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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCat
    Approach 1: Minimalistic notation. Like a painting of modern art, where the observer uses his imagination to fill in the blanks in whatever way his brain rationalizes the music landscape. Every musician has his own personal idea and interpretation of what he sees in the sheet. Notation is a sketch of the composers idea and we will never know if that idea ever reified from a state of blurry vision. The composer may regard his work as purposely uncompleted, for others to complete in whatever way they see fit. We may associate this approach with improvised music of sorts.

    Approach 2: Comprehensive standard notation including notes for tempo, dynamics, key changes, accents and a score including all instrument parts. Like a sharp photography of an architecture. The observer is able to study the details of a finalized structure. The structure constrains space of free movement to some degree. We may associate this approach with classical music.

    Most GASB material originates from the 2nd approach, much simplified in Real book. Approach 1 is associated with the later post GASB era.

    We can use whatever approach we like, which for most people would be somewhere in-between the extremes and also depend on reading/writing skills as well as improvising skills. Note: there's no conflict between ability to read and ability to improvise.
    Yeah, I think that is true.

    When looking at the history of Western Music, we see ever more specific notation. For instance in the baroque era in the urtext it's quite common to see this type of thing. This would be an accompanist's part, right? The harpsichordist, lutenist, harpist etc would expected to fill in the details.

    How jazz became the study of chord symbols-proxy-duckduckgo-jpg

    (BTW, you should all be familiar with this type of progression haha)

    Later composers would write specific accompaniments, dynamics and other nuances unrecorded in the music of this earlier era.

    So - by the time you get to the 20th century you are seeing composers writing EXACTLY what they want on the score. But - here's an interesting thing that relates to what you say - classical musicians do not simply play the music as written... They interpret it from the score. That requires an understanding of the history and tradition that comes from environment. Even with something like Richard Strauss, the nature of the rubato and so on. (Which is why when Wynton Marsalis or someone writes for orchestra, it can be a bit of a struggle even though all the pitch and even the rhythmic info is there. Listen to the way classical musicians perform triplets, for instance.)

    50 years on or so and composers are starting to look for ways to add composer freedom, so we get so called aleatory (chance) techniques and so on. There's a debate about whether these techniques have to do with improvisation or not, prob depends from composer to composer.

    There's (to me) quite a funny example with Earle Brown's scores. The black oblongs indicate areas for improvisation.

    How jazz became the study of chord symbols-first-system-earle-brown-4-systems-associated-music-publishers-png

    Needless to say, you won't be getting bebop licks out of the performers:



    So, they have 'New Music' licks, right? :-) Should the performers be credited with the composition? Ahahahahaha?

    Seems like a good racket, if you will forgive the painful pun. That said, legally, we don't get credit for improvising on a standard, either.

    So anyway, that relationship between notation and improvisation is an interesting one. I think it's part of the skill of the composer to communicate what they want specified in a score and absolutely nothing more.

    So it's annoying if I write A7 and someone asks me what type of A7 for improvisation. If I wanted to specify I would have written it exactly either as a more complex chord symbol or in notation.

    To what extent is the score a representation of the music, or simply a recipe for making it? In the latter case, I feel that's more what a lead sheet is.

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  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    Well given this is the type of sound - mixolydian/dominant scale on a minor key dominant - you often hear from players like Cannonball Adderley, Wes Montgomery and Charlie Christian on a minor key dominant, I would hardly describe it as 'outside.'

    As a product of the modern jazz education age, I have great trouble thinking of and audiating that first chord as anything other than an altered dominant. But to Wes, it's just a dominant. In some ways, this contradicts my earlier statement about the obvious extensions of the chords based on the diatonic key... But actually, the extensions of the chords are only relevant in so much as they support the melody.

    When it comes to improvisation, we aren't limited in this way unless we choose to be, or have to deal with an accompanist who's spent more time thinking about theory than using their ears.

    (I daresay Wes had good enough ears (!) to play the more obvious altered option if that's what he had heard. :-))

    Actually there's also a lot of evidence in the music to suggest jazzers have always heard dominants as quite isolated things unto themselves and not necessarily part of the prevailing key. This is true in many of the tunes and songs.

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    So anyway, that relationship between notation and improvisation is an interesting one. I think it's part of the skill of the composer to communicate what they want specified in a score and absolutely nothing more.

