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  1. #1

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    I used to play with a very good bassist who was a Carol Kaye disciple. He told me: NO SCALES. Just arpeggios and extensions. But in the end don't we end up playing most of the same notes? And -- can something that goes through the cycle be considered functional harmony? (They played cycles before 1959 right?)

    Arpeggios are cool but I can't get anything to sound musical playing just arpeggios. Or, it's a challenge (Sonny Rollins can play one note and go nuts...)

    This is my last gasp at trying to do things the right way before I just go back to doing CST. I don't have enough time (my theme, I know) to re-learn the guitar. But if I can play Lydian Dominant over some cool chords, that might have to be jazz enough for me...

    And if anyone has had success with Carol's DVD, let me know. I saw it once a long time ago. Jimmy Bruno and other current guys I follow seem to all use CST more than just arpeggios as far as I can tell.

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  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomems View Post
    I used to play with a very good bassist who was a Carol Kaye disciple. He told me: NO SCALES. Just arpeggios and extensions. But in the end don't we end up playing most of the same notes? And -- can something that goes through the cycle be considered functional harmony? (They played cycles before 1959 right?)

    Arpeggios are cool but I can't get anything to sound musical playing just arpeggios. Or, it's a challenge (Sonny Rollins can play one note and go nuts...)

    This is my last gasp at trying to do things the right way before I just go back to doing CST. I don't have enough time (my theme, I know) to re-learn the guitar. But if I can play Lydian Dominant over some cool chords, that might have to be jazz enough for me...

    And if anyone has had success with Carol's DVD, let me know. I saw it once a long time ago. Jimmy Bruno and other current guys I follow seem to all use CST more than just arpeggios as far as I can tell.
    It's just different ways of thinking about the same thing. If you think of the extensions as being the notes "in between" the chord tones, then you're back to CST. Scales are just respelled 13th arpeggios.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  4. #3

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    Transcribe and analyze your favorites. What are they doing? That's what you should be doing.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomems View Post
    I used to play with a very good bassist who was a Carol Kaye disciple. He told me: NO SCALES. Just arpeggios and extensions. But in the end don't we end up playing most of the same notes? .

    Congratulations, you've come to the correct conclusion. Now you too, can ignore everyone on the internet who still hasn't figured this out.

    The approaches are just different roadmaps to the same destination. Sometimes, depending on the tune, one works better than the other.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  6. #5

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    That's the problem with humans, they are always looking for a list of 10 commandments or something. And history has proved time and time again, that doesn't work, in any context. It's clear to me that all my favorite improvisors make full use of their options including CST. I can't even believe there are people on this forum that believe there is something wrong with CST. The answer is and will always be, in matters pertaining to art and creativity: use everything at your disposal to create. Having said that, there's usefulness in limitation. But we use limitation as another creative tool, not as a rule. I sometimes practice changes using only chord tones, but when I do a real solo I then like to ornament those chord tones with other scale and chromatic tones. Go analyze all the best music (specifically melodies) for the last say 400 years and see if master composers (and improvisors) use just chord tones only, or a combination of chord tones, scale tones & chromatics. There will be a landslide victory for one of those two, and hint hint, it's not chord tones only. And yes, I've actually analyzed (and performed) a shit ton of music created over the last 400 years, it's part of the requirement to graduate with a degree in music.
    Last edited by Guitarzen; 10-31-2016 at 02:46 PM.

  7. #6

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    I've used a lot of Carol's material. She starts students off on triads and then seventh chords, the cycle, b5 substituions, using diminished chords over dominant chords, and so on.

    She likes to say: "Don't play something over the chord---play the chord!" But what she means by "chord" can get quite involved. (As when she'll say, "Abm9 is G7." That's actually not complicated but it might sound someone who doesn't know how chords work.)

    One reason she likes to start players off with triads is that it helps develop the student's ear.
    It also helps the fingers, as one is playing with a feel for chords rather than with scale positions. (As someone who came to her material with a background in scale position studies, that took some getting used to.)


    It's worth noting that Horace Hatchet had Carol teach his beginning students when she was in her early teens. (She was too poor to pay for more than a few lessons with him, so this way she managed to keep taking them.) She was gigging before she was old enough to drive a car. She has worked with thousands for professional musicians and when she talks about how they learned and talked about music in the '40s and '50s, she knows what she is talking about. It's not just her experience (-though that is vast and informed) but that of people like Joe Pass and Ray Brown and Earl Palmer and the other greats whom she knew, and worked with, as a peer.

    Although Barry Harris talks about all this a different way----I would pay to see those two jam and chat---he insists that when jazz 'went to college,' the master jazz players of the day were not consulted about how they made the music and how they taught students. Barry flat out says that much which is taught in music schools is just wrong.
    Last edited by MarkRhodes; 10-31-2016 at 02:58 PM.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  8. #7

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    CST is, when used naively and poorly absolutely frickin' useless in helping someone play jazz.

    When used by a musician who already has good ears, a grasp of the jazz rhythmic language an changes playing it can open doors.

    I have a lot of respect for Carol and her teachings. She is from the tradition.

    I don't teach CST to students learning to improvise. Used too much at the early stage it tends to produce musicians that overplay, lack rhythmic shape, imagination and groove in their lines (i.e. swing), noodle, are over concerned with vertical relationships and note choice against chords, and these problems are built into the system.

    It's also a bit of shortcut. Remember when you started learning jazz? It was tunes like So What, Little Sunflower. They look easy on paper, but I actually think good, non boring modal playing is a great challenge. But you can get a class of beginner jazz players jamming on a modal tune for the end of weekend concert. Job done.

