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  1. #1

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    Although I am happier with my playing I still struggle with direction.Is it generally a common practice that when the chord note goes lower your lines should as well.It dosnt sound right to me to rise to a new octave when the band is playing lower notes.I know its all about variety and maybe there is a trick to it Would it be easiest to explain over a 1625 progression.

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  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by busterr View Post
    Although I am happier with my playing I still struggle with direction.Is it generally a common practice that when the chord note goes lower your lines should as well.It dosnt sound right to me to rise to a new octave when the band is playing lower notes.I know its all about variety and maybe there is a trick to it Would it be easiest to explain over a 1625 progression.
    The vertical is a separate domain from the horizontal. The position of the chord has as much or as little bearing on the direction of your line as you want it to.


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  4. #3

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    My sense is that generally it has been common practice to do so, even if not deliberately, as an artifact of composition and result of most of the main technique approaches to playing (chord tones, CAGED, etc.).

    If you take a standard like Just Friends, the head's melody line pretty well sticks to this idea of aligning subsequent phrase positions with respect to the motion of the chords. In something like Stella By Starlight, it also mostly does this... in Db, when it gets to the quick change Bb->Eb here: A - E - A - D - Bb->Eb - F... I use Db+6 (Db Augmented 6th) to replace the Bb to avoid the ubiquitous two-five sound and voice the melody line at that point deeper down into the harmony by using an alternate chord. I mention this because one can always chord sub or reharmonize to tame a melody line that strays from the stock progression, so as to voice it deeper into the structure of the now adjusted harmony. To the degree that guitarists do this, it may sound like the tunes were composed to maintain the common practice of lines following the chords' directions even if the original were composed so that the melody line strayed considerably, so it may not be apparent if the result is from composition or interpretation in performance.

    In improvising it is very common to hear arpeggios ascending followed by descending scales which may support the same idea of following the direction of the harmony movements. Moving up is exciting, moving up in bigger jumps is more exciting, moving down is relaxing, and moving down in smaller jumps is more relaxing, so the arp up scale down thing naturally presents an effective tension/release profile of phrasing. This phrasing profile may be further enhanced by making the upside peaks a little louder and ghosting the lowest notes. Since these phrases have an up and down overall shape, you may shift their "center of action" to follow the harmony by playing further on either the up or down leg of the phrase to position yourself in anticipation of the direction of the next chord.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    My sense is that generally it has been common practice to do so, even if not deliberately, as an artifact of composition and result of most of the main technique approaches to playing (chord tones, CAGED, etc.).

    If you take a standard like Just Friends, the head's melody line pretty well sticks to this idea of aligning subsequent phrase positions with respect to the motion of the chords. In something like Stella By Starlight, it also mostly does this... in Db, when it gets to the quick change Bb->Eb here: A - E - A - D - Bb->Eb - F... I use Db+6 (Db Augmented 6th) to replace the Bb to avoid the ubiquitous two-five sound and voice the melody line at that point deeper down into the harmony by using an alternate chord. I mention this because one can always chord sub or reharmonize to tame a melody line that strays from the stock progression, so as to voice it deeper into the structure of the now adjusted harmony. To the degree that guitarists do this, it may sound like the tunes were composed to maintain the common practice of lines following the chords' directions even if the original were composed so that the melody line strayed considerably, so it may not be apparent if the result is from composition or interpretation in performance.

    In improvising it is very common to hear arpeggios ascending followed by descending scales which may support the same idea of following the direction of the harmony movements. Moving up is exciting, moving up in bigger jumps is more exciting, moving down is relaxing, and moving down in smaller jumps is more relaxing, so the arp up scale down thing naturally presents an effective tension/release profile of phrasing. This phrasing profile may be further enhanced by making the upside peaks a little louder and ghosting the lowest notes. Since these phrases have an up and down overall shape, you may shift their "center of action" to follow the harmony by playing further on either the up or down leg of the phrase to position yourself in anticipation of the direction of the next chord.

    How can you determine if the underlying harmony as gone “up” or “down”? If C major is followed by A minor, the the harmony go up a sixth or down a third? If the chord duration are longer, the accompanist may invert their chord multiple times in any direction; it has no defined effect on the horizontal melody.


