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  1. #51

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    Does great American songbook include tin pan ally or is it more specific to those classic broadway and film tunes?
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  3. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758 View Post
    Does great American songbook include tin pan ally or is it more specific to those classic broadway and film tunes?
    I think it includes Tin Pan Alley tunes.

  4. #53

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    Is there a term for those film and broadway standards? The non tin pan ally ones
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  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    ii V I's are viewed as one of the distinguishing characteristics of jazz compositions vs other styles of music. While not everything is ii V I in jazz and ii V I's aren't completely non-existent in other music, I think it's a fair generalisation when one considers the whole body of tonal music. After all it's subdominant, dominant and tonic progression, ii is preferred over IV as the chords aren't triads.
    Is it overstated in education? I don't know. In the context of standards I can't imagine a progression more prevalent than ii V I's and vi ii V I's and iii vi ii V I's, which are all chained ii V I's really (even when vi's or ii's are made secondary dominants). I think it makes sense that jazz education is based on the standards as opposed to more modern evolutions of jazz. That said, I don't like practising progressions outside of tunes.
    There’s a few things to unpack here. The main thing is - check out the history of tunes and how musicians play them, and check out more recent music.

    1) standards are not necessarily jazz compositions. There’s a lot of show tunes for instance, vocal standards that instrumentalists often play. The original harmonisations may be surprising if you are used to jazz versions. People who are really into standards get really deep into the history of tunes. Stella is an obvious example.

    2) later harmonisations of standards played by jazz musicians often featured more ii v s than the original song book harmony. Barry has a whole rant about this.... Barry’s approach is based around playing on the dominant not the ii V. Personally I find this a lot easier.

    3) ii v s are very typical of 1950s/60s jazz.... Wes for instance makes a lot of use of this sound, so yeah if that’s the style you like that’s a sound you are going to hear a lot. Specifically a lot of this players of this era took Parker language and transposed them to different keys on ii v s. This is quite an easy thing to teach .... so jazz edu still uses this technique.

    4) everyone got a bit sick of ii v s as things often go, and they went out of fashion. Wayne Shorter and other composers introduced different types of harmony. Modal jazz shook up things as well.

    5) few experienced jazz musicians actually play ii v I because it sounds kind of shit if you do it too much. Bass players will play melodic bass lines, soloists will play lines based on all sorts of stuff and compers usually focus on the middle voices

    6) ii v i is merely one case of a cadential chord progression. There are a few other common ones in jazz - IV I for instance that get left by the wayside.

    7) over emphasis of ii v I s leads people to say stupid things like ‘Jobims harmony is non functional’ - no, it’s not.

    8) no one seems to take time to properly address diminished chords these days....

    9) I prefer to teach and think functionally - subdominant —> tonic. More flexible.
    Last edited by christianm77; 05-28-2019 at 02:04 PM.

  6. #55

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    I'm appalled at the simple lack of musicality comprising modern music, seeing no point in trying to develop it for jazz presentation which would feel too much like attempting to fix someone's totally goofy crumby broken stuff... so much contemporary music is hopelessly flat out of ideas and completely derivative of clearly recognizable already existing songs... sounds like music studio school students' final exam productions.

    I just imagine a lot of us find it much more satisfying to compose our own jazz songs, teach them to our bands, and perform those.
    Last edited by pauln; 05-28-2019 at 04:58 PM.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post

    I just imagine a lot of us find it much more satisfying to compose our own jazz songs, teach them to our bands, and perform those.
    But of course! It is much more satisfying, and that's how it should be. If everyone followed that the wolrd would be a better place. The jazz world anyway.

  8. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    I'm appalled at the simple lack of musicality comprising modern music, seeing no point in trying to develop it for jazz presentation which would feel too much like attempting to fix someone's totally goofy crumby broken stuff... so much contemporary music is hopelessly flat out of ideas and completely derivative of clearly recognizable already existing songs. Is sounds like music studio school students' final exam productions.

    I just imagine a lot of us find it much more satisfying to compose our own jazz songs, teach them to our bands, and perform those.
    I don't think this is universally true, but again Barry comes up with a typically pithy dismissal of much modern jazz composition:

    'cats used to harmonise melody, now they melodicise harmony.'

    To be completely fair, jazz musicians are disadvantaged legally if they wish to play standard songs - you cannot copyright a solo. OTOH, this pushes jazz musicians into releasing mostly original music.

    Not all musicians who are fantastic improvisors on changes are good composers of purely original material - the tradition of contrafacts allows a halfway house here (it is argued that Bird for one was fundamentally a musician who formalised improvisations in the studio rather than a composer per se... i have a reference if anyone is interested looking into that.)

    For some reason it seems like contrafacts are less fashionable ATM, which is a shame because there's a lot you can do with them...

    But interestingly, don't cotrafacts fall into 'melodicised harmony?' or is there more than harmonic material preserved from the original song?