    Remember that the generation who trail-blazed CST modal sounds in jazz could already play the crap out of the tradition usually by ear. Gary Burton was a great, and swinging, straight bop player.
    Last edited by christianm77; 10-31-2016 at 03:09 PM.

  9. #8

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    Thanks for confirming I'm neither nuts nor on the wrong path. I was looking at theory books a while back and someone said here the Levine book was fine except for its basis towards CST. So I got Jazzology from my library; good info but very dry and way too much in depth info (I'm an amateur). I actually bought the Levine book early today. That, along with the Joe Elliott book, and some tunes... and the Chad Johnson jazz chord book. Maybe that'll give me what I need.

  10. #9

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    Also remember - jazz is all about rhythm. The harmony has changed stylistically in 100 years, but the rhythm has remained the heartbeat of the music.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomems View Post
    Thanks for confirming I'm neither nuts nor on the wrong path. I was looking at theory books a while back and someone said here the Levine book was fine except for its basis towards CST. So I got Jazzology from my library; good info but very dry and way too much in depth info (I'm an amateur). I actually bought the Levine book early today. That, along with the Joe Elliott book, and some tunes... and the Chad Johnson jazz chord book. Maybe that'll give me what I need.
    Yeah, I think a beginners diet needs to be chords, tunes, ear training.

    I actually find myself still thinking about chords on tunes where I begin my analysis with CST. So to me, there's total overlap.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Yeah, I think a beginners diet needs to be chords, tunes, ear training.

    I actually find myself still thinking about chords on tunes where I begin my analysis with CST. So to me, there's total overlap.
    Agreed. I tried to start with CST, and really couldn't make it work until I started focusing on the chord tones.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Used too much at the early stage it tends to produce musicians that overplay, lack rhythmic shape, imagination and groove in their lines (i.e. swing), noodle, are over concerned with vertical relationships and note choice against chords, and these problems are built into the system.
    Hey Christian, some of your comments don't make much sense to me, care to clarify a little? How does CST have anything to do with "rhythmic shape"? How does having more notes to use (all of them) limit imagination? How does it make your "groove" worse? Which may require first a definition as to what "groove" means (I'd take it to refer to your rhythmic flow + being in the pocket). How is "noodling" a bad thing? I'm fairly certain I hear quite a bit of noodling going on, with even those we consider to be the "best" improvisors. Of course, now we might need to define what "noodling" means. I guess I can do that for us, I'd take "noodling" to be somewhat randomly playing without targeting specific notes in any particular way. We'd still be using a scale of course, so it's technically not 100% random. Whereas, "non-noodling" would be more focused use of notes, picking specific notes, chord tones, etc...targeting specific notes. I would argue that both noodling and focused choice of notes are useful in an improvisational context. Especially when that "noodling" is being guided by the ear. I guess you could argue if I'm directing my "noodling" by using my ear, it's no longer noodling. Maybe you meant more of just playing up and down the scale randomly without paying any attention to the sound of it (which I'd argue is nearly impossible unless you are deaf). I'm big on noodling (somewhat random playing / stream of consciousness type stuff), but I'm also big on listening very carefully to what I am doing and directing my lines with my "ears". I often come up with more interesting and melodic ideas by "noodling" than I would by planning every single f$#$# note I am allowed to play over a set of chords.

    Addressing your other points again: how would CST users be "over concerned with vertical relationships and note choice against chords"?? It seems to me this is a problem that the "chord tone only" camp suffers from, but I, with my CST + chord tones + chromaticism, don't have this problem --- I can literally play anything over anything, whereas the chord tone only person is limited.

    I think the one simple golden rule I have learned after being an artist for my entire life is: anytime someone says there is a right way to do art, they are plain f#$#$$ wrong. There may be a right way to fix a car engine, but with art you have to be allowed to do anything to free your creativity. And creativity is at the heart of improvisation wouldn't you agree?

    It almost seems as if you are taking every problem an improvisor might have and blaming it on CST. I just don't see the connection to most of the comments you made.
    Last edited by Guitarzen; 10-31-2016 at 04:01 PM.

  14. #13

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    "I'm into scales right now"......John Coltrane

    Firstly CST isnt a theory, its just an aspect of fundamental music knowledge. Aerbersold, various online sources and even Music colleges have managed to sell it as a 'theory' but there's nothing particularly theoretical about the way CST plonks a 'consonant' scale over a chord. It does however, bastardise the least interesting part of George Russels actual theory about Chromaticism.

    Someone mentioned that certain 13th chords and 'best scale fit' (eg. Dorian and m13) are essentially the same 'pool' of notes. That's worth knowing isnt it?

    On the other hand, consonance ( or dissonance) could be discussed theoretically and thats what sucks about CST. There's no discussion about each tone and its 'gravity' or tension against the root note of the chord, the quality of the chord or any other chord tones in most of the CST stuff in the mainstream.

    It does work as a fundamental area of musical knowledge though - and moreso when you get a good teacher who puts it in there as one component of approaching improvisation and relates it back to the music in a coherent way.

    I dont have a problem with the learning and application of scales. I really have a problem with the way it is generally taught and applied.

    Coltrane 'owned' his approach to learning and applying scales and that study was elemental in his execution of super imposing substitutions and other tonal colours in his approach to harmony. Perhaps the biggest and most ironic problem with CST is that it actually hamstrings an effective study of scales......

    Back to the internet - its not all dreck...Here's one of my favourite vids going back some years and what it lacks in production quality it makes up for in content.


  15. #14

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    I think Barry Harris is onto something here.

    "Teachers are wrong all over the world...What I don't understand is, who did they ask how to teach at these colleges? Who did they ask? They certainly didn't ask Thad Jones. They didn't ask John Lewis.....So most of the schools are wrong."

