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  1. #651
    Quote Originally Posted by bako View Post
    Fun game with some cool possibilities, anticipating notes, gradual morphing
    of a chord into the upcoming one.

    Cycle 4:

    CEG > CFA > DFB > EGB

    can become:

    CEG//CFG > CFA//CFB > DFB//EFB > EGB etc.

    Cycle 2:

    CEG > ADF > GBE > FAC

    With a 3 note differential there are many possibilities. Here's one:

    CEG//CDG//CDF > ADF//ADE//GDE > GBE//FBE//FAE > FAC etc.
    Start arpeggiating these, or playing these as 8ths or 16th notes will give you groupings of odd lengths for some really interesting linear sounds.
    That comes as a natural outgrowth of getting these under your fingers. You'll wind up playing lines of beautiful intricacy and it won't be apparent to anyone where it's coming from.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #652
    For the toolset.
    This is the fingerboard in letters (absolute. not movable) and numbers/intervals (movable to the chord or key you want to see)
    Anybody use the Goodchord Voice Leading Books?-screen-shot-2020-05-17-5-12-13-am-jpg
    And for your play, some pages out of the Almanac. If you have the Almanacs, you'll find it easier to open to the page you want. If you don't, the book is filled with hundreds of pages of cycles to explore. You play through and find one that says WOW to you and you immerse yourself, homestead and make it yours.
    Cycle 4 melodic minor for some spice. You'll find altered dominant and lydian dominant in here
    Anybody use the Goodchord Voice Leading Books?-screen-shot-2020-05-17-5-02-32-am-jpgAnybody use the Goodchord Voice Leading Books?-screen-shot-2020-05-17-5-03-04-am-jpg
    cycle 6 melodic minor
    Anybody use the Goodchord Voice Leading Books?-screen-shot-2020-05-17-5-03-28-am-jpgAnybody use the Goodchord Voice Leading Books?-screen-shot-2020-05-17-5-03-44-am-jpg
    And I know you've been wondering about 7th chords. Yes, you can do these with 4 part 7th chords too
    Cycle 2 closed. Tough to play on the guitar but it's there
    Anybody use the Goodchord Voice Leading Books?-screen-shot-2020-05-17-5-06-05-am-jpg
    cycle 2 drop 2
    Anybody use the Goodchord Voice Leading Books?-screen-shot-2020-05-17-5-08-24-am-jpg
    Cycle 4, going up by fourths drop 2
    Anybody use the Goodchord Voice Leading Books?-screen-shot-2020-05-17-5-09-18-am-jpg
    So you can see what the Almanacs are filled with, why they're not something you can pick up in a day and use tomorrow. What you can't see, is how you can ultimately apply this; nobody can.
    It's a library. You learn how to navigate it and you can have something that will change the way you see and hear. But there's an entire world of guitar and you never need to set foot in the library. This tends to be the realm of those who have an insatiable hunger for the creative search and a boredom with where they have found themselves. Bako points out that these can be used as strong and intricate connective tissue between things you know well. Absolutely. jlp sees a way of thinking about what the guitar can do, a map not seen by most. Absolutely.
    If you start immersing yourself in this, I've really jumped into it when the shut in orders came, you can open windows and doors every day. Share what you find, and ask what's on your mind.
    Stay healthy everyone.
    Last edited by Jimmy blue note; 05-17-2020 at 06:00 AM.

  4. #653

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    Hi jimmy blue note, did you receive my PM about the books, please? No rush - and I've plenty to do with all of these recently posted ideas.
    Thanks for the charts and especially the video - it's great to hear some of the cycles played in sequence. The suspensions idea, makes the basic exercises sound more musical, particularly when the voice-leading cycle has an extra scale tone between some steps of the voice movement .

    On a tangent, I also noticed that the MSRP lines aren't on these scans of the charts. Is anyone interested in these?

    (For those without the Almanacs, the MSRP = the Melodic Stand Replication Procedure. Mick Goodrick puts these patterns at the bottom of each of his charts. He also calls this the 'melodic DNA ... really interesting when you see that all of these chords and voicings are also melodies ... in most cases a single melody!')

    I find this one of the toughest aspects of the Almanacs to think through, but it's at the heart of hearing the individual voices, perhaps, at the point where melody and harmony meet?

