Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Posts 1 to 50 of 115
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Like most here, I shedded the various incarnations of your basic MM pitch collection, and learned to begin them at different starting points for the usual useages. And like some of you, early on I had difficulty improvising with these "scales" and deferred to pet lines that contained say the #9 and b9 in the same cell as opposed to a whole line containing every single altered note. From there I decided I was going to follow my ear and just play altered notes in ways that I liked, and that invariably meant not playing all 4, but usually between 1 and 3 of the altered notes. Further, I never found myself playing the "altered" scale in a sequence, but instead I'd pepper in selected altered notes in amongst chromatically embellished arpeggios (eg- Dom7b9 from root or m7b5 from bvii etc).

    So, by eschewing the MM scale forms, I don't feel I'm missing out on the fun of using altered notes. If I come off a base of a dim7 arp (rootless Dom7b9), then I can add either/or from the #9, b5 or #5. To some this may sound like more work or confusion then just grokking the full MM thing, but I found it easier once I saw the patterns. By that I mean that If you just add one altered note to a rootless Dom7b9, then that "shape" can be played up and down the neck in m3 intervals, each time yielding a different added note (sometimes an altered note, sometimes not).

    Eg - If you play B D F Ab from lowest to highest string, then add say the A nat to it, in the movable shape you get :


    B D F Ab A ....... B D F Ab C ....... B D F Ab Eb ...... B D F Ab Gb


    And if you added the Bb you get these:


    B D F Ab Bb....... B D F Ab Db ....... B D F Ab E ...... B D F Ab G


    Assuming all the above can be used over G7, you have G7b9 plus one other of the possible 8 tones- more options than just your usual "altered tones". Sure, some are more useable than others in certain situations, but even the strange looking B D F Ab Gb (essentially G7b9#7) sounds more useable than you imagine, and the other strange ones like adding the natural 9th or the 11th sound really cool in many instances. I should say that I like to chromatically encircle the chord tones in these 5 note groupings which often give me other colours in addition, so many in fact that I find the straight MM sound "boring" by comparison. Of course, we all tend to favour what we get good at, so take that with a grain of salt...

    I'll add that I have brought this up in threads in the past, but can't recall if anyone suggested I'd be missing out big time by throwing away MM for good. Any thoughts about this?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    I dunno about throwing the MM out for good...

    BUT

    I think we're taught to use it in certain circumstances and then many of us never stray from the MM in those contexts.

    For instance, the I minor. How many of us default to the MM for the I minor? I know I usually do.

    But, that limits our colors on the one. The dorian mode affords us with a one sound with a little more "air-y-ness".

    Actually, when I think of all those great Blue Note recordings, I think of the b7 sound on the I chord--in major or minor.

    I don't want to open another can of words here, but maybe we should practice playing the basic triad and singing/hearing all possibilities off of the triad. The major 7th, the flat 7th, the diminished 7th. Then the 9th, b9th, #9th. So on and so forth. I think many of us get stuck in a rut because we cling to scales--like myself--instead of thinking in colors from the basic triad. I'm not advocating to think vertically from each chord--that goes against all the CET I practice and play--I'm thinking of focusing on colors instead of pure scales.

    So, yes, I agree. The MM can get boring if it's used the same way all the time in our playing.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Well any scale can be used as a stepping stone to musicality, or if you only look at it as a pattern for finger mechanics, sure, it's going to be a means for limiting yourself. Why not let go of rhythmic prejudices? Why not let go of narrow leaps? Why not let go of notes played on adjacent strings? Why not let go of playing things that don't surprise your ear? You know there's a lot of baby in that bathwater, but then again, there're a whole lot of chromatic options outside of any one particular scale. The limit is in the lens you're wearing.
    Good luck with the housecleaning. Hope it makes your house a better place to live within.
    David

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    I never learned it in the first place (well I did learn the classical version decades ago, but did not even think about it in a jazz context). I just learned what to play on dominants by listening to my favourite players.

    More recently, I did try it out for jazz purposes, but like you I don’t like the sound of all the altered notes coming at once. I don’t think Joe Pass liked that sound much either, as I recall he plays the scale on one of his hot licks videos, but does not seem all that interested in it as a device.

    I always learned by going to the source and hearing what the greats actually played, i.e. melodic phrases. I have never been very interested in scales as a way to make music, I must admit. It seems to me you can play almost anything over dominants if your ear knows what works.

    I do quite like Barry Harris’ approach to using scales though, but I only discovered that a few years ago.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Like most here, I shedded the various incarnations of your basic MM pitch collection, and learned to begin them at different starting points for the usual useages. And like some of you, early on I had difficulty improvising with these "scales" and deferred to pet lines that contained say the #9 and b9 in the same cell as opposed to a whole line containing every single altered note. From there I decided I was going to follow my ear and just play altered notes in ways that I liked, and that invariably meant not playing all 4, but usually between 1 and 3 of the altered notes. Further, I never found myself playing the "altered" scale in a sequence, but instead I'd pepper in selected altered notes in amongst chromatically embellished arpeggios (eg- Dom7b9 from root or m7b5 from bvii etc).

    So, by eschewing the MM scale forms, I don't feel I'm missing out on the fun of using altered notes. If I come off a base of a dim7 arp (rootless Dom7b9), then I can add either/or from the #9, b5 or #5. To some this may sound like more work or confusion then just grokking the full MM thing, but I found it easier once I saw the patterns. By that I mean that If you just add one altered note to a rootless Dom7b9, then that "shape" can be played up and down the neck in m3 intervals, each time yielding a different added note (sometimes an altered note, sometimes not).

    Eg - If you play B D F Ab from lowest to highest string, then add say the A nat to it, in the movable shape you get :


    B D F Ab A ....... B D F Ab C ....... B D F Ab Eb ...... B D F Ab Gb


    And if you added the Bb you get these:


    B D F Ab Bb....... B D F Ab Db ....... B D F Ab E ...... B D F Ab G


    Assuming all the above can be used over G7, you have G7b9 plus one other of the possible 8 tones- more options than just your usual "altered tones". Sure, some are more useable than others in certain situations, but even the strange looking B D F Ab Gb (essentially G7b9#7) sounds more useable than you imagine, and the other strange ones like adding the natural 9th or the 11th sound really cool in many instances. I should say that I like to chromatically encircle the chord tones in these 5 note groupings which often give me other colours in addition, so many in fact that I find the straight MM sound "boring" by comparison. Of course, we all tend to favour what we get good at, so take that with a grain of salt...

    I'll add that I have brought this up in threads in the past, but can't recall if anyone suggested I'd be missing out big time by throwing away MM for good. Any thoughts about this?
    Yes, I think MM is less fundamental than people think it is. I think MM is just one aspect of a whole range of related sounds... the use of a dim7 with a #9 is very common in bop (Donna Lee for instance) and while I've talked about the Barry Harris idea of what that is, and Reg Minor, it's clear that it's not simply the altered scale.

