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  1. #701

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  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #702
    That cycle 5 harmonic minor is the ascending counterpart to the cycle 4 which shares the 2 common tone 2 shifting voice movement. Curiously the two groupings in cycle 4 and 5 are independent from each other whereas all other cycles eventually go through the cycles in all inversions.
    The harmonic minor is so beautiful and I find utility in this by making the G7 (V7) chord the destination chord of the cycle, and thereby turn this run into a voice led progression that can be used in any tune by having it serve as a dominant feed in to any chord. Nice if used as a secondary dominant chord because in addition to the non diatonic nature of the harmonic minor, is the "outside" yet mysteriously beautiful non diatonic harmonic structure of secondary dominants.

    And for further mind bending, take all those Eb's and turn them into E's and you have some VERY cool harmonic major sounds!

  4. #703

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    Yeah, always noticed that about cycle 4 and 5. Understand the choice made because the alternative although nice requires jumping around a bit more in order to address all the inversions. Might look something like this in drop 2:

    Cycle 4:

    CGBEb ..... EbAbCF ..... FBDAb ..... GDEbB .... etc.

    Cycle 5:

    CGBEb ..... BFGD ..... AbDFC ...... GCEbAb .... etc.

  5. #704
    Just to put it out there:

    Diatonically (alter chord qualities and intervals for different scale types)

    Cycle 2 descends
    ... IMaj | II- | III- | IVMaj | V7 | VI- | VII-7b5 | IMaj | II- | III- | IVMaj | V7 | VI- | VII-7b5 | IMaj | II- ...

    Cycle 4 ascends
    ... IMaj | IVMaj | VII-7b5 | III- | VI- | II- | V7 | IMaj | IVMaj | VII-7b5 | III- | VI- | II- | V7 | IMaj | IVMaj ...

    Cycle 6 ascends
    ... IMaj | Vi- | IVMaj | II- | VII-7b5 | V7 | III- | IMaj | VI- | IVMaj | II- | VII-7b5 | V7 | III- | IMaj | VI- ...

    Cycle 7 descends
    ... IMaj | VII-7b5 | VI- | V7 | IVMaj | III- | II- | IMaj | VII-7b5 | VI- | V7 | IVMaj | III- | II- | IMaj | VII-7b5 ...

    Cycle 5 descends
    ... IMaj | V7 | II- | VI- | III- | VII-7b5 | IVMaj | IMaj | V7 | II- | VI- | III- | VII-7b5 | IVMaj | IMaj | V7 ...

    Cycle 3 descends
    ... IMaj | III- | V7 | VII-7b5 | II- | IVMaj | VI- | IMaj | III- | V7 | VII-7b5 | II- | IVMaj | VI- | IMaj | III- ...

    So instead of key specific (absolute nomenclature) I'm using diatonic chord designation-roman numeral (relative nomenclature) so this is easier translated to any key you're working in. If you're not comfortable with thinking of chords this way, then working with this material is going to be challenging. It deals with movements within tonal centres and if you "Play by the chord names" strictly, then these alternative routes are somewhat counter to that thinking.
    I also gave 2 octaves so you can see entire sections easily, (see a II V I progression without a break in the line...).
    Also you can see that cycle 2 and cycle 7 are complementary, but one ascends and the other descends, 3 and 6 the same, 4 and 5 too.
    I also observe that cycle 4 has groupings of major triad chords together, and minor triad groups together. This is really handy for me because sometimes I want a line of chords with a darker, more minor sounding quality for the line, and sometimes using a smooth group of chords with a major quality sound has a very different effect.
    Cycle 3 and 6 share a lot of common tones so the movement is subtle and the movement along the neck is not as dramatic.
    When I really start practicing these, I learn to perceive movement that is not as function oriented to my ear, but more melodic. I can't really describe this further, but it's something that seems to be an observation with others whom I've worked with.
    As I work with a cycle:
    First I try to get the fingering right, and my fluency with fingerboard note locations and chord shapes on different strings improved.
    Next I try to navigate the chords by knowing where the root movement goes, and lateral movement across the fingerboard improved.
    Then I tried to hear the movement of voices that lead me to the next chord root, and my ear really improved.
    Then I tried to be aware visually how my hands were moving from one aural note grouping (chord) to the next moved, and many of my habits of chord grabs and chord movements were freed.
    Then I tried to feel the chords (kinesthetic) as they moved. This has given my hands a totally new "hand sense" which I find unconsciously creeping into everything I play. When I hit "the zone", I'm finding sounds I never suspected, connexions across the fingerboard I never used, visualizations and traveling up and down the neck within and between changes in ways I can't explain.
    And the connective tissue between theory, ear and hand gets stronger in ways they've not connected before.

    So just some observations in the midst of the COVID immersion.
    Last edited by Jimmy blue note; 07-04-2020 at 03:39 PM.

