Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 36 of 36
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Just wondering...

    There's some sort of musical grammar that holds together bebop--it's the language of forward motion that was initiated by Bach.

    But, what to do about post bop vocabulary--specially modal vocabulary.

    What I mean is, bebop has a rhythmic foundation that classifies notes and note choice. Is the note on the beat and resolved, is it off the beat and pushing the line, is the note unresolved and pushing the beat (Chris'77 mentioned appoggiatura)? I'm simplifying here, but bebop has a rhythmically dependent vocabulary of tension and release.

    What does Modal have? How do I know how what notes should fall on which part of the beat? Is there a grammar?

    On modal tunes I've always tried to use a quasi-bebop approach mixed with the blues. But that's not all that Herbie, Wayne, Joe Henderson, Coltrane, all those post-bop-scha-bam players do.

    How does rhythm control note choice in modal playing--does my question make sense?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Maybe modal jazz and later blues seem to craft lines with more focus to counterpoint, less to rhythm?
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  4. #3
    like this:



    I definitely hear tension and release, but it works differently than bebop--at least to my ears. However, it's not random--move up a half step here, side slip there--it's more than "just use a bunch of pentatonics". There's a an architecture to modal lines somewhere, I just can't place my finger on it. Is is all counter point? How so?

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    That's not counterpoint, more like "the kitchen sink", the architecture is that the chords and lines are being played by the same person... so the randomness is correlated... (can you tell I don't care for it?)
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  6. #5
    Do an advanced forum search
    username: Reg
    with terms: "modal" and "characteristic pitch"

    You might filter threads by numbers of replies , looking at threads with more conversation. There are a few really great old threads on this.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    Just wondering...

    There's some sort of musical grammar that holds together bebop--it's the language of forward motion that was initiated by Bach.

    But, what to do about post bop vocabulary--specially modal vocabulary.

    What I mean is, bebop has a rhythmic foundation that classifies notes and note choice. Is the note on the beat and resolved, is it off the beat and pushing the line, is the note unresolved and pushing the beat (Chris'77 mentioned appoggiatura)? I'm simplifying here, but bebop has a rhythmically dependent vocabulary of tension and release.

    What does Modal have? How do I know how what notes should fall on which part of the beat? Is there a grammar?

    On modal tunes I've always tried to use a quasi-bebop approach mixed with the blues. But that's not all that Herbie, Wayne, Joe Henderson, Coltrane, all those post-bop-scha-bam players do.

    How does rhythm control note choice in modal playing--does my question make sense?
    This is not a question that every occurred to me. I think I just play.

    You can certainly play modal jazz in a bop way of course. The obvious example of that is Cannonball. For instance his solo on Milestones:

    This is not modal jazz in any textbook sense. He essentially treats the vamp as an elongated ii-V-I. Note that he goes outside of the mode for the ii-V sound.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    like this:



    I definitely hear tension and release, but it works differently than bebop--at least to my ears. However, it's not random--move up a half step here, side slip there--it's more than "just use a bunch of pentatonics". There's a an architecture to modal lines somewhere, I just can't place my finger on it. Is is all counter point? How so?
    McCoy Tyner is another concept (at least here) - I think it took all the NYC pianists a decade to work out was going on ...

  9. #8
    I found a couple. Reg would actually really understand this--as he was one of the few over here at JGF that understood my obsession with phrasing as it related to single line playing and chordal accompaniment.

    What I am asking in this thread isn't about the notes, per say. Rather, I am interested in where to place the notes in relation to metric space--the time. Bebop has certain grammatical conventions concerning where notes are placed and how phrases are constructed. Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, and Bud Powell didn't always follow these conventions--that's where the improvisations got really exciting--but there was an underlying architecture that related rhythm to note to silence.

    I'm trying to figure out where to place my notes in a modal context. You can hear a keen sense of note placement in pro players--this is what separates pro from amateur even more than physical technique in my mind.

    Arpeggios are treated differently in modal playing, and wider intervals (I'm thinking Woody Shaw here)--but all that doesn't work quite right if you don't know where to place it in the measure, in the phrase, etc.

    I may not be communicating this quite right... let me know if my question makes sense.

    This question led my playing with more of the "hardbop stuff" I love to play these days. Blues scale, yes. Bebop, yes. But what makes Hard bop so, I dunno, infectious, is groove and attention to note placement--that's how I hear it. When I practice, I am super concerned with where my notes fall--even more than the notes themselves. As a result, I have a heck of a lot more rhythmic confidence and my lines "punch" more--less meandering--when I play out.

