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  1. #101

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Well it's been a while since I reviewed his book but from what I recall I guess one could say that Levine's theory book may represent "Levine's brand of CST", or "Levine's brand of Harmony/Theory", which is probably preferable.
    The mystery continues.

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  3. #102

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    It's authors taught in the Harmony department.
    Like they teach Communism, Christianity, or the thoughts of Chairman Mao.

  4. #103
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    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.
    In still kind of surprised that you haven't picked up the Bert Ligon theory books. I think he may actually be your spirit animal or something. :-) in simplistic terms, he's largely the antidote for Levine's approach. Modes are WAY back in the second volume, and he doesn't even call them that ... actually quite balanced presentation. He doesn't talk in a superstitious way about moods either, the way that a lot of players do who are anti-...

    Anyway he has very detailed analysis of solos from kind of blue from all the players, especially so what. Davis's solo is presented as being primarily motivic development and not typical scale-based or chord-tone-based language. None of his analysis is based much in simple chord scale labels. It's a very good read.

  5. #104

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    Nah Christian. Think of it this way,


    1. Jazz music has applied harmony differently than the common practice period composers. That means in some cases/situations - but not all.

    2. Correspondingly, jazz music makes use of different related "scale sources" in harmonic progressions than the common practice period composers. These different scale sources are evident in the improvisation, arranging, and compositions produced by jazz practitioners.

    3. The instructors at The Berklee College of Music formulated and advanced their version of jazz and contemporary harmony, and while doing so illuminated the use of these different scale sources. That was helpful because a typical classically trained musician or scholar might understand the idiom's applications theoretically, but they would not have assumed/expected them. Some called the theory CST as a way to contrast/illuminate the difference in practice.



    AND THEN:

    a bunch of uninformed and intellectually lazy guitarists who wanted to get into more advanced jamming thought that they could learn some more scales and noodle away like they did with their pentatonics, major and minor "boxes". And when they hit a wall they blamed "CST", lol.

    OK, this last part is slightly made up. Other dipsh!t instrumentalists are guilty too.

  6. #105

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    In still kind of surprised that you haven't picked up the Bert Ligon theory books. I think he may actually be your spirit animal or something. :-) in simplistic terms, he's largely the antidote for Levine's approach. Modes are WAY back in the second volume, and he doesn't even call them that ... actually quite balanced presentation. He doesn't talk in a superstitious way about moods either, the way that a lot of players do who are anti-...

    Anyway he has very detailed analysis of solos from kind of blue from all the players, especially so what. Davis's solo is presented as being primarily motivic development and not typical scale-based or chord-tone-based language. None of his analysis is based much in simple chord scale labels. It's a very good read.
    From what little I know of Ligon, it does sound that way.... I just don't have much use for method books ATM as I think I've found something that works for me, and I am currently working on and refining with students, but obviously if all the stuff is in a book already it saves me having to write one.

    BTW this paper in the OP does a pretty good survey of the main approaches towards jazz analysis... It's worth v
    checking out.

  7. #106

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    This will never be resolved because there's nothing to resolve. It's just one idea against another and it'll go on for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever

  8. #107

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    I love threads like these :P.

    Okay, I'm playing devils advocate for a bit but what is the alternative for CST? When I look through most jazz books they all talk about CST as a way to select the proper scale for a chord. What is the alternative? A key centric approach? Or the Barry Harris approach? Bert Ligon's focus on triads /arps and neighbor tones etc is also interesting. What more?

    EDIT: forgot the most popular one: learning lines... so vocabulary...

  9. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    what is the alternative for CST?
    Intelligence?

  10. #109

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I love threads like these :P.

    Okay, I'm playing devils advocate for a bit but what is the alternative for CST? When I look through most jazz books they all talk about CST as a way to select the proper scale for a chord. What is the alternative? A key centric approach? Or the Barry Harris approach? Bert Ligon's focus on triads /arps and neighbor tones etc is also interesting. What more?

    EDIT: forgot the most popular one: learning lines... so vocabulary...
    You were doing well but then you crossed over.

    Just think of CST as jazz harmony and theory. The alternatives? Different people's takes on jazz harmony - not everyone sees it the same you know (same with classical BTW).

    But when you switched to Ligon you touched on application (improvisation study). That is theory too IF you are studying it in that context, but the primary reason people study the DNA of jazz melody at that level is to apply it to their instrument. In other words, its "Improv class" - whether that entails a formal classroom or playing off the end of your bed at Mom's house.

    It's a grey area between theory and practice, and that is where people get confused. You could call Improv class Improvisation Theory, and some people do. But when you study Improv as a standalone topic you have to go way, way way beyond scales (and arpeggios for that matter).

  11. #110
    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I love threads like these :P.

    Okay, I'm playing devils advocate for a bit but what is the alternative for CST? When I look through most jazz books they all talk about CST as a way to select the proper scale for a chord. What is the alternative? A key centric approach? Or the Barry Harris approach? Bert Ligon's focus on triads /arps and neighbor tones etc is also interesting. What more?