    So it's annoying if I write A7 and someone asks me what type of A7 for improvisation. If I wanted to specify I would have written it exactly either as a more complex chord symbol or in notation.

    To what extent is the score a representation of the music, or simply a recipe for making it? In the latter case, I feel that's more what a lead sheet is.
    If you would improvise "over" each individual change as they appear sequentially in a chord chart then the key doesn't really matter. But, as I know you know, when improvising within the mode of the progression, the key defines the mode, not the individual chord. Just like we can purposely improvise a melody outside the mode, we can also purposely play individual chords outside the mode, which I think is what rpjazz observes here.


    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I recently attended a couple of shows by Chico Pinheiro who, among other abilities, is as advanced a rhythm/comping guitarist as I've ever heard.

    He is constantly changing chords, even on tunes where I know there is a single chord (on the original) for multiple bars. And, it's not the usual. Many players change voicings, move voicings through scales/modes, and find passing chords that connect the basic harmony.

    But, what Chico did seemed to go beyond that. His harmony constantly varied, as far as I could tell, without obvious regard to the usual rules. I couldn't figure out what was going on, except maybe for this. I'll explain my thought with an example. If the original chord was, say, an A7. He would construct a palette of every chord/voicing that could possibly relate to A7. So it would be every alteration of A7. Every alteration of Eb7. Every chord that came out of a mode associated with an alteration of A7 (so, Emelmin, just to give an example, and all its voicings). And then, maybe the same thing for every passing chord that he might use to lead towards A7. All selected by ear.

    It occurred to me that I was hearing the future.
    Some substitutions would be close approximations to the mode, others would fall outside.

    Most old standards have straight forward progressions, but modulation and change of key also occur, like in Dizzy's "Con Alma" for example. Change of key in the middle of a song and use of key modulation is more common in modern Jazz as well as in classical music. The composer/arranger highlights key changes in notation, or may decide not to for some practical or musical reason.

    When music is written by ear, maybe a first sketch scribbled on a paper napkin, then when finalizing including a score and a complementary lead sheet, theory comes knocking at the door. If I feel like I'm trying to bash a square peg into a round hole, I'm open to the possibility that's actually the case. Then I have to decide if I should adjust my writing or just trust my ears and ignore it (until my understanding of theory has improved). Two easy ways out, but with different outcome.

  4. #53

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    As far as I'm concerned, this quote by Rhythmisking (from the Theory section on chord naming convention) is in line with best practices also when it comes to some aspects of this thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhythmisking
    It seems like each musical 'world' has it's own conventions as far as how chord symbols are written. When I'm charting out my tunes for my band, I try to adhere to established conventions, but also try to keep things simple as far as communicating what the harmony of the song needs that particular chord to be.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rhythmisking
    Many of the chords I'm playing on guitar are complex and could be 'correctly' expressed in several different ways, so in the chart I try to go for communicating the essential notes that need to be there in symbol I use. I might be playing G-E-G-B-D-F#(in my odd tuning), so I could call it GM7add6, Emi9/G, Emi7add9/G, or even GM13. So I decide if the chord is functioning as a G major or an E minor harmonically, because that will influence how the bass player reads it, what the other guitar player does, what keyboards might do (which will be different if it's piano or organ).
    If I decide it's harmonically an E minor, I'll likely write it as Em7add9/G rather than Em9/G even though that's more confusing to sight read. there's a convention that says the 7 is implied in Em9. But a straight minor 9 (no 7) sounds vastly different than a minor 7 add 9, especially if there's a G in the root. Yada yada yada.
    Honestly I've gone round and round on this. Sometimes it seems easier to just chart out tunes with the most simple chord symbol possible. But in a band context, it becomes immediately obvious that what I'm playing on guitar is very different from the chart. So usually I write out the chord I'm playing in it's entirety (even though that makes for some very crowded lead sheets in a tune with lots of changes) and tell players to feel free to simplify, and/or follow their ears. I feel like it's beneficial for players who understand theory to be able to see specifically what I'm doing (and the song's harmony) as they work out what they're going to do, and as long as the basic chord is correct (Em in this example) the rest can be worked out in rehearsal.

  5. #54

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    Em7add9/G???

    Don’t be a jerk, put it in staff notation (unless I have to improvise on it on which case Em9 will suffice for communicating the mode for the blowing.)