    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarzen View Post
    Hey Christian, some of your comments don't make much sense to me, care to clarify a little? How does CST have anything to do with "rhythmic shape"? How does having more notes to use (all of them) limit imagination? How does it make your "groove" worse? Which may require first a definition as to what "groove" means (I'd take it to refer to your rhythmic flow + being in the pocket). How is "noodling" a bad thing? I'm fairly certain I hear quite a bit of noodling going on, with even those we consider to be the "best" improvisors. Of course, now we might need to define what "noodling" means. I guess I can do that for us, I'd take "noodling" to be somewhat randomly playing without targeting specific notes in any particular way. We'd still be using a scale of course, so it's technically not 100% random. Whereas, "non-noodling" would be more focused use of notes, picking specific notes, chord tones, etc...targeting specific notes. I would argue that both noodling and focused choice of notes are useful in an improvisational context. Especially when that "noodling" is being guided by the ear. I guess you could argue if I'm directing my "noodling" by using my ear, it's no longer noodling. Maybe you meant more of just playing up and down the scale randomly without paying any attention to the sound of it (which I'd argue is nearly impossible unless you are deaf). I'm big on noodling (somewhat random playing / stream of consciousness type stuff), but I'm also big on listening very carefully to what I am doing and directing my lines with my "ears". I often come up with more interesting and melodic ideas by "noodling" than I would by planning every single f$#$# note I am allowed to play over a set of chords.

    Addressing your other points again: how would CST users be "over concerned with vertical relationships and note choice against chords"?? It seems to me this is a problem that the "chord tone only" camp suffers from, but I, with my CST + chord tones + chromaticism, don't have this problem --- I can literally play anything over anything, whereas the chord tone only person is limited.

    I think the one simple golden rule I have learned after being an artist for my entire life is: anytime someone says there is a right way to do art, they are plain f#$#$$ wrong. There may be a right way to fix a car engine, but with art you have to be allowed to do anything to free your creativity. And creativity is at the heart of improvisation wouldn't you agree?

    It almost seems as if you are taking every problem an improvisor might have and blaming it on CST. I just don't see the connection to most of the comments you made.
    Yeah, I don't want to absolutist about it, but I have to say that I believe as a teacher the CST stuff works best as an extension of other approaches. CST is also not the same thing as using scales per se, BTW. There are loads of scales in bebop, but they are not CST style scales.

    And yes, when I play non functional progressions and modal stuff, CST is an important tool to have in your arsenal.

    My main interest as a player is in playing with intention and swing. To my mind, noodling is the opposite of that. If I could give you a scientific definition of groove but what use is that? You need to feel it in your body. There are ways into that.

    I could go on longer, but I'm feeling pretty ropey so I'll leave it there. I'm giving my advice based on playing over the years and what I would teach my students.

  17. #16

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    A bit on this subject by Hal Crook

    >>>>However, for beginner and intermediate-level players, the chord-scale approach has a potential downside. Many students begin studying chord scales early in their musical education and attempt to apply the knowledge acquired immediately on their instruments. Unfortunately, this often happens too soon in the student's development as an improviser--before he or she has learned how to shape an appealing improvised melody by ear on a chord or chord progression using only, or mainly, chord tones.
    Chord scales can present too much information, or information that cannot be readily processed, controlled, and used musically by the novice improviser. It is much easier to understand chord-scale theory than it is to apply it with musical results in an improvised solo. Improvising on chords with chord scales means that a soloist can play melody notes that he or she does not recognize or cannot identify and control by ear. This can result in wandering, shapeless, directionless, or mechanical-sounding melody lines. Often the lines are played in eighth notes to the exclusion of all other rhythm values, producing undesirable melodic and rhythmic content. Such improvised melodies often tend to outline tonic quality on nontonic functioning chords and vice versa.<<<<<

    https://www.berklee.edu/bt/121/chord.html
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  18. #17
    There's a distinction to be made between playing chord tones and TARGETING chord tones. Basic tension and release is fundamentally important in understanding what makes a melody. And it's not just passing tones in a scale, on weak beats or whatever. Take something, like the head of Freddie freeloader. Basic tension and release. Accented non-chord tones on strong beats which resolve to chord tones. That's the whole thing.

    I can't believe how long I tried to play some jazz and studied it from various sources, without ever hearing this concept. It's so fundamental and often overlooked. Targeting is to arpeggios what arpeggios are to scales. Learn to resolve the upper and lower neighbors Christian's talking about, maybe it was in another thread, ....then, all of the scales and arpeggios make more sense aurally.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    There's a distinction to be made between playing chord tones and TARGETING chord tones. Basic tension and release is fundamentally important in understanding what makes a melody. And it's not just passing tones in a scale, on weak beats or whatever. Take something, like the head of Freddie freeloader. Basic tension and release. Accented non-chord tones on strong beats which resolve to chord tones. That's the whole thing.

    I can't believe how long I tried to play some jazz and studied it from various sources, without ever hearing this concept. It's so fundamental and often overlooked. Targeting is to arpeggios what arpeggios are to scales. Learn to resolve the upper and lower neighbors Christian's talking about, maybe it was in another thread, ....then, all of the scales and arpeggios make more sense aurally.
    you hit very good points..playing a melody as written is a given..moving the melodic rhythm but keeping the melody in tact is a very good exercise..chick corea did this with his tune Spain..he would play melodic fragments in wide intervals and displace the rhythm..and bring it back home..the bass player is keeping the tune on the tracks while chick is soaring in his F18 and doing donuts in the parking lot..this of course comes from years of knowing the tune and experimenting in every possible way to play it..chick did not play the the melody as written once - the time I viewed the video - but he left no part of the tune out and you recognized the tune in its original form..that is a neat trick..for those not familiar with the vast talent of Chick Corea..see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chick_Corea its very humbling
    play well ...
    wolf

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by gator811 View Post
    "I'm into scales right now"......John Coltrane

    Firstly CST isnt a theory, its just an aspect of fundamental music knowledge. Aerbersold, various online sources and even Music colleges have managed to sell it as a 'theory' but there's nothing particularly theoretical about the way CST plonks a 'consonant' scale over a chord. It does however, bastardise the least interesting part of George Russels actual theory about Chromaticism.
    Interesting point. I have to say I don't agree that CST is 'fundamental'. BUT - a discussion on what is fundamental could run and run....

