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  1. #1

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    I've been away from this forum for years, but I'm back because of this question. Now, since I've been away, I've collected even more books on learning Jazz Guitar, all with little effect. I still struggle when it comes to improvisation and trying to develop anything that sounds remotely like a "jazz style." My improvisation origins were with the blues and I suppose they will always predominate. Years spent playing classical guitar has allowed me much more freedom of expression -- I can now insert scale passages and arpeggios into my improvs with relative ease.

    But playing over numerous changes I still find to be a big challenge. I've read ad nauseum about tonal centers and the like, and honestly, my eyes start to glaze over. I mean, I get it, in principle. Stay with the tones in that chord's key when playing against that chord, etc. But I find that this doesn't always works as well as I think it should, and I think now that it is because of the predominant influence of the key the piece is written in. Certain sounds are still expected, even if playing a chord that doesn't belong in that key. Like a modulation from A major (the key of) to an F major 7th, for example. The two keys aren't even closely related, although the FM7 shares a couple of notes with A major, which I think end up helping out a lot. But the F chord is closely related to A Minor. Which is where this thought began to take shape.

    What I've done today is take the chord progression to a piece I've written -- a rather complex progression with a lot of modulations -- and lay out which of the chords fit, more or less, into it in terms of Major or Minor. This isn't really a jazz piece, it's written in more of a sort of laid back pop style, I suppose. But because of its complexity, I'm thinking that some sort of jazz approach is best for attempting to solo above the progression. It's written in A Major, so what I did was, I decided which of the chords in its progression were more closely associated with A Major and which with A Minor. And then, as I attempted to improvise over this progression, I paid attention to whether I should be playing in A Major or A Minor, with one exception -- A Mixolydian. There were various sections where the major third and flat seven worked well. But you know what? It's working, pretty much. Of course, there are the inevitable accidentals that one must still deal with. Like a D#7b5 or a Bb9 -- still need to pay attention to them against chords like these. But at least, to me, I've simplified things where I'm no longer having to chase individual keys all over the place when I'm trying to play something that sounds halfway intelligible.

    So, to you jazz purists, is this oversimplification, or can you see how it might just work for a person who's at least getting started?
    Last edited by cooltouch; 01-06-2020 at 02:41 PM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Oversimplification? I don't know, actually sounds like a lot of thinking to me.

    There's a lot of ways to navigate a tune. I guess for me personally, I'm always looking for ways to simplify complicated progressions...but I'm also looking for ways to add options to simple progressions.

    One of the first points of attack would simply to look at a song and see which chords are diatonic, and which ones aren't, and address those "oddballs" with care. But that gets boring kind of quick.

    Generally, I think of jazz as music of "movements." There's points of tension and points of rest. Identifying the points of rest is key...and they don't even have to be the same every time thorough the form. Over the movements of tension, you can pretty much play anything that "pulls" to the rest point. And depending on what your ears hear as "okay," there's different answers for that too.

    There's also idioms within jazz. There's an expected way to play in certain style that doesn't necessarily carry over into others...always something to think about.

    This could be a very cool discussion, thanks for starting it.

  4. #3

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    Might I suggest you post the progression and how you are approaching it piece by piece?
    There are endless ways.

    Stick to "pitch collections" based off the major scale and add accidentals as needed like Jimmy Bruno.

    Stick to mostly dominant scale playing like Barry Harris.

    Stick to playing out of chord shapes.

    Stick to arpeggios and chord tones as your guide.

    Stick to minor scales.

    Stick to playing completely by ear.

    Stick to triads.

    Mix all of it.

    Who knows.

  5. #4

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    Corpse, your response is the sort of thing that makes my eyes glaze over. Where to start, where to start. And Jeff, since this isn't really a jazz piece, I dunno if any of your ideas apply. I'm just reasoning that a jazz philosophy of improvisation might be the best approach toward soloing over the changes.

    Speaking of changes, Corpse, since you ask, you'll find them below. As for how I approach it, well, you should understand that this is still a new piece of music to me. I wrote it only a few days ago and I'm still working on the melody. So I've been listening to it, more or less non-stop, for two days now, trying to internalize it, but it ain't easy. That's why I hit on the Major Minor thing. But it still means I have to closely follow the music so that I'm staying up with the changes. I might not be focusing so much on the names of the chords now, but I still have to be aware of my place in the music so I know which mode to be in. I'm hopeful that I will eventually reach the point where I know exactly the characteristic of the sequence at any given point, and will know how to handle it.

    (Intro)
    C#m7 F#7b9 Bm7 E7

    (Chorus)
    AM9 DM9 CM7 FM7
    AM9 C#7 DM7 Dm69
    AM9 A9/G F#7sus4 B11b5/F
    F#m7/E D#7b5 D11 Bb9
    AM7 C13 FM9 Gadd9
    E69/F# FM9 G9 A69

    (Bridge)
    D11 Bb9 B11b5 C#7
    DM9 Dm11 AM9 F#m7
    FM7 C13 BbM9 AM9
    FM7 BbM7 G7/B AM9

    (c) Copyright Cooltouch Publishing, all rights reserved
    Last edited by cooltouch; 01-06-2020 at 02:41 PM.

  6. #5

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    For someone beginning what? This thread or?

    This ain't my first rodeo. I just added a sig with a link to my music up at SoundCloud. My Album "In the Know" contains what I rather euphemistically refer to as my jazz pieces. As I mentioned above, I don't claim to be a jazz player.