    EDIT: forgot the most popular one: learning lines... so vocabulary...
    Yeah. Just all of that. :-)

    I view much of this stuff as kind of a tessellation . So, there are things which are kind of necessary lower levels which you can begin to view in a way which may help you later on with bigger stuff.

    A #11 can be just that and nothing more. It can be an embellishment, and there are plenty of great players who just see it that way. you can also view it as Lydian dominant or something , whether that is a momentary or very brief sound/feeling or something that has an actual harmonic context ... or could have. I personally like the option of seeing both at the same time , but that's one area in which my Myers-Briggs tells me that I'm a weirdo.

    I Personally like the very physical/kinesthetic organization that some of these modes give to fingering patterns etc. It helps with diatonically transposing things up-and-down the fretboard and being able to see embellished notes /blue notes etc. in different places. Turns the fretboard into a big slide rule.

    I think the biggest problem with CS T discussion is the idea that it's mostly about an abstract analysis or theoretical construct. ...like it's something you think while playing in words/symbols etc.

    It's really not, and it's not talked about that way by players who don't seem to have a hang up with it. Sharp 11 feels like a chromatic lower neighbor to five. It feels like that and it sounds like that without thought, once you learn to play it. When you learn Lydian Dom to that same kind subconscious level, it's the same thing.

    Every time you play that sharp 4 embellishment, you begin to hear and feel and see its potential As would be-Lydian Dom as well, with all of the associated chords, patterns, licks etc. up and down the neck. It's not really a conscious verbal/symbolic thought process. It's not a "have to". It's an unconscious, unintentional association you make which isn't limiting. It's additive. People who talk about this thought process as being restrictive or limiting don't understand it or have never experienced this.

    The ironic part is that this kinesthetic and aural association with possibilities are heightened much more by actually increasing the possibilities. My awareness of this didn't really happen until I started shedding Mel minor. Melodic minor has so many connective points to the diatonic chords of functional major, (though not functional in that sense), that you can't help but start to see things in multiple ways. But it does require shedding them from the same chord shape/starting points with somewhat consistent layout. otherwise, I'd imagine that it takes too long and is too much in the cognitive/verbal/symbolic/thought-process headspace.

    I had always assumed that Reg was talking theory and head knowledge. I actually think that's about 5% of the understanding , when you approach the fretboard's way. It's mostly kinesthetic and aural. The labels in the theory part are descriptive not prescriptive. There are enhanced layers of understanding rather than limiting crotches by which you have to think in order to play.

  12. #111

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    You were doing well but then you crossed over.

    Just think of CST as jazz harmony and theory. The alternatives? Different people's takes on jazz harmony - not everyone sees it the same you know (same with classical BTW).

    But when you switched to Ligon you touched on application (improvisation study). That is theory too IF you are studying it in that context, but the primary reason people study the DNA of jazz melody at that level is to apply it to their instrument. In other words, its "Improv class" - whether that entails a formal classroom or playing off the end of your bed at Mom's house.

    It's a grey area between theory and practice, and that is where people get confused. You could call Improv class Improvisation Theory, and some people do. But when you study Improv as a standalone topic you have to go way, way way beyond scales (and arpeggios for that matter).
    Very good point! You say CST is a way to analyze stuff not a tool for improv, or to "construct" language correct? (English is not my first language so sometimes I have trouble completely understanding the discussions here, sorry).

    The thing is IMO that it is often promoted that way. As a way to playing changes. However, there is nothing about how to actually construct jazz language out of those scales. I think a lot of people, myself included, get caught up in learning all those scales but still can't play a nice line over a I vi ii V progression. The question is how to overcome this? Transcribe (stealing vocab basically) or what else?

  13. #112

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    To me, learning to play from a book is where most players go wrong.

    To me, you learn with your ears, music is about sounds and being able to hear and respond to these sounds.

    Books are great for improving your knowledge, they can make you an expert in written knowledge, but not being able to play music.
    “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

  14. #113
    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Very good point! You say CST is a way to analyze stuff not a tool for improv, or to "construct" language correct? (English is not my first language so sometimes I have trouble completely understanding the discussions here, sorry).

    The thing is IMO that it is often promoted that way. As a way to playing changes. However, there is nothing about how to actually construct jazz language out of those scales. I think a lot of people, myself included, get caught up in learning all those scales but still can't play a nice line over a I vi ii V progression. The question is how to overcome this? Transcribe (stealing vocab basically) or what else?
    If all people do is play a scale up and down, that's somewhat their own fault. I honestly don't think they're getting that from Jamie Aebersold. Maybe someone else. This is Aebersold: http://www.jazzbooks.com/mm5/download/FQBK-handbook.pdf

    check out pages 5–6, 9–10, it's how to play scales , but notice it's not just up-and-down. it's a very similar to the way Barry Harris presents playing the records in the beginning. Barry Harris begins with straight scales up-and-down . That's a starting point, the very first thing he lays out.

    if players choose to stop after doing a little bit of those scales Harris style, and then want to say that that's ALL that Harris is about and that it "doesn't work", that's fine, but it's simply not true. You can't take the entirety of what someone is about out of some isolated view which is incorrect and incomplete. If you're going to call it Barry Harris, you have to do all the things he's talking about doing in a more complete way.