    OTOH half-whole diminished is also quite a clunky sound for this music. Jordan, for instance, says he can't really get into it, and I know that feeling. Although it shows up in Barry's teaching, it's more in the background, a theoretical concept more than a source of lines and harmony. That said, the diminished scale triads are certainly a strong sound, like strong chilli, and 13b9 is a common part of many players vocab, including Peter Bernstein's.

    I just don't hear it much in bop.

    One of the reasons I am so interested in the history of the concept is that melodic minor harmony is (I think) a more recent concept than the functional jazz era, and seems to me like a convenient conflation of a number of common jazz devices than some fundamental law of musical physics. BUT - CST is not itself aiming to describe idiom or vocabulary but harmonic relationships only. Setting aside a critique of how well it does this, I'd like to talk a little about melodic minor type things and how they seem to manifest themselves in pre-CST jazz.

    Post-CST jazz - well you know Kurt knows he's doing MM, right? With, say, George Shearing, it's a much more interesting situation.

    So CST unites chords and scales into 7 note structures. It's worth pointing out right away that when we see the whole MM - ascending for instance in Miles's' So What solo, or descending in its ascending form like the B section of Conception (interesting and suggestive) it is almost always as a straight step wise run.

    Other devices that are common include - (from the perspective of MM) the diminished tetrachord 7-1-2-b3. This is EVERYWHERE in bop. Of course, it's 4 notes, not the whole scale, so there are different interpretations.

    There's the Lydian Dominant version of it #4-5-6-b7 (Scrapple), the Altered 1-b2-#2-3 version of it (Hot House) and the straight minor version of it... However, whether you perceive this as melodic modes or a half whole dim scale (1-b2-b3-3-#4-5-6-b7) or some sort of combination of the diatonic modes with chromatics is very much in the eye of the beholder.

    There's also upper tetrachord of the MM scale - the whole tone run 4-5-6-7, which relates to, obviously, the venerable use of the whole tone scale in jazz which can be probably traced back to Bix Biederbecke, but used very heavily by Bud Powell.

    Melodically, mixed scale use is more common. A nice example would be the opening run of Chelsea Bridge which runs (in a 7 chord) 5 6 b7 1 2 3 4 and then #4 on the beat, creating the Eb7#11 sound before resolving to 5. This is, from our modern understanding, a mixture of the mixolydian and the lydian dominant.

    This mixed use is generally what you see. On minor chords, you will find Wes moving from what we would term melodic minor to dorian, even to whole tone. Actually, you can hear Django doing this years earlier.

    Now - I've been talking melodically, but of course most people associated the MM (ironically) with harmony. So, the question I always find myself asking is what is melodic minor's sound when applied to chords? I'm not sure if there is one per se, because all of the common sounds we most commonly associate with MM - 7#11, 7#9, 7b5, min(maj7) and so on - predate the concept of MM harmony and can be understood through different theoretical concepts. Unless you have chords like 7b9#9,#11b13 and min6maj7 mostly likely in incomplete non tertial voicings, all of which are entirely or mostly used by players in the post CST paradigm.

    Returning to Chelsea Bridge, the #11 sound is obviously a Billy Strayhorn favourite. In A Train, it appears as a manifestation of the whole tone scale on chord II. In CB, it seems to be a leaning lower neighbour tone, but the sound is prolonged by the slow tempo of the tune, and its yearning, mysterious ache suggests a sound in it's own right. From a scalar perspective, we might think it a melodic minor (LD) sound, as it resolves up to the 5, but to me, that #11 sound is a colour in its own right. To merely interpret it as a member of a theoretical 7 note structure seem to be... well, not necessarily that relevant - I mean we have the run in the previous bar which you could see as a version of MM with an added b7, but that's not really harmonic, it's just some notes leading up to the #11. You could do a chromatic and it would be the same sort of thing.

    But then we have the nonfunctional relationship Eb7#11 --> Db7#11 which suggests whole tone harmony, so it seems to me to be layered.

    In terms of triad choices... Taking for instance US triads on these chords, we can see a clear pattern

    D9#11--> E on D7 (Lydian Dominant)
    Ab7#9b13--> E on Ab7 (Altered)
    F#m9b5 --> E on F#m7b5 (Locrian #2)

    All relate to....

    Aminmaj7 --> E on Am.

    This sound is actually really common in bop lines. Barry Harris, CST and so on, all have a justification for this. Barry would think in terms of related minors and the m6-dim scale, for instance, rather than relate to the underlying dominant sound the way CST analysis would. But the sound is familiar.

    The triads by themselves are diatonic, right? There's nothing to suggest an MM tonality except when you consider the basic voicing and triad together. In fact, Chris Potter points out you can, for example, play the Ab major scale on C and get an altered sound.

    Anyway, I need to play around with your ideas. The prohibition of major seventh on dominant seventh honoured by the jazz edu chord scale choices is obviously completely unsupported by the music. It's an attempt to 'tidy up' the music into explicable vertical relationships. This for me is an unforgivable sin of much CST based pedagogy.

    My tendency is to hear jazz more as a music of layers (more akin to Dave Liebman's ideas?) than a music of stacked vertical structures. I will hear the Ab triad* on D7, not a seven note altered scale. Given the music is improvised, it seems to me to reflect the process of playing is much better. I think the theories I have found useful - Jordan/Stephon's, Barry's and so on - all reflect that.

    *I can imagine Irez might have something to say about this. The Banacos ear training he's talked about seems to be more key centric, though?
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-08-2019 at 06:05 AM.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    One of the reasons I am so interested in the history of the concept is that melodic minor harmony is (I think) a more recent concept than the functional jazz era, and seems to me like a convenient conflation of a number of common jazz devices than some fundamental law of musical physics.
    Honestly, I think that's probably the way a lot of players view it, even the ones who view it as being very important.

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Other devices that are common include - (from the perspective of MM) the diminished tetrachord 7-1-2-b3. This is EVERYWHERE in bop. Of course, it's 4 notes, not the whole scale, so there are different interpretations.

    There's the Lydian Dominant version of it #4-5-6-b7 (Scrapple), the Altered 1-b2-#2-3 version of it (Hot House) and the straight minor version of it... However, whether you perceive this as melodic modes or a half whole dim scale (1-b2-b3-3-#4-5-6-b7) or some sort of combination of the diatonic modes with chromatics is very much in the eye of the beholder.

    There's also upper tetrachord of the MM scale - the whole tone run 4-5-6-7, which relates to, obviously, the venerable use of the whole tone scale in jazz which can be probably traced back to Bix Biederbecke, but used very heavily by Bud Powell.

    Melodically, mixed scale use is more common. A nice example would be the opening run of Chelsea Bridge which runs (in a 7 chord) 5 6 b7 1 2 3 4 and then #4 on the beat, creating the Eb7#11 sound before resolving to 5. This is, from our modern understanding, a mixture of the mixolydian and the lydian dominant.