    Why do I say that? Well otherwise there is going to be a conversation about the exact structure of the voicing and how a m7add9 differs from a m9. That wastes time. Notation will tell you right away.

    That said ... Alternative tunings present a challenge for the guitarist and notator whether or not you use chord symbols. Are there guitarists who can read fluently in DADGAD, say? I’ve actually played in a few folk fusion bands where I’d have loved to use that tuning but end up playing in standard because I can’t read notation in alt tunings.

    Just something to develop I suppose.
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-11-2019 at 04:53 AM.

  6. #55

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    I’m reminded of a story Wayne Krantz tells when he handed Anthony Jackson a chord chart for one of his tunes and asked him to work out a bass part. Very complex, idiosyncratic harmony in chord symbols.

    Anthony said ‘I think you overestimate my abilities’ and Wayne dutifully wrote him a part in staff notation.

    I think Anthony could have worked it out of course, but asking a busy professional musician to pore over your thought processes and interpret them is a little unrealistic.

    Your job as a composer is to communicate your ideas as simply and effectively as possible, and minimise rehearsal time just trying to understand the notation. Asking a professional band to parse hieroglyphs gets expensive fast and will lose you some good will.

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCat
    If you would improvise "over" each individual change as they appear sequentially in a chord chart then the key doesn't really matter. But, as I know you know, when improvising within the mode of the progression, the key defines the mode, not the individual chord. Just like we can purposely improvise a melody outside the mode, we can also purposely play individual chords outside the mode, which I think is what rpjazz observes here.




    Some substitutions would be close approximations to the mode, others would fall outside.

    Most old standards have straight forward progressions, but modulation and change of key also occur, like in Dizzy's "Con Alma" for example. Change of key in the middle of a song and use of key modulation is more common in modern Jazz as well as in classical music. The composer/arranger highlights key changes in notation, or may decide not to for some practical or musical reason.

    When music is written by ear, maybe a first sketch scribbled on a paper napkin, then when finalizing including a score and a complementary lead sheet, theory comes knocking at the door. If I feel like I'm trying to bash a square peg into a round hole, I'm open to the possibility that's actually the case. Then I have to decide if I should adjust my writing or just trust my ears and ignore it (until my understanding of theory has improved). Two easy ways out, but with different outcome.

    It's quite difficult to phrase a response to this without sounding like an arrogant dick, but while there are many players who piss rings around me in other ways, I do have a good grasp of functional harmony, and this comes from knowing lots of standards and playing lots of swing and straight-ahead gigs. So in this I feel my skill set is more similar to the old guys (though they knew more tunes, and worked more by ear than me.)

    I might be wrong, but you seem a bit confused about elements of functional tunes that are very much second nature to me due to experience. This is not unusual - because jazz is now very diverse, many jazz players just don't get the saturation in standards, bop tunes and so on to see the patterns and know what the norms are.

    This is not meant to be a diss or anything. But I do think it illustrates how jazz education has changed and how it necessitates the more specific forms of chord notation to deal with a more diverse repertoire and musicians who are simply less familiar with changes jazz. The fact that you are so concerned with modality and deviations from it is rather telling, and a case in point.

    That said, I don't actually know Con Alma, but glancing at it for 30 seconds told me all I need to know about the structure and harmony. For instance, the A section goes 'Turnaround in E, cadence in Eb, turnaround in Db, cadence in C’; that's it - that's what I need to know to improvise on it.

    The B is more unusual - there's non functional II-V's based on a tritone relationship and a false cadence that sets up Eb but goes to the Neapolitan chord (the bII) on E, which is a bit trickier to navigate. If you put this chart in front of someone you might want to just draw attention to those bars.

    It goes without saying that the C#7 chord is non-diatonic to E major, and what that note is (E#) and that I would probably put a b9 on it when improvising because that's a bop thing to do. The D# bass-line is a detail for the bass player, so I ignore that.

    And on that turnaround I might be very chromatic indeed.... modality is only really relevant when one wishes to resolve....

    The minor quality of the Cm7b5 F7b9 is worth noticing, but is not perhaps as relevant to bop blowing as you might think as we tend to mix'n'match minor and major ii V's when improvising.... And so on.

    You have to learn that stuff on the bandstand IMO playing these types of tunes. You could explain the changes of Con Alma to an experienced jazz musician in a matter of seconds. This is the type of thing Mike Moreno talks about BTW - how fast the NYC guys learn tunes because they know tons of them (far more than me.)