    I would ask people to do something similar with Jamie Aebersold. Look at what he's actually laying out and not just the unintended consequence of a court list. His actual process is very very similar to Barry Harris. Harris is much more specifically bebop oriented and that's cool, but Aebersold is not simply scales up and down. It's an unfair characterization, and it's a very wide spread misrepresentation.

  15. #114

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    I never went to music college, thank god. Consequently I was never trained in CST. In fact I'd never heard of it. I just read a bit, listened a bit, and played a lot.

    Then along came threads like these, many many years later. I've no idea whether what I've learned is CST or not. And, thank god, I don't care. As far as I'm concerned it's just a theory like any other.

    To my mind, the word 'theory' automatically dismisses it as anything worthwhile. Life is not a theory, music isn't a theory, people aren't a theory, nature isn't a theory. And when things are interpreted through a theory they become not what they really are.

    So I play what works. If It doesn't I change it. I don't give a tuppenny toss whether it's theoretically correct according to the theorists or not. Thank god.

    And neither should you. And I mean that most sincerely.

  16. #115

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    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.
    very well, then if CST is Harmony we may as well refer to it as; Harmony.
    Since no one could have any reasonable objections to Harmony as a subject, criticism is wrong and there's nothing to discuss. Still, here we are. Probably because of the application. And for some reason the headline "CST" evokes mixed feelings...maybe because it's a hard subject in school, or maybe because it's been abused. On internet and elsewhere.

  17. #116

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Well it's been a while since I reviewed his book but from what I recall I guess one could say that Levine's theory book may represent "Levine's brand of CST", or "Levine's brand of Harmony/Theory", which is probably preferable.
    Guys, what's the fuzz about regarding Levine?

    I've found the book useful. No Bible or anything, just a well structured reference. Like I said, "Harmony with a Jazz bias".

  18. #117

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I love threads like these :P.

    Okay, I'm playing devils advocate for a bit but what is the alternative for CST? When I look through most jazz books they all talk about CST as a way to select the proper scale for a chord. What is the alternative? A key centric approach? Or the Barry Harris approach? Bert Ligon's focus on triads /arps and neighbor tones etc is also interesting. What more?

    EDIT: forgot the most popular one: learning lines... so vocabulary...
    There is also learning tunes. (That is, learning and playing tunes as the main way to learn to play jazz.)

    --Carol Kaye takes a dim view of scales (esp for beginners) and she's a world-class player as well as a teacher of many pro players. She's big on patterns and cycles, starting with triads and learning how to substitute. ("Abminor9 IS G7!")
    --Willie Thomas (trumpet) is not anti-scale but he starts with pentatonic pairs (the 5-6-1-2 of a chord, with the 5 & 6 below the 1 & 2 as leading tones) and builds out from there. He's big on vocabulary
    --Joe Pass puts scales in his books but his focus is on three chord types (major, minor, and dominant, with augmented and diminished chords falling under the umbrella of dominant) and getting the
    --Herb Ellis taught playing out of simple shapes. There's almost no theory in his books.
    --Pat Martino has an approach that (early on) was akin to Wes': "convert to minor". (Wes didn't call it that but a lot of Pat's early playing was heavily influenced by Wes.)
    --Dave Stryker---who like Martino spent time as a sideman to organ players and horn players who emphasized groove and had a strong blues feel--starts his improv method book with the "minor sub approach".
    --Mickey Baker, whose stuff is 60 years old but still used, was certainly not a "CST" guy. One of the things he stressed is how good jazz lines often go *against* the chord.
    --Henry Johnson, in a recently released TrueFire course, says jazz is "phrases, not scales." (Scales are the alphabet; we don't recite the alphabet to each other, we use words, and for him, phrases are the words of jazz.)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  19. #118

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    I never went to music college, thank god. Consequently I was never trained in CST. In fact I'd never heard of it. I just read a bit, listened a bit, and played a lot.

    Then along came threads like these, many many years later. I've no idea whether what I've learned is CST or not. And, thank god, I don't care. As far as I'm concerned it's just a theory like any other.

    To my mind, the word 'theory' automatically dismisses it as anything worthwhile. Life is not a theory, music isn't a theory, people aren't a theory, nature isn't a theory. And when things are interpreted through a theory they become not what they really are.

    So I play what works. If It doesn't I change it. I don't give a tuppenny toss whether it's theoretically correct according to the theorists or not. Thank god.

    And neither should you. And I mean that most sincerely.
    Haha. I think you do, and with more things than music. Medicine has theories too, and hopefully one's doctor knows them before cutting one open.

