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  1. #1

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    I started learning some vocabulary from books they I've had, mainly because it's fun, though I think that it's good practice on sight reading without tabs and that it also get some sounds into my ears. What I'm working with:

    1. The supplement from the Aebersold ii/V/I book (once you get past the first several ones that are very formulaic, they actually get hip, some of them even show up in fragments in #2 below...)
    2. Jazz Guitar Lines of the Greats by Steve Briody
    3. Shortcut to Jazz by Bunky Green (very advanced stuff but a fun challenge)

    The thing is, while I'm reading and translating each one to the fretboard, I'm paying attention to the notes, intervals, and sometimes also to the relation to the underlying chord progression. However, once I have them memorized, that goes out the window, I can't always easily say what notes I'm playing (unless its a part of the fretboard that I have memorized well). In most cases, though, I would say that I'm at least aware of what notes each one starts/ends on and how they relate to the chords.

    So how much do you think I should get caught up on that? From my saxophone playing experience, I couldn't play a note without first consciously knowing what note I'm about to play...!

    I've only done a bit of transcribing so far, but I think that the same question applies there just as much, maybe even more, since at least with reading I see what the notes are a few times until I've memorized them.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    If you can relate chord intervals to chords (or chord grips) that's great. I know the fretboard pretty well and know all the note names, but I mostly just relate what I'm playing to chord grips, and by that I mean I can stop on any note and quickly say what interval I'm playing in relation to a chord and chord grips are my landmarks for doing that. Also, I'm often targeting intervals, say for example the 3rd of the upcoming chord, I know where those lie on the fretboard in relation to my chord grips. I'm not thinking actual note names which would take an additional thought in the process. I think my approach is pretty typical of guitar players.

    Being fluent with fretboard note names can't help but come together over time with the approach you're taking.

    I say keep doing what you are doing. And it's good you are also doing some transcribing.

  4. #3
    Interesting, I don't currently know how to say immediately for every chord voicing that I can play which note in the voicing is which chord tone, but I do know that for some of the voicings that I play, so that could be useful.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yonatan
    I started learning some vocabulary from books they I've had, mainly because it's fun, though I think that it's good practice on sight reading without tabs and that it also get some sounds into my ears. What I'm working with:

    1. The supplement from the Aebersold ii/V/I book (once you get past the first several ones that are very formulaic, they actually get hip, some of them even show up in fragments in #2 below...)
    2. Jazz Guitar Lines of the Greats by Steve Briody
    3. Shortcut to Jazz by Bunky Green (very advanced stuff but a fun challenge)

    The thing is, while I'm reading and translating each one to the fretboard, I'm paying attention to the notes, intervals, and sometimes also to the relation to the underlying chord progression. However, once I have them memorized, that goes out the window, I can't always easily say what notes I'm playing (unless its a part of the fretboard that I have memorized well). In most cases, though, I would say that I'm at least aware of what notes each one starts/ends on and how they relate to the chords.

    So how much do you think I should get caught up on that? From my saxophone playing experience, I couldn't play a note without first consciously knowing what note I'm about to play...!

    I've only done a bit of transcribing so far, but I think that the same question applies there just as much, maybe even more, since at least with reading I see what the notes are a few times until I've memorized them.
    i think it’s fine if you can sing all the lines, or really hear them in your mind’s ear. Take each phrase through the keys in position. Preferably by ear.

    probably when you transcribe solos you’ll hear the lines pop out at you. jazz ear training isn’t about recognition of individual pitches, it’s about hearing language and vocabulary. Whole sentences.

    Its not important to name or classify every note. You want to play musical lines not get hung up on theory.

    That said, there’s a little research that suggests jazz language is better internalised by ear than from notation. I’ve always found this the case anecdotally.

  6. #5

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    This is an interesting discussion. In my sight reading studies, I just got introduced to the idea of sight reading by degrees and intervals instead of reading by recognizing the notes. My guitar teacher has emphasized learning scale degree positions. An exercise he has given me is to play along to a backing track for a tune and first play all the roots, then again playing just the 3rds of each chord, then the 5ths, and so on. I haven’t gotten very far in this - I feel like I have more work to do on other skills, but it’s a powerful thing to know those chord tones and be able to target them as you solo. My teacher is amazing at it. I think what you are doing is a great idea and should help your soloing mojo. I will keep this idea in mind for my continuing studies.