    This mixed use is generally what you see. On minor chords, you will find Wes moving from what we would term melodic minor to dorian, even to whole tone. Actually, you can hear Django doing this years
    I've never understood the need for using 7 notes at all at once or for a extended-enough period of time to somehow justify it. All of these examples would seem sufficient. I mean, if we compare it to the major scale etc., the basic IDEA is that you're eventually trying to boil it down to FEWER notes anyway, right? The point of the thing is NOT to play it up and down all the time? Anyway, I hear this talked a lot about with melodic minor. Reg talks a good bit about melodic minor . It's very often in the context of a shorter/smaller segment of harmonic rhythm than what others want to talk about.

    One of the bigger aspects I think people miss with the way he approaches versus others - related to melodic minor and other things - is the harmonic rhythm aspect. There's a lot of discussion of the fact that something like melodic minor doesn't reconcile the mixture of note sets over a given chord etc. He's coming more from the angle of "Stop trying to reconcile the mixture into one box anyway. The MIXTURE of different sounds in time ....or harmonic rhythm... is the whole point of the thing in the first place."

    Reg is very rarely talking about playing one scale or chord over a given chord change . He's usually talking about two or three. Tension/release, inside/outside, away/back etc. On paper, you end up with something which looks like "notes which don't all fit melodic minor anyway" etc., but that's the POINT and not a flaw or problem in it for him.

    Reg tends to compartmentalize these things in a particularly helpful way for me :

    1. There's the kinesthetic/technical/ fretboard layout aspect of learning to play, and then

    2. There's the musical /performance aspects of learning to play.

    So, #1 is more about knowing all of melodic minor – all of the arpeggios , the way it lays out on the fretboard, all the notes etc.

    And #2 is more about how you apply things musically – the phrasing , limiting note choices etc. (Reg does a lot of this as well. A lot of pentatonic "altered" runs etc.)

    Anyway, Very often we are debating these two facets of learning music, as if they are competing ideas, as if one can't be true if the other is. (As if the major scale no longer EXISTS because we're applying triads and using limiting structures?) This thread is mostly focused on applying component #2, and that's fine. But players like Reg might say it's still basically melodic minor whether you call it that or not....or at the very least, you can USE melodic minor as your organizational tool for mentally looking at it and for possibly extending the ideas. That's mostly the way he talks about melodic minor by the way, as a tool, not necessarily as some iron law of anything.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Pardon the beginner question...

    I understand the OP in terms of soloing and using the occasional altered note vs the entire altered scale (and I realize we're in the improv sub-forum), but don't you still need to view MM as a whole when you have a half-diminished vi chord? Like 'Round Midnight'?

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    I've never understood the need for using 7 notes at all at once or for a extended-enough period of time to somehow justify it. All of these examples would seem sufficient. I mean, if we compare it to the major scale etc., the basic IDEA is that you're eventually trying to boil it down to FEWER notes anyway, right? The point of the thing is NOT to play it up and down all the time?
    But that's what jazz musicians actually do. All the time. Stepwise scales.

    I mean there's this intervallic thing as well, but that's much more modern. I'm talking about meat and potatoes jazz language. There's actually nothing wrong with stepwise scales. If you do it right, it sounds like jazz.

    Anyway, I hear this talked a lot about with melodic minor. Reg talks a good bit about melodic minor . It's very often in the context of a shorter/smaller segment of harmonic rhythm than what others want to talk about.

    One of the bigger aspects I think people miss with the way he approaches versus others - related to melodic minor and other things - is the harmonic rhythm aspect. There's a lot of discussion of the fact that something like melodic minor doesn't reconcile the mixture of note sets over a given chord etc. He's coming more from the angle of "Stop trying to reconcile the mixture into one box anyway. The MIXTURE of different sounds in time ....or harmonic rhythm... is the whole point of the thing in the first place."

    Reg is very rarely talking about playing one scale or chord over a given chord change . He's usually talking about two or three. Tension/release, inside/outside, away/back etc. On paper, you end up with something which looks like "notes which don't all fit melodic minor anyway" etc., but that's the POINT and not a flaw or problem in it for him.

    Reg tends to compartmentalize these things in a particularly helpful way for me :

    1. There's the kinesthetic/technical/ fretboard layout aspect of learning to play, and then

    2. There's the musical /performance aspects of learning to play.

    So, #1 is more about knowing all of melodic minor – all of the arpeggios , the way it lays out on the fretboard, all the notes etc.

    And #2 is more about how you apply things musically – the phrasing , limiting note choices etc. (Reg does a lot of this as well. A lot of pentatonic "altered" runs etc.)

    Anyway, Very often we are debating these two facets of learning music, as if they are competing ideas, as if one can't be true if the other is. (As if the major scale no longer EXISTS because we're applying triads and using limiting structures?) This thread is mostly focused on applying component #2, and that's fine. But players like Reg might say it's still basically melodic minor whether you call it that or not....or at the very least, you can USE melodic minor as your organizational tool for mentally looking at it and for possibly extending the ideas. That's mostly the way he talks about melodic minor by the way, as a tool, not necessarily as some iron law of anything.
    Yes, but I don't think Reg, in so much as I understand what he's talking about, is typical application of CST in your typical dogmeat jazz education syllabus.

    I would regard Reg's approach as being somewhat parallel in someway to what I'm talking about, but not 1:1, if that makes any sense. He is not imprisoned by chord scale relationships, but rather sees them as colours (I think?)

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by morroben View Post
    Pardon the beginner question...

    I understand the OP in terms of soloing and using the occasional altered note vs the entire altered scale (and I realize we're in the improv sub-forum), but don't you still need to view MM as a whole when you have a half-diminished vi chord? Like 'Round Midnight'?
    Why would you need to do that?

    Sorry, I just play and listen carefully to jazz, I don't always understand what the theory books are telling me that I should be doing.

    Is it a Locrian #2 thing?

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    I don't think Monk plays VIm7b5 there (in bar 1)



    It sounds more like VIo7 first time here... So certainly not melodic minor. Will check out the rest. Extremely poorly charted tune Round Midnight. You have to remember the real book was written by music students - talented ones sure - but they made mistakes and simplifications. And Monk is definitely going to break all of the CST 'rules.'

    Also check out Monk's whole tone run on the IV7#11. Characteristic of the era. I think he may have got that from James P Johnson. Bud Powell uses it too, and Tatum.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    I suppose the Miles version is also relevant



    There's a few interesting clashes here - check out the second half of the first bar - owww! Not sure what that is. Red Garland did not give a shit lol.

    On the second time, Miles changes the melody and plays I think Db where the Cm7b5 chord is. So that's an avoid note lol. He doesn't even resolve by step, straight down to Bb. So the whole phrase is kind of Eb dorian.

