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  1. #1

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    In an effort to really get the theory under my fingers, I've been spending time looping one chord and applying arps and scales to it, coming up with new licks, etc. For example, I've now been studying one chord, E7, for two weeks. First, I played simple triad arps, then added the 7th, then approach notes and encapsulation. Then I moved on to the A harmonic minor and payed close attention to how it intersects with the E7 arpeggio. Now, I'm working with Fdim7 and studying how it overlays everything above. I've made so many realizations and connections that I think I'll continue on and give it a full month to reinforce what I'm learning. Then, I'll either transpose to a different dominant chord or move on to a I chord and stay on that for a few weeks. Then work on V7 -> I transitions.


    It's all stuff I've known for a while but haven't made it 'second nature'. Is this crazy overkill?
    Last edited by Sabicas; 12-17-2019 at 03:51 PM.

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  3. #2

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    The way you're talking about it, this has made changes in your brain. THAT is actually showing true absorption of data.

    Which is how something becomes far more than an intellectual/mechanical "thing" out *there* somewhere, because now it can be processed, diced, sliced, and remixed nearly instantaneously.

    The brain is marvelous tool when truly pushed. "We" don't tend to push it nearly enough. I certainly don't on most things.

    Great job there!

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabicas
    In an effort to really the theory under my fingers, I've been spending time looping one chord and applying arps and scales to it, coming up with new licks, etc. For example, I've now been studying one chord, E7, for two weeks. First, I played simple triad arps, then added the 7th, then approach notes and encapsulation. Then I moved on to the A harmonic minor and payed close attention to how it intersects with the E7 arpeggio. Now, I'm working with Fdim7 and studying how it overlays everything above. I've made so many realizations and connections that I think I'll continue on and give it a full month to reinforce what I'm learning. Then, I'll either transpose to a different dominant chord or move on to a I chord and stay on that for a few weeks. Then work on V7 -> I transitions.


    It's all stuff I've known for a while but haven't made it 'second nature'. Is this crazy overkill?
    I view this as discipline. It is only "crazy overkill" if it costs you money (e.g. you miss a gig or your day-job), or a relationship (which, no joke, has happened to some of my friends that spent more time with their guitar then their gal!).

  5. #4
    Ok, cool. I just realized how much I was learning and looked through the archives to find nothing about solely playing over one chord for hours, days, weeks, etc.

  6. #5

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    It might seem like overkill at first but I bet you'll gonna speed up absorbing all that. The "new stuff" will have more "old stuff" to hook on.

  7. #6

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    Seems like it's a good thing. I'm with jameslovestal. And it could even be a boon if you are looking to end a relationship.

  8. #7

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    Playing over one chord for an extended period (more than 15 seconds or so) comes up in modal tunes, so it's a skill set.

    But - if you are planning on playing tunes with a faster harmonic rhythm, you'll need to work very hard on lines that move through/connect changes too. In that case you'll need to learn how to express melodic ideas in 2-3 seconds. Further, the ideas are frequently influenced by what preceded them and what follows them. That's a skill set too.

    Modern playing demands both skill sets, of course.



    As for how long you spend doing what you're doing, well, that's up to you.

  9. #8

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    Dominants are a big subject and from what you are describing above, you are just scratching the surface of possible relevant note collections. Still, if you become fluent with the content as described above, it will serve as an excellent model to absorb additional content further down.

    Theory becomes most useful after we can hear the sounds being described,
    find and execute the on the guitar and begin to contextually apply them
    creatively.

  10. #9

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    primordial music is based on drones..the tambura of north indian classical music for ex...whether it be a note or cluster of notes...great way to develop- your melodic skills...don't just apply theory, but improvise melody as well...a good way to stimulate your own creativity...have fun


    cheers

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabicas
    In an effort to really get the theory under my fingers, I've been spending time looping one chord and applying arps and scales to it, coming up with new licks, etc. For example, I've now been studying one chord, E7, for two weeks. First, I played simple triad arps, then added the 7th, then approach notes and encapsulation. Then I moved on to the A harmonic minor and payed close attention to how it intersects with the E7 arpeggio. Now, I'm working with Fdim7 and studying how it overlays everything above. I've made so many realizations and connections that I think I'll continue on and give it a full month to reinforce what I'm learning. Then, I'll either transpose to a different dominant chord or move on to a I chord and stay on that for a few weeks. Then work on V7 -> I transitions.