  9. #58
    On a slight tangent, if you think about it, it's a miracle anybody listens to jazz. Let me explain. Everytime there is a jazz performance or an album for sale, jazz is competing for the audience's time and money with other genres that they could also spend their time and money to listen to.
    Let's take classical music as a competitor. You got:
    - Music composed by the creme of the crop of highly trained and genius composers.
    - Not only they are genius composers but they slaved over that composition over a long period of time and revised it many times to perfect it. Otherwise it wouldn't find a venue for performance by an orchestra.
    - It took many decades to finally mature their craft and be able to come up with compositions that's taken seriously.
    - Then you got the performers who are separate people from the composer. They are dedicated performers. They are trained meticulously typically from ages before 5 or 7 for technical supremacy in their instruments. They studied with masters and obsessed over gaining great control of dynamics and consistent execution of articulations in the style the composer intended with their instruments.

    When people instead go see jazz in a club instead they are witnessing:
    1- Some 20 something dude most likely far from a genius talent in composition.
    2- They spend 4 micro seconds to come up with their "piece", and hope that it wasn't a complete brain fart. No revision or perfection.
    3- They are also the performers of their piece. They picked up their instruments in late teens and never really formally studied technique or controlling performance dynamics.

    Yet I still love jazz more then any other music. Go figure.
    That said I prefer if people who aren't Charlie Parker at least should work on some ideas for each tune and improvise by riffing off of them during performances and not completely fly in the moment.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-28-2019 at 04:39 PM.

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    On a slight tangent, if you think about it, it's a miracle anybody listens to jazz. Let me explain. Everytime there is a jazz performance or an album for sale, jazz is competing for the audience's time and money with other genres that they could also spend their time and money to listen to.
    Let's take classical music as a competitor. You got:
    - Music composed by the creme of the crop of highly trained and genius composers.
    - Not only they are genius composers but they slaved over that composition over a long period of time and revised it many times to perfect it. Otherwise it wouldn't find a venue for performance by an orchestra.
    - It took many decades to finally mature their craft and be able to come up with compositions that's taken seriously.
    - Then you got the performers who are separate people trained meticulously typically from age before 5 or 7 for technical supremacy in their instruments. They studied with masters and obsessed over gaining great control of dynamics and consistent execution of articulations in the style the composer intended with their instruments.

    When people instead go see jazz in a club instead they are witnessing:
    1- Some 20 something dude most likely far from a genius talent in composition.
    2- They spend 4 micro seconds to come up with their "piece", and hope that it wasn't a complete brain fart. No revision or perfection.
    3- They picked up their instruments in late teens and never really formally studied technique or controlling performance dynamics.
    Man you must go to some funny jazz clubs.

    Most jazz musicians I know started early, even the guitarists, most have a background in music college, and probably did a bit of classical guitar too. The music you hear them play is spontaneous but the product of well over 10,000 hours of work.

    Yet I still love jazz more then any other music. Go figure.
    That said I prefer if people who aren't Charlie Parker at least should work on some ideas for each tune and improvise by riffing off of them during performances and not completely fly in the moment.
    I knew a guy who was a legit post-tonal orchestral composer. He was also a quite terrible jazz guitarist.

    It was fascinating to me how such a skilled musician capable of hearing scores from the page and composing music of the utmost complexity and ambition could be quite so bad at jazz.

    You know, I know a few composers, and it's not really as much of a big deal... it's a different skill set, sure, but not necessarily a deeper one. Composers do tend to be a bit .. special... in that they have excellent audiation, and a lot of music students do not.

    As you probably know I'm doing this music edu postgrad at one of the elite conservatoires in the UK, and it's amazing what you hear from the faculty about the low level of aural musicianship of the classical students - they've never had to work on it, basically. There's a bit of a movement now to make to make classical training more like jazz and pop training. People like Lucy Green and so on.

    They look up to people like us because we learn much more by ear a lot, emphasise experiential learning, improvise, play with our students and so on and actually have fun playing music. It's quite weird actually how much they sort of see jazz and pop as the bucolic realm haha (it's not, but having done a bit of both, I find jazz much more fun than classical, holy shit.

    My tutor even said - to be a good sight reader you have to be a good improvisor. Interesting observation... (The converse is obviously untrue.)

    I find that mind boggling.

  11. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Man you must go to some funny jazz clubs.

    Most jazz musicians I know started early, even the guitarists, most have a background in music college, and probably did a bit of classical guitar too. The music you hear them play is spontaneous but the product of well over 10,000 hours of work.
    I don't know what you mean by early. Most jazz guitarists I know started in their teens (12-13), and most do not have any classical guitar training. Even the big shots that I don't personally know. You can read their bio's. It's quite rare that they had classical guitar training. I'm sure there are a few but not all. 12-13 is not early by the classical standards by any stretch of imagination.
    I'm sure most somewhat established jazz musicians have put their 10000 hours. God knows I even did (ok may be 7000 hours). But classical composers have also put their 10000 hours and but they still have to put months to get their compositions in a shape they are proud of. Those are performed by musicians who also put their 10000 hours JUST for technique and other performance considerations.
    I'm not really idolizing classical musicians. I'm aware that their training is very one dimensional (especially in understanding of harmony and playing by ear) and most of them haven't personally transcended the limitations of their training (some have of course). I'm not really trying to start a classical vs jazz debate. I said what I said above in a cheeky way. But there is some truth to it I think.