    I've collected enough work for at least two more albums. Some of it will fall loosely within the genre of Smooth Jazz, but I don't have any straight up jazz pieces I've worked up -- so far. I'm currently about halfway through the arrangement process and I hope to start posting some of the music up to SoundCloud within the next couple of weeks. This piece, I'll let you know when I've posted it.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by cooltouch

    (Intro)
    C#m7 F#7b9 Bm7 E7

    (Chorus)
    AM9 DM9 CM7 FM7
    AM9 C#7 DM7 Dm69
    AM9 A9/G F#7sus4 B11b5/F
    F#m7/E D#7b5 D11 Bb9
    AM7 C13 FM9 Gadd9
    E69/F# FM9 G9 A69

    (Bridge)
    D11 Bb9 B11b5 C#7
    DM9 Dm11 AM9 F#m7
    FM7 C13 BbM9 AM9
    FM7 BbM7 G7/B AM9

    (c) Copyright Cooltouch Publishing, all rights reserved
    That is a doozy. I don't know a lot about non-functional stuff.

  8. #7

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    Are you thinking that:

    - chords have keys ("tones in that chord's key")?
    - a progression chord change to a chord that doesn't share those same
    "tones in that chord's key" is "a chord that doesn't belong in that key"?
    - a chord change to
    "a chord that doesn't belong in that key" is a modulation?
    - for a song in A major with lots of complex chord changes you can improvise with only ideas that stem from tonic A?

    I think before any further discussion you must clarify if this is how you are thinking.

  9. #8

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    I might not approach it too differently than I would a jazz tune, really. It would depend on the style and listener expectations, too. What is the style? Is it slow? Fast?

    And yes, the melody would help.

    You've got a lot of chords there. A lot of the #'s after them, for improv purposes, are superflouous. It also reads to me as a "you're using specific voicings" kinda thing...is that right? That matters too.

    Can you do a quick "strum through" video or recording just to get the idea across?

  10. #9

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    OK, it appears that I really need to post an example of this piece. So I've put together an MP3 of it, which contains:

    Intro
    2 choruses
    bridge
    1 chorus

    It is just the accompaniment -- no melody yet. Tempo is 110 bpm. I'll be the first to admit -- the mix still needs some tweaking, so you'll have to look past its issues.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by cooltouch; 01-06-2020 at 07:30 PM.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by cooltouch
    OK, it appears that I really need to post an example of this piece. So I've put together an MP3 of it, which contains:

    Intro
    2 choruses
    bridge
    1 chorus

    It is just the accompaniment -- no melody yet. Tempo is 110 bpm. I'll be the first to admit -- the mix still needs some tweaking, so you'll have to look past its issues.
    Attachment 67836
    Hmmm...can't get file to open.

  12. #11

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    Your song is beautiful! and indicates a very high level of musical grasp, and I better understand why you are asking about finding melody or improvisation ideas. Because of some of the chord changes (I like them!), a melody is definitely going to take some rare or unusual turns and twists. I think there are some melody ideas already in the piano voicing - the upper lines and the upper notes of the chords... maybe try to find the voicing lines within the chords that express the changes without being too obvious or angular, compare them for how they sound and the mood you want to convey.

    Canonical Jazz Theory is going to touch almost none of what you have - I think composing a melody and developing improvisation strategies would generally need to be done by ear.

  13. #12

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    Jeff, Hmmm indeed. I'm getting the same result on my phone, although it plays fine on my computer. I think I know what the problem might be. I set the sound quality to "highest." I've had similar problems when I set .jpg image files to "highest" image quality. When I turned them down a notch, then they would open. So I'll try the same thing with this mp3, turning it down a notch, just to make sure anyone can hear it. I'll try out on my phone also, just to be sure.

    I'm away from my computer so give me a bit.

  14. #13

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    Paul, thanks for the kind words. I agree with much of what you wrote. I hear snatches of melody as I listen and I'm hoping they solidify the more I listen. So far I've gotten down about 16 bars I like but the bridge has me a bit frazzled. Your suggestion about analyzing the keyboard parts is a good one and bears examination. Maybe that'll get me unstuck and help some with the remainder of the chorus.

    I view the compositional process differently from improv, although often I find improv to be an aid. I need to feel comfortable with a progression so that my improvisational thoughts flow freely, else I find I resort to hackneyed licks that seldom fit well. I'm afraid I'm still at the hackneyed level with this piece so far.

  15. #14

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    I agree about the bridge. Often, I've found, however, that it can be a real challenge coming up with a bridge that is a complete departure. But ideally that's what it should be. Or at least that's typically what happens when you look at most modern pop music that has a bridge. Something to keep in mind . . .

    The way it is right now, it's just an aaba song form. Except the "b" section is 8 bars shorter than the "a" section.

    I'm stumped as to why the .mp3 won't open. I can't get it to open on my phone, but my computer plays it just fine. I bumped the quality down a couple of pegs, but I left the bit rate at 256. I wonder if I turn the bit rate down some? I'll give that a try.
    Last edited by cooltouch; 01-06-2020 at 07:36 PM.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by cooltouch

    But playing over numerous changes I still find to be a big challenge. I've read ad nauseum about tonal centers and the like, and honestly, my eyes start to glaze over. I mean, I get it, in principle. Stay with the tones in that chord's key when playing against that chord, etc. But I find that this doesn't always works as well as I think it should, and I think now that it is because of the predominant influence of the key the piece is written in. Certain sounds are still expected, even if playing a chord that doesn't belong in that key. Like a modulation from A major (the key of) to an F major 7th, for example. The two keys aren't even closely related, although the FM7 shares a couple of notes with A major, which I think end up helping out a lot. But the F chord is closely related to A Minor. Which is where this thought began to take shape.
    cooltouch...do you understand how the augmented scale works and what it can do..? just asking-many players dont

