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  1. #51

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    Now, here's the document that saved me from noodling up and down scales all day ;-)

    John Etheridge - interview with Guitar Techniques Magazine

    Notice that John's counter narrative does a few things that would Matt on my case on the forum... from a nerd POV it's also blatantly inaccurate in places: "Django Reinhardt never played a scale!" is demonstrably untrue.

    But it was exactly what I need to read, and it got me into the stuff that I needed to be working on.

    So as teaching - one of the best lessons I ever had. I must thank John one day. Actually you have to simplify to teach.

    CST, presented as a theory of improvisation, is the wrong type of simplification.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Would this help? I don't know. But I tend to think of CST in two ways.

    One is "descriptive" where one is asking "What in the world is going on with that melody or solo, given those chords?" A model that sees certain kinds of scales generally fitting over certain kinds of chords offers a kind of foil for describing things, and maybe even for thinking how far "outside" a certain phrase is and if possible, why it still works. I think this is pretty helpful. One needs a baseline even if it's just a modest template.

    The other would be "prescriptive" where one is actually being taught "over these chords you play these scales" and there the critique of "But why would you play those notes..?" is on target.

    I don't find the prescriptive approach very helpful, but I do find CST useful when I'm trying to figure out whats going on in a given phrase, and then maybe also how to "port" that phrase to other contexts.

    But I'm absolutely no "master" player, not even a journeyman, so this distinction might not hold up under more intense pressure.
    TBH I'm not sure what function CST serves as analysis.

    I mean, a lot of the time it's just naming stuff. Oh look a D7 with a #11! Why that's Lydian Dominant!

    Great. Who cares?

  4. #53

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    After spending 20+ years on CST, I went back to just using my ears and forgot about it.

    My playing became more lyrical and flowed with a more natural emphasis on the song being played.
    “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    I don't think you probably meant it that way but, since you put that sentence in following a quote from me and put "tell you what to play" in double quotes, it looks like that's what I was saying or implying.

    I wasn't and I didn't. I said "it's basically about what can be played over what".

    The Wiki page was the only dedicated page on CST I could find, strangely. There were some others but they were superficial.

    I agree it's not that well written but it's not 'drivel', that's ridiculous! Why did you say that?
    Well the title is off and each sentence is worse then its predecessor, lol.

    1. Firstly it says Chord Scale System. System? So I guess it's not Chord Scale Theory? Should we stop reading right there?

    2. Then it mentions that it's an improv system. It ain't.

    and on it goes...

    Wikipedia is a collective of non-scholars and scholars who throw stuff out there - for free. You get what you pay for.

  6. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Well the title is off and each sentence is worse then its predecessor, lol.

    1. Firstly it says Chord Scale System. System? So I guess it's not Chord Scale Theory? Should we stop reading right there?

    2. Then it mentions that it's an improv system. It ain't.

    and on it goes...

    Wikipedia is a collective of non-scholars and scholars who throw stuff out there - for free. You get what you pay for.
    Can you give us a definition?

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Well the title is off and each sentence is worse then its predecessor, lol.

    1. Firstly it says Chord Scale System. System? So I guess it's not Chord Scale Theory? Should we stop reading right there?
    If that's the extent of your imagination then, yes, I'd stop there. And get a life!

  8. #57

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    I don't really know what the fuss is about with CST. When people start learning jazz they want to know what notes to play over all those funny chords. It's as simple as that.

    So the easiest thing for a teacher or a book to do is basically do what CST does which is show them the relevant set of notes based on the key they're in.

    When they've got the basics down then they can branch out more with other ideas and options. Whether one calls it 'CST' or not is beside the point.

    But the human mind being what it is the problem is that it's always looking for a safe method and that's how it gets locked into rigid thinking. It doesn't just happen with music, one can see that happening in many spheres of life.

    CST, like anything else, can become a cage if one lets it. The point is to see where it's useful and where it's not. In other words, use it but transcend it.

    As they say, descriptive, not prescriptive.

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    A thought from Ed Byrne on CST
    - Chord Scale Theory - submitted by EdByrne
    ....which was from some essays he posted about his well received work - Linear Jazz Improvisation.
    FreeJazzInstitute -
    Ed Byrne's reduced melody process is really eye opening...it's my go to for "tough" tunes.

    I think it's the single most helpful improvisation framework method I've ever looked at.
    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

  10. #59

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    It's like baking a cake for the first time. The first time it's a bit nervous. You get the recipe, carefully measure out your ingredients, mix it carefully, make sure the oven's just right, and sit there chewing your nails hoping it'll come out just like the book says.

    The fourth or fifth time, you don't bother. You grab the stuff, stick it in the bowl, maybe add some extra cherries, put it in the oven, and go off and do something else because you know it's going to be lovely. Which it is.