    It's all stuff I've known for a while but haven't made it 'second nature'. Is this crazy overkill?
    Not overkill at all...in fact your just beginning to see whats possible..at some point you will have discovered something and not know what to do with it..

    so continue to study theory..also take a hard look at "diatonic harmony" this is a real eye opener to the mysteries of the major and minor scales..in fact it is a "must know" if your going to get serious about how to improv and music in general..yeah its a bit of work..but its priceless to what it gives you..

    a few ideas: change the E7 to E7#9 (the hendrix chord !) study the notes of the chord..the G# D G can be seen as a Bb13 with the E note as a b5 of the chord in the bass (Bb13b5).so extending that logic..you can play Bb dominant types of lines over the E7#9...and going a few steps further you can move most altered dominant chords in symmetrical patterns (in this case-minor thirds) ..try Bb7 Db7 E7 G7 arps scales licks etc over each other and being that they are the fifth step in their own Diatonic scale...try the One (I Ma7) chord of those scales.. EbMA GbMA AMA and CMA..(try the minors too..)

    just a few possibilities...hope this helps

  12. #11

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    I just wanna give a helpful tip in case the OP is a normal person.

    If you can use those learned things with some tunes, it'd really be the best. But if not all of it, be sure not to forget to recall that stuff from time to time. If those things have any value at all (for present or for the future), you got to plant them into the long term memory. And for normal human beings, this takes lots of times of.. um.. recalling. Forget and recall. Some more complex things (and tunes) it actually takes months. It's not a hard job in the usual sense. Just it takes time. I mean.. many times

  13. #12

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    I guess it depends on what you're after. Nothing BAD can come of that kind of study, but jazz is a music of movement, not static chords (for the most part)

    So maybe take this a step further and practice that E7...and practice leading to all the places it might commonly lead...

  14. #13

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    Funny I was going to reply with exactly what Jeff said. It’s not overkill, it’s just not fully scoped. Sounds like you are ready to crush 8 bars of modal vamping, but what you described might be underkill for playing a functional dominant that lasts two beats.

  15. #14

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    Some thoughts...

    Within the context of a song, a particular chord may serve as one of many possible interpretive expressions of the harmony. In other words, a particular chord in isolation is potentially multi-functional within various harmonic contexts.

    It is common practice (pun) to study a song by pausing at various chords or chord changes to experiment and explore various ideas for a few minutes... but when doing this one is hearing the function of the harmony with respect to the progression of the song, and likely between playing experimental ideas one is leading up to the place of interest by playing the preceding chords - so that you hear and feel the functional pressure in order to apply the ideas within harmonic context.

    If you are listening to the same chord for a very long time, it's sounding like a tonic one chord and the functional pressure is going to be limited so. You may discover lots of interesting things but they may be limited to sounding good for the one chord and not applicable when that chord is serving some other harmonic role. You may also be unintentionally learning to hear these ideas as only applicable to a one chord when some of them may be applicable to other harmonic functions.

    I'm sure you know that you can't properly hear or treat every subsequent chord in a song as a "one chord" and apply ideas from a collection of "one chord" studies. I can understand what you are doing and why (it's a direct fountain of ideas), but be aware and cautious that these ideas may be kind of "mono-functional" because they are sourced from listening to just one chord.

    To the degree that the remedy might be to loop two chords, then progress to three chords... one sees the old wisdom of learning the songs themselves within which all the harmonic chord relationships needed to grasp and play the song are already in the song; and so all the rest of the songs.

  16. #15

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    A big part of Bebop is seeing (and hearing) and resolving chords over chords. No need for them to actually be there, you can create your own substitutions over one basic chord.

