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  1. #1

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    It's funny how we can "know" some aspects of theory but then something happens that suddenly deepens our understanding of the same concept. What were some moments when something? just finally clicked for you?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    This seems like a great question, but how about an example before we chip in.

  4. #3

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    Understanding that my frame of reference isn't classical+jazz, it's classical+blues. That's the music I was immersed in in my formative teenage years.

  5. #4

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    251 In C

    D F A C B A G F E
    Up the ARP , down the scale
    Dave Cliff showed me ages ago
    A ha !
    Suddenly I could make music not just noodle about
    It literally changed everything for me ....

    Seems crazy now but true

  6. #5

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    16 32 32 16 16

  7. #6

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    The first 4-5 notes of Honeysuckle Rose.

  8. #7

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    The realization that diminished chords are repeated every 3 half steps was pretty cool. I can't really think of anything else now that I'm trying to. My stupid brain isn't cooperating. I think I'm realizing though that the most important realizations aren't aha moments, but more like slowly made webs of connections that are just the result of spending time working on things in a somewhat structured manner. I've spent way too many years just noodling diatonically with no structure and that needs to change.

  9. #8

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    I don't understand the 16 32 post. Google doesn't seem to know either.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrestonHall View Post
    The realization that diminished chords are repeated every 3 half steps was pretty cool. I can't really think of anything else now that I'm trying to. My stupid brain isn't cooperating. I think I'm realizing though that the most important realizations aren't aha moments, but more like slowly made webs of connections that are just the result of spending time working on things in a somewhat structured manner. I've spent way too many years just noodling diatonically with no structure and that needs to change.
    My "aha!" moment is related to this one of yours: it happened when I realized that dom and half-dim 7s also have a b5 interval built in, and for that reason, were susceptible to tritone substitution in a similar manner ... but one which also provided moving voices in the harmony.

  11. #10

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    I've been diving into the theory part of music just lately and been having a lot of these "aha!" Moments.

    For example, I've transcribed/notated some of my own old stuff that I've written on guitar based on familiar chord shapes and visual progressions - seeing the notes really opens up why some things fit together. Then I've reharmonised some of the parts by adding and removing notes in the chords. Fun stuff!

    Another thing that I noticed was that while practicing improvising, going "off" from the root and exploring the 2nd (9th) and the 6th (13th) was really rewarding, there's something about those intervals to my ears that I really like, at least against a simple 5th chord progression (descending dim scale)

    I expect more to come, because I'm still in the beginning.

  12. #11

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    That you could move a grip up through a scale. And, in melodic minor harmony every resulting voicing is interchangeable.

    That is, start with a chord you like and then move the note on each string, further up the string to the next note in the scale.

    From Mark Levine's Jazz Theory I learned that there is no avoid note in melodic minor harmony. That means that you can take any notes in the scale, make a chord and use them all interchangeably. They sound different, and you might not like some, but they all can work.

    It's few months work to get a couple of voicings under you fingers in 12 keys, but it can change the way you comp.

  13. #12

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    Aha...when you flat the 5 in a dom7 chord, it's tritone sub has exactly the same notes if you flat it's 5 also...the root and b5 are another tritone in addition to the 3 and b7 tritone...splitting the octave two different ways within the same chord.

    Db G B F = G7b5 = Db7b5

    This one simple observation really opened up the harmonic and melodic language of jazz for me, and is a cornerstone of my personal codex.
    Last edited by cosmic gumbo; 04-25-2017 at 04:05 AM.

  14. #13

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    Parent Keys instead of Modes.
    If I want D Dorian I can use any structure or arpeggio from Parent Key C Major instead of thinking of a 'scale' all bunched up and ' in order alphabeticaly etc.

    Amazing relationships between Major Scales or Keys and Modes and Pentatonics substituting for each other OR covering the entire Chromatic scale with just a Major scale and a #IV Pentatonic.