    But what CST is or was, CAN be solved, if not for everyone, at least you. Break down and spend 25 bucks on Nettles book and find out. Problem solved.

  20. #119

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Very good point! You say CST is a way to analyze stuff not a tool for improv, or to "construct" language correct? (English is not my first language so sometimes I have trouble completely understanding the discussions here, sorry).

    The thing is IMO that it is often promoted that way. As a way to playing changes. However, there is nothing about how to actually construct jazz language out of those scales. I think a lot of people, myself included, get caught up in learning all those scales but still can't play a nice line over a I vi ii V progression. The question is how to overcome this? Transcribe (stealing vocab basically) or what else?
    That's one very important part (Imitation) but there are so many "jazz pattern" books on the market you don't have to rely 100% on that method anymore.

    Try "Connecting Chords With Linear Harmony", for one example, and a very good example.

  21. #120

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuyBoden View Post
    To me, learning to play from a book is where most players go wrong.

    To me, you learn with your ears, music is about sounds and being able to hear and respond to these sounds.

    Books are great for improving your knowledge, they can make you an expert in written knowledge, but not being able to play music.

    Yep, a lot of truth in that but not absolute truth. This falls into the either/or argument that the jazz guitar forumites often engage in.

    Playing some fancy blues is one thing, but how did one learn to play the virtuoso repertoire of Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, etc. before recordings existed? Just went and listened to their friendly neighborhood virtuoso every day?

  22. #121

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Break down and spend 25 bucks on Nettles book and find out. Problem solved.
    Well, I probably won't. Which doesn't mean I wouldn't get anything from it. I'm bound to, there's something in everything.

    Trouble is, what if I spend the $25 and find there's nothing new in it? Or only one thing? Because, after all these years, that's a distinct possibility.

  23. #122

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Intelligence?
    Yeah, maybe it's best to rely on CST after all....

  24. #123

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    Nettles and Graf is a theory book.

    Levine, OTOH, includes hundreds of examples from recordings to illustrate his theoretical points. I'd call it a theory and practice book.

    These examples are hard to play on guitar, but if you can read and pick out notes on the piano, you can hear them.

    Probably somebody has posted recordings of all the examples someplace. If anybody knows of that, please post!

    Early in the book Levine writes that chords and scales are the same thing, but it's easier to think about scales.

    All the basic scale stuff is early in the book.

    Chapter 6 is "From Scales to Music". The rest of the book is about tips, tricks and techniques used in jazz, with copious examples.

    One last point. Levine's book is better written and better laid out than Nettles or the Berklee harmony book. Those other books could have used Levine's editor.

    I think that Levine does a terrific job in explaining what jazz musicians have learned, have practiced and regularly do.

    Nettles and Graf didn't try to do that. N&G is a book about theory of harmony with some related information about actual practice in the jazz world.

  25. #124

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Well, I probably won't. Which doesn't mean I wouldn't get anything from it. I'm bound to, there's something in everything.

    Trouble is, what if I spend the $25 and find there's nothing new in it? Or only one thing? Because, after all these years, that's a distinct possibility.
    Yeah I read it. It was OK.

  26. #125

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Nettles and Graf is a theory book.

    Levine, OTOH, includes hundreds of examples from recordings to illustrate his theoretical points. I'd call it a theory and practice book.

    These examples are hard to play on guitar, but if you can read and pick out notes on the piano, you can hear them.

    Probably somebody has posted recordings of all the examples someplace. If anybody knows of that, please post!

    Early in the book Levine writes that chords and scales are the same thing, but it's easier to think about scales.

    All the basic scale stuff is early in the book.

    Chapter 6 is "From Scales to Music". The rest of the book is about tips, tricks and techniques used in jazz, with copious examples.

    One last point. Levine's book is better written and better laid out than Nettles or the Berklee harmony book. Those other books could have used Levine's editor.

    I think that Levine does a terrific job in explaining what jazz musicians have learned, have practiced and regularly do.

    Nettles and Graf didn't try to do that. N&G is a book about theory of harmony with some related information about actual practice in the jazz world.
    Agreed...

    Levine is a great book, apart from the fact that I disagree with most of it, and don't recommend it. But you can't dispute it's a top quality product.

    And one that does in fact present itself as the bible. Not Levine's fault. But '*The* Jazz Theory Book.'

    Excuse me?

    Anyway, here's Ethan Iverson getting his claws into the type of CST teaching.....

    Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, and One Night in New York City | The New Yorker

    I particularly like this:

    Lead sheets generally offer mildly complex added-note harmonies that imply a sequence of chord scales. A novice can start cheaply rhapsodizing scales through pastel harmony instantly, summoning a basic imitation of modern jazz in the Evans mold. The great pianist and provocateur Paul Bley joked that every European jazz promoter, after first relaxing with a drink post-gig, would inevitably sit down at Bley’s instrument and play just like Evans.

