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  1. #1

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    I know I'll regret this. Because I've already made posts like this which got "mixed" reception so to speak But people make this really complicated. I don't mean for this to come off as a rant. More like some ideas to discuss.
    So here I go.
    1- Your Maj7, Min7, Min7b5, Dom7 arpeggios starting roots on the 6th, 5th and 4th strings.
    2- For each string you have 2 directions to go.
    3- For the 6th string root you got 2 octaves to go.
    4- So you got 6 "positions" but one of the second octaves in the 6th string root falls in the same position. So you got 5 positions (some call this CAGED).
    5- Now learn your 2nd, 4th and 6th intervals from a given root. Learn their half note variations ie. natural, flat and (for the 4) augmented.
    6- Now you know gazillion scales because scale is arp + 2, 4 and 6 where 2, 4 and 6 can be flat, natural or aug (for 4).

    APPLICATION:
    So, you wanna play altered scale over dominant, no problem. You know your Dom7 arpeggio (1, 3, 5, b7) already for every root on the fretboard. Add natural 2, 6 and augmented 4 in between the chord tones (because you know these intervals). Start tritone away from the root.
    Don't want the altered sound, Ok play this aug 4 version from the root. Or don't alter the 4. Just add 2, 4, 6 for the vanilla version. Now you know how to play dominant, altered and lydian dominant scales everywhere on the fretboard.
    You're playing over Minor 7 chord. You want to play a bright sound, try adding natural 2, 4, 6 to the arpeggio (Dorian). You want a darker sound, flatten the 6 (Aeolian). Even darker? Flatten 2 as well (Phrygian) Etc, etc...
    Last edited by Tal_175; 07-03-2019 at 07:09 PM.

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  3. #2
    If you are new to learning even arpeggios, I would say learn them intervallically as well. Learn your major and minor 3rd intervals in adjacent (and on the same string for minor). Now learn to stack them in various ways within an octave range in adjacent strings to build various 4 note chords (3 + b3 +3 for maj, b3, 3, b3 for min etc.) Then learn to access 5th and 7th intervals directly, without having to stack 3rds. You can now stack these one octave forms and move them to different string groups adjusting for the tuning of the b and e strings. Then go to step 2 above. At least may be just give this a thought.

    Also, IMO, DITCH scale, arpeggio diagrams. They encourage being lazy and not think about the names and degrees of every note in arpeggios and scales as you play them. They make you connect "shapes" when you're playing over chords. That's a hack. Connect notes. It's important to be aware of the intervals/degrees (5th going to the 9th of the next chord etc) and note names when you're practicing playing over changes. Again I think it's a mistake to think of playing over chords as connecting shapes and not know what you're exactly playing.

    That's my experience. Just one opinion.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 07-03-2019 at 07:12 PM.

  4. #3
    I can't imagine playing altered from the standpoint of modifying mixolydian. Honestly, even pianists and horn players don't work from that standpoint as far as I know. It presents some legitimate issues in terms of thought processes, technique, and theory etc.

    Melodic minor lays out really nicely on guitar and makes a lot of theoretical sense in terms of chords AND scales... if you approach it from the standpoint of simply raising the 7th of Dorian. From what I see, most players approach altered as basically being that simple melodic minor scale from a kinesthetic-technical-fingering standpoint ....and THEN learn to respell and think of it in the context of dominant/ altered.

    You're talking about doing the opposite I guess, and that's fine on paper. I'd like to see it in practice I guess. The eight note scale which is "altered" is very difficult to think of and spell as a dominant in the first place. It's largely a harmonic reference, rather than melodic. I certainly wouldn't see it as a "simpler" approach to MELODIC playing.

    Just my 2c.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    I can't imagine playing altered from the standpoint of modifying mixolydian. Honestly, even pianists and horn players don't work from that standpoint as far as I know. It presents some legitimate issues in terms of thought processes, technique, and theory etc.

    Melodic minor lays out really nicely on guitar and makes a lot of theoretical sense in terms of chords AND scales... if you approach it from the standpoint of simply raising the 7th of Dorian. From what I see, most players approach altered as basically being that simple melodic minor scale from a kinesthetic-technical-fingering standpoint ....and THEN learn to respell and think of it in the context of dominant/ altered.

    You're talking about doing the opposite I guess, and that's fine on paper. I'd like to see it in practice I guess. The eight note scale which is "altered" is very difficult to think of and spell as a dominant in the first place. It's largely a harmonic reference, rather than melodic. I certainly wouldn't see it as a "simpler" approach to MELODIC playing.

    Just my 2c.
    Just bare with me I'll explain the logic of playing augmented dominant tritone away instead of MM.
    I see what you mean first of all. But seeing altered scale as part of melodic minor harmonic reference is a more modern concept I think. I transcribed quite a bit of Charlie Parker, his application of altered notes seem to me like cool phrases that feature and accent certain altered notes (like go between b9 and #9). It's hard to imagine them thinking melodic minor modes given how they played.
    My understanding of altered scale is that it really originated from playing tritone over a dominant. So if you look at the tritone of a dominant (G7):
    Tritone of G7: Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb Cb
    Altered scale over G7: Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F G
    If you reorder, the only difference is that the tritone has Gb, altered scale has G. So altered scale is really playing tritone but replacing the more messy (according to some) Gb (ie natural 7th) with G.
    So tritone is now:
    Db Eb F "G" Ab Bb Cb
    That is Db mixolydian (G7 up a tritone) with an augmented 4.

