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  1. #1

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    Having always liked the sound of spread triads with approach notes, I started experimenting with the harmony of Giant steps. When applying this kind of harmonic/melodic approach to standards, I've found that the best results come from tunes that have complex chord changes and modulate through different keys. Giant steps is the perfect environment for this kind of sound. The idea is very simple: you start with an inverison of a spread triad and you approach one of the three notes of the triad with an upper or lower neighbour, either chromatic or diatonic. Then you move to the closest inversion of the triad of the next chord and keep going like this through the form. The intresting thing is that if you choose the same approach-note for every chord (like the 4th resolving to the 3rd) a sort of canon will eventually emerge melodically. If you combine different approach notes (9th to the root, b6 to 5 etc.) a less predictable sound will obviously occour and it will sound more impressionistic. By combining the two different solutions, a very nice effect can be achieved.

    I used the approach I described in the beginning of this very short improvisation:




    Hope you find it interesting.

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  3. #2

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    Sounds great! You could make it into a new composition and no one would be any the wiser...

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Sounds great! You could make it into a new composition and no one would be any the wiser...
    Thanks, bro! :-)

  5. #4

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    Thats very refreshing, thanks!

  6. #5

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    Really cool!

    I got so frustrated with Giant Steps, so I thought: what would Scofield do? Upon googling Giant Steps and Scofield I was surprised to find this is what he said during a clinic:

    (John Scofield) I don't play Giant Steps. I'm serious about this tune Giant Steps, this tune is too hard you know? [Audience laughter] Listen, check it out, Giant Steps is a great tune and I love Coltrane, I really do but the tune is not really a great tune for blowing on. Stella By Starlight is a great tune. You can get into a thing, or I can, maybe I'm just not good enough to play Giant Steps -- to me Giant Steps is symmetrical and an exercise. Stella by Starlight is a beautiful harmonic sequence that gives me ideas. Giant Steps just makes me confused, I have to remember that, you know [demonstrates playing over Giant Steps changes] -- now I'm thinking all the time, I can't even take any space. But anyway, don't worry about Giant Steps, unless you can already play Stella by Starlight. I'm serious! This tune, I've heard too much about this.

    Really comforting,

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Djang
    Really cool!

    I got so frustrated with Giant Steps, so I thought: what would Scofield do? Upon googling Giant Steps and Scofield I was surprised to find this is what he said during a clinic:

    (John Scofield) I don't play Giant Steps. I'm serious about this tune Giant Steps, this tune is too hard you know? [Audience laughter] Listen, check it out, Giant Steps is a great tune and I love Coltrane, I really do but the tune is not really a great tune for blowing on. Stella By Starlight is a great tune. You can get into a thing, or I can, maybe I'm just not good enough to play Giant Steps -- to me Giant Steps is symmetrical and an exercise. Stella by Starlight is a beautiful harmonic sequence that gives me ideas. Giant Steps just makes me confused, I have to remember that, you know [demonstrates playing over Giant Steps changes] -- now I'm thinking all the time, I can't even take any space. But anyway, don't worry about Giant Steps, unless you can already play Stella by Starlight. I'm serious! This tune, I've heard too much about this.

    Really comforting,
    One day, I decided I would permit myself a stab at Giant steps. It's a bit of a commitment, you know? So I started by slowing it THE...HELL...DOWN. And I just soloed like a complete dummy, just playing triad chord tones, in time, following the changes. Then I stayed in one spot and did the same thing but I let the chord arpeggios invert as the position dictated...in other words I'd stay, say on the 7th fret pretty much and jump to the nearest chord tone every half bar and finish the chord upward or downward. really stupid stuff...but you know what? I started making sense out of it and eventually graduated to alllowing myself neighbor tones or even thinking about the role of each chord. After a few days of this, I could kind of play it...things started fallin g under my fingers like rhythm changes.

    I still think that the tune is much more beautiful if played down tempo. I kind of envision it with a hip hop beat and with B3 and pedal steel compong the chords. Now it's fun!

  8. #7

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    It got pretty warm sounding there. Very nice. Great sound, BTW.

  9. #8

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    Cool!

  10. #9

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    Exquisite. Sharp. Full of muscular pirouettes. Especially like how Monk comes in singing Ruby My Dear near the end.

  11. #10

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    Joe Diorio has/had a book dedicated to GS...

    most if not all the musicians i have known say GS is one work you dont just read and play..to play it with authority you have to internalize it

    it is a etude in harmonic melodic improvisational exploration..