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  1. #1

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    Although the fretboard doesn't have white keys and black keys, I suppose most of us see the fretboard as natural notes and accidental notes. Say the 6th fret on the D string can be G# or Ab depending on the context. But the 5th fret is G, 7th is A (on that same string).

    The drawback is, suppose when I'm playing Ab minor arpeggio and I'm gonna hit the 9th fret of the D string (the note B). I find it very difficult to see it as Cb. That fret area looks at me and says "I'm B".

    Another example is, say the tune is in Gb major, progression goes to the IV chord. For me it's a lot of afford to think of it as Cb major instead of just B major as I'm playing over the chord and hitting it's chord tones.
    Of course same goes for B# and E# in different circumstances.

    Music notation is very elegant in a way. For example "A" chords are always, A C E. Each letter can be sharp or flat depending on the quality and the root (A C# E# for augmented, Ab Cb Eb for Ab minor exc). All you need to know is that A C E is the basic formula of many A'ish chords. But do you also find that sometimes it's easier to break that formula in the interest of avoiding unnatural enharmonic spellings?
    Last edited by Tal_175; 11-07-2019 at 02:49 PM.

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  3. #2

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    Thinking too much can get in the way.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by BBGuitar View Post
    Thinking too much can get in the way.
    To me having awareness of the notes I'm playing, especially when practicing a tune is not too much thinking. But then many guitarist draw the line of "thinking too much" at cowboy chords and one pentatonic scale. To each their own.

  5. #4

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    That fret area looks at me and says "I'm B".
    Only because you've told yourself it's B a hundred times. But, if you go through a b tune several times, it'll change its aspect :-)

  6. #5
    The lesser used ones are a pain , but this isn't particular to the guitar versus other instruments. I think most players do a bit of enharmonic conversion on the fly, at least for the rarer ones.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Only because you've told yourself it's B a hundred times.
    Hundred thousand times at least. Hundred times a day

  8. #7

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    If your motivation for naming the notes is to employ theory structures, in order for theses structures to be consistent and complete you have to be "all in" with the correct naming of the pitches by their correct letter names and accidentals.

    I think if you are going to name a pitch as a note (letter name), that letter name (and any accidental applied as needed to match the pitch) needs to correctly represent the pitch's corresponding note letter name of the key, which means using the correct letter name for that scale degree of the key. The fundamental theory is based on using the correct names, so using the note's enharmonic letter names confounds using theory concepts to analyse and construct notes, scales, intervals, and chords.

    The basis of diatonic theory is that all seven letter names are employed, and each only once. The key signature allows this to work by individual letter names representing multiple pitches using accidentals, so when you use the enharmonic letter names you are deviating from this system.

    Part of that commitment is accepting that individual pitches take multiple letter names dependent on the key.

    Personally, I have never thought for a moment about the names of the pitches I have played in my five decades of guitar playing. I play guitar exclusively by ear and there is none of what you describe as That fret area looks at me and says "I'm B", more like That fret area looks at me and sings "I'm what your aural perception of hearing 250Hz sounds like" - which in my mind is the direct phenomenological musical meaning with respect to the key, progression position, chord,interval, scale, or note of the moment.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    Personally, I have never thought for a moment about the names of the pitches I have played in my five decades of guitar playing.
    Interesting. So if someone asks you to play a Bb7 chord or a A min 7 arpeggio, you first think about the sounds of these chords/notes and then locate the sounds on the fretboard?

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Interesting. So if someone asks you to play a Bb7 chord or a A min 7 arpeggio, you first think about the sounds of these chords/notes and then locate the sounds on the fretboard?
    I organize my approach to the guitar by note names - when I'm thinking at all.

    So, I know the names of the notes in the chords and scales I use. Well, pretty much -- I still drill it.

    I don't use E# Fb B# or Cb. Those are F E C and B, in my mind. I have yet to encounter any practical disadvantage to thinking that way.

    If they show up in a chart, I can read them.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Interesting. So if someone asks you to play a Bb7 chord or a A min 7 arpeggio, you first think about the sounds of these chords/notes and then locate the sounds on the fretboard?
    No, when playing if I ask myself to play the sound of a particular chord or arpeggio, I have already thought of and heard the sound of it in my mind, and with respect to what I am already playing or the last thing I played, my hands and ears know what to do and where to go to produce the sound out loud that I heard in my mind... that I do without having to know the name of the thing.

    But I do know the names of these things if I want to, so if someone asks for a particular chord or arpeggio, I know what those are and how to play them in various ways; the point being that I do know the canonical theory, I just don't use it when playing the guitar.

    I might use theory to discuss something, but never as the process by which I play something. This is often a source of confusion when people assume that since I understand the theory I must be using it to play. If they ask me about something I play, they are often surprised that it may take a few moments for me to assemble an explanation in theory lingo, because they assume the theory lingo representing the thing surely came first in my mind before executing the thing. In fact that never happens when I play, I always lead with my ear, never theory.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    To me having awareness of the notes I'm playing, especially when practicing a tune is not too much thinking. But then many guitarist draw the line of "thinking too much" at cowboy chords and one pentatonic scale. To each their own.
    You are "thinking too much" about my ability. To each their own.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Hundred thousand times at least. Hundred times a day
    Et voila.