  6. #5

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    I like thinking melodic minor better than altered scale.
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  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    But seeing altered scale as part of melodic minor harmonic reference is a more modern concept I think. I transcribed quite a bit of Charlie Parker, his application of altered notes seem to me like cool phrases that feature and accent certain altered notes (like go between b9 and #9). It's hard to imagine them thinking melodic minor modes given how they played.
    I disagree; I think he used related dominant scales and melodic minor to get those notes
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  8. #7
    So I'm not really modifying Dominant to turn it into altered. Just dominant aug 4 tritone away.
    Also I'm not suggesting not learning Melodic minor scale at all. I was just giving some examples of thinking scales on the fretboard in a more arpeggio centric way. Tying scale "positions" and fingering to the chords they are played over instead of thinking scale fingerings separately. This could be applied to melodic minor as well.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    So I'm not really modifying Dominant to turn it into altered. Just dominant aug 4 tritone away.
    isn't that a melodic minor mode?
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  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758 View Post
    I disagree; I think he used related dominant scales and melodic minor to get those notes
    That is also possible. It's hard to conclude for sure what he was thinking. But I'm not really anti-melodic minor. Playing lydian dominant tritone away (as I suggested originally) is one quick way to get there. My main point was more that one can focus on arpeggios for internalizing the fretboard. Learning fingerings, positions, playing over tunes. Then access 2nd, 4th, 6th from these arpeggio shapes to suit the sound or harmonic context over chord they are playing.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758 View Post
    isn't that a melodic minor mode?
    It is, exactly. As usual I didn't do a good job at conveying my core point in the OP. My point was more about focusing on chord tones and arpeggios for learning the fretboard and connecting scales/arpeggios as I tried to clarify in my previous post.
    Playing Lydian dominant tritone away was one example. Playing altered scale is just playing Dom7 arpeggio + 2 + #4 + 6 trione away. So if one gets good at seeing their 2's and 4's and 6's over their arpeggio forms, one can play many scales without focusing separately on scale fingerings/positions/diagrams etc.
    Of course one can do that with Min Maj7 arpeggio if they want to think Melodic Minor, instead of tritone.

  12. #11
    Ok I'll give an example to hopefully motivate this in a bit.

  13. #12
    Let's take the first 8 bars of "Just Friends":
    Cmaj Cmaj Cmin F7
    Gmaj Gmaj Bbmin Eb7

    If I'm working on this tune, the first thing I do is to learn the melody, chords etc. BTW I see melody and chords as one. So I know what each melody note is in relation to the chord it's played over and make an arrangement that uses chords as an harmonization of the melody etc.
    Next is working on improvisation. First I make sure I can play continues 8th note chord tones over the changes and connect the chords. Then next thing to do is to play continuous scales over the changes. Note at this stage I'm already very comfortable playing chord tones and connecting them.
    What scales to play. Standard analysis would be:

    C Lydian (Barry Harris would say major with an F#) C Lydian C Dorian F Alt or Mixo
    G Major G Major Bb Dorian Eb Mixo

    Now at first it looks like that's whole a lot of new crap to deal with. Of course some would see C Lydian and Gmajor as the same scale, Bb Dorian and Eb Mixo as the same scale. But that's still a lot of new complexity (over just playing chord tones).
    The point is I see these as not as separate fingerings/concepts but just some added notes to what I'm already able to play easily, the task gets a lot easier.
    Let's consider the first three bars. I was playing chord tones CMaj7 to Cmin7, basically E became Eb, B became Bb. Now C Lydian to C Dorian. Same as before but now I also play A and D as both chords share the same 2nd and 6th. Also F# for the first F for the other, different quality 4ths.

    Basically if one starts seeing scales as added notes to arpeggios and gets good at instantly spotting 2nds, 4ths and 6ths in the context of the chord, it not only makes scales very straight forward, but it helps being aware of the notes/intervals that are played.
    I know this seems like a simple concept but I used to learn and think scales as fretboard shapes and try to connect shapes when playing over changes. Not only it was very difficult to make progress while connecting them but I wasn't always aware of what I was playing other then that they were the "right" notes. Not to mention when you learn scales this way, process is, oh shoot now I have to learn the Lydian scale all over the fretboard as opposed to ok I need to sharpen the 4th for this.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 07-03-2019 at 04:37 PM.

  14. #13

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    Hmmmm... I like the idea of trying to boil it down...

    I think, there's three important scales, in descending order of importance:

    1) Dominant/Mixolydian
    2) Melodic Minor (or min6-dim if you like)
    3) Major

    I'd advise as I've mentioned elsewhere mapping these out as 1 octave shapes and linking together.

