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  1. #201

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    In any case I would urge anyone coming into this to focus on the advice of those who have demonstrated their ability to play jazz to their satisfaction.

    Everything else can be safely ignored.

    And while educators often apparently contradict, there are some things everyone agrees on, annoying click bait being by the by. The primacy of the ear is one. Theory then becomes whatever you need to make sense of the music to play it.

    As I say I’m not detecting any actual debate here on this. I can of course nitpick till the cows come home, but substantively this is what everyone thinks.

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  3. #202
    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    You have to friggin practice. What do you expect?

    You're absolutely missing my point. Autumn leaves was my first jazz tune and I've spent years doing this

    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    You gotta learn the tune, learn the chords everywhere, learn the arpeggios,
    I know the melody, I know the chords in all sorts of inversion ... I also can substitute like mad if need be .. and yes, I've practiced the arpeggios .. but trying to play music based on that comes out like this:



    and not like this




    The problem isn't that I didn't put in work or didn't practice. It's that I feel into the trap of thinking that learning arpeggios, knowing scales (Major, minor, dorian, phrygian, etc, melodic minor in different applications, whole tone, byzantian, etc) would unlock my inner improvisor. It doesn't and has been a waste of time.

    What it has done is to help me easier memorize stuff as I have something to relate it too, but that is basically it.

    The last 6 months with Christiaan's channel has made more for my playing than any theory ... What it does is do wonders for my ear and facilitate motor skill and memory.

    The good thing about his format is that he plays the solos a measure at a time, so you can see the fingerings and phrases and just copy them. Unlike if you get a book with transcriptions where you have that disconnect of looking at a piece of paper and listening to an original recording. These days you can slow everything down without changing pitch, so it's not as bad as say 10 years ago, but that disconnect can be a deal breaker if you're not on top of your game (which nobody is once you start working and not to mention having kids)

    Another good thing about Christian is that he plays the phrases slower, but doesn't make it unbearably slow. Most youtubers tend to draw out a two bar ii-V-I lick to take 10 minutes making it impossible to watch. Just play the damn thing and trust your audience aren't absolute beginners.

    If I was 13-18 again then I'd spend more time listening to records .. But 13-18 was before I got into jazz. As I said before in this thread I can do a pretty good impression of Knopfler and whatever my heroes back then where without much effort. I don't have to think in order to do that .. Not the slightest bit, if just flows from sitting in front of my record player for months with my guitar in my lap.

    But unfortunately I feel in theory trap with regards to jazz instead of just putting on Charlie Christian and taking it from there. I started looking into jazz in my late 20s where the sit at your record player all day (or in my case night) where a thing of the past and I thought theory would lead me to the good life. It really doesn't.

    I'm willing to wager money you'd get a lot more out spending 10 hours learning a [insert favorite player] solo than 10 hours of doing that exercise you've posted.

  4. #203

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    I absolutely hear what you're saying. Autumn Leaves is a difficult tune because of the kind of lame sounding circle of fifths progression and the kind of formal mood. You absolutely have to shed some sort of good recording to integrate material for that song that won't sound lame. But if all you have are some melodies or parts that you like, and you can't fall back on your own playing that agrees with the harmony, then it's still going to sound bad. I don't get why you persistently argue or imply that the 2 approaches have to be mutually exclusive. They're not mutually exclusive. If you open up the neck with theory, that doesn't mean you can't go and pick apart the Cannonball and Miles recording and integrate their ideas. What gives man? Actually, if you have a theory base. You're going to understand the real world material better. So wtf.


  5. #204
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    As I say I’m not detecting any actual debate here on this. I can of course nitpick till the cows come home, but substantively this is what everyone thinks.
    Engaging in troll'ish discussions has the benefit of making you become clear about your thoughts and point of you.

    The danger is off course getting too emotionally invested and start lamenting not being heard, which might wreck you, but as long as you can keep yourself in check then there can be value to be had.


    One of the things that this tread really highlights is that many like to assume that theory is hard for most and that they struggle with it .. My point of view is that theory isn't hard, but playing is where the struggle is

  6. #205
    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    I don't get why you persistently argue or imply that the 2 approaches have to me mutually exclusive.

    That is not what I argue .. and has never been what I argued.


    My argument is that language or rather ear is a prerequisite for sounding good and that can't be learned from theory. So if you want to sound good you have to put in your dues copying good sounding players.

    Once you've done that then you'll sound good and if theory can add to that then great. Some players have benefited immensely from theory, while others (even world class ones) have more or less ignored it apart from the absolute basics.