    It's like that :-)

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuyBoden View Post
    After spending 20+ years on CST, I went back to just using my ears and forgot about it.

    My playing became more lyrical and flowed with a more natural emphasis on the song being played.
    Well, that's just it. Why (don't get upset) did you spend 20 years on it without investigating other ideas, options, and other ways of playing?

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    A thought from Ed Byrne on CST
    - Chord Scale Theory - submitted by EdByrne
    ....which was from some essays he posted about his well received work - Linear Jazz Improvisation.
    FreeJazzInstitute -
    First paragraph:

    "Chord Scale Theory is not the best starting point for jazz improvisation. Chord Scale Theory While all or most of the current jazz masters are well-versed in chord scale theory, they must also have a deep understanding of the composition from which their statements derive meaning. Scales and modes are now given prominence in jazz pedagogy—to the point of being the primary focus. While chord scale theory can be useful, it is not the best starting point for the student. Many students are frustrated after years of that discipline, finding in the end that their playing just sounds like a bunch of scales. The very talented can overcome this and develop meaningful melodic styles, but all too many cannot. Chord scale theory is an easy refuge for the lazy and uninformed teacher."

    Can't argue with that. Nothing to see here, move on.

  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    TBH I'm not sure what function CST serves as analysis.

    I mean, a lot of the time it's just naming stuff. Oh look a D7 with a #11! Why that's Lydian Dominant!

    Great. Who cares?
    I think that's simplistic, Christian. A beginner looking at that #11 finds it scary and doesn't know what to do with it.

    But if you explain that the A melodic minor includes the G#/Ab then the fear disappears and they can play it, which is what they want to do. It helps them, they have a starting point. Then you can suggest the Eb melodic minor as another option... etc.

    We've all got to start somewhere.

  14. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCat View Post
    First paragraph:

    "Chord Scale Theory is not the best starting point for jazz improvisation. Chord Scale Theory While all or most of the current jazz masters are well-versed in chord scale theory, they must also have a deep understanding of the composition from which their statements derive meaning. Scales and modes are now given prominence in jazz pedagogy—to the point of being the primary focus. While chord scale theory can be useful, it is not the best starting point for the student. Many students are frustrated after years of that discipline, finding in the end that their playing just sounds like a bunch of scales. The very talented can overcome this and develop meaningful melodic styles, but all too many cannot. Chord scale theory is an easy refuge for the lazy and uninformed teacher."

    You see the contradiction, don't you?

    'While all or most of the current jazz masters are well-versed in chord scale theory'

    Then:

    'While chord scale theory can be useful, it is not the best starting point for the student'

    Are they sure? The so-called jazz masters knew their stuff first then went ahead. But if you haven't understood the basic ideas then you risk building your house on sand.

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    TBH I'm not sure what function CST serves as analysis.

    I mean, a lot of the time it's just naming stuff. Oh look a D7 with a #11! Why that's Lydian Dominant!

    Great. Who cares?
    But really now... doesn't it give a really wonderful feeling when you can bark out a very arcane name for something when somebody says "Wow, that's really amazing playing, what creativity, what imagination, what inspiration!" Then you can say, "Yeah, well, it's just the 3.5 mode of the Regurgitationary scale ascending and the Coprophagian scale descending. Theory 101."

    Power. You think it's about talent and money, but no, it's about power.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    You see the contradiction, don't you?

    'While all or most of the current jazz masters are well-versed in chord scale theory'

    Then:

    'While chord scale theory can be useful, it is not the best starting point for the student'

    Are they sure? The so-called jazz masters knew their stuff first then went ahead. But if you haven't understood the basic ideas then you risk building your house on sand.
    CST isn’t really relevant to a basic understanding

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    You see the contradiction, don't you?

    'While all or most of the current jazz masters are well-versed in chord scale theory'

    Then:

    'While chord scale theory can be useful, it is not the best starting point for the student'

    Are they sure? The so-called jazz masters knew their stuff first then went ahead. But if you haven't understood the basic ideas then you risk building your house on sand.
    I'm aware of the ambiguity around the subject and that's probably why we're so fond talking about it.
    We have all practiced scales on some level at some point in time and many of us still do on and off. I do it myself occasionally for multiple reasons. I'm aware that this practice may or may not be seen as CST, it much depends on the purpose of the exercise, my general awareness of the subject and my approach. I also understand that CST, like music theory in general can be used in a wider context to analyze, arrange and compose etc.

    I'm also aware that practicing scales is an important dimension of ear-training and muscle memory, and CST could be a useful tool. The hours I've practiced, naturally adds to my abilities, to listen, to interpret, to write and to improvise etc. so when I brag about my ears maybe I forget the time spent with scales and theory...

    When I've felt the need for deeper understanding, I've used the book "Jazz Theory" by Mark Levine. It's a solid reference. Parts of it could probably be referred to as CST, but I see it as a whole more like Harmony with a Jazz bias.

