Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Posts 1 to 50 of 55
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Ok I started getting lessons from Jimmy Bruno's workshop 4 years ago (I did it for around a year and some) Since then I have been working on my jazz playing using Jimmy's key center approach to improvisation mostly centered on creating melodies using your ear. I have progressed after his lessons using arpeggios, targeting notes and using modal interchange for sub dominants. I feel like i want to get lessons again to help me and I'm wondering if there is another teacher who you think would match this method of improvising. Any suggestions would be great.

    Quick note: I recently took a lesson from a "internet influencer" guitarist. Great guitarist but we spent a lot of time talking about the differences on how we hear / think of scale degrees as we improvise. He thinks chord by chord and I think with functional harmony and key centers. So if we are in the key of C and G7 goes by he would think of G B D F as 1 3 5 b7 and I would think of it as 5 7 2 4.

    Quick note 2: You may wonder why I do it this way. It matches how I hear music... meaning when I hear the 5 chord go by I hear its arpeggio as 5 7 2 4 within the key because I hear with solfege so I hear So Ti Re Fa. Hope that makes sense... so the reason is to match what I hear with how I'm thinking. It makes transferring melodies much easier for me.

    Here are a couple of cuts of me playing...
    Autumn Leaves

    Summertime (Solo at 55 seconds)

    Here is the kind of music I do in my band...
    Last edited by tonejunkie; 12-18-2020 at 10:15 PM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Not sure what you're asking, but, to me it sounds like you're making the changes as opposed to skating over them (most of the time anyway). Also, I don't know how advanced key centre approaches can get given that it is seen as way of simplifying things. Many players delineate V vs I as opposed to just thinking I over everything, and although this too is a form of simplification, it can get advanced with a high number of possible substitutions. Check out the George Benson Method thread that features Peter Farrell who might be a teacher who gets into advanced subbing for the Tonic / Dominant thing (especially Dominant - for obvious reasons...)

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    If you want a substitute Jimmy Bruno teacher then, to be honest, I don't know. However, most teachers will teach tonal centres because it's one way of approaching a chord progression. Therefore you may find yourself covering the same ground, stuff you already know.

    But tonal centres aren't the only way to solo, they're just one way. They're a tool amongst other tools. My thinking would be not to go backwards, as it were, but expand on what you've got already. I'd research different teachers and see what they have to offer. Bernstein, for example.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    Check out the George Benson Method thread that features Peter Farrell
    Thanks! Yeah I will check him out :-)

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    If you want a substitute Jimmy Bruno teacher then, to be honest, I don't know. However, most teachers will teach tonal centres because it's one way of approaching a chord progression. Therefore you may find yourself covering the same ground, stuff you already know.

    But tonal centres aren't the only way to solo, they're just one way. They're a tool amongst other tools. My thinking would be not to go backwards, as it were, but expand on what you've got already. I'd research different teachers and see what they have to offer. Bernstein, for example.
    Makes sense... yeah that is what I was thinking is a substitute for Jimmy (I've tried to email several times but no response). And your suggestion to get a new perspective is a good suggestion :-) Using Jimmy's method helped me grow so much and I'm wondering if I reached its conclusion. I will check out Peter's stuff :-)

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Maybe I'm missing something but it seems this method only goes so far. Songs with more complex chord progressions have a need for analyzing each chord for what scales work best for each. The trick is knowing when key centers work and when more analysis is needed - and connecting those changes so it doesn't sound like you're just switching scales.

    This may not apply to those that have developed amazing ears!

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by bobby d
    Maybe I'm missing something but it seems this method only goes so far. Songs with more complex chord progressions have a need for analyzing each chord for what scales work best for each. The trick is knowing when key centers work and when more analysis is needed - and connecting those changes so it doesn't sound like you're just switching scales.