    My next argument is that if you don't do the above and just spend time with theory and exercises like the ones you've posted then you're likely to sound shitty forever and ever. I put myself forward as an example of that.

    I mean, it's not that I sound bad .. I just don't sound good. It swings, the notes aren't wrong .. but unless it's a bluesy tune (where I can draw on my previous experience of playing the blues) then it's usually just bland and boring.


    My argument isn't that those two approaches are mutually exclusive .. It is that theory is optional, while the other stuff isn't.

  7. #206

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    I agree with everything you wrote except for your thesis in bold. I think it's all necessary for your average not ultra gifted musician.

  8. #207

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    This debate just seems to go round in circles. Surely the bottom line is that everyone needs to learn some theory but also needs to transcribe/listen/learn jazz language. The question then is simply how much of each do you do?

    In my case I probably spent at least 80% of the time (maybe more) on transcribing/learning from records. It was more by accident than design, it was just that was the only way I knew how to do it (there was no internet when I started out, and I hardly had any books). Looking back, I’m glad I took that approach, it worked for me.

  9. #208

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    Engaging in troll'ish discussions has the benefit of making you become clear about your thoughts and point of you.
    Yes, that's why I do it really.

    The danger is off course getting too emotionally invested and start lamenting not being heard, which might wreck you, but as long as you can keep yourself in check then there can be value to be had.
    I have plenty of students, so I don't really feel this. I can understand how people could. Anyway, it's not me that's not being heard, here - it's my teachers.

    One of the things that this tread really highlights is that many like to assume that theory is hard for most and that they struggle with it .. My point of view is that theory isn't hard, but playing is where the struggle is
    I think theory is a piece of piss. I think doing music is very very hard.

    It takes a lot of time to a melody right. It's really hard to play quarter notes well lol.

    (Embodied, as opposed to intellectual knowledge, takes a lot of time to learn and tends to be undervalued in our education system. Musicians are artisans, not thinkers, necessarily.)

  10. #209
    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    I agree with everything you wrote except for your thesis in bold. I think it's all necessary for your average not ultra gifted musician.
    I have no problem with that .. We all speak from personal experience and mine is clearly that I've spent too much time on theory and mapping exercises


    Cheers Clint!

  11. #210

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    Cheers. I need to work more real stuff as well.

  12. #211
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I don't really feel this. I can understand how people could.

    Yeah, you've always been the level headed here

    But don't you dare stop posting again .. You're far too valuable and appreciated here

  13. #212

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    I agree with everything you wrote except for your thesis in bold. I think it's all necessary for your average not ultra gifted musician.
    Sunk costs...

    It's all academic to me. I know theory.

    But I know what really helped me was to listen closely to the music and sing the phrases, play them back and only then try and work out what was going on. And that happened really quite late for me. (Teachers aren't to blame - I knew I should be doing it haha.)

    If you want a pure example, learn from Dutchbopper's story.

    It's not about talent - it's more like, do you seriously have enough time to spend on anything other than going direct to the source - the music? You probably know more than enough theory already. It's the sort of stuff like when you transcribe that super cool lick and realise it's all triads - or the stepwise minor scale - that puts the theory thing into perspective :-) (Then you have rethink your ideas of what makes things sound GOOD.)

    A lot of apparently very talented musicians are those who have had a clean, effective process and understand how to practice and learn music. I'm not saying that's the only thing that separates Jonathon Kreisberg or Bruce Forman from your average noodler, but it's quite a lot of the difference.

    It's just hard work and being honest about one's abilities, and open to sucking at first. The latter two are the most important things, and the hardest things for me to learn. I'm learning it all the time.

    (If I had to identify the most important talent for being a musician it would be that. Great jazz guitarists who achieve a very high level at a young age are old heads on young shoulders in this respect.)

    Theory is optional for most of the more diatonic forms of jazz. When it comes to Coltrane tunes, I wouldn't want to die on that hill. But you can totally play Rhythm Changes by ear.
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-01-2020 at 06:53 AM.

  14. #213

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    I'm confident enough in my voice as a jazz musician that it's important enough for me to have as one of my goals to open up the neck with my inversions and arpeggios so I can be free flow with my ideas. Even if they aren't super original. I want to be able to stick my hand anywhere on the neck and be able to start playing one of several tunes, in the changes, either melody paraphrasing, or single line solo, or chord melody. That ain't gonna happen without working theory. Of course I have to make time to study things that aren't directly the music. Wtf.

    Also want to be able to have good style, with good licks, parts, and quotes. That ain't gonna happen without real world study. I do a lot of listening and defining what styles I want to work. I do some transcription and could probably do more.