  12. #61
    With regards to starting age, the point is that the expected performance and technical standards in jazz instrumentation is not as high as classical. One can start learning, say piano, in their late teens and still get into a good jazz program if they work towards the audition requirements with a good instructor. I'm guessing expectations for technical mastery is much higher for classical programs than jazz.
    Of course one doesn't have to go to school. I'm comparing admission requirements as a measure of required standards in technique. I know at least one professional jazz guitarist who is good enough to get a teaching position at a college jazz program who started in their 20's. When I took courses from a jazz performance program at a university towards my (non-music) degree, I was told by my private instructor that the best jazz guitarist in the program started in his 30's. You're not gonna get that very often in classical.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-28-2019 at 04:31 PM.

  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    I'm appalled at the simple lack of musicality comprising modern music... so much contemporary music is hopelessly flat out of ideas and completely derivative of clearly recognizable already existing songs. ...
    ...
    You are aware of the fact that this is exactly what was said about jazz 100 years ago?


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  14. #63

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    Well I suppose that’s a good reason for classical players to want to emulate our process lol. People can develop fast...

    I think it’s worth bearing in mind that starting jazz guitar is not the same as starting music.

    Also guitar is kind of .... special .... if you are looking at say jazz piano, it’s very different. Many of the jazz musicians I know went to specialist music schools for instance.

    I understand violin is very hard to master a later age.... guitar not so much.

    My point is the comparison to classical musicians is a bit silly. They can’t do what we do. It’s not a pissing contest, everyone has their skill set.

    There are fucking talented people in every field. I know people working in jazz who are incredible musicians on a formal level. Increasingly it’s becoming the rule actually.

  15. #64

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    I also think 10,000 is not enough to become a really good jazz guitarist.

    You need a fuckton of experience whatever your chops.
    Last edited by christianm77; 05-28-2019 at 04:55 PM.

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758 View Post
    Is there a term for those film and broadway standards? The non tin pan ally ones
    I'm not familiar with a term to refer to only the better film and Broadway standards, and not to tunes written for the general pop / sheet music marketplace.

    Songwriter Alec Wilder's early 70s book "American Popular Song" (did it get mentioned upthread? I didn't read every post) was one of the first to try to create a GASB 'canon'. For Wilder, the most sophisticated stuff, generally speaking, was the Broadway stuff, then film, then sheet music/Tin Pan Alley. Certainly there are many film songs more sophisticated than many popular Broadway songs, and some immortal tunes like "Body and Soul" and "Stardust" were "lowly" Tin Pan Alley songs (though I don't think Hoagy Carmichael or Johnny Green every actually wrote in mid-town office buildings like the classic Tin Pan Alley teams used to).

    But he didn't have any particular term for non-film/non-Broadway songs of the GASB era, and considered the best of them to be equal to the stuff written for musicals of either type. The other books on popular song I've read haven't consistently discussed them under any specific term I can think of.
    Last edited by 44lombard; 05-29-2019 at 10:16 AM.

  17. #66

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    Anyway to return to the central point - I think the dialogue between popular and music jazz was based upon a close relationship between the two...

    Furthermore popular music has moved increasingly towards sound design at the expense of harmony or melody.... jazz otoh has moved in different directions... but it does seem to focus more on complexity in harmony, melody and rhythm - but not entirely. And many current jazz musicians do work with contemporary pop material, very effectively in my opinion.

    However for something to become a standard means more than one jazz musician has to play it... so the diversification of the music reflects a diversification in repertoire perhaps and fewer standards in general ....

  18. #67

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    One of the advantages of figuring things out by ear is that it utilizes some of the same processes one uses for composition:

    - deliberate focused audiation
    - attention to progression coherence, voicing, and melodic interplay
    - experimenting with alternatives (harmonic, melodic, rhythmic)
    - recognizing when you are getting there

    For example, the turnaround for a few songs is II7 | ii7 | V7 | I, but if you are figuring it out by ear for the intention of improvising it's likely you may notice:

    - bvidim sounds nice during the ii7 (but so does spreading it across both the ii7 and V7)
    - Vaug sounds nice for the V7 (but even better does Vaug/7 or bII Lydian Dominant)
    - V11 sounds nice for the V7 (but maybe better may the V11->V13b9 shift)

    Hopefully these will be things that feel as if you discovered, invented, or composed them, by exploring with your ears to figure out a song. These are the composition processes used when a composer is listening to and evaluating the development of a composition in work - listening to how it sounds, judging to chose one sound over another.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    My point is the comparison to classical musicians is a bit silly. They can’t do what we do. It’s not a pissing contest, everyone has their skill set.
    You cannot do what they can do.