    In my understanding MSRP is a short scalar phrase that's then played in canon by each of the voices. So, in the Cycle 2 chart above, throughout the progression the 3 note melodic phrase CAG drops in fifths, i.e. CAG, FDC, BGF, ECB, AFE, DBA, GED, CAG etc. This line is then offset in canon and 'staggered' between each of the three voices all of the way through the sequence.

    I've never read anything approaching this theory in any other academic harmony books (Thomas Campion's 16th century intervalic and functional voice-leading 'rules' get quite close). This feels important - can anyone else help, with further background to MSRP, please?

    All the best
    Mick W

  5. #654


    With daily work on the cycles, the connexion of chords through voice leading instills a potential to change chord quality that's perceived but not so easily identifiable. This is a progression in cycle 6 of the harmonized harmonic minor scale. Once you become comfortable with how the chords move and where the voices connect, these chordal passages can be used in II V and extended turnaround passages as well as describing any particular individual change.
    The remarkable thing is, everyone I know who works with the cycles in the almanac finds a different way to use it, and the way it changes their way of playing is often quite disparate from the way anyone else will use it.

  6. #655

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    J-B-Note,
    Could you possibly post a few pages of Melodic and Harmonic Minor?
    Thanks.

  7. #656
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnoL View Post
    J-B-Note,
    Could you possibly post a few pages of Melodic and Harmonic Minor?
    Thanks.
    Cycle 3, chords by thirds in melodic minor, drop 2 and 4 all inversions
    Anybody use the Goodchord Voice Leading Books?-screen-shot-2020-05-20-3-11-13-pm-jpg

    Cycle 7, note that even though the chords go up by 7ths, the root movement goes in a descending direction. Drop 3
    Anybody use the Goodchord Voice Leading Books?-screen-shot-2020-05-20-3-14-43-pm-jpg
    These are for 7ths in 4 parts. There are also triads over bass notes and clusters in the Almanacs, some of which can't be played straight on the guitar, but can be arpeggiated, played with a Freeze pedal, or arranged for two guitars...etc. It's all in there, combinations of notes that you might not be inclined to find on your own. Mick took all 4 note combinations and permutations and voice led them in complete cycles. So you get some idea that anything within the thousand or so pages is unique and not necessarily related to anything you'd find in the pages where anyone else might begin.
    I will note that this material is really useful for a player who wants/needs to explore the potential of the guitar more fully. These are not things that are in the toolset of the traditions, largely because guitar has a lot of tradition of roots being in the bass or in certain inversions. That's good, but the almanacs seem to be most exciting to players whose improvisational concept is hungry for what else is possible.
    For intermediate to advanced piano players, this is easy to visualize and you may notice that harmonically, pianists in general have less of the sound that guitarists get from grabs, more of a feel for chords that incorporate movement. And too, a lot of guitarists don't want or like a language that breaks with what is considered traditional.
    Just sayin'
    It's all there for anyone, but you have to want it, enough to learn something really different about the guitar.

  8. #657
    There are voice leading families that move up and down. This one shows how chords can be arpeggiated, opening up linear possibilities. If your own style favours dense linear phrases, you can work on a cycle like this one, played as 16th notes. Passages would be made up with this material and it always fits the notes of the parent scale the cycles are derived from. I've heard horn players use this material to great effect, and the intricacy of the lines is really remarkable. Anyway it's an alternative to a scale pattern or arpeggio, when you want it.

  9. #658

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    Thanks for these samples. I overlooked that you had just posted some Melodic minor, but thanks for these additional items!

  10. #659

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    Last edited by mikostep; 05-21-2020 at 03:26 AM.

  11. #660

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    mikostep,

    What program did you create the diagrams in? I like the clarity and simplicity. Thanks.

  12. #661

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    Quote Originally Posted by bako View Post
    mikostep,

    What program did you create the diagrams in? I like the clarity and simplicity. Thanks.
    Honestly i don't remember the name of the app. It was Ipad app I used some time a go. Can't find it now, but I'll try to find it later.
    I think it was named Chord or something similar and it was free.

  13. #662

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    Heya, thanks for all of this. This info will certainly provide enough to be getting on with while we wait for the book.. :-)

  14. #663
    For all who are curiously intrigued by the sounds, or the ideas, or just plain honestly inquisitive, please post your questions. The things that have put people off from delving into these books, that's what we're writing the book for. It'd be really helpful to know where the line of understanding ends, or just what kind of explanations can help the everyday advancing guitarist tap into a resource that seems intimidating.