  15. #214

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    I'm confident enough in my voice as a jazz musician that it's important enough for me to have as one of my goals to open up the neck with my inversions and arpeggios so I can be free flow with my ideas. Even if they aren't super original. I want to be able to stick my hand anywhere on the neck and be able to start playing one of several tunes, in the changes, either melody paraphrasing, or single line solo, or chord melody. That ain't gonna happen without working theory. Of course I have to make time to study things that aren't directly the music. Wtf.

    Also want to be able to have good style, with good licks, parts, and quotes. That ain't gonna happen without real world study. I do a lot of listening and defining what styles I want to work. I do some transcription and could probably do more.
    Yeah, please bear in mind you and I are not really having a discussion about you. You are not my student and I have no real idea of how you play and what you actually need to work on.

    Learning scales and grips all over the neck is exactly part of that embodied knowledge. Theoretically, a melodic minor scale is simple and its applications can be understood in an afternoon. How long does it take to drill learn that all over the fretboard? Bloody ages for me haha.

    That’s not theory. That’s practice. That’s the hard bit. The time sink. The grind as the gamer kiddies call it.

    But it’s also not learning jazz. It’s simply learning to play one’s instrument.

    Scales are simply tidied up melodies. They are useful to us because they are simpler than real music, and allow us to work on things like tone and technique. Scales come from music not vice versa.

    That’s why it’s possible to say this melody has the notes of Bb major, but of course that doesn’t mean every permutation of Bb major results in a great melody. Of course. (Of course jazz theory often analyses things in a way that totally ignore the melodic characteristics of a line in favour of its harmonic context, but that’s another rant.)

    But anyway, that’s a fairly logical argument as to why you can’t make music from theory. Information is necessarily lost.

    That’s what theory is - a simplification in order to try and get to the essence of something. Go too far with it and you end up something too abstract to be useful. It is also possible to miss other aspects that you haven’t thought about (often rhythm and timbre.)

    Don’t use it at all and you are just left with special cases (although I think we underestimate the power of intuition here. I think the brain does a lot of work ‘under the hood.’)

    Anyway, style is a good word. style comes as much from the way things are played as what they are and that can only be picked up by ear.

  16. #215

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    Thing is all those virtuoso usually rise to prominence long before they're old enough to attend conservatory. I'm willing to wager quite a bit of money that the first violinist you mention despite "only" being first chair in your city started playing violin at the age of 4 or maybe 5, if he was a late starter and has put in a sick amount of hours just playing (and since it's classical also reading) music.

    I agree. Starting young gives one a massive leg up on the rest.

  17. #216

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    So any clips of you demonstrating how you apply knowing those arpeggios all over the neck to jazz improvisation .. or at least of you playing so that it will inspire me to put in that work?
    Is that what you need? Jazz practice is a solitary task. It's up to you, not him.

    Playing scales and arpeggios in at least five areas of the fretboard is good advice but it doesn't end there, to your point. It's like a blueprint of foundational structure. In other words you will need to do at least that, and not just by rote - but in context of common formulae (Blues, II-V-Is, Rhythm Changes, Turnarounds, Coltrane changes if you want, etc.)

    SO - You need to practice the jazz language in five areas too. That's more work than the scales and arpeggios. You mentioned "licks". Yes. But one also needs to develop the skill of easily weaving longer jazz lines using smooth voice leading, using direct and indirect approaches. (There has been some increased chatter about that here as of late. Enclosure demos for guitar and Chad LB's hyper-enclosure practice routines, etc.)

    Louis Armstrong talked about his "routine". A developing player needs a routine practicing the jazz language in context of common forms and harmonic progressions like those mentioned above - and also in the context of tunes. (see Chad LB's studies)

  18. #217

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    You're absolutely missing my point. Autumn leaves was my first jazz tune and I've spent years doing this



    I know the melody, I know the chords in all sorts of inversion ... I also can substitute like mad if need be .. and yes, I've practiced the arpeggios .. but trying to play music based on that comes out like this:



    and not like this




    The problem isn't that I didn't put in work or didn't practice. It's that I feel into the trap of thinking that learning arpeggios, knowing scales (Major, minor, dorian, phrygian, etc, melodic minor in different applications, whole tone, byzantian, etc) would unlock my inner improvisor. It doesn't and has been a waste of time.

    What it has done is to help me easier memorize stuff as I have something to relate it too, but that is basically it.

    The last 6 months with Christiaan's channel has made more for my playing than any theory ... What it does is do wonders for my ear and facilitate motor skill and memory.