    A Augmented Scale-an amazing hexatonic (6 tone scale

    A C C# E F Ab (scale tones of A maj--1 b3 3 5 #5 M7)

    wait now..there is an A Major .triad and Ma7 and A minor triad
    AND
    Fmaj triad &(Maj7) and Fmi triad
    AND
    C#maj triad (and maj7) and C#mi7 triad

    so now you see how A Maj and F maj can not only blend with each other but are both in a six tone scale..

    now mix and match these six triads and other chords and play around with them and you will discover some amazing improv line jump out at you..(you may hear some Coltrane changes)

    you may also find some ways to use some of the Melodic minor chords and arps based on the Minor chords from the AUG scale

    read up on this scale and its many applications it is a good source for improv material

    and of course when you get you feet wet with this kind of thing..the minor chords can be used in many formats -- as the one minor...dorian minor.. phrygian minor...aolian minor...and the Harmonic and melodic minors..and synthetic minor scales

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflen
    cooltouch...do you understand how the augmented scale works and what it can do..? just asking-many players dont
    Heh, that'd be me! Honestly I've never even thought about using an augmented scale. That's a very strange sequence of intervals. No 2nd, no 4th, but two 3rds and two 5ths. Whew, that'll take some getting used to. The only one I've ever messed around with has been based on the augmented major triad.

    Sounds impressive. I've been playing around with it some. Definitely has an "oriental" flavor to it, doesn't it. I've figured out a two-octave scale fingering in A, starting on the 12th fret, 5th string, (actually the 11th fret if I start on a g#), winding up with the turn-around on the 17th fret. The fingering reminds me of the sort of pattern I've used in many classical pieces I've played.

    Here's try number three at my .mp3. I've bumped the bit rate down to 192. I hope that does the trick. Nope. My phone still won't open it. Oh well, I tried.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by cooltouch; 01-06-2020 at 08:03 PM.

  18. #17

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    ..."...Heh, that'd be me! Honestly I've never even thought about using an augmented scale. That's a very strange sequence of intervals. No 2nd, no 4th, but two 3rds and two 5ths. Whew, that'll take some getting used to. The only one I've ever messed around with has been based on the augmented major triad...."


    well then...another secret of the scale..every note in the scale can be the root of an augmented triad !!

    Thank you...I enjoyed your music..reminded me of several composers ,,Vangelis..being one..and some of todays players that are on soft jazz statiions



  19. #18

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    Not sure if this helps but I'm going back to a little bit of theory. When you mention the dominant F I think right away of a Bb major. A dominant chord is just asking for resolution. For me the question is then how to get from and AM to a Bb major, which is a theoretically simple shift up of half a note. I think it's called a parallel chord but you hear it quite often in pop songs when the chorus is repeated one whole note higher for increased " anthemic" effect. To make a fool express this change you could repeat a line literally half a note up. From the Bb to Dm you're in the same scale but depending on the general feel you may start a line on the D to remind the listeners that you have shifted the emphasis on the scale by moving to the Dm. Same for the Cm. for me the F dominant remains the big influence in pulling you to the Bb and giving its sound extra weight as the key of the song. I guess that's why they call dominant chords dominant.

    Curious if a theory buff is going to slap me round the ears for this...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  20. #19

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    Eck, I follow what you're saying, but it doesn't really apply here. In my above discussion I was referring to an F major 7th, not a dominant 7th. In fact, there are no F7 chords anywhere in the entire piece. There aren't even any F chords with dominant harmonies (9th, 11th, 13th). I count three FM7s and two Fm7s.

    I remember reading quite some time ago that a dominant chord can resolve to any other dominant chord. It may not be the smoothest transition, but it appears doable. However, knowing this, I reasoned that it is probably not all that big of a jump to have a dominant chord resolve anywhere, and you know what, it often works and can have a nice effect. That's why you'll see in this piece a few chords with dominant harmonies not resolving in a V-I fashion. I like the sound created by this sort of unexpected change.

  21. #20

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    Oops I missed that! Anyway I reckon the theory basically tries to explain why and how we hear things. And that informs which notes to emphasise. But then I don't think Billy Holiday or Beethoven was taught this stuff.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  22. #21

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    I think many problems come from the fact that the key/functional tonality system - being borrowed from classical - is not used in jazz as it is used in classical.

    If we look at alsmot any - even realtively simple - classical piece we will see that modulations are the moments of form. That means that key relations were meaningful...
    It was like a cathedral where you have proportions and different elments of the whole building. It is the whole thing.

    In jazz it is applied more like 'bricks' without seeing overall picture... because this is often the cocept of jazz playing... and it leads to frustration and misunderstandings.

    Sorry for this general overview...

    And one practial idea. You know what I thought about when I saw this post with changes I qoute below... I thought: I would love to see/hear a melody.

    Melody is personifcation or any harmonic solution. Harmony is always a general thing.
    (It works at least within European tradition).

    Could it be that frustration and attempts to find some other solutions in the case that you describe come from the fact that we often 'construct changes' instead of 'composing a melody'.

    Note that I do not mean a simplicity of a melody! I don't mean: write a recognizable pop-tune. It can be very sophisticated melodic idea.
    I believe that even complex classical symphonies - good ones - are based on ability to melodicize the idea, to express all the complex movement of artictic ideas in melodic thinking.
    (And again it is not about pop attractiveness of a tune which is common for pop songs)

    Basically I am almost sure that great composers thought in terms of melody as the harmony already was incorporated in their hearing to such an extent that they did not need to refer to it conciously.