    This question of where instead of what is quite interesting, if you read into it a little

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    I found a couple. Reg would actually really understand this--as he was one of the few over here at JGF that understood my obsession with phrasing as it related to single line playing and chordal accompaniment.

    What I am asking in this thread isn't about the notes, per say. Rather, I am interested in where to place the notes in relation to metric space--the time. Bebop has certain grammatical conventions concerning where notes are placed and how phrases are constructed. Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, and Bud Powell didn't always follow these conventions--that's where the improvisations got really exciting--but there was an underlying architecture that related rhythm to note to silence.

    I'm trying to figure out where to place my notes in a modal context. You can hear a keen sense of note placement in pro players--this is what separates pro from amateur even more than physical technique in my mind.

    Arpeggios are treated differently in modal playing, and wider intervals (I'm thinking Woody Shaw here)--but all that doesn't work quite right if you don't know where to place it in the measure, in the phrase, etc.

    I may not be communicating this quite right... let me know if my question makes sense.
    I'm not convinced there's a whole lot of difference in some ways playing changes to modal tunes. My concept of playing bebop (influenced by Barry) is to chunk down the harmony to the point where it is as simple as possible and then add clusters of complexity afterwards.

    So, I think of a Dm II-V-I section as being a vamp in Dm over which I add harmonic embellishment as I wish, to take a simple example. Turnaround tunes like Rhythm Changes, Softly etc obviously invite this approach, probably more so than say Stella... So it's a spectrum from something like Passion Dance to a through composed standard like Stella.

    I think skilled changes players get out of chasing the written changes and start to lay their own shit on everything, learning how to resolve into chords at certain structural points in the solo. This is what you also need to do on a modal tune of course.

    I think this is what Reg does, for instance.

    I like the Steve Coleman concept 'invisible paths' - and looking at the McCoy Tyner solo, that really describes it well.

  11. #10
    All good, but... you are all missing my question.

    There's a ton of stuff in books and on the internet about what scales to use, what pentatonics, what substitutions.

    That wasn't at all what I was asking.

    This is frustrating, not because of everyone's responses to my OP, but because I can't communicate this correctly

    I'm talking about looking at 2 measures of blank staff paper, or 4 measures of blank staff paper, or 8 measures (a lot of modal phrases seem to be 8 measure gigantic phrases. Not that all 8 measures are chalk full of notes, but that the phrase finally resolves at the end of the 8)

    Okay, we're looking at the 8 measures of time--follow me (?)--we have all these melodic materials (pentatonics built on varying degrees of the scale, quartile harmony, whole tone, diminished, augmented--the whole kitchen sink). Now (and here is the question), where do we place these notes in relation to time, the pulse that is pushing the tune forward?

    I have tried the whole "chord tone on strong beats" thing that I've used as a basis for bebop (I don't use it all the time, but it's in the back of my head--Chris'77, I know that's a gross simplification, but it's just a comparison), but that frame of mind doesn't work with true modal vocabulary. Sure, you can play bebop over modal. Look at my man, Mr. Cannooooonball, and Pat Martino--just for starters. But I'm talking about the real deal get a big meal players of modal. I'm talking about Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Miles (to some extent), Coltrane, Chick-a-dee, McCoy, Freddie Hubcap, all them and more. It's a more complex relationship between note and placement in the measure. It's both free and structured in it's rhythmic foundation. Sometimes it sounds like African drumming with pitches, more so than bebop (which is incredibly rhythmic) or swing.

    There's poly rhythms, odd groupings, metric modulations... mind twisters for sure. But how do the notes figure into all of this rhythm?

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    All good, but... you are all missing my question.

    There's a ton of stuff in books and on the internet about what scales to use, what pentatonics, what substitutions.

    That wasn't at all what I was asking.

    This is frustrating, not because of everyone's responses to my OP, but because I can't communicate this correctly

    I'm talking about looking at 2 measures of blank staff paper, or 4 measures of blank staff paper, or 8 measures (a lot of modal phrases seem to be 8 measure gigantic phrases. Not that all 8 measures are chalk full of notes, but that the phrase finally resolves at the end of the 8)

    Okay, we're looking at the 8 measures of time--follow me (?)--we have all these melodic materials (pentatonics built on varying degrees of the scale, quartile harmony, whole tone, diminished, augmented--the whole kitchen sink). Now (and here is the question), where do we place these notes in relation to time, the pulse that is pushing the tune forward?

