of D, the "B" as being in Gb starting with the II chord (Ab). So my last bar of the "A" is your corridor to the Gb chord. I'll use a Db7 the first times I'm getting to know the piece. It's the way it flows for me. It lets me read the piece with my vocabulary, and then I can see alternatives that will push me to new places.

    Even when I'm soloing in a live situation, I'm always redefining the harmony to accentuate areas of the landscape I want to bring attention to, or take an inherently dark section and shine the lights a little differently. You have a landscape, but you can be a painter or photographer who takes your impression of how you see it, and share that with others.

    Learn to paint. Getting the notes right is important but that's information. Hearing the whole informs the information.
    Have fun with your ears this week!

  12. #386

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    Week 3 day 2. 55BPM Modified ireal pro backing. Long busy day left my concentration somewhat lacking tonite. Still the first two times through went quite well. Then I turned on the recorder for the last time through and it all fell apart. Oh well...

  13. #387

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    Day 2 at 65 bpm. I went over it a few times throughout the day. I'm still having difficulty in spots making music rather than just chasing the changes. I decided to make a recording to share with everyone. Masochistic, I know! You can hear my audible groan at one point. Sorry, iReal Pro is a bit loud in the mix. Thanks for listening and for any feedback.
    Last edited by D'Aquisto Fan; 12-23-2020 at 10:54 PM.

  14. #388

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    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    Day 3 at 65 bpm. I went over it a few times throughout the day. I'm still having difficulty in spots making music rather than just chasing the changes. I decided to make a recording to share with everyone. Masochistic, I know! You can hear my audible groan at one point. Sorry, iReal Pro is a bit loud in the mix. Thanks for listening and for any feedback.
    Nice work! I had that same chasing-the-changes feeling tonight as well. After my three BBB takes were in the bag I worked on some other music for my lessons, which segued into playing Autumn Leaves for an hour or so and was pretty stoked to hear how much more open my ears are after just a couple of weeks with Superchops.

    I have been feeling intimidated by the m7 transitions because they don’t have the same “logic” in my ear that dominants chords do. Tonight though I started to get intrigued by them and now I’m really trying to figure out how they work and why HR chose them. I’ve been sticking mainly with chord tones, but like I said yesterday, just chaining chord tones together doesn’t sound very musical. So tonight I tried to expand my ear, mainly by trying to find some flavor of dominant that might work as a sub over one or both of the chords in the Bm7 Am7 transition into the B section. Since HR labeled the key centers as A and G, these chords would subdominant ii chords I guess, so I tried playing E7#11 and D7#11 stuff, and altered stuff. Kind of a mess, really.

    What are you guys doing over these transitions?

  15. #389

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    Week 3 day 3. 55BPM Started by playing a couple of choruses comping with shell voicings. Eighth notes were done to the modified ireal pro backing. What started to feel a bit change to change started to show flashes of melody across sections again. Then I'd loose it again only to find something nice happening again. Quite curious...

  16. #390

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    Day 3 at 70 bpm. I worked on it a handful of times today. Like guido5 said, I'm hearing more melodic connections through the passing minor 7th chords, but there are still times it sounds like I'm trying to outline changes rather than make music. This isn't my favorite chord chart. I don't mind challenges, but too often this feels and sounds like an exercise rather than a song.

  17. #391

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    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    Day 3 at 70 bpm. I worked on it a handful of times today. Like guido5 said, I'm hearing more melodic connections through the passing minor 7th chords, but there are still times it sounds like I'm trying to outline changes rather than make music. This isn't my favorite chord chart. I don't mind challenges, but too often this feels and sounds like an exercise rather than a song.
    It’s a really weird sounding tune. But then I listen to one of several recorded versions and it makes sense. I think a study of the actual melody could be enlightening here. If only there were more hours in a day.

  18. #392

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    It’s a really weird sounding tune. But then I listen to one of several recorded versions and it makes sense. I think a study of the actual melody could be enlightening here. If only there were more hours in a day.
    I admit I haven't really listened to BBB much. Especially since the Howard Robert's chart is pretty different along with the form and the time signature being different, too. Howard sure seems to like those moving minor 7th chords to modulate!