    For the guitarists who've been playing a while, I'd like to pose a question: Can your describe your improvisational process? Can you articulate the impetus for progressing through a solo?
    This is a huge philosophical question, but one that is not asked, by others and of one's self, and it does speak to the ultimate utility of the voice leading almanacs.

    Put simply, there are different ways, motivations and guidelines for the improvisational process and it's really helpful to know we all speak the same language when we look for a teacher, a method or a resource. The jazz guitar world is very broad and the knowledge spectrum is very wide. One person's motivation is not another's.

    I'd really welcome a discussion on what the improvisational process is. It would help us, writing the book, to know just what some perspectives are. Thanks

  15. #664

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    "please post your questions"


    Thanks for asking! Here's a very general question - to echo jimmy blue note's request for anecdotes, I'm interested in the anyone's thoughts on the genesis of these voice leading concepts in Mick Goodrick's books.


    In the mid '80s I spent a couple of years 'weight training' with the George van Eps Harmonic Mechanisms (you try carrying them around!) but even with this preparation, the step up to the Advancing Guitarist was quite an effort.


    Perhaps it might help some of us to look at Mick Goodrick's writing on voice leading in the Advancing Guitarist? When cross referenced with the Almanacs, the first two big sections of the Advancing Guitarist book — 'The Approach', and 'Materials' — work as an excellent commentary. The beginning of Section II: Materials' (pages 39-50 in my copy) was thoroughly unpacked and expanded in the Almanacs.


    There are some helpful suggestions, contextual information, and a few hints, directions, and clues there - (e.g. on the modal uses of the 3 main scales: major, harmonic minor, and melodic minor).


    When I got the first two Almanacs ten years later they still felt intimidating, despite the reassuring guidance of the introductory explanation that 'This is a guitar sourcebook'. Some source!

  16. #665

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note View Post
    For all who are curiously intrigued by the sounds, or the ideas, or just plain honestly inquisitive, please post your questions. The things that have put people off from delving into these books, that's what we're writing the book for. It'd be really helpful to know where the line of understanding ends, or just what kind of explanations can help the everyday advancing guitarist tap into a resource that seems intimidating.

    For the guitarists who've been playing a while, I'd like to pose a question: Can your describe your improvisational process? Can you articulate the impetus for progressing through a solo?
    This is a huge philosophical question, but one that is not asked, by others and of one's self, and it does speak to the ultimate utility of the voice leading almanacs.

    Put simply, there are different ways, motivations and guidelines for the improvisational process and it's really helpful to know we all speak the same language when we look for a teacher, a method or a resource. The jazz guitar world is very broad and the knowledge spectrum is very wide. One person's motivation is not another's.

    I'd really welcome a discussion on what the improvisational process is. It would help us, writing the book, to know just what some perspectives are. Thanks
    At the moment I’m trying to not improvise but prepare music. It always seems to creep in around the edges anyway (I’ve been improvising as long as I’ve been playing, so I doubt I’ll forget how) but my main aim is to make good sounding (to me) music.

    This relates to ideas like embellishing the melody, but is broader. Improvised music can always threaten to get a bit formless and noodly. It needs to approached on multiple levels.

    I think what Steve Swallow said about not making up music ‘from whole cloth’ was very liberating as both a musician and educator. It’s allowing me to focus on the result rather than be dominated by the tyranny of this or that ‘correct’ process.

    Musicians can get incredibly snotty about this for some reason. But we all have set patterns to some extent without realising. Sometimes the best way of breaking habits is to compose new ones.

    probably all change again in six months. but it goes hand in hand for me with the solo guitar thing (as I’m not yet able to improvise arrangements in tempo as I go). And that’s good because otherwise I could be guilty of practicing mostly how to solo on changes...

    It also provides another way to incorporate new material into music that might not yet be internalised enough to be improvised. I’ve kind of neglected that sort of approach in the past.

    in the past couple of years I’ve really wanted to move towards a ‘shades of grey’ or ‘dimmer switch’ approach to music where I find an unexamined dichotomy in my music making and attempt to blend one extreme into the other to greater or lesser extents. Or put another way, turn discrete binary distinctions into a spectrum.

    So for instance:

    modern/traditional
    chords/single note
    changes/modal
    improvisation/composition
    jazz/non-jazz

    and so on
    Last edited by christianm77; 05-22-2020 at 10:04 AM.