    But you are IMO bang on about it not being a theory. It isn't because it doesn't model what goes on in the music of the past very well, and it's not terribly helpful for developing an understanding of how jazz works as a language.

    To me, CST is the application of modal sounds on functional changes. Which is the step that should be taken after the student can play functional changes and modal improvisations. All the great contemporary players seem to have this down.

    I did start reading the GR book, but it felt like BS to me I'm afraid.

    Someone mentioned that certain 13th chords and 'best scale fit' (eg. Dorian and m13) are essentially the same 'pool' of notes. That's worth knowing isnt it?
    Wes Montgomery on 'Four on Six.'

    The dorian mode actually crops up in the music of Charlie Christian, Django, and I'm sure elsewhere. There's nothing in intrinsically modern about using the dorian as a stepwise scale - swing era improvisors liked the sound of the major 6th on a minor chord, so it's inevitable, in fact.

    The modern conception is in how it's used: the modern jazz conception of using a scale as a palette of available pitches over a chord, or analysing an improvisors note choices by using theoretical scales, which can be taken to an extreme (and to me, risible) degree.

    People have been playing extended sounds on chords in jazz for much longer than most people think. I could give the example of the melody of Honeysuckle Rose - a pretty old pre war tune - built on the b7 sub of a V7 chord. The whole 'family of four' concept is based around this concept (I call it the ladder of thirds) and can be heard in jazz right from the early days.

    So, the use of the an extended mixolydian tonality on V is certainly 'a thing' although I doubt that's the way those guys would have heard it. (And obviously V mixolydian is just I major.)

    There's quite a jump from there to embracing the fully fledged CST. For example, isn't C an 'avoid' note on G7?

    From a theoretical point of view I believe the CST handling of dominant and m7b5 chords to be incomplete at least in how they relate to pre 1960's styles of jazz - i.e. the functional stuff.

    That's quite aside from the pedagogical standpoint.

    On the other hand, consonance ( or dissonance) could be discussed theoretically and thats what sucks about CST. There's no discussion about each tone and its 'gravity' or tension against the root note of the chord, the quality of the chord or any other chord tones in most of the CST stuff in the mainstream.
    As you say that's why CST isn't a theory. It's a pool of sounds you can use.

    I dont have a problem with the learning and application of scales. I really have a problem with the way it is generally taught and applied.

    Coltrane 'owned' his approach to learning and applying scales and that study was elemental in his execution of super imposing substitutions and other tonal colours in his approach to harmony. Perhaps the biggest and most ironic problem with CST is that it actually hamstrings an effective study of scales......
    That's an interesting thing to say - I'm intrigued. How does it hamstring the study of scales?
    Last edited by christianm77; 11-01-2016 at 07:51 AM.

  21. #20

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    Chord tones with connecting notes are not the same thing as scales! With most diatonic scales, being applied to the "chord of the moment", we have 4 basic chord tones leaving us a choice of 3 "connecting notes", some of which can cause rhythmic displacement such that chord tones may not land on downbeats (the biggest giveaway when listening to a novice CST player trying to sound "jazzy").

    in Bop based Jazz, I think it's wiser, for the chord of the moment, to think of there being 4 chord tones (at least), and 8 possible connecting tones (approach, passing, enclosures etc). Of course, it's all about how you use those 8 non-chord tones! That's what I'd be practicing instead of scales....
    Last edited by princeplanet; 11-01-2016 at 09:42 AM.

  22. #21

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    To play devil's advocate, so you're suggesting someone playing a scale can't use a connecting chromatic tone?
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Chord tones with connecting notes are not the same thing as scales! With most diatonic scales, being applied to the "chord of the moment", we have 4 basic chord tones leaving us a choice of 3 "connecting notes", some of which can cause rhythmic displacement such that chord tones may not land on downbeats (the biggest giveaway when listening to a novice CST player trying to sound "jazzy").

    in Bop based Jazz, I think it's wiser, for the chord of the moment, to think of there being 4 chord tones (at least), and 8 possible connecting tones (approach, passing, enclosures etc). Of course, it's all about how you use those 8 non-chord tones! That's what I'd be practicing instead of scales....
    IMO to play bop well (or swing for that matter), you need to know your diatonic scales. You can get away a long way without, but sooner or later you are going to have to get into the diatonic majors and minors so that you can master passing tones.

    So as you say obviously in bop, we often use more passing tones than would be found in the standard diatonic scale. The 'bebop scale' is the classic example. We do this because of the rhythm.

    C B Bb A G F E D C

    But this is important - we are not seeing these scale tones as a source of upper extensions or 'colour'. The notes in the scale are there purely to connect the chord tones. Is that what you meant?

    With bop, connecting tone are also often applied to the triad. But you can go up to chords of 7 notes.

    I use the 'ladder of thirds' for a dominant chord. Take G7:

    G B D F A C E

    You can extract any three or four note arpeggio you like from that. Sheryl Bailey's family of four looks like this:

    G B D F A C E
    G B D F A C E
    G B D F A C E
    G B D F A C E

    But you could equally use triads such as G, Bo, Dm, F, Am or larger structures like Dm9 etc. (You can also use tritone substitutes, dim symmetry and stuff.)