  6. #705

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    Here's a question about fingerings for triad spread voicings.

    If you start on say strings 4,3,1 and the cycle is going down the neck, is it best (when starting out) to
    stay on the same string set even if there is a difficult stretch? If you stay on the same string set
    you can see the voice movement better and I have found some gaps with some positions I am unfamiliar with
    and have to think a little harder as to where the chord tones are.

    Or should I just switch to a different string set at that point and save injury to my hands?

    I think the considerations are a little different for 4 note voicings.

  7. #706

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note View Post

    Cycle 2 descends
    ... IMaj | II- | III- | IVMaj | V7 | VI- | VII-7b5 | IMaj | II- | III- | IVMaj | V7 | VI- | VII-7b5 | IMaj | II- ...

    Cycle 4 ascends
    ... IMaj | IVMaj | VII-7b5 | III- | VI- | II- | V7 | IMaj | IVMaj | VII-7b5 | III- | VI- | II- | V7 | IMaj | IVMaj ...

    Cycle 6 ascends
    ... IMaj | Vi- | IVMaj | II- | VII-7b5 | V7 | III- | IMaj | VI- | IVMaj | II- | VII-7b5 | V7 | III- | IMaj | VI- ...

    Cycle 7 descends
    ... IMaj | VII-7b5 | VI- | V7 | IVMaj | III- | II- | IMaj | VII-7b5 | VI- | V7 | IVMaj | III- | II- | IMaj | VII-7b5 ...

    Cycle 5 descends
    ... IMaj | V7 | II- | VI- | III- | VII-7b5 | IVMaj | IMaj | V7 | II- | VI- | III- | VII-7b5 | IVMaj | IMaj | V7 ...

    Cycle 3 descends
    ... IMaj | III- | V7 | VII-7b5 | II- | IVMaj | VI- | IMaj | III- | V7 | VII-7b5 | II- | IVMaj | VI- | IMaj | III- ...

    Shouldn't that be:

    Cycle 2 descends

    Cycle 4 descends

    Cycle 6 descends

    Cycle 7 ascends

    Cycle 5 ascends

    Cycle 3 ascends

    Am I missing something, or do I have a copy of the book from an alternate universe?

    .

  8. #707
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnoL View Post
    Here's a question about fingerings for triad spread voicings.

    If you start on say strings 4,3,1 and the cycle is going down the neck, is it best (when starting out) to
    stay on the same string set even if there is a difficult stretch? If you stay on the same string set
    you can see the voice movement better and I have found some gaps with some positions I am unfamiliar with
    and have to think a little harder as to where the chord tones are.

    Or should I just switch to a different string set at that point and save injury to my hands?

    I think the considerations are a little different for 4 note voicings.
    As you observed, it's easier to see within the same string set. But NEVER push it when you feel discomfort. Remember you can always move an octave up and continue.
    I have been working with the triads, close and spread and in the root in the middle voicings of the spread, there are at least 3 ways you can finger the same chord. Work with one until you're really familiar, then expand your knowledge. Don't get overwhelmed. There may be a number of ways to finger an individual chord; be patient. All this knowledge will greatly broaden the way you relate to chords and the tendency of movement to the next chord when you have them under your fingers.
    Eventually you'll know these voicings by ear on all sets of strings. Once you are over the learning curve, you'll fearlessly use these chords in all applications, parallel voicings or voice led, or combined.
    That's one of the things about this, it may look like a lot of work, but in learning it in such an exhaustive and broadly non prejudicial way, you don't acquire gaps in your knowledge based on just fingering things one way.
    Again NEVER stretch your hands if they feel uncomfortable.
    Good warm ups are an excellent idea. Do you warm up your fingers and hands before a practice session? A good warm up will set the tone of the entire day. Its value cannot be overestimated.
    Good luck

  9. #708
    Quote Originally Posted by FwLineberry View Post
    Shouldn't that be:

    Cycle 2 descends

    Cycle 4 descends

    Cycle 6 descends

    Cycle 7 ascends

    Cycle 5 ascends

    Cycle 3 ascends

    Am I missing something, or do I have a copy of the book from an alternate universe?

    .
    Sorry, I'm basing this on triads. I'm working almost exclusively with triads these days. This is describing the overall movement of the individual voices, so on a cycle 4 spread triad progression, the root is a common tone that becomes the 5th, the third ascends up a scale degree and becomes the root of the next chord and the fifth moves up diatonically to become the 3rd of the next chord.
    The overall movement is an ascending one for the least amount of movement.

  10. #709

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnoL View Post
    Here's a question about fingerings for triad spread voicings.

    If you start on say strings 4,3,1 and the cycle is going down the neck, is it best (when starting out) to
    stay on the same string set even if there is a difficult stretch? If you stay on the same string set
    you can see the voice movement better and I have found some gaps with some positions I am unfamiliar with
    and have to think a little harder as to where the chord tones are.

