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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCat View Post
    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 View Post

    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 View Post

    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 View Post
    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 View Post
    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 View Post
    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 View Post
    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 View Post
    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 View Post
    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 View Post
    (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 View Post
    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 View Post
    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".
    Pete Martin - just a mandolin guy but loves jazz guitar
    www.PetimarPress.com
    Www.Jazz-Mandolin.com
    Pete Plays Wes free download
    www.jazz-mandolin.com/PetePlaysWes.xht

  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 View Post
    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.