Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Posts 1 to 50 of 282
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    I'm growing fonder and fonder of Christiaan's educational style of just no BS transcriptions of jazz solo's.

    He has long championed the viewpoint that studying theory (for guitar) is a waste of time that could be better used making stuff swing, learning more sounds and so on ..

    Here he is commenting on a Rhett Shull video on the importance of theory ... I enjoyed it!

    The actual commenting start at 6:15



    Edit: He comments on playing with Rosenberg, Birelli and Julian Lage
    Last edited by Lobomov; 11-17-2020 at 07:06 PM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Is'nt there a Joe Pass quote about learning 100 tunes before starting to learn theory

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Theory's great...if you actually understand it.

    Better to really know 5 things than to "know of" 50.

    Jazz really isn't a music where I'd say writing off any knowledge is the right idea, but Christiaan has a good point.. most of what you need is right there in the music.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Scorch
    Is'nt there a Joe Pass quote about learning 100 tunes before starting to learn theory
    Frank Vignola said if you learn 200 tunes, you'll never have trouble improvising.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Rhett Schull annoys me.

    Are Christiaan’s videos still about 45 minutes long?

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Oh god it’s 1h30. Probably won’t watch it tbh. More to do with my own personal tastes; I don’t watch much music instructional type content these days and if I do I like it short and snappy.

    But a lot of people here I think like to have stuff like this on when they are working or driving... I tend to listen more to non-music or non-instructional music related podcasts etc for that purpose. (I should poll my subscribers and see what type of content they prefer actually...)

    but in general I agree with a lot of what he says.

    I’m against learning theory too early on as a musician, but my definition of what music theory is a bit different from most people here, and they seem to have trouble with the way I use the term sometimes.

    Theory to me is the attempt to explain how music works; most jazz ‘theory’ (excepting maybe CST) is aimed at naming common structures.

    Anyone who learns enough tunes is going to notice patterns, and this is what a lot of ‘theory’ in jazz is; recognising common patterns and situations such as II V I’s etc. Django undoubtedly had a concept of this even if he didn’t know what the ‘correct’ names were. (In Gypsy Jazz circles for instance, Christophe is the name of a common chord sequence.)

    So I think this kind of ‘theory’ is best learned through practical experience. Putting things in a book like ‘Hearing the Changes’ is not that helpful unless the student learns lots of tunes and uses the book as a reference text.
    Last edited by christianm77; 11-18-2020 at 06:11 AM.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Rhett Schull annoys me.
    Indeed

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Oh god it’s 1h30. Probably won’t watch it tbh. More to do with my own personal tastes; I don’t watch much music instructional type content these days and if I do I like it short and snappy.
    His vids are usually 15-20 minutes, but since he cut them in half .. one half for youtube and one half for his patreon, a usual vid will be around 30-40 minutes as you say. It will be the first half of a solo for all .. followed by the last half for his patreons. He just plays it and will occasionally comment on fingerings or picking patterns, but never go into note names etc, which is what makes other youtube channels so unbearable. Nothing worse than a 10 sec ii-V lick being dragged out for 10 minutes due to the youtuber going into "First you finger the 3rd, which is an Eb with your ring finger .. then ... etc etc".

    Anyways .. This is just a livestream, where Christiaan just had a bit of fun for an hour and a half. I think that having people watching him made him elaborate in more detail than first intended.


    If you consider putting time into the vid then start at 19:00. I mean he is engaged and it's fun, a few stories about Julian Lage, Birelli and Stochelo, but I doubt that is anything that will rock your world


    If you just want the the essence of his narrative it is from 49:20 to around 55:00 where Christian tells his story as a person with a degree in music and an accomplished arranger picked up the guitar and discovered that he couldn't play a single guitar solo that sounded good unlike say Stochelo that knows zero theory yet can play amazing stuff 24/7.