  7. #6

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    I'll add something else that is probably unique to stringed instruments. I have vocabulary that relates to chord grips. In other words take the G7 chord at the third fret:

    3-5-3-4-3-3 , or pieces of that like, x-x-3-4-3-x-x , or x-x-5-3-6-x , ect.

    and maybe this line for example off of that chord grip (attached) (3 5 6 r b3 r r)

    So I have vocabulary associated with that grip (those fingerings are all derived from the same grip). So I think of that vocabulary as just "my stuff" over and around that grip. And the unique to string instruments bit is at the 3rd fret it's G7 stuff, slide it all up a fret and the same stuff becomes Ab7 stuff, up another fret A7 stuff etc. That's why it's so useful to use chord grips as landmarks.

    Also, this grip to intervals also becomes chord grip to interval to ear and vice versa. It's easiest for me to hear a note or a line and relate it to a grip sort of in a visual way, maybe not exactly visual, but it just happens in way that is associated with grips in my mind.

    I'll also add my approach is not very scale oriented, I pretty much don't think scales. Different strokes for different folks.
    Attached Images Attached Images Learning vocabulary by memorization vs. understanding what notes you're playing-g7-lick-png 
    Last edited by fep; 05-18-2020 at 10:43 AM.

  8. #7

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    It's all good.... Where do you want to get with your playing? I understand music, and understand the guitar. Two different things. I apply my understandings of music to my playing the guitar.

    Hearing one note becomes hearing two, then phrases. Then being able to hear chords and melody.

    Personally both approaches are just part of the process. I sight read well... that's part of what I do... Part of sight reading for musicians playing live music... is understanding what your playing.

    I mean when you look at music on a page.... you hear the notes, and what harmonies are implied, there are choices.

    Lukman... yes that approach is very useful. It's part of understanding compositional construction of music. A practical aspect is... Playing melody harmonies on gigs. Pretty standard when there are a few melodic player on gigs is... WAS.... someone plays head and the someone plays a harmony. Most of us just mechanically play the harmony part... you can transpose what your sight reading up a 3rd, 6th or down. Different style imply different harmonies etc... and eventually from playing, hearing ... and understanding what's going on musically, you can make changes to the harmony part to help with the harmonic rhythm and basic phrasing of the melody etc...

    And this skill came from playing line exercises starting on different degrees.

    Another result from skill.... take any tune and play the melody and changes in the Relative maj or min version.
    tune is in Cmaj.... transpose to the Relative Min or Amin. Then you can get into Modal transpositions.... Subs...

    yea it just depends where you want to get...

  9. #8

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    I see more than one thing in this.

    If you're playing a tune you have played a few hundred times -- and you know it well enough that you can play it in any key without thinking, you can probably scat sing a line and put it on the guitar -- and you aren't likely to be thinking about note names while you do it.

    If, OTOH, you're reading a complex piece for the first time and suddenly you have to solo on changes that seem alien, then knowing note names can be very helpful (at least, if you know the notes in the chords and scales you use).

    For general knowledge of jazz vocabulary, I'd lean toward doing it all by sound. But, that doesn't mean throwing the training wheels away. If you have memorized a lick by sound, it might still be helpful to know, say, the first note in terms of the underlying chord/interval. For example, I have a lick I overuse and I know it starts on the 9th of a m7 chord. I also know that I can use it starting on the maj7 of a maj7 chord. And, now as I think of it, I realize that I can use the same lick starting on the b5 of a lydian chord -- and I'm going to try that later today. Once I'm into the lick, it's all sound. I could name the intervals easily enough, but I just don't find any reason to bother. I do generally have a vague sense of whether I'm on chord tone, extension or tension.

  10. #9

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    Learning vocabulary by memorization vs. understanding what notes you're playing

    Well, there's no comparison, is there?