    I am saying this becasue I beliee that any kind problem with organization of impro through changes - be it simple standard tune or complex moder changes - is directly connected with that: harmony has no melodicpersonification in players mind.


    (Intro)
    C#m7 F#7b9 Bm7 E7

    (Chorus)
    AM9 DM9 CM7 FM7
    AM9 C#7 DM7 Dm69
    AM9 A9/G F#7sus4 B11b5/F
    F#m7/E D#7b5 D11 Bb9
    AM7 C13 FM9 Gadd9
    E69/F# FM9 G9 A69

    (Bridge)
    D11 Bb9 B11b5 C#7
    DM9 Dm11 AM9 F#m7
    FM7 C13 BbM9 AM9
    FM7 BbM7 G7/B AM9

  23. #22

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    Jonah, I like what you say but will need some time to get it. Is it that modulations in classical music are heard as relating to the key where in jazz the key shifts with the progression?



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eck
    Jonah, I like what you say but will need some time to get it. Is it that modulations in classical music are heard as relating to the key where in jazz the key shifts with the progression?



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    It is difficult to put it in brief...

    If you look at the prime period of functional tonality (high baroque and classicism) you will see that keys and functions make a biig system - like a universe.
    Tonic is total stability (that is owhy in classical only one chord can be tonic), Dominant is the oppostite of it but the tesnion is so much that it is always very close both to resolution to tonic (stay in the key) and break up with (modulate). Subdominant is something in between.

    If you take Bach's suite dance or Mozartz's symphony's movemnet - or part of Vivalsi's concerto - you will that there is an overall tonality setup... mostly it is about being in Tonic Key - then it is about finding its way to Dominant key - then it is getting unstable roaming around Subdominant and then returning to Tonic key (not chords - keys!!!).
    It is about general modulations. These modulations are always marked with cadences.

    The key change was so important that Hayd and sometimes Mozart could use the same melody as secondary theme just after mosulation to Dominant key... all the difference was in a key (that is why if one does not hear the modulation one does not understand the music - for him it will sound as a repeat).

    The same concerns baroque music. Here is famous Vivaldi's Largo.
    Many people today think that at 01:00 the repeat begins but it is not a repeat it is another section becasue it is a different key. There was a modulation before that for Vivaldi's contemporaries was ovbious but may stay unnoticed to modern average listner who hears only melody or motive.





    Those are very simple examples - imagine what is going on in one hour long symphonies. THey are like novels.

    Besides they can be more tricky ways to use it combining it with different types of cadence and resolutions which can help to express very complex meanings.
    Here's Locatelli's C minor concerto movement (1st piece)



    We have the same conception as with Vivaldi --- what seems a repeat at 0:40 is new section in a new key... that section moves through many deceptive 'modulations' - those are not real modulations but rather are 'deviations' that brings in very perplexed meaning and emotion.
    At about 01:50 it returns to the original key but what hapens? The key returns with intruded cadence - the end and the beginning coincide and also you can notice that the intro - or brief prelude (decending minor arpeggio is not there -- as it was - -- now it show up at the end of the piece making it a conlusion).

    Basically the form is exactly the same as with the Vivaldi's Largo but treated in an expanded - and very subtle - way.


    The most interesting thing is how composers do that - how they move from one to another.... and there is a philosophy about it.
    Imagine the idea of T-S-D as functions that describeld above... and how and where and why Dominant becomes a Tonic that creates its own relationships.... there is huge potential behind this systen to express the subtles ideas.
    It is similar to planetary system where every planet can be a part one system and creating its own center - it is all about movement and force and tension... it can make extremely complex and vivid system. (This where the late Romantic 19th century symphony came to at the end of it all) .


    In jazz all this just does not exist mostly --- only in original form standard songs - like modulations between chorus and bridge...
    Mostly key change in jazz is just a local shift of tonal centre to create a tool for further movement - lit does not consider overall form of the piece.

    Sorry for going too much into detalis.. I would not be surprised if you let it pass by)))

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eck
    Jonah, I like what you say but will need some time to get it. Is it that modulations in classical music are heard as relating to the key where in jazz the key shifts with the progression?



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    It is difficult to put it in brief...

    If you look at the prime period of functional tonality (high baroque and classicism) you will see that keys and functions make a biig system - like a universe.
    Tonic is total stability (that is owhy in classical only one chord can be tonic), Dominant is the oppostite of it but the tesnion is so much that it is always very close both to resolution to tonic (stay in the key) and break up with (modulate). Subdominant is something in between.

    If you take Bach's suite dance or Mozartz's symphony's movemnet - or part of Vivalsi's concerto - you will that there is an overall tonality setup... mostly it is about being in Tonic Key - then it is about finding its way to Dominant key - then it is getting unstable roaming around Subdominant and then returning to Tonic key (not chords - keys!!!).
    It is about general modulations. These modulations are always marked with cadences.

    The key change was so important that Hayd and sometimes Mozart could use the same melody as secondary theme just after mosulation to Dominant key... all the difference was in a key (that is why if one does not hear the modulation one does not understand the music - for him it will sound as a repeat).

    The same concerns baroque music. Here is famous Vivaldi's Largo.
    Many people today think that at 01:00 the repeat begins but it is not a repeat it is another section becasue it is a different key. There was a modulation before that for Vivaldi's contemporaries was ovbious but may stay unnoticed to modern average listner who hears only melody or motive.