    Good hearted fun is at 1:04:30
    Rhett says: My ear is hearing things and wants to play things that I can't quite pull off on my intrument. That for me means I'm hiring a guitar teacher and signing up for lessons again. Christiaan answers: I don't understand the need for a teacher. Why don't you just transcribe the music that is causing you trouble?

    and 1:09:00 where Rhett says theory is a way to communicate and Christiaan adds that that is only in two places. Internet forums and classrooms.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    I've always thought the "best" way to learn the instrument was to simply play it- fiddle around with it, figuring out all the theory yourself, the stuff we call theory is really just that- shortened/shortcutted to make it easier and faster.

    But there's something to be said for developing your ear, and being able to pick out a 13th chord (or whatever) just by ear alone. I've seen interviews where Tommy Emmanuel says he knows very little theory, couldn't tell you how to build a 13th chord, but he knows what a 13th chord SOUNDS LIKE, and how to play one ALL OVER the neck. It's more of a practical approach than a learned one, I guess.

    Short Steve Vai video on the subject:

    start at 5:25


  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    His vids are usually 15-20 minutes, but since he cut them in half .. one half for youtube and one half for his patreon, a usual vid will be around 30-40 minutes as you say. It will be the first half of a solo for all .. followed by the last half for his patreons. He just plays it and will occasionally comment on fingerings or picking patterns, but never go into note names etc, which is what makes other youtube channels so unbearable. Nothing worse than a 10 sec ii-V lick being dragged out for 10 minutes due to the youtuber going into "First you finger the 3rd, which is an Eb with your ring finger .. then ... etc etc".

    Anyways .. This is just a livestream, where Christiaan just had a bit of fun for an hour and a half. I think that having people watching him made him elaborate in more detail than first intended.


    If you consider putting time into the vid then start at 19:00. I mean he is engaged and it's fun, a few stories about Julian Lage, Birelli and Stochelo, but I doubt that is anything that will rock your world
    Yeah I understand the appeal for others. I think it’s different if you are making content of this type yourself; good to get a break! (Plus I kind of have too much stuff to work on as it is.... )

    If you just want the the essence of his narrative it is from 49:20 to around 55:00 where Christian tells his story as a person with a degree in music and an accomplished arranger picked up the guitar and discovered that he couldn't play a single guitar solo that sounded good unlike say Stochelo that knows zero theory yet can play amazing stuff 24/7.
    One thing I would say is almost all the GJ players I know are lick guys. I’m not sure you need theory to be a more flexible linear improviser, but I think if you approach transcription from the POV of licks, you will play licks. And please understand I don’t think that’s a bad thing; I think it’s healthy to go through that least a phase of learning licks you can play.

    learning scales and so on is helpful for learning to improvise beyond licks. There’s a reason why every significant figure in the history of jazz education seems to have been obsessed with scales and their applications. But to go in at the beginning with scales is the biggest mistake of jazz educators.... because if you haven’t learned loads of licks by ear you won’t know how to make these things into music.

    rather scales unlock the neck and make it easier to understand what you are hearing if that makes any sense and perhaps easier to vary and develop material you hear.

    But flexibility in changing licks and working with material beyond just firing them off is a big part of that. I find the locked in aspect of gypsy jazz unsatisfying from a jazz perspective. Don’t think that’s true of all players, but certainly many of them. It’s like rock guitar. Instagram etc have taken this to the nth degree across the board.

    The idea of Peter Bernstein licks for example, sort of misses the point of what Pete is about... he used to play licks in the 90s... but then Peter’s approach is often about turning chord shapes into melodies, varying the melody and working motives into lines, and that’s not really very theoretical lol. But is more process oriented.

    Working with small modules of material allows freer improvisation in fast tempos. This is the power of Barry’s approach btw. Took me a while to get that, but you end up playing bop without licks. Marsh/Tristano were into this too.