    With me, it depends on the tune. If I see Ab7 then top string, 4th fret, is an Ab. If I see GM7/G#o then it's a G#. All depends.

    Mind you, I have to honest. 7th fret is nearly always a B. I can't remember any time I thought it was a Cb. Must prove something.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Although the fretboard doesn't have white keys and black keys, I suppose most of us see the fretboard as natural notes and accidental notes. Say the 6th fret on the D string can be G# or Ab depending on the context. But the 5th fret is G, 7th is A (on that same string).

    The drawback is, suppose when I'm playing Ab minor arpeggio and I'm gonna hit the 9th fret of the D string (the note B). I find it very difficult to see it as Cb. That fret area looks at me and says "I'm B".

    Another example is, say the tune is in Gb major, progression goes to the IV chord. For me it's a lot of afford to think of it as Cb major instead of just B major as I'm playing over the chord and hitting it's chord tones.
    Of course same goes for B# and E# in different circumstances.

    Music notation is very elegant in a way. For example "A" chords are always, A C E. Each letter can be sharp or flat depending on the quality and the root (A C# E# for augmented, Ab Cb Eb for Ab minor exc). All you need to know is that A C E is the basic formula of many A'ish chords. But do you also find that sometimes it's easier to break that formula in the interest of avoiding unnatural enharmonic spellings?
    I guess I tend to think of notes more in terms of their function than in terms of their absolute names. So if you ask me "quick, what's the 3rd of Ab major and Ab minor" my immediate thought is C and Cb, not C and B. If I'm actually mapping notes names to spots on the fingerboard, the name that will come most quickly to mind is the one I use most often. So if you point to the 7th fret on the e-string and say "quick, what's that?" I'll probably say "B" not "Cb" (though I might ask "in what key?"). But in contexts where it _is_ Cb calling it that won't throw me, and if I'm writing something out, I'm aware of enharmonicity and try to name things correctly. I don't think of Cb or E# as as somehow "unnatural." Key is a clear concept to me, as is how accidentals markings function in a key signature.

    John

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    I guess I tend to think of notes more in terms of their function than in terms of their absolute names. So if you ask me "quick, what's the 3rd of Ab major and Ab minor" my immediate thought is C and Cb, not C and B. If I'm actually mapping notes names to spots on the fingerboard, the name that will come most quickly to mind is the one I use most often. So if you point to the 7th fret on the e-string and say "quick, what's that?" I'll probably say "B" not "Cb" (though I might ask "in what key?"). But in contexts where it _is_ Cb calling it that won't throw me, and if I'm writing something out, I'm aware of enharmonicity and try to name things correctly. I don't think of Cb or E# as as somehow "unnatural." Key is a clear concept to me, as is how accidentals markings function in a key signature.

    John
    I agree I'd think of the 3rd of Ab minor as Cb if I was asked to name it. It would actually be more unnatural for me to think of the third as B. But I'm making a distinction between understanding of the key vs how to realize it on the fretboard.
    When I'm working on the fretboard, say playing changes through a progression only hitting chord tones as an exercise. Thinking Cb would slow me down. It's faster for me to make an exception on the fretboard and think B for the 3rd of Ab minor. That's of course because 99.9 percent of the time that note is just B in the context (or F would be F not E# for that matter).

    Rpjazzguitar said he doesn't bother with the correct spelling in these instances and never encountered a drawback for doing so. That's actually what I'm debating. Whether I should drill seeing these chords on the fretboard with the correct spelling or make exceptions and think the way I'm used to seeing these notes even though at the theoretical level I'm aware of the correct spelling.

  16. #15

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    My simple way of looking at it is eg. in the key of Gb major for instance the enharmonic note names are:
    Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F. It would just be confusing to call Cb a B as you would then have a Bb and a B in the scale.

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    But I do know the names of these things if I want to, so if someone asks for a particular chord or arpeggio, I know what those are and how to play them in various ways; the point being that I do know the canonical theory, I just don't use it when playing the guitar.
    So even when you're learning a new tune, you don't think about he progression with the chord names? You transcribe the chord sounds (I'm assuming you don't look at the charts), and memorize the progression without thinking chord names?

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by garybaldy View Post
    My simple way of looking at it is eg. in the key of Gb major for instance the enharmonic note names are:
    Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F. It would just be confusing to call Cb a B as you would then have a Bb and a B in the scale.
    But again this is not a question about keys. Yes I would not think of Gb major conceptually as having both B and Bb. The situation I'm describing is when seeing these notes on the fretboard and need to access them quickly on the fly.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    But again this is not a question about keys. Yes I would not think of Gb major conceptually as having both B and Bb. The situation I'm describing is when seeing these notes on the fretboard and need to access them quickly on the fly.
    If you ask me the notes in Gb major, I include B, not Cb, as I think of them. I have yet to encounter any situation in which I ended up thinking, oh dear, that was really a Cb.

    What situation might that be?