    Those of you who stress that "the purpose of CST is not to train improvisation" are misunderstood, because this is how CST is, and has been used for decades by the majority.

    -What if the students had to shift focus towards general Harmony? Maybe you see CST as subdivision of Harmony or possibly even the same thing?

    The important conclusions here are that players want to break free from the bonds of scales and get into melody and rhythm. The sooner the better, (obviously not saying one shouldn't practice scales).

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    I think that's simplistic, Christian. A beginner looking at that #11 finds it scary and doesn't know what to do with it.

    But if you explain that the A melodic minor includes the G#/Ab then the fear disappears and they can play it, which is what they want to do. It helps them, they have a starting point. Then you can suggest the Eb melodic minor as another option... etc.

    We've all got to start somewhere.

    Nonsense ... show him a #11 and he will listen to it and apply is where he thinks it sounds cool. It's not like the 'blue' notes in the blues scale seem to confuse beginners, is it?

    Show him the Eb melodic minor and he will play that scale up and if lucky down over and over again like a robot

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    But really now... doesn't it give a really wonderful feeling when you can bark out a very arcane name for something when somebody says "Wow, that's really amazing playing, what creativity, what imagination, what inspiration!" Then you can say, "Yeah, well, it's just the 3.5 mode of the Regurgitationary scale ascending and the Coprophagian scale descending. Theory 101."

    Power. You think it's about talent and money, but no, it's about power.
    Said Lawson with a sh*t-eating grin ...

    John

  20. #69

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    OK so setting aside pedagogy for a sec, my questioning of CST analysis is this..

    #11 on a D7 is an example.

    We can teach it as a cool sound in isolation - rule of thumb "#11 sounds great on dominant, especially in these cases."

    We can build an extended tertial structure on D7 up to #11 - D F# A C E G#.

    We can hear these sounds on records...

    Also I don't think it's without value to know you can play Am (or Ebm) over this scale. That's useful information. A minor lines sound great on D7. People were doing this for 40 years before the publication of Jerry Coker's book. That's not anything the CST guys invented.

    So - what does relating that to the term 'lydian dominant scale' gain us? What extra understanding? And why ever think of these notes arranged in a stepwise scale?

    I mean specifically, not in general terms.... Maybe someone can tell me exactly.

    What I've come up with is, you can jumble the notes up and sound a bit modern.

  21. #70

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    Because of this thread I started reading, for the first time, the Berklee Jazz Harmony book.

    I should have done so sooner. It defines a lot of terms that I frequently read in jazz forums.

    At the beginning, the book states its goals, which are quite abstract. It does not say "this book will teach you which scale to play over which chord". It alludes to value in several areas, one of which is improvisation.

    Then, as you read it, well, as I read it, it seemed like it was directed substantially at associating a scale with every type of chord/harmonic situation. Without quite saying it, it seemed to suggest that the improvisor should use the suggested scale in the suggested situation, for improvisation.

    So, if someone tells me I've completely missed the point, I'll listen, but I'll be very surprised if I'm the only one.

    As far as teaching the example that has been discussed -- adding a #11 to a 7th chord, my inclination would be to teach it this way.

    I'd find a place to play it in a chord melody so that the student can hear, say, D7#11 and how it compares to D7.

    I'll assume, here, that the student already knows the notes in a D7 and can find them on the neck.

    Then, I'd point out that getting that sound means putting a G# in the improvised line. You've got D F# G# C for chord tones. You still have the usual extensions of 9 and 13, so add E and B. Since it's a 7th chord, you'll avoid the nat7. Since you have an F# and a G#, you'll avoid G. If you use a nat9, you'll avoid b9 and #9. That's every note except A and Bb. You can use A, or not. Bb is for another lesson.

    So, now, what have we got? D E F# G# (A) B C. I'd call it a D13#11 scale or maybe a D7#11 scale and mention casually that it has a Greek name too.

    The point to this is to match the sound to the chord melody I mentioned at the beginning and match the notes up to the chord name.

    Then, pick some tunes and figure out where it can be used. Probably best by starting with comping or chord melody and seeing where a D7#11 makes sense. Then solo on it.

    In the bit of High School guitar teaching I did last year, the more advanced students were very curious about "modes". They're heard the word and understood that they were important. But, I wouldn't have wanted to begin with a theoretical exposition about how modes or non-major scales are constructed. I think it would be better to start, as above, with the sound of chords in songs and drill down to the notes that will sound good in specific situations and, at the end, mention the Greek name.

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post

    Power. You think it's about talent and money, but no, it's about power.
    Lawson, put down the Foucault.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  23. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    CST isn’t really relevant to a basic understanding
    What do you call a basic understanding? How to play a C chord? The moment you can play over a 251 that's CST, call it by any name.