    Those are very simple examples - imagine what is going on in one hour long symphonies. THey are like novels.

    Besides they can be more tricky ways to use it combining it with different types of cadence and resolutions which can help to express very complex meanings.
    Here's Locatelli's C minor concerto movement (1st piece)



    We have the same conception as with Vivaldi --- what seems a repeat at 0:40 is new section in a new key... that section moves through many deceptive 'modulations' - those are not real modulations but rather are 'deviations' that brings in very perplexed meaning and emotion.
    At about 01:50 it returns to the original key but what hapens? The key returns with intruded cadence - the end and the beginning coincide and also you can notice that the intro - or brief prelude (decending minor arpeggio is not there -- as it was - -- now it show up at the end of the piece making it a conlusion).

    Basically the form is exactly the same as with the Vivaldi's Largo but treated in an expanded - and very subtle - way.


    The most interesting thing is how composers do that - how they move from one to another.... and there is a philosophy about it.
    Imagine the idea of T-S-D as functions that describeld above... and how and where and why Dominant becomes a Tonic that creates its own relationships.... there is huge potential behind this systen to express the subtles ideas.
    It is similar to planetary system where every planet can be a part one system and creating its own center - it is all about movement and force and tension... it can make extremely complex and vivid system. (This where the late Romantic 19th century symphony came to at the end of it all) .


    In jazz all this just does not exist mostly --- only in original form standard songs - like modulations between chorus and bridge...
    Mostly key change in jazz is just a local shift of tonal centre to create a tool for further movement - lit does not consider overall form of the piece.

    Sorry for going too much into detalis.. I would not be surprised if you let it pass by)))

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    It is difficult to put it in brief...

    If you look at the prime period of functional tonality (high baroque and classicism) you will see that keys and functions make a biig system - like a universe.
    Tonic is total stability (that is owhy in classical only one chord can be tonic), Dominant is the oppostite of it but the tesnion is so much that it is always very close both to resolution to tonic (stay in the key) and break up with (modulate). Subdominant is something in between.

    If you take Bach's suite dance or Mozartz's symphony's movemnet - or part of Vivalsi's concerto - you will that there is an overall tonality setup... mostly it is about being in Tonic Key - then it is about finding its way to Dominant key - then it is getting unstable roaming around Subdominant and then returning to Tonic key (not chords - keys!!!).
    It is about general modulations. These modulations are always marked with cadences.

    The key change was so important that Hayd and sometimes Mozart could use the same melody as secondary theme just after mosulation to Dominant key... all the difference was in a key (that is why if one does not hear the modulation one does not understand the music - for him it will sound as a repeat).

    The same concerns baroque music. Here is famous Vivaldi's Largo.
    Many people today think that at 01:00 the repeat begins but it is not a repeat it is another section becasue it is a different key. There was a modulation before that for Vivaldi's contemporaries was ovbious but may stay unnoticed to modern average listner who hears only melody or motive.





    Those are very simple examples - imagine what is going on in one hour long symphonies. THey are like novels.

    Besides they can be more tricky ways to use it combining it with different types of cadence and resolutions which can help to express very complex meanings.
    Here's Locatelli's C minor concerto movement (1st piece)



    We have the same conception as with Vivaldi --- what seems a repeat at 0:40 is new section in a new key... that section moves through many deceptive 'modulations' - those are not real modulations but rather are 'deviations' that brings in very perplexed meaning and emotion.
    At about 01:50 it returns to the original key but what hapens? The key returns with intruded cadence - the end and the beginning coincide and also you can notice that the intro - or brief prelude (decending minor arpeggio is not there -- as it was - -- now it show up at the end of the piece making it a conlusion).

    Basically the form is exactly the same as with the Vivaldi's Largo but treated in an expanded - and very subtle - way.


    The most interesting thing is how composers do that - how they move from one to another.... and there is a philosophy about it.
    Imagine the idea of T-S-D as functions that describeld above... and how and where and why Dominant becomes a Tonic that creates its own relationships.... there is huge potential behind this systen to express the subtles ideas.
    It is similar to planetary system where every planet can be a part one system and creating its own center - it is all about movement and force and tension... it can make extremely complex and vivid system. (This where the late Romantic 19th century symphony came to at the end of it all) .


    In jazz all this just does not exist mostly --- only in original form standard songs - like modulations between chorus and bridge...
    Mostly key change in jazz is just a local shift of tonal centre to create a tool for further movement - lit does not consider overall form of the piece.

    Sorry for going too much into detalis.. I would not be surprised if you let it pass by)))
    worth saying a 3rd time?

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    And one practial idea. You know what I thought about when I saw this post with changes I qoute below... I thought: I would love to see/hear a melody.

    Melody is personifcation or any harmonic solution. Harmony is always a general thing.
    (It works at least within European tradition).

    Could it be that frustration and attempts to find some other solutions in the case that you describe come from the fact that we often 'construct changes' instead of 'composing a melody'.

    Note that I do not mean a simplicity of a melody! I don't mean: write a recognizable pop-tune. It can be very sophisticated melodic idea.
    I believe that even complex classical symphonies - good ones - are based on ability to melodicize the idea, to express all the complex movement of artictic ideas in melodic thinking.
    (And again it is not about pop attractiveness of a tune which is common for pop songs)

    Basically I am almost sure that great composers thought in terms of melody as the harmony already was incorporated in their hearing to such an extent that they did not need to refer to it conciously.