    This may not apply to those that have developed amazing ears!
    I hear ya. I do work on my ear about half my practice time and the reason for me doing it this way is to match how I'm hearing music. I do use quite a bit of a modal interchange to "change scales" as I play over a tune but I am very arpeggio focused. Meaning for example when I play over a blues I am going form I7 with Mixolydian and then switching to Dorian when I'm on the IV7 chord but I'm hearing melodies in my mind that focus on the scale degrees 4 6 1 b3 the chord tones of the 4 chord if your thinking in the home key. I'm sure there will be some tunes that I try in the future that will throw me for a loop but I'm still a novice at this point.

    Really what this hole thread is about is my trying to find anyone else who teaches and thinks of playing changes like this.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    If you think of the V chord as starting on the fifth degree, so G7 isn't 1 3 5 b7 but rather 5 7 2 4, then what happens when a song changes key or gets ambigous as to key?

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    If you think of the V chord as starting on the fifth degree, so G7 isn't 1 3 5 b7 but rather 5 7 2 4, then what happens when a song changes key or gets ambigous as to key?
    Yep thats right.... Like in Autumn leaves I think of it as two keys. If we are playing it in G minor. The two keys I hear it in is G minor and Bb Major. If we are in a blues I hear it all in one key including the subdominant VI7 leading to the ii7... So he 3rd of the VI7 chord so if we were in C the 3rd of the A7 chord is a C# and it sounds like a #1 or b2 to me when it goes by. I'm actually starting to understand the way I do it must be really weird...

    As far as the Ambiguous key thing I have not really had any experiences like that yet. I've made most of my money playing funk music, reggae, and soul jazz. I'm not really a side man any more I just play my instrumental music in my own band so I don't really encounter anything ambiguous that I bet a bunch of you get. The standard jazz tunes I've really worked on are several Jazz Blues tunes, Autumn Leaves, Blue Bossa, Solar, and Satin Doll.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    tonejunkie -

    I'd like to know what you mean by 'advanced' key centre playing. I mean, a key centre is a key centre. However, it can be very ambiguous to know exactly when they start and finish. Is that what you mean?

  12. #11
    Disclaimer, I am not a great player, but I think your approach is perfectly natural. As long as you can still manage things like secondary dominants, alterations, and substitutions with such an approach it sounds fine.

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    tonejunkie -

    I'd like to know what you mean by 'advanced' key centre playing. I mean, a key centre is a key centre although it can be ambiguous as to exactly when they start and finish. Is that what you mean?
    What I mean is that when I hear most teachers talk about the key center approach what I hear is just play this scale and use your ears and that is great. But... what I'm trying to do at this point is learn jazz vocabulary using this key center approach due to how I hear lines on recordings and how I hear them in my mind. So if we are playing C Blues and a teacher tells me to play F Mixolydian over F7 its confusing... meaning that when I'm playing a F it sounds like a 4 to me not the 1. Or on a recording I heard a B on the G7 chord I would hear it as 7th of the key not the 3rd of G7. So I'm searching for another teacher like Jimmy Bruno to keep going down this road... Maybe its not a thing. I'm trying to explain the best I can.

    Here is another example I have struggled with... I wanted to try some altered scale sounds over the V7 chord. I would see that the altered scale is spelled 1 b2 b3 3 b5 #5 b7 but when I hear it in real music as well as to make it useful to me I have to re-spell the scale 5 b6 b7 7 b2 b3 4. With this thread I was trying to see if there is anyone who does this. I will be learning all the lines that others play but just with those sounds in mind. I have been working on this in isolation for a fair bit...

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by charlieparker
    Disclaimer, I am not a great player, but I think your approach is perfectly natural. As long as you can still manage things like secondary dominants, alterations, and substitutions with such an approach it sounds fine.
    Thanks for the encouraging words... yeah I'm working on all those. In particular a secondary dominant VI7 Chord and alterations on the V7 chord right now with the jazz blues.