    With the dominant there's a lot of freedom in how you stack notes. With the major chord you have to be a little more careful, the 11th is problematic.

    6 1 3 5 7 9 is OK though.
    Last edited by christianm77; 11-01-2016 at 10:09 AM.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post

    With the dominant there's a lot of freedom in how you stack notes. With the major chord you have to be a little more careful, the 11th is problematic.
    Is it, though?

    If not used as a point of rest, the 11 never bothers me. The raised 11th, however, can be a note to land on...and a damn good one.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    To play devil's advocate, so you're suggesting someone playing a scale can't use a connecting chromatic tone?
    Of course not. I used to be CST oriented, for years. But trying to work out how chromaticism worked with scales taught me that it's far more logical to work out how chromaticism works around chord tones. I now realise that, for the styles I like, years of practicing scales were largely (but not entirely) a waste of time.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Is it, though?

    If not used as a point of rest, the 11 never bothers me. The raised 11th, however, can be a note to land on...and a damn good one.
    I agree. The 11, if not landed on, sounds perfectly fine against tonic major. I'll never understand the fuss...

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Is it, though?

    If not used as a point of rest, the 11 never bothers me. The raised 11th, however, can be a note to land on...and a damn good one.
    That's what I mean.

    Raised 11th works well if you are some sort of ghastly modernist ;-)

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    I agree. The 11, if not landed on, sounds perfectly fine against tonic major. I'll never understand the fuss...
    It has to resolve. At least to my ears. And landed on is not quite the right way of putting it - you can accent it if you want, but then resolve, in the manner of an appoggiatura. Chi Chi is a good example of that.

    Any note is perfectly fine if resolved. You can accent any chromatic note against a major chord - but then you need to resolve. Again, Mozart etc...

    In jazz, you can resolve to a chord tone which is related to, but not the same as the underlying harmony. For example, we resolve the note C# into D on a C major triad - which is a depending on how you look at it, a G triad over a C chord or a Cmaj9 chord, etc... .

    One problem with CST is it conflates these two different phenomena - one horizontal (dissonance and stepwise resolution) and the other vertical (superposition of upper structure tertial harmony).
    Last edited by christianm77; 11-01-2016 at 10:37 AM.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    It has to resolve. At least to my ears.

    Any note is perfectly fine if not 'landed on'.
    Yes and no... I do a major version of the "family of four" thing (or as you call it, the ladder of 3rds). So for C maj:

    c e g e

    e g b d

    g b d f

    b d f a

    You know, the ol' arp up, (maj bop) scale down type of thing. Sure, when you use the g b d f arp, you will resolve the f to a downbeat. But I'm just as happy to play b d f a resolving to g. Yup, leap to and from the dreaded "avoid" note, without upsetting my ears. Obviously context is everything. If I'm using extensions up to the 13th a lot on previous chords, then it's less obtrusive...

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Yes and no... I do a major version of the "family of four" thing (or as you call it, the ladder of 3rds). So for C maj:

    c e g e

    e g b d

    g b d f

    b d f a

    You know, the ol' arp up, (maj bop) scale down type of thing. Sure, when you use the g b d f arp, you will resolve the f to a downbeat. But I'm just as happy to play b d f a resolving to g. Yup, leap to and from the dreaded "avoid" note, without upsetting my ears. Obviously context is everything. If I'm using extensions up to the 13th a lot on previous chords, then it's less obtrusive...
    When I hit the F in that series of notes I hear the need for some sort of resolution. It might not have to follow immediately after, but the ear would expect it as part of the overall voice leading.

    The G B D F and B D F A in your example are obviously part of the V7 family of four. The dominant will dominate, here. So, you would be in effect playing V7 over Cmaj. As I'm sure you have good ears and musicality, you would probably just resolve that sound naturally. So maybe this isn't worth worrying about?

    Was it you who mentioned using b6 on minor? Would be a similar type of thing.

    So, basically, as G dominant = C major, we are playing in C major, right, and creating language with harmonic movement and resolutions built into the scale. We can add chromatics to taste.

    Which is either a useful or a completely useless a realisation depending on where you are at :-)
    Last edited by christianm77; 11-01-2016 at 10:52 AM.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    When I hit the F in that series of notes I hear the need for some sort of resolution. It might not have to follow immediately after, but the ear would expect it as part of the overall voice leading.

    you would be in effect playing I-V7-I over Cmaj. As I'm sure you have good ears and musicality, you would probably just do that naturally. So maybe this isn't worth worrying about?

    Was it you who mentioned using b6 on minor? Would be a similar type of thing.
    Mind you, I play these groups quickly... Oh, you misunderstood that other post, when I said m6, I actually meant as in the m6 chord! So "B" over D minor, not Bb! ....