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  6. #5
    Better than the first and third answer thanks .Didnt realize that going higher is exciting and going lower is relaxing or laid back.This will change things. Jsrus needs to sell his Pinto for cold hard cash.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by busterr View Post
    Didnt realize that going higher is exciting and going lower is relaxing or laid back.This will change things.
    Was hoping that would help.

    It's another musical dimension... used very expressively in jazz lines... most noticeable with sax phrasing because of natural increase in breath pressure for higher notes; on the guitar you kind of instinctively recognize and feel with your hand the highest and lowest notes of a phrase or line... as notes climb, pick more firmly, as note fall, ease up... your hands kind of want to do this anyway, so you might already be naturally doing this. Being aware of it puts it under your control, like other dimensions:

    Inside vs Outside
    Horizontal vs Vertical
    Tension vs Resolution
    Loud vs Soft
    Fast vs Slow
    Staccato vs Legato

    The more dimensions you control, the more paths you can play through, more ideas...
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  8. #7

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    I'm not sure I understand the question, but I'd offer this.

    It is worthwhile to consider the part of the frequency spectrum occupied by each instrument.

    So, for example, if the guitar is too low it can conflict with the bass. No matter where it's playing it can conflict with the piano.

    And, the soloist may choose to be an octave or more above the chords, so that the solo stands out. Doesn't have to - it's a choice.

    It may be worth bearing in mind that certain notes are more likely sound like clams in the same octave as the chord than if the note is played an octave higher. So, for example, if the chord is a C7, you might not want to play an Eb a half step below the E in the chord. But, if you play Eb an octave higher you might like the sound (it creates C7#9).

    All that said, I never think about any of it when soloing. All by instinct, which you can develop by trying a lot of different things.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by busterr View Post
    Although I am happier with my playing I still struggle with direction.Is it generally a common practice that when the chord note goes lower your lines should as well.It dosnt sound right to me to rise to a new octave when the band is playing lower notes.I know its all about variety and maybe there is a trick to it Would it be easiest to explain over a 1625 progression.
    Are you inferring that the chord voice leading follows some rule that you have to voice the 2 chord with higher pitches than the 1 chord, or 4 is pitched lower than the 5? These numbers are about function, not pitch. I'm missing something.

  10. #9

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    Are you asking whether chord movement needs to follow the bass player? Or do you mean does root movement necessarily determine the movement of the entire chord? Or is this a question of root based harmony vs voice led harmony?
    Many different approaches to chord voicings, each approach can give you distinctive sounds peculiar to genre. Or is this not what you're asking? Or do you mean solo lines in relation to a given arrangement?
    Sorry if I'm being dense. I'm not really getting how you see the music.
    David

  11. #10

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    Hmmm. I think the main thing is to do it "on purpose". That might mean a lot of ascending lines, or a lot of descending lines. "It depends". That's my humble opinion!

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by busterr View Post
    Is it generally a common practice that when the chord note goes lower your lines should as well.
    There is a bit confusing language in the post. I'm assuming by "the chord note" you mean the chord's root which may or may not be played. Right?
    I don't think that's true in the general case. But it's true in cyclic, parallel movements in particular which tend to have clear direction. Let's take bars 5 to 8 of four on six: Cmin F7 | Bbmin Eb7 | Amin D7 | Ebmin Ab7|. Wes mostly played descending lines over this part. There is a particular voice leading effect in the dominants resolving to minors in the descending line (last bar is a tritone). That's so strong it's hard to feel this part of the tune differently. I worked out an ascending line over that part at some point. But that works well because it contrasts with the descending movement, it doesn't ignore it.

  13. #12
    I will try to explain this with a 251 in C. Dm to G7 goes lower so i play descending to me playing ascending sounds wrong.C major goes higher so i play ascending.I do like the idea that eventually it will all come natural.It is a challenge for me even in 1 bar to know when to drop pitch than climb back up like the experts do.I think i need to do more humming lines in my head and transcribing.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by busterr View Post
    I will try to explain this with a 251 in C. Dm to G7 goes lower so i play descending to me playing ascending sounds wrong.C major goes higher so i play ascending.
    If you follow guide tones G7 -> C would be F descending a half step to E. There is no way that sounds odd over that change even though it doesn't ascend.