    Of course Red isn't playing Cm7b5 there.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Why would you need to do that?

    Sorry, I just play and listen carefully to jazz, I don't always understand what the theory books are telling me that I should be doing.

    Is it a Locrian #2 thing?
    Not sure about Locrian #2. But MM is the only scale I know (beginner, as I said) where, when you harmonize it out, you get a half-diminished vi chord. That's why I thought that.
    Doesn't mean much if that's not the right chord, though. It sounds ok when I play it out of the real book and my ear isn't good enough to hear that it's wrong against the recordings.
    I'll try to listen closer.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by morroben View Post
    Not sure about Locrian #2. But MM is the only scale I know (beginner, as I said) where, when you harmonize it out, you get a half-diminished vi chord. That's why I thought that.
    Doesn't mean much if that's not the right chord, though. It sounds ok when I play it out of the real book and my ear isn't good enough to hear that it's wrong against the recordings.
    I'll try to listen closer.
    The chart is what people will play at jam sessions... Everyone will play it wrong, so that's the way you will have to play it lol.

    C Locrian #2 is the fancy name people give to playing Eb mm on a Cm7b5 chord. Don't worry about it.

    But you also have the Eb Dorian...

    TBH - this is the way I view half dim chords. They are minor chords in disguise. Don't be fooled. So Cm7b5 is Eb minor.

    Cm7b5 = Ebm + C in the bass

    I can tell you on excellent authority that's how Monk himself thought of these chords.

    If you play a strong melody centred around the Eb triad over the first bar, it will sound great.

    That could be the melodic minor absolutely, but I think your aim should be to play strong melodic lines, not scales. And minor is certainly more familiar to us that m7b5.

    In the next bar, we have a Fm7b5 Bb7 - so you do a II-V thing and back into the Ebm.

    When you get more comfortable with this, you can explore how things like the Bb triad sound over these chords, and so on.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    But you also have the Eb Dorian...

    TBH - this is the way I view half dim chords. They are minor chords in disguise. Don't be fooled. So Cm7b5 is Eb minor.

    Cm7b5 = Ebm + C in the bass
    That makes sense. I guess I never think of Dorian as the 'parent' scale, but vii in Ionian is vi in Dorian, so I can see that.

    As you say, it's more important to play strong melodic lines than scales, I'm just always trying to learn a little something when the opportunity presents itself.

    TBH, I think I read or heard somewhere that a half-diminished vi chord was a "tell" that you had MM, and I never questioned it.

    Thanks for the response.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    BUT - CST is not itself aiming to describe idiom or vocabulary but harmonic relationships only.
    That seems to be a common conception but in my studies of CST I haven't seen an example of CST describing harmonic relationships differently than what we already know from standard tonal music. A really good book for CST I think is the Berklee book of jazz harmony. I read the whole damn thing, the information it presents it's quite relatable and useful. But CST is not discussed as a new harmonic concept. Harmonic concepts are all in the standard tonal music (with one chapter on modal tunes). A lot of focus is on how to expand the standard diatonic harmony using common devices such as secondary dominants, modal interchange etc. (each having a dedicated chapter).

    For example suppose the discussion is on secondary dominants. The book will go through every possible secondary dominant chord that can be applied to major harmony. Like VI7 as the secondary dominant of ii, III7 as the secondary dominant of vi etc. Then it will discuss how to build scales that fit these secondary dominants. It'll build scales in a way that avoids the b9 interval (the avoid note).
    Next it would discuss adding the related ii's to these dominants. Then again build 7 note scales for these related ii's again avoiding the b9 interval. Sometimes there is a little bit more to note choices of these scales then b9 but it's mostly it's based on the b9 interval.
    There are no new harmonic relationships that's the product of the CST universe in the book. And it's a harmony book, it's a study of chords. How to expand the vanilla diatonic harmony using ages old devices. Scale choices come from these chords in extremely predictable and simple ways (avoid the b9). That's it.
    Never play anything that's hard. If it's hard, don't play it. -- Joe Pass

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Intervals in combination with rhythm are the basic component of melodic and harmonic improvisation.
    I think it is reasonable to conclude that every interval has musical merit.
    Every interval will be consonant in some scenarios while dissonant in others.
    Intervals are the basic component of chords, chords with added notes, chord pairs,
    scales of every shape size. We can view any of these collections as independent or as
    subsets and super-sets of each other. My preference is to connect the micro and macro
    view to the best of my ability. The viewpoint that these complimentary vantage points
    are in conflict with each other is in my opinion downright silly.

    All of the above is just about the organizational viewpoint of intervallic note collections which
    are the pitch building blocks of harmony and melody. None of it dictates how music is made.
    Executing mechanics sounds mechanical no matter whether the source material is.

    Grahambop prefers to learn language direct from recorded source material.
    Style is embedded in the details as played by the innovators and masters of a style.
    If style is of interest and concern, it behooves us to learn from and study others.
    From a creativity vantage point, it is helpful also to expand on the extracted content if
    the goal is to do more than cut and paste cool licks together.

    It is possible to make a musical statement with a single note. This was verified to me at a concert I saw many years ago of virtuoso musicians playing South American folkloric styles. The baddest cat on the stage was a Venezuelan maraca player who created such amazing music out of his single sound instrument. It follows that if the above is true, then there is great music waiting to be made regardless of what our preferred note collection perspective(s) is/are.

    A notion that we have to play every single note in the collection is false.
    No more true than I have to spend all the money in my pockets every time I leave
    home or have to empty my gas tank every time I get in my car.
    Organizational systems are tools in the service of making music.
    We manipulate content on behest of our esthetic choices,
    we owe nothing to a methodology.

    Princeplanet,

    My leaning in recent years has been similar in some ways to what you are describing
    with a difference being for me that I like to hold onto the macro view while focused on
    what I consider subsets of interest. Building around the various chord types is an
    easy way to stay connected to practical application be it a Jordan like triad + 1 (quadrad)
    or 7th chord + 1. A cellist friend of mine referred to these as hybrid pentatonics.
    I have no idea if that terminology exists outside of his usage but I like it for my purposes.

    Good thread, it is bringing forth some insightful commentaries. May it continue.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    I still use MM. I study with a guy from time to time who is really big on it. I use about 4 usages typically. MM and Lydian Dominant the most.
    But, these days, the more I think about Chord Tones, timing and feel, and using all 12 notes, and not about scales, the better. Was hard to wrap my mind around that a few years back. Especially with CST being presented so much. I still use it. But still just like to let go.


    Bruno doesn't use MM but would never have a problem getting the sounds he's hearing.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    That seems to be a common conception but in my studies of CST I haven't seen an example of CST describing harmonic relationships differently than what we already know from standard tonal music. A really good book for CST I think is the Berklee book of jazz harmony. I read the whole damn thing, the information it presents it's quite relatable and useful. But CST is not discussed as a new harmonic concept. Harmonic concepts are all in the standard tonal music (with one chapter on modal tunes). A lot of focus is on how to expand the standard diatonic harmony using common devices such as secondary dominants, modal interchange etc. (each having a dedicated chapter).