  19. #393
    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    It’s a really weird sounding tune. But then I listen to one of several recorded versions and it makes sense. I think a study of the actual melody could be enlightening here. If only there were more hours in a day.
    Hearing the changes, trying to "hear the changes", and only hearing the "changes" is the art of active engagement that's as much an exercise in perception as much as it is learning to move our fingers. YES! When you listen to the recording, it does make sense. Why? Because just that act lifts you out of the "changes" and brings you into the space of the brain that's aware of melody, flow, the larger picture, texture, a pleasing sense of engagement and your aural memory. How many of those elements are actually at play when you're playing your instrument? The answer to this question will change as you become a more realized soloist.
    There's a myth that being a good jazz player, or an awesome soloist is about playing fast. As we put in the time, you'll start to realize it's not so much about being able to move faster, but rather to be able to negotiate any speed with a sense of purpose, intent and personal engagement. To see, not a bunch of chord changes to fill the notes to, but to know and feel the potential space that's available and to pour yourself into the air that time occupies.
    Learn not to get your feet stuck in the store room of notes you should be playing (Let's see, I'll start with the root note and yeah I'd better play an arpeggio here...) but rather find that magic you feel when you're listening to a recording and really enjoying the sound of the voice, arrangement, words, flow...

    Try this one when you have the time:
    Get out a piece of blank music paper. Mark out the bar lines for 8 systems, 4 bars @. Mark out A, B, C, D at each 2 systems.
    Now put the changes of this week's project like changes on a lead sheet. For each change in the keys, write in a new key signature for that system.
    At the start of each change, lightly pencil in the chord tones vertically like a chord.
    Now go through and create a solo, but not about, y'know, filling in the changes, but creating a shape, a line. Listen to a piece of music before, if you'd like and really get into the way it twists, flows and breathes. Try to impart some of that awareness in the solo you're writing. At this speed, the speed of composing, you can edit, you can see the approaching chord form on the other side of the bar line, you can meet a note, you can even cross the bar line to meet it. You're creating an idea. You can change direction, change textures and even throw in chromatics anywhere you want.
    You may find that you can see where you're going and make a decision based on that, and you have the time to do it.
    You may find that the notes you just put down can be elaborated on, or repeated, or moved up to another chord tone, or contradicted completely.
    You may find all sorts of things; shorter ideas that lead to longer ones, and then referencing a thought process you did 3 bars ago... all sorts of things.
    Change registers. Go for the unusual leap. You're totally safe and free from what you're "supposed" to play.

    This is exactly the process you go through when you're in real time. It's composition. And hey, we're still at a speed so this decision making process can be a part of your playing process. You may find that your vision of the solo space in front of you and behind you can be expanded.
    Now when I do this myself, a lot of times I don't even play what I've written.
    Give it a go. There's nothing to lose.

  20. #394

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    Day 4 of modified BBB at 75 bpm. Things seemed to come together a bit more today. Perhaps it's the holiday cheer. Most likely it's spending increasingly more time playing the tune so that it's really beginning to sink in. We'll see what Christmas brings. Happy holidays to everyone.

  21. #395

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    Week 3 Day 4. 55bpm Using the modified BBB ireal pro background. A bit short for time tonite so I dove right in to eighth notes without doing the comping first. Starting to have more and more connected ideas and flow. Still a bit tone center to tone center but starting to connect them more effectively. Using a lot more spontaneous phrase and variation across tone centers and between changes within the tone center.

  22. #396

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    Day 5. Christmas. 80 bpm. I was able to squeeze in some guitar time without neglecting my family. I ran through the exercises earlier in the day. It went pretty well, but not quite as good as I would like. I just did them again after dinner and everything fell into place pretty nicely. It's amazing and rather obvious, I imagine, that the more time you spend with a tune the more musical it can become. Modulating up to that Gb can still sound a bit abrupt, but maybe that's part of the charm of the change. Anyway, I'm grateful to get a little guitar time in today. Merry Christmas, everyone!

  23. #397

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    I had intended to give it a go, but it just wasn't to be. Tomorrow is another day. Happy Christmas folks!