    Now, because I am being non judgemental and not everyone is, or even aspires to be a professional musician, let alone a professional jazz musician, you have to have ways of dealing with this as a teacher. And - how do you teach this stuff?

    I try to get students to spot patterns in tunes as quickly as possible (I avoid modal repertoire etc) and start encouraging them to think this way. It seems to help.
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-11-2019 at 08:44 AM.

  8. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I’m reminded of a story Wayne Krantz tells when he handed Anthony Jackson a chord chart for one of his tunes and asked him to work out a bass part. Very complex, idiosyncratic harmony in chord symbols.

    Anthony said ‘I think you overestimate my abilities’ and Wayne dutifully wrote him a part in staff notation.

    I think Anthony could have worked it out of course, but asking a busy professional musician to pore over your thought processes and interpret them is a little unrealistic.

    Your job as a composer is to communicate your ideas as simply and effectively as possible, and minimise rehearsal time just trying to understand the notation. Asking a professional band to parse hieroglyphs gets expensive fast and will lose you some good will.
    (I play in standard tuning most of the time and still get fancy chord symbols. I don't think tuning has anything to do with it, so maybe we can leave that outside.)

    The Wayne Krantz story is a great example, because there is a moral of the story;
    Present staff notation for the rhythm section to sight-read and some guys would cry "don't be a jerk". They are used to read chord symbols. So, damned if I do, damned if I don't. That's why we tend to "go round and round about this" like Rhythmisking and the reason I'm here and probably the reason for you to post a Youtube video about it.

    At the end of the day, if my purpose is to write music for anyone to sight read with a minimum of rehearsal, the music will have to be very simple.

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I do think it illustrates how jazz education has changed and how it necessitates the more specific forms of chord notation to deal with a more diverse repertoire and musicians who are simply less familiar with changes jazz.

    Now, because I am being non judgemental and not everyone is, or even aspires to be a professional musician, let alone a professional jazz musician, you have to have ways of dealing with this as a teacher. And - how do you teach this stuff?
    That's a very good question and I don't have an answer. Maybe you'll have to adjust the level of difficulty depending on the skills of the students? Maybe adjust the langue depending on situation?

    Here's what I do know; If my purpose is to maximize consumer response, if I want as many people as possible to like my cookies, then I have to use a lot of sugar. If I throw hot spices in the mix, some people won't like it. I can live with that.

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCat
    (I play in standard tuning most of the time and still get fancy chord symbols. I don't think tuning has anything to do with it, so maybe we can leave that outside.)

    The Wayne Krantz story is a great example, because there is a moral of the story;
    Present staff notation for the rhythm section to sight-read and some guys would cry "don't be a jerk". They are used to read chord symbols. So, damned if I do, damned if I don't. That's why we tend to "go round and round about this" like Rhythmisking and the reason I'm here and probably the reason for you to post a Youtube video about it.

    At the end of the day, if my purpose is to write music for anyone to sight read with a minimum of rehearsal, the music will have to be very simple.
    Well you know your players best of course. The standard of sight reading in London perhaps is the highest in the world (I consider myself a mediocre reader by London standards, but I can read) otoh no one has time to rehearse.

    You can put horrendous charts in front of people and they will nail it first time.

    This is not altogether a good thing. While for instance London players are world leaders in getting it together super fast, that’s as good as the music gets far too much time. In NYC for instance, the sight reading level isn’t as high in orchestras etc, but they get to a much higher level in the music because they work at it. Orchestras get properly funded, and the jazz musicians are all insanely driven.

    The ‘read it on the day’ attitude can also lead to a complacency in our musical culture.

    Anyway, I digress.

    I just have no idea what Rhythmisking’s symbols actually mean without parsing a long winded explanation. It’s easier to read up to 6 notes on a staff. No explanation required.
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-12-2019 at 04:37 AM.

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCat
    That's a very good question and I don't have an answer. Maybe you'll have to adjust the level of difficulty depending on the skills of the students? Maybe adjust the langue depending on situation?

    Here's what I do know; If my purpose is to maximize consumer response, if I want as many people as possible to like my cookies, then I have to use a lot of sugar. If I throw hot spices in the mix, some people won't like it. I can live with that.
    Yeah I don’t know. My aim with the vid was simply to chart (boom ching!) the way jazz musician’s relationship with chord notation has changed without taking a position. As I mention a lot of modern comping styles rely on this type of thinking.