    Or should I just switch to a different string set at that point and save injury to my hands?

    I think the considerations are a little different for 4 note voicings.


    I'm working through this stuff to practice inversions as well as voice leading, so I just stay on the same string set and arpeggiate any chords I can't reach.

    I can see where a person needs to work through this stuff utilizing more than one string set, and using more practical fingerings, as well.

    .

  11. #710
    Here's an applied overview of one route to improvisation that includes the voice leading material in the context of All The Things You Are.



    Thanks to Kenji Herbert for contributing this beautiful example.

  12. #711

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    Hello Guy
    the voicings on your post #701 remind me very much of Don Grolnick's tune 'The Cost of Living', which was recorded on Michael Brecker's first album. It's on YouTube.

    That tune is (conveniently) in C minor as well, and harmonised with harmonic minor, and melodic minor, plus a modulation or two. You can see some of the score on Scribd.

    Regards
    Mick W
    Last edited by Mick Wright; 07-05-2020 at 10:48 AM.

  13. #712

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    Hi Jimmy blue note

    You'll know that the falling fifths / rising fourths thing will also works well, when dealing with seventh chords (well, you said 'you were almost exclusively working with triads). I thought that you might enjoy trying this one for a breath of fresh ''sevenths' air!
    Almanac three has a great alternative voicings section where Mick Goodrick starts to mix the voicings within sequences from scale step to scale step (e.g. cycle 2, alternating drop 3 and drop 2&4, below, and also a very full sounding 'falling fifths' sequence, in a drop 3 voicing). I like the fact that in cycle 2 here the basic scale rises steadily in voices two and four, while the roots move between the other two voices.
    All the best
    Mick W.

    Anybody use the Goodchord Voice Leading Books?-almanac_3-32-jpg


    Anybody use the Goodchord Voice Leading Books?-almanac_3-32ii-jpg
    Last edited by Mick Wright; 07-05-2020 at 11:47 AM.

  14. #713

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    Thought I'd share here a preview of a project I'm working on. I'm not a programmer, but have been having fun with this.

    So far, just for seventh chords, but will not be too difficult to include triad, quartal, triad-add4, etc. Also option for including open strings.


    Staff notation or audio would probably be well beyond my capabilities.

    Any suggestions from viewing? Just for general use and exploration - likely a promotional tool for my own instruction, to be frank, but also has just been a fun thing to put together during quarantine here.

    Posting this as the video uploads:


    Comment on the TAB voicings.

    User has two options:

    Select string sets, or select max fret range.

    When selecting string sets, voicing shows whether or not the octave is possible on that string.

    When selecting fret range, I came up with some formula to show a combination of what leads from chord to chord best as well as what is most practical. When 'fret range' is selected, In some cases a dozen voicings are shown, in some 1 or none, as some chords have more fingerings than other.

  15. #714

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note View Post
    Attachment 73632Take a progression that has a beginning and an end, and chart a route with the same chord voicing family (closed triads, spread triads, drop 2, drop 2 drop 4...what ever you want) and move the chord roots by cycle (step wise cycle 2, in thirds cycle 3, in 4ths cycle 4...) and follow the chord movement until you reach the end.
    I really like this approach, because it also increases the mileage for each cycle that you learn.

    It's very obvious that Cycle 4 is an easy way to go from I to IV:

    Cmaj7 -> Fmaj7

    But keep those chords to two beats each, and it's also a good way to go from I to vii:

    Cmaj7 -> Fmaj7 -> Bm7b5

    And over two measures (or one measure with one beat each), you go from I to vi:

    Cmaj7 -> Fmaj7 -> Bm7b5 -> Em7 -> Am7

  16. #715

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    And over two measures (or one measure with one beat each), you go from I to vi:

    Cmaj7 -> Fmaj7 -> Bm7b5 -> Em7 -> Am7
    I like this idea, I would like to see more like this.



    Which brings up a question on cycles, Is it "legal" to change the Em7 to an E7 when working on a cycle?

  17. #716

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    And over two measures (or one measure with one beat each), you go from I to vi:

    Cmaj7 -> Fmaj7 -> Bm7b5 -> Em7 -> Am7




    I like this idea, I would like to see more like this.
    Which brings up a question on cycles, Is it "legal" to change the Em7 to an E7 when working on a cycle?


    I'm going to try this over There Will Never Be Another You.

