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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
    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

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    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.

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln

    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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.

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    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
    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
    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.

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    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
    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.