    Then step wise, thirds, triads in root position, seventh chords, ninth chords and so on.

    You will also need to learn inverted triads.

    Then chromatics - added notes, lower neighbours etc.

    Then it's applications... Scale outlines through tunes is such a great way to practice.

    You start by being able to do lots of cool stuff in scale 1) and resolving to target chords using dim 7s.

    ---

    That's the outline of the Barry Harris thing as I understand it.

  15. #14
    On a second thought, I decided to change the title to a less ambitious and click-baity one

  16. #15

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    Funny thing... I've been playing Just Friends a lot but the thing about saying the first chord is C is Lydian - totally correct - feels really odd to me. I guess I don't play the #11 on that chord very much lol. And I don't think I've done the scale outline thing on that one.

    There's a few tunes that do this move
    After You've Gone
    Moonglow
    I Can't Believe You're In Love With Me

    So it's probably worth knowing what the Barry way of doing it is... I presume it's to play the C with the #4

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Funny thing... I've been playing Just Friends a lot but the thing about saying the first chord is C is Lydian - totally correct - feels really odd to me. I guess I don't play the #11 on that chord very much lol. And I don't think I've done the scale outline thing on that one.

    There's a few tunes that do this move
    After You've Gone
    Moonglow
    I Can't Believe You're In Love With Me

    So it's probably worth knowing what the Barry way of doing it is... I presume it's to play the C with the #4
    I think he would suggest using C with the #4 as well. Actually the reason I think that is when I asked in the Barry Harris thread what scale to play over the 4 chord in ATTYA for BH scale outlines, you mentioned that BH suggested playing Db with a #4

  18. #17
    I agree about the importance of arps.

    And Dom7#11/Lydian dominant is one of the easier ways to hear and learn melodic minor, but I still think you have to learn the other scale degrees. Lydian dominant/Dom7#11 can be very much "its own thing".

  19. #18

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    All this stuff comes naturally if you are always grounded by the key of the tune... just saying.

    Also, it's definitely good practice for your ear to practice a chord and all the upper extensions instead of always playing a chord and running a scale.

    I posted this gem from Greg Fishman (I hope to get a lesson out of him one of these days) where he talks about playing V7b9 chords:



    He builds into each extension--one by one. When you just play scales, you miss how each extension colors the chord.

    I study this stuff differently--I base it all from the home key. Funnily enough, I posted something on that Solfege for Jazz thread on this very tune--Just Friends.

    Whatever you may do, let your ears be true. Figure out what your ear is telling you by any means necessary.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    I think he would suggest using C with the #4 as well. Actually the reason I think that is when I asked in the Barry Harris thread what scale to play over the 4 chord in ATTYA for BH scale outlines, you mentioned that BH suggested playing Db with a #4
    Yeah I guess I'd never thought about it.... it's a good question. In someways the C defines it's own key centre though, because it's set up by the G7. In ATTYA we go straight from Ab to Db (though of course you could put a passing Ab7 in there.) In a turnaround like this:

    G G7 C Cm G

    I would tend to play a straight C major on C. Just Friends has this turnaround but it is extended rhythmically and rhythmically displaced so that the G and G7 are in the previous chorus, if that makes sense.

    Here's another IV IVm tune - Stardust.

  21. #20

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    Here's one way to find out I guess


  22. #21

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    Scales are not added notes to arpeggios. Scales/modes came first.

    At a minimum one should learn one-octave modes and 7th chord arpeggios from starting strings 6,5,4,and 3. As you said two fingerings from starting strings 6,5,4.

    Again, at a minimum one should likewise learn two-octave modes and arpeggios from starting strings 6 and 5. A shift may be necessary from starting string 5, depending on the fingering you elect to use.

    There are a few more chords to learn as well, relative to your list.

    That's a technique baseline. Strategies for improvisation and fretboard visualization are many. Pick your poison.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    I can't imagine playing altered from the standpoint of modifying mixolydian. Honestly, even pianists and horn players don't work from that standpoint as far as I know. It presents some legitimate issues in terms of thought processes, technique, and theory etc.

    Melodic minor lays out really nicely on guitar and makes a lot of theoretical sense in terms of chords AND scales... if you approach it from the standpoint of simply raising the 7th of Dorian. From what I see, most players approach altered as basically being that simple melodic minor scale from a kinesthetic-technical-fingering standpoint ....and THEN learn to respell and think of it in the context of dominant/ altered.

    You're talking about doing the opposite I guess, and that's fine on paper. I'd like to see it in practice I guess. The eight note scale which is "altered" is very difficult to think of and spell as a dominant in the first place. It's largely a harmonic reference, rather than melodic. I certainly wouldn't see it as a "simpler" approach to MELODIC playing.

    Just my 2c.
    I respectfully disagree

    lets take G7alt going to C

    most people would say "play an Ab melodic minor" correct?

    But, in all honesty, what does Ab melodic minor have to do with Cmajor (I know it sounds better in Cm, but stick with me)

    I look at it first as the G mixo with alterations G Ab Bb B Db Eb F G

    Then I rearrange it all to fit C major

    B Db Eb F G Ab Bb

    yes there is no C in sight (I think that's cool)

    Why is this helpful to me? I want to know how that dominant chord is creating tension on the key. Plus, I want to know how that chord can resolve.