  20. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick View Post
    You cannot do what they can do.
    I know plenty of jazz musicians that play in classical ensembles, but few classical players that can swing.

  21. #70

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    I expect those jazz musicians, if they are working in professional classical ensembles, were classically trained. It is not something one takes up on a whim. I cannot think of any musician working in the classical sphere who did not receive thorough training. I can think of classically trained jazz musicians, such as Bill Evans and Dave Brubeck.

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    I know plenty of jazz musicians that play in classical ensembles, but few classical players that can swing.
    It's great to start learning an instrument with a classical teacher, it builds a solid technique for sure. But at some point you want to break away from it, because swing is not only not encouraged, it's considered a rhythmic defect by serious classical teachers. So if you go classical school for a long time chances are no, you can't swing.

    Btw, how is it connected to the OP again?

  23. #72

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    You can shove a ii V into anything, the real challenge is making a tune that's literally the same 4 chords for 3 and a half minutes with a melody that has only 3 different pitches a vehicle for improv that isnt... yknow... lame.
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  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post

    My tutor even said - to be a good sight reader you have to be a good improvisor. Interesting observation... (The converse is obviously untrue.)

    I find that mind boggling.
    Oops, That statement is false as far as I'm concerned. I know symphonic musicians who can read ahead several bars prima vista, but can't improvise anything. And can't swing. (obviously not saying this applies to every classical musician).

    Ed Sheeran's "Shape Of You" has been covered by the great Yo-Yo Ma on a Spotify Single. The B-side is a Bach Cello suite. Even though I much prefer the latter, I think both the composer and the performer deserves cred. Most classical musicians couldn't do it, it's rhythmically too strange for them. Still rhythmically trivial compared to latin standards like "O Pato" for example.

    "Shape of You" has become a de facto standard in a short period of time. Will it be remembered in 50 years? Who knows. I dig the song, but.... it ain't Jazz in my book.

  25. #74

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    Classical music has different time feel... it is different but it exists.

    I think actually there is a very bad influence from pop and jazz today that make some early music groups play in kind of 'rythm section' style... and they try to realte it often to swing feel too (there is also a conception of 'tactus' that became fashionable in early music and it is just killing me)

    And by the way this could be a problem with the jazz playes trying to play classical...

    Classical rythm and time feel is much more flexible and much more connected with things that happen in the other aspects like harmony and melody... in jazz or rock basic rythm section is almost independent (they can interecat with soloist of course - but basically they can just keep the grove based on purely rythmic things and it will be ok - in classical it won;t work, it will kill the music).

    In French baroque - especially in dances - rythmic feel was extremely subtle (and it's not just 'inegal' - which is even more subtle thing

    One of the most charachteristic feature of baroque music is that dance penetrated everything including sacred music even.... it brought to the synchronization of time in voices and increase of the rythmic functions - like pulse, synchopation etc. (which was not common before baroque in serious music).

    Very obvious example of good balance


  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick View Post
    You cannot do what they can do.
    Well done, you understood my post :-)

    No I can’t. Well many jazz musicians can play the dots but they usually fail in the area of phrasing and nuance which is what classical players really shed at. My wife - much more sensitised to classical interpretation than I am - thought Chick Coreas take on Mozart was pretty risible for example.

    And also in the area of composition, ask me to write a long form piece, no chance. However classical composition is changing... a lot of composition majors no longer study counterpoint apparently...
    Last edited by christianm77; 05-29-2019 at 06:05 AM.

  27. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCat View Post
    Oops, That statement is false as far as I'm concerned. I know symphonic musicians who can read ahead several bars prima vista, but can't improvise anything. And can't swing. (obviously not saying this applies to every classical musician).
    Tbh the tutor had made several statements that made me take a sharp breath, but I have to bite my tongue because there’s not really time to debate shit.

    However improvisation does not have anything to do with jazz necessarily.

    What he meant is that if you put a piece of Mozart in front of an experienced sight reader with errors in it, they will play it without the errors.

    So the point being that an experienced sight reader knows enough of Mozart’s style to be able to know how it goes even when the music is wrong.

    Also, there’s the obvious point that it’s better to approximate and carry on than stop... that’s an improvisational skill in itself. Sight reading is always sketching the music.... the better you are of course and the more familiar you are with the composer the better your sketch will be, but there’s always an aspect of going for it.

    Furthermore a good classical sight reader will not read notes, but read shapes, phrases and musical sentences, as well as interpreting with appropriate style and phrasing sight unseen.

    Btw if this sounds ridiculous, I live on the UK, which has the best sight readers in the world. This is not actually a good thing - it’s down to lack of money. Sight reading is a big deal in all areas of music.