  17. #666
    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Wright View Post
    Perhaps it might help some of us to look at Mick Goodrick's writing on voice leading in the Advancing Guitarist? When cross referenced with the Almanacs, the first two big sections of the Advancing Guitarist book — 'The Approach', and 'Materials' — work as an excellent commentary. The beginning of Section II: Materials' (pages 39-50 in my copy) was thoroughly unpacked and expanded in the Almanacs.


    There are some helpful suggestions, contextual information, and a few hints, directions, and clues there - (e.g. on the modal uses of the 3 main scales: major, harmonic minor, and melodic minor).
    Yes. That's where it all came from, The Advancing Guitarist.
    When Mick wrote that, he saw the guitar possessing great potential beyond the ways that were thought of as being accepted or traditional at the time. It's a comprehensive work, one he thought encompassed his vision of the guitar, and one he thought every guitarist who wanted to explore the instrument without prejudice should know. The Advancing Guitarist is the reason there is no explanation of how the Almanacs work. It's all in there.
    When he wrote the pages you referred to, he meant to lay down the fundamentals and give the player all the tools to explore the voice leading of all possible chords up to the player. The toolset was set out, now you take what you have and you can build your own house.
    Somewhere around the time AG was published, he was on the road and one of the guys, it may have been Leibman or Nussbaum, said to him "Mick, that chapter is pretty mind blowing, but you're holding back." Mick says, No, it's all there, and in response "No you're not giving it up. You say this is what you can do but you're not giving up what you do." So he took the guiding rules of voice leading (that's the left margin of each page in the Almanacs) and he set about taking the chord families and voice leading them.
    But the more he did this, instead of a short work of tertiary harmony and voice leading them through the inversions, he realized several things: there's a wealth in ways 4 part chords could be constructed outside of tertiary harmony (4ths, triads over bass notes, clusters, spread clusters,) and they could all be voice led in cycles, and he also saw that voice led cycles through all the possible chords would reveal a canonic melody offset by a note in each voice-the MSRP.
    The first volume is chords that can easily be identified in a functional way. They have names and they fit with pieces written with/for harmony you can interpret through chord symbols. The second volume are structures that depending on how they are seen or the context they're used in, might be called different names. So he doesn't name them, but they are still voice led. This leads to some very textural voicings and some that aren't easy or possible to play as a single chord on a traditional guitar; but it's there. The third volume consists of the note groupings that defy overt analysis and it also explores many ways that chords can be constructively broken down and re-ordered.
    What started out as a challenge to show the harmonic possibilities of the visible world became a multi year project that he had no idea of the scope or breadth of and held enough room for interpretation and elaboration so anyone could, with their own will, create works and styles that are absolutely unique.
    These are works that serve to broaden one's perspective and urge the player to broaden one's ear to recognize the potential of each voice in a chord; to find new creative possibilities.
    He was always quick to note that these books, or the pages within are not progressive. Once you have an idea of the general landscape, you can homestead one page for weeks or months and get things you never knew were there. That's kind of what a lot of almanac uses have shared with me anyway.

  18. #667

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    Too much time on my hands. Maybe have finally gone off the deep end. Follow at your own risk.

    So here's the idea:

    Started with a basic major pentatonic formula 1 2 3 5 6
    Applied this to each degree of a 7 note scale:

    I. CDEGA
    II. DEFAB
    III. EFGBC
    IV. FGACD
    V. GABDE
    VI. ABCEF
    VII. BCDFG

    Each "mode" is functionally assigned to a scale degree as are chords in the almanac.

    It was my intention to take a chordal sequence derived from each degree and then voice lead it through a given cycle.
    Something like: Cycle 2 - CDG DEA EGC > BDF DEA EFB > BCF CEG EFB etc.

    This is more than my brain can hold onto so I decided to write it out.
    The charts address similar pentatonic structures derived from major, melodic minor, harmonic minor and harmonic major.
    It voice leads the entire scales through cycle 2. Each inversion is written out twice.
    The logic being to hopefully make it visually possible to see various voicings w/o having to write them out individuality.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  19. #668

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    ... So for instance:


    modern/traditional
    chords/single note
    changes/modal
    improvisation/composition
    jazz/non-jazz


    Or put another way, turn discrete binary distinctions into a spectrum.


    and so on

    Hi christianm77


    Nice one — your list, and the idea of 'binaries becoming a spectrum' combines well with the resources offered in the Almanacs,
    That's a good Steve Swallow quote, too. There's a new album, soon — 'Swallow Tales', with Scofield and Stewart, and featuring his tunes including 'Falling Grace', out next month June 2020.
    His idea of not composing music ‘from whole cloth’ is a useful and interesting one - is it from an interview that's printed, or online somewhere, please?