    A major scale or Key contains the I ,IV ,and V Major
    Pentatonics and their Relative Minor Pentatonics .




    That the Basis for all improvisation are 'Melodic Cadences' which is a fancy way of saying Targeting
    Chord Tones and Extensions - regardless of Theory Knowledge or lack of it- all Improvisers or Soloists must do this-
    BUT the above 'Rule' can be bent somewhat and by using Arpeggiated Triads and other things as phrase endings you can ' Force ' the Listener to hear your entire previous
    Line in a few different Keys or Chordal Regions- merely by changing the last 3 or 4 Notes. A BIG one for me.

    This works with ' scalar ' playing Vertical Playing..Intervallic Playing ..- i.e. you can play linear stacks of Fourths and move them around and the 'Listener' will hear what you just played in Eminor if you end on an E minor Triad arp- OR B minor if you end there..or even further away etc.
    The mind goes 'back in time' and assigns the previous harmony according to the Cadence!

    A simpler version of this is when you land on a ninth versus a fifth with a long note Value it ' colors' the Previous part of the Phrase differently...but this is a weaker version of actually 'forcing ' the Listener to hear the Previous Identical Phrase in a different Key or Chordal Region by a strong Melodic Cadence.
    Of course- this is much more evident when playing Solo because with another Chordal Instrument - the context is more fixed ( improv. more in Context of the Chords )...just a Bassist ..less fixed.
    But it still Occurs .

    This also happens in some distant Modulations Harmonically- where the listener temporarily hears the' new ' Harmony in the Previous Key( as' Outside ')THEN accepts it with the 'New' Cadences .

    As a Writer I wanted to get this Conceptually ..I almost have it but need to get much better at distant Modulations that are smooth and feel good.




    That being able to play the notes that my mind 'hears' I can play Rhythmic and Melodic Motifs and that my main Problem or Threshhold is ONLY my own inability to play what I' hear' next - 'stick the landing' so to speak.

    Now as an 'advanced beginner'- subject to correction by the Jazz Veterans and Theorists:

    When a 'Jazz Guy 'says you can use this scale over this chord or type of chord- it will always work-
    BUT - they don't mean it's the ONLY Scale or ONLY thing that will work.
    AND - they don't mean you need to Play the Scale in alphabetical order with the Intervals close together.

    SO - remember that the C Major Scale OR ANY MAJOR SCALE contains the I IV and V Major Pentatonics AND the ii , iii , and vi Minor Pentatonics

    SO - you have 6 Pentatonic Scales for any Mode-
    AND unlike Major and Minor 7 Note Scales- it IS COMMON in Jazz, Bluegrass , Country, Blues, Rock ,
    Fusion, R&B, Post Coltrane Polkas- to 'run' or Play Pentatonics VERBATIM ( you should ultimately do more but you will sound MUCH more Pro playing Pentas than 7 Note Scales as a beginner.

    To actually USE 7 note scales without sounding like a Music School Student is trickier IMO than using Scorpio Subset Pentatonic Concept ( lol- ) and playing Pentatonics IMO.

    Because of a technical AHA of taking my fret hand thumb off the top of neck I can now play most of what I hear to a very high level- should have done it in the 1980s but better late than never ..
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 10-23-2017 at 08:55 AM.

  15. #14

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    An "Aha" about the fingerboard I still don't quite know what to do with is the pattern of step-half-step and Step-step-step that the "3 notes to the string" guys talk about. It seems somehow important but I haven't yet figured out why.

    Another "aha!" for me... a frustrated life-long folk guitar and very mediocre classical guitar player, I turned on the radio and heard somebody just playing the heck out of "Stomping at Savoy" live on solo guitar... I called the station and asked who that was and what kind music is that and does he have other records.

    In a voice that seemed to ask, "Any more like you at home?" he said "Joe Pass, jazz, and they are CDs now, not 'records'"...