    US orchestras are not very good sight readers in comparison but rehearse more so often end up giving much better performances.

    The most ridiculous reading musicians I know are repetiteurs. They can do things like sight transpose on piano SATB vocal parts from open score down a semitone to approximate baroque pitch. Some also play jazz.

  28. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    One of the advantages of figuring things out by ear is that it utilizes some of the same processes one uses for composition:

    - deliberate focused audiation
    - attention to progression coherence, voicing, and melodic interplay
    - experimenting with alternatives (harmonic, melodic, rhythmic)
    - recognizing when you are getting there.
    Yes I think that’s the real reason to do it.

    Obviously licks are great when you are starting out... but they are a by product...

    Incidentally these things - improv, sight reading, audiation and of course composition have in common that you hone your skills within a language.

    Classical musicians may not be able to ‘hear’ upper structure harmony or swing polyrhythms for instance... I can’t hear classical phrasing as well as someone who specialises in that music, otoh.

    I think it’s always worth stating - music is not just notes. We aren’t just machines that go note by note writing, reading and hearing. We work in phrases and ideas that belong to a language, with context and culture.

  29. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    What he meant is that if you put a piece of Mozart in front of an experienced sight reader with errors in it, they will play it without the errors.

    So the point being that an experienced sight reader knows enough of Mozart’s style to be able to know how it goes even when the music is wrong.
    That's a good point. I suppose it's about anticipating the notes based on a certain frame of reference, i.e music that has been internalized by ear training and muscle memory.

    Jazz musicians share GASB as our common understanding of the genre. This is the legacy we attend to, expand and develop.

    I could write something in the style and spirit of GASB and it would sound just like it's been written before by somebody else. Not necessarily bad, but hardly pushing forward, breaking barriers. But at some point it may not be possible to push a genre without leaving the audience behind, turning the genre into an obscure curiosity. Some would claim (even around here) that Classical and Jazz passed that point a long time ago. Fortunately, Bach & Co as well as my trusty GASB never get old.

  30. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCat View Post
    That's a good point. I suppose it's about anticipating the notes based on a certain frame of reference, i.e music that has been internalized by ear training and muscle memory.

    Jazz musicians share GASB as our common understanding of the genre. This is the legacy we attend to, expand and develop.

    I could write something in the style and spirit of GASB and it would sound just like it's been written before by somebody else. Not necessarily bad, but hardly pushing forward, breaking barriers. But at some point it may not be possible to push a genre without leaving the audience behind, turning the genre into an obscure curiosity. Some would claim (even around here) that Classical and Jazz passed that point a long time ago. Fortunately, Bach & Co as well as my trusty GASB never get old.
    It’s an interesting exercise particularly if you love your standards. Trying to imitate a past form is great for technique even if you don’t ultimately want to write that way....

  31. #80

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    Qs
    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    On a slight tangent, if you think about it, it's a miracle anybody listens to jazz. Let me explain. Everytime there is a jazz performance or an album for sale, jazz is competing for the audience's time and money with other genres that they could also spend their time and money to listen to.
    Let's take classical music as a competitor. You got:
    - Music composed by the creme of the crop of highly trained and genius composers.
    - Not only they are genius composers but they slaved over that composition over a long period of time and revised it many times to perfect it. Otherwise it wouldn't find a venue for performance by an orchestra.
    - It took many decades to finally mature their craft and be able to come up with compositions that's taken seriously.
    - Then you got the performers who are separate people from the composer. They are dedicated performers. They are trained meticulously typically from ages before 5 or 7 for technical supremacy in their instruments. They studied with masters and obsessed over gaining great control of dynamics and consistent execution of articulations in the style the composer intended with their instruments.

    When people instead go see jazz in a club instead they are witnessing:
    1- Some 20 something dude most likely far from a genius talent in composition.
    2- They spend 4 micro seconds to come up with their "piece", and hope that it wasn't a complete brain fart. No revision or perfection.
    3- They are also the performers of their piece. They picked up their instruments in late teens and never really formally studied technique or controlling performance dynamics.

    Yet I still love jazz more then any other music. Go figure.
    That said I prefer if people who aren't Charlie Parker at least should work on some ideas for each tune and improvise by riffing off of them during performances and not completely fly in the moment.
    Your assumption regarding #2 sinks an otherwise interesting thread.

    why assume they aren’t serious about their composition? Remember, jazz composers also have to sometimes ‘scale it back’ if they want to get it performed. Rehearsal time is a constraint for modern composers of all genres.