    This is not to say that Evans himself wasn’t a devout master of harmony. He certainly was, with a strong claim to having done the most to integrate the polymodality and impressionism of Russian and French composers from fifty years earlier into jazz. To name just three obvious living examples, the work of Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Keith Jarrett stands squarely on Evans’s shoulders.

    The problem is the influence of scalar thought at a introductory level. Some of jazz education has been excellent. Any time an actual master like Barry Harris is willing to talk nuts and bolts, a wise student will listen. However, much of jazz education— especially when it exploded in the nineteen-seventies—simply lacked depth. Many teachers and method books were inadvertently offering a way to sound like a European promoter, not like an American master.

    -------

    Ouch!

    Still, Jazzstdnt says it's a strawman, so hey.

  27. #126

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Agreed...

    Levine is a great book, apart from the fact that I disagree with most of it, and don't recommend it. But you can't dispute it's a top quality product.
    .
    It seems to me that the hundreds of examples from recordings by significant artists prove some of his points.

    But, I'll keep an open mind. Is there a book with a contrasting approach that contains this type of evidence?

    In the article you quoted, the author seems to be complaining that amateur musicians can sound like Bill Evans. So? Does he think that giving them better books/lessons will make them sound like an American Master?

  28. #127

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    It seems to me that the hundreds of examples from recordings by significant artists prove some of his points.

    But, I'll keep an open mind. Is there a book with a contrasting approach that contains this type of evidence?
    Yeah, it's well evidenced, but I'm not sure how much that really means as I don't tend to agree with the way he analyses the examples. Analysis isn't value neutral anyway, there's always going to be a lot of subjectivity.

    But there is a lot of great information in the book too, and I just think Levine is too engaging a writer and good a musician for me to discount the book completely. So maybe chalk up my disagreements to what Ethan was (I think) really talking about - which is the misuse of this material in pedagogy and its widespread availability to the starting jazz musician.

    That actually seems to be something most of us agree on, with a few exceptions.

    In the article you quoted, the author seems to be complaining that amateur musicians can sound like Bill Evans. So? Does he think that giving them better books/lessons will make them sound like an American Master?
    Ha! That did occur to me.

    I suppose what makes this type of stuff so successful, it's as Hal Galper says - a shortcut. People get frustrated that they don't sound like jazz if you get them to play chord tones all the time (because they don't have the rhythmic understanding), so they can produce pretty washes of CST colour that sounds like jazz (if you forget that jazz is supposed to swing.)

    Bear in mind because of the two hand thing CST is easier to use on piano - chord with left hand, scalar lines with right. So it's well suited to that instrument to make music right away.

    That said, I do believe that an amateur musician with a bit of time to spare can run through some of the basic Barry Harris materials and come up with some convincing bebop language, if that's what they want to do. A lot of Barry's students are actually amateurs, not full time musicians or music students aiming to becoming professional. And quite a few of them can play their asses off in my experience.

    Even if you just take four basic elements - descending scale rules and ascending arpeggios, pivots, and diminished connections into target chords and combine with some real world bop rhythmic phrases, it's amazing how far you can go with just that.

  29. #128

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post

    Anyway, here's Ethan Iverson getting his claws into the type of CST teaching.....

    Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, and One Night in New York City | The New Yorker
    Thanks for the link, Christian. Read the whole thing and much enjoyed it.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  30. #129

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Even if you just take four basic elements - descending scale rules and ascending arpeggios, pivots, and diminished connections into target chords and combine with some real world bop rhythmic phrases, it's amazing how far you can go with just that.
    Lately, I've been focusing more on scat singing first and then putting the lines on the guitar.

    My thought is that the lines I sing are based on the harmony I can really hear well. In contrast, if I play without singing I can create more sophisticated harmony, but in the manner of a European promoter, not an American Master. More important, I tend to sing more interesting rhythms than my fingers find on their own.

    My quarrel with what I think CST might be is this. It makes it really easy to post a lengthy list of options for improvising over a single chord.

    Or worse, a list of things to try. I recall one post on another forum which suggested combining every possible triad pair against every possible bass note. The strategy is first to find the secret to eternal life, and then get to work.

    My experience is that I learn one sound at a time -- laboriously. Does anybody really benefit from a long list of chord/scale options?

    And then, if you consider what all great jazz players have in common, it isn't knowledge of theory. Some know the Berklee stuff inside out, and some know absolutely no theory. The majority know some theory, but it is absolutely not essential. Andres Varady is my favorite example.

    What great players do have in common is great time feel, melodic gifts and big ears.

    And, for a more specific criticism of CST. Some great players talk about targets within a tune. They hit their targets the way a long distance racer hits the checkpoints. In between they go anywhere they like, often rapid-fire licks that are harmonically pretty much random. The CST theorists always have a post-hoc explanation but they can't predict it.

    On the other hand, one player I know who talks about that, however, is fully conversant with the Berklee method, having graduated there Summa. So, his path to that point went through the theoretical considerations.

  31. #130

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Lately, I've been focusing more on scat singing first and then putting the lines on the guitar.