    I was hooked forever.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  16. #15

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    Harmonized scales! Decades ago I was transcribing folk tunes and piano rags for finger-style guitar and realized much of what I liked was based on triads moving up and down the scale. It really opened things up for me.

    Years later, Tim Lerch did a nice clinic series on "Fluid Harmony." Harmonized scales were a big part of that, but he then showed how to integrate the triad voices with scale-based or chromatic approach tones to get something much richer -- like a choir. That was another aha! moment. I should dig out my notes from that series for a refresher.
    Last edited by KirkP; 04-25-2017 at 01:00 PM.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robertkoa View Post
    That the Basis for all improvisation are 'Melodic Cadences' which is a fancy way of saying Targeting
    Chord Tones and Extensions - regardless of Theory Knowledge or lack of it- all Improvisers or Soloists must do this-
    BUT the above 'Rule' can be bent somewhat and by using Arpeggiated Triads and other things as phrase endings you can ' Force ' the Listener to hear your entire previous
    Line in a few different Keys or Chordal Regions- merely by changing the last 3 or 4 Notes. A BIG one for me.

    That being able to play the notes that my mind 'hears' I can play Rhythmic and Melodic Motifs and that my main Problem or Threshhold is ONLY my own inability to play what I' hear' next - 'stick the landing' so to speak.
    Yup -- in my lexicon, the key (pardon the pun) of modal playing is the resolution. This too has opened up a lot for me, because even mistakes can be modal excursions so long as I'm on top of them enough to resolve back to tonality. That means, to use your own metaphor, that if I don't stick the landing, I roll and tumble a little until the next beat comes around.

    I'm told that really smart musicians call this "building tension". Works for me.
    Last edited by Thumpalumpacus; 04-26-2017 at 01:00 AM.

  18. #17

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    Oh, and another "aha" moment for me was understanding how chords are built by stacking thirds, and the transferring that information over to my soloing. Good way to walk into a chord-change.

  19. #18

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    That we're not really "playing the changes". We're playing against the changes a little. Tension and resolution.

  20. #19

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    There are only two chords in any given key! It's some variation of I maj7, or it's a variation of V7.
    Great idea for a thread, thanks.
    Ignorance is agony.



  21. #20

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    I posted this before (dominant chords for motion)
    -----------------------------------

    "The instrument keeps me humble. Sometimes I pick it up and it seems to say, "No, you can't play today." I keep at it anyway, though." Jim Hall

  22. #21

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    Having difficulties trying to get the altered scale into my ears and hands, I aha-ed when I realized that playing a Db lydian b7 scale to approach C7 in a G Blues means playing G altered.
    I´m not sure if that answers lawson-stones post, but another aha moment for me was playing pentatonics on a 6 string bass tuned B E A D G C. I realized that the 5 positions of the regular pentatonic (2 notes per string) all follow the same whole tone, whole tone, whole tone, minor third, minor third form. (not counting the intervals going from one string to the next) A similar formula is true for 3 note per string patterns, again not counting the intervals between strings. The formula goes 3 times whole tone whole tone (example: G mixolydian scale starting on the note G, 3rd fret on low E string: g a b, c d e, f g a), 2 times half tone whole tone (b c d, e f g), 2 times whole tone half tone (a b c, d e f). You would need 7 strings to complete one full cycle and you must know where in the cycle you start, but the formula still works on regular tuned guitars.
    Another more theoretical way of looking at the 3 notes per string scales is the order of the modes from dark to bright: locrian, phrygian, aeolian, dorian, mixolydian, ionian, lydian. Looking at pairs of adjacent strings (E/A, A/D, D/G, G/B, B/E) starting on the note B, 7th fret on low E string (this time counting intervals on each string and between strings with reference to the first note of each 2 string pattern) you get: root, minor second, minor third, perfect fourth, dim fifth, minor sixth, which is the beginning of locrian. A an D string, same position starting on the note E, 7th fret A string you get: root, minor second, minor third, perfect fourth, perfect fifth, minor sixth, which is the beginning of phrygian...