  32. #81
    Quote Originally Posted by rictroll View Post
    Qs

    Your assumption regarding #2 sinks an otherwise interesting thread.

    why assume they aren’t serious about their composition? Remember, jazz composers also have to sometimes ‘scale it back’ if they want to get it performed. Rehearsal time is a constraint for modern composers of all genres.
    It's amazing how so easily threads sink isn't it. Just like that
    I was hoping that we would go back to the thread topic but since you brought it up, here it goes.
    It was a really a tongue-in-cheek post as I'm aware it's not entirely meaningful to compare improvisation and composition this way. Also the situation described in the post does not represent every jazz performance but by no means unimaginable.
    Of course I'm aware that there is a lot of work that goes into improvisation (takes me 2-3 hours practice time daily and I feel I still have a life time to explore). People spend countless hours learning the language, studying masters, learning tunes, working on their time, developing their ears for harmony and melodic material. Guess what, composers do that too. On top of that they slave over a composition for months to perfect it only to discard it in the end if it's subpar (which it is sometimes for everybody I assume). On the other side you got composition put together on the fly. Yes elements of the product has been woodshed, but the final form is not a thorough composition (unless you are Wes).
    On the other side you got pieces from a modern composer who walks on water (otherwise their work wouldn't be selected for performance in good venues) or works of the best geniuses in the past 400 years. Then you got performers, who are specialized for this task and trained to control every performance nuance consistently to bring the piece into life in the way intended by the composer. You got a highly trained conductor (a very competitive profession) who understands the work very well and has got great ears that ensure everything is put together right.
    So in some abstract perhaps academic sense, one would think that classical music is a more elevated art form.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-29-2019 at 04:35 PM.

  33. #82
    On the other hand, apparently some of the great composers of the past were also great improvisors. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart etc. I heard some of their compositions are really snapshots of their improvised performances. Though, I'm sure not everything they produced were improvised.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-29-2019 at 03:37 PM.

  34. #83

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    No I can’t. Well many jazz musicians can play the dots but they usually fail in the area of phrasing and nuance which is what classical players really shed at. My wife - much more sensitised to classical interpretation than I am - thought Chick Coreas take on Mozart was pretty risible for example.
    What about Keith Jarrett?



    <checks/>

    He's put out over a dozen classical recordings.
    Build bridges, not walls.

  35. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    On the other hand, apparently some of the great composers of the past were also great improvisors. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart etc. I heard some of their compositions are really snapshots of their improvised performances. Though, I'm sure not everything they produced were improvised.
    Yeah you are really touching on some big subject areas that could end up producing a lot of verbiage.

    You don’t actually need to go back that far actually... Messiaen was an extremely accomplished improviser on organ... although apparently he improvised in a different style to his compositions.

    But in the era of Bach etc music was composed at great speed with tremendous fluency in a well understood common style, a lingua Franca. So you could say it was improvised straight to paper... although Beethoven was an inveterate reviser...

    But then so are many improvisers - refining material over time... this is how many of the greats did it. Not Miles, or Sonny, but Oscar, Louis, Joe Henderson....

    Drill down and improvise and compose are almost synonyms. The former only really means it’s not written down because when it’s in the musicians mind it’s impossible to know how much is prearranged and how much is spontaneous without being privy to more than a single performance...

  36. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles View Post
    What about Keith Jarrett?



    <checks/>

    He's put out over a dozen classical recordings.
    I’m not really the right person to ask.

  37. #86
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Drill down and improvise and compose are almost synonyms. The former only really means it’s not written down because when it’s in the musicians mind it’s impossible to know how much is prearranged and how much is spontaneous without being privy to more than a single performance...
    Even if this wasn't an overstatement of how improvisation and composition are really equal, the bar of compositional merit for getting a jazz gig is not comparable to have your piece selected for performance by a professional orchestra.

  38. #87

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    It's amazing how so easily threads sink isn't it. Just like that
    I was hoping that we would go back to the thread topic but since you brought it up, here it goes.
    It was a really a tongue-in-cheek post as I'm aware it's not entirely meaningful to compare improvisation and composition this way. Also the situation described in the post does not represent every jazz performance but by no means unimaginable.
    Of course I'm aware that there is a lot of work that goes into improvisation (takes me 2-3 hours practice time daily and I feel I still have a life time to explore). People spend countless hours learning the language, studying masters, learning tunes, working on their time, developing their ears for harmony and melodic material. Guess what, composers do that too. On top of that they slave over a composition for months to perfect it only to discard it in the end if it's subpar (which it is sometimes for everybody I assume). On the other side you got composition put together on the fly. Yes elements of the product has been woodshed, but the final form is not a thorough composition (unless you are Wes).
    On the other side you got pieces from a modern composer who walks on water (otherwise their work wouldn't be selected for performance in good venues) or works of the best geniuses in the past 400 years. Then you got performers, who are specialized for this task and trained to control every performance nuance consistently to bring the piece into life in the way intended by the composer. You got a highly trained conductor (a very competitive profession) who understands the work very well and has got great ears that ensure everything is put together right.
    So in some abstract perhaps academic sense, one would think that classical music is a more elevated art form.
    Ok I’ll take this post in a tongue in cheek vein cos I don’t buy it. I’ve had too much contact with the actual classical world.