    The only thing which makes me think about enharmonics is that, in my practice, is the need to have things automatic whatever the root note is in the chord symbol.

    So, for example, I consider Gb and F# separately. When I practice things in Gb I will then also practice the same thing in F#. I don't want to see a chord with F# as the root and have to think to myself, oh, that's Gb. Takes too long to think like that. I think it has to be automatic. Either way, there's a B, not a Cb, at least in my way of thinking.

    I make the same sort of accommodation for C# and Db, D# and Eb and so on. What use is it to know a bunch of grips for C#m7b5 if the chart says Dbm7b5 and you have to think about it for so long that you can't play it in time?

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    I agree I'd think of the 3rd of Ab minor as Cb if I was asked to name it. It would actually be more unnatural for me to think of the third as B. But I'm making a distinction between understanding of the key vs how to realize it on the fretboard.
    When I'm working on the fretboard, say playing changes through a progression only hitting chord tones as an exercise. Thinking Cb would slow me down. It's faster for me to make an exception on the fretboard and think B for the 3rd of Ab minor. That's of course because 99.9 percent of the time that note is just B in the context (or F would be F not E# for that matter).

    Rpjazzguitar said he doesn't bother with the correct spelling in these instances and never encountered a drawback for doing so. That's actually what I'm debating. Whether I should drill seeing these chords on the fretboard with the correct spelling or make exceptions and think the way I'm used to seeing these notes even though at the theoretical level I'm aware of the correct spelling.
    I assume we're talking about improvising here? If so, I don't think about note names while playing. To the extent that I'm thinking at all, I'm thinking about intervals up or down, or visualizing the spot where I want to land in order to make the sound I want to make, or thinking about a pattern of intervals. I'm not thinking "I just played Ab, next I want to play Cb (or B)" . Maybe I get stuck here and there and stick my finger on the wrong fret for the sound I intended to make, but I basically know the fretboard and intervals. If I'm playing in Ab, I know where 3 is in relation to the other notes in the key, and I know where all the instances of it are (or a couple of nearby ones, anyway). I know where the chord tones and alterations are for the chord of the moment. I don't go through a process of "it's an Ab chord, so the 3 is Cb (or is it B?), so I know where that note is, therefore I'll stick my finger there." I just know where stuff is and play it.

    Doesn't mean I sound good or interesting, but I know where I am when playing, and I don't think I developed that ability by consciously mapping note names to spots on the fretboard. I don't fully remember how I got this point TBH (it has been a while ...), but I think I caught on to the inherent logic the guitar's layout pretty early in the game. Strings are this many frets apart. Octaves on consecutive strings that many apart; two strings away, they're that many frets apart, etc. Thirds look/feel like this, sevenths like that, etc. I know the system, so I don't have to know the individual locations of every named pitch, and my brain has mostly managed to map the sounds I want to play that system.
    John

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    I assume we're talking about improvising here? If so, I don't think about note names while playing. To the extent that I'm thinking at all, I'm thinking about intervals up or down, or visualizing the spot where I want to land in order to make the sound I want to make, or thinking about a pattern of intervals. I'm not thinking "I just played Ab, next I want to play Cb (or B)" . Maybe I get stuck here and there and stick my finger on the wrong fret for the sound I intended to make, but I basically know the fretboard and intervals. If I'm playing in Ab, I know where 3 is in relation to the other notes in the key, and I know where all the instances of it are (or a couple of nearby ones, anyway). I know where the chord tones and alterations are for the chord of the moment. I don't go through a process of "it's an Ab chord, so the 3 is Cb (or is it B?), so I know where that note is, therefore I'll stick my finger there." I just know where stuff is and play it.

    Doesn't mean I sound good or interesting, but I know where I am when playing, and I don't think I developed that ability by consciously mapping note names to spots on the fretboard. I don't fully remember how I got this point TBH (it has been a while ...), but I think I caught on to the inherent logic the guitar's layout pretty early in the game. Strings are this many frets apart. Octaves on consecutive strings that many apart; two strings away, they're that many frets apart, etc. Thirds look/feel like this, sevenths like that, etc. I know the system, so I don't have to know the individual locations of every named pitch, and my brain has mostly managed to map the sounds I want to play that system.
    John
    Good post.

    My path has been a little different. I could never learn anything from looking at grids with dots to represent fingerings. But, I learned how to read early, so I knew all the notes, by name, on the fingerboard. That didn't matter if I was playing a blues or a tune for which I had the harmony well assimilated in my ears. I think of the sound of the next note I want to play and my fingers find it -- I don't consciously know the interval (although I can figure out later, slowly, if pressured) and I don't know the note name.

    Then I started playing in situations where the tunes were unfamiliar, had harmony I didn't understand, complicated chord symbols and, sometimes, no clear feeling of key I could identify. And, of course, brisk tempos. Too soon, the leader points at me to solo.

    In those situations knowing the names of the notes in the chords really helped. With more experience, that turns into something else -- some mixture of note-name, position of the interval on the fretboard (ex: I don't really need to think of the name of the b3 for a minor chord -- I know where it's going to be in relation to the root, as a geometric issue), and sound. Once I've got a couple notes, I can get the rest by ear.