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCat View Post
    I'm aware of the ambiguity around the subject and that's probably why we're so fond talking about it.
    From my point of view there's not a great deal to talk about. It's what-to-play-over-what, that's all. Which doesn't mean one has to become a slave to it.

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov View Post
    Nonsense ... show him a #11 and he will listen to it and apply is where he thinks it sounds cool. It's not like the 'blue' notes in the blues scale seem to confuse beginners, is it?

    Show him the Eb melodic minor and he will play that scale up and if lucky down over and over again like a robot
    Your name's not Christian.

  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    OK so setting aside pedagogy for a sec, my questioning of CST analysis is this..

    #11 on a D7 is an example.

    We can teach it as a cool sound in isolation - rule of thumb "#11 sounds great on dominant, especially in these cases."

    We can build an extended tertial structure on D7 up to #11 - D F# A C E G#.

    We can hear these sounds on records...

    Also I don't think it's without value to know you can play Am (or Ebm) over this scale. That's useful information. A minor lines sound great on D7. People were doing this for 40 years before the publication of Jerry Coker's book. That's not anything the CST guys invented.

    So - what does relating that to the term 'lydian dominant scale' gain us? What extra understanding? And why ever think of these notes arranged in a stepwise scale?

    I mean specifically, not in general terms.... Maybe someone can tell me exactly.

    What I've come up with is, you can jumble the notes up and sound a bit modern.
    I said a beginner. You know, someone who wouldn't understand your post :-)

  27. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    What do you call a basic understanding? How to play a C chord? The moment you can play over a 251 that's CST, call it by any name.
    No it's not.

    (Or perhaps it is in a sense, in the sense that Steve Davis was a physicist, if I'm being charitable about the analytical value of the theory.)

    Doesn't matter... It's not relevant to the process of teaching someone to play changes, for instance.

  28. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Lawson, put down the Foucault.
    Nothing good ever comes of my being on the forum while actually busy at work on research and writing. Lord knows what I'm putting into this book I'm working on. I may bust out the word "phrygian" somewhere in connection with some archaeological find...
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  29. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Ed Byrne's reduced melody process is really eye opening...it's my go to for "tough" tunes.

    I think it's the single most helpful improvisation framework method I've ever looked at.
    Can you say a bit more about it?
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  30. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    If that's the extent of your imagination then, yes, I'd stop there. And get a life!
    No need to take it personally. Wikipedia is crap for anything of real substance. Did you see the references in the footnotes on that page? That should indicate a thing or two, given the topic.

  31. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Can you give us a definition?
    You mean again? I did so months ago. It's a waste of my time though because it just goes in one ear and out the other. And the reason that it goes in one ear and out the other is that you (and many others to be honest) have already decided for yourself what it means, as if you coined the term. So you toss it aside.

    Just curious, did you ever read the book "The 7 habits of highly effective people"? A trendy business book in the 90s. Besides all the hype there was one good one in there - Habit #5. "Seek first to understand, then to be understood".

    So because you linked this to jazz education I'll offer a few parting questions/comments about the thread.

    1. Do you have any historical references of the term "CST" used by either a jazz master or prominent jazz educator, prior to Nettles and Graf's text in 1997 - and - are they from a source NOT associated with, educated by, or informed by the Berklee College of Music? If so, please provide them.

    2. Do you have any references that show any of the major American jazz educators from UNT, Berklee, or for that matter Jerry Coker, David Baker, et al who stated that "practicing and playing scales is your key to jazz improvisation capability"? And did those same authors write texts and training materials devoid of arpeggios, chromatics, approach notes, etc? If so please provide them.

    3. This urban myth that any major university jazz educator has taught "only scales for jazz improv" - and called it CST, is just that, a myth, a canard. Even modal music maestro John McLaughlin includes arpeggios and endless melodic patterns or cells (he calls them variations, which is a good name too) in his "This is The Way I Do It" jazz guitar improvisation course.

  32. #81

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    My impression is that an approach based on a specific set of scale choices against a particular chord in a particular situation, gets talked about a lot in on-line forums. The choices and situations discussed range from the simple to the arcane, allowing a lot of material to be subsumed therein.

    Here's a story about one of the best solos I ever played.

    I'm reading an arrangement of Desafinado and I get the first solo. I play my usual stuff on the written changes, but I sound amazingly hip. Like a much different, and more advanced, player.

    Turns out, my chart has different harmony from the others due to a mistake.

    So, I'm playing on a nice reharm of the tune without realizing it. My usual vanilla stuff but on a very different set of chords.

    Will CST predict/analyze what happened? I'm guessing that many will say, sure.

    But, another approach would be to simply write (mentally?) a different set of changes and then play chord tones and some extensions on the hipper chords. I guess figuring the best extensions might be considered CST.