    I think one thing you get in classical music is a rigorous hierarchy, highly important gatekeepers and societal kudos. This allows certain complex things to happen such as highly expensive and hard to organise art forms such as opera, in a way that’s simply unimaginable in any other way.

    This musical world also attracts a certain type of person - not just from the point of view of ability, but who can deal with the business and have the patience navigate all the various power structures.

    It’s also easy to see why this music attracts such kudos as well (which I think might be part of what you are saying) because it’s so obviously good - music that has stood the test of time being expertly performed. What’s not to appreciate?

    On the other hand I think modern composers have a tougher time... who even thinks of contemporary classical composers aside form musicians. And if they hear it they usually hate it for being unfamiliar. As true for your ‘accessible’ composers....

  39. #88
    BTW, I'm not saying that a superb jazz musician cannot compose at the elite level. I bet Barry Harris can. But if he did compose music for a classical orchestra (he said this was one of his dreams in a workshop), I believe his process would be very different then performing in a jazz gig. Even though he doesn't think that Jazz is different than classical music.

  40. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    BTW, I'm not saying that a superb jazz musician cannot compose at the elite level. I bet Barry Harris can. But if he did compose music for a classical orchestra (he said this was one of his dreams in a workshop), I bet his process would be very different then performing in a jazz gig. Even though he doesn't think that Jazz is different than classical music.
    I think there’s an extra layer in this which is that so many of the musicians we hold up as the greats in black music wanted to be concert artists by were unable to pursue careers.

    Anyway jazz composition as a form is different to classical. What constitutes ‘elite’ composition? Don’t know. There are a great many (to me) fantastically boring symphonies which I’m sure have great craft behind them. OTOH jazz composition has existed since the early days... You may have heard of this guy Ellington, maybe?

    Stravinsky did say he regarded Ellington as the greatest American composer so he clearly held the form in high esteem.

  41. #90

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Even if this wasn't an overstatement of how improvisation and composition are really equal, the bar of compositional merit for getting a jazz gig is not comparable to have your piece selected for performance by a professional orchestra.
    No I don’t it as an overstatement actually. You would would be hard pressed to copy music as fast as a professional 18th century composer could write it.

    Sorry what is the point of all this?

    Classical music has gatekeepers.... mind you so does jazz. There’s gigs and gigs.

    To get a large ensemble to play your music is always going to be harder than a small ensemble... but large ensembles are not the only game. In fact many of the most influential 20th century pieces were for small ensembles.

  42. #91
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    No I don’t it as an overstatement actually. You would would be hard pressed to copy music as fast as a professional 18th century composer could write it.
    Of course composition can be done in realtime which would make it improvisation. The difference is being done in realtime is not a requirement for composition but it is for improvisation. I suspect many composers not only take advantage of this fact but are also extremely reliant on it.
    I don't think one can compare blowing over ATTYA changes to writing a 21 century sonata. For one ATTYA is already a composed piece. Quite brilliantly I might add. Coming up with a solo over a well composed piece is the way easier compositional challenge.

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Sorry what is the point of all this?
    Good question. I'm not sure anymore. I'm certainly guilty of causing this segue. I was comparing the classical model of music making vs jazz. I find it interesting that three components of making music, composition, performance and ensemble dynamics are extremely specialized areas in classical music and done by different experts (composer, performer, conductor). Also specifics are planned, premeditated and highly rehearsed. Where in the jazz model all is done by the same people and at least specifics are realized in realtime. It's interesting because from the audience perspective you'd think the first model should be preferred as the (at least on the paper) superior one. But it isn't. (well kinda).
    Anyway I'm happy to go back to the thread topic.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-30-2019 at 02:28 PM.

  43. #92
    Come to think of it, the first model was preferred by the audience for jazz as well. Big band swing orchestras were a lot closer to that model and the mainstream audience loved it. But musicians loved the more improvised format of the small combos and I concur.

  44. #93

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Of course composition can be done in realtime which would make it improvisation. The difference is being done in realtime is not a requirement for composition but it is for improvisation. I doubt many composers not only take advantage of this fact but are also extremely reliant on it.
    I don't think one can compare blowing over ATTYA changes to writing a 21 century sonata. For one ATTYA is already a composed piece. Quite brilliantly I might add. Coming up with a solo over a well composed piece is the way easier compositional challenge.
    Yeah, ATTYA is OK. It's better in 3, because there the rhythmic predictability of the melody is less pronounced. Not my favourite standard from a melodic standpoint although jazz musicians like the harmony. Probably not my favourite Kern.

    You know they say familiarity breeds contempt... And while any halfway competent jazz amateur can play ATTYA after a fashion, obviously there's some difference between someone who can do it really fucking well (let alone Parker or someone) and someone who has recently learned the 'right' scales from an Aebersold...