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Mind you, I play these groups quickly... Oh, you misunderstood that other post, when I said m6, I actually meant as in the m6 chord! So "B" over D minor, not Bb! ....
    Yeah but if you play Bb on a D minor chord, it's similar to the 11th on major thing. You can play harmonic minor on a minor 6th chord if you resolve. It can sound great esp if you use thirds or arpeggios or something.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Yeah but if you play Bb on a D minor chord, it's similar to the 11th on major thing. You can play harmonic minor on a minor 6th chord if you resolve. It can sound great esp if you use thirds or arpeggios or something.
    Funny you should say that, I was just pondering this very thing the other day- how it sounds ok to play the non raised 6th and the raised 7th against the m6 chord (which of course contains the M6th). It's funny how there are always little surprises like this in Jazz. The other day I told an accomplished jazz pianist I've been messing with V13b9 in minor keys, and he needed to go to the piano (he has perfect pitch) to agree that it can be ok, although he admitted to defaulting to b13 in that context. Just goes to show, you really have to try out everything ​before you decide for yourself when it comes to this stuff.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Yeah but if you play Bb on a D minor chord, it's similar to the 11th on major thing. You can play harmonic minor on a minor 6th chord if you resolve. It can sound great esp if you use thirds or arpeggios or something.
    Also, I've noted you're a fan of the "backdoor" VII7 in a minor key. As this is essentially V7b9#9 (no 3rd), some may think the missing all important 3rd weakens the deal. But again context is everything. Eg, if you play Dm7 - G7 - Am9, then thats pretty much the ol' "Deceptive" cadence. In fact, I find you can play relative major 2-5-1 material directly over minor 2-5-1 progressions and sound legit - but, if you do it after lots of leaning on the 3rd of V7b9 (so G# instead of g in our example), then the lowered 3rd sounds relatively (pardon the pun) weak.... Context is king, right?

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Funny you should say that, I was just pondering this very thing the other day- how it sounds ok to play the non raised 6th and the raised 7th against the m6 chord (which of course contains the M6th). It's funny how there are always little surprises like this in Jazz. The other day I told an accomplished jazz pianist I've been messing with V13b9 in minor keys, and he needed to go to the piano (he has perfect pitch) to agree that it can be ok, although he admitted to defaulting to b13 in that context. Just goes to show, you really have to try out everything ​before you decide for yourself when it comes to this stuff.
    I mean really the only fundamental is whether or not you can hear a sound.

    BTW we will, even those of use with perfect pitch, gravitate towards 'comprehensible input' - sounds we already hear. That's why Ravel instructed Vaughan Williams to compose at the piano instead of directly to score out of his head, so that he could invent new harmonies.

    All these theories are crutches. Chord tone improvisation is a great first step. IMO it is an important rite of passage. But it is only a crutch. OTOH you can't jump ahead and start teaching the finished product - the 'way to improvise' the 'grand theory of jazz' because the final process will sound nonsensical and unhelpful for the beginner.

    So at some point after years of studying solos, theory and so on, it can be great to have someone say 'play what ever you want' - after years of rhythmic work 'don't worry about being out of time' can be the perfect advice to have a player really start swinging.

    But that advice might be completely useless to someone else.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Also, I've noted you're a fan of the "backdoor" VII7 in a minor key. As this is essentially V7b9#9 (no 3rd), some may think the missing all important 3rd weakens the deal. But again context is everything. Eg, if you play Dm7 - G7 - Am9, then thats pretty much the ol' "Deceptive" cadence. In fact, I find you can play relative major 2-5-1 material directly over minor 2-5-1 progressions and sound legit - but, if you do it after lots of leaning on the 3rd of V7b9 (so G# instead of g in our example), then the lowered 3rd sounds relatively (pardon the pun) weak.... Context is king, right?
    No, I usually put the third in by raising the relevant note. So G to a G# in the key of A minor, for instance.

    But then you can put it down again if you want. So it's almost like having an 8 note hybrid scale. The classic example is Donna Lee (over Bm7b5 E7b9 Am):

    A G G# B D E F G F E D C

    But you don't have to do that. I could play the b7 of the backdoor (F) and leave it at that for instance.

    But a minor third against a dominant chord is very common in Charlie Parker's music, in the major key too.

    So basically, what you said :-)

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    ....
    But a minor third against a dominant chord is very common in Charlie Parker's music, in the major key too.

    ...
    For sure, mind you, when I notice that in Parker, it's usually heard as a blue note in some bluesy little run or something. The "Blues" scale being superimposed on just about anything, is of course, a whole 'nother story which can excuse certain notes that otherwise wouldn't be...

  38. #37

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    So... for us amateurs, here's what I propose that I do.

    -stick with scales
    -target chord tones

    And further:

    -swing
    -use substitutions
    -learn from the greats
    -know no bounds

    Am I leaving anything out?

  39. #38

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    Pretty good list, I'd say. I'm sure it's implied but "LEARN TUNES" would be a huge one for me.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomems View Post
    So... for us amateurs, here's what I propose that I do.

    -stick with scales
    -target chord tones

    And further:

    -swing
    -use substitutions
    -learn from the greats
    -know no bounds

    Am I leaving anything out?
    Yep, be careful about *trying to swing* - doesn't work unfortunately. Keep it even.

  41. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by tomems View Post
    So... for us amateurs, here's what I propose that I do.

    -stick with scales
    -target chord tones

    And further:

    -swing
    -use substitutions
    -learn from the greats
    -know no bounds

    Am I leaving anything out?
    Your first post sounded like like you were ditching arpeggios for scales. I certainly wouldn't necessarily do that. Arpeggios by themselves, not used in a melodic way are could boring, but if you can't make arpeggios interesting, the arpeggios in themselves are not necessarily the problem. Understand that you can use arpeggios to target chord tones, create the enclosures etc. that have been talked about as well.

    As an exercise, you can practice arpeggios and tunes by following some simple guidelines. Resolve ascending arpeggios downward to a chord tone of the following chord, and vice versa for descending arpeggios.

    Also, regarding subs, understand what is going on melodically . Usually substitutions played melodically over your basic chord imply some kind of enclosure or targeting pattern. E7 or E7alt over A minor can be cool, but it has to be resolved in a way which makes sense, rhythmically and melodically .