    When I rearranged the notes according to C I get 7 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

    It's another way of thinking and hearing, but it's worth a try. This all helps me relate everything clearly to what I hear.

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    I agree about the importance of arps.

    And Dom7#11/Lydian dominant is one of the easier ways to hear and learn melodic minor, but I still think you have to learn the other scale degrees. Lydian dominant/Dom7#11 can be very much "its own thing".
    Sure, other scale degrees are important too. Actually my original post is really about getting good at seeing those other notes (2, 4, 6) while playing arpeggios. MM/Lydian dominant thing was just an example.

  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    I respectfully disagree

    lets take G7alt going to C

    most people would say "play an Ab melodic minor" correct?

    But, in all honesty, what does Ab melodic minor have to do with Cmajor (I know it sounds better in Cm, but stick with me)

    I look at it first as the G mixo with alterations G Ab Bb B Db Eb F G

    Then I rearrange it all to fit C major

    B Db Eb F G Ab Bb

    yes there is no C in sight (I think that's cool)

    Why is this helpful to me? I want to know how that dominant chord is creating tension on the key. Plus, I want to know how that chord can resolve.

    When I rearranged the notes according to C I get 7 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

    It's another way of thinking and hearing, but it's worth a try. This all helps me relate everything clearly to what I hear.
    Yeah. I understand what you're saying, but again, I'm not talking about function at all. I'm talking about the way things lay out on piano , guitar or keyboard. If you write it out functionally spelled as altered for a newbie, they're going to have a lot of trouble just simply playing that scale. If you write it out as melodic minor starting on a different note , it's not really a problem. One is for understanding harmony, and the other is for technically facilitating technique for playing the notes .

  26. #25

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    An idiosyncratic view, I suspect:

    I don't have a strong opinion about whether you should get to Galt by thinking Db lyddom vs Abmelmin). Because, in my view, it doesn't matter very much. They're the same notes. You need to get the sounds in your ears, at which point you can make new melodies with the harmony you can now hear in your mind. If you do it one way vs the other, you're likely to end up at exactly the same place.

    If I had to pick an approach for a beginner I might suggest thinking about Galt as its own thing. The potential disadvantage is that you'd then probably have to learn Abmelmin and Db lyddom (and the other mel min modes) as if they were different pools of notes. That makes it harder to recycle fingerings, but maybe that's actually a feature, not a bug. And, my suggestion (a minority opinion to be sure) is to do it by note-name, not geometric pattern. The advantage is that you don't have to worry about where you start the line because haven't practiced them as a pattern. The disadvantage is that it can be easier to play really fast with a pattern based approach.

    I know the intervals in the arps, scales and modes I use, but that knowledge has not proved particularly helpful (others undoubtedly have a different take) . What is helpful is to be able, in the middle of a solo, to pre-hear the note I want and then play it without thinking, as if my fingers found the right sound on their own.

    If you think of that as the goal, it breaks the task down to 1) pre-hearing interesting lines and 2) being able to play them instantly. This approach does not involve seeing a chord symbol and plugging in a lick/scale/mode/arp (although good musicians make that approach sound great too).

    Prehearing interesting lines is probably best accomplished through 1) transcription, learning the transcribed material and maybe 2) applying specific devices while practicing with backing harmony.

    Learning to play ideas instantly probably comes from lots of time on the guitar. Practicing playing melodies you know starting on a random string/fret/finger might help.

    To wrap up this post, it may seem off topic. But, I'm trying to place the discussion in context. I think the approach I'm describing is the traditional one in jazz. A big dose of jazz-ear training via transcription and a smaller dose of theory.

    I'm aware that most of the discussion on here takes what seems like a very different approach. I think that you can often tell when you hear a guitarist which way he approached learning the instrument. If so, you can pick the one that sounds best to you. There are, of course, players who transcend this sort of thing and, however they learned, make great jazz.

  27. #26

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    I have gradually evolved or devolved to what I think of as a note collection mentality,
    striving for increased awareness of chromaticism through the examination of smaller
    subsets. Through my studies of traditional jazz scales/modes, I learnt much about hearing and accessing brighter and darker variations of different chord qualities. Increasingly
    I have gravitated towards examining smaller note collections individually and in combination.
    Note collection study for me is ear training and also increases my contextual fingerboard awareness. Adding a note(s) to a 3 or 4 note chord is an easy way to instantly connect
    to a real life musical situation. Many ways to play such games. For me, I don't like to
    place limitations on what my starting reference structure might be although the
    common triads and sevenths are a great place to start.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    An idiosyncratic view, I suspect:

    I don't have a strong opinion about whether you should get to Galt by thinking Db lyddom vs Abmelmin). Because, in my view, it doesn't matter very much. They're the same notes. You need to get the sounds in your ears, at which point you can make new melodies with the harmony you can now hear in your mind. If you do it one way vs the other, you're likely to end up at exactly the same place.