  23. #22
    When finally got a personal proof that it is possible to learn to play solos only by ear without spending a second thinking about positions/theory/technical stuff.

  24. #23

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    The aha-ha moment: when I saw that every maj7 had two keys, every min7, three keys, every min7b5 one key and every dominant has one key.
    If you can distinguish between rehearsing and practicing...you're better than half way there!

  25. #24

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    What's this three keys thing? I don't get it.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrestonHall View Post
    What's this three keys thing? I don't get it.
    Me neither !

    It's a deep Aha !

    The Shaolin Mystery of the 3 Keys
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 05-13-2017 at 03:04 AM.

  27. #26

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    Functional Jazz is simply T/D. It changed everything.

  28. #27

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    I'm still getting my head (& fingers) around this one....


    Realising that because any note in a diminished chord can function as its root the same note can function as the Flat 9 of a Dominant 7th chord, that these repeat every three frets & that I can already play Diminished chords on 5 different string sets without thinking...


    Suddenly I'm never more than one fret away from at least five inversions of every 7th chord in every key not by learning any new 'grips', but by understanding the relationships between the intervals.


    All I've got to do now is play 'em at the right time...

  29. #28
    I've had quite a lot over the last few years. Have to think....

    One big one is the role of harmonic rhythm in outside harmony/patterns. Altered on the "weak side" etc. Suddenly things I couldn't make work a lot of times, were much easier to hear and play. Opened to a lot more harmonic possibilities.

    The idea of targeting pitches with specific harmony/chords/arpeggios, as opposed to just "chromatics" has been huge and very liberating for this hobbyist in finding things which work , more than just randomly experimenting or only copying specific lines here and there.

    The use of extended diatonic relationships (e.g. thirds) to work on chord extensions/alterations. (Gmaj9 is really Bm7. so I can work off of B minor and all of its harmonic implications/chord patterns as a way of playing G major.)

    The last one isn't really theoretical, I guess, but... The real magic happens when you start to subdivide at lower levels. I can't explain it . You really have to just do the work and do it. There's nothing more important in the music in my opinion. I believe it has the greatest potential implications for music in every other style you might play as well. Jazz isn't my main gig, but I enjoy EVERYTHING I play much more now than I did before I did a lot of this work on rhythm.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 05-13-2017 at 09:41 AM.

  30. #29

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    Incorporating intervals and string skipping when building solos - along with-training my ear to hear this. Tommy tedesco spoke about this in an article I read 25 years ago and I was hooked

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrestonHall View Post
    What's this three keys thing? I don't get it.
    D-7 appears in the key of C as the II
    in the key of F as the VI
    and in the key of Bb as III
    If you can distinguish between rehearsing and practicing...you're better than half way there!

  32. #31

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    So many...too many to recall, even...

    My big one now is in simplfying the chords to a tune, and then STILL not chasing changes. I've never felt so relaxed or free.
    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

  33. #32

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    I got one about reading rhythms

    That sometimes its best to feel
    the note before the barline as belonging
    To the phrase after the barline ...

  34. #33

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    Chord Namer

    I don't know how many times I have looked for the names of chords that I play that aren't in books. I have to figure them out and am never quite sure that they actually exist. For the most part I trust my ears, but I don't want to fool myself if I am doing something wrong and I can't tell from listening. This thing helps.

  35. #34

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    Tried one chord on that site, not even close to right.

    Chord naming is easy. Figure out what you hear as the root (might not actually be in the notes you're playing) and then everything's relative.
    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

  36. #35

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    Hmm. Maybe it is trash then. Are you sure that you are using it correctly? The ones that I have crossed referenced to books seem to be correct.

  37. #36

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    Oh, the names are correct, but not necessarily "correct," or practical, and it doesn't seem to give rootless options.