    Is CST helpful in writing the hipper changes? Not to the extent that I know anything about CST. Others may differ. I'm quite confident that, afterward, CST would permit an "explanation" of why it worked.

    I have no complaint with CST. I do think that it's seductive. It's easy to write out a long list of combinatorics that could take years to master. I think it's best to focus on one sound at a time so, CST, but in a slow drip.

  33. #82
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    OK so setting aside pedagogy for a sec, my questioning of CST analysis is this..

    #11 on a D7 is an example.

    We can teach it as a cool sound in isolation - rule of thumb "#11 sounds great on dominant, especially in these cases."

    We can build an extended tertial structure on D7 up to #11 - D F# A C E G#.

    We can hear these sounds on records...

    Also I don't think it's without value to know you can play Am (or Ebm) over this scale. That's useful information. A minor lines sound great on D7. People were doing this for 40 years before the publication of Jerry Coker's book. That's not anything the CST guys invented.
    OK?
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    So - what does relating that to the term 'lydian dominant scale' gain us? What extra understanding?
    maybe nothing. It's the same "understanding" of major: mostly worthless unless you know it as a sound and a physical/kinesthetic entity. Worthless unless you know some language. Major is just as "worthless" in that sense. Any abstraction/label/symbol has to have a context. But the thing is, thinking "major" isn't a restriction to playing major language. It isn't a cumbersome mental hindrance to those who can play things in major.

    It would seem silly if someone came on board and kept on about how stifling it must be to think "in major". Like english grammar somehow slows down speech or writing. It's simply not the case.

    There's also this thing of constant "you can just" statements. You can just play chord X. You don't have to think of the mode. Ok. Fine. You don't "have to" think major to play chords in major either, but is it really a hindrance, once you know it?
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    And why ever think of these notes arranged in a stepwise scale?
    I don't know. Maybe they would be better arranged in 13ths or something? Why do beginners learn major in stepwise motion? Is there a realistic expectation that it's because they will only ever after play stepwise scales in major?
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post

    I mean specifically, not in general terms.... Maybe someone can tell me exactly.

    What I've come up with is, you can jumble the notes up and sound a bit modern.
    You can transpose any language to another chord scale if you think about it this way. This is the way Gary Burton talks about it. It's the way Reg talks about it. It's the way Ruslan Sirota talks about it here ...
    It's actually a handy way of looking at certain things.

    Personally, I think it's confusing to talk about "CST" as being the same thing as the "Current misunderstandings of CST", "The unintended consequences of Aebersold's scale list", "Levine's impact on scale based improvisation" etc etc. We're lumping in great players and teachers who don't just teach scales-up-and-down or formulaic whatevers in with all of these broader philosophical problems/issues. Levine's book is legitimately contentious , but Aebersold, Gary Burton, Barry Harris. They're not simply talking scales-up-and-down exclusively.

    I understand the above issues are real, but calling them all "CST" is confusing to the conversation and provokes needless argument.

  34. #83

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    When discussions start doing this kind of thing there's usually a good reason for it and it's usually the same one. Nobody knows what they're talking about. Usually because they're not talking about the same thing.

    It's like arguing about God. No one's sure what it is exactly so the whole thing is ideas, opinions, theories, and a lot of clamour about nothing. And the problem with me writing this is that it'll be taken as just another opinion. But it's not.

    Can anyone find me a definite definition of 'Chord Scale Theory'? I've looked at the Oxford Dictionary of Music and there's nothing. That phrase doesn't exist.

    So what exactly is CST? Who invented it? What does it actually say? Why is there any argumentation about it at all? Why aren't there any real references to it online (except that Wiki page)?

    We should ALL answer this question properly before continuing. Because I can't.




  35. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    You mean again? I did so months ago. It's a waste of my time though because it just goes in one ear and out the other. And the reason that it goes in one ear and out the other is that you (and many others to be honest) have already decided for yourself what it means, as if you coined the term. So you toss it aside.
    Now we're talking :-)

  36. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    When discussions start doing this kind of thing there's usually a good reason for it and it's usually the same one. Nobody knows what they're talking about. Usually because they're not talking about the same thing.

    It's like arguing about God. No one's sure what it is exactly so the whole thing is ideas, opinions, theories, and a lot of clamour about nothing. And the problem with me writing this is that it'll be taken as just another opinion. But it's not.

    Can anyone find me a definite definition of 'Chord Scale Theory'? I've looked at the Oxford Dictionary of Music and there's nothing. That phrase doesn't exist.

    So what exactly is CST? Who invented it? What does it actually say? Why is there any argumentation about it at all? Why aren't there any real references to it online (except that Wiki page)?

    We should ALL answer this question properly before continuing. Because I can't.




    Let's start with this:

    https://www.amazon.com/Chord-Scale-T.../dp/389221056X

  37. #86

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    One big thing I've found out when it comes to learning jazz, is to pretty much ignore anything and everything guitarists have to say.