  20. #669

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    This is the interview


  21. #670

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note View Post
    For the guitarists who've been playing a while, I'd like to pose a question: Can your describe your improvisational process? Can you articulate the impetus for progressing through a solo?
    This is a huge philosophical question, but one that is not asked, by others and of one's self, and it does speak to the ultimate utility of the voice leading almanacs.
    It's a tough question, and I don't know that I can always trust myself to give an accurate representation of my mental processes, but I'll give it a shot.

    My process depends very much on the kind of tune that I'm playing.

    - For tonal music (ie, the vast majority of standards, the American songbook, however you want to call it), my approach probably isn't that different from bebop players and their successors (albeit worse).

    Certain bits of harmony tend to get simplified. For example, this:

    Bbmaj / Gm7 / Cm7 / F7

    Get simplified to this in my head:

    Bbmaj / Bbmaj / F7 / F7

    There's a sort of linear voice leading, but in my head it's different conceptually from proper harmonic voice leading. Chromatic notes and approach notes are used liberally to get chord tones on strong beats. Diminished subs (ie, Adim7 as a sub for F7) used as a way to get back to a I chord. For altered sounds, I don't think of an F altered scale or a Gb melodic minor scale leading back to Bbmajor, but rather B7#11. It's much easier for me to see the linear voice leading that way.

    There's a good number of "street-smart" harmonic tricks involved, many of them gleamed from studying solos or listening carefully to master players and how they think. In my experience, an improvisor can only focus on so many things at once. Excessive mental energy on chasing the chord changes, or thinking about how to linearly voice lead, means less focus on the rhythm, the shape of the line, dynamics, space, etc. I would rather focus on these latter things, so many of these simplification strategies are used to make the harmonic side "automatic," in a sense.

    - For modal tunes, it's a completely different approach. For long stretches of static harmony, how do you keep things interesting? I have a bag of tricks, and it's certainly not different from most players: various pentatonic strategies, motivic development, "side slipping" and other so-called "outside" sounds, etc.

    - For non-functional tunes that don't feel like typical modal tunes (Wayne Shorter, for example), my approach has been (through very painful trial and error) to focus on melodic cells, usually from the melody, use my ears as a guide, and grab bits and pieces of harmony as they float by. Wayne makes it look easy.

    - For free improv, Joe Morris has been an invaluable help -- as a Boston guy, I'm assuming you're at least a little familiar with his methodology.

    As a bonus, here are a variety of reasons why I've found it hard to use the Almanacs over the years.

    - It reveals its secrets very slowly. Initially, you can see some immediate uses for it, especially on modal tunes with long stretches of static harmony. For tonal tunes, you can see the immediate use of something like Cycle 4 in a major scale. Later, you see that Cycle 6 can be seen as an extension of Cycle 4. But this is a slow process. It takes a lot of time and work. And there are so many other things to work on, and it's easy to get sidetracked.

    - It takes an enormous amount of fretboard knowledge. I would love to say that I have instant access to every inversion and voicing of every triad, 7th chord, TBN, cluster, and 4th voicing, in every key. I very much do not. Working through the Almanacs invariably requires a lot of work on learning those voicings, too. If I don't relentlessly practice them, it's very easy to lose them.

    - Related to the last point, I tend to view each voice leading cycle not as a series of independently flowing voices, but as a series of connected (but very much discrete) voicings arranged sequentially. This is almost certainly increasing the mental horsepower and memorization required, but it's very hard to get out of the "grip" mindset.

    - Because of all these points, I don't feel like I have really internalized many of these concepts deeply, which makes it hard to incorporate them into playing situations. Perhaps little things come out here and there. But get up on stage, count off a fast tempo, and it's difficult to do anything except the same strategies and approaches that have defined my entire career.

    I hope this helps, and I'm happy to clarify anything or go into more detail.

  22. #671

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    Thanks for this, Christian, I'm writing down the whole quote, for discussion - it's a beauty. 'Yard goods' eh?