    I typed in x x 4 5 6 6, one of my favorite multi purpose shapes, an Ab13 or D7#5#9, rootless.

    Chordfinder suggested an F#maj7b5 (correct) and a C#7sus#11 whatever, completely correct, but completely impractical.
    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

  38. #37

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    I understand what you are saying. I think that it is beyond its capabilities to judge what is practical and what isn't. I just want very basic info anyway. Rootless would also help for sure.

  39. #38

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    Only 36 "aha-ha" experiences? Someone is holding out.

    How about...we share music with the piano player.

    His instrument is symmetrical; ours is asymmetrical.

    When he hovers his hands over the keys there is nothing.

    When we pick up ours, it is already saying E min 7 add 11.

    He starts a chord, we stop one.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    If you can distinguish between rehearsing and practicing...you're better than half way there!

  40. #39

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    Let's see...I've had a lot of physical break throughs the past few years...playing and chewing gum at the same etc...But a very early one was the stacked thirds thing in Walter Piston..
    1-3-5-7-9 / 2-4-6-8-10 / 3-5-7-9-11 / 4-6-8-10-12 etc . I ............... ii ................ iii ........ IV
    etc

    So I could see the ' extensions' if I superimposed Diatonic Arpeggios over the I chord.
    So - is there an easy way to do this using a Minor as the i for Dorian and Aolean and Phrygian ?

    Obviously I stack relative Major Arps and ii and v over minor chords but the whole * graph isn't as clear as with Major.
    Graph is looking at Diatonic Arpeggios superimposed over the I chord.

    Any simple graphs for superimposing over a Minor i ?

    Also there are amazingly simple Relationships between Major Scales and Modes and the way each one generates 3 Major and 3 Minor Pentatonics which are all enharmonic and can substitute for each other.

    So I saw a Video with two Advanced and well known Jazzers talking about Major ii-V- Is and THEN improvising using a Major Scale INSTEAD of using parent key and all the Diatonic Arpeggios - they were playing like 1st year Students with a C Major Scale - weird .
    ...Well with C Major you have the I, IV ,V, Major Pentas AND their Relative Minor Pentas so that is 6 Pentatonic Scales that are enharmonic or subsets to Riff On in addition to the lonely squiggly stiff C Major Scale ! For 1 Example AHA?
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 11-29-2017 at 10:50 PM.

  41. #40

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    Another Aha! moment was the realization that when soloing, rhythmic ideas and phrasing are more important than what notes are played. (Perhaps that claim will be controversial in this crowd?)
    Last edited by KirkP; 05-26-2017 at 01:29 AM.

  42. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP View Post
    (Perhaps that claim will be controversial in this crowd?)
    "this crowd".... Oy.

    Yeah that's crazy. Everyone knows that phrasing doesn't matter. All anyone talks about here in "this crowd".

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    "this crowd".... Oy.
    Yeah that's crazy. Everyone knows that phrasing doesn't matter. All anyone talks about here in "this crowd".
    I didn't intend that parenthetical comment to be taken too seriously, but seems to me there's much more discussion on the forum about what notes to play than rhythms. Of course, one reason might be that it's much easier to communicate notes than rhythms in a post. To communicate complex rhythms adequately requires audio.
    Last edited by KirkP; 05-26-2017 at 10:43 AM.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP View Post
    Another Aha! moment was the realization that when soloing, rhythmic ideas and phrasing are more important than what notes are played. (Perhaps that claim will be controversial in this crowd?)
    This seems especially true when playing a bass.

  45. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP View Post
    Of course, one reason might be that it's much easier to communicate notes than rhythms in a post. To communicate rhythms adequately requires audio.
    Absolutely, unintended consequence of the format, as opposed to "wrong focus" IMO.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP View Post
    Another Aha! moment was the realization that when soloing, rhythmic ideas and phrasing are more important than what notes are played. (Perhaps that claim will be controversial in this crowd?)
    Well...I am currently Rhythmatizing my Solo Lines and I play or have always played accurate Rhythm Guitar ...not Jazz but many Jazz Voicings...