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    With most diatonic scales, being applied to the "chord of the moment", we have 4 basic chord tones leaving us a choice of 3 "connecting notes", some of which can cause rhythmic displacement such that chord tones may not land on downbeats (the biggest giveaway when listening to a novice CST player trying to sound "jazzy ...
    Of course there is more than 1 scale to contain same 4 chord tones, as well as you can turn the thing upside down and consider those 4 tones to be connecting ones ...
    Personally, I don't give a F if I place chord tones on beats as long as it's clear there's some tonic around and I think it sounds good. Is it really such a big deal? If musicians can tell I'm a novice, what would uneducated audience say? Would they object, or maybe even find it better on the ear, brain and stomach?
    AlsoI'm not quite sure how it's really connected, scales and chord tones on beats? Is there some rule saying you always have to play the whole scale begining to an end and use all the scale notes along the way!


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  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    Of course there is more than 1 scale to contain same 4 chord tones, as well as you can turn the thing upside down and consider those 4 tones to be connecting ones ...
    Personally, I don't give a F if I place chord tones on beats as long as it's clear there's some tonic around and I think it sounds good. Is it really such a big deal? If musicians can tell I'm a novice, what would uneducated audience say? Would they object, or maybe even find it better on the ear, brain and stomach?
    AlsoI'm not quite sure how it's really connected, scales and chord tones on beats? Is there some rule saying you always have to play the whole scale begining to an end and use all the scale notes along the way!


    VladanMovies BlogSpot
    You can do whatever you want.

    I am talking about the jazz tradition, an understanding of what has come before in some detail. Tradition is important to me, although not everything. Someone with no interest in tradition isn't going to get on with my teaching.

    The uneducated audience - well, whatever. I am not the uneducated audience and I have no ability to second guess them.
    Last edited by christianm77; 11-01-2016 at 04:06 PM.

  44. #43

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    So, you and princeplanet are one same person? Good to know.

    VladanMovies BlogSpot
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  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomems View Post
    I used to play with a very good bassist who was a Carol Kaye disciple. He told me: NO SCALES. Just arpeggios and extensions. But in the end don't we end up playing most of the same notes?
    No way man... my approach gives me an entirely different set of 12 notes that sound so much better!

    Quote Originally Posted by tomems View Post
    Arpeggios are cool but I can't get anything to sound musical playing just arpeggios. Or, it's a challenge (Sonny Rollins can play one note and go nuts...)
    Don't take this as a sign saying something about arpeggios... take this as a sign about how much creativity you're willing and (currently) able to expend upon what you're playing... in this case, an arpeggio. If you have a hard time making something musical with an arpeggio, chances are good you have a hard time making something that sounds musical with a scale as well. The ability to make something musical doesn't come from the musical device you're employing, but from your own heart, mind, and soul.

    Picasso went through a 'Blue Period" where he painted almost entirely with just different shades of blue. For multiple paintings. And they're gorgeous. Stravinsky once said, "That which diminishes constraint, diminishes strength."

    Don't limit yourself based on the limitations you assume exist within an idea. Explore those limitations. See how much you can grow within them. See how much creativity you can pour within their walls.

    Quote Originally Posted by tomems View Post
    This is my last gasp at trying to do things the right way before I just go back to doing CST.
    There is no right way.

    Quote Originally Posted by tomems View Post
    I don't have enough time (my theme, I know) to re-learn the guitar. But if I can play Lydian Dominant over some cool chords, that might have to be jazz enough for me...
    Wayne Krantz wrote a book called the Improvisor's Operating System. In it, he essentially deconstructs all systems of musical organization and reconstructs a new one in an almost matrix style that opens up the allowance for every possibility of sound within one octave. In an interview he was asked why anyone would want to try that. The interviewer pointed out that he already 'knew' all his theory and that it could take a lifetime to perfect this new system of thinking. Krantz agreed, but then pointed out that a player could spend 5 minutes trying out his system and find something new that they absolutely might fall deeply in love with, and that they never would have found otherwise... and wouldn't that be worth 5 minutes? And what if every time you put 5 minutes into it you gave yourself the opportunity to find 1 new thing you might fall in love with that could drastically alter your playing? Would it be worth it? Perhaps the idea isn't to focus on dreaming about the final product and stressing and wasting time looking for the perfect way to get there... and instead to keep an idea of the final product you want in the back of your mind... but to learn to enjoy the process, the movement, the study, the small steps, the accomplishments... to love the journey towards the final product... which none of us are ever going to reach anyway.

    Coltrane used to practice 12 hours a day. And that was after he was already COLTRANE. There's no end. Sorry

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by jordanklemons View Post
    No way man... my approach gives me an entirely different set of 12 notes that sound so much better!
    Why stop at twelve?

    Chord scale theory is the opposite of...-maxresdefault-jpg

    Don't take this as a sign saying something about arpeggios... take this as a sign about how much creativity you're willing and (currently) able to expend upon what you're playing... in this case, an arpeggio. If you have a hard time making something musical with an arpeggio, chances are good you have a hard time making something that sounds musical with a scale as well. The ability to make something musical doesn't come from the musical device you're employing, but from your own heart, mind, and soul.
    True fact.

    Picasso went through a 'Blue Period" where he painted almost entirely with just different shades of blue. For multiple paintings. And they're gorgeous. Stravinsky once said, "That which diminishes constraint, diminishes strength."

    Don't limit yourself based on the limitations you assume exist within an idea. Explore those limitations. See how much you can grow within them. See how much creativity you can pour within their walls.

    There is no right way.
    Another excellent point.