    [Transcription] Steve Swallow and Carla Bley, on ‘players who were compositional’:

    "I think Miles was … brilliant at choosing the people he worked with and I think in particular he needed players who were compositional. Wayne, most certainly, but Bill Evans as well, and numbers of others …
    As the multitude of Miles' recordings - bootlegs - and all of the rest come out, if you kind of line them up chronologically you see the extent to which he was in fact composing when he played. You can see him develop a solo, over a period of months and years, in a way that Louis Armstrong did as well. And it kind of flies in the face of that myth that jazz is at its best entirely spontaneous, that you make it up from whole cloth every time you pick up your horn.

    There are people who work at that, and who succeed to one extent or another in really fabricating a new solo every time they play, but I've come to realize that I am essentially working on a solo every time I play a particular song, and I'm trying to advance the solo that I'm working on for that particular song, and [to Carla Bley] I think you do that too?"
    Carla Bley: "Oh absolutely, and in your band, you really appreciate when the players play the piece they're playing instead of playing some 'yard goods'."

    – from Steve Swallow & Carla Bley – filmed interview, by Siobhan Bradshaw for 2014underyourskin.net
    Last edited by Mick Wright; 05-24-2020 at 10:55 AM.

  23. #672

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    A few posts back, #667 to be exact, I followed up on a "what If" idea that didn't lead to where I hoped it would.
    The reason for this is that a 5 note pentatonic structure extracted from a common denominator 7 note source scale
    will never have more than a 2 note differential from any of the others.

    Cycle 2 ..... CDEGA > DEFAB ...... (2 notes F B)
    Cycle 3 ..... CDEGA > EFGBC ...... (2 notes F B)
    Cycle 4 ..... CDEGA > FGACD ...... (1 note F)
    Cycle 5 ...... CDEGA > GABDE ..... (1 note B)
    Cycle 6 ...... CDEGA > ABCEF ...... (2 notes B F)
    Cycle 7 ...... CDEGA > BCDFG ...... (2 notes B F)

    So while the possible chordal content of the original diatonically derived pentatonic structures are interesting enough unto themselves,
    the act of voice leading them together results in much overlap, a big wash of similar material. Anyway, I share this followup post as a model of an experiment that didn't deliver the result I imagined. There is something to be learned from our missteps, sidesteps as well as correct guesses. Onward... .. . .. . .. . . . .

  24. #673
    For the past 2 months, I've been working in depth with the Almanac, with colleagues, with students. Just a little each day, actually a bit, up to a couple hours some days, and here are some observations that took me by surprise.
    The first bump in the learning curve was just brute force: Reading through a particular group of triad cycles. Cycle 6 and cycle 4 specifically. It was awkward and slow, but each day it got easier, faster and most importantly, my ear got better-way better, and my fretboard visualization was profoundly changed. It got easier and within a couple of weeks, I felt closer to my guitar than I had in years, aurally, kinesthetically, conceptually and in the struggle to understand and navigate these cycles, I visualized the fretboard not in chord shapes, but sounds that were connected through a common mesh of sounds.
    I noticed that I could negotiate and navigate a cycle by chord shape with roots moving laterally throughout the fingerboard.
    I noticed that I could move by the sound of voices moving from one chordal sound to another.
    I noticed that I could move by tendencies my hands were acquiring (I could intuitively move from one good note to another, in multiple voices)
    I noticed that sonic movement didn't always need to have an identifiable name to the particular chord; the movement had its own life.
    I noticed that as my awareness of movement by ear got better, I tended to play more "by ear" and my time got better.
    That was the first bump.

    Then the next bump in my progress came as I began to be able to play different cycles, memorize the root movements "off book" and move to 4 part 7ths.
    I noticed that at this point, doing other patterns, other forms, that they were much easier than the way I'd struggled with the initial triad work. Learning makes learning easier. It's much faster to learn more from the plateau.
    Here's where things started to pay off. Yes the cycles in the book are quite remarkable in themselves, but it turns out that for me, they are merely akin to small etudes of aural and kinesthetic value when compared with how they are starting to appear in my playing.
    I'm playing chords differently. Chords are not merely shapes that coincide with a harmonic map of a piece, but relationships of individual chord tones and notes that can elegantly find a route to somewhere I want to go to farther down the road. The transitional mesh of harmony was much smoother and I am beginning to be able to instantly identify counterpoint lines, lines that connect and do it in 4 voices. So my playing doesn't sound overtly like the almanacs, but it's becoming smoother and more piano like in the textures I can conjure.
    I'm feeling tension and release and the linear control of those effects and it's starting to enter into my chordal vocabulary that tensions can be controlled within the flow of chords.
    I'm starting to be able to use close voiced triads over bass notes to get some magical chordal combinations.