  17. #16

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    I think it's a good idea to practice Dominant material (all kinds) separately for a long time (months) and Tonic material separately for similar time periods. BUT, I think it's even more important to practice resolving Dom to Tonic ideas for an even longer period of time. Practice 2 bars each, one bar each, half a bar each. It's good preparation for handling tunes.

    Some may insist that you need to practice improvising against actual tunes from the get go, but if you come from a rock background, you may need some "bridging" work...

  18. #17

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    So is the practice organized... by that I mean is there a plan. Random hours of noodling generally becomes your guitar playing you.
    Developing skills generally isn't by chance. By chance organization usually develops bad habits which will lead to technical walls. Some things feel great and seem perfect in the moment.... and later, well not as great or perfect.

    But it sounds like you have a plan, know where your heading, and really just working on technical skills and maybe even performance skills... So yea start with single chords and then be able to play and use that single chord with different references. By that I mean,

    E7... implies 4 notes, when you add a Reference, like a tonal reference, your implying some type of organization, musical organization in which that E7 chord has Guidelines, basic rules for how that E7 is going to Function in different Tonal contexts. Those Guidelines are just harmonic organization for what the E7 generally does in Musical contexts. When you add approach or encapsulations.... any Device that embellishes or ornaments that E7 chord... those embellishments and ornamentations also have Tonal implications.

    It's not that complicated, can and usually does just become... licks, which become a single Tonality identity in it's self. But not all Licks have as much weight or sound as good in different Tonal contexts.

    So be aware of where the Tonal context is from. Which is just what Function does the E7 chord have in a context. Tonic, Dominant or Subdominant.... The main differences are just what the rest or added notes are ... and where they are from.

    All the voice leading aspects are just how we choose to realize this.

    So generally you then move on to 2 chord relationships, same guidelines... then longer chords patterns, which create guidelines again for that E7 chord.

    The next step is to make those 2 chord and longer chord patterns... become like Licks. That means that the Lick... becomes and Functions like... 1 chord. Generally called Chord Patterns. Like II-7 V7's, or I VI II V's... bVi bVII I's... use of common Subs in standard contexts. ( sub V's and V's and related chord patterns). OK it starts to get a little more complicated now... because now you"ll begin to have multiple Layers of harmony going on simultaneously. Which is going to lead to organization of harmonic Rhythm.

    Harmonic rhythm is just where harmony or chords are played or implied, the physical rhythmic organization. The attack locations.
    Simple example The tune or whatever your playing has a Harmonic rhythm of 2 bars with attack pattern of // Dotted quarter, eighth tied to quarter, quarter // Dotted quarter, eighth tied to half // That pattern uses E7 for the 1st bar then on 2nd bar, E7 to F7.

    That becomes the Harmonic rhythm... the Strong Harmonic rhythm. The rest or other attacks become the weak Harmonic Rhythm.

    Easier to just say... the Strong or the weak side of Harmonic Rhythm....(strong or weak side of beat). Now you have two layers to harmonically organize. If it's starting to get silly, I get it, but that's how it works, whether your aware of it or not. And as you become a better player... that organization helps music have a perception of pulse and repetition, generally how musician create Feels, grooves etc.

    Anyway.... if you want anymore info... feel free to ask, or yea, who really cares.

  19. #18

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    I think it's all good ....
    whenever you're playing those new sounds
    and getting those sounds into your ears .... It's cool

    i can't play one chord for extended periods like you can
    but I can and have practiced one song for extended periods
    and got a lot out of it

    i think I'm more into the harmonic movements

    whatever works for you man
    go for it
    Last edited by pingu; 12-18-2019 at 08:44 PM.

  20. #19

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    Hey pingu.... you just opened one of the main doors for performing in a Jazz Style... Creating Harmonic movement or perception of from One Chord.

  21. #20

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    My reservation about this approach to practicing is that chords imply movement (to the next chord) and strong melodies lead from one chord to another. There is a great book, “Forward Motion,” by Hal Galper, that covers this. Your lines are always moving through the changes (either those on the lead sheet or superimposed) so, although it’s great to know your way around each chord-type, you may want to consider how your lines push on into the next chord and create exercises that promote that “forward movement.”