    Wayne Krantz wrote a book called the Improvisor's Operating System. In it, he essentially deconstructs all systems of musical organization and reconstructs a new one in an almost matrix style that opens up the allowance for every possibility of sound within one octave. In an interview he was asked why anyone would want to try that. The interviewer pointed out that he already 'knew' all his theory and that it could take a lifetime to perfect this new system of thinking. Krantz agreed, but then pointed out that a player could spend 5 minutes trying out his system and find something new that they absolutely might fall deeply in love with, and that they never would have found otherwise... and wouldn't that be worth 5 minutes? And what if every time you put 5 minutes into it you gave yourself the opportunity to find 1 new thing you might fall in love with that could drastically alter your playing? Would it be worth it? Perhaps the idea isn't to focus on dreaming about the final product and stressing and wasting time looking for the perfect way to get there... and instead to keep an idea of the final product you want in the back of your mind... but to learn to enjoy the process, the movement, the study, the small steps, the accomplishments... to love the journey towards the final product... which none of us are ever going to reach anyway.
    And then I saw Krantz a couple of years back at a masterclass and he said he was chucking ALL of that stuff out, and starting afresh purely by ear. Obviously a player constantly questioning everything. Still sounds like Krantz though, whatever he does.

    Coltrane used to practice 12 hours a day. And that was after he was already COLTRANE. There's no end. Sorry
    I know! And he still wasn't as good as ROLLINS! (Makes troll face ;-))

    Nah seriously (I love Trane), very enjoyable post.

  47. #46

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    I dont have a problem with the learning and application of scales. I really have a problem with the way it is generally taught and applied.

    Coltrane 'owned' his approach to learning and applying scales and that study was elemental in his execution of super imposing substitutions and other tonal colours in his approach to harmony. Perhaps the biggest and most ironic problem with CST is that it actually hamstrings an effective study of scales......
    That's an interesting thing to say - I'm intrigued. How does it hamstring the study of scales?
    In as much that CST, when you encounter it unmediated by a great player/teacher, doesnt include any real direction on how to make scales work for you as an improviser except to give you a bunch of notes against a chord.

    I encountered CST as soon as I started showing an interest in playing jazz back in the early 80's and I still remember those playalong books that list an ascending scale against a chord in a standard or or one of those long static vamps. That was it - apart from the "now go listen to the records" there was no pedagogy around scale study itself and unless you were classically trained or had a hip teacher you got no insight into scale study.
    Of course a more experienced player could have surmised from Coltrane's or indeed Scofield's playing that the scalar approach they were using was guided by some age-old pedagogies that CST doesnt illuminate or refer to. But for young players its absolutely imperative that this stuff - playing scales of all kinds, learning to play dynamically with them, working on articulation, making melodies with them, learning or even composing etudes, is pretty fundamental to learning to play one's instrument.

    That's why I like that Sco vid. The first part of it is pretty mind - numbing (he's not overly excited about it either!) but later he starts to break the scales down into various tropes for practicing and the whole thing takes a different direction.

    What I said earlier about CST wasnt to suggest that it is a musical fundamental writ large- but it is an aspect or an extension of it IMO. Its just an application/expansion of the relationships that classical musicans(and others) learn in regard to key signatures and major scales. Theres a rumour that one of Aebersold's early teaching gigs was coaching classical musicians in improvisation -"I found out that if you played a little background for people over one scale, they could actually improvise and play what they hear in their head"...... and knowing how well they knew their scales he started applying these to various chords instead of just the tonic of the key.

    I'm not a George Russell advocate - just mentioning him seems to either cause the eyes to glaze over or sometimes mass fury. But I do think there are interesting correlations between his theories and other more accessible approaches and so I dont think its BS. In Ready Aim Improvise, when Hal Crook introduces chromaticism - the tones in question happen to be the same tones (b3 and #5) that GR prescribes in his structuring of dissonance. George never professed to create these ideas, he was trying to construct a theory that would explain them...anyway..

  48. #47

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    Okay, scratch all that. My B. Wants to remove all the return key strikes that should be separating the text. Just looks ridiculous and unreadable.aaaaaaaaand poof! gone...
    Last edited by jordanklemons; 11-01-2016 at 06:22 PM.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by gator811 View Post
    In as much that CST, when you encounter it unmediated by a great player/teacher, doesnt include any real direction on how to make scales work for you as an improviser except to give you a bunch of notes against a chord.
    That's a big problem. Not the only one.

    I encountered CST as soon as I started showing an interest in playing jazz back in the early 80's and I still remember those playalong books that list an ascending scale against a chord in a standard or or one of those long static vamps. That was it - apart from the "now go listen to the records" there was no pedagogy around scale study itself and unless you were classically trained or had a hip teacher you got no insight into scale study.
    Me too!

    What I said earlier about CST wasnt to suggest that it is a musical fundamental writ large- but it is an aspect or an extension of it IMO. Its just an application/expansion of the relationships that classical musicans(and others) learn in regard to key signatures and major scales. Theres a rumour that one of Aebersold's early teaching gigs was coaching classical musicians in improvisation -"I found out that if you played a little background for people over one scale, they could actually improvise and play what they hear in their head"...... and knowing how well they knew their scales he started applying these to various chords instead of just the tonic of the key.
    Interesting point. If it gets the ball rolling...

    I'm not a George Russell advocate - just mentioning him seems to either cause the eyes to glaze over or sometimes mass fury. But I do think there are interesting correlations between his theories and other more accessible approaches and so I dont think its BS. In Ready Aim Improvise, when Hal Crook introduces chromaticism - the tones in question happen to be the same tones (b3 and #5) that GR prescribes in his structuring of dissonance. George never professed to create these ideas, he was trying to construct a theory that would explain them...anyway..
    The blues notes, in other words.

    I have a friend who's a big fan of Hal Crook. I've been meaning to check him out, but the books are kind of pricey.

  50. #49

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    The blues notes, in other words.
    Absolutely. But also (if you include his omnipresent #4) the diminished and augmented tones against the scale.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by gator811 View Post
    Absolutely. But also (if you include his omnipresent #4) the diminished and augmented tones against the scale.
    Sorry I misread #5 for #4