    The good thing about his format is that he plays the solos a measure at a time, so you can see the fingerings and phrases and just copy them. Unlike if you get a book with transcriptions where you have that disconnect of looking at a piece of paper and listening to an original recording. These days you can slow everything down without changing pitch, so it's not as bad as say 10 years ago, but that disconnect can be a deal breaker if you're not on top of your game (which nobody is once you start working and not to mention having kids)

    Another good thing about Christian is that he plays the phrases slower, but doesn't make it unbearably slow. Most youtubers tend to draw out a two bar ii-V-I lick to take 10 minutes making it impossible to watch. Just play the damn thing and trust your audience aren't absolute beginners.

    If I was 13-18 again then I'd spend more time listening to records .. But 13-18 was before I got into jazz. As I said before in this thread I can do a pretty good impression of Knopfler and whatever my heroes back then where without much effort. I don't have to think in order to do that .. Not the slightest bit, if just flows from sitting in front of my record player for months with my guitar in my lap.

    But unfortunately I feel in theory trap with regards to jazz instead of just putting on Charlie Christian and taking it from there. I started looking into jazz in my late 20s where the sit at your record player all day (or in my case night) where a thing of the past and I thought theory would lead me to the good life. It really doesn't.

    I'm willing to wager money you'd get a lot more out spending 10 hours learning a [insert favorite player] solo than 10 hours of doing that exercise you've posted.
    It's simple. You have conflated the jazz language with bare bones scales and arpeggios. It's easy to fall into that trap because it's intellectually simpler.

  19. #218
    (double post)

  20. #219

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    Another thing about learning theory. It's supportive of playing, arranging and composing. And for that matter conducting.

    God forbid that a good musician might want to write something someday. Look how many jazz artists write their own tunes today. Their albums are full of originals, NOT standards and the Great American Songbook.

    I remember an interview with Dave Douglas some years ago. Not unlike Sonny Rollins, he was having some success but he felt something missing and decided to take some steps back, in his case for his writing. He went back to studying counterpoint. That's in the realm of "theory and composition".

    Knowledge is power.

  21. #220
    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan
    Is that what you need?

    Yes that is what I need. After seeing his vid (thanks for posting btw Clint ) I had a read on him and we quickly found agreement (and where we disagreed too, but it was minor stuff).


    Christian was kind to go ind and elaborate on some of the stuff we where discussing, which was great too and Christians advice here is greatly appreciated. There are a zillion videos with him playing for us to enjoy

    The same with many of the other regulars that have chimed in here. Plenty of examples of them playing and they're all great players.


    Now you .. Well .. You're pretty full of yourself and telling me what I need to do or do not. But tbh, I haven't seen you play and apart of you being loud there is absolutely nothing for me to back up your authority. Why should I listen to you? Can you give me a single reason?


    So links to your playing?

  22. #221

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    Why should I listen to you? Can you give me a single reason?
    Logic. It's not about me. What I am telling you is what the best jazz educators - and players who teach - have advised, going back decades. Maybe you haven't read, reviewed, surveyed their messaging, but that's OK. It (jazz improv pedagogy) is starting to reach more of a consensus now than in past decades, which is a great thing. It's not all aligned and never will be, but there's less mystery and more red meat. Thats good for a lot of reasons - like time management and results.

    To be clear, you're getting caught in your shorts with this "show me your video stuff". The "good/great player demonstrating their greatness/goodness is the reason to take their advice" works, but only to a point. Look at how many learned by trial and error and herculean repetitive effort. They can't explain very well what they do, and even take pride in that fact, yet they play like nobody's business. How many jazzers produce some educational material these days? More and more of them, for sure. But then people say, "but I don't want to play like him, I don't like his jazz conception" and then cast off the player's advice. Case in point, I am not drawn to the Gypsy jazz style in any way. It's an interesting historical style but is frozen in the 1930s as far as I'm concerned. We can all name players who have published educational material and yet we might say about such material - "eh, no thanks".

    So anyway, if you like this guy's playing then what you are doing by learning his solos is just great. Imitate-Assimilate-Innovate. You are doing the first - and should.

    So, do you have a clearly defined strategy and plan for getting to the third? Is it clear to you how it will be accomplished? Will it be an efficient plan, or will it take five times the effort and duration than it otherwise could?

  23. #222
    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan
    Logic. It's not about me. What I am telling you is what the best jazz educators - and players who teach - have advised, going back decades. Maybe you haven't read, reviewed, surveyed their messaging, but that's OK. It (jazz improv pedagogy) is starting to reach more of a consensus now than in past decades, which is a great thing. It's not all aligned and never will be, but there's less mystery and more red meat. Thats good for a lot of reasons - like time management and results.