    My thought is that the lines I sing are based on the harmony I can really hear well. In contrast, if I play without singing I can create more sophisticated harmony, but in the manner of a European promoter, not an American Master. More important, I tend to sing more interesting rhythms than my fingers find on their own.
    I play in the manner of an American jazz club promoter.

    My quarrel with what I think CST might be is this. It makes it really easy to post a lengthy list of options for improvising over a single chord.

    Or worse, a list of things to try. I recall one post on another forum which suggested combining every possible triad pair against every possible bass note. The strategy is first to find the secret to eternal life, and then get to work.

    My experience is that I learn one sound at a time -- laboriously. Does anybody really benefit from a long list of chord/scale options?
    Hell no

    You know, the last thing a novice improvisor needs is 1,000,000 options. Actually no one needs that. That's why we get lessons and then transcribe, because by transcribing lines you like the sound of, you are letting your intuition decide what to check out.

    And then, if you consider what all great jazz players have in common, it isn't knowledge of theory. Some know the Berklee stuff inside out, and some know absolutely no theory. The majority know some theory, but it is absolutely not essential. Andres Varady is my favorite example.

    What great players do have in common is great time feel, melodic gifts and big ears.
    You get them big ears by listening to so much music that your ears get stretched HUGE with all the notes.

    And, for a more specific criticism of CST. Some great players talk about targets within a tune. They hit their targets the way a long distance racer hits the checkpoints. In between they go anywhere they like, often rapid-fire licks that are harmonically pretty much random. The CST theorists always have a post-hoc explanation but they can't predict it.
    Yupsies.

    On the other hand, one player I know who talks about that, however, is fully conversant with the Berklee method, having graduated there Summa. So, his path to that point went through the theoretical considerations.
    Hey some of my best friends are Berklee grads! 'Play them triad pairs college boy!'*

    We. Don't. Talk. About. Theory.

    Most Berklee grads live in Scotland though, apparently. So I'll avoid trying to build a jazz career there.

    *BTW is it just me or do triad pairs only sound really good on Tenor sax?

  32. #131

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Even if you just take four basic elements - descending scale rules and ascending arpeggios, pivots, and diminished connections into target chords and combine with some real world bop rhythmic phrases, it's amazing how far you can go with just that.
    Lot of mileage can be made with that. And another thing which Frank Vignola often mentions. It's simple (sounds like it would be simple, anyway), and I think that puts off some guitarists who expect things to be harder than they sometimes are. It's this: take the melody of a tune---a melodic phrase---and play the same phrase but with different notes. (Keep the rhythm, change the pitches.)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  33. #132

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    So, here is what I think it makes sense to work on.

    Great time feel. You can't produce it until you know what you are doing. You have to know the tune inside-out, be able to execute your ideas and be able to relax. The rest of the band has be good enough so that it's possible for you to have good time feel. I'm not sure about getting it from practice with a metronome or drum machine. I've seen that go in different directions.

    Melodic gifts. This is attainable, according to some theories, by various acts of penance and/or sacrifice.

    Big ears. This is one you can really work on. Ear training is slow, frustrating and potentially effective. I very much wish I had been exposed to it early in my musical life, but, alas, I'd never heard of it until much later. I still haven't taken a course, but I got something out of practicing with Ear Master. I got more out of practicing with IRealPro. Pick a tune, set for 13 repeats, change key every chorus by a 4th and comp along, maybe just with the bass and drums audible. Then, turn the piano up and do it again, soloing.

    Frustrating at first, but, eventually, you start to improve. You can tell when your fingers find the right chord before your brain seems to.

    Then, to expand your harmonic capability, go one sound at a time with plenty of singing of the lines. I'd suggest 7#11, Alt, and maj7#11 as the first three past major, minor and 7th. Once you can sing those, take the rest of the year off.

  34. #133

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    Good post.

  35. #134

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    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.
    Professor Hal Crook-

    The chord-scale approach is based on the idea that if a chord is diatonic to a scale, then that scale can be used as a source to derive melody on that chord.

    Berklee Today | Berklee College of Music

  36. #135

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    Yeah that sums up what folks have been saying.

    But it doesn't imply or state explicitly that the "bad" approach was taught at any American college, Berklee or other. It seems to be talking about high schoolers or other self taught players.

    This thread started by trashing John Mehegan and other collegiate scholars and programs. But where's the evidence that Julliard, Berklee, UNT, etc. taught improvisation as a list of scales? Answer: Nowhere.

    Well guess what? As circumstance would have it, I am in possession of The Berklee Correspondence Course, copyright 1971/1972. It was a predecessor to the Berklee Online school that they have now. It was a boiled down version of what was taught on campus, not too dissimilar to the current online school. It has lessons/booklets that cover theory, harmony, arranging, and yes, improvisation.

    And? Those who might attempt to advance a narrative that Berklee taught a bunch of scales as an approach to improvisation would be sorely disappointed.

    Game over.

  37. #136

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Yeah that sums up what folks have been saying.