    So I can do a lot of Rhythmic Lines and if they don't fit the changes at Cadence Points it will sound bad as in not good .

    Now I can get away with murder IF I ' Frame' the Rhythmic Motif and it starts on a Chord Tone then wanders off into' lala land self justifying Rhythmic Motif Melodic Sequence '
    THEN ends up on a chord tone or two at Phrase End.

    So the ' Pattern' is' Framed' at Start and End by chord Tones.

    But I can Play cool Rhythms ( lines ) over Giant Steps and it will sound like crap...lol

    So having chops and good Time and Rhythm will only get you so far ..and my Music has stronger Harmonic Rhythms than most Jazz[ let's say Standards ]..so I *WISH what you are saying is 100% true..but any Statement like this assumes the Player has a rough idea and can outline the Changes by ear or by math or both -right ?

    * meaning If I come up with some cool Rhythmic Groove Chord Progression - I still have to ' learn' it to Solo over it and it will generally take ME longer than a Jazz Veteran to learn it...
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 05-26-2017 at 11:10 AM.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200 View Post
    I understand what you are saying. I think that it is beyond its capabilities to judge what is practical and what isn't. I just want very basic info anyway. Rootless would also help for sure.
    The "Chord Namer" site should add an option to specify the root.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP View Post
    Of course, one reason might be that it's much easier to communicate notes than rhythms in a post. To communicate complex rhythms adequately requires audio.
    Henkjan Honing has an interesting scheme for communicating rhythms visually. It takes a bit of getting used to but is pretty cool.
    http://cf.hum.uva.nl/mmm/mmm-2003/papers/mmm-TvM.pdf
    Share Your "Aha!" Moments-rhythm-triangles-jpg

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamScott View Post
    Henkjan Honing has an interesting scheme for communicating rhythms visually. It takes a bit of getting used to but is pretty cool.
    http://cf.hum.uva.nl/mmm/mmm-2003/papers/mmm-TvM.pdf
    Share Your "Aha!" Moments-rhythm-triangles-jpg
    Can I just close my eyes while I Play and think of the Pyramids ?

    I like Conceptual Tools but this one is over my head..

    I think a way to conceive Intervallic Density ( or openness= wider intervals )

    And Rhythmic Density ( or Space )
    openness = fewer notes - half time -sparseness

    So plot those two over time...maybe coloring lines over the sheet music with one color for intervals one color for Rhythms - you might get some visual cues...

    But Aural is the Real Thing and even rudimentary Notation with People like me who can barely read music gives visual cues....right ?
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 05-26-2017 at 11:26 AM.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robertkoa View Post
    So having chops and good Time and Rhythm will only get you so far ..and my Music has stronger Harmonic Rhythms than most Jazz[ let's say Standards ]..so I *WISH what you are saying is 100% true..but any Statement like this assumes the Player has a rough idea and can outline the Changes by ear or by math or both -right ?
    I'm glad I stirred up a little discussion. Share Your "Aha!" Moments
    My statement that rhythm is more important than note choices was obviously way too broad, but there's still some truth in it. I'd much rather hear someone tap an interesting rhythm with the strings muted than play the "right" notes with bad rhythm.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP View Post
    I'm glad I stirred up a little discussion. Share Your "Aha!" Moments
    My statement that rhythm is more important than note choices was obviously way too broad, but there's still some truth in it. I'd much rather hear someone tap an interesting rhythm with the strings muted than play the "right" notes with bad rhythm.
    In some latin/afro/Cuban based tunes the rhythm is crucial..way beyond the descending minor 6 cliché..it can be very subtle as in 'flamenco sketches" by miles to very complex works of some latin music masters..in keeping time with some is an art in itself
    play well ...
    wolf