    Good hearted fun is at 1:04:30
    Rhett says: My ear is hearing things and wants to play things that I can't quite pull off on my intrument. That for me means I'm hiring a guitar teacher and signing up for lessons again. Christiaan answers: I don't understand the need for a teacher. Why don't you just transcribe the music that is causing you trouble?
    lol. I mean I honestly think guitar teachers make a meal of teaching technique half the time. If you can hear it, your body will often find a way.,,,

    and 1:09:00 where Rhett says theory is a way to communicate and Christiaan adds that that is only in two places. Internet forums and classrooms.
    Yep. Very seldom is this a topic of conversation in rehearsals and gigs.
    Last edited by christianm77; 11-18-2020 at 09:40 AM.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Yeah, more either/or "philosophy" for the mentally lazy guitarist out there. Are there any "hacks" or "one weird tricks"? lol.


    1. Theory - can be learned fairly quickly by human beings, especially educated ones. Applying it is where the work comes in. In western music it's really "theory and harmony" that we study. Why? Because in popular and folk music styles (like jazz); (1) compositional form is simple and small (i.e. song form), (2) most of the music is in 4/4, (3) Melodies are short and simple, especially if they are vocal melodies. But harmony can be quite involved.

    2. So-called "Guitar theory" is just applied theory, same as for every other instrument. For jazz, one needs to know the instrument very well because; (1) it's a chordal instrument (see above comment regarding harmony), and (2) improvisation is core to the style. In other words, improvisation is a type of "extemporaneous composition". It would be different if we were only required to compose our solos. Then we could take forever, like they do in other styles.

    3. Transcriptions - well, you can learn jazz improv language "theory" that way to be certain, but you can learn that from extracted "jazz patterns" too, and more efficiently. So, the other huge benefit is that the developing player comes to understand exactly what it feels and sounds like to acccurately reproduce a good/great jazz solo - instead of just listening to it and taking it for granted. The more of that we do, the more we gain an insight as to what we must do if we desire to be a good/great jazz player.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Humans learn language by listening and speaking and repetition plays a big part. I was a student of
    the classical music of Northern India a few decades ago and learned to play my instrument and
    learned the repertoire by repeating phrases played by my teacher. If you don't know, the classical
    music of this culture is improvised.

    Having said that, I am a total nerd for many things... one of which is music theory. Most exciting to
    me is theory that follows the form and that results in meaningful, visceral audible artifacts when put
    into practice. Barry Harris is an excellent example of that. The opposite of would be a case where
    theory precedes form: 12 tone music, for example, which leaves me cold. And... for me anyway,
    the chord-scale concept.

    Too much of a good thing, I get that. But if you use words like "root", "third" and "fifth", as Christiaan
    does, then you are speaking the language of music theory.


    My ear is hearing things and wants to play things that I can't quite pull off on my intrument. That for me means I'm hiring a guitar teacher and signing up for lessons again. Christiaan answers: I don't understand the need for a teacher. Why don't you just transcribe the music that is causing you trouble?
    This overlooks questions of technique and the physical aspects of working a tool like a guitar.



  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    OK I'll probably delete this post but I can't stop myself right now.

    Rick Beato and Rhett Schull are the greatest salesmen in the guitar stratosphere of YouTube. Like all good salemen, they never sound like they are selling you something.

    There are people who are much more qualified than them from the musicianship and experience standpoint on youtube who will never be the heroes of thousands of guitar beginners and intermediate noodlers. Because they just don't have that smooth screen magic.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 11-18-2020 at 04:55 PM.

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Neverisky
    This overlooks questions of technique and the physical aspects of working a tool like a guitar.
    Yes ... In general .. But in the specific case of Rhett Schull it is definately an appropriate question

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    Like all good salemen, they never sound like they are selling you something. .
    Well ... I didn't want to say this directly at first, but now that you push me .. Yes, it does look like Rhett is laying the ground work for an upcoming Music Theory 101 course by Rhett Shull soon to be found in an Rhett Schull online store near you

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    I think Christaan Van Hemert is strawman-ing theory a bit here. The point of learning the notes is not that you think about notes when you improvise, it's because you're a musician and your instrument is your tool. It's a simple investment towards knowing your tool better that pays off in a variety of ways. It's not necessary but it's not a waste of time either.