    I am saying this becasue I beliee that any kind problem with organization of impro through changes - be it simple standard tune or complex moder changes - is directly connected with that: harmony has no melodicpersonification in players mind.
    I am fascinated that my simple question has led to such thoughtful responses. It's been a pleasure reading through them. Especially the above quote. I have a confession to make. When I compose music, I hear harmonies. Melodies come after the fact. This is not universally the case, but it is most of the time. I find that I can usually fit a workable melody within the boundaries provided by the harmonic structure, but that sometimes stepping outside of it briefly can wind up with interesting results.

    Jonah, you wanted to see/hear a melody. Well I can provide a sound file now. If you like I can send you a copy of the score, so you can read through it. I've spent the last few days on some additional arrangements and writing a melody to this piece. I don't consider what I have now to be the final form of the piece. Anything can be subject to change if I find something I like more. But this is what I have so far. I've rendered another mp3. My phone still won't open it, but my computer does without issues.

    Evening Stroll Final.mp3

    One thing I noticed pretty much right away after adding a melody to this piece was how it managed to shove the harmony into the background, where it was no longer playing such a dominant role. I was kinda surprised by this. To me, that means it's doing its job.

    In case you're interested in this piece's structure, it's in a rather conventional aaba format. Two choruses, a bridge with a half time tempo shift (from 110 bpm to 55 bpm), then back to the original tempo for a final chorus.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by cooltouch
    I am fascinated that my simple question has led to such thoughtful responses. It's been a pleasure reading through them. Especially the above quote. I have a confession to make. When I compose music, I hear harmonies. Melodies come after the fact. This is not universally the case, but it is most of the time. I find that I can usually fit a workable melody within the boundaries provided by the harmonic structure, but that sometimes stepping outside of it briefly can wind up with interesting results.

    Jonah, you wanted to see/hear a melody. Well I can provide a sound file now. If you like I can send you a copy of the score, so you can read through it. I've spent the last few days on some additional arrangements and writing a melody to this piece. I don't consider what I have now to be the final form of the piece. Anything can be subject to change if I find something I like more. But this is what I have so far. I've rendered another mp3. My phone still won't open it, but my computer does without issues.

    Evening Stroll Final.mp3

    One thing I noticed pretty much right away after adding a melody to this piece was how it managed to shove the harmony into the background, where it was no longer playing such a dominant role. I was kinda surprised by this. To me, that means it's doing its job.

    In case you're interested in this piece's structure, it's in a rather conventional aaba format. Two choruses, a bridge with a half time tempo shift (from 110 bpm to 55 bpm), then back to the original tempo for a final chorus.
    Thank you!
    I listened to the track and I need some time to answer, so please do not think I ingnored that. I just want to do it properly.
    I will come back later today or tomorrow.

  29. #28

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    I look forward to your response. I think it bears repeating that the melody right now is pretty much v1.0, and subject to change. Especially in the bridge section.

  30. #29

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    Hi,

    it is not that simple to formulate.

    You see I come from classical background, I grew up with classical music and rock music like The Beatles and something similar.
    To me it all belongs to the same tradition... and that tradition trained my ear and made it some sort of natural musical enviroment for me.
    And I believe this tradition has that specific harmony/melody relationship which I described above. Where almost any melody contains information about posssible harmonies behind, and any harmonic setup is potential source for melodies.
    But in musical relaization it is always melody that has priority, harmony is only possiblities, a fundamental plan.
    Like if you take many renaissance churches which have more or less similar structure but their peronality shows up in the 'melodies' - in how it was finally realized in real material and design.
    That means that both harmony and melody are extremle important but it is almost impossible in taht tradition that 'music starts from composing harmony' -- harmonic plasn - yes maybe, some harmonic ideas - also possible.. but not real music...
    Harmony is too general, it just does not bring in enough individual information.

    But things change - that great tradition I seem to relate to is almost totally gone and we live in teh world where there are lots of different approaches --- last years (even decades but I noticed it only last years) I noticed that searches and composing music in pure harmonic thinking show up quite often.
    I have a friend who does it as you say - from chords and harmonies and I alwys have problems with hos music to be honest..
    Partly it was in academic music too - in American minimalism (which I often have problem with too)...

    What I am trying to say is when I listened to your track I heard it more as ambient music or backing track and it does not surprise me that there on might need some supportive system to somehow relate these harmonies one with anoither...
    Though basic harmony sounds quite traditional to me... I still feel like the choices are a bit arbitrary to me.
    I mean it sounds like if you change this or that chord for something there is a chance i would not have noticed that...

    The same concerns melody - even more probably... I myself am very sensitive to intonation and phrasing.

    You know recently there was an interesting case - I gave a lesson and the guy had to pick a melody of "My One And Only Love".. and the who is playing rock musician and who composes quite interesting songs could not pick up the beginning ascending pentatonic phrase correctly.
    He could not catch that G (in C major) and tried to begin with C... to me it is compination of a few reasons (he tried to imitate pickup cliche phrasing too)- but the most important is that he hears the overall chord (C major) and for him G or C sound the same.
    There is some truth in it... for him (in his musical world) harmonic sound sound has such a strong priority that both G and C can represent it in melodic sense - the difference is insignificant.
    But the problem was that this song was written in the tradition where this difference is important.

    With your tune my problem is I am trying instinctively to look for realtions and details that are not supposed to be there.

    I want to stress that it is only my hearing. I can understand quite well taht for you and some other people that could sound very strongly individual.

  31. #30

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    I don’t know about anyone else but I find it quite difficult to define what a key is.

    in GASB standards the melody is very firmly on one key, frequently diatonic with maybe with a modulation or two. For instance, Stella moves to the dominant and the parallel minor briefly.

    of course no one thinks that way when soloing on it, because the tune is harmonised with a lot of chromatic chords, and we have to play the changes...

    jazz musicians when writing tend to go chords out (because that’s the way they improvise mostly). So then, things are very different.

  32. #31

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    Also this is an analysis and pedagogy thing, and the way jazz is taught:

    for instance Lester Young on Lady be Good is clearly mostly thinking in the key G major with blue notes and so on, but you can find analyses which detail each interval over each chord as it was a Bill Evans solo or something.

    Even modern musicians use key centric thinking more than you might expect. Miles was the sort of big comeback for that type of thinking in the 50s. Sco when asked about how to solo on Protocol said he thought if it as a sort of ‘Weird G blues’ not of chords at all.

    But, in general, jazz has moved away from melodic key centred soloing and composition, and towards chordal thinking.

    but yes I’m getting sucked back
    in haha

  33. #32

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    Only 15 posts since you left the forum, you’re being very restrained.

  34. #33

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    Lol

  35. #34

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    Very interesting, guys. I'm deeply intrigued by the way you process your music. Jonah, I was fascinated by your description of this fellow who had trouble distinguishing between a C and G in C Major. One would think that anyone who comes from a Western music background could distinguish between the tonic and the dominant. But I think one has to examine a person's individual musical background if one hopes to understand how such a situation can arise.

    Most of my formal education is actually in Linguistics (BA and MA from Cal State Fullerton), and this reminds me of how a person, who's native language does not contain certain phonemes, or whose native language contains phonemes that are allophones of each other, can't distinguish between them. It's a matter of one literally not being able to hear the foreign phoneme or can't distinguish between a pair because they're allophones. Sorry about tossing about these linguistics terms. A brief set of definitions is in order. A phoneme is a perceived speech sound that a given language contains. Such as /a/ or /s/, etc. Allophone pairs are pairs of phonemes that, under certain phonemic rules, sound the same to the speaker. For example, in Taiwanese, the /l/ and /n/ are allophones in certain circumstances. In both British and American English, the glottal stop and the /t/ are allophones in certain situations. Using a double apostrophe to indicate the glottal, you'll hear in some British dialects the word 'bottle' pronounced as /bo''l/ and in American English, you often hear 'football' pronounced as /fu''bal/ ("short u", not "long u"). We don't consciously hear the substitution that's made.

    So I find myself drawing a parallel between this linguistic condition and this fellow's inability to distinguish the C and G, and I can't help but wonder if, in his musical language, the two tones are musical allophones. If something like that even exists, that is. I suppose it can. I can remember my early schooling, which was in music, and how we would have ear training drills. And how, when we first started out, I had trouble picking out the individual notes in a simple chord when my professor would play it on the piano. It took practice, but eventually I was able to dissect fairly complex chords. After a while, 11ths and 13ths, half-diminished and augmented chords, etc., were a piece of cake. But it took practice.

    Getting back to the topic for the moment, though, I've been thinking about this some more these past couple of days, and I've gone back and analyzed a few of my own compositions to see if I can piece together my thought processes when I wrote them. And in a few cases, I definitely had a melody rattling around inside my head that I got down on paper (or plugged into my DAW) to which I was able to harmonize. But in a number of other instances, I wrote out a chord progression in its entirety, massaged it until I was satisfied with the changes, and only then did I begin to work on a melody. Now, perhaps in some of these pieces, the melody does not rate anything better than "background music," but I really don't think that's the case with most of them. My attitude is this: if I've written a good, solid chord progression, there should be an infinite variety of quality melodies that I should be able to extract from it. I've done this on more than one occasion, that is, writing multiple melodies for a given chord progression -- melodies that show absolutely no relationship to each other. In fact, in a couple of situations, I developed different musical styles for each melody and went ahead and named them as separate songs -- or piece of music, if you will, since they are instrumentals, and songs have words.

    I'm also very aware of historical context. Take the infamous Pachelbel's Canon, for example. How many hundreds of songs have been written on this canon's chord progression, many of which were major hits? It seems to me that just this one instance indicates how critically important a solid chord progression is, in order to develop a memorable piece of music. Whereas, if one creates a memorable melody -- that's it. That's the only piece of music that exists with that grouping of phrases and chords, since the melody is sorta the final expression of basic creative output. (I write 'basic' because I'm neglecting any sort of arrangements that may add flourishes and the like to a piece to spruce it up, so to speak.) The melody locks a piece into place -- certainly melodically, and, to some extent, harmonically. Although I'm always intrigued with the way a good arranger can alter a piece's chord progression, often for the better. Musical examples such as "Amazing Grace" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" are great examples of this.

    So it would appear to me that, in the final analysis, both approaches are correct, since they both can lead to memorable pieces of music. Which is ultimately what it's all about. Right?

  36. #35

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    One would think that anyone who comes from a Western music background could distinguish between the tonic and the dominant. But I think one has to examine a person's individual musical background if one hopes to understand how such a situation can arise
    It was not tonic and dominant. This is very important.. tonic and dominant are functions and I am sure he would hear it in respective context where they show up as functions.
    It is important that it was in context of just a C major - the chord was tonic, and C and G were just a root and 5th of the chord... so he heard a chordal sound as a mass and for him both sounds 'represented' the chord.


    You know it is like I can hear very quickly difference between Haydn and Mozart but poeple less involved into it hear both just like the representatives of the same style.
    The way we percieve and distinguish things is really important.

    A bit of phylosophy: it may sound strange but I always focus on things in some subject that are different from other subjects, not the things in common.

    I notice people tend to find things in common first.

    Of course dialectically we always generalize but I understand that it is just a convention (not truth).

    Because I believe through difference we can understnd deeper the individuality, and percieveing individuality teaches us to respect it.

    'Things in common' lead to the point whne everything can be anything. By the way this one of the things in music (and especially in jazz) that I like - anything can be anything in the context but the context is the artistic choice we make. We - as musicians - appoint the sounds or chords what they would be.
    Last edited by Jonah; 01-15-2020 at 07:03 AM.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eck
    Jonah, I like what you say but will need some time to get it. Is it that modulations in classical music are heard as relating to the key where in jazz the key shifts with the progression?
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I also like what Jonah said, in my (free) interpretation, in classical, usually modulation is part of the big form, I mean architecture, and not part of theme segment, in jazz many times modulation (or the non diatonic chords) is the music itself, or the expression way, color, or actually the essence of the musical idea. Non diatonic events occur more often and more fine grained into the theme both harmonically both melodically. Of course there are explicit examples to break this observation, like Satin Doll, where the modulation more similar to classical.

    But say in Day of Wine and Roses, or Tenderly, or Autumn in New York, or Along Came Betty interpreting the the non diatonic chords as modulation is not specially useful. Tension and release interpretation could work for both diatonic dominant tonic movements and both for non diatonic events.
    Last edited by Gabor; 01-15-2020 at 05:45 AM.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor
    I also like what Jonah said, in my (free) interpretation, in classical, usually modulation is part of the big form, I mean architecture, and not part of theme segment, in jazz many times modulation (or the non diatonic chords) is the music itself, or the expression way, color, or actually the essence of the musical idea. Non diatonic events occur more often and more fine grained into the theme both harmonically both melodically. Of course there are explicit examples to break this observation, like Satin Doll, where the modulation more similar to classical.

    But say in Day of Wine and Roses, or Tenderly, or Autumn in New York, or Along Came Betty interpreting the the non diatonic chords as modulation is not specially useful. Tension and release interpretation could work for both diatonic dominant tonic movements and both for non diatonic events.
    you basically said what I said but much shorter)))

    I think I can add... I noticed that national 'classical schools' have a bit different terminology and aproach to teaching and analysis.... after baroque period music became almost totally German... this is more or less still living tradition and probably the only link with great pre-classical traditions... we can of course speak about Berloz, Verdi, Puccini, Elgar, Debussy and others but they were eeither too specific like Italian opera vera or impressionists or also rooted in German school fundamentally like Grieg, Sibelius and Russian chool (except Musorgsky).

    When I was at school we had two terms 'modulation' and 'deviation' - obviously borrowd from German... modulation mostly meant that there was at least too cadences to the new key: first is more soft and was there to introduce new kew, and the second one was stronger to establish it. It is too formal of course - in every case it could be a bit different...
    'Deviation' meant any - even slightest appearance of new key... for example it could be in one sentence that it starts in major and shifts in relative minor even of a measure or just two beats... if it is C major - the move to A minor chord through any inversion of E major would mean deviation even if it just flies by for 1 beat and goes back to C...
    In jazz harmony it of course often makes no sense..


    Though on the other hand sometimes I appreciate how classical hearing helps me to hear standards as a whole form immidiately, how I can appreciate 'compositional' merits of the songs - not just their poetenstial as changes or motives...

    Even My One And Only Love mentioned above has interesting beginning... it has pentatonic ascending line that sounds like a 'pickup' line - it sounds as if it goes in a bar that is precedent ot the main section of the form but if we look at harmony it is not like that, the section is already begun.
    The line goes from tonic I chord to IV chord subdominant - only there it stabilizes...
    That creates some kind of littly plymetric (polysemantic) effect/shift - we do not notice it conciously even but we feel it - and pentatonic move increases it -- actually I think it is where it comes from
    (by the way I think this is another reason why my student friend could not pick it - he tried to imitate regular diatonic asending pickup line going from dominant to tonic chord).

    Some time ago I made a post about Autumn In New York - also trying to approach it as a song with form not as standard with chords... occasionally I did in some thread something similar with Bye-bye Blackbird... In many songs I like to notice the relation of chorus-bridge (often chorus is stable and more individual, and bridge is modulating and more conventional - less recognizable , but sometimes it si quite the opposite like in Darn That Dream or Sophisticated Lady and bridge brings in the feel of relax and release)
    I like to analyze what the meaning of section is - how it affects out perception - is there an intro? or maybe an intro is integrated into teh section?
    Stella By Statlight seems like a 'AABA' in disguise - but still it is not AABA... very subtle case.
    and Cole Porter's 'I Love You' seem a bit similar but still different form.


    By the way I mostly think of AABA as of AB where sections have different beginnings but similar engings. I think from pov of form it is more productive to see it that way... in AABA secod A is not quite a repeat (even if technically it is) it is rather a conclusion (the repeat in teh form is something you can throw away without much problems for overall efect - but here you cannot do it!)


    I think all these songs as original compositions have very interesting subtle features that can help improvizers, what tricks the author uses, how he decieves our excepections - and how we can use it?. But I noticed it does not evoke much interest in jazz enviroment... people are mostly focused on how to play around chords or changes and sometimes in separate motive and intervals/

  39. #38

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    It seems like in classical music the chords look back/forward to the key-chord, whereas in jazz a chord mostly looks at which chords is before and after it?


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