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rsilver
    My reservation about this approach to practicing is that chords imply movement (to the next chord) and strong melodies lead from one chord to another. There is a great book, “Forward Motion,” by Hal Galper, that covers this. Your lines are always moving through the changes (either those on the lead sheet or superimposed) so, although it’s great to know your way around each chord-type, you may want to consider how your lines push on into the next chord and create exercises that promote that “forward movement.”
    Although I think it's OK to start out making learning how to make a jazz sound against single chords, I agree that the end goal is to be able to play through a progression, which takes a lot of practice. In fact, I recently edited together all the tonic bars of a Metheny minor blues, to cop some tonic minor ideas. Did it sound like a single chord minor vamp? Haha! No way- it sounded ridiculous! Because the lines were always either heading to a iv chord, or returning from one, approaching the VI - V7b9, or returning from that. If it didn't sound wrong when editing out these other chords, then there would be something very wrong with the construction of the lines.

    So yeah, there's the proof right there that good lines are always either anticipating harmonic change, or consolidating resolution. If you only practiced long single chord vamps, you are not learning the art of "question-answer"...

  23. #22

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    Yea, Hal's approach of forward motion or lack of using tension release with harmonic rhythm etc... is great example. But... I'm not sure OP knows what Chords imply or can imply from a simple Tonic standpoint. Or as Prince got into basic structural organization of melodic lines.

    I would also agree... there should also be a balance to practice material and time spent on. But opinions seem to differ on what and how to implement that organization. Seems like OP is really trying to become aware of the basic components or elements of what Chords are, and results of creating different relationships with that single chord and trying to develop them.

    The next step might be becoming aware of how guidelines and organizations are created from a Reference , Tonal reference to relate that single chord and expanded relationships with that chord to different References. And yea, then with those understandings, begin to apply voicing, melodic, rhythmic organizations to expand the control of Function or Motion,(Forward-Motion etc..) or even perception of with different types of organization.

    Anyway... It doesn't really sound like OP has the theory aspect together yes... (I may be totally wrong), but sounds like he/she is more of trying to just get sounds in ears and fingerings as well.

  24. #23
    Wow, that's a lot of responses. Thanks for the feedback!!

    Some background on my abilities. I've played a lot of different styles on a several instruments in the last 20 years. Black Sabbath -> flamenco (moved to Spain for a year, was quite serious) -> lap/pedal steel and cümbüs (look it up) in a progressive rock band -> cümbüs in a duo that mixed Mexican ballads with middle eastern melodies -> the present where I've been concentrating on improvisation in the gypsy jazz style, but in DADGAD tuning. I started dabbling in GJazz years ago but it's been short phases in between other phases. When i started playing other instruments and had to think in 3-4 tunings, I started thinking in intervals, chord construction, scales so I could quickly map out a "new" fretboard. I visualize in numbers/intervals instead of notes most of the time. Pedal steel study forced a huge leap forward in my grasp of fundamental theory as you can't even begin to get by with rote playing like on a 6-string guitar. There are just not enough resources unless you want to be stuck in 3-chord country hell forever. I feel like I have a solid grasp on the fundamentals listed above, but my knowledge of harmonic movement and chord progressions is limited.

    It's always been about original music which means I don't know a complete jazz standard. I've never been interested in learning standards though I've made attempts at various times. That's usually a quick way to lose interest and go back to concentrating on pedal steel. My general goal is to be well equipped to improvise in whatever direction I head in next (don't we all?). I've listened enough to realize that I enjoy the sound of arpeggio-based improvisation more than thinking in scales and modes. Yeah, gypsy jazz and old-school jazz.

    So, with that cleared up, I'd like to make significant leaps forward while I have no foreseeable gigs or projects. Should I loop over two chords and take recommendations on what to study about those? Should I start with a standard and just loop the first two chords, then the 2nd and 3rd, and keep moving through it? There's a lot of recommendations above, but do any of those change based on my tastes? If you have months of woodshedding for 1 hour a day, what would you do at my level?

    Thanks again for any recommendations.
    Last edited by Sabicas; 12-19-2019 at 01:17 PM.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabicas
    ... If you have months of woodshedding for 1 hour a day, what would you do at my level?