    I have tried the whole "chord tone on strong beats" thing that I've used as a basis for bebop (I don't use it all the time, but it's in the back of my head--Chris'77, I know that's a gross simplification, but it's just a comparison), but that frame of mind doesn't work with true modal vocabulary. Sure, you can play bebop over modal. Look at my man, Mr. Cannooooonball, and Pat Martino--just for starters. But I'm talking about the real deal get a big meal players of modal. I'm talking about Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Miles (to some extent), Coltrane, Chick-a-dee, McCoy, Freddie Hubcap, all them and more. It's a more complex relationship between note and placement in the measure. It's both free and structured in it's rhythmic foundation. Sometimes it sounds like African drumming with pitches, more so than bebop (which is incredibly rhythmic) or swing.

    There's poly rhythms, odd groupings, metric modulations... mind twisters for sure. But how do the notes figure into all of this rhythm?
    Dunno, let us know when you work it out :-)

  13. #12
    Ugh!

    I ask the weirdest questions.

    Speaking of questions, did you all listen to the You'll Hear It podcast on Space/Silence? That's the episode where I submitted a question. Once you get through the...well, I'll let you find it--it's worth a listen. I put the video on the Journal of Performance Ear Training.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Sometimes it sounds like African drumming with pitches
    The form of a bebop tune or a standard has a different set of harmonic
    appointments to keep. Passion Dance improvisation is seemingly based
    on an open vamp, however it is possibly not a coincidence that McCoy's
    solo is structured around 8 bar sections or 4 chorus of the 32 bar song form.
    I like your description above and I would add that it is also very motivic.
    His tension/resolution thing always sounds clear.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    I found a couple. Reg would actually really understand this--as he was one of the few over here at JGF that understood my obsession with phrasing as it related to single line playing and chordal accompaniment.

    What I am asking in this thread isn't about the notes, per say. Rather, I am interested in where to place the notes in relation to metric space--the time. Bebop has certain grammatical conventions concerning where notes are placed and how phrases are constructed. Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, and Bud Powell didn't always follow these conventions--that's where the improvisations got really exciting--but there was an underlying architecture that related rhythm to note to silence.

    I'm trying to figure out where to place my notes in a modal context. You can hear a keen sense of note placement in pro players--this is what separates pro from amateur even more than physical technique in my mind.

    Arpeggios are treated differently in modal playing, and wider intervals (I'm thinking Woody Shaw here)--but all that doesn't work quite right if you don't know where to place it in the measure, in the phrase, etc.

    I may not be communicating this quite right... let me know if my question makes sense.

    This question led my playing with more of the "hardbop stuff" I love to play these days. Blues scale, yes. Bebop, yes. But what makes Hard bop so, I dunno, infectious, is groove and attention to note placement--that's how I hear it. When I practice, I am super concerned with where my notes fall--even more than the notes themselves. As a result, I have a heck of a lot more rhythmic confidence and my lines "punch" more--less meandering--when I play out.

    This question of where instead of what is quite interesting, if you read into it a little
    Yeah. that's why I mentioned reg and characteristic pitch. Has a lot to do with where as much as when. Traditional functional tunes have you targeting thirds and sevenths a lot, especially tritones etc. Third's resolving to sevenths etc.

    Modal is about deemphasizing them to varying degrees, depending on the effect you're looking for. Anyway, characteristic pitch serves the function of establishing cadence and tension/release etc. I am completely talkingout of my arse on this, but that's what was discussed on those threads by players who could someone follow .

    Cadence , establishing tonal targets outside of traditional voice leading etc. all have implications for WHERE and WHEN as much as note sets. He did a lot of stuff with playing modal style in functional tunes . There are videos. It's pretty interesting, once you get to the point of looking into it.

  16. #15
    Bert Ligon has a whole analysis of multiple players solos from Kind of Blue tunes in vol 2 of his theory book. Worth the purchase just for that. Miles's solo on So What is more about motific development than a true modal "note set" approach.

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    I think John Abercrombie might've had the answer : "Improvising on changes is about playing a straight line through a circle. Modal improvisation is about playing a circle around a straight line." Something like that anyway...

    Might be relevant to what you're calling grammar. Might not. In any case, just wanted to share since I think it's about the hippest thing I've ever heard.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    Ugh!

    I ask the weirdest questions.
    No you ask really good questions, I just don't think they can be pithily answered on an internet forum. You have to ask McCoy etc, so to speak.

    I was taking a look at that Passion Dance solo, will share my thoughts when I have any.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft View Post
    I think John Abercrombie might've had the answer : "Improvising on changes is about playing a straight line through a circle. Modal improvisation is about playing a circle around a straight line." Something like that anyway...