    As far as CST, I never got the idea that it was intended to be used on music before post-bop. And then only as reference material, not a method. For modal, or non-functional harmony, some folks might mistake it as a method because it becomes more usable information.

  38. #87

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Okay, but I ain't gonna buy no $20 book to answer these questions.

    What I'm going to do is ask Berklee. Someone there will know. Hopefully.

  39. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    One big thing I've found out when it comes to learning jazz, is to pretty much ignore anything and everything guitarists have to say.

    As far as CST, I never got the idea that it was intended to be used on music before post-bop. And then only as reference material, not a method. For modal, or non-functional harmony, some folks might mistake it as a method because it becomes more usable information.
    Sorry, but define 'CST'. What exactly do you mean by that? Any links or backup for it?

    I don't mean to pressurise anyone but we all keep saying 'CST' but no one seems to know exactly what it is, who started it, or anything else. The Oxford and Cambridge Dictionaries of Music have never heard of it.

  40. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    One big thing I've found out when it comes to learning jazz, is to pretty much ignore anything and everything guitarists have to say.
    that's understandable if your only contact with the jazz world is through this forum. but trust me, in the real world there are plenty of guitarists that can play and make sense talking about it.

  41. #90

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    Just in terms of how the musicians I encounter talk about this stuff ...

    For the most part, nobody talks about theory. But, now and then, somebody might stumble over a chord change and ask for help. Typically, several people will respond, and just about every time it will be with a scale name. So, those responders seem familiar with the underlying idea of CST.

    But, some of the best soloists don't necessarily respond. One of them wrote a book -- and his book is of "jazz" lines with the tensions on the chords in a different color ink. A whole book of them -- and it's fun to play from it. When he solos I don't hear scales or scale-derived patterns as much as I do when some of the other guys solo. There are, of course, exceptions.

  42. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    You mean again? I did so months ago. It's a waste of my time though because it just goes in one ear and out the other. And the reason that it goes in one ear and out the other is that you (and many others to be honest) have already decided for yourself what it means, as if you coined the term. So you toss it aside.

    Just curious, did you ever read the book "The 7 habits of highly effective people"? A trendy business book in the 90s. Besides all the hype there was one good one in there - Habit #5. "Seek first to understand, then to be understood".

    So because you linked this to jazz education I'll offer a few parting questions/comments about the thread.

    1. Do you have any historical references of the term "CST" used by either a jazz master or prominent jazz educator, prior to Nettles and Graf's text in 1997 - and - are they from a source NOT associated with, educated by, or informed by the Berklee College of Music? If so, please provide them.

    2. Do you have any references that show any of the major American jazz educators from UNT, Berklee, or for that matter Jerry Coker, David Baker, et al who stated that "practicing and playing scales is your key to jazz improvisation capability"? And did those same authors write texts and training materials devoid of arpeggios, chromatics, approach notes, etc? If so please provide them.

    3. This urban myth that any major university jazz educator has taught "only scales for jazz improv" - and called it CST, is just that, a myth, a canard. Even modal music maestro John McLaughlin includes arpeggios and endless melodic patterns or cells (he calls them variations, which is a good name too) in his "This is The Way I Do It" jazz guitar improvisation course.
    You lost me, not sure if see what relevance any of that has to what I’ve been talking about in terms of critique.

    I’m talking about the mass market, although I am interested I some of the questions you posted from the point of view of history. It would mean greater access to jazz periodicals etc than I currently have and not sure how relevant it is to my studies atm. Might become so though...

    Let me rephrase the question - is Mark Levine’s Jazz Theory Book in your educated opinion a good reflection of CST practice applied to jazz?

    Because that’s sort of thing I’m dealing with.

    I gig with Jazz college graduates but I’m not teaching them :-) as far as undergrads at good jazz colleges go, they can already play.

  43. #92

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    It's what-to-play-over-what, that's all.
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post

    So what exactly is CST? Who invented it? What does it actually say? Why is there any argumentation about it at all? Why aren't there any real references to it online (except that Wiki page)?

    We should ALL answer this question properly before continuing. Because I can't.
    How about this:

    "CST is a school of thought where harmony is converted to scales. The philosophy and general objective is mostly to figure out and play lines over a sequence of harmonies."

    In this thread we talk about the pros and cons of this mindset, it's practical application as well as implications for the learning process.

    i, There are strong indicators for improvisation as the main driving force (but there are other applications as well).

    ii, The fact that chords have associated scales is fundamental music theory not invented in the CST framework. It has been suggested that the contribution of CST in music theory could be seen as a quick guide to find out "what can be played over what".

    iii, Criticism is mainly directed towards that mindset; to play something over something else, especially when the effort is focused on finding the right scales rather than the execution of the lines i.e phrasing, rhythm, timing and general melodic feel. It's understood that this may not be the fault of the theory, but rather it's common application.