    Thanks again for any recommendations.
    If you had only an hour per day for a few months, that isn't going to be enough to learn any serious jazz improv skills. You'll probably need a few hours a day for a few years, just to undo the unhelpful habits acquired over your playing life! But, if you learned the Bop ways of embellishing arps based on upper extensions (mixture of diatonic and chromatic approaches, encapsulations etc), first a chord at a time, then Dominant to Tonic, and then Alt Dom to tonic (maj and minor) - perhaps that won't hurt. Unless you do it wrong...

    So yeah, get a teacher and know what questions to ask about the specific styles you wish to learn.

  26. #25

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    I dunno, all I could ever commit to was an hour or so a day.

    Then again, I'm nearly 15 years in and I'm finally approaching "not embarrassing" level, so take that for what its worth.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I dunno, all I could ever commit to was an hour or so a day.

    Then again, I'm nearly 15 years in and I'm finally approaching "not embarrassing" level, so take that for what its worth.
    Ha! - bit of a difference b/n an hour a day for 3 months, vs an hour per day for 15 years!
    Last edited by princeplanet; 12-20-2019 at 10:09 AM.

  28. #27

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    For students or hobbyists - 1 hour per day can definitely yeild progress! 2 hours per day can yield great progress.


    Working up to "pro" level takes more. A "no mistake" performance level is the minimum standard and there is more repertoire to work up, and maintain.

  29. #28

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    So yea... your where i thought you were.... very talented, been involved with music for years... Don't really have the jazz thing together and checking it out. Jazz is difficult to just play without.... lots of time and organized work. Then to actually be able to play in a Jazz style takes even more time.

    Most music is very Black and white... not that many choices, just develop some skills or sight read the music and your off and runnin. With jazz it becomes about possibilities, multi-layered and all going on simultaneously.

  30. #29

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    If I were you I would take a standard I like
    (or failing that 'all of me' )

    learn the tune and changes really well
    then play through the form using the Arps for each chord
    up C , down E7 up A7 etc round the form

    Keep going at it and then with many variations,
    like bits of the tune thrown in , chromatic approaches,
    bits of scalar ideas etc
    up the arp , down the scale is a fav of mine
    mess with that a LOT .... Have fun with it

    with everything you can already do
    it will be easy , follow your ears , outline the changes
    (don't be put off thinking you need to know
    every mode of every scale under the sun
    this is not true)

  31. #30

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    You can walk and chew gum? right. also keep working on 1chord then 2chords as I mentioned above. Personally most players seem to never get away from 1st impressions of learning and performing tunes. It's like even when you know something would work better... you'll just keep doing what your comfortable with...and force it to work. Which happens when learning tunes, most times your first few understandings, analysis and performances can suck. Change the time, feel and form...it becomes a new tune. (really what happens is your guitar teaches you how to play the tune and where to play it). Disclaimer... Saying somewhat in jest. But at least think about it.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt
    If you are planning on playing tunes with a faster harmonic rhythm, you'll need to work very hard on lines that move through/connect changes too. In that case you'll need to learn how to express melodic ideas in 2-3 seconds. Further, the ideas are frequently influenced by what preceded them and what follows them.
    I've been working on measures 7 and 8 of Our Love Is Here to Stay for quite a while now. There are four chords in two measures: Eb9 D9 | Bmi7b5 E7b9. The first challenge was to parse out the actual chords, because the Real Book had measure 8 all D9, which doesn't resolve at all to the Ami D7 in measure 9. I kind of intuitively got that the Eb9 was really an A7 altered chord. So then it became a little easier to navigate from Eb to D7(9) which was half the battle. The second half was getting from D7 to Bmi7b5. The C in D7 is a leading tone to B natural, which sets me up for a minor ii V7 (I'm pretty much playing B locrian to E phrygian dominant here.) The E7b9 resolves comfortably to the Ami in measure 9. It's taken me a long time to get something musical to play here. Now I can change a few notes around and pass it off as ideas. Still could use some more work, though, especially at 150 bpm.