    Might be relevant to what you're calling grammar. Might not. In any case, just wanted to share since I think it's about the hippest thing I've ever heard.
    I would say changes playing it's like finding a straight line on a circle and then putting other circles on it, and sometimes triangles and pentagons too.

    Modal's easier because you already have the straight line laid out for you.

    However, it's not really, because in a standard you have more landmarks and harmonically significant moments. And probably a tune people can hum. And so on.

    In Modal music, I guess you have to invent the song, because there's not one there. Miles was very good at writing hooky modal tunes though. Passion dance has a hook too, but you are talking about a much smaller amount of motivic material, shorter melodies, and so on.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Funny thing about jazz is that players often "understand" what to play but they actually want to "feel" it while playing. One thing that is easy to understand but not so easy to feel until you master it (at least for me) is playing lines. By playing lines you don't seek for targeting, chasing the changes etc, because lines have their own ways. You can compress them, expand and do all sort of different things. But, you have to master them, have a large number of lines under your fingers that you can play without thinking of them. Peter Farrell showed me how to create gazillion of lines on the fly without thinking of "how to create" but of "how to use". So, it would be great to have major, harmonic minor, melodic minor, domdim etc lines under your fingers in different positions.
    Lines are used in bebop and modal. When you compress or expand lines all of the sudden you play, for example 5 notes line fitting it in one beat or beat and half. These things happens almost unconscious because you are chasing rhythmically the song. Another thing Peter showed me is how to create practice and put in use giant lines.
    When I'm listening to great players I always hear lines and they don't play them rhythmically the same every time because they are fitting them in different context. With lines you have rhythmical freedom.
    My 2 cents...

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by mikostep View Post
    Funny thing about jazz is that players often "understand" what to play but they actually want to "feel" it while playing. One thing that is easy to understand but not so easy to feel until you master it (at least for me) is playing lines. By playing lines you don't seek for targeting, chasing the changes etc, because lines have their own ways. You can compress them, expand and do all sort of different things. But, you have to master them, have a large number of lines under your fingers that you can play without thinking of them. Peter Farrell showed me how to create gazillion of lines on the fly without thinking of "how to create" but of "how to use". So, it would be great to have major, harmonic minor, melodic minor, domdim etc lines under your fingers in different positions.
    Lines are used in bebop and modal. When you compress or expand lines all of the sudden you play, for example 5 notes line fitting it in one beat or beat and half. These things happens almost unconscious because you are chasing rhythmically the song. Another thing Peter showed me is how to create practice and put in use giant lines.
    When I'm listening to great players I always hear lines and they don't play them rhythmically the same every time because they are fitting them in different context. With lines you have rhythmical freedom.
    My 2 cents...
    This is how it works with me I think.

    If it’s not working it’s usually because that unconsciousness isn’t there

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I would say changes playing it's like finding a straight line on a circle and then putting other circles on it, and sometimes triangles and pentagons too. Modal's easier because you already have the straight line laid out for you.
    I understand John's quote more on a gut level. This kind of thing quickly falls apart when you try to explain or expand on it, but I'll give it a go anyway.

    Playing a straight line through a circle: the circle of repeating chords is the structure and the straight line is your solo. When playing on changes I'm trying to find things that keep developing through the structure, tying things together while moving ahead. Without that forward direction it's just running the changes like a computer. I think one of the clearest EG's is Oliver Nelson's solo on Moments Notice. He takes a very simple motif and works it through the chord structure step by step, expanding and developing chorus by chorus. It's very easy to see the circle and the straight line. Playing a circle over a circle is probably going to be pretty monotonous.

    Playing a circle around a straight line: the straight line is the groove. It just keeps going and doesn't repeat in the same way a circle of changes does. The circle is your solo revolving around that. You create the structure, and reprise and develop ideas around that forward motion. Hopefully the other guys hear your intent and work those structures with you. Playing a straight line over a straight line is probably going to be pretty monotonous.

    Both kinds of playing need tension and release. With changes there's already something there in the existing structure. In modal you have to create that from the ground up so to speak.

    Maybe what you describe... hanging triangles and such... maybe that's the grammar? It sounds like work. Maybe there isn't the same kind of grammar in modal playing. Maybe you have to develop it on the fly with the other players. And maybe it takes a different kind of talent to do it well.

    BTW: I don't think you can find a straight line on a circle. That's gonna give you nothing but trouble :-)

  23. #22
    In basic geometry, you can create a line segment--or if you're really adventurous--a ray that extends into infinity.