    To be clear, you're getting caught in your shorts with this "show me your video stuff". The "good/great player demonstrating their greatness/goodness is the reason to take their advice" works, but only to a point. Look at how many learned by trial and error and herculean repetitive effort. They can't explain very well what they do, and even take pride in that fact, yet they play like nobody's business. How many jazzers produce some educational material these days? More and more of them, for sure. But then people say, "but I don't want to play like him, I don't like his jazz conception" and then cast off the player's advice. Case in point, I am not drawn to the Gypsy jazz style in any way. It's an interesting historical style but is frozen in the 1930s as far as I'm concerned. We can all name players who have published educational material and yet we might say about such material - "eh, no thanks".

    So anyway, if you like this guy's playing then what you are doing by learning his solos is just great. Imitate-Assimilate-Innovate. You are doing the first - and should.

    So, do you have a clearly defined strategy and plan for getting to the third? Is it clear to you how it will be accomplished? Will it be an efficient plan, or will it take five times the effort and duration than it otherwise could?

    OK. so you refuse to share your playing with us ... Ok, no problem ... Just give me your name and teaching credentials. If you're a well respected teacher then that is fine too.

  24. #223

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    Personally, I think the biggest thing overlooked in a lot of people's approaches is the listening. Whether it's theory or transcription or both, I meet so many people who want to play jazz, but they don't actually listen to much of it. I mean, to improvise, you have to hear jazz lines in your head, right? And how else is the music in your head going to be jazz if you don't completely immerse your listening in it?

    Then again, I'll never sell any copies of my pamphlet, "How to be ok at jazz in one short decade of hard work."

  25. #224

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    OK. so you refuse to share your playing with us ... Ok, no problem ... Just give me your name and teaching credentials. If you're a well respected teacher then that is fine too.
    I'm not sure what your objective is, other than to follow your internet teacher's advice in dogmatic fashion, broadcast it to the world, and then go out of your way to defend it against any other point of view. One wonders if you have some doubts about it though, otherwise might simply return to the practice room, secure in your knowledge that it is "the path".

    You have your study path and I have mine. "Imitation" is common to both. Just a friendly note though - "Imitation plus trial and error" is a long and laborius path. Given that neither of us will be able to go back to childhood, nor will quit our jobs to do our version of "The Bridge", we might benefit from some additional tactics. But that's TBD.

    As long as we're enjoying ourselves it's all good.

    Later.

  26. #225

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Personally, I think the biggest thing overlooked in a lot of people's approaches is the listening. Whether it's theory or transcription or both, I meet so many people who want to play jazz, but they don't actually listen to much of it. I mean, to improvise, you have to hear jazz lines in your head, right? And how else is the music in your head going to be jazz if you don't completely immerse your listening in it?

    Then again, I'll never sell any copies of my pamphlet, "How to be ok at jazz in one short decade of hard work."
    Yes, listening to jazz, jazz, jazz, is really useful to learning how to play jazz. E.g. for over 20 years, I have played with a really fine musician. He played rock (mostly original songs). We meet and he wanted to learn to play jazz. He was one that was never into learning scales and other theoretical techniques; he wanted his improvisations to come from his "soul" and be melodic - i.e. melody based verses, say riff based (which he was much better than I was at due to his rock playing).

    Hey, I get that so I advised him to listen to Jimmy Raney and other that I feel "sing" when they solo, but he never took the time to do so.
    Well all these years later we still jam about twice a month (well except since March!), and in the last few years he has notice my solos are more melodic and interesting. I told him I had spent the time transcribing some Raney solos and what is found on those Aebersold records featuring Raney) and that is what I'm channeling. I.e. I heard something I really liked and wanted to do and used the technique of transcribing to get that into my own playing.

  27. #226

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    IMO, the anti-theory theories seem to indicate that perhaps some sort of creative blocks other than theory could be the real problems.

  28. #227

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    I'm confident enough in my voice as a jazz musician
    wtf

  29. #228

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    wtf wat

  30. #229

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    wtf wat
    sorry!

    wtf, lol?

  31. #230

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    u need halp

  32. #231

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    The problem with theory is when people get caught up on trying to make things FIT it. It should be the other way around...so not "It says I can use lydian dominant here," but "Oh, that cool lick is all notes from lydian dominant...let me figure out what else I can do with those notes."

  33. #232

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    Coltrane employed theory when he soloed on Giant Steps.

  34. #233

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    Barry Harris employs theory when he plays.

  35. #234
    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    Barry Harris employs theory when he plays.

    But what came first .. him being able to play great or the theory?