    For example suppose the discussion is on secondary dominants. The book will go through every possible secondary dominant chord that can be applied to major harmony. Like VI7 as the secondary dominant of ii, III7 as the secondary dominant of vi etc. Then it will discuss how to build scales that fit these secondary dominants. It'll build scales in a way that avoids the b9 interval (the avoid note).
    Next it would discuss adding the related ii's to these dominants. Then again build 7 note scales for these related ii's again avoiding the b9 interval. Sometimes there is a little bit more to note choices of these scales then b9 but it's mostly it's based on the b9 interval.
    There are no new harmonic relationships that's the product of the CST universe in the book. And it's a harmony book, it's a study of chords. How to expand the vanilla diatonic harmony using ages old devices. Scale choices come from these chords in extremely predictable and simple ways (avoid the b9). That's it.
    Yeah, will probably skim it at some point, if only to know what's in it.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    So, by eschewing the MM scale forms, I don't feel I'm missing out on the fun of using altered notes. If I come off a base of a dim7 arp (rootless Dom7b9), then I can add either/or from the #9, b5 or #5. To some this may sound like more work or confusion then just grokking the full MM thing, but I found it easier once I saw the patterns. By that I mean that If you just add one altered note to a rootless Dom7b9, then that "shape" can be played up and down the neck in m3 intervals, each time yielding a different added note (sometimes an altered note, sometimes not).
    I actually started a thread last week on a more generalized version of this concept. Seeing scales as simple arpeggio forms with added color tones. It's a divide and conquer approach in a way. I think scales are a bit cumbersome structures as a whole. Seeing scales as being made of simpler structures facilitates easier creative musical applications. It also simplifies fretboard organization. Simplifies even the aural aspects by separating primary chord tones and color tones.
    Never play anything that's hard. If it's hard, don't play it. -- Joe Pass

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by DS71 View Post
    I still use MM. I study with a guy from time to time who is really big on it. I use about 4 usages typically. MM and Lydian Dominant the most.
    But, these days, the more I think about Chord Tones, timing and feel, and using all 12 notes, and not about scales, the better. Was hard to wrap my mind around that a few years back. Especially with CST being presented so much. I still use it. But still just like to let go.


    Bruno doesn't use MM but would never have a problem getting the sounds he's hearing.
    Yeah, what I was getting at in my rather epic post is that there are things that bop improvisers do habitually that would look to a CST theorist like melodic minor harmony - and sometimes they actually use the melodic minor scale itself - but it doesn't mean that's how they conceive of it. In fact mention of modes can get a very frosty reception from veteran boppers.

    The big CST related trope that I object to is hearing, say, an Db triad on a G7 chord, and seeing that triad as an upper extension of the G7. In fact the Ab triad has it's own identity in the line - as a tritone sub, and thinking about it as intervals related to the G root is cumbersome and unnecessary. As Jordan elegantly pointed out, the Ab chord tones become resting tones, not tensions. In this context the G would sound like a dissonance!

    That's because the tonality of the line has its own gravity.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    I actually started a thread last week on a more generalized version of this concept. Seeing scales as simple arpeggio forms with added color tones. It's a divide and conquer approach in a way. I think scales are a bit cumbersome structures as a whole. Seeing scales as being made of simpler structures facilitates easier creative musical applications. It also simplifies fretboard organization. Simplifies even the aural aspects by separating primary chord tones and color tones.
    Yeah I think you are on to something with that.

    Of course, that’s what all the players are actually doing.

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    I don't want to lose the MMs any more than the majors. They help me put all those wrong notes in. But no one said we have to run up and down them like a staircase, although it helps if you can.

    It's like saying you need to let go of the major scale otherwise you can't write a tune. Not so.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    I could ask Peter Martin and Adam Maness about it on "You'll Hear It"--but this time, y'all better listen. I'm not making a fool of myself for nuttin.

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    I hate to wade in and show my ignorance, but I somehow resented learning the MM (and the HM that metalheads love so much). I feel like I had a related experience as princeplanet.

    I spent so many years learning the major scale, I hated trying to relearn two more scales. I finally shedded it, and found the only way I could keep it straight was to see them as Dorian and Aeolian with a raised 7th. Eventually I just stopped thinking of them as separate scales from the modes of the major scale and more as an altered note I didn't always need to play. I'm certainly not going to wow anyone with my amazing improvised lines, but this simplification has made it feel more natural to use these scales and resulted in somewhat musical lines rather than the robotic use of unfamiliar scales.

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Like most here, I shedded the various incarnations of your basic MM pitch collection, and learned to begin them at different starting points for the usual useages. And like some of you, early on I had difficulty improvising with these "scales" and deferred to pet lines that contained say the #9 and b9 in the same cell as opposed to a whole line containing every single altered note. From there I decided I was going to follow my ear and just play altered notes in ways that I liked, and that invariably meant not playing all 4, but usually between 1 and 3 of the altered notes. Further, I never found myself playing the "altered" scale in a sequence, but instead I'd pepper in selected altered notes in amongst chromatically embellished arpeggios (eg- Dom7b9 from root or m7b5 from bvii etc).

    So, by eschewing the MM scale forms, I don't feel I'm missing out on the fun of using altered notes. If I come off a base of a dim7 arp (rootless Dom7b9), then I can add either/or from the #9, b5 or #5. To some this may sound like more work or confusion then just grokking the full MM thing, but I found it easier once I saw the patterns. By that I mean that If you just add one altered note to a rootless Dom7b9, then that "shape" can be played up and down the neck in m3 intervals, each time yielding a different added note (sometimes an altered note, sometimes not).

    Eg - If you play B D F Ab from lowest to highest string, then add say the A nat to it, in the movable shape you get :


    B D F Ab A ....... B D F Ab C ....... B D F Ab Eb ...... B D F Ab Gb


    And if you added the Bb you get these:


    B D F Ab Bb....... B D F Ab Db ....... B D F Ab E ...... B D F Ab G


    Assuming all the above can be used over G7, you have G7b9 plus one other of the possible 8 tones- more options than just your usual "altered tones". Sure, some are more useable than others in certain situations, but even the strange looking B D F Ab Gb (essentially G7b9#7) sounds more useable than you imagine, and the other strange ones like adding the natural 9th or the 11th sound really cool in many instances. I should say that I like to chromatically encircle the chord tones in these 5 note groupings which often give me other colours in addition, so many in fact that I find the straight MM sound "boring" by comparison. Of course, we all tend to favour what we get good at, so take that with a grain of salt...