    It's all a melange, in a way. That said, at no point can I recall needing to think Cb instead of B. Unless there was a Cb in the chart.

  22. #21

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    I can't think fast enough to actually think of the names of the notes I play. I just know where the sounds are on the fretboard, and the shapes of the chords I may use. I play out of shapes, not theory. The only use I know of for theory and scales is in analyzing what someone played, and why it worked. I don't do a lot of that. I can read standard notation, albeit slowly, not fast enough to sight-read, but I don't recall ever looking at a note on a staff and thinking "that's a Cb". It's a B, an F, or whatever. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and whatever I might call a note, it still sounds the same, if the string is in tune. I don't claim to be a good guitarist, certainly nowhere near professional level, but I can't see how making small distinctions such as are being discussed could help me in any way. But I'm far from being an exemplar, and if calling a note by different names in different contexts works for someone, I certainly wouldn't stand in their way. In short, whatever works for you...

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Good post.

    My path has been a little different. I could never learn anything from looking at grids with dots to represent fingerings. But, I learned how to read early, so I knew all the notes, by name, on the fingerboard. That didn't matter if I was playing a blues or a tune for which I had the harmony well assimilated in my ears. I think of the sound of the next note I want to play and my fingers find it -- I don't consciously know the interval (although I can figure out later, slowly, if pressured) and I don't know the note name.

    Then I started playing in situations where the tunes were unfamiliar, had harmony I didn't understand, complicated chord symbols and, sometimes, no clear feeling of key I could identify. And, of course, brisk tempos. Too soon, the leader points at me to solo.

    In those situations knowing the names of the notes in the chords really helped. With more experience, that turns into something else -- some mixture of note-name, position of the interval on the fretboard (ex: I don't really need to think of the name of the b3 for a minor chord -- I know where it's going to be in relation to the root, as a geometric issue), and sound. Once I've got a couple notes, I can get the rest by ear.

    It's all a melange, in a way. That said, at no point can I recall needing to think Cb instead of B. Unless there was a Cb in the chart.
    I should add that I also learned to read from the beginning (though never really got proficient at sight reading, and am really slow now)., but didn't study consistently and seriously, and learned mainly by doing and by ear So I did learn the lower end of the fretboard by explicit mapping of note names to fret/string coordinates, but I earned the rest by grokking the pattern nature of the fingerboard while playing and learning less formally. I never used any of those visual systems such as CAGED, though, and those posters full dots are Greek to me. The fretboard just kind of made sense to me for as long as I can remember.

    John

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    So even when you're learning a new tune, you don't think about he progression with the chord names? You transcribe the chord sounds (I'm assuming you don't look at the charts), and memorize the progression without thinking chord names?
    That's pretty much right. The only time I've looked at charts was when working up a song with others using the books when I've heard something a little "off" or awkward and asked to look at the chart or book to mark it up with different chords from the ones written. Amazingly, everyone has always agreed they prefer my changes.

    If I'm learning a song I have heard before, I already kind of know how it goes, so I run through it to fill in any gaps. If I am learning an unknown song selected by others, I just need to hear it and then play through it. If it is a particular version of the song (and it needs to be played that way) that is what I'll figure out how to do. In either case, I will actually end up loading it with passing chords, additional changes, and some reharmonization, but most of that is for my own benefit when soloing or comping (I will never use all of those things I load into it, but they are there as suggestions from which may emerge ideas during soloing or comping, or when I just want to increase interest at the moment..., or I may just leave all that stuff out and play it very simple and straight because it is the horn player's "show-off tune" or something like that).

    I don't memorize anything, but I try to internalize everything. The difference is that raising, organizing, relating, and connecting internalized ideas is instantaneous and has no perceptible level of effort, which is just how I want to feel when performing.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Although the fretboard doesn't have white keys and black keys, I suppose most of us see the fretboard as natural notes and accidental notes. Say the 6th fret on the D string can be G# or Ab depending on the context. But the 5th fret is G, 7th is A (on that same string).

    The drawback is, suppose when I'm playing Ab minor arpeggio and I'm gonna hit the 9th fret of the D string (the note B). I find it very difficult to see it as Cb. That fret area looks at me and says "I'm B".

    Another example is, say the tune is in Gb major, progression goes to the IV chord. For me it's a lot of afford to think of it as Cb major instead of just B major as I'm playing over the chord and hitting it's chord tones.
    Of course same goes for B# and E# in different circumstances.

    Music notation is very elegant in a way. For example "A" chords are always, A C E. Each letter can be sharp or flat depending on the quality and the root (A C# E# for augmented, Ab Cb Eb for Ab minor exc). All you need to know is that A C E is the basic formula of many A'ish chords. But do you also find that sometimes it's easier to break that formula in the interest of avoiding unnatural enharmonic spellings?
    In traditional harmonic context I tend to think in 'correct note -names' but this is because I was trained much in classical theory and it comes up naturally....