    Was he a world class player/improviser first that got into theory later on

    or

    Was the theory the reason he became world class?


    The Barry Harris wiki tells this story:
    In his teens he learned the bebop largely by ear, imitating solos by Powell.

  36. #235

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    At the 22:23 mark I realized that I was watching my video screen, within which showed a video posted by Lobomov of Christiaan van Hemert, within which Christiaan was showing a video of Rhett Shull, within which Rhett was showing a video of Julian Lage.

  37. #236

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    Barry Harris employs theory when he plays.
    Depends how you define music theory (I define it differently in this case).... but yes in that he is not purely teaching or presumably practicing based on ear and intuition alone.

    Given most people have their own meaning, and a lot of these debates seem to be more about people talking past each other, I can only give again this basic advice - use your flipping ears and whatever extra info you find helpful.

    Works for most, I think.

    Hemert? Perhaps overstating the case for effect, but I don't think that's always a bad thing. Sometimes you need to be a little simplistic and emphatic to cut through.

    I think I am with him 100% when he says prioritise using one's ears. And TBH that's the number one thing you both need to do and which people are intimated about doing. But as soon as you do it any theory you develops a context and becomes helpful. Simple as that really...

    The other thing is if you have a feel and ear for the music through listening to a lot of it and learning from it for many many hours, you are going to be able to use things like theoretical concepts to make music immediately. Beginner improvisors by and large (not always tho) can't do this. What Hemert is suggesting is the start rather than the end of the process.
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-03-2020 at 07:40 PM.

  38. #237

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    What about great metal players? You really think they're singing those 16th notes, 16th note triplets, and even 32nd notes? Uh no. They conceptualize it with theory, then practice it for YEARS before the finished product comes out as music. They don't arrive there 100% aurally. Not one of them.

  39. #238
    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    What about great metal players? You really think they're singing those 16th notes, 16th note triplets, and even 32nd notes? Uh no. They conceptualize it with theory, then practice it for YEARS before the finished product comes out as music. They don't arrive there 100% aurally. Not one of them.

    So me transcribing Dave Murray and Adrian Smith solos back in 1992 wasn't a thing?

    I don't know what is happening in modern metal as I quit being interested somewhere in the latter half of the 90s, but I don't really remember 70s/80s metal as being conceptual. It was riff based .. Sure some stuff (especially tapping) is very much arppegio based, but it's still riffs that get moved around.


    Also I know that the title of the thread contains the words "No theory", but if you watch the vids and see what it written here then it is clear that there is some element of "theory".

    You still have a connection between the chord and the licks. The extreme is where Gypsy Sinti version where the chords don't have name, they're just a fingering .. but you still have the connection between the chord (fingering) and the lick .. Then you expand that lick to two licks etc.


    But something we haven't talked about. If you think theory then you have your minor chords and your dominants. These dominants you have the conception of playing inside sound or stepping outside and playing different degrees of altered runs etc.

    Now take a minor 6 run. That is 4 notes played over a couple of octaves. It's a fingering.What happens if you bring that fingering to a minor tune? You play it over the minor chords and you can play it over the dominant chords. Basically that one fingering can cover the entire tune. Depending on how you target the dominant chord it will be an inside or an outside sound.


    So theory wise you have this story. The player decided to play pretty vanilla on this dominant focusing on this and that note .. blah blah blah, while here he chose an altered sound instead focusing on this and that note blah blah blah. Which is a lot to take in.

    In practice without thinking theoretically your ear might have discovered that the player basically played that one fingering over and over again and just shifted it a couple of frets depending on the underlying chord. Further more you might discover that the reason he played the inside or outside version is not artistic choice as much as it is moving your hand the least. If you play the altered version perhaps you only have to shift you hand 1 fret, if you want the inside version then you have to shift it 6 frets (or reverse, which makes you play inside sounds)


    The mechanical side of playing is somehow rarely discussed and instead it's made into theory. Paul Gilbert is one of the few players I've seen going .. I play this arpeggio which theoretically is a whatever arpeggio, but the reason I do it is cause the fingering is just so easy and it sounds great.

  40. #239

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    So we have 2 double standards going:

    Only theory is at fault if a theory idea ends up not being musical. While the ear is never at fault if ideas pursued with the ear fail.

    We can use a base of theory to benefit the 'ear' or 'soul' or whatever. But we can't use our base of soul or musical vision to birth a theoretical approach to idea creation.

    Checks out.

  41. #240

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    My notion of theory has nothing to do with not using your ears. I wish people stopped strawman'ing theory like that. It's quite the contrary, my notion of theory is how to get your ears stronger. I suspect most people who teach using theoretical tools also understand that.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 12-04-2020 at 07:42 AM.