    I'll add that I have brought this up in threads in the past, but can't recall if anyone suggested I'd be missing out big time by throwing away MM for good. Any thoughts about this?
    I find nearly all discussions of the MM in jazz to be almost completely opaque. I just do not see how it makes it easier to hear and use 4ths and altered 5ths and 9ths by making up scale names for and "deriving" those scales from the MM. So, no, I don't think you're missing anything in terms of figuring out chromaticism by walking away from the MM. But it does sound good on Nica's Dream.

    John

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    I find nearly all discussions of the MM in jazz to be almost completely opaque. I just do not see how it makes it easier to hear and use 4ths and altered 5ths and 9ths by making up scale names for and "deriving" those scales from the MM. So, no, I don't think you're missing anything in terms of figuring out chromaticism by walking away from the MM. But it does sound good on Nica's Dream.

    John
    Yeah it's opaque I think because the altered scale is not inherently tied to MM, but it's inherently tied to the tritone substitution. It's more like an (un)fortunate coincidence that it's a mode of MM.
    Tritone substitution is a very old device. Probably much older then conceptualization of MM scale. According to wikipedia:
    "Though examples of the tritone substitution, known in the classical world as an augmented sixth chord, can be found extensively in classical music since the Renaissance period, they were not heard until much later in jazz by musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker in the 1940s, as well as Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge and Benny Goodman."

    If we are looking for direct links, altered scale would have to be seen as some sort of modal interchange chord. That would mean borrowing the 4th chord from melodic minor tritone away. That seems to be criminal amount of intellectualization. I don't know if it's even technically modal interchange if the key is not the same (but tritone away). Of course alternatively we are borrowing the 7th chord from MM half note away. Equally unsatisfying as a modal interchange concept.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 07-08-2019 at 04:37 PM.
    Never play anything that's hard. If it's hard, don't play it. -- Joe Pass

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    I think the altered scale is not inherently tied to MM, but it's inherently tied to the tritone substitution. It's more like an (un)fortunate coincidence that it's a mode of MM.
    Tritone substitution is a very old device. Probably much older then conceptualization of MM scale. According to wikipedia:
    "Though examples of the tritone substitution, known in the classical world as an augmented sixth chord, can be found extensively in classical music since the Renaissance period, they were not heard until much later in jazz by musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker in the 1940s, as well as Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge and Benny Goodman."

    If we are looking for direct links, altered scale would have to be seen as some sort of modal interchange chord. That would mean borrowing the 4th chord from melodic minor tritone away. That seems to be criminal amount of intellectualization. I don't know if it's even technically modal interchange if the key is not the same (but tritone away). Of course alternatively we are borrowing the 7th chord from MM half note away. Equally unsatisfying as a modal interchange concept.
    I think so ...

    The Augmented Sixth chord is not exactly same thing as a tritone sub in that though we would write one down as jazzers as a 7 or 7#11 chord, actually the chord comes from voice leading. It's a bit more complicated. The classical idea of harmony is so very different from jazz in some ways.

    It's possible to identify augmented sixths in jazz. There's one in round midnight, for instance:

    B7#11 Bb7alt Ebm

    In this case, a French sixth. It's not really a tritone sub to my mind, because it's more a natural part of minor key harmony than the F7, despite the diatonic root. Also the colour is very much not altered. Anyway, that's being a little bit pedantic. But I do find it interesting that the Italian sixth in this key (B7 (no 3)) is what you get when you take a normal diatonic choice - Ab/Cb and augment the sixth interval Ab to A. Hence the name.

    Also, you get this chord EVERYWHERE in pre bop jazz. Also, it harmonises the blues b5 note very well - take Skylark for instance.

    But, yeah altered dominants have been around since the 18th century? Minor modal interchange is a simple way of doing it - put the V chord of minor into major, and you get the b9, b13. I think the #9 might be a jazz innovation (because of the false relation) and David Liebmnn suggests it came out of the use of the I blues scale on a V7 chord. So, C minor blues on G7, leaning on the Bb.

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Another thing - the whole tone scale was really popular in jazz... And that's an interesting one, because it has the #11/b5 sound but also the 9 and b13 - so it's neither bright like Lyd Dom or dark like the Altered. But I would say that the 7b5/#11 sound originates there if I had to guess.

    That said, listen to the shout chorus on chelsea bridge - the tonality on the Eb7#11 chord is to my ears at least a Dbmaj7+5 on the Eb7#11. That's pretty Lydian Dominant.



    I wonder where he got it from? Lydian Dominant appears in Bartok. But just because someone uses this scale - or the altered - doesn't mean they see it as a melodic minor mode.

    For instance, you can define altered as just that - a major scale with every note lowered by a semitone except the root.
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-09-2019 at 02:41 AM.

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    MM contains 4 modes that are pretty usefull on piano. Just one little note different than the major scale georgraphy. Makes Barry Harris' 6th diminished systems a lot easier to manage.

    He says play F mi 6 (ie MM) over D-7 b5
    He says play Ab- 6 (ie MM) over G7b9
    He says play C-6 (ie MM) over C-
    Epiphone Casino Coupe (Antiquity P90s) Telecaster (Vintage Stack neck, Fender ‘62 bridge) Stratocaster (3X Little '59 ). Monoprice Chinese "Champ" amp clone (Weber alnico 8", Genalex Gold Lion tubes)

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Per Mark Levine, there is no avoid note in mel min harmony. He therefore considers all chords generated by mel min harmony to be the same chord. In fact, this works. Try it. So, for example, Bb7#11, Fmmaj7, Dm7b5 and Ealt are the same thing in mel min harmony, among a few others. That may take some time to get into your playing in 12 keys, but it will open things up.

    Diminished scales can be tricky to use. Charlie Christian and Chico Pinheiro, to pick a couple of names at random, are masters of the art. CC did it 80 years ago, so he has an excuse for sounding a little old fashioned. Chico's use of the scale is less obvious. Check out Irrequieto on youtube to hear how he does it sometimes.

    I sometimes think the nomenclature is confusing. Any dim7 chord is a m6b5 chord. We use m7b5, why not m6b5? How is that worse?

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    TBH - this is the way I view half dim chords. They are minor chords in disguise. Don't be fooled. So Cm7b5 is Eb minor.

    Cm7b5 = Ebm + C in the bass
    Yup. Let the bassist deal with the bass note, look at the upper structure. Life becomes much more flexible and simpler. Lots of options for playing over minor chords.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  33. #32
    Any scale introduces a color, a sound over a specific chord that may be consonant or not, and also introduces some new harmony, new chords, who now may have their own scales, sounds and movements.

    My approach has been to always start with the original chord, the basic arpeggio. Say on a minor chord, the melodic minor scale would contain that arpeggio and two notes that differ from the natural minor scale. After this though come all the new chords that the melodic minor brings, and the pentatonics, 4 note scales, patterns, etc, more colors to learn.