    In so much as I have a reputation as a teacher and player it’s more for the old school stuff, so I teach my understanding of that.

    In terms of my music making, I write old school compositions through to modal and contemporary things. I try to use the notation appropriate to that situation.

  12. #61

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    I love my old standards, really do. Mostly from the '20s through the '40s. The harmonic language, progressions and turnarounds, is part of my expression. But I have many other influences as well. I grew up with Rock, Funk, R&B and fusion of the 70s and 80s, but I have also played Jazz and classical since childhood, music much older than me. I don't confine myself into the GASB box and this is reflected in my playing and my writing that tend to be a mix of influences. As my expression evolves, so does my understanding of theory. And yes, sometimes I challange myself.

    "Con Alma" (1956, #301 on Jazzstandards.com) is a very nice composition. It's an example of a mid-song change of key and an interesting case for melodic improvisation. I find the concept very interesting.

    Check this out, lot's of excellent melodic improvisation:


  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by mateo2006
    Oddly, I often subscribe to the position Pat Metheny once quipped of jazz guitarists that "one jazz guitarist in a jazz band is one too many."

    Attachment 63377

    I love Nat King Cole and never found myself wishing that the tune didn't have a guitar break when Oscar was playing. I really liked the guitar sound he had in this era too with the L-5 into an old old octal amps.

    I REALLY want that amp...

    This reminds me of my favorite drummer saying (from Chet Baker).
    "You have to be a great drummer to be better than no drummer".

  14. #63

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    "You have to be a great drummer to be better than no drummer".

    And that's the truth.

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Perhaps oddly, I recall an interview in which Jerry Garcia said he modeled part of his rhythm playing after horn section parts.
    I was listening to a couple of Jerry Garcia Band concert cut-outs recently, and Garcia listened to a lot of people and from what I understand had a significantly large musical vocabulary, what I heard in these roaming lead lines was some Coltrane influence.

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    So, I think it's perhaps worth popping this up again
    Attachment 63414

    Compare this to the chart from the New Real Book (or Real Book for that matter).

    This is the sort of thing that intrigues me.
    Very interesting! Where is that from? I've never seen that before, and yet several years ago while playing around with the song for solo guitar I had reharmonized the A section to almost what is written there because it sounded right (I use A lydian and G lydian voicings in the 3rd bar instead of Amaj7 and Gmaj7). The "gravity" of that movement sounds very nice.

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by geogio
    I was listening to a couple of Jerry Garcia Band concert cut-outs recently, and Garcia listened to a lot of people and from what I understand had a significantly large musical vocabulary, what I heard in these roaming lead lines was some Coltrane influence.
    Thread drift alert!

    Yeah, Phil Lesh was instrumental in introducing the rest of the band to studying Coltrane, Miles and other jazz of the time. Miles opened for the Dead at the Filmore West once, the Dead were very embarrassed to go on stage after him. Jerry was influenced by Trane to some extent and Weir ended up being influenced by McCoy Tyner. Jerry was also influenced by Oscar Aleman and learned a lot about jazz from keyboardist Merl Saunders. There's a few takes of "So What" with Garcia and Grisman, some with Tony Rice. The Dead sometimes used to use a chord sequence from somewhere on "Sketches of Spain" during the space segment.

  18. #67

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    Garcia spoke about trying to imitate big band style horn backgrounds, as he comped. This is the same approach many jazz players use.

    The Dead played a lot of odd meter and freely improvised music. I wonder if some of their material if transcribed and played by a horn band (but with swing influenced rhythm) would be identified as jazz.

  19. #68

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    Seems to me it's mostly about experience. Which, as we know, can't be given to people.

    As you say, leads sheets are the norm now and some are more complex than others. We're told repeatedly to use the melody as a guide rather than slavishly following the symbols above it. But that only works if I know how to do that.

    I see nothing wrong with lead sheets personally. There's the melody and those are the chords you play, assuming they're accurate. If we don't go for Ralph's vanilla book versions then I'd say it helps to have symbols which are as comprehensive as possible. If it's supposed to have a b9 sound rather than a 9, then what's wrong with putting it in? The more the merrier probably.