  42. #241
    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    So we have 2 double standards going:

    Only theory is at fault if a theory idea ends up not being musical. While the ear is never at fault if ideas pursued with the ear fail.

    We can use a base of theory to benefit the 'ear' or 'soul' or whatever. But we can't use our base of soul or musical vision to birth a theoretical approach to idea creation.

    Checks out.

    That is your invention. The claim in Christiaan's video that I support here is this:

    In order to play good you need to focus on ear and the mechanical side of thing. Take stuff make it sound good with proper tone and timing then play around with that. In order words practice playing which is best done with practicing licks or phrases that are actually used by other players. If you want to get good fast then this is the way to do it.

    I mean you can always get "academic" and look for even the slightest inconsistencies in my post that all are written on the fly. I dig



    Theory can be interesting and fun, but will not aide you in playing getting good at actually playing. If you want to do that then you got to do the playing.


    Give me one player that got good thru theory. Wes started out by transcribing Charlie Christian

    If we take metal Yngwie transcribed that entire Richie Blackmore catalogue on his way to become Yngwie etc etc etc. I don't buy that there was a single metal player that started out by going .. Hey this is a song in E. Let me map out the arpeggios and construct some licks from that.



    All the theory I know have not allowed me to come up with something like the first bar from Donna Lee. On the other hand finally learning that phrase I have no problem combine that with other stuff to make good sounding lines in other tunes

    But that is basically the statement here. Wanna get good fast then transcribe phrases and practice applying them in different context.


    To round off what I'm saying is that "I'm going to play this Wes Montgomery lick" is to me a more efficient way to think than "I'm going to play the 7th mode of the melodic minor starting from this chords root".

    Btw first time I hit this chord I wanted less tension, so I played the 4th mode of melodic minor starting from this chords root.
    Last edited by Lobomov; 12-04-2020 at 08:14 AM.

  43. #242
    Btw ... I decided I didn't want to post this as I already posted the first two vids, but screw it ... Here is Christiaans last installment on the subject on learning to play ... He has since moved on to different topics like Gypsy picking.

    But it's interesting enough as Martin Miller champions the learning triads in all sorts of position using the circle of 5th etc ... If you're bored you might find it interesting Clint


  44. #243

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    You're making it a false dichotomy like you have been for the last week. Noone is saying learn do re mi meanwhile live in a bubble and never listen to music or practice phrases.

    You need a base of theory to understand the musicality of everything, the phrases, the harmonies, the nuance. You need both. They're all beneficial. In the end the only thing that matters is if it's well done and musical. So no it doesn't matter how you get there but studying any aspect will never hurt you, as long as it's not done to the exclusion of other essential topics.

    Give 10 kids a guitar and Barney Kessel playing Autumn Leaves. How many will succeed in playing music? ZERO. YOU NEED BOTH. Someone has to show the kids put ur finger here do this, do this. THAT'S THEORY. Then listen to how it's supposed to sound. YOU NEED BOTH. WTF.

  45. #244
    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    How many will succeed in playing music? [....] Someone has to show the kids put ur finger here do this, do this. THAT'S THEORY.
    This is exactly what this thread is about. Mechanics and the act of actually playing. Learn how to move your fingers. This will indirectly be ear training as your ear improves as you fingers learn more and more sounds. At some point you're going to have a link between what you hear and what you play. But focus only on Technique (mechanics) Tone and Timing. That is it.

    That is basically what Christiaan's channel/patreon is all about. There is this song. I'm going to show you 3 solos over this song (say Django, Birelle, Stohelo or non gypsy players like Peter Bernstein and Ulf Wakenius or even non-guitar people like Stan Getz and Barry Harris). Here is the tab and here is 3x40 minutes of me going thru each solo measure by measure.

    You should be doing the transcriptions yourself off course, but here is the next best thing. I'll sum it up by going thru what I consider the 6 best licks in those three solos and talk a bit about how those can be applied. Then round it off by a rhythm work out if you ever need to comp.


    If you consider that theory then sure .. Let's learn lots of theory. But in this discussion theory is this






    Makes me wanna ask if you watched any of the videos or are you just going of the "No theory" in the title of this thread?

  46. #245
    Anyways. This have been a fun thread and I enjoyed being a stout defender of "no theory" .. End of day I got what I wanted and stuff is has now gone in circles more than once.


    But thanks for contributing out all of you ... Greatly appreciated!!

  47. #246

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    So me transcribing Dave Murray and Adrian Smith solos back in 1992 wasn't a thing?
    Up the Irons!