    Then you'd start to mess with the scales that you use over these new chords, so it wouldn't be melodic minor any more, but still playing over its chords you retain some of its momentum. For me it ends up being a mix of chord tone tension-resolution, scale color, in the moment chord theory kind of instant composition thing , that you finally learn the moment you can hear it and play it without thinking about it.

    So I guess I see scales as a beginning. Or as one approach out of many. Say the bass player throws you a 5 pedal. You could play some 5 altered sounds, think of the altered scale (or its relative melodic minor), or just play the two dominant chords that come with this scale. Or think of the diminished scale, which would give you 4 dominant chords to work over. Or whole tone which would give 3, etc.. Or do all this over the original tonic chord, without the bass player providing the incentive..

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    Or do like Herbie Hancock when Ron Carter pedals a V, play successive melodic minor scales down in whole steps (equal division of the octave EDO).

    Over F7 sus 5 pedal Herbie goes like
    C MM
    Bb MM
    Ab MM
    Gb MM
    E MM
    F7 sus

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Per Mark Levine, there is no avoid note in mel min harmony. He therefore considers all chords generated by mel min harmony to be the same chord. In fact, this works. Try it. So, for example, Bb7#11, Fmmaj7, Dm7b5 and Ealt are the same thing in mel min harmony, among a few others. That may take some time to get into your playing in 12 keys, but it will open things up.

    Diminished scales can be tricky to use. Charlie Christian and Chico Pinheiro, to pick a couple of names at random, are masters of the art. CC did it 80 years ago, so he has an excuse for sounding a little old fashioned. Chico's use of the scale is less obvious. Check out Irrequieto on youtube to hear how he does it sometimes.

    I sometimes think the nomenclature is confusing. Any dim7 chord is a m6b5 chord. We use m7b5, why not m6b5? How is that worse?
    What’s a good example of Charlie Christian using the diminished scale?

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    Or do like Herbie Hancock when Ron Carter pedals a V, play successive melodic minor scales down in whole steps (equal division of the octave EDO).

    Over F7 sus 5 pedal Herbie goes like
    C MM
    Bb MM
    Ab MM
    Gb MM
    E MM
    F7 sus
    That makes sense when you think how close any given MM scale is to a whole tone scale up a half step.

    BTW what’s the solo/recording he does this on so I can have a listen?

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    What’s a good example of Charlie Christian using the diminished scale?
    I hear diminished lines in CC, but, come to think of it, arps. I don't recall him running a HW scale or WH.

    Chico Pinheiro does use diminished scale fragments, but he varies things a great deal so there may be other ways to analyze what he does. I think he hears all the notes all the time and plays what he hears. It might comfortably fit within a typical analytic unit, or it might not.

  38. #37

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I hear diminished lines in CC, but, come to think of it, arps. I don't recall him running a HW scale or WH.
    I haven’t heard him do that either. I thought you might have found a solo....

    Dim chords of course don’t necessarily have anything to do with the diminished scale. I suspect the dim scale use in jazz started with LNT embellishment of the arpeggio.

    Chico Pinheiro does use diminished scale fragments, but he varies things a great deal so there may be other ways to analyze what he does. I think he hears all the notes all the time and plays what he hears. It might comfortably fit within a typical analytic unit, or it might not.
    Well it’s more likely with Chico that he is coming from that place as he is part of the current paradigm. Btw Here’s a nice example of melodic minor usage I found jn one of his solos:


  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Yeah it's opaque I think because the altered scale is not inherently tied to MM, but it's inherently tied to the tritone substitution. It's more like an (un)fortunate coincidence that it's a mode of MM.

    Tritone substitution is a very old device. Probably much older then conceptualization of MM scale. According to wikipedia:
    "Though examples of the tritone substitution, known in the classical world as an augmented sixth chord, can be found extensively in classical music since the Renaissance period, they were not heard until much later in jazz by musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker in the 1940s, as well as Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge and Benny Goodman."

    If we are looking for direct links, altered scale would have to be seen as some sort of modal interchange chord. That would mean borrowing the 4th chord from melodic minor tritone away. That seems to be criminal amount of intellectualization. I don't know if it's even technically modal interchange if the key is not the same (but tritone away). Of course alternatively we are borrowing the 7th chord from MM half note away. Equally unsatisfying as a modal interchange concept.
    Way too much intellectualization for me, boys and girls. Me cave man jazz guitarist. Me like blue note. Me like chord tone. Me like side slip. Me mix things me like, make solo. Me comp 2 and 3 note chords let soloist play weird notes. Crowd buy drink. Pretty girl bat eyelashes. Wife give dirty look. Jazz good.

    John

  40. #39
    Wow, some surprising responses! TBH, I was expecting some staunch support for MM but I'm guessing there aren't as many post CST modernists around here as I thought...

    Someone mentioned I'd be missing out on MM for the tonic in Minor, but I don't even like HM for that sound, I dig the b7 too much...

    Some point out that MM is just a "pitch collection", and nothing to get hung up over. But I can't help thinking that if anything goes for a Dom chord, then why not just see the Chromatic scale as your "pitch collection" ?

    There have been a few references to players who put MM to work in cool ways, but can someone tell me when MM started to be a common "thing" with jazz players and composers? And which players since then have made MM an important part of their sound? Who was incorporating MM into 60's Hard Bop / early Post Bop?

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    I have a feeling that many of the greats like Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Ed Bickert, Emily Remler approached improvisation in very practical ways. I bet a lot of what they did was to lift some concepts from their favorite players and experiment with them. They probably woodshedded a few basic concepts (like triads as upper extensions, MM over dominants etc) a lot and tried to find good sounding lines using them to develop their language.
    Charlie Parker had small number of short phrases (lick-lets ) that he used a lot but always in fresh and musical ways. So that gives us some insights into what his process was like.
    Of course I could be wrong. Maybe they were more cerebral and cutting edge in their approach. I don't know. I would certainly love to find out how these players approached practicing improvisation.
    Never play anything that's hard. If it's hard, don't play it. -- Joe Pass

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    Way too much intellectualization for me, boys and girls. Me cave man jazz guitarist. Me like blue note. Me like chord tone. Me like side slip. Me mix things me like, make solo. Me comp 2 and 3 note chords let soloist play weird notes. Crowd buy drink. Pretty girl bat eyelashes. Wife give dirty look. Jazz good.

    John
    John A.'s secret "altered chord" identity:


  43. #42

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Wow, some surprising responses! TBH, I was expecting some staunch support for MM but I'm guessing there aren't as many post CST modernists around here as I thought...

    Someone mentioned I'd be missing out on MM for the tonic in Minor, but I don't even like HM for that sound, I dig the b7 too much...

    Some point out that MM is just a "pitch collection", and nothing to get hung up over. But I can't help thinking that if anything goes for a Dom chord, then why not just see the Chromatic scale as your "pitch collection" ?