    If I had to pick an approach for a beginner I might suggest thinking about Galt as its own thing. The potential disadvantage is that you'd then probably have to learn Abmelmin and Db lyddom (and the other mel min modes) as if they were different pools of notes. That makes it harder to recycle fingerings, but maybe that's actually a feature, not a bug. And, my suggestion (a minority opinion to be sure) is to do it by note-name, not geometric pattern. The advantage is that you don't have to worry about where you start the line because haven't practiced them as a pattern. The disadvantage is that it can be easier to play really fast with a pattern based approach.

    I know the intervals in the arps, scales and modes I use, but that knowledge has not proved particularly helpful (others undoubtedly have a different take) . What is helpful is to be able, in the middle of a solo, to pre-hear the note I want and then play it without thinking, as if my fingers found the right sound on their own.

    If you think of that as the goal, it breaks the task down to 1) pre-hearing interesting lines and 2) being able to play them instantly. This approach does not involve seeing a chord symbol and plugging in a lick/scale/mode/arp (although good musicians make that approach sound great too).

    Prehearing interesting lines is probably best accomplished through 1) transcription, learning the transcribed material and maybe 2) applying specific devices while practicing with backing harmony.

    Learning to play ideas instantly probably comes from lots of time on the guitar. Practicing playing melodies you know starting on a random string/fret/finger might help.

    To wrap up this post, it may seem off topic. But, I'm trying to place the discussion in context. I think the approach I'm describing is the traditional one in jazz. A big dose of jazz-ear training via transcription and a smaller dose of theory.

    I'm aware that most of the discussion on here takes what seems like a very different approach. I think that you can often tell when you hear a guitarist which way he approached learning the instrument. If so, you can pick the one that sounds best to you. There are, of course, players who transcend this sort of thing and, however they learned, make great jazz.
    Exactly! For the longest time, I knew the theory behind altered chords and tri-tone subs. But I could never play convincing altered lines or tritone sub lines. Why? It's built around a very specific vocabulary that you can only really get once you transcribe a bunch of players using those colors. I'm still looking for good examples, but my lines over these devices have improved because my language and inner ear have improved.

    I hate to say it, but the theory is the easy part. The musical application is the challenge.

  29. #28
    Scales aren't METHODS. Nobody really said they are, but we always debate that imagined premise here.

    Arpeggios aren't methods either. Licks aren't really. The major scale isn't a method. Listening to records isn't a "method", as a stand-alone entity. Are all of these things WORTHLESS because they aren't "methods"?

    Every superstitious thing which is said about melodic minor could basically be said about the major scale.

    Too many imaginary debates involving things which were never said. For every great player who didn't play scale X, there are others who talk about it as a thing. We mostly ignore that and marginalize thought and knowledge.

    Barry Harris talks scales and theory a great deal. ...So did a great many respected teachers who can actually PLAY and who played with other greats...

    What are we actually talking about again?

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post

    What are we actually talking about again?
    I dunno. Some jazz stuff again...

    Anyone got any good July 4th plans... sorry Chris'77, you're excluded from this conversation.

    At least you don't have to worry about flying babies with weird hair pieces

  31. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    I dunno. Some jazz stuff again...

    Anyone got any good July 4th plans... sorry Chris'77, you're excluded from this conversation.

    At least you don't have to worry about flying babies with weird hair pieces
    Going to see my dad with my wife and 2 of my grown kids. He's a talker/philosopher. Don't know where I get it from... :-)

  32. #31

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    What does a new father do on the 4th of July?

    Change Diapers?

    She's smiling a lot more, and she wants to crawl...

    My baby girl's gonna be a trouble maker!

    No fireworks... maybe, I dunno.

    I like philosophy!

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    Scales aren't METHODS. Nobody really said they are, but we always debate that imagined premise here.

    Arpeggios aren't methods either. Licks aren't really. The major scale isn't a method. Listening to records isn't a "method", as a stand-alone entity. Are all of these things WORTHLESS because they aren't "methods"?

    Every superstitious thing which is said about melodic minor could basically be said about the major scale.

    Too many imaginary debates involving things which were never said. For every great player who didn't play scale X, there are others who talk about it as a thing. We mostly ignore that and marginalize thought and knowledge.

    Barry Harris talks scales and theory a great deal. ...So did a great many respected teachers who can actually PLAY and who played with other greats...

    What are we actually talking about again?
    I would say where Barry differs from many is that he does in fact offer a method for building bop lines. That’s pretty handy for a student and educator because we are often (it seems to me) expected to puzzle out how the language is constructed ourselves.

  34. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    What are we actually talking about again?
    What I was originally talking about was actually a very pragmatic point. Nothing deep or philosophical. It's about physically relating to the fretboard from the point of view of chord tones.

    Look at any chart, you'll see, minor chords, major chords, dominant chords, diminished chords, half diminished chords. That's it! You can even merge some into one group. Diminished and half diminished are sometimes just a flavor of dominant. Some minors can be seen as also part of also dominant. Whether you do that or not still you got really a handful of chords. There are a lot of discussions about different scales to learn, different positional systems, fingerings and how to practice running these scales into each other. Chords are not only simpler structures but there are a lot fewer of them in music. The backbone of any tune is its melody and movement of it's core chord tones. All the possible substitutions, note choices in solos, chord scale mapping, they're all implied in reference to that basic backbone.