    ...I taught remedial geometry for a year--hardest year of teaching in my life

    What I was talking about was the differences within the architecture of the line--bebop verses modal.

    In bebop contexts, you are outlining a chord by manipulating the pulse--strong beat weak beat--forward motion.

    When you listen to the OG modal players of jazz (I ain't talking Gregoorre--annnn chants) they utilize line structure that seems to skate about this strong beat weak beat Bach-ian forward motion principle of the pulse dictating the line. You start hearing arpeggios that extend to the upper reaches of the chord structure. You start hearing angular 4ths. You start hearing really odd groupings becoming common place, like quintuplets, and septuplets. You can play traditional bop lines and super impose different changes to imply more motion. Or you can create motion with linear vocabulary that goes beyond bebop--because the music evolved beyond bebop.

    Let's put it this way. You can tell an early intermediate player, "okay--for the ii, play dorian. For the V, play mixolydian. For the I, play Ionian." Okay, student comes back. She says "I tried that formula at a jam and it didn't sound like jazz". Then you say, "okay, I want you to start transcribing some more jazz. Start off with some Scott Hamilton--you'd be surprised what you can learn up line construction from a guy like Scott Hamilton". She comes back, you give her another musician. You tell her, "I want you to pay attention to where the chord tones lie"

    There's the point I'm talking about. When we talk modal, we often talk about all these scales and super impositions. We hardly talk about how these "new" note choices relate to the rhythmic landscape. Kind of Blue modal Miles is easier to figure out. But Herbie? Wayne? There's a relationship with the notes and where they are placed in the measure.

    Here, let's get interesting on another level. Sorry Miles, we're talking McCoy Tyner's comping. Ever notice how McCoy created these dramatic harmonic landscapes for JC to solo over. Those weren't just random fourth voicings played within the key. McCoy--if you listen to his comping closely--can create drama by building these long 8 bar phrases of accompaniment--all within the "static" landscape of the modal section of the tune. Yes, he used substitutions, yes he used chromatic-ism. Tell a pianist to just comp in fourths and he or she won't sound convincing. Tell a pianist to use substitutions to "play a straight line through a circle" and he or she won't sound convincing.

    Teach that pianist how McCoy shaped his accompaniment by building 2,4,8, and 16 bar phrases--and graph out where the drama happens in each phrase? For an 8 bar phrase, is the movement climaxing right at the end of the 8th measure of the phrase? What substitutions create the drama at that point in the phrase?

    I call this phraseology--but I'm not the first one to speak of this phenomena by far. I tried to created a podcast on this very topic, but I got scared of copyright infringement with song use.

    Why did I take a detour with McCoy's comping? Well, he was using all of these fourth voicings, pedal points, substitutions--with in a rhythmic context of a phrase.

    I am interested in how Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter (can we add Woody Shaw to this short list) use this vocabulary of fourths, subs, symmetry, within the rhythmic context of a phrase--where do the notes lie within the phrase. The placement of the note within the context of the measure is more important than the note on it's own.

    Let's take Wayne Shorter and his love affair with pentatonic melodic vocab. Tell me to just use a pentatonic from the b7th of the base harmony, or from the 5th. Great! But where do those notes fall? Is there a logic to line building in modal like their is a logic to line building in bop? I'm not going to accept that Wayne was just using his pentatonic vocabulary and randomly spurting the notes across the measure.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Is this modal jazz?


  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Also Wynton has a bit of post modern fun in the solo section of this killer Jelly Roll tune in the sax solo



    I love the way it all goes post-Miles and the banjo keeps going haha

    But yeah, vamp solo sections and so on can be traced back to the early days. And that Django tune shares a ground plan with So What - just in the major key. Django of course plays his Django language.

    So it's clear vamps (and modes too) have always been a part of the jazz vernacular. It's suspect just a lot of the people who developed the histories we take for granted didn't really know the earlier music (obviously the trad/modernist split) and just assumed everything pre-1959 was blowing on functional changes. Wynton is an important figure here of course, and I like the way he gives a cheeky wink in that recording. Ans people accuse him of purism....

    But "what do you play on a vamp?" is just as pressing a concern for someone playing early or gypsy jazz as it is for someone playing McCoy Tyner tunes. The solution is of course different, but the same can be said for changes playing. Modern players might employ pentatonic cells, chord scales, US triads and other techniques not used by the bebop generation and so on.