    In short, I've come to see the work with just a few pages of cycles as a doorway to unlocking a process of playing polyphonic linearity by ear. That's the greatest takeaway at this point: These cycles force me to hear in colour. Those colours move through time in coincidence with the changes of a piece.

    I'm still working each day on new aspects of cycles proficiency and each day it's changing the way I play.

    I've had different reports from the others in my group, one has been finding polytonal applications. Kenji, whose videos appear in my posts, is exploring long tones and the feeling of movement that can be found by really studying these slowly. One student has come to a revelation that chords are not grabs but sounds that can be played all around the fingerboard and from that, he sees the guitar in a larger but much more free perspective.

    These are just a few observations. I asked you guys for some observations about the way you see your instrument because that's really insightful for me when I address any concept with a peer or student. How do you envision your world of music?

    Almanac work is demanding enough that you have to want to push yourself into something new. It's something that nobody can assure you of what you'll find...or if you will. I wanted pianistic freedom so that's what I'm pulling from it.
    I guess like the jazz guitar world, what you practice is what you get when you play.

    In short, these cycles make me work with the entire fretboard. I need to figure out how but the notes are there and when I learn them on my own, my understanding is stronger.
    Please, no matter what level you're on, weigh in with your questions, your frustrations, your observations. This will help me answer in greater detail and that's really helpful for the book.

    Like: What's all those letters and how do I find them on my guitar?
    That's a perfectly reasonable question that I'm not going to write out unless someone asks, but if you have a question, put it out there.
    Would it be more helpful to put these cycles in Roman numeral chords with chord tone numbers for the voices? Weigh in!
    Thanks
    Last edited by Jimmy blue note; 05-29-2020 at 12:10 PM.

  25. #674

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    Okay, I'll throw out a dumb question. Is There any particular thought and logic as to the arrows showing the voice movements?

  26. #675
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnoL View Post
    Okay, I'll throw out a dumb question. Is There any particular thought and logic as to the arrows showing the voice movements?
    GREAT question! In the movement of one chord to another, you always have the choice of where to find the next chord. Going from a C chord to a Dmin chord you COULD chose to play the C open and the D min up on the 12th fret. With smooth voice leading, there's a tendency when finding connecting chord tones to get there within a step; as little movement as possible, common tones as much as you can. This means that the voices will tend to either move up a step to find the next chord or move down.

    The quick answer is, this is the direction you go in to find the next chord (in some inversion) with the least amount of movement. It sounds really smooth and connected this way.
    The practical answer for me is, when I'm on a chord and I want to move to another chord smoothly, which direction (up or down the neck) might I look in to find the closest root that I can put a chord on.
    I'm playing a chord and it's C to D-, I can move up the chord up the neck. That'd be logical but it gives a very generic parallel movement of chords. Better to look for the D- with a root going down the neck and voila, the voice leading connects the voices automatically. It sounds like Bach, it sounds mysteriously integrated and it opens up new areas of the neck for the chords that follow.

    Studying the cycles gives you an intuitive sense of what direction you go in to find the smoothest connection. After a while all this becomes as intuitive as playing your favourite II V I.

    On the actual Almanac pages, there are little diagrams that show you the most efficient resolutions between voices. I couldn't fit them on the scans I posted cuz then it makes it hard to read.

    Sorry if the answer is long, hope it gives some explanation. I can say more if you'd like.

  27. #676

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnoL View Post
    Okay, I'll throw out a dumb question. Is There any particular thought and logic as to the arrows showing the voice movements?

    On all but the cycle 2 and cycles 7 arrangements, the arrows show the direction for the least amount of movement for all voices between chords.

    For the cycle 2 and cycle 7 arrangements it's assumed that everybody already knows how to play the diatonic chords in step order up and down the scale, so, instead, those cycles use descending voice motion to go up the scale and ascending voice motion to go down the scale to give you something new/different to work on.

    .

  28. #677

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    So for a given cycle starting on a specific inversion/voicing starting point, is there generally only one way the voices can move to have the least movement?