    There have been a few references to players who put MM to work in cool ways, but can someone tell me when MM started to be a common "thing" with jazz players and composers? And which players since then have made MM an important part of their sound? Who was incorporating MM into 60's Hard Bop / early Post Bop?
    Hang on we had a thread for that.

    I get the impression MM modes as a concept is a late 60s thing educationally, but is certainly the case that people were using it before.

    However did they have a systematised idea of MM harmony, and when did this become established, and what role did jazz edu have in this? I don’t really know. That’s a phd right there.

    It is notable that Russell’s hugely influential work the Lydian Chromatic Concept (1953) references the Lydian Augmented (!) so that’s an early instance of an MM mode. It’s not how his theory was framed however.

    That’s why I wanted to pin down that Herbie/Ron Carter ref above. It’s frustrating when people come out with stuff because they read it in a book or article, but can’t direct one to the primary source. There are people who can do it here and I’m grateful.

    OTOH on the other thread a few thing came up - I’ll find a link to it. The oldest one I think we found was George Shearing’s tune Conception (1950), which is nice because the B section run is a descending C melodic minor scale in ascending form. Further more it’s over a B7alt chord (in C). I would imagine that simple alteration to the key (b3) would be the first common usage of this harmony.

    That said, you can see stuff that looks like MM harmony, but could be understood in a different way, in the jazz of that era.

    But here’s the thing, an overarching theory of music is less important to the improviser than a series of useful rules of thumb that can be applied right away. As Tal175 says - practical. It doesn’t all need to be MM, except when the MM is relevant and helpful. For instance, we don't need to know the MM scale to play altered dominant resolutions to tonic, or to understand a tritone sub. It's just really not necessary.

    (The reason why we use it is some nerd got excited the the MM seemed to explain those two things. Never mind that real music isn't that neat....)

    And that’s why I think we need to draw attention to the problem that jazz has become obsessed with chord symbols. It’s not the scales that are the problem- they are great sounds - it’s the imperative to use them.

    And would say that attitude - against conventional rules - is more genuinely modernist. There’s nothing modernist about following the rules.
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-09-2019 at 03:21 PM.

  44. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Hang on we had a thread for that.....
    Yeah, and I was probably asking the same question! ... Ah well, you never know, we may get some different answers this time ...

  45. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    ...

    And would say that attitude - against conventional rules - is more genuinely modernist. There’s nothing modernist about following the rules.
    Dunno. Modernists, in all the arts, have always followed rules, just not the same ones their parents did (or something...)

    Great points though Christian, in all your posts. I sometimes wonder if we afforded too much attention to things like LCC, CST and the whole MM thing. Like Serial composition, 12 tone rows, atonal theory etc, things become fashionable for a few decades, but we somehow seem to always return to the stuff that we feel on a visceral level, as opposed to stuff that appeals to our intellect and makes us feel clever, or, dare I say, "modern" ...

  46. #45

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Wow, some surprising responses! TBH, I was expecting some staunch support for MM but I'm guessing there aren't as many post CST modernists around here as I thought...

    Someone mentioned I'd be missing out on MM for the tonic in Minor, but I don't even like HM for that sound, I dig the b7 too much...

    Some point out that MM is just a "pitch collection", and nothing to get hung up over. But I can't help thinking that if anything goes for a Dom chord, then why not just see the Chromatic scale as your "pitch collection" ?

    There have been a few references to players who put MM to work in cool ways, but can someone tell me when MM started to be a common "thing" with jazz players and composers? And which players since then have made MM an important part of their sound? Who was incorporating MM into 60's Hard Bop / early Post Bop?
    Depends on what you mean by MM. If you mean literally the MM as one of the source scales for writing melodies in minor keys, that has been around forever. But in the sense of using the modes of MM as source scales for alterations and substitutions, I think that's a less a "sound" than it is a kind of mnemonic system. I mean if you google "melodic minor in jazz" you get page after page talking about how to apply the 7th, 4th, and third modes of MM, but you don't have to think about those notes in terms of MM. There are other ways to mentally organize those. I don't know the history of how people started thinking about it this way (me jazz guitar cave man, even though me skim music theory books sometimes). Anyway, Nica's Dream strikes me as about as MM as it gets (in both senses), so let's say Horace Silver did it.

    John

  47. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post

    I'll add that I have brought this up in threads in the past, but can't recall if anyone suggested I'd be missing out big time by throwing away MM for good. Any thoughts about this?
    um.. there was a dislike against MM.. poor MM

    ||: Dm | Bbm :||
    When playing Dm natural and on Bbm MM - sounds great. I mean, I love to train alt scale that way sometimes. Can't go on dominants too long. Gets to my nerves fast.

  48. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    Depends on what you mean by MM....
    John
    I mean modes of MM (the altered scale in particular) and their associated chord derivations, but I think you know what I mean. So, do you reckon Horace Silver was thinking specifically of MM for Nica's dream, or co-incidentally?

  49. #48

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Dunno. Modernists, in all the arts, have always followed rules, just not the same ones their parents did (or something...)

    Great points though Christian, in all your posts. I sometimes wonder if we afforded too much attention to things like LCC, CST and the whole MM thing. Like Serial composition, 12 tone rows, atonal theory etc, things become fashionable for a few decades, but we somehow seem to always return to the stuff that we feel on a visceral level, as opposed to stuff that appeals to our intellect and makes us feel clever, or, dare I say, "modern" ...
    Well you throw away the old rules, reach a crisis and develop new ones....

    Then that turns into the new orthodoxy, and so on.

  50. #49

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    Depends on what you mean by MM. If you mean literally the MM as one of the source scales for writing melodies in minor keys, that has been around forever. But in the sense of using the modes of MM as source scales for alterations and substitutions, I think that's a less a "sound" than it is a kind of mnemonic system. I mean if you google "melodic minor in jazz" you get page after page talking about how to apply the 7th, 4th, and third modes of MM, but you don't have to think about those notes in terms of MM. There are other ways to mentally organize those. I don't know the history of how people started thinking about it this way (me jazz guitar cave man, even though me skim music theory books sometimes). Anyway, Nica's Dream strikes me as about as MM as it gets (in both senses), so let's say Horace Silver did it.

    John
    And Wes plays Dorian and mm on it

    It’s friggin minor 6. Shit’s been around since the 1930s

    Anyway I blame Billy Strayhorn

  51. #50

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    I mean modes of MM (the altered scale in particular) and their associated chord derivations, but I think you know what I mean. So, do you reckon Horace Silver was thinking specifically of MM for Nica's dream, or co-incidentally?
    I thought I knew, what you meant, but wasn't entirely sure because you specifically referred to the MM sound, and I don't really think of the MM-mode-thing as a sound so much as a means of organizing one's musical thinking. Regarding Nica's dream, I don't know anything about Horace Silver's composition process, but it's in interesting question and may send me off to google ...

    John