    In the same way middle Eastern music is much more accurately 'modal' and the logic of that music is not based on harmony at all. So that's another way to play again, one that's very fascinating to me.

    The other thing is that vamps obviously can mean not only but tight, short repeating harmonic figures and riffs as well as isolated chords (that stuff predates jazz by hundreds of years, baroque music is full of vamp based music.) A good example is a 1 6 2 5 turnaround, or various forms of 1-4-1 which were very popular in the swing era (Rhythm Changes itself is a combination of the two.) The problem is essentially the same. A modern jazz musician might abstract the harmony somewhat. I mean, I'm not even talking about the post modal players here - don't know what Sonny Clarke is doing on Second Balcony Jump, but he's not playing the changes, and Dexter takes a very generalised view of the A section, using blues, Lester style language, bop and even 1-2-3-5 pentatonic cells.

    And jazz players of the swing to bop era always favoured these vamp tunes, or things like Honeysuckle Rose or Topsy with a relatively slow rate of harmonic change, for jamming on. Really the Moment's Notice/Giant Steps thing was quite at odds with Parker's approach to soloing, and it's interesting that Coltrane took those cycles and applied them to - guess what? - Modal vamps.

    So - to sum up... Jazz has always had a tendency towards the modal - by which we can think essentially oriented around tonalities rather than playing correct notes on every chord - I think if you are thinking of modal jazz as a separate problem to playing a lot of the core jazz repertoire you've missed a trick. People get too caught up in the chord symbols, even some really good players. For all that Barry Harris might abhor modal jazz, his approach is always to simplify the changes and focus on generating complexity from the artful use of SCALES.

    On the other hand our conceptual idea of what modal jazz is affecting our understanding of the music. Obviously the best modal players are not playing the same concept as the beginners jazz class noodling through Little Sunflower for the first time. The reality of Miles's late 50s music - which was only the start of this - is much more complex.

    At the same time jazz language has obviously generally progressed and changed, and playing on harmonically open, non functional progressions seemed to really help the post-Miles guys get away from feeling they were in a straight jacket. But, you want to be able to play your shit in all situations.
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-16-2019 at 05:51 AM.

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    In basic geometry, you can create a line segment--or if you're really adventurous--a ray that extends into infinity.

    ...I taught remedial geometry for a year--hardest year of teaching in my life

    What I was talking about was the differences within the architecture of the line--bebop verses modal.

    In bebop contexts, you are outlining a chord by manipulating the pulse--strong beat weak beat--forward motion.

    When you listen to the OG modal players of jazz (I ain't talking Gregoorre--annnn chants) they utilize line structure that seems to skate about this strong beat weak beat Bach-ian forward motion principle of the pulse dictating the line. You start hearing arpeggios that extend to the upper reaches of the chord structure. You start hearing angular 4ths. You start hearing really odd groupings becoming common place, like quintuplets, and septuplets. You can play traditional bop lines and super impose different changes to imply more motion. Or you can create motion with linear vocabulary that goes beyond bebop--because the music evolved beyond bebop.

    Let's put it this way. You can tell an early intermediate player, "okay--for the ii, play dorian. For the V, play mixolydian. For the I, play Ionian." Okay, student comes back. She says "I tried that formula at a jam and it didn't sound like jazz". Then you say, "okay, I want you to start transcribing some more jazz. Start off with some Scott Hamilton--you'd be surprised what you can learn up line construction from a guy like Scott Hamilton". She comes back, you give her another musician. You tell her, "I want you to pay attention to where the chord tones lie"

    There's the point I'm talking about. When we talk modal, we often talk about all these scales and super impositions. We hardly talk about how these "new" note choices relate to the rhythmic landscape. Kind of Blue modal Miles is easier to figure out. But Herbie? Wayne? There's a relationship with the notes and where they are placed in the measure.

    Here, let's get interesting on another level. Sorry Miles, we're talking McCoy Tyner's comping. Ever notice how McCoy created these dramatic harmonic landscapes for JC to solo over. Those weren't just random fourth voicings played within the key. McCoy--if you listen to his comping closely--can create drama by building these long 8 bar phrases of accompaniment--all within the "static" landscape of the modal section of the tune. Yes, he used substitutions, yes he used chromatic-ism. Tell a pianist to just comp in fourths and he or she won't sound convincing. Tell a pianist to use substitutions to "play a straight line through a circle" and he or she won't sound convincing.

    Teach that pianist how McCoy shaped his accompaniment by building 2,4,8, and 16 bar phrases--and graph out where the drama happens in each phrase? For an 8 bar phrase, is the movement climaxing right at the end of the 8th measure of the phrase? What substitutions create the drama at that point in the phrase?