  18. #717
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnoL View Post
    Which brings up a question on cycles, Is it "legal" to change the Em7 to an E7 when working on a cycle?
    .
    There is a lot of flexibility in the use of the Almanacs, and one thing that really distinguishes them from other educational material is just how simultaneously they are specific AND make it necessary that the user "makes it their own." The short answer to the question is yes, if it sounds good, and you have a reason that works, use a cycle as a guideline for root movement and alter the chord qualities, parent scale, chromatic approach or substitution as you please.
    Personally, I find the more fluent I become with the cycles, the more varieties and scales I want to incorporate into the concept. Harmonic major, switching chord degrees and keys mid progression to follow a modulation, switching in and out of diatonic/melodic minor/harmonic minor scales so I can add or reduce the amount of chromatic tension, etc.
    I also use small segments of a cycle. I don't tend to stay or play a cycle all the way through, I don't feel they're used best that way. They, like learning a scale, are best practiced to acquire facility, and then as the sounds become internalized into the ear, they wind up creeping into comping or chordal soloing.
    One note about harmonic substitutions like the E-7 to E7 you mention, one thing I think about is what substitutions might be appropriate for the first chorus, and what substitutions might be more effective for a second chorus. When playing passages with the head, I won't go as far "out" as I would say on the last chorus of a solo. There is a move from specific to individual, from the recognizable qualities of a piece that I tend to work closer to in the original statement or as a solo space begins. This moves towards the personal interpretation of note choice and harmony as I take the listener on that trip. But that's me. In other words, I pay respect to the piece and as the givens of a composition are stated, they give way to the soloist's imagination and resources to recreate in a more personal and hopefully beautiful way.
    Different cycles have different qualities. Different scale bases have different qualities and impact. Different chord voicing families have very different sonic impact (The almanacs run the cycles through 3 scale origins, and all possible 4 note chord groupings and their inversions. There's a LOT to explore)
    So if E minor would be better served functionally with E7, then by all means.
    These cycles are also useable in a non strictly functional way, as voice led textures that you can connect at both ends to "portals" out of and into the harmony of the piece.
    The more you play around, the more you'll see things about root movement and voice movement that you didn't have before.
    It'll also make you look at pieces in a different way. Maybe not so restrictive, but three dimensionally, so you can create your own harmonic textures that fit within the chords everyone else plays.

  19. #718

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    Another question while waiting for the next installment (hopefully) from Jimmy Blue Note.

    Did Mick ever think about an "almanac" for single string solos or have an interesting method he used as a teacher?

  20. #719
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnoL View Post
    Another question while waiting for the next installment (hopefully) from Jimmy Blue Note.

    Did Mick ever think about an "almanac" for single string solos or have an interesting method he used as a teacher?
    Absolutely. Mick wrote a book called The Advancing Guitarist within which he lays out in no uncertain terms his philosophy of the guitar's potential as an improvisational tool. It's the basis with which the book we're writing now, this time with exercises and etudes, is based.
    There's something he calls the unitar, the single string pure linear instrument and he has the suggestion that the student explore this even before learning position playing. It's the truest one to one correspondence between the guitar as a linear instrument, the sounds of intervals, sense of movement and the way the hand relates to the instrument to create sound. It's his belief that creating true improvisational music, you must know the ear, the feeling of intervallic distance (ear training), the hand (kinesthetrics) and once integrated on a guitar, the relationship of linearity with the most counter-intuitive layout of the 6 string guitar.
    As far as soloing in a linear way, he did not believe in learning solos or transcriptions before you had a solid command and sense of internal melody and the ability to translate melody from the ear/imagination to the instrument. In other words, don't learn from the hand or the imitative ear before you develop the internal ability to make music.
    He felt very strongly that knowing the foundations of music before you attempt the affectations and styles of individuals is important if you're going to be a deeply dedicated advancing guitarist. Know your toolset and don't let the limitations of others determine your own course of study or natural development.
    That's kind of The Advancing Guitarist in a nutshell.

    I asked him about transcription and he said "It's not a bad thing in itself, but you need to know the language well enough that you're not simply playing someone else's ideas. " He didn't believe in entire solo transcriptions for their own sake but rather, listen and if you want to transcribe, only take what's important to you and learn from it and NEVER play what you've lifted until you make it your own. That means until you understand the process and choices that artist was faced with, what it meant to choose that particular phrase, you cannot claim it as yours, and then not until you've made your own version of that phrase that is original and based on YOUR choice.
    He believed that if you know the language (lexicon, syntax, semantic content), you can take anyone's solo and understand it from the player's perspective. It's this ability to know that allowed him to gain the reputation of being able to read a soloist's mind and play the perfect thing that made them sound better than they could have ever been. I know, because I played duo with him for 8 years and it was an unreal experience.
    As far as a book on things to do, No, he didn't believe in giving specifics. Just be patient, learn to use your ears, build your knowledge base and keep growing. His teaching style consisted largely of pointing out things in a way that a student became aware of what they might do to unblock their obstacles of habit and prejudicial assumptions.
    It was a style of teaching that was well suited for self motivated players who were not looking for easy or quick answers. The music is the teacher, he was an informed listener.

  21. #720

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjl View Post
    I appreciate very much your answers, but, anyway the books are not available.
    Am I wrong again?

    At the other hand. I am into Barry Harris harmony (Alan Kingstone book) and I think its voice leading solution is as easy as it can be, just put a diminished chord in between (he uses substitutions as well).
    In Randy Vincent's drop 2 book he offers solutions for using different voicings than diminished in non chord tones, another great book.

    I know guitarists are often scared about the easy ways of doing something but why to stay away of them.
    Bingo! Excellent comment. Having said that some of the examples of playing which seem to comply with the Goodrich philosophy are quite mind-boggling, beautiful and so abstract as to be incomprehensible to mere mortals who may have to stick to the groove rather than play the music of the spheres. Oh for another lifetime or two, to properly explore the guitar!

  22. #721

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    Is Mick retired?
    What does someone like him do in retirement?

  23. #722
    Quote Originally Posted by Irishmuso View Post
    Bingo! Excellent comment. Having said that some of the examples of playing which seem to comply with the Goodrich philosophy are quite mind-boggling, beautiful and so abstract as to be incomprehensible to mere mortals who may have to stick to the groove rather than play the music of the spheres. Oh for another lifetime or two, to properly explore the guitar!

    Improvisational music is such an open field, and a relatively young one. It is inclusive of all attitudes. The things Mick offers are not for everyone. Not by a long shot. But that's why I decided to work on supportive material, so those who are restless with their present playing, looking for options, can find some new directions.
    There are many, or most who are pleased with the ways in which they, say, find a connection from chord to chord. If it's you, then yes, explore that until you own it. That's jazz.
    There are also those who say "How can I find a way to realize these sounds I hear?" or "I wonder if there's a way to connect chords so my familiarity with the fingerboard and those sounds within the zones of comfort can be tied together in a seamless and effortless way?" And for that kind of curiousity, there is no "method" but rather some comprehensive laying out of possibilities where you go to some musical Home Depot, find the materials you never suspected, and go about putting together your own house. Far more labor intensive route, but if your personality is of that ilk, then an almanac of possibilities and no specific instruction can be a great resource.
    It was the recognition that just having a book of possibilities and no commentary is very off putting, that I decided to write a book that has some guiding exercises and etudes that somewhat mirrors the video that Kenji plays in post 710.
    It's jazz. Lots of ways to be happy. This is just one option.
    I really do hope questions and comments about materials, intentions, experiences, philosophies, impressions... will inform this dynamic thread. Please!

  24. #723
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnoL View Post
    Is Mick retired?
    What does someone like him do in retirement?
    Mick did just retire. Decades of teaching and in this year's spring semester which was to be his last to cap a remarkable career (Scofield, Frisell, Krantz, Muthspiel, Metheny, Monder, Lund, Felder, Lage, Miller, Abercrombie, all owe much to their time with him...SO many others too- many in this forum community too).
    But COVID shut the school down at spring break and instead of any kind of acknowledgement, he posted a sign on his office window before the spring break "School's out" and he was retired.
    He discusses things as the book grows and he paints watercolours now.

  25. #724
    In response to the comment of the Almanacs being unavailable, I am in fact making a PDF version available as shareware; PM me, I send you access to a copy, you print it up yourself and voluntarily contribute to our project if you want.
    Only if you're serious.

  26. #725

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnoL View Post
    Another question... did Mick ever ... have an interesting method he used as a teacher?

    and also in reply to sjl's question, 'but anyway the books are not available?'

    Always happy to state the obvious - just in case anyone doesn't know - 'The Advancing Guitarist' is still easily found, after more than thirty years in print, at booksellers and music stores and online, and there is also at least one translation (Japanese, I think?). The book is a treasure trove with the focus on 'Advancing'. In part this is done through a better understanding of harmony, intervals, voicings, and cycles, but these concepts are based in turn on the single-line material (using the major and two minor scales) such the 'unitar' idea that JimmyBlueNote mentioned above. It is all resolutely 'do-it-yourself' once again, but it offers an excellent workout in many technical areas for almost any style and standard of player. There is a lot of wise and succinct text around the instructions and notes (no tabs), which stands re-reading very well. I always find there's something new and useful to think about, even after dozens of re-reads.

    Yes, it does all take a long time, to get through such material, just like many other very worthwhile things do: perhaps books like these are the closest things to 'shortcuts' that exist.

    Additionally and still easily available to buy, online, there is the most recent book by Mick Goodrick (with Tim Miller) 'Creative Chordal Harmony for Guitar' (2012). It says 'chordal' in the title but around a quarter of this book is conventionally-notated single-line arpeggios (without rhythms - these are not licks) and most of the book uses the changes for Stella by Starlight in Bb major as the harmony example.
    The intro and final section explain the book's core idea of 'rootless scales' (from which are derived the ten 'pairings' of non-overlapping three-note chords: triads, quartels, clusters, 7 no 3rd, and 7 no 5th). I'm only just scratching the surface of this — didn't it have its own thread for a while, too? For anyone working seriously on the Almanacs, this book is another very useful piece of important supporting material.
    All the best
    Mick W.

  27. #726

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    That's a beautiful summation of Mick's approach to playing and teaching. I can appreciate other folk with different paths, priorities and methods, but Mick's it the one that really resonated with me.

    I've done a ton of work out of the Advancing Guitarist, I'd recommend it to anyone longing for an unobtainable copy of the Almanacs.

    Best wishes to Mick upon his retirement!

    PK

  28. #727

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    or "I wonder if there's a way to connect chords so my familiarity with the fingerboard and those sounds within the zones of comfort can be tied together in a seamless and effortless way?"
    How long did it take you for this to click? You probably have been familiar with the cycles since your student days. I really plan on sticking with this but I'm seeing it will be a while before I feel like I've reached a new level. So far though, I'm enjoying the journey.
    Last edited by JohnoL; 07-11-2020 at 09:30 PM.

  29. #728
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnoL View Post
    How long did it take you for this to click? You probably have been familiar with the cycles since your student days. I really plan on sticking with this but I'm seeing it will be a while before I feel like I've reached a new level. So far though, I'm enjoying the journey.
    I'd been working with the Almanacs for quite a while but it was also one of those things that I always knew there was more to. The COVID lock down in late April gave me an opportunity to choose some things and self promises that I never made good on. One was a deep immersion in the cycles. That's why this thread had been asleep for so long.
    As soon as I started to devote a couple of hours each day to them, unforseen benefits started to become apparent; and voice leading was just a small part.
    So I started to put together a logical, progressive, interactive and intuitive way to teach this to students. And the book project came to life coinciding with Mick's retirement from teaching.
    I will honestly say that if you prepare yourself with a knowledge of the fingerboard, work with a chord voicing with all inversions, that you'll be well prepared to use cycles to teach yourself about harmony, chord connexion, and learning to sharpen your own awareness of chords' individual voices and how the form the glue between chord progressions.

    By the way, I'm looking at There Will Never Be Another You as you are. Great way to create ways to move around counter to what you may have done previously. Descending harmonic flow? Use and chose a cycle that ascends, or after you start to see root movement as a lateral movement, start to navigate by chord voice or in ways you would have normally seen a month ago.

    A little bit goes a long way. A little more and the things a good piano player does is within your skill set. Bill Evans voicing. Yeah, they are on the guitar too.

    As far as when it clicked? It's still clicks a little more every day.
    An example: Working with cycle 6, I became aware in my ear and hands that chords could move in very subtle ways. So subtle that they didn't even sound like individual chords in a piece, but rather shifting textures in the harmony. One day I was playing a piece "On the Street where you Live" and I found myself seeking harmony in a descending bass line and things were fitting together in a beautiful way, a way where I wasn't even aware of the chords, just the movement to a chord I knew was there. My hands had become comfortable with movement in three voices. Only afterwords did I identify them as cycle 6 and cycle 3 movements.
    Another example: After immersing myself in cycle 4 and 5 for a week, the sounds of movements in 4ths started to open up options for me to choose from whenever I saw a piece's chord progress up a 4th (a lot). Now I have a lot of different options and with chromatic embellishment and passing tones, turnarounds have a freshness to them.

    One thing I've also started doing is introducing this approach, the Advancing Guitarist approach for lack of a better term, to my students early on. If I do this, with rewarding material and creative exercises, the payback may or may not be as fast as rote memorization of patterns or grabs, but when students reach even the most basic proficiency, their ability to play creatively, innovate, discover their own language, see and hear different harmonic textures, play melody that reflects personal intention... is much higher and easier than taking an approach of grabs and licks. The learning curve is steeper in the beginning, the payback can be greater when you get there.
    This is really evident in the cycles, because it's not just a pattern to learn, it's a rewiring of what you can do when you really learn the chordal options and what you might do with them. They really are little etude like studies of all possible 3 and 4 note chords in every harmonic intervallic movement. And once you learn one, all the others are much more familiar and accessible faster.

    So share your thoughts, these are just my own, some impressions of how they crept into my own playing.
    Last edited by Jimmy blue note; 07-12-2020 at 05:44 AM.

  30. #729

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    Wow! Having taken advantage of the pdf offer from Jimmy blue note and looking over all the material in volume 2 and volume 3, it looks to me like the third volume brings everything together and puts it all into perspective. It also answered some of the questions I've been chewing on:

    What about harmonic major?

    What about non-diatonic sequences?

    What about parallel chord planing?

    Great stuff!

    Thanks again to Jimmy blue note for keeping this thread alive and offering the material.

    .

  31. #730

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    Hi FwLineberry.
    Thanks seconded, and I strongly agree!
    The introduction to Almanac 2 offers a ton of important (and highly condensed) information, while in Almanac 3, the 'Analyse This' section is almost an entire book, just in itself. Is anyone else here working from the ' Analyse This' part of the collection? For me, it really ties the whole set of these amazing books together so well.
    Best wishes
    MW

  32. #731

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    Mick Wright,
    Was there anything from the Van Eps books that you were able to carry over into working with cycles, like embellishments?

  33. #732

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    Hi JohnoL

    A great question, thanks, and I could write all night if I were to give you a really thorough answer. The ear training and hand training that the Van Eps method provides is invaluable. In short, yes, there are many aspects of the Van Eps Harmonic Mechanisms system that usefully port across to the Almanac cycles.
    The most significant thing, for me, to carry across from Van Eps's books is his highly sophisticated left-hand fingering. The repetitions of this, through all the keys and with important variations, reinforces independant finger skills, and deepens fretboard knowledge. These are the guitar equivalents to Czerny’s piano books, and Van Eps’ attention to fingering detail is breathtaking: in a three-volume set similar in size to the three Almanacs, any exercise that needs it has fingering instructions. This is important because he will alternate the left fingers as much as possible, and will also make use of each of the left-hand fingers as a barré, occasionally, to stop several strings on the same fret.
    I love Van Eps’ orderly concept of ‘string sets’, which categorises the adjacent and non-adjacent sets of strings used for his voicings. He also likes his dissonances and says ‘let tones clash sometimes’. I found that getting very familiar with the harmonised melodic minor and harmonic minor scales was similarly great study material with regard to ear-training.

    You mention his ‘embellishments’ - I can’t find this word used in my Van Eps books, but I think you might mean his satellite, displacement, and stagger concepts, and the various ‘reductions’? And, for greater complexity, he’ll then set a chromatically shifting triad sequence against an added cycle of fifths in the bass voice: I’ll try doing that, beneath Mick Goodrick’s 3-part fourths some time soon, and you’ve now set me thinking about other correlations - there are lots of these.

    The three volumes of the Harmonic Mechanisms somehow feel a little simpler, weighed as ’information-per-page’, but I suspect that the Almanacs might simplify too, were we to have a mega-version where each cycle was repeated and written in all keys. I thought that the commentary was very scant when I did my most sustained work with these books, (Van Eps' and Mick Goodrick's) but I now think that both writers' commentaries are sufficient, but highly condensed.

    There’s a lot of similar work being done in the Harmonic Mechanisms books as in the Almanacs, and the contrasts, differences, and overlaps are fascinating, particularly at the end of Van Eps's Volume 1, and in Volume 3. When I first got these books, My teacher quoted Barney Kessel’s comment about needing to be on Alcatraz to get the most out of them. Well, 'Now’s the time', as they say.

    I’ll re-phrase Mick Goodrick’s important warnings – about the serious risk of ‘career-ending’ hand damage – if demanding material such as this is mis-used. I’ve hit my own danger-point, a number of times, where interest & enthusiasm sends ‘clock-time’ out of the window. Other players I know have also had this happen, and subsequently hurt themselves working with these books. Please do be careful with this potent material: it’s like gymnasium free-weights. Take care!
    All the best,
    Mick W.

  34. #733
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnoL View Post
    Mick Wright,
    Was there anything from the Van Eps books that you were able to carry over into working with cycles, like embellishments?
    I worked with the smaller Van Eps book many years ago. It was crucial to my development of harmonized chord facility. I loved that book. I can't speak for the larger volumes myself, but in the experience I had the Van Eps was a lot more detail and specific oriented. It gave very definite guidance in covering the options exhaustively.
    The Almanacs are very open ended as far as dictating how the player handles the material, and how much time they want to spend developing the facility. For some people, that responsibility is off putting, the need to imaginatively and responsibly formulate and practice-make the transition from the notes to the fingerboard-is work. But personally I've found that having to take control of learning it has given me a broader concrete and globally intuitive insight into the layout of the fingerboard.
    It's purposely specific on the concepts and notes, movements and layout, but very open to letting a player find, say fingerstyle or picking style, to translate-to find the music within.

    Great treatments of huge bodies of knowledge. Quite compatibly complementary. In my humble opinion.

  35. #734

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    Hi JimmyBlueNote. Nice one!
    Yes, the smaller Van Eps book is his 'Guitar Method'. This was rushed out by Epiphone in a couple of months in the late 1930s to pre-empt an ex-student who was about to publish a plagiarised version Van Eps's teaching material — the full story is in his biography 'Guitar Man' (written by Harrison Stephens and published by Amazon print-on-demand). His 'Original Guitar Solos' (full of great voice-leading) followed some years later, and then the three huge 'Harmonic Mechanisms' tomes emerged, forty years later, in the early '80s.
    These later works really are massively complementary to the Almanacs, and although specifically notated and fingered, they're written in a similar spirit, and are well worth a close look at. They work even better when considered in the light of what the Almanacs offer. Van Eps's text commentaries are a useful parallel to any work on the Almanacs' cycles, and they discuss many of the same matters. Harrison Stephens says that they teach 'techniques to expand abilities in whatever direction a student's taste leads ... essentially it is a book of concepts. Expansion of the mind is as important to Van Eps as development of physical techniques'.

    Where I feel that the Almanacs make a great leap forward from the Mechanisms, is in their magical combination of the voice-leadings, cycles, and MSRP. Does anyone know of another composer/theorist who ever did anything 'theoretical' that is close to this, before Mick Goodrick? There are hints in pieces by Bach, and in Fernando Sor's Etudes, but I've got almost nowhere, in the past decade or so, asking various academic music theorists and historians about it. Does Mick Goodrick attribute the source of the MSRP's core idea ('scales/cycles/voicings = MSRPs in canons' idea to anyone else? Is there a link to American part-singing traditions? I've a strong feeling that he uniquely owns it. Any input on this topic here would be very welcome indeed.

    And back to JohnoL's question — other small practical guitar details come to mind, which might help with some of the more 'wide-open' Almanac voicings:

    One is what Van Eps calls his 'fifth finger principle'. He used the first fleshy pad, just after the knuckle but on the inside of the index finger, to play the high E string one fret lower than the fret that the same index finger's tip is playing - so two notes, two frets, with one finger. This is useful both for voice movement generally, and also for efficiency, when playing the big major seventh voicings (e.g. drop 2&4 voicings with the root on the sixth string: 8 10 x 9 x 7), or for the major seven #11 chord (with the root on the fifth string, x35452 where the left hand thumb can't easily reach).

    Each of Van Eps's left-hand fingers could stop pairs, and bigger groups, of strings, and he would frequently use 'flat-fingered' small barrés, to free up other fingers for voice movement. This approach really comes in handy, too, for Almanac chords such as the 'double-drop 2 drop 3' C major seventh (8 x 9 x 12 x 12) where the left pinky can get both the G and the E top notes.

    Then there is a cool syncopation/polyrhythm section in Mechanisms Vol. 3, called 'Odd Against Even', where basses are played against top notes of triads in various ratios: 2s against 3s, or 3s against 4s, or 4s against 5s etc. All of these are eminently applicable to the Almanacs' palettes of ideas and sounds.

    'Hardly scratching the surface of the surface' Van Eps says...

    All the best,
    MW

  36. #735

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    Jim Hall spoke highly of the little Van Eps book, he said it was a big moment for him when he realized he could take what he learned from moving a triad (E-G-C) through the scale and do it with other structures (D-G-C)


    PK

  37. #736

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    I have the three Van Eps books, but the almanacs are sure easier on my eyes.

  38. #737

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    I still remember my total shock, on opening the box containing Almanacs 1 & 2, at seeing the pink, yellow, and blue paper that most of the pages are printed on — and then an even bigger surprise, seeing what was in the books and their unique page format. And yes, much easier on the eyes. It really helps, much further than simply separating the three scale types used. The major key 'pink' looks more orange in this photo, below.
    After Paulkogut's very interesting Jim Hall anecdote, (thanks PK!) tonight I've enjoyed exploring these three-part fourths cycles, from Almanac 2. Transposing to a few different major keys, trying to play as much from memory as possible. Picking out various patterns in each group of chords, all played against the same low A string as a drone sounds good. Just change the F to F#, or change to F# and C#, etc. I'm shifting octaves a lot more than usual on this sequence, but there are third steps throughout this anyway, (which can also be 'filled in' with the passing tones) and, with the drone, to my ears it seems to remain musical and is full of useful possibilities.
    Attached Images Attached Images Anybody use the Goodchord Voice Leading Books?-img_2307-jpg 

  39. #738

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    Why does the example above start with D in the bass instead of C? Just to start with a quartal voicing?

    Are there any examples in book 2 that start with C F B? I think it works as 1 chord. I saw that there was a mention of voicing C F B E in book 2. I need to go back and reread that.

  40. #739

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    Hi JohnoL. Well spotted!
    All of the three-part fourths cycles start on D chords. When we get to the four-part fourths they revert back to starting on a chord with a C root (i.e. four-part fourth CEFB).
    These are written without chord names (the names come along in Vol. 3), and while the C note is present in the first chord and this makes it a little more confusing, the three-part sequences begin from what sounds very like a D tonal centre. The 'C' chord you identify (the three-part fourth CFB) is the final chord of each 'stave'.

    On page 10 of Almanac Volume 2 (err... there are no page numbers, either) Mick Goodrick gives us playing tips in the 'More About Fourths' section, saying that these sets of cycles work very well with a Dorian mode focus, and are particularly 'guitar-friendly' when played with the low E tuned down to D.
    They certainly are guitar-friendly, and as well as Dorian modes, they also sound good in mixolydian and lydian contexts as well.
    all the best
    MW