    Your point is right, of course, that, in a way, the reference for jazz tunes has become the reading of chords (apart from the melody) but what's wrong with that? Otherwise we're back to using piano or big band scores which are far too complex for most people who just want to get on with the tune.

    There's the point that the more detailed the symbols are the more authoritative they become. If they're that precise and detailed then they must be right! So I risk going all wrong if I deviate.

    It's easy to say to the beginner - who lacks experience - work it from the melody, listen to a dozen different versions, etc, etc. He wouldn't necessarily know what to do with them. Which one is right? And, if there is no absolute 'right', what do I do? Especially if I'm not skilled enough to make my own version?

    So the only way round it is to have the experience and judgement to be able to sort it all out oneself, which a great many folks simply don't have. Even if we invented a whole new way of presenting melody and harmony the same problems would exist. How do I know which version is right when there is no absolute right?

    Of course in real life it's not as bad as that because for most tunes there is a standard way of doing it and a beginner can usually find that out easily enough. But he still needs to be able to play it once he's sorted that out. And that probably matters more.

  20. #69

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    Absolutely, good post.

    I think the topic was meant to draw attention to the excesses of reducing a song to its chord sequences.
    Quite so, although the chords shouldn't ever be separated from the melody.

  21. #70

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    I’ve worked out I can write actual 2,000 word essays about this stuff for marks instead of boring the bollocks off everyone online.

    my latest wheeze is that CST is in direct tension with the values of critical pedagogy, just so you know :-)

    Anyway I think we can cut to the heart of this thread in four words ‘big band chord charts’

  22. #71

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    I think of the charts I'd see high school "jazz band" kids bringing me, when I was teaching. Every chord was a combination of everything that was happening harmonically at the moment. Painful.

    I like things as simple as possible. When I write charts for myself, I often don't even use maj7 and m7, just major and minor and 7th and half dim (or m6)

    Keep it clean and trust the people you're playing with...and if you can't trust the people you're playing with, find new people.

  23. #72

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    You know I had a bit of a penny dropping moment. Take the common big band move of putting a lower neighbour type harmony on the beat which resolves.... like

    F7 | Bbm6 Bb6

    or

    F7 | Bbmaj7#11 Bbmaj7

    or

    F7 | A/Bb Bbmaj7

    so you see this type of thing on guitar pads. Now they are in fact just representation of blue notes in the horn parts. I mean this stuff isn’t weird, it’s Benny Goodman type stuff...

    But isn’t it Reg’s methodology to take these and turn them into modal interchanges? So we have like Bb melodic minor going to Bbmaj based on that b3?

    anyway a bit tangential, but it makes sense that a musician who plays so much from charts would view this type of harmonic movement that way....

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I’ve worked out I can write actual 2,000 word essays about this stuff for marks instead of boring the bollocks off everyone online.
    And you could still post them here from time to time for those of us not so easily bored but still interested in what you have to say about this stuff.

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcjazz
    And you could still post them here from time to time for those of us not so easily bored but still interested in what you have to say about this stuff.
    sure. I’m up for that actually. I’ll extract some of the bit’s that might be interesting to forum readers

  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    sure. I’m up for that actually. I’ll extract some of the bit’s that might be interesting to forum readers
    Complex ideas may perhaps be well known by definition, which is nothing but an enumeration of those parts or simple ideas that comprise them. But when we have pushed up definitions to the most simple ideas, and find still some ambiguity and obscurity, what resources are we then possessed of?
    David Hume, 1748

    You've been a missed resource, nice to see you posting.

  27. #76
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I think of the charts I'd see high school "jazz band" kids bringing me, when I was teaching. Every chord was a combination of everything that was happening harmonically at the moment. Painful.
    I think the big band chart thing in the last few posts is probably a good observation. It's really a chicken /egg thing, a situation of it not mattering at all basically, by the time you're able to actually PLAY it with or without a chart anyway. So, those who need the chart the most in the beginning are gonna be the most confounded by it.

    A smoking pianist is going to probably appreciate the extra harmonic information, but he knows what to edit down from it.

    Reading a lot of reg's posts over the last few years , I've really come to see study of jazz harmony as a kind of tessellation. You can go either direction with it. You can generalize harmony more broadly , or you can go more microscopic , using larger harmonic movements in shorter timeframe etc.