    Of course abstractly natural names go first... as you say 'it is B not Cb on the 9th fret of the D string' but once in context it is different... in Ab arp I just know it is Cb...

    For me it is a bit more loose maybe... not that fixed.

    I just know that playing B arp is the same thing as playing Cb... this is for practice... for speed .. for overcomeing thinking after all.

    also I have some mental thing about that...

    for example when there is an enharmonic choice prefer flat keys over sharp keys...

    I do not know where it comes from.. maybe it is becasue historically flats (minore) where part of natural scales and sharps where always treated as a forced raise of the scale degree, as accidentals, 'musica ficta'
    I think it somehow correspondes with it.
    But it makes no sense of course when we have 12 tones eaully tempered and some modern modal tune)))

    on guitar it does not seem to involve any temeperament issue - they are enharmonic. It is pure psychology... and when the tune is in Gb and I play IV. I think of Cb for sure also because it has a 'different' image for me than 'B major' which is all sharps.

    By the way on early flutes which I play for my own pleasure there are different fingerings for B and Cb)))

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Although the fretboard doesn't have white keys and black keys, I suppose most of us see the fretboard as natural notes and accidental notes. Say the 6th fret on the D string can be G# or Ab depending on the context. But the 5th fret is G, 7th is A (on that same string).

    The drawback is, suppose when I'm playing Ab minor arpeggio and I'm gonna hit the 9th fret of the D string (the note B). I find it very difficult to see it as Cb. That fret area looks at me and says "I'm B".

    Another example is, say the tune is in Gb major, progression goes to the IV chord. For me it's a lot of afford to think of it as Cb major instead of just B major as I'm playing over the chord and hitting it's chord tones.
    Of course same goes for B# and E# in different circumstances.

    Music notation is very elegant in a way. For example "A" chords are always, A C E. Each letter can be sharp or flat depending on the quality and the root (A C# E# for augmented, Ab Cb Eb for Ab minor exc). All you need to know is that A C E is the basic formula of many A'ish chords. But do you also find that sometimes it's easier to break that formula in the interest of avoiding unnatural enharmonic spellings?
    I think this is a question I always ask myself when preparing charts. For instance, I was preparing a chart for the Kurt tune Zhivago which is in Ebm. (In most jazz situations we prefer flat keys to sharp because horn players, so we don’t choose the equally annoying but less familiar and horn friendly D#m with its E#)

    That key has a C flat in the key signature. So do I then write chords like Cbmaj7 or B?

    It’s a knotty one because in some ways it can be harder to read, say Bmaj7 Db7 Ebm and see it all as belonging to one mode or scale, which might hinder some readers and improvisers.

    OTOH Cbmaj7 is harder to read as an individual chord.

    Difficult choices!

    Some jazz musicians avoid key signatures all together. For a tune like Zhivago there’s definitely an argument for that (it modulates a lot) but I find I like key signatures most of the time.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    To me having awareness of the notes I'm playing, especially when practicing a tune is not too much thinking. But then many guitarist draw the line of "thinking too much" at cowboy chords and one pentatonic scale. To each their own.
    For me much more important to know and feel the function of the note what I am playing I mean the 3rd, or b9, than knowing the name like E or Db. This is special to our instrument, all scales, all chord shapes are identical regardless of it is in G, D A or Eb. We should use this benefit, it begs for utilizing it both by ear and by visual and muscle memory.

    Besides of sight reading the absolute note names are way less important, than their relative functions in the tonality and chord context. I do not feel I am stuck at cowboy chords or one pentatonic scale because of this.

    Now the enharmonics... your question. If you still ensured you need to absolute name the tones “your awareness of the notes”, you always can take the next step in your awareness, and associate two names of every position in the fretboard and learn to sense and choose them according the current tonality. If it is important for you, this will be the price, no miracle shortcuts.

    Btw the way majority of the jazz tunes are in very few tonalities, 6#, 7#, 6b, 7b is not an everyday issue.

    So saying that your question is overthinking, definitely does not qualifies one as stuck in very low level as you implied
    Similarly paying attention on enharmonics does not qualifies one as advanced...

  28. #27
    Some people trying to respond to things that aren't there. But that happens in every thread. Just the way communication is.
    It's ironic that some say awareness of note names is too much thinking hence imply that it has no place in the theory section of a jazz forum.
    Note functions are important. Note name awareness does not negate that.

    Sorry if this is obvious to many but if you're playing a B major arpeggio, it's still useful to know that your 3rd is D#. And yes that's even if you're playing guitar. That's because you are presumably coming to this chord from another chord or even whole other tonality and you want to be able to change your melodic curve freely. One should be able to find the 3rd this chord anywhere on the fretboard ideally to start an idea. Knowing major 7 arpeggio shapes and function of each dot in the shape doesn't automatically give you that. You should be able to instantly access any chord tone (or non chord tone) of any chord anywhere on the fretboard.
    When I improvise I don't think this way usually except when there is an important note in a certain place of the progression I want to bring out, say a cool melody note. But in the woodshed, when I'm working on a tune, internalising the harmony, working on ideas, building lines from different chord tone etc. I do find note awareness to be very useful.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 11-08-2019 at 10:38 AM.

  29. #28
    Also my cowboy chord comment didn't imply anyone specifically. I'm just saying there is a range of views as to where one should draw the line of theoretical knowledge. Again to each their own. But it doesn't make sense to go out of your way to come to the theory section of the forum and put a dismissive remark about a discussion because it involves note names.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Some people trying to respond to things that aren't there. But that happens in every thread. Just the way communication is.
    Mainly agree with adding, not every thread, and for not every posts

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    It's ironic that some say awareness of note names is too much thinking hence imply that it has no place in the theory section of a jazz forum.
    99% of theory can be described without note names, and done without note names. No one said the question has no place (here is what you are talked about regarding communication ). Both the question and the answers are useful, especially the question, which allows to add different answer, and a quite legal answer is "overthinking". Now all future reader in the next decades instantly can decide which answer is more acceptable for her/him just by reading this thread. Very valuable benefit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Note functions are important. Note name awareness does not negate that.
    Sorry if this is obvious to many but if you're playing a B major arpeggio, it's still useful to know that your 3rd is D#.
    This is the part we do not agree. To play a B major arpeggio it is not mandatory to know what is the name of the 3rd. What is mandatory to know the shape of the major 3rd in every place in your instrument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    And yes that's even if you're playing guitar. That's because you are presumably coming to this chord from another chord or even whole other tonality and you want to be able to change your melodic curve freely. One should be able to find the 3rd this chord anywhere on the fretboard ideally. Knowing major 7 arpeggio shapes and function of each dot in the shape doesn't automatically give you that. You should be able to instantly access any chord tone (or non chord tone) of any chord anywhere on the fretboard.
    Again, imho shapes are more direct way for this. That is a one step process which comes from both visual and muscle memory, instead of a three step process (knowing the key, then knowing the note name, then knowing where is that note and all the three steps are abstract, I mean not a visual and muscle memory what are way better, when time is critical few milliseconds).

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    When I improvise I don't think this way usually except there is an important note in a certain place of the progression I want to bring out, say a cool melody note. But in the woodshed, when I'm working on a tune, internalising the harmony, working on ideas, building lines from different chord tone etc. I do find note awareness to be very useful.
    When working on a tune I still use note functions. After accepting the tonal center no need to know the melody and chord note names, just their functions. Maybe it is more beneficial for understanding than note names.
    Last edited by Gabor; 11-08-2019 at 11:04 AM.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Some people trying to respond to things that aren't there. But that happens in every thread. Just the way communication is.
    It's ironic that some say awareness of note names is too much thinking hence imply that it has no place in the theory section of a jazz forum.
    Note functions are important. Note name awareness does not negate that.

    Sorry if this is obvious to many but if you're playing a B major arpeggio, it's still useful to know that your 3rd is D#. And yes that's even if you're playing guitar. That's because you are presumably coming to this chord from another chord or even whole other tonality and you want to be able to change your melodic curve freely. One should be able to find the 3rd this chord anywhere on the fretboard ideally to start an idea. Knowing major 7 arpeggio shapes and function of each dot in the shape doesn't automatically give you that. You should be able to instantly access any chord tone (or non chord tone) of any chord anywhere on the fretboard.
    When I improvise I don't think this way usually except when there is an important note in a certain place of the progression I want to bring out, say a cool melody note. But in the woodshed, when I'm working on a tune, internalising the harmony, working on ideas, building lines from different chord tone etc. I do find note awareness to be very useful.
    I can only assume the people responding in this way don't spend very much time trying to communicate musically with non guitarists.

  32. #31
    Gabor I really don't have time to go through every point with you. You're missing the point. Knowing your major 7 shapes won't allow you to distinguish between where to play B major 7 vs Fmaj7. At some point you still have to refer to the note names. At least in the woodshed.

    Many tunes go through the harmony targeting a specific interval, for example ATTYA targets the 3rd of each chord.
    Now take tune, as an exercise play though the tune bringing out the 5th of every chord and tell me note awareness is useless.

  33. #32
    Most issues with enharmonics come out of dealing with written notation. In that context, there isn't anything philosophical . It's not a viewpoint or opinion. You have to know how to deal with them. In dealing with choirs , this kind of thing always comes up. You usually have to point some basics out like: " Remember that that F-sharp is the same note as the G-flat you just sang a couple measures back".

    There's always angst and questioning why this is so in notated music, but the reasons are good ones when you're reading things like that, especially as a singer or just reading fast passages on any instrument. It gets crazy when you start looking at things with crazy enharmonics, where 2nds look like 3rds or 3rds look like 4ths etc. at tempo, B-flat will absolutely be easier to read if it is part of the key signatureor key of the moment etc. meanwhile, we are mostly talking in these conversations as if these are ALL accidentals. They aren't.

    Now, chord symbols are a different beast, honestly. There are slightly different conventions for naming things when you're doing chord symbols above the staff. B-natural is going to be preferred mostly over C-flat.

    Finally, there's the part of " what do you think , solely for your own sake while improvising?". Honestly, I feel like that one's way down the list in importance. You can pretty much think whatever you want if you're the only person concerned.

    Just keep in mind that all of the talk about "not thinking one note at a time or even in letter names one note at a time while improvising" is true for notation as well. Most players reading notation aren't thinking single note or accidental at a time. They're reading entire phrases. Again, in THAT context, and at tempo, those accidentals which a lot of people don't like mostly start to make a lot more sense.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Gabor I really don't have time to explain to you this. You're missing the point. Knowing your major 7 shapes won't allow you to distinguish between where to play B major 7 vs Fmaj7. At some point you still have to refer to the note names. At least in the woodshed.
    Many tunes go through the harmony targeting a specific interval, for example ATTYA targets the 3rd of each chord.
    Now take tune, as an exercise play though the tune bringing out the 5th of every chord and tell me note awareness is useless.
    Well, I really do not want to waste your time. Agree with you, communication is a bottleneck. My only motivation to get involved was your answer to BBGuitar. Hopefully you will find your answer to your question. Many answer implies with reasoning that we will easily can overcome enharmonics except when standard notation involved. (also when communication with other musicians as Christian wrote). Those answers do not use the "overthinking" term but their conclusions are pointing to the solution.
    Also the OP is not about note names, it is specifically about enharmonics. No one stated you do not have to know the note names on the fretboard, and said that you can play an F major without knowing where are the Fs...

    Regarding ATTYA: Yes it is possible to play 3rds on all chords without knowing their note names, and especially possible without knowing their enharmonics...

  35. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor View Post
    Well, I really do not want to waste your time. Agree with you, communication is a bottleneck. My only motivation to get involved was your answer to BBGuitar. Hopefully you will find your answer to your question. Many answer implies with reasoning that we will easily can overcome enharmonics except when standard notation involved. (also when communication with other musicians as Christian wrote). Those answers do not use the "overthinking" term but their conclusions are pointing to the solution.
    Also the OP is not about note names, it is specifically about enharmonics. No one stated you do not have to know the note names on the fretboard, and said that you can play an F major without knowing where are the Fs...

    Regarding ATTYA: Yes it is possible to play 3rds on all chords without knowing their note names, and especially possible without knowing their enharmonics...
    I didn't say it's impossible to do it otherwise. It's matter of whether one can access the chord tone directly (note names) or think indirectly as interval from the root. Some people will find ability to access the notes without a two step process useful. That doesn't mean they don't get the function of the note or neglect the importance of the function.
    If you do think note names at least for some types of exercises, it's not unreasonable to have a discussion of how to deal with less commonly occurring enharmonic spellings, especially in the theory section.

    Now if I understood correctly your point is "it is not unreasonable to say that OP constitutes over thinking". Good. Glad you made that point but I'd like to go back to the discussion with those you find it a point worth discussion.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 11-08-2019 at 12:39 PM.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor View Post
    Well, I really do not want to waste your time. Agree with you, communication is a bottleneck. My only motivation to get involved was your answer to BBGuitar. Hopefully you will find your answer to your question. Many answer implies with reasoning that we will easily can overcome enharmonics except when standard notation involved. (also when communication with other musicians as Christian wrote). Those answers do not use the "overthinking" term but their conclusions are pointing to the solution.
    Also the OP is not about note names, it is specifically about enharmonics. No one stated you do not have to know the note names on the fretboard, and said that you can play an F major without knowing where are the Fs...

    Regarding ATTYA: Yes it is possible to play 3rds on all chords without knowing their note names, and especially possible without knowing their enharmonics...
    I will jump back in again.

    I did not take any offence to any comment here and enjoy a good discussion.

    As far as thinking too much I really don't think of Fb as being an E, I see a Fb and play a Fb or more common Cb In my head it is a Cb not B. We all have our own way of seeing things. Very rarely do I see a double flat or double sharp so I don't think of them at all.

    On cowboy chords I sometimes revert to them when I sub with a bluegrass band. My main band is a big band. Big Band has taught me to know the fretboard very well. When the bluegrass band plays in a different key other than G I am ready to play while the others are fumbling with their capos.

  37. #36
    I broadly see my musical activities as falling to two categories: ear training and performance. Everything I do in the woodshed ultimately is ear training. If I had great ears and could find strong melodies to tunes without working on them, I couldn't care less about theory. But I can't.
    Theory allows me to come up with ways to work on music that improves my ears and also help me aurally distinguish between subtle musical events. At first things start out as fingerboard exercises, then they expand my ears. Both my ability to hear ideas and access them on the fretboard improve.
    My point is the discussion of enharmonics in this thread still in the end is about ear training. Because a discussion of how you see the fretboard comes down to how you organize your ear training activities.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post