    But it doesn't imply or state explicitly that the "bad" approach was taught at any American college, Berklee or other. It seems to be talking about high schoolers or other self taught players.

    This thread started by trashing John Mehegan and other collegiate scholars and programs. But where's the evidence that Julliard, Berklee, UNT, etc. taught improvisation as a list of scales? Answer: Nowhere.

    Well guess what? As circumstance would have it, I am in possession of The Berklee Correspondence Course, copyright 1971/1972. It was a predecessor to the Berklee Online school that they have now. It was a boiled down version of what was taught on campus, not too dissimilar to the current online school. It has lessons/booklets that cover theory, harmony, arranging, and yes, improvisation.

    And? Those who might attempt to advance a narrative that Berklee taught a bunch of scales as an approach to improvisation would be sorely disappointed.

    Game over.
    And the relevance of this post is - what exactly?

  38. #137

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Professor Hal Crook-

    The chord-scale approach is based on the idea that if a chord is diatonic to a scale, then that scale can be used as a source to derive melody on that chord.

    Berklee Today | Berklee College of Music
    So Barry Harris is chord scale then

  39. #138

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Professor Hal Crook-

    The chord-scale approach is based on the idea that if a chord is diatonic to a scale, then that scale can be used as a source to derive melody on that chord.

    Berklee Today | Berklee College of Music
    It occurred to me that I wasn't sure of the exact definition of "diatonic". Turns out there's more than one.

    So, in this case, what you're saying, I think, is that CST is based on the idea that, if the tones of a chord are contained within a scale, that scale can be used as a source to derive melody.

    What I read on here extends that, perhaps. A single chord can be contained within multiple scales. but not every one will work equally well in a given situation.

    OTOH:

    Based on reading this forum, I'm pretty sure that there's a CST type explanation for the use of any note in the chromatic scale over any chord. I thinking of that thread that had a modal interchange (or something) explanation of an F# against a G7.

    I commented at the time that a theory which allows for any note at all isn't really useful. It seems like, after somebody plays something that sounds good, somebody else "explains" it. But, they can't use the theory to predict what's going to sound good. And, if they try, they get disparaged as playing like European promoters.

    So, like a lot of things, you start out trying to organize something and you have to take care that the organizational structure applied doesn't get out of hand.

    RANT MODE OFF

  40. #139

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    It seems to me that the hundreds of examples from recordings by significant artists prove some of his points.

    But, I'll keep an open mind. Is there a book with a contrasting approach that contains this type of evidence?

    In the article you quoted, the author seems to be complaining that amateur musicians can sound like Bill Evans. So? Does he think that giving them better books/lessons will make them sound like an American Master?
    I'm trying to figure out what's so bad about amateur pianists sounding like Bill Evans. God, I wish every pianist I ever had to play with could sound like Bill Evans. Instead they sounded like Liberace or maybe Oscar Peterson drunk and deranged.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  41. #140

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Yep, a lot of truth in that but not absolute truth. This falls into the either/or argument that the jazz guitar forumites often engage in.

    Playing some fancy blues is one thing, but how did one learn to play the virtuoso repertoire of Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, etc. before recordings existed? Just went and listened to their friendly neighborhood virtuoso every day?
    You ask the musicians questions, listened to their musical answers in sounds, absorbed their genius in your own playing. It's a musical apprenticeship.
    “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

  42. #141

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Professor Hal Crook-

    The chord-scale approach is based on the idea that if a chord is diatonic to a scale, then that scale can be used as a source to derive melody on that chord.

    Berklee Today | Berklee College of Music
    I already said that. It was about the first thing I said (#38). And I didn't copy it from any professor!

    'CST stands for Chord-Scale Theory. As you say, it's basically about what can be played over what.

    In its simplest form it starts with the fact that chords are built from scales. So, stacking the notes of C major in 3rds and making 4-note chords, the chords of C major are: CM7, Dm7, Em7, FM7, G7, Am7, and Bm7b5.

    Therefore, because those chords have been built from the C major scale, the C major scale can be used to play over them.'

    Chord Scale Theory Critique (Not Mine :-))

  43. #142

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    This is getting stupid. Well, actually it got stupid some time ago...

  44. #143

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post

    RANT MODE OFF
    Oh, that's a shame. There's something to be said for posting in anger :-)

  45. #144

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    See, I think we ought to distinguish between what is obviously musical sense at the most basic level and what is 'CST'. Realising that chords can be improvised with their parent scale is hardly rocket science. If it's in G, play G. I mean, you're not going to play in Eb if it's in G.

    I wouldn't call that a theory. It's no more a theory than saying if you want a red door use red paint. So I don't know why basic and obvious knowledge has been called a theory, it's nonsense. If you want an omelette, use eggs not beans.

    So, seeing that this has gone on and on, that's why I'm asking whether CST - in fact any theory at all - is relevant. There's just music. It works or it doesn't. If it sounds good, that's fine. And if people want to pass on the knowledge of 'what sounds fine' that's great - but why call it a theory?