    I think it's interesting that even players like Barry Harris utilize the both directions aspect. He's really all about boiling a blues down to very very simple changes for beginners , but he also teaches how to actually melodically outline more specific turnaround sections of that same blues later. so, you could be there at the same time: you can really generalize basic , or you can actually use the chord changes or what's played other instruments to "justify" melodic approaches etc.

    I don't know that there's anyway around the fact that you there's a big learning curve with knowing what to edit out of the chart in the beginning. There's simply too much variety in style of charts. Many are basically transcriptions of everything as you say.

  28. #77

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    ‘Jazz is a decorative art’ Pete Bernstein

    you can’t decorate a baroque church.

    skilled jazz musicians also have to be handy with the paint stripper....

  29. #78

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    I've been writing a little more lately. Music, that is.

    I work out the tune, usually on guitar, and get chord sounds I like. If I distill them to chord symbols, the pianist interprets them his own way and my tune doesn't sound right. So, lately, I've been adding suggested voicings by spelling out the chord voicing I want at the beginning of the bar in x'ed noteheads. The chart includes a note that these are suggested. Then I introduce the tune by strumming my chords and singing the melody to the group so they hear the idea. I'm trying to find a middle ground between specifying every note and having it be so open the tune gets lost.

    When I think about a big band arranger, he's got the same problem but he's not in the room. The chart has to be specific enough to elicit the sounds he has in mind. For the chord instruments he will usually provide chord names that include all the alterations in the horns. If he doesn't do that, the chord player may play a note a half step off. When he does do it, the chord symbols are hard to read and may require the chord player to figure out what to omit. When I can nail the exact voicing on guitar it usually sounds good. If I strip out all the alterations and play, say, 3rds and 7ths, it also sounds good. But, were I to play a natural 5th at the top of a #11 chord, not so good.

  30. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    ‘Jazz is a decorative art’ Pete Bernstein

    you can’t decorate a baroque church.

    skilled jazz musicians also have to be handy with the paint stripper....
    I've been saying this a lot lately, but it seems my whole life now is looking at complicated tunes and trying to simply them, and looking at simple tunes and trying to add stuff.

  31. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I've been writing a little more lately. Music, that is.

    I work out the tune, usually on guitar, and get chord sounds I like. If I distill them to chord symbols, the pianist interprets them his own way and my tune doesn't sound right. So, lately, I've been adding suggested voicings by spelling out the chord voicing I want at the beginning of the bar in x'ed noteheads. The chart includes a note that these are suggested. Then I introduce the tune by strumming my chords and singing the melody to the group so they hear the idea. I'm trying to find a middle ground between specifying every note and having it be so open the tune gets lost.

    When I think about a big band arranger, he's got the same problem but he's not in the room. The chart has to be specific enough to elicit the sounds he has in mind. For the chord instruments he will usually provide chord names that include all the alterations in the horns. If he doesn't do that, the chord player may play a note a half step off. When he does do it, the chord symbols are hard to read and may require the chord player to figure out what to omit. When I can nail the exact voicing on guitar it usually sounds good. If I strip out all the alterations and play, say, 3rds and 7ths, it also sounds good. But, were I to play a natural 5th at the top of a #11 chord, not so good.
    Context is king

    Also not being comped for by people with ears and not the type of plonker who feels it’s their job to painstakingly realise every voicing as written in the lead sheet.

    (seriously why do people like that bother paying jazz?)

  32. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I've been saying this a lot lately, but it seems my whole life now is looking at complicated tunes and trying to simply them, and looking at simple tunes and trying to add stuff.
    Yea that happens as you become a better player....

    I think the reason most have trouble with chord symbols, is because we like "simple"... with embellishments. And when more information becomes involved... ( more detailed harmonic references), we tend to overload, or maybe we just don't understand what's implied or what tends to be more important.... What's not implied.

    Eventually all tunes just become a blues. By that I mean... not literally, but they all become simple chord patterns and a melody. Or a Melody and simple chord patterns... I remember tunes by the melodies and also by chord patterns with target notes.

    So maybe that's why chord symbols have become the study of jazz. Most don't understand them in context(s), and think that CST is music theory.

    Or if it seems like a waste of time, or all BS... I realized when I was a kid... all or any theory, harmony or system of organized ideas based on principles was useless without ... just getting your technical skills together.... and just being able to play. Good players can make anything sound great. ( obviously ears are part of technical skills).

    Personally... I like it all, the playin and the BSin