    Of course, the fact is that distinction may be completely lost an audience... (I remember that episode of Friends with Ross's music) but actually I don't think it is. People can tell the difference between something rhythmically engaged and something meandering, for one.

    (Now, go back in time and you'll find basic repeating forms such as Chaconnes that formed the basis of many simpler pieces in the baroque era. Or in the case of Bach, an honest to god masterpiece.)

    But yeah, classical music is obviously good, attracting funding from corporate sources and wealthy patrons for instance... Contemporary concert music, not so much because it sounds very different and hasn't become part of the cultural furniture. Tends to more subsidised by the state...

    The fact that you mention Sonata form suggests you are not massively familiar with trends in New Music - and you yourself are obviously an interested party, a musician? So there you go...

    Good question. I'm not sure anymore. I'm certainly guilty of causing this segue. I was comparing the classical model of music making vs jazz. I find it interesting that three components of making music possible, composition, performance and ensemble dynamics are extremely specialized areas in classical music and done by different experts (composer, performer, conductor). Also specifics are planned, premeditated and highly rehearsed. Where in the jazz model all is done by the same people and at least specifics are realized in realtime. It's interesting because from the audience perspective you'd think the first model should be preferred as the (at least on the paper) superior one. But it isn't. (well kinda).
    Anyway I'm happy to go back to the thread topic.
    Yeah, I hear you.

    Division of labour, specialisation of tasks, strict hierarchy allow certain things to be achieved that could not happen with a looser organisation, Mahler symphonies, Wagner operas and so on....

    (We could of course compare to the industrial revolution, which is when these changes happened in music... The orchestra to some extent models the social structures of the time.)

    It's interesting hearing you say this stuff after a weekend of hearing classical music educators complain about how students are taught to always revere the composer, never write or improvise their own music, never develop strong aural skills and essentially train only to interpret the notes on the page...

    And did you know job satisfaction for orchestral professionals is on a par with refuse collectors?

    OTOH today's musicians are increasingly very versatile freelancers. They can play pretty much anything.

    It's also worth pointing out that many of the composers the lay audience may have heard of - Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Schubert etc - were also performers, and many improvisers. Their artistic world did not much resemble that of the present day, which is largely inherited from the 19th century. The division of labour of this kind is more 19th century than it is 17th or 18th. Orchestras were also smaller, the conductor did not exist as a specialised role, and so on...

    But I think bottom line if you are saying - jazz musicians are not trained to be good composers, why would we expect them to be so, I would agree. There are fantastic composers in jazz of course - ranging from Jelly Roll Morton to Maria Schneider... but to expect all jazz improvisors to be good composers of original material is silly... You have to respect the craft of composition and shed the fuck out of it to be good at it.

    But I would also say, the notion that a performer can not also be a strong composer and they have to be two separate things is obviously untrue, and I feel I've shown that here.

  45. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles View Post
    What about Keith Jarrett?



    <checks/>

    He's put out over a dozen classical recordings.
    My sister in law makes her living as a classical pianist and the one time we discussed jazz pianist playing classical a few years back she told me they are all rubbish ....

    ... except Keith Jarrett. I don't know who and how, but apparently several members of his family are classical musicians, so he has a sense of tradition and can pull it off.

  46. #95

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    Wynton Marsalis is a good example of a jazz musician who has made some well-regarded classical recordings.

  47. #96

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov View Post
    ... except Keith Jarrett. I don't know who and how, but apparently several members of his family are classical musicians, so he has a sense of tradition and can pull it off.
    He had a lot of training as a boy, including lessons with Eleanor Sokoloff at the Curtis Institute of Music (she has been on the faculty at Curtis since 1936 and still teaches at the age of 104).

  48. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Wynton Marsalis is a good example of a jazz musician who has made some well-regarded classical recordings.
    He was trained, and played with the New Orleans Philharmonic as a boy.

  49. #98

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    Chris Thile certainly seems to be able to play Bach to a very high level. On mandolin. It shouldn’t work....

    But it does to the point that every classical music fan I’ve talked to about it is kind of like ‘ok, fair play.’

  50. #99

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    Gary Burton has some interesting thoughts on the original topic


  51. #100

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Gary Burton has some interesting thoughts on the original topic

    I was going to post the same video but you beat me to it! Burton spends the first 10 minutes or so talking about this very issue, and explains that his audience wanted to hear the tunes that they grew up - mostly the same 150 Broadway show tunes, 2-5-1 progressions with similar syncopations - but he realized that the audience was getting older and he needed to find new musical styles that would appeal to a younger crowd. (He was still a teenager when he played with folks like George Shearing and Hank Garland!) This led him to creative rock musicians (like the Beatles) who weren't locked into 3 chord progressions and folks like Larry Coryell who incorporated both rock and jazz into their playing. And voila, "jazz/rock fusion" was born.

    The "new standards" are the rock and pop songs of the 60s to present.

    This is well worth watching in its entirety.