  15. #14
    I think what I'm going to do is just find someone to give me lessons on how they go about creating lines using the chord by chord method and just translate it so my ears will be happy. I just am working on this stuff so much I really want to talk to someone else doing it this way.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by tonejunkie
    I think what I'm going to do is just find someone to give me lessons on how they go about creating lines using the chord by chord method and just translate it so my ears will be happy. I just am working on this stuff so much I really want to talk to someone else doing it this way.
    Check out Jordan Klemons who sometimes posts here. His stuff will do exactly that

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by tonejunkie
    What I mean is that when I hear most teachers talk about the key center approach what I hear is just play this scale and use your ears and that is great.
    Well, they shouldn't be saying 'just play this scale and use your ears and that is great'! There's a bit more to it than that, key centred approach or not.

    learn jazz vocabulary using this key center approach due to how I hear lines on recordings
    You realise they may not be using a strictly key centred approach? Especially with bebop.

    if we are playing C Blues and a teacher tells me to play F Mixolydian over F7 its confusing
    I'm sure it is confusing. Again, it's not as simple as 'play F mixolydian'. It's more a question of playing something that sounds right over that chord for that tune. Analytically, it probably would mean using notes from F mixo but not necessarily only them. And not necessarily using F mixo at all. Have a look at some You Tube transcriptions over a blues and see what they do for that IV7 chord.

    I wanted to try some altered scale sounds over the V7 chord. I would see that the altered scale is spelled 1 b2 b3 3 b5 #5 b7 but when I hear it in real music as well as to make it useful to me I have to re-spell the scale 5 b6 b7 7 b2 b3 4. With this thread I was trying to see if there is anyone who does this. I will be learning all the lines that others play but just with those sounds in mind. I have been working on this in isolation for a fair bit...
    Again, the same applies. Don't screw your head up with these numbers and all that. You know what notes you've got. Try them out. Apart from the G7 chord tones within the C scale you also have the altered sounds - Db, Eb, Ab and Bb. So you know if you want to make it sound altered you include them in your line, right? That's all. Use them any way you like.

    You see, we've already got away from the strict key centre idea because those altered sounds aren't in C. So you've broken it already.

    Have a look at this. Slow it down using the Settings thing if necessary. Forget the piano, look at the lines he's using. It's far from 'key centred'. Well, it is and it isn't, if you see what I mean. It goes outside that. You don't have to play anything as fast as this, of course.


  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Look, I've just done this. It's not C Jam Blues but it's the same idea using the usual jazz progression:

    C7 - F7 - C7 - %
    F7 - F#o - C7 - A7
    Dm7 - G7 - C7 - G7

    It's all take one. I'm not thinking 'key centre', I'm just putting in notes that go with the chords, knowing it's got to be bluesy. I've put in altered notes over the G7. I don't know what I did, I just used them because I know they're there.

    If I did it again it wouldn't be the same. Same idea, not the same thing. In fact, if I did it again, having done that one, I'd probably get more extreme and use altered notes over the A7 too.


  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Sorry, couldn't resist, it must be Christmas. This one's more intricate but sounds simpler. There's a lot more C pentatonic blues in it but more subs (like A7 alt). And there's a very straight F mixo run near the end.

    Again, I wasn't thinking key centres, I was just running notes against the chords. I really couldn't tell you how it came out except obviously I knew what was happening chord-wise. But it's always different each time and I think that's the main point. If you're stuck in one formula then it'll sound quite samey and the ideas run out pretty quickly.


  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    In listening to the Autumn Leaves solo (good playing BTW) is there is nothing there resembling AL. It’s a Solo that could go over any similar set of chord changes. So a couple of thoughts on correcting that.
    Jimmys point above re working with a vocalist is spot on, as they have to breath to sing. Us guitar players exist in an oxygen depleted universe where playing can and does go on and on and on. With nary a breath. Like Miles said: ‘play the rests’. Phrasing is created by silence.
    I believe (and it’s how I was taught) paying attention to the standard underneath your improvisation is important: using the intervals and melodic direction of the standard reinforce in the listener a connection with something they know. This is not trivial, it requires study of the standard. It’s not comfortable like running up and down theoretically correct combinations of arps, modes, scales and such can be. There’s a lot of thinking, trying and planning involved.
    Playing with a vocalist I think forces you to not just be wandering around behind them, that would sound pretty awful. It should come across as a question/answer sort of thing, complementing and supporting the vocalist. Check out Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass, Tuck and Patty.
    and... have fun)
    d

  21. #20
    I think one thing you might want to do is just learn some lines you like that are less diatonic with some alterations or notes out of the associated major scale. Then if you can internalize them and think about them with your approach which would probably get you more comfortable using those alterations.

    I'm sure you can already do this with things like a b3 or a b5. It's more about getting comfortable with more sounds. YMMV

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Write out the chords in the key and note the accidentals. The feature those notes heavily in your playing.

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    But, of course, the blues isn't really key centred anyway. Maybe it's in 'C Blues', whatever that is!

    Key centres really apply to tunes that literally drift in and out of various keys, like All The Things You Are, or any other tune that uses different keys. That's a different ball game.

    And modal tunes like Blue In Green, are something else again. That's why I'm saying beware of formulas. Formulas seem nice and safe - just play x - but then you're stuck in it and where's the feeling gone?

    This is honestly a very serious point.

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    You see, we've already got away from the strict key centre idea because those altered sounds aren't in C. So you've broken it already.
    OK so now I think we are onto the issue!!! YAY :-) I've got it in my head that due to me hearing "the blues for example" in one key that I'm using the "key center approach" is that not the case?

    So basically through this thread what I'm understanding is I am already using the arp method or chord by chord method but I just think of it a little differently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    Find people now who are on your level or better and be a supportive and attentive skype partner.
    Yes I have been reaching out lately to my friends... Mostly guitarists although the ones that are better than me with this stuff I'm going to have to pay :-) I know some horn player who would love to hang who are better than me for sure... I'll have to hit them up :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    In listening to the Autumn Leaves solo (good playing BTW) is there is nothing there resembling AL. It’s a Solo that could go over any similar set of chord changes. So a couple of thoughts on correcting that.
    d
    Yeah I'm going to explore your suggestions... I am still in the throws of playing the "right notes" and don't feel very free yet. I will work on making it sound more like the tune.

    Quote Originally Posted by charlieparker
    I think one thing you might want to do is just learn some lines you like that are less diatonic with some alterations or notes out of the associated major scale. Then if you can internalize them and think about them with your approach which would probably get you more comfortable using those alterations.
    For sure... great suggestion. I have been transcribing Grant Green lately... Here is a transcription I just did. There is definitely some short spots where is altering the harmony. The Imgur link is the chart I wrote.
    Imgur: The magic of the Internet

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    But, of course, the blues isn't really key centred anyway. Maybe it's in 'C Blues', whatever that is!
    Blues is like a colour and feeling. You can put it on any tune.

    OTOH you can choose to play a blues super functionally.

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    And modal tunes like Blue In Green, are something else again.
    Blue and Green isn't modal.

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by tonejunkie
    OK so now I think we are onto the issue!!! YAY :-) I've got it in my head that due to me hearing "the blues for example" in one key that I'm using the "key center approach" is that not the case?
    I don't know how you hear it! But are you hearing it through your brain/intellect or with your ear?

    Obviously the chords change in any tune, one can hear that plainly, but it doesn't mean the key changes. Although most jazz tunes do have key changes in them.

    Are you trying tunes other than the blues? I'm only saying this because I'm not sure the blues is a reasonable vehicle for practising key centre changes.

  28. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I don't know how you hear it! But are you hearing it through your brain/intellect or with your ear?
    I think I've explained above that I hear and train my ear with solfege so if I hear Autumn leaves for example and a G is played over any chord in the minor 2 5 1 I hear that as 1st degree or "do" and if I hear that same note G played over any chord in the Major 2 5 1 4 I hear that as the 6th degree "la". I don't know if that helps.


    Also thanks for everyones help :-) It makes sense now that I'm not just looking for a "Key Center" teacher and everyone has given me great ideas on how to move forward.

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by tonejunkie
    I think I've explained above that I hear and train my ear with solfege so if I hear Autumn leaves for example and a G is played over any chord in the minor 2 5 1 I hear that as 1st degree or "do" and if I hear that same note G played over any chord in the Major 2 5 1 4 I hear that as the 6th degree "la". I don't know if that helps.
    I'd say everyone has their own way of sorting this stuff out. If that way works for you then no problem. Personally, I hear a B over Am, I think '9'. If it's an F#, I think '6'... you know, like that. But I'm not saying anything, to each their own.

    But my point is that the sound is more important, much more important, than the name.

    But you didn't answer my question. Are you trying tunes other than blues where key centres are unavoidable? Like All The Things You Are, for example. Sorry to keep on :-)

  30. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I'd say everyone has their own way of sorting this stuff out. If that way works for you then no problem. Personally, I hear a B over Am, I think '9'. If it's an F#, I think '6'... you know, like that. But I'm not saying anything, to each their own.

    But my point is that the sound is more important, much more important, than the name.

    But you didn't answer my question. Are you trying tunes other than blues where key centres are unavoidable? Like All The Things You Are, for example. Sorry to keep on :-)
    I have not tried All the Things You Are yet... may even work on that one next :-) The tunes I have done so far are several Jazz Blues tunes, Autumn Leaves, Blue Bossa, Solar, and Satin Doll. What does it mean where key centers are unavoidable?

    Also I'm just wondering when you hear the note B over Am in a Am D7 G progression would you hear it as a 9 the same as if you B over Am in a Am Dm G7 C progression?



  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by tonejunkie
    What does it mean where key centers are unavoidable?


    If you look at the chords to ATTYA they definitely and obviously split up into various different keys. There's no ambiguity, it's clear and evident. For example, the first 8 bars are:

    Fm - Bbm - Eb7 - Ab
    Db - G7 - C - %

    There you have a vi - ii - V - I - IV in Ab major followed by a V - I in C major. You have to change keys. And there are 5 keys in the whole song (Ab, C, Eb, G and E).

    Also I'm just wondering when you hear the note B over Am in a Am D7 G progression would you hear it as a 9 the same as if you B over Am in a Am Dm G7 C progression?


    Yes, because B is the 9 of Am wherever you are.

    (Am is also the iii chord in F major where all the B's are flat. If you played a natural B over the Am it would sound a bit funny but it would still be the 9 of Am).

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    Here's three examples over FM7 - Gm7 - Am7 - BbM7 - C7 - FM7.

    The first Am is played diatonically with Bb, as is usual.
    The second one has a B natural.
    The third one (oddly!) has an F#.

    One point is how the sound of those notes is affected by the harmonies around them. But if they were written out they'd still be called Am7, Am9 and Am6 regardless. At least, I think so. A theorist might correct that.


  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    You're right. Sorry, I was thinking about something else. In Blue In Green the key centres are highly ambiguous in parts, but that can wait for the moment.
    Maybe All Blues?

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    Spotting the difference between a true key change and chromatic harmony can take a experience.

    Also it’s a little ambiguous sometimes.

    Key changes are often structural; For AABA tunes it’s typical to stay in one key for the A sections change key in the B section. All The Things is atypical because it changes key from Ab to C in the first A and then the second A is the same thing in a couple of different keys (Eb and G); the last A is in Ab all the way through.

    Most tunes aren’t that complicated. For instance Body and Soul stays in Db and goes to D and C in the B section. Have You Met Miss Jones is squarely in F but goes adventuring in Bb, Gb and D for the B.

    But then what constitutes a modulation isn’t always clear. For instance I think of the IV, V, IIm, VIm and even IIIm keys as being in some way part of the home key even though you get strong II V’s and things moving into them. They are more like sub keys if you like - different floors of the same building.

    but yeah - Does Honeysuckle Rose change key in the B section? Maybe? Sort of? But why would I think of the B of that tune as going to Bb when the same progression in another tune I might think of being in F?

    How about Rhythm Changes. Well technically no, but in practice I play each chord in the B rather than just improvising in Bb (this is common in jazz for chains of dominant chords in fourths.)
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-22-2020 at 05:43 AM.

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Maybe All Blues?
    No, Blue In Green. The melody is modal.
    Last edited by ragman1; 01-06-2021 at 02:20 AM.

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by tonejunkie
    Ok I started getting lessons from Jimmy Bruno's workshop 4 years ago (I did it for around a year and some) Since then I have been working on my jazz playing using Jimmy's key center approach to improvisation mostly centered on creating melodies using your ear. I have progressed after his lessons using arpeggios, targeting notes and using modal interchange for sub dominants. I feel like i want to get lessons again to help me and I'm wondering if there is another teacher who you think would match this method of improvising. Any suggestions would be great.

    Quick note: I recently took a lesson from a "internet influencer" guitarist. Great guitarist but we spent a lot of time talking about the differences on how we hear / think of scale degrees as we improvise. He thinks chord by chord and I think with functional harmony and key centers. So if we are in the key of C and G7 goes by he would think of G B D F as 1 3 5 b7 and I would think of it as 5 7 2 4.

    Quick note 2: You may wonder why I do it this way. It matches how I hear music... meaning when I hear the 5 chord go by I hear its arpeggio as 5 7 2 4 within the key because I hear with solfege so I hear So Ti Re Fa. Hope that makes sense... so the reason is to match what I hear with how I'm thinking. It makes transferring melodies much easier for me.

    Here are a couple of cuts of me playing...
    Autumn Leaves

    Summertime (Solo at 55 seconds)

    Here is the kind of music I do in my band...
    Addressing your playing directly, there’s a lot that sounds good. I like your sound and feel, and you clearly know how to play.

    I did have trouble hearing the changes in Autumn leaves and tbh I think your playing has a lot of stepwise diatonic stuff going on. I’m not hearing compelling voice leading between chords which is a big part of straightahead jazz language.

    And tbh, I think you should be taking lessons on that from the records. Again, this is a common thing I see, people are looking to answers from theory when they already have all the resources they need and the pressing work is to listen to and copy lines by ear from your favourite recordings until the sound of the music is in your ears and fingers, and to work out from there how to put it all together.

    I might be mistaken but I would guess that you maybe haven’t done so much of that?

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by tonejunkie
    I feel like i want to get lessons again to help me and I'm wondering if there is another teacher who you think would match this method of improvising. Any suggestions would be great.
    If I have understood your position correctly, my guess is Dana Rasch would be a right fit for you. His approach is heavily based on the methodology of the late Dick Grove, focusing on what he calls playing "over" and "through" changes, depending on the progression of the tune and key changes.

    I took some lessons from him and feel they have helped my overall musicianship quite a bit. The nice thing is you can get a taste of his teaching very affordably at his Patreon place, although private, one on one lessons will certainly be different, being based on your current level, needs etc.

  38. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Spotting the difference between a true key change and chromatic harmony can take a experience.
    Yes... more experience please :-) I would like to learn all those tunes!

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I did have trouble hearing the changes in Autumn leaves and tbh I think your playing has a lot of stepwise diatonic stuff going on. I’m not hearing compelling voice leading between chords which is a big part of straightahead jazz language. And tbh, I think you should be taking lessons on that from the records.
    Thanks for the kind words... What I was really working on that month was landing on a chord tone for each chord going by. And for Autumn Leaves I transcribed a Chet Baker solo. I really like his playing... I generally like really inside playing. I'm working on the Jazz Blues this month and I'm transcribing a bunch of Grant Green choruses. I like the way he sounds. Its fun :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by GastonD
    my guess is Dana Rasch would be a right fit for you.
    I will check him out Thanks!

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    what I'm trying to do at this point is learn jazz vocabulary using this key center approach due to how I hear lines on recordings and how I hear them in my mind. So if we are playing C Blues and a teacher tells me to play F Mixolydian over F7 its confusing... meaning that when I'm playing a F it sounds like a 4 to me not the 1. Or on a recording I heard a B on the G7 chord I would hear it as 7th of the key not the 3rd of G7.

    I would see that the altered scale is spelled 1 b2 b3 3 b5 #5 b7 but when I hear it in real music as well as to make it useful to me I have to re-spell the scale 5 b6 b7 7 b2 b3 4.

    if I hear Autumn leaves for example and a G is played over any chord in the minor 2 5 1 I hear that as 1st degree or "do" and if I hear that same note G played over any chord in the Major 2 5 1 4 I hear that as the 6th degree "la"
    I think your head's too bunged up with 'stuff'. Just simplify it all and play something you like. It's only music, not a PhD course in neurobiology!

  40. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I think your head's too bunged up with 'stuff'. Just simplify it all and play something you like. It's only music, not a PhD course in neurobiology!
    Its definitely bunged up... LOL. I'm still having fun though!

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    FUN? You think this stuff is FUN???

    holey moley

  42. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    FUN? You think this stuff is FUN???

    holey moley
    For sure! I always tell people who tell me how much "talent" I have that my talent is not on the guitar... My talent is the ability to and the desire to sitting in my room and practice for hours. I like the growth and journey of getting better at communicating the music I hear in my mind so much.

  43. #42

    User Info Menu

    Practice... quality over quantity.

  44. #43

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by tonejunkie
    Yep thats right.... Like in Autumn leaves I think of it as two keys. If we are playing it in G minor. The two keys I hear it in is G minor and Bb Major.
    Gmi is the relative minor of Bb Major so that's really just one key. This is an example of the key center approach. The song is diatonic to those two chords through most of the song.

    If you play the 7 scale chords of Bb you'll find the Dmi is the 3rd chord rather than D7. Other than that there's the chromatic chords going down right before the turnaround that (kind of) get outside of that scale a bit.

    Using your ear and using a few devices, you can go outside of the Bb scale when improvising while using the scale as a guide. One of my favorite songs to solo on and it sounds like you have a good start on this Jazz journey

  45. #44

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by bobby d
    Gmi is the relative minor of Bb Major so that's really just one key. This is an example of the key center approach.
    Yes, theoretically, but if you play it as one key, and not two, what does it sound like? You can't play all of it in Bb nor all in Gm. It has to be broken up before it sounds right. And that's before you start altering any sounds.

    Besides, I wouldn't agree that Bb major and G harmonic minor was one key, even if they are related.

  46. #45

    User Info Menu

    Since we are talking about key centers, Bb/Gmi use the same set of 7 notes - of course the Gmi would be the natural minor (Aeolian) which is in the melody of Autumn Leaves. The harmonic minor has one different note that could make improv more interesting, so that's a good point.

    When I think of key centers I think of scales that chord progressions are centered on. That doesn't have to exclude other notes that might be used when improvising. There may be two or more chords in a song that are based on the same scale. It's a good thing to take note of IMO.

  47. #46

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by bobby d
    Since we are talking about key centers, Bb/Gmi use the same set of 7 notes - of course the Gmi would be the natural minor (Aeolian) which is in the melody of Autumn Leaves. The harmonic minor has one different note that could make improv more interesting, so that's a good point.
    Gm, if natural, would just be part of Bb and not a key in itself. But the #7 note is in the melody as well as the ii (m7b5) - Vb9 - i of G harmonic minor, so really there are two different keys in that tune.

    Actually, there's also a brief foray into the melodic minor in the A section but I think that's more a decoration.

  48. #47

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by bobby d
    Maybe I'm missing something but it seems this method only goes so far. Songs with more complex chord progressions have a need for analyzing each chord for what scales work best for each. The trick is knowing when key centers work and when more analysis is needed - and connecting those changes so it doesn't sound like you're just switching scales.

    This may not apply to those that have developed amazing ears!
    The study of this sort of thing is to find sounds that you like, not to map out what you're going to play. It is intended to help develop the ears and ear-hand coordination. All of these approaches (key centers, chord-scale, Bruno's shapes, Lydian Chromatic Concept, modalism, Barry Harris, etc.) are like studying grammar in school; you can learn the mechanics and rules of how to write but not what to write. That has to come from your own inspiration. So, naturally, all of these systems do fall short. They can only give you a notion of where to find the notes.

    IMHO the most important place to start – and one that I neglected to do enough of in my formative years, and which seems harder to do as I get older and memory is not as effortless as when I was young – is to learn songs. My teacher tried, but I kept getting sidetracked into scales and the like. Learn the chords, learn the melody and understand how they go together (chord tones, extensions, tensions, approach notes, chromaticism- it's all in the melodies of great music). After you have learned a couple of hundred songs, improvisation becomes much easier because you have an intuitive and developed understanding of how melodic content fits over harmonic content.

    Listening to people who identify themselves as having studied in these various systems, it seems to my ears that the folks who studied the Barry Harris approach sound the most like "jazz" as I understand it. It is specifically designed to help its students access that, whereas many of the other systems are more generally applicable to all genres of music and don't necessarily tend to shape the student towards sounding like jazz.

  49. #48

    User Info Menu

    When I first started playing all those years ago I would do the chord/scale approach. Not bad but now some 48 years later I would never do that again. The past few years I have been thinking only chord by chord. That is thinking of the arps in the chord and forgetting scales almost entirely. Naturally this goes along with the most important part of improvising and that is knowing the melody inside and out.

    So learning the melody and the arps for the tune. Then slowly adding in fills and outlining the chord. I am not a killer player but this to me has done more for my playing than anything else. Certainly at transition points I might have the awareness of key center but the focusing on the chord itself. By know the melody of the tune, I mean you know it so well that you can simply starting playing it on any note on the fingerboard and getting most of the melody without thought only ear. That is hard depending but actually Christmas songs are good for this as melody is engrained.

    The example I have is lately I started working up Nica's Dream to know the tune really well. I just went over it for days and days. Thinking chords and trying to only use chord notes or extensions. Well sure enough I tune in Wes Montgomery playing Nica's dream and start playing along with it. Just melody and comp a bit. After awhile I easily could go along and play the tune ( no not Wes by any means) but it was freeing. I thought in terms of phasing and playing arps in pattern based the chord. I overcame my usual getting lost at times and I could hear and let things go by knowing where I was to able to pick up and play at any point.

    This may sound really stupid or basic but scales just did not do that for me and I quit looking at the tune as a bunch of scales and keys centers.

  50. #49

    User Info Menu

    It seems that, at one extreme, there is an approach which may be this (I don't really know): The player comes up with a melodic idea. This could be a specific melodic cell, like 1 2 3 5. Or some other kind of phrase. Maybe it's just a general shape to the changes in pitch, like up a few steps, up one more, down somewhere in the middle etc. Then, that player cycles the idea through the harmony in different ways. The idea may be embellished, developed or abandoned for a new idea as the song progresses. But, the core of it is cycling some kind of idea through harmony in interesting ways. Warren Nunes played that way.

    At another extreme, there is the player who scat sings a line in his mind that fits the harmony and plays that. The guiding principle is to make a new melody for the tune, sort of as if the composer had written it. I hear Paul Desmond, to name one, that way.

    Obviously, these are extremes to illuminate the point.

    The first way is chord scale based. The second way, I believe, is ear-training based. You have to be able to generate a melodic line that is also harmonically interesting.

    Both can sound great.

  51. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar

    At another extreme, there is the player who scat sings a line in his mind that fits the harmony and plays that. The guiding principle is to make a new melody for the tune, sort of as if the composer had written it. I hear Paul Desmond, to name one, that way.
    I'm working hard to make my ear be the focal point of how I play music :-) It's my goal! My new tune for the month is Just Friends and the iv-7 bVII7 I^7 is a new sound for me and really cool. Learning to hear lines over new (to me) harmony is really fun!