    When you consider these 4 notes chords, fingering and positions are very simple. The idea is to see scales as just different choices of color notes (2 4 6) that fit over these chord shapes depending on the harmonic context.
    One can even just think chord tones and fill the other notes completely aurally. That leads to a much simpler and elegant (I think) way to relate to the instrument. It also helps with most fingering decisions. Of course there will be exceptions. Susb9 chords or some color notes that lead to awkward stretches when uses same position as arpeggio shapes, but these will be easy to isolate and adjust to separately. For example if you add augmented chords to basic chord forms then wholetone scale is also covered.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 07-04-2019 at 01:08 PM.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    What I was originally talking about was actually a very pragmatic point. Nothing deep or philosophical. It's about physically relating to the fretboard from the point of view of chord tones.

    Look at any chart, you'll see, minor chords, major chords, dominant chords, diminished chords, half diminished chords. That's it! You can even merge some into one group. Diminished and half diminished are sometimes just a flavor of dominant. Some minors can be seen as also part of also dominant. Whether you do that or not still you got really a handful of chords. There are a lot of discussions about different scales to learn, different positional systems, fingerings and how to practice running these scales into each other. Chords are not only simpler structures but there are a lot fewer of them in music. The backbone of any tune is its melody and movement of it's core chord tones. All the possible substitutions, note choices in solos, chord scale mapping, they're all implied in reference to that basic backbone.

    When you consider these 4 notes chords, fingering and positions are very simple. The idea is to see scales as just different choices of color notes (2 4 6) that fit over these chord shapes depending on the harmonic context.
    One can even just think chord tones and fill the other notes completely aurally. That leads to a much simpler and elegant (I think) way to relate to the instrument. It also helps with most fingering decisions. Of course there will be exceptions. Susb9 chords or some color notes that lead to awkward stretches when uses same position as arpeggio shapes, but these will be easy to isolate and adjust to separately. For example if you add augmented chords to basic chord form to be learned than wholetone scale is also covered.
    That's a good start, but that's all it is. It doesn't address post-bop and forward. That would be 1959 forward...

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    What I was originally talking about was actually a very pragmatic point. Nothing deep or philosophical. It's about physically relating to the fretboard from the point of view of chord tones.

    Look at any chart, you'll see, minor chords, major chords, dominant chords, diminished chords, half diminished chords. That's it! You can even merge some into one group. Diminished and half diminished are sometimes just a flavor of dominant. Some minors can be seen as also part of also dominant. Whether you do that or not still you got really a handful of chords. There are a lot of discussions about different scales to learn, different positional systems, fingerings and how to practice running these scales into each other. Chords are not only simpler structures but there are a lot fewer of them in music. The backbone of any tune is its melody and movement of it's core chord tones. All the possible substitutions, note choices in solos, chord scale mapping, they're all implied in reference to that basic backbone.

    When you consider these 4 notes chords, fingering and positions are very simple. The idea is to see scales as just different choices of color notes (2 4 6) that fit over these chord shapes depending on the harmonic context.
    One can even just think chord tones and fill the other notes completely aurally. That leads to a much simpler and elegant (I think) way to relate to the instrument. It also helps with most fingering decisions. Of course there will be exceptions. Susb9 chords or some color notes that lead to awkward stretches when uses same position as arpeggio shapes, but these will be easy to isolate and adjust to separately. For example if you add augmented chords to basic chord forms then wholetone scale is also covered.
    I understand that this is an alternate route to finding the forms for various chords and scales. As I understand it, the idea is to start with several basic arps and then add in color notes, which ends up being about the same thing as working on scales. It has the advantage of some additional structure of chord tones and colors. Do I have that much right?

    It's the next step that confuses me a bit -- and my confusion applies equally to the more common scale based approach. What is the strategy for making music? Say you're in a jam and somebody pulls out the chart of an original. Leadsheet, say. How are you going to apply your approach? Or even if it's a simple standard. If the tune is All of Me, how are you going to use this system to relate to the C E7 A7 Dm E7 etc sequence? Are you going to think about an arp for each chord and then think about which color tones to use? Or, is your system just designed to get some sounds in your ears? If it's the latter, is it really going to be more efficient than a scale based approach? And, I could ask that question in the opposite direction -- I'm not assuming that one is better than the other.

    I know this is a very basic question and maybe everybody else on here already knows the answer. But, it seems as if people talk about a plug and play approach. See the chord symbol, pick the scale/arp/mode and maybe cycle a melodic cell through the changes. But, other players hear the harmony (however they learn it) and think melody and jazz vocabulary without this kind of math.

    Thoughts?

  37. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I understand that this is an alternate route to finding the forms for various chords and scales. As I understand it, the idea is to start with several basic arps and then add in color notes, which ends up being about the same thing as working on scales. It has the advantage of some additional structure of chord tones and colors. Do I have that much right?
    Yes. That is the basic idea. I know a whole bunch of scales on the guitar in 5 or 7 positions as positional shapes. But knowing these shapes and truly internalizing them to be able apply them to tunes/changes in non-noodling ways are different things.
    Since I started looking at the fretboard (and music) more arpeggio (triad or 4 note) centric way, note choices, even the use of scales got a lot more manageable. It forces me to be more aware of notes and intervals rather then juggling shapes. Fretboard mechanics got simpler because it imposes a simpler structure over a larger and more cumbersome scale notes. More on this below.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    It's the next step that confuses me a bit -- and my confusion applies equally to the more common scale based approach. What is the strategy for making music? Say you're in a jam and somebody pulls out the chart of an original. Leadsheet, say. How are you going to apply your approach? Or even if it's a simple standard. If the tune is All of Me, how are you going to use this system to relate to the C E7 A7 Dm E7 etc sequence? Are you going to think about an arp for each chord and then think about which color tones to use? Or, is your system just designed to get some sounds in your ears? If it's the latter, is it really going to be more efficient than a scale based approach? And, I could ask that question in the opposite direction -- I'm not assuming that one is better than the other.
    Realistically (and thankfully) I'm never in a situation where someone just puts a new piece of music in front of me and expects me to improvise over it. Only in rehearsals that happens with new tunes, then I rely on a mixture of ear and quick analysis to bullshit my way out of it with unremarkable results. But I'd never pay to go see someone play a tune they don't know. One must know the tune to improvise in their best abilities. May be a player with 20+ years of jazz performance experience and knows 200 tunes inside out can get close. I already worked on the tunes I play in jam sessions and gigs.

    So it's a matter of how to work on tunes to me. In your example, first I make sure I know the melody really well and able relate it to the harmony. I analyze the melody, do simple chord melody arrangements, comp and sing etc. Then I play chorus after chorus after chorus various chord tone based ideas. 10th intervals, triads moving vertically, horizontally, embellished. Target different chord tones and ascend triad inversion, guide tones, play chord tones and voice lead them etc. I'm also very aware of the melody notes as they related to the chord tones. So I mix playing embellished melody notes and chord tone based approaches on the fly (sometimes they are the same things). This is all just with metronome on 2 & 4, non-stop dozens of choruses. I typically start with say the first 4 bars. Attack small chunks at a time. Until I can do that for the whole tune.

    What I'm getting at is, I do all these chord tone (and embellishment) stuff before thinking scales. The next step is playing scales, but at this point I can already access the chord tones, know the notes and their intervals as they apply to the (key of the) tune. So I don't shift my thinking to play scales, I just think what choices of color notes are appropriate per each chord with standard chord-scale analysis or Barry Harris. I just locate these new notes in relation to how I was practicing the chord tones for the tune.There is more to working on improvisation for a tune such as, transcriptions, working on and integrating language etc. but what I described above is the part that's relevant to the thread.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 07-04-2019 at 03:11 PM.

  38. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I understand that this is an alternate route to finding the forms for various chords and scales. As I understand it, the idea is to start with several basic arps and then add in color notes, which ends up being about the same thing as working on scales. It has the advantage of some additional structure of chord tones and colors. Do I have that much right?

    It's the next step that confuses me a bit -- and my confusion applies equally to the more common scale based approach. What is the strategy for making music? Say you're in a jam and somebody pulls out the chart of an original. Leadsheet, say. How are you going to apply your approach? Or even if it's a simple standard. If the tune is All of Me, how are you going to use this system to relate to the C E7 A7 Dm E7 etc sequence? Are you going to think about an arp for each chord and then think about which color tones to use? Or, is your system just designed to get some sounds in your ears? If it's the latter, is it really going to be more efficient than a scale based approach? And, I could ask that question in the opposite direction -- I'm not assuming that one is better than the other.

    I know this is a very basic question and maybe everybody else on here already knows the answer. But, it seems as if people talk about a plug and play approach. See the chord symbol, pick the scale/arp/mode and maybe cycle a melodic cell through the changes. But, other players hear the harmony (however they learn it) and think melody and jazz vocabulary without this kind of math.

    Thoughts?
    It's all ear training. 100% woodshed vs in-the-moment bandstand mostly. Just because someone has a term for something doesn't mean that they're using a mechanical process INSTEAD of using their ears.

    I just don't think anyone is talking about a formula as a REPLACEMENT for ears.

    It's like anything in music. If you learn the note names and learn to play a major scale, at the end of that process, you know how to hear it and you also know what it's called. The names aren't cumbersome, and they aren't an "extra" process or formula.

    I suppose you know basic note names? What would you say to someone else who fretted over the fact that you "have to" think about note names... that you're tied down to that "formula"? Is that REALLY your experience, or would that just be the misunderstanding of someone else, who happens to be imagining your process as being more convoluted than what you actually experience?

  39. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    It's all ear training. 100% woodshed vs in-the-moment bandstand mostly. Just because someone has a term for something doesn't mean that they're using a mechanical process INSTEAD of using their ears.