    Two highly underrated melodic lead players.

    Maybe why metal is all crap metalcore crap or inexplicable 8 string Djent widdles with no songs might have something to do with it getting all theory obsessed. Of course I'm an old fart. All popular music is doomed to go the sad way of jazz. Just wait when you can do BMus in MC'ing, that'll kill hiphop too.

  48. #247
    I just started doing some transcribing of Kenny Burrell's solo on Lyresto after being inspired by this thread.

    It definitely helped my ears grow a bit as I was forced to transcribe the bass line to figure out some of the chords which was much harder than transcribing the actual guitar solo.

    But, I mostly gained some theoretical insights, IMO. For instance, their is backdoor resolution from the bVII7 to the I. And Burrell basically just does a descending minor scale run in the parallel minor key and uses that every time. I wasn't that familiar with the backdoor progression or what to play over it.

    The part, I'm struggling with, is how transcribing will improve my technical proficiency which is where I'm weakest. Do I keep playing the solo over and over again until I can play it at tempo? Right now I can only play it smoothly at 75%. I guess what I'm saying is that technical mastery is the hardest part for me and I don't see a big distinction between ear and theory and are we saying that transcribing and mastering others solos will improve that?

  49. #248

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    Hemert is an excellent musician in several instruments and totally dedicated to art of music; listening carefully to his latest clips, I don't think he's championing the "No Theory" option/method, he's really looking at it as a different way to learn and getting a bad rap for it. I'm not a proponent of his method, but respect his opinion and agree to disagree. I accept and agree that it has worked for many people including some great guitarists, but at some point I'm sure that theory came into the picture. Years ago I knew a jazz guitarist back in New York who was an incredible musician and had amazing improv skills, he barely read charts but that was it. I asked him after a gig about his approach to improvisation and he replied: "I listen to as many records from Wes, Martino, Smith, and Pass as I can, and try to play many of their lines over the same chords, they've already figured out the theory and know what they are doing, so I don't need the theory" Again, I'm not a proponent of his method and have spent many years and money studying theory and Harmony, but it is a different path and no doubt it's worked for others. No reason to ridicule or give a bad rap to a fellow jazz musician.



    Cheers,
    Arnie..

  50. #249

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    Quote Originally Posted by charlieparker
    I just started doing some transcribing of Kenny Burrell's solo on Lyresto after being inspired by this thread.

    It definitely helped my ears grow a bit as I was forced to transcribe the bass line to figure out some of the chords which was much harder than transcribing the actual guitar solo.

    But, I mostly gained some theoretical insights, IMO. For instance, their is backdoor resolution from the bVII7 to the I. And Burrell basically just does a descending minor scale run in the parallel minor key and uses that every time. I wasn't that familiar with the backdoor progression or what to play over it.

    The part, I'm struggling with, is how transcribing will improve my technical proficiency which is where I'm weakest. Do I keep playing the solo over and over again until I can play it at tempo? Right now I can only play it smoothly at 75%. I guess what I'm saying is that technical mastery is the hardest part for me and I don't see a big distinction between ear and theory and are we saying that transcribing and mastering others solos will improve that?
    Good stuff. This is where the rubber hits the road...

    If you can hear it at speed it's much easier, provided your technique is basically there (i.e. you can play the instrument which is not always a given of course). Make sure you can sing every note in the phase. Not necessarily 100% accurate pitch, but the singing will help you audiate the details in your head. This sort of work has always helped me 'slow down the tempo' so that the target tempo feels slower than at first. Speed is often much more psychological than we suppose.

    I am not generally a fan of slowing down phrases to transcribe them except when I absolutely have to (like a Parker or Holdsworth double time phrase). Looping and repetition are more helpful.

    Writing down and analysing a solo is not the same as internalising it. Don't write it down unless you have to (for another player to perform, or to teach), or are practicing writing out music.

  51. #250

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    Barry Harris didn't have the options of by ear or by theory, it's not a zero sum game. The jazz theory route wasn't really available to him in those times.
    And why consider everything as what's best for "beginners". I'm not a beginner, are you?
    Is this a how to teach beginners sort of forum? It seems C is always an advocate for that sort of thing, just considering teaching students.

    Cory Henry (Snarky Puppy : "Lingus" keyboardist), is no slouch, he doesn't think "theory is a waste of time." He thinks theory when he practices to consciously organize what his ears hear. He doesn't think theory when he performs: he goes into the flow, listens, and his theory is simultaneously employed subconsciously.
    Last edited by rintincop; 12-04-2020 at 03:20 PM.