  24. #398

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    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    Day 5. Christmas. 80 bpm. I was able to squeeze in some guitar time without neglecting my family. I ran through the exercises earlier in the day. It went pretty well, but not quite as good as I would like. I just did them again after dinner and everything fell into place pretty nicely. It's amazing and rather obvious, I imagine, that the more time you spend with a tune the more musical it can become. Modulating up to that Gb can still sound a bit abrupt, but maybe that's part of the charm of the change. Anyway, I'm grateful to get a little guitar time in today. Merry Christmas, everyone!
    Yeah! I listened to my takes from earlier today, and buried amongst the clunkers were some gems. I have been making a complete mess of the various V subs resolving to D: A13 A7#11, Eb9#11/Bb, Bbm7 Eb9, etc.

    When I listen to my recorded takes I seem to be making more progress than is apparent while playing. Not sure if it’s anything more than luck, but I hear sounds that I like. One thing I associate with Ahmad Jamal’s early stuff for some reason is the sound of the tritone sub dominant 9 chord resolving to the root of the I. It’s bluesy sounding and cool as hell when forced into a major chord. Yesterday I stumbled into that sound while trying to connect A7 bebop runs into Eb9. The 9 of Eb is F, which is the minor 3rd of D, and sounds great resolving to D.

  25. #399
    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr

    I have been feeling intimidated by the m7 transitions because they don’t have the same “logic” in my ear that dominants chords do.
    Conveying a sense of harmonic movement.
    When we're taught about playing with, or playing over changes, that that is what it's about. Then the more we play, the time we put in with our practice, we start to outgrow that notion of "this kind of tree is this and that kind of tree is that" and we can see how trees can create a larger idea of contour, density, flow, colour and sense to the landscape.
    If you approach those moving minor passages, you'll notice they're there as transitional stepping stones. You don't need to make them into profound statements in and of themselves. One reason they're there is so you can learn to discover and develop a sense of movement.
    You're in one place and your ear has established an area of familiarity. A different place appears.
    Now those two statements can be brought together by some transitional idea.

    You're in one place and your ear has established an area of familiarity. Something should be here, I feel I should do something and not just follow changes. A different place appears.

    You're in one place and your ear has established an area of familiarity. I can something. I can move something. A different place appears.

    You're in one place and your ear has established an area of familiarity. There's an place. I can move that place. A different place appears.

    You're in one place and your ear has established an area of familiarity. How about an idea... How about another idea. A different place appears.

    You're in one place and your ear has established an area of familiarity. And idea. An idea moving. A different place appears.

    You're in one place and your ear has established an area of familiarity. An idea. Movement of ideas as different place appears.

    Now in terms of note choice, you can develop your choices in different ways. You can focus on what you think should be there (right scales), or you can focus on how to fill in the spaces in individual "changes" or you can create a sense of transition.
    How you see this issue can be a week's experiments right there. This is your own discovery to make, and you will.
    One thing I really enjoy doing is to create or recognize a figure that ends my first tonal area-take a motiv (maybe even a minimal one of one note but repeat it, then move it down the steps. It moves. It doesn't call attention to itself. It doesn't even have to be the root of the chord. And then when it reaches a different place, it melts into a new idea where it becomes a new idea that your ear is drawn to.

    Density. You can create phrases of different densities by going from minimal notes, less movement, eventually longer notes, eventually space, repeated notes... to more "wordy" dense phrases. You can create great interest by contrasting density. Use dynamics. Listen to your note quality, how your pick hits the string, where you're picking (by the bridge? Close to the neck?). Legato. Sticcato. Muted. Rounded sound, sharp sound. Am I digging the sound I'm making (not the statement, the sound). What did I just create in the last 3 bars? Did I leave any questions I can answer now?

    All these things can be part of your solo, and all it takes is the practiced ability to bring them into your lines, phrases and transitions.
    Something to think about.
    Guys, I'm amazed at hearing your discoveries. And just keep in mind that boredom and frustration are two of the most powerful elements in breaking through to a personal style.
    Have fun!

  26. #400

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    Day 6 at 85 bpm. I ran through the exercise two times. First earlier in the day and now this afternoon. I'm really feeling out of it today. Not sure why. My initial run-throughs were fraught with spacey moments where I wasn't fully with the music. The second go-round went better. Trying to take JBN's advice and not be so tightly and restrictively locked into the minor 7th transitions while being true to the underlying harmony and ultimately where that harmony is leading. I still very much enjoy the process. Glad to be part of this small group of Super Chops Warriors! Ready to shift to a different key on Monday.