  29. #678
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnoL View Post
    So for a given cycle starting on a specific inversion/voicing starting point, is there generally only one way the voices can move to have the least movement?
    Yes, and the movement of the voices is uncannily consistent and predictabe. The fun comes when you can switch chord types, each of which has a sound, and intermix cycles to get both ascending and descending movement. On some groups, triads over bass notes for instance, there's both ascending and descending movment. Some go up and some go down for the smoothest movement. Some of the content in there is a dramatic study in divergence and convergence.
    There are some wonderfully potent harmonic and melodic tools that are buried within a fretboard freed of the conventional limitations of chord shapes. I'm just starting to see that being able to see the full range of notes within reach of a span of frets can hold unimagined intervallic textures, and then move them to resolution.
    Last edited by Jimmy blue note; 05-29-2020 at 05:45 PM.

  30. #679

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    It's good to see a renewed interest in the Almanacs. I usually find a page I like, and then play it for a week or maybe more. There is so much info on each page, chords, arps, single lines.

  31. #680

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    A couple of thoughts regarding the Alamanc books...

    Sometimes we can overthink a subject and start to lose sight of it altogether. I think that can happen with these books. To me, these books can be used to stir up creativity without having to analyze everything about what is in them.

    One of the most repeated pieces of advice about creativity is to limit the scope of what you are working with. What better way to do that than to just pick a page in any of these books and just play with what is there, playing with the sounds you get playing the contents in various ways?

    One piece of advice I read somewhere was for the first few minutes of every practice session, play something you have never played before. Just play. Again, you can do that with these books.

    If I have any concern about providing more direction in these books than what Mick Goodrick already provided, it is that such information can steer a person into a direction, rather than just leaving the material wide open to interpretation.

    I am not saying that knowledge stifles creativity, but what I read in these forums is people seriously studying jazz like becoming a math major, all the scales and chord forms, etc. Learning the vocabulary is important if you want to speak the language. But sometimes a break from that can also be a good thing. These books can be that because of the way that Mick Goodrick wrote them.

    Tony

  32. #681

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    Hi Tony


    That's several excellent points, most particularly the one you make about the Almanacs offering a break from the 'math major' style music theory disciplines. Your approach matches one of Mick Goodrick's comments in the Almanac Vol. I introduction:

    "Try not to learn it ... You just have the experiences of going through the material. That will be enough."

    I like your idea of using these books 'to stir up creativity' by limiting the scope of the musical palette and canvas - saxophonist Steve Lacy described a similar method that he called 'Tight Corners' in his book 'Findings: My Experience with the Soprano Saxophone' (Paris: Outre Mesure, 1994.)
    In a way similar to what you describe, various posted comments about not using tab, or notation, inspired me to begin simultaneously using several registers for each chord of a cycle, playing these up and down the fingerboard, while still moving through the cycle. The voice-leading connections are still audible as the harmony shifts, but the 'piano-like' sounds from the constant register changes are at once educational, creative, and great fun. I try to feel and hear these as much as 'think' them: somehow, the left-hand fingers gradually find their way to the correct notes with minimal conscious effort.

    I certainly took the wanna-bee math major approach myself, at first, when trying to work through these mazes of chordal voice-leading. (I asked myself - Ok then, so what are these twenty different three-part chords? And, why do TBN I & II voicings suddenly produce contrary voice movement in Cycles 3 to 6?) Such puzzles get very compelling once the basics make sense, and we are steered a little in this direction by Mick Goodrick, in his introduction to Vol. II. Even there, though, his 'discovery learning' approach is still implicit in the books' format (so there are no page numbers at all in Almanacs Vols. I & II, and everything is 'only' presented in C major or C minor). Almanac Vol. III then changes to a different viewpoint, where a far greater amount of analysis is explicitly incorporated into the study material.

    The examples given in Vol II’s introduction are incredible condensed illustrations, yet these are only a tiny facet of the Almanacs offer. It's exciting to read people's experiences here, and to hear that there may now be further useful material coming soon.

    It might be interesting to see these introductions unpacked further. And any tips on modulations, please, anyone?

    Finally, to state the obvious, any page of these cycles works 'backwards' as effectively as it does 'forwards' — so a Cycle 6 progression for any given chord voicing sequence is a 'perfectly-reversed' Cycle 3 (i.e. cycle 6=3, cycle 7=2, and cycle 4=5). It is always useful to play and explore each page in both of these directions — it halves the paperwork, and the math!

    All the best
    Mick W