    Mind you, you can still memorise the notes even if you do understand them... but it shouldn't really be necessary.

  11. #10

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    From my saxophone playing experience, I couldn't play a note without first consciously knowing what note I'm about to play...!
    That is actually very interesting although I think there does come a point on guitar where that happens too.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    That is actually very interesting although I think there does come a point on guitar where that happens too.
    I've written here before that the guitar is the only instrument where you can play without knowing the notes or the specific fingerings to play "that note" like on clarinet, trumpet, piano, etc... even those who don't know the notes on clarinet, trumpet, or piano always know the note is "that one" because of the fingering. But you can close your eyes and start playing in the middle of the finger board and truly not know the notes.

    As far as the question about what really should we be seeking to grasp regarding vocabulary, it has to be internalization, which is more than memory, more than the sum of its named theory parts and their named relationships; it includes an aural plasticity which allows you to make manifest a musical idea in varying contexts of key, style, mood, rhythm, tempo, instrumentation, harmonization, phrasing, accompanying, soloing, etc.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    I've written here before that the guitar is the only instrument where you can play without knowing the notes or the specific fingerings to play "that note" like on clarinet, trumpet, piano, etc... even those who don't know the notes on clarinet, trumpet, or piano always know the note is "that one" because of the fingering. But you can close your eyes and start playing in the middle of the finger board and truly not know the notes.

    As far as the question about what really should we be seeking to grasp regarding vocabulary, it has to be internalization, which is more than memory, more than the sum of its named theory parts and their named relationships; it includes an aural plasticity which allows you to make manifest a musical idea in varying contexts of key, style, mood, rhythm, tempo, instrumentation, harmonization, phrasing, accompanying, soloing, etc.
    An instrument that comes to mind is chromatic harmonica. The layout is horrible, and every other layout is worse. So, you have to know what note you're playing in order to know where any other note is. I guess, maybe, after a very long time, you can develop key based muscle memory, but it seems like it would be difficult.

    At the beginning, there's nothing to see and nothing to feel. There's no bump or anything to get you oriented like there is on a computer kb or an accordion C on the bass. If somebody bumps into you while you're soloing, you have to scheme to figure out how to get back to where you were, often by going to the highest or lowest note on the instrument.

    There is no geometry that always predicts the same interval.

    At least, with a horn, you know which fingers you're pressing down.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    Also, I'm often targeting intervals, say for example the 3rd of the upcoming chord, I know where those lie on the fretboard in relation to my chord grips. I'm not thinking actual note names which would take an additional thought in the process. I think my approach is pretty typical of guitar players.

    Being fluent with fretboard note names can't help but come together over time with the approach you're taking.

    I say keep doing what you are doing. And it's good you are also doing some transcribing.
    Yes thats how I think I play too , shapes basically ....sonic shapes
    I think Herb called a book "All the shapes you are" or similar

    ie I don't think of the note names either

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    i think it’s fine if you can sing all the lines, or really hear them in your mind’s ear
    Yes, I've been trying to sing some of the lines away from the the guitar (at least the ones that don't have huge interval jumps!), and it really cements them in, they are the first lines I'll play when I pick up the guitar next time. I also find that when I'm singing them, without even meaning to, I'll start to modify them.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yonatan

    The thing is, while I'm reading and translating each one to the fretboard, I'm paying attention to the notes, intervals, and sometimes also to the relation to the underlying chord progression. However, once I have them memorized, that goes out the window, I can't always easily say what notes I'm playing (unless its a part of the fretboard that I have memorized well). In most cases, though, I would say that I'm at least aware of what notes each one starts/ends on and how they relate to the chords.
    .
    Funny, I have the exact same thing and often wondered if it's bad. In my jazz combo we had a classical alt sax player over for a trial. She never played any jazz. We played a couple of standards which she sight read (is that a word?). I said I'd like to be as good at sight reading as she was and she said: 'oh, but these are very, very simple lines..."
    She was also pretty good at improv, considering it was her first time. Too bad she didn't join.