    ***
    Like I said in my first post here; If I was a trumpet player I would swear by CST. I would collect patterns derived from scales, so that I could blow harmonies. The patterns would be my chords. And if I was teaching trumpet players, I would introduce them to CST at an early stage, as an introduction to Harmony. I would have them play the changes from a chord chart, just like a guitar player would strum chords. My teaching goal would be to make my trumpet students aware of the sounds of different harmonies and to develop a melodic sense (skills that also are useful when improvising). At a later stage, when I introduce them to improvisation, I would say; Try not to use the same old patterns. Seek variations on the melody.

    Assume a guitar player that can play scales (really fast), but can't play chords. -Is he a true lead guitarist or did he miss something in school?

  44. #93

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    The other thing I find a bit annoying about CST Analysis is this sort of thing (re Moment's Notice, Coltrane)

    "Something that everyone misses in Analysing this tune is in the going to the Dbmaj7 chord. Even in the melody it drops on the #11 in a very heavy harmonic pulse. And when you improvise in a Db Lydian you will notice(even though it’s in a moments notice har har) that it works better with all the chords. Which actually suggests that the Ebm7 Ab7 to Dbmaj7 is actually a II V for a fourth. Which means the one is Ab. So dear Coltrane made a cool transition to Ab without even using it. I think it’s pretty clever of him.?"

    From a post on a video I did.

    Now I don't mean to be horrible - it's a cool post and certainly better than "sort out your audio" or "you suck lol", and certainly not wrong, but analysing everything with respect to the roots of chords misses something about the very nature of the tune. This was my reply:

    "Well TBH, my hunch is Coltrane thought of the melody which is entirely diatonic to the notes of Eb major until it hits that hip modulation to Gb, before he put the chords to it. That's why it sounds so melodic and nice, and then you try to play it and go 'oh.' So it so happens that there's a G on that Dbmaj7, which is a diatonic passing tone in the key of Eb major. Modern jazz theory is obsessed with tracking extensions on every single chord, of course, so we see that note and write Dbmaj7(#11) like good little jazz dweebs.

    Another good example from the 1920's might be the note F# on the chord C7 in Limehouse Blues (Coltrane plays a mega version of that BTW, in a different key). OMG It's Lydian Dominant! Well maybe not....

    We aren't necessarily that interested in preserving the extensions suggested by the melody in bop improvisation. We tend to improvise over the basic chord qualities.For instance, when Charlie Parker plays on a Bb7#11 chord in Cherokee - because the melody note is an E and the chord is Bb - he isn't terribly interested in the #11. He'd be as likely to play Eb (11).The next step would be to check out the solos on the tune (which I haven't actually done) and see if Trane and the other players use the lydian tonality on that chord.But it's certainly an option.

    I tend not to use #11's on functional major chords in general, and MN is a highly functional tune."

    ------

    You want my definition of CST?

    No?

    Well you are getting it anyway

    The fetishisation of chord symbols.
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-06-2019 at 09:47 AM.

  45. #94

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    The fetishisation of chord symbols.
    I kinda like this definition but would this not also be true of a chord tone + chromatics thinker.
    And for those incorporating approach chords or superimposing alternate changes, working overtime.
    Many of us take a chart too literal.

    You raise one other far too underutilized idea, that is checking out the melody on it's own.

  46. #95

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    What I'm asking is not about peoples' guesses but actually where it all came from and why it generates such arguments - sorry, intense discussion.

    I've sent out some emails and got a couple of replies as well as the replies here.

    I don't think anybody 'invented it' in that sense. I suspect some, or a few, teachers jotted down the most usual scales to use over certain chords as a teaching tool. Maybe they made it into a chart and stuck it on the wall. .

    Then, because it was well organised and seemed pretty good, and because it stopped learners being completely lost, it became the 'Bible' of improvisation.

    This wasn't the fault of the chart, this was students wanting a fail-safe method to follow (especially in a school) so they looked good and kept them out of trouble. And gradually, like any other comfortable, safe idea, it became a sin to deviate.

    But, like any system, it had its limitations. When people grew more experienced they began to think for themselves and deviate. So they became the heretics, the apostates.

    I mean, this is what all this is about, isn't it? The 'One True Way' versus 'The Revolutionary Improvisation Brigade'. Apart from the odd sane voice of reason, that is.

    Moral: Come to no conclusions, take no immovable stances, strike no fundamentalist attitudes, do what you want. You're not at school now.

  47. #96

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    Quote Originally Posted by bako View Post
    I kinda like this definition but would this not also be true of a chord tone + chromatics thinker.
    And for those incorporating approach chords or superimposing alternate changes, working overtime.
    Many of us take a chart too literal.

    You raise one other far too underutilized idea, that is checking out the melody on it's own.
    Yes it’s not perfect..... :-)

    You know I always loved Moments Notice as a tune. That’s before I learned how hard it is to play! I think the same can be said of many of Wayne’s compositions. You can hang all sorts of chords off a strong melody, and often those melodies are themselves very simple or folkish.

    Of course playing on Wayne’s changes is where modal thinking comes into its own.... but I need to explore this era of music more because this is the era that was formative for cst.

  48. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    formative for cst.
    Thanks for the like. Quite right, good taste :-)

    I don't think there is CST. I don't think there ever was CST. Someone invented it.

    Like Father Christmas

  49. #98

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCat View Post
    How about this:

    "CST is a school of thought where harmony is converted to scales. The philosophy and general objective is mostly to figure out and play lines over a sequence of harmonies."

    In this thread we talk about the pros and cons of this mindset, it's practical application as well as implications for the learning process.

    i, There are strong indicators for improvisation as the main driving force (but there are other applications as well).

    ii, The fact that chords have associated scales is fundamental music theory not invented in the CST framework. It has been suggested that the contribution of CST in music theory could be seen as a quick guide to find out "what can be played over what".

    iii, Criticism is mainly directed towards that mindset; to play something over something else, especially when the effort is focused on finding the right scales rather than the execution of the lines i.e phrasing, rhythm, timing and general melodic feel. It's understood that this may not be the fault of the theory, but rather it's common application.

    ***
    Like I said in my first post here; If I was a trumpet player I would swear by CST. I would collect patterns derived from scales, so that I could blow harmonies. The patterns would be my chords. And if I was teaching trumpet players, I would introduce them to CST at an early stage, as an introduction to Harmony. I would have them play the changes from a chord chart, just like a guitar player would strum chords. My teaching goal would be to make my trumpet students aware of the sounds of different harmonies and to develop a melodic sense (skills that also are useful when improvising). At a later stage, when I introduce them to improvisation, I would say; Try not to use the same old patterns. Seek variations on the melody.

    Assume a guitar player that can play scales (really fast), but can't play chords. -Is he a true lead guitarist or did he miss something in school?

    Well, no.

    CST is a collegiate study of Theory/Harmony. It's authors taught in the Harmony department.

    Jazz Improvisation is a different set of classes, with different materials. But , like all Improvisation, Arranging, and Composition classes - it relies on foundations described in Theory and Harmony.

    CST does not "tell you what to play" any more than any other Harmony and Theory book tells you what to improvise, arrange/orchestrate, or write/compose. All of that is up to the individual, who is strongly advised to study those other topics in depth.

    There is theory and there is application. CST is theory, not application.

  50. #99
    Regarding what rag is talking about/ asking about, I think that's one of the major problems with CST which is very analogous to CAGED. They are both somewhat DUBIOUS in origin and have been picked up by a wide variety of people who use them in very broad and different ways. CAGED is not one codified thing. It certainly isn't a "method".

    In the same way, CST is very different from the teaching of Barry Harris , William Leavitt or any other teacher on any subject. In all of those cases, there is an originator who is kind of the constant reference and one definitive source. It's very problematic that Lavine has become more or less the standard for CST, because he's a few degrees removed from the apparent originators of the idea (who were more about arranging etc.?)... and because his presentation is so obviously contentious among players and teachers.

    Edit: posted without reading the last several posts...

  51. #100

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    Anyway hopefully we can agree (mostly) on the statement that CST is introduced in the wrong way and far too early for many students.

    It is (despite my misgivings) an essential area of study for any musician wishing to understand post-modal jazz, because that's how many of those musicians themselves were trained. One of my fellow musicians pointed out that despite all my misgivings about CST I certainly knew all the modes and how to use them.

    However - here's something else quite interesting from the paper:

    'Kernfeld’s (1981) analysis of the three horn players in Miles Davis’ celebrated 1958 sextet investigates not only each player’s individual formulaic vocabulary but also their collective approach to formulaic interplay. Through this approach, Kernfeld arrives at a clearer understanding of "Modal" improvising, a technique largely pioneered and disseminated by Davis’ sextet." He concludes that our present methods of teaching "Modal Jazz", where melodic improvisation is conceived as a series of overlapping modes or scales, is essentially flawed and that Davis’ practice of chord "vamping" better accounts for the spacious music of this style. In the light of these findings, educators may well have to rethink the "classic" categorisation of modes (similar to those used by Medieval composers) to which Davis’ sextet rarely literally adhered.'

    The source cited is Kernfeld, B. (1981). Adderley, Coltrane and Davis at the Twilight of Bebop: The Search for Melodic Coherence (Volumes I and II). Doctoral dissertation, Cornell University.

    I have to say from my limited work on Kind of Blue etc, this seems to be the case.