    Theories are invented, facts are not.

  46. #145
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    See, I think we ought to distinguish between what is obviously musical sense at the most basic level and what is 'CST'. Realising that chords can be improvised with their parent scale is hardly rocket science. If it's in G, play G. I mean, you're not going to play in Eb if it's in G.

    I wouldn't call that a theory. It's no more a theory than saying if you want a red door use red paint. So I don't know why basic and obvious knowledge has been called a theory, it's nonsense. If you want an omelette, use eggs not beans.

    So, seeing that this has gone on and on, that's why I'm asking whether CST - in fact any theory at all - is relevant. There's just music. It works or it doesn't. If it sounds good, that's fine. And if people want to pass on the knowledge of 'what sounds fine' that's great - but why call it a theory?

    Theories are invented, facts are not.
    You always go back to this definition of "Theory". It's not the ONLY meaning of the word. The theory is generally an abstraction , an idea , which may be possible to prove or not. Once the theory is proven , it doesn't stop being a theory. All the levels of abstraction in music are theory.

    Theories don't simply remain theories until they're proven.They're just demonstrable as fact.

    At least that's my understanding. I'm just a musician though. Christian is the astrophysicist. Maybe he'll weigh in.

  47. #146

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    Based on reading this forum, I'm pretty sure that there's a CST type explanation for the use of any note in the chromatic scale over any chord. I thinking of that thread that had a modal interchange (or something) explanation of an F# against a G7.
    There may be other explanations but here's one that is pretty simple.

    Imagine a slow blues in G. It is hardly an esoteric sound to hear F#7 > G7 or Ab7 > G7 as passing chords.
    Same is true for a passing D7 chord in a G7 context. These chords can be steered closer to the key via
    altered extensions. It is my belief that whatever happens with chords successfully will have melodic equivalents.

    I don't know if this is a "CST type explanation for the use of any note in the chromatic scale over any chord"
    or not. I never studied that, but I am aware of chords and extensions derived from various scales + other scales
    functioning against dominant chords despite lacking a ma3. What I try to take away from this is not having a
    formula of using this scale against this chord, but increased awareness of intervals and interval combinations
    in various harmonic context. This is not an be all method, just a bunch of knowledge that has helped more
    than it has hurt.


  48. #147
    There's also a degree to which you can organize chromatic approach tones based on different scales. There are excepted approaches for chromatics on major for example. See the things I learned from Barry Harris video that Chris made on his channel re chromatic scale rules.

    Basically, on one level (embellishment level, in reg thinking?), chromatic approaches are determined by whether there is a whole step up or a neighbor or half step above as the upper neighbor. Maybe coming down, it's thought of the other way. I don't remember.

    I had kind of reverse engineered these from my old Jimmy Amadie book, basically trying to reconcile with some of what Reg had to say with these things. Anyway, when I saw Chris's video on the Barry Harris chromatic scale rules, I immediately recognized that they were exactly the same.

    So, if you're talking about half steps and whole steps, you can apply the same "rules" to any scale. You can chromatically approach Lydian dominant. I always feel like people look at it the other way , as if the #4 IS the chromatic, but it's actually pretty vanilla if you're playing over II7or or VII7 etc. Lydian dominant is the base reference, the vanilla, in that context.

    You can play anything, even altered "chromatically".

    Most of us kind of "mentally" organize all chromatics based on major anyway. It's kind of the same thing.

  49. #148

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    If it's in G, play G. I mean, you're not going to play in Eb if it's in G.
    There is a level that I agree with you. On the other hand, I find the interaction and integration of two keys to
    be an interesting subject.

    G A B C D E F# + G Ab Bb C D Eb F

    in 3/4, 1st chord gets 2 beats, 2nd chord gets 1 beat.

    X X G D F# B ..... X X G D Eb Bb
    X X G D F# A ..... X X F Bb Eb Ab
    X C X A D G ....... X D G C E X
    G X F# A D X

    I hear this sequence in G major although I am consciously borrowing from Eb major to make a point.

  50. #149
    Quote Originally Posted by bako View Post
    There is a level that I agree with you. On the other hand, I find the interaction and integration of two keys to
    be an interesting subject.

    G A B C D E F# + G Ab Bb C D Eb F

    in 3/4, 1st chord gets 2 beats, 2nd chord gets 1 beat.

    X X G D F# B ..... X X G D Eb Bb
    X X G D F# A ..... X X F Bb Eb Ab
    X C X A D G ....... X D G C E X
    G X F# A D X

    I hear this sequence in G major although I am consciously borrowing from Eb major to make a point.
    Nice. Harmonic rhythm.

    This is one of my favorite things about studying jazz . Harmony is kind of a tessellation in jazz. Basically anything which works on macro harmonic level can work as a weak side sub with different harmonic rhythm etc...

    Thanks for this.

  51. #150

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    If you have talent, the more experienced players take you under their wing and nurture you. If you don't have talent you read books............
    “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi