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  1. #901

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    re. close voicings - they're a gold mine for melodies! Here's some work-in-progress, below, on Almanac Vol 2's close-voiced 4-part 4ths suggested by Liarspoker in their post - a few open strings and tricks with harmonics allow most of these C melodic minor chords to sustain all four voices - with some great ethereal sounds as David said. I've been meaning to take on some of these close voicings for ages - many thanks for the push - and I'll post a few more pages soon if anyone is interested. I've used basic ascending patterns and quarter notes, but my idea is that by using the chords in sequence each one can be phrased however you hear it. (It even makes a strange & abstract introduction to I Got Rhythm.)
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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #902

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liarspoker View Post
    What would be great too is if people started posting videos of how they are applying the almanac material.
    Quote Originally Posted by Liarspoker View Post

    I'd love to see all the different approaches and styles and I'm sure others would love to see more vids too.
    Hi Liarspoker,

    I post a lot of short guitar clips of things I'm exploring, and they're often cycle related, and/or my approach to polyphony on the guitar has been heavily influenced by the books. I did a quick browse to find some things that were more bluntly cycle related:

    cycle 2 with some stuff -
    with polyrhythm -
    harmonic major cycle 6 with drone -
    6 w modulation -
    6 w modulation2 -
    cycle 3 triads -
    cycle 3 for triad*add2, drop 3 structure, D minor, then changed to cycle 5 in D major. -
    arpeggiating cycle 3 3-note clusters -
    cycle 4, 4 part clusters -
    drop 2 cycle w pedal -

    there's also a guy Andres Orco who posts mostly cycles stuff, specifically with non-standard scales:

    JBN has given some excellent overview of the 'big picture' involved with this work, as well as the prerequisites for what kind of knowledge/abilities are practical to have before diving in.

    I wanted to add/emphasize that it might be healthy to think of this work as "potentially, but not definitely, having an artistic return on investment." I believe that lots of other practice has a more blunt and definite technical return on investment, as in, improving one's technical abilities. For example, trying to apply a certain type of extension throughout a standard is very blunt and practical. Transcribing your first 20 solos is a blunt and practical exposure to melodic vocabulary. As in, if you're not familiar with how post bop musicians improvised over ma7 chords, if you transcribe a bunch of solos, you'll have your answer, or at least be closer to it.

    I think of the almanac work as being nothing like that at all. Instead it's something to dive into and 'see what happens' more or less. And what happens might be absolutely nothing of value, or might spawn 1,000 new ideas, new ways of looking at the fretboard, ways of seeing and hearing harmony, etc, that eventually might play a large role in your own 'voice' as a guitarist and musician.

    Technical 'return on investment' to me means a tangible improvement in tangible abilities. Artistic return on investment to me means an improvement in being able to express something internal, or something that may be unique to the individual. It's so much less tangible, obviously. I feel my own work with the almanac (which I'd say has been less than the center of all my harmonic studies but more than just a dabble) has definitely had a profound impact on how I play and hear harmony, as well as how I make decisions on the guitar for pretty much anything that has more than two notes played (or ringing out) at the same time. But....I'm sure there are others who have spent time with the cycles and never gotten anything of interest/use out of them.

    Maybe that's all to say, if you dig into this work, focus on the process and exploration, enjoy the ride, enjoy the tiny little discoveries. Do it for 3 hours a day, 3 hours a week, or 1 hour a month, but I think at no point does it really track to ask "am I seeing improvement in my playing because of this, enough to make it worth the investment?" because I don't think there's a way to know. Just my two cents.

    Last edited by JakeAcci; 06-03-2021 at 10:14 AM.

  4. #903

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    Well done Mike. Very interesting. I started playing through your example and got distracted by a phone call before picking up the kids. I'll give it another bash tonight. The open string idea is an interesting one and I can adapt it easily to my own playing.

    Jake, very cool videos. I should join IG! There are some very cool ideas in there.

    I've been working with the almanac for about a week now. Just working on my triads really but seeing which additional note I like best with the spread triads. It has yielded some beautiful chords which I already have found a use for.

    I am already seeing the things that David mentioned such as an improved ear for harmony, a deeper awareness of horizontal movement and much more.

    My approach to the book is purely practical as I am searching for sounds that I can use in my own compositions. When my ear latches onto something I'll follow it to see where it leads too. Sometimes it'll be useful, sometimes not and if it's not then at the very least I'll have improved my ear and fretboard awareness.

    It's all good
    Last edited by Liarspoker; 06-03-2021 at 04:59 PM.

  5. #904

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    Chord progressions always move in some combination of cycles and in jazz, often drawing on harmonies derived from multiple scales. If someone suggests a song, we can observe and discuss the cycles that are at play in the lead sheet and perhaps also share some ideas on how to expand on
    the paper version of reality.

  6. #905

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    Quote Originally Posted by bako View Post
    Chord progressions always move in some combination of cycles and in jazz, often drawing on harmonies derived from multiple scales. If someone suggests a song, we can observe and discuss the cycles that are at play in the lead sheet and perhaps also share some ideas on how to expand on
    the paper version of reality.
    That sounds like a plan. I think ATTYA is the standard go to tune but am happy to work with anything else that people might suggest.

  7. #906

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    Here's maybe some quirky food for thought re attya and cycles

    progression is clear cycle 4

    two movements of cycle 6 = one movement of cycle 4

    cycle 6 separates chords by 6ths/3rds depending on your perspective (eg Fm Db Bbm Gº etc)

    moving chord structures up by 3rds while maintaining same bass/root note gives 'extensions'


    Fm/F = Fm

    Ab/F = Fm7

    Cm/F = Fm9(ish) or F7sus2

    Cma7/F = Fma7#11(no3)

    below first 8 bars of ATTYA changes, the 'next' chord voicing is always a cycle 6 movement in terms of letter names, but sometimes the pitch collection changes, as indicated.

    Result is (intentionally) a mix of conventional and 'arguably less conventional' stuff.

    Anybody use the Goodchord Voice Leading Books?-attya-mixing-cycle-6-cycle-4-jpg

  8. #907

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    Hello all,

    I'm Andres, the guy Jake referenced in one of his last posts using cycles through non-major scales. I've known about this forum for a while but never really checked it out until Jake and I had a conversation recently that made revisit it (thank you Jake for the shout out!). I thought to post for the first time as the 'applicability' discussion of the almanacs is one I find particularly important for us enthusiasts (apologies if these points are already deep in the discussion somewhere).

    I completely agree with Jake's suggestion of seeing the almanacs as an investment with a rate of return. I used to question my time with the almanacs frequently, not because I felt I wasn't making progress, but because that progress didn't seem directly or precisely applicable to performance. I think that perception is totally understandable, particularly because many of the benefits are harder to objectively assess than something like linear vocabulary. However, that doesn't mean you can't assess whether your knowledge of voicings or your ability to voice-lead through a tune starting on a given chord inversion have improved. The books will absolutely help with that. The applicability is definitely present, it's just harder to gauge and slower moving than other markers.

    My suggestion for anyone hoping to get into the books is to reserve some time at a frequency that feels manageable and find a section of a given volume that is interesting. Think of that time as creative deliberate practice. You are making the decision to spend some time (daily for example) on exploring an idea that you're not familiar with. Don't worry about application, focus on building the habit to consistently return to and the progress and application will definitely come through that.

    Like Jake, I fully agree that it's very important to have concrete and tangible goals with specific markers for improvement. I also think it's equally important to reserve some practice time for creative endeavors. This doesn't mean playing through things you already know. It means thinking and working through something that you're not good at but have a deep curiosity towards, without a specific goal or method in mind.

    I'm a firm believer that any time spent on the almanacs is time well spent. I no longer worry about applicability, partially because the time I've invested has demonstrated it, but also because it's time that consistently opens my eyes to how amazing harmony and voice-leading are. That's rewarding enough for me.

    I'll start being a more active participant and will definitely share some ways I've used this material!


  9. #908

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    That sounds like a plan. I think ATTYA is the standard go to tune but am happy to work with anything else that people might suggest.
    Fm7 Bbm7 Eb7 Abma7 Dbma7 Gm7b5 Cm7

    Dm7 G7 Cma7 Fma7 Bm7b5 Em7 Am7

    The song is cycle 4 with only a few exceptions.
    Above is the A section chords in bold and the rest of the cycle in plain text.

    One simple idea putting 2 chords in the place of one via cycle 3/6 which can delineate extensions, in combination with the original cycle 4.

    Fm7 Abma7 | Dbma7 Bbm7 | Eb7 Gm7b5 | Cm7 Abma7 |Dbma7 Fm7 |

    Fma7 Bm7b5 | Em7 *Gma7* | Cma7 ||

    *drawn from G major for lydian sound*

    My example above uses extensions 3 5 7 9.
    Continuing in cycle 3 also yields 5 7 9 11, 7 9 11 13,
    cycle 6 > 6 1 3 5 and 4 6 1 3.
    Cycles present paths of arrival.

    The modulations in the song are in 3rd relations:

    Ab > C > Eb > G > E > Ab

    Modulations or the act of linking common ground between keys is also an interesting area of study. Observing modulations in songs is always good and/or you can just go mechanical and play cycles between hybrid keys/scales. The latter allows exploration of how the chords of 2 keys interact.