    I call this phraseology--but I'm not the first one to speak of this phenomena by far. I tried to created a podcast on this very topic, but I got scared of copyright infringement with song use.

    Why did I take a detour with McCoy's comping? Well, he was using all of these fourth voicings, pedal points, substitutions--with in a rhythmic context of a phrase.

    I am interested in how Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter (can we add Woody Shaw to this short list) use this vocabulary of fourths, subs, symmetry, within the rhythmic context of a phrase--where do the notes lie within the phrase. The placement of the note within the context of the measure is more important than the note on it's own.

    Let's take Wayne Shorter and his love affair with pentatonic melodic vocab. Tell me to just use a pentatonic from the b7th of the base harmony, or from the 5th. Great! But where do those notes fall? Is there a logic to line building in modal like their is a logic to line building in bop? I'm not going to accept that Wayne was just using his pentatonic vocabulary and randomly spurting the notes across the measure.
    As is often the case with your posts, I'm not quite sure who you are addressing this comment to.

    My comments are somewhat in parallel to yours, because I can't honestly answer your questions. But that's not because I think they aren't good questions, the opposite in fact. Furthermore if someone can answer them, the language might not be immediately accessible.

    For instance, I can imagine Reg would have something to say, but I probably wouldn't understand his answer. I think sometimes you have to walk the path, which for me usually means listening and imitating what I hear on a non-analytical level to start off with.

    McCoy was one of the first jazz musicians I really dug. I always felt his use of side-slip planing is a dominant aspect of his sound, and something it's fairly easy to imitate on a guitar on an intuitive level, which is generally how I do it especially when playing with a post Coltrane style sax player like the one in my Quartet. It is a rhythmic thing.

    Which is not say that a more analytical approach wouldn't be useful or of interest.

  27. #26
    Reg's tldr is something like:

    Use all typical targeting type ideas , but deemphasize the tritone and tritone resolution... 3–7, 7–3 etc.

    Utilize "characteristic pitch" of the given mode to set up cadence patterns etc.

  28. #27
    they really tried, next time I'll write out my question before asking it. Still interesting stuff:


  29. #28
    I didn't want this thread to get buried, listen to what Adam and Peter had to say about all this--VERY INTERESTING
    Last edited by Irez87; 06-23-2019 at 08:42 PM.

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    they really tried, next time I'll write out my question before asking it. Still interesting stuff:

    Great blog, I wanna check out their other ones now. Cheers!

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    bebop has a rhythmic foundation that classifies notes and note choice
    Is that true?

    It may be your question's wrongly posed. Why don't you just play it as you feel it?

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    I don’t think we need to worry about which note falls on which part of the beat in modal jazz.
    Last edited by rintincop; 07-30-2019 at 07:21 PM.

  33. #32
    did you both watch the youtube video or are we nitpicking something I said?

    Adam and Pete give the best explanation on modal playing that I've ever heard.

    Just watch the video...

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    In the video Adam and Peter agree we don’t need to worry about which note falls on which part of the beat... they even comment that we don't need to worry it in bebop either, unless you want to. I thought that was what the OP was talking about, maybe the thread morphed?

    In a word modal improv is (can be) “freedom”. You can do whatever you want, you can compliment the accompaniment, go against it, or do your own thing. As Chick Corea said about improvising: "We play what we know."
    Chick Corea or Herbie Hancock like to play long highly chromatic lines that seemingly have little relationship to the underlying harmony, but end on a “good note” (tonic for example) , that mitigates (resolves) what led up to the "punchline". They will then often times answer that line with a short simple highly melodic phrase or two.

    I also want to point out that the rules of tonal gravity still apply in modal improv. The Tonic is still the Tonic.
    Last edited by rintincop; 07-30-2019 at 10:22 PM.
    Studied privately with Mark Levine from 1986-1989. I also studied under Barry Harris, Joe Henderson, Art Lande, and Mark Isham.

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    Transcription: Herbie Hancock's solo on Maiden Voyage 1989:


  36. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    In the video Adam and Peter agree we don’t need to worry about which note falls on which part of the beat... they even comment that we don't need to worry it in bebop either, unless you want to. I thought that was what the OP was talking about, maybe the thread morphed?

    In a word modal improv is (can be) “freedom”. You can do whatever you want, you can compliment the accompaniment, go against it, or do your own thing. As Chick Corea said about improvising: "We play what we know."
    Chick Corea or Herbie Hancock like to play long highly chromatic lines that seemingly have little relationship to the underlying harmony, but end on a “good note” (tonic for example) , that mitigates (resolves) what led up to the "punchline". They will then often times answer that line with a short simple highly melodic phrase or two.