    I just don't think anyone is talking about a formula as a REPLACEMENT for ears.

    It's like anything in music. If you learn the note names and learn to play a major scale, at the end of that process, you know how to hear it and you also know what it's called. The names aren't cumbersome, and they aren't an "extra" process or formula.

    I suppose you know basic note names? What would you say to someone else who fretted over the fact that you "have to" think about note names... that you're tied down to that "formula"? Is that REALLY your experience, or would that just be the misunderstanding of someone else, who happens to be imagining your process as being that convoluted?
    I agree. The process I use that I described in the previous post is all ear training for the harmony of the tune.
    I can (anybody can) strum a chord and sing a melody over it that fits. You work on a tune and get it's harmony in your ears well enough so you can hear and anticipate the harmony when you're playing over the changes. In reality it becomes a mixture of practice habits and aural connection. Hopefully the more you know the tune the more it becomes aural, less muscle memory.

  40. #39
    Improvisation is like sight reading in a very loose sense. The first time you read a piece it goes very slow (for me). The more you know the tune, the faster you read. Because your ears start pre hearing and your eyes start anticipating what's about to happen. You still rely on the sheet but in a way less so than before.
    The similarity is, when improvising our conscience knowledge of the form and current chord, the next chord etc is like the sheet music. You rely on thinking about the chords and what material to play over it. But the more you know the tune the more you can trust your ears and relax about your note choices.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    It's all ear training. 100% woodshed vs in-the-moment bandstand mostly. Just because someone has a term for something doesn't mean that they're using a mechanical process INSTEAD of using their ears.

    I just don't think anyone is talking about a formula as a REPLACEMENT for ears.

    It's like anything in music. If you learn the note names and learn to play a major scale, at the end of that process, you know how to hear it and you also know what it's called. The names aren't cumbersome, and they aren't an "extra" process or formula.

    I suppose you know basic note names? What would you say to someone else who fretted over the fact that you "have to" think about note names... that you're tied down to that "formula"? Is that REALLY your experience, or would that just be the misunderstanding of someone else, who happens to be imagining your process as being more convoluted than what you actually experience?
    Of course, nobody is going to say anything is a replacement for ears.

    That said, there are experienced players who think about the math during every solo, even on tunes they know well. I know some and we've discussed it. The great players don't report that -- they usually report thinking about nothing during a solo, or perhaps thinking about color or energy level. That depends on who you ask - it's very individual.

    My earlier post was about how the math transforms into music. I hear plug and play (X arp/scale/mode into Y chord) regularly in saxophone, piano and guitar. Maybe a little less in trumpet, but maybe that's just the guys I play with. But, I can also tell when a player has either avoided that, or transcended it. More melodic, less mechanical, fewer lines based on cycling a short melodic cell through a scale, more melody and more feeling. That comes from a trained ear. That's not to say that I don't also like players who do it the other way.

    So, what's the best way to improve? What's the most effective way to think about all of this? I think it depends on the individual. People vary in how they analyze things. What works best for one musician may not work as well for another. It also depends on what you're trying to sound like. And, it depends very substantially on the quality of your ear at that moment.

    If I were starting all over again, I would do it the old fashioned way. Learn solos off records. Learn tunes off records. But, also learn to read, learn the notes in the scales/modes/chords you use. Learn the fingerboard by note-name, absolutely cold. Try to understand the devices used by the players you listen to as a way of cementing the knowledge. I would de-emphasize practice of arps/scales/modes except in the context of tunes. And, every time I started thinking about math, I'd put on a recording and try to get something out of it by ear.

  42. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Of course, nobody is going to say anything is a replacement for ears.

    That said, there are experienced players who think about the math during every solo, even on tunes they know well. I know some and we've discussed it. The great players don't report that -- they usually report thinking about nothing during a solo, or perhaps thinking about color or energy level. That depends on who you ask - it's very individual.

    My earlier post was about how the math transforms into music. I hear plug and play (X arp/scale/mode into Y chord) regularly in saxophone, piano and guitar. Maybe a little less in trumpet, but maybe that's just the guys I play with. But, I can also tell when a player has either avoided that, or transcended it. More melodic, less mechanical, fewer lines based on cycling a short melodic cell through a scale, more melody and more feeling. That comes from a trained ear. That's not to say that I don't also like players who do it the other way.

    So, what's the best way to improve? What's the most effective way to think about all of this? I think it depends on the individual. People vary in how they analyze things. What works best for one musician may not work as well for another. It also depends on what you're trying to sound like. And, it depends very substantially on the quality of your ear at that moment.

    If I were starting all over again, I would do it the old fashioned way. Learn solos off records. Learn tunes off records. But, also learn to read, learn the notes in the scales/modes/chords you use. Learn the fingerboard by note-name, absolutely cold. Try to understand the devices used by the players you listen to as a way of cementing the knowledge. I would de-emphasize practice of arps/scales/modes except in the context of tunes. And, every time I started thinking about math, I'd put on a recording and try to get something out of it by ear.
    Out of curiosity, what do you mean by "thinking math"?