    Sorry if this is obvious to many but if you're playing a B major arpeggio, it's still useful to know that your 3rd is D#.
    There are no B major arpeggios in jazz.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    And yes that's even if you're playing guitar. That's because you are presumably coming to this chord from another chord or even whole other tonality and you want to be able to change your melodic curve freely. One should be able to find the 3rd this chord anywhere on the fretboard ideally to start an idea. Knowing major 7 arpeggio shapes and function of each dot in the shape doesn't automatically give you that. You should be able to instantly access any chord tone (or non chord tone) of any chord anywhere on the fretboard.
    When I improvise I don't think this way usually except when there is an important note in a certain place of the progression I want to bring out, say a cool melody note. But in the woodshed, when I'm working on a tune, internalising the harmony, working on ideas, building lines from different chord tone etc. I do find note awareness to be very useful.
    ... But seriously, what a bunch of us are saying is that we, of course, know note names and are aware of enharmonicity, but these don't come up while we're actually playing. We've been at it long enough that the mapping of fretboard locations to sounds and chord/scale steps is deeply ingrained and we do't have to invoke a note name to play/hear/see/understand it. Note names come up while we're talking about what we play, or explaining how to play something, or writing out music. Apparently your thought process is different - you explicitly think about the name of a note when you play it, and thinking of B as Cb messes you up. OK, that's you. Other stuff messes me up (but that's a topic for a bar or a shrink's office). I don't see any posts in this thread disputing the value of musoc theory.

    John

  39. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    There are no B major arpeggios in jazz.



    ... But seriously, what a bunch of us are saying is that we, of course, know note names and are aware of enharmonicity, but these don't come up while we're actually playing. We've been at it long enough that the mapping of fretboard locations to sounds and chord/scale steps is deeply ingrained and we do't have to invoke a note name to play/hear/see/understand it. Note names come up while we're talking about what we play, or explaining how to play something, or writing out music. Apparently your thought process is different - you explicitly think about the name of a note when you play it, and thinking of B as Cb messes you up. OK, that's you. Other stuff messes me up (but that's a topic for a bar or a shrink's office).

    John
    That's good. I wanted to know different views on this. How other people look at things. Actually what you said above largely describes me too. Yet that doesn't exclude note name awareness for me as much as some other players. That's fine. Regarding there being no B major arpeggios in Jazz, let's just say we disagree on that.

    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    I don't see any posts in this thread disputing the value of musoc theory.
    I don't see any posts claimed that anyone disputed the value of music theory.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    That said, at no point can I recall needing to think Cb instead of B. Unless there was a Cb in the chart.
    Occasionally I'll see a big band chart with two adjacent notes that are enharmonically the same pitch but are spelled differently (e.g. B and Cb) and so look different on the staff. While correctly reflecting the underlying harmony, this can be a real pain when sight reading at a fast tempo.

  41. #40

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    I'd like to see an example of that!

  42. #41

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    The tricky thing is, as discussed, there are only sharp notes on telecasters, so you have to do a lot of enharmonic respelling to sight read on one.

  43. #42

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    The notational strategy of employing 7 letters has both advantages and disadvantages.
    Major scales exist for all notes that offer from 0 - 7 sharps or flats.
    The spelling requires one note connected to each of the seven letters.
    There are 15 such major scale key signatures.

    C D E F G A B C
    F G A Bb C D E F
    Bb C D Eb F G A Bb
    Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb
    Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Ab
    Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db
    Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F Gb
    Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb Cb

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

    The last 2 keys contain one or two of the 4 note spellings in question.
    Cb, B#, Fb, E# all exist within basic key signatures.
    Cb actually is a bonafide key, although perhaps the only reason to choose it over
    B major might be due to a mid-song modulation from a flat key.

    Intervals (pre-post tonal) are also codified in relation to variants of the 7 scale degrees.
    F - Gb is a minor 2nd while F - F# is an augmented unison even though both are the same half step apart.

    Correct naming on the surface facilitates correct analysis.
    However, the 7 letter system presents facility to move into even uglier notational territory,
    when technically correct spelling requires the use of double flats and double sharps.
    A numerical system avoids such pitfalls but at this time, it is not the commonplace conduit to
    communicate a composition.

    Music can be successfully played relying purely on a direct connection between sonic knowledge
    and the mechanical aspects of realizing those sounds. In this way, this issue is a non-issue
    until we are either reading or notating music.

    As reading musicians, these 4 note spellings appear only occasionally. Still, when this happens,
    what response will we choose to have for such an occasion. One way or another, it is our job to
    play the music to the best of our abilities. And when we are the person notating the music,
    what presentation strategy will we choose. What is the best balance between the technically
    correct spelling vs. an expedient alternative for easier comprehension/accuracy by the ensemble

  44. #43

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    I remember coming across published sheet music for a Blur song in C# major

  45. #44

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    C# - 7 sharps or Db - 5 flats

    Cb - 7 flats or B - 5 sharps

    Fielder's choice:

    F# - 6 sharps or Gb - 6 flats

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by bako View Post
    C# - 7 sharps or Db - 5 flats

    Cb - 7 flats or B - 5 sharps

    Fielder's choice:

    F# - 6 sharps or Gb - 6 flats
    I remember a Rock player showing me a blues in A#...I told him it would be easier as Bb..he said "I dont know that key.."
    play well ...
    wolf

  47. #46

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    C flat - F flat - B sharp - E sharp-capo3-jpg
    heh heh