    I also want to point out that the rules of tonal gravity still apply in modal improv. The Tonic is still the Tonic.
    No, my OP didn't morph. I'm just used to posting these podcasts where I call in (and embarrass myself) and except for a select few on JGF, no one gives a rats patootie. Or, we go back to the humdrum of scale usage.

    Note that Pete and Adam say that they "never use a whole scale in it's entirety". And yet, most of the information about bebop--and especially modal--is about running scales and scale patterns. Pete and Adam suggest something deeper--I like that. What Adam said over "One Finger Snap" (I love Herbie from that period, btw. Your post on Orbits piqued my curiosity ) opened the box for me. It's about the strength of melody in modal playing--not the changes. Peter almost suggested that strong melodies supersede "outlining the changes" when playing bop--that got me to tilt my head.

    I just wish we'd talk about this kinda stuff more, the stuff that goes beyond the rote scale or the rote progression. I thought you and ragman were trying to close out my thread, because it's happened before (not from either of you, but many of my posts aren't about what is usually talked about here on JGF--for better or worse).

    The best part about Pete and Adam, is that when I call in--they can play what they mean fluently on the piano. Adam is a beast, but Peter... Look up "Peter Martin Piano" for a real wild ride. He's the real deal gives you the feels without a happy meal kinda musician.

    They know me as "Mr. Spaceman" on the podcast because my first call-in question was about the use of space and silence--that was a GREAT episode, by the way. That, and I tend to call in after a long night of staying up changing diapers. I sound tired and "spacey" and they think I'm flying high... Hey, if it gets them to answer my questions like they do--I'll play the fool, whatever.

    Definitely check out their podcast, "You'll Hear It". I've never heard anyone talk about playing music quite like Peter and Adam.

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    No, my OP didn't morph. I'm just used to posting these podcasts where I call in (and embarrass myself) and except for a select few on JGF, no one gives a rats patootie. Or, we go back to the humdrum of scale usage.

    Note that Pete and Adam say that they "never use a whole scale in it's entirety". And yet, most of the information about bebop--and especially modal--is about running scales and scale patterns. Pete and Adam suggest something deeper--I like that. What Adam said over "One Finger Snap" (I love Herbie from that period, btw. Your post on Orbits piqued my curiosity ) opened the box for me. It's about the strength of melody in modal playing--not the changes. Peter almost suggested that strong melodies supersede "outlining the changes" when playing bop--that got me to tilt my head.
    Yes. These guys seem to be on the right track :-) Harmony in bop can be heavily blocked and abstracted, in fact simplified from the original songbook harmony, and the melody (which is of course a rhythmic expression) is foregrounded. Furthermore Parker and Powell's melodies are heavily ornamented - something that was lost with the second generation players.

    In this sense it has more in common with Modal jazz. A further aspect of bop is the irregularity of the phrase lengths... In a sense, bop is trying to burst out of the regular repeating structures of the boilerplate swing jam session material its based on.

    I believe I pointed this out above, but of course everyone still seems to think it's about upper structures or some such because of a 'quote' in a 40s issue of Downbeat that wasn't even from Parker....

    Here's a legit quote: "Quiet as it's kept, Parker's innovation was melody" Dizzy Gillespie.

    By the same token, modal techniques can be used on standards. I mean, what have we been hearing for the past 40 years?

    I just wish we'd talk about this kinda stuff more, the stuff that goes beyond the rote scale or the rote progression. I thought you and ragman were trying to close out my thread, because it's happened before (not from either of you, but many of my posts aren't about what is usually talked about here on JGF--for better or worse).

    The best part about Pete and Adam, is that when I call in--they can play what they mean fluently on the piano. Adam is a beast, but Peter... Look up "Peter Martin Piano" for a real wild ride. He's the real deal gives you the feels without a happy meal kinda musician.

    They know me as "Mr. Spaceman" on the podcast because my first call-in question was about the use of space and silence--that was a GREAT episode, by the way. That, and I tend to call in after a long night of staying up changing diapers. I sound tired and "spacey" and they think I'm flying high... Hey, if it gets them to answer my questions like they do--I'll play the fool, whatever.

    Definitely check out their podcast, "You'll Hear It". I've never heard anyone talk about playing music quite like Peter and Adam.
    I must get around to watching this when I done with my assignment.