    Sorry but I think he is wrong at 47:29 when he says Rhett Shull could not have come up with that shape by "moving around notes", "someone has to show him the shape first". Really?

    Yes, you can come up with voicings by moving individual voices if you have a conception of tonality and key as a framework for harmony. But of course this would look like magic out of nowhere to you if you look at the fretboard in the simplistic way Christaan seems to be advocating, "Have people show you chord shapes and memorize them as fingerings"

    He first shows a lick that has a G triad in it, then says he sees no point of learning triads on the guitar. How about extracting ideas from licks (say the triad from a particular chord tone in the second inversion) and experimenting with it in different harmonic situations. Yes, you won't do that when you're improvising but it's something you'd do in the wood shed to come up with new language.

    I get that his method seems to be based on memorizing licks and changing them by ear. I'm not saying that wouldn't work or there haven't been great players who did just that. But just because that's that approach he took, it doesn't mean there aren't other valid approaches to jazz guitar.

    He also didn't convince me that he has a good grasp of how Julian Lage approaches guitar just by sitting with him in one session.


    Last edited by Tal_175; 11-18-2020 at 05:24 PM.

  16. #15
    Hi folks, my YouTube statistics app led me here.

    All criticisms about my video seem fair. It was a live stream and I simply forgot to start the video saying that all opinions in the video are just mine, one guy's opinion. I might be totally wrong on everything. I usually state that clearly in videos like this.

    Anyway, thanks for watching and tune in next week

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Well it’s all in good fun, no?

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    Rick Beato and Rhett Schull are the greatest salesmen in the guitar stratosphere of YouTube. Like all good salemen, they never sound like they are selling you something.
    They do to me....

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Christiaan van Hemert
    Hi folks, my YouTube statistics app led me here.

    All criticisms about my video seem fair. It was a live stream and I simply forgot to start the video saying that all opinions in the video are just mine, one guy's opinion. I might be totally wrong on everything. I usually state that clearly in videos like this.

    Anyway, thanks for watching and tune in next week
    I really enjoyed the video. And as someone who was struggling with learning music theory while i enjoy learning songs much more, ofcourse I believed every word you said (because it sounds like music to my ears haha).
    There is still some hope for me, maybe some day I'll be able to call myself a "jazz player", not someone who owns an archtop

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    I think Christaan Van Hemert is strawman-ing theory a bit here. The point of learning the notes is not that you think about notes when you improvise, it's because you're a musician and your instrument is your tool. It's a simple investment towards knowing your tool better that pays off in a variety of ways. It's not necessary but it's not a waste of time either.
    Yeah ... But in these conform days, where everyone is selling theory strawman-ing is not without merit.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    He is also flat-out wrong at 47:29 when he says Rhett Shull could not have come up with that shape by moving "around notes", "someone has to show him the shape first". Really?
    Sure you can move stuff around and get new sounds .. especially easy on piano .. but c'mon .. the switch from the standard Am to the next fingering is not just moving notes around .. Those are mechanically totally different fingering and the chances of going from that open chord Am to the second fingering are slim.

    Sure if Rhett shoved like the standard fifth fret barre with the ringfinger Am7 to that fingering then it is perhaps more believable but still a stretch, but going from the Cowboy Am to that fingering cause he experimented with moving notes around ... I don't buy it either. With the open Am as your starting point hten you would end with an entirely different fingering to produce that kind of sound.

    You know, like John Stowell fingerings .. Cool stuff and sure it originates from knowing what notes are in the chord, knowing that you want a closed chord sound (and what that means) and then constructing interesting guitar fingerings ... But that is an entirely different narrative than: Hey I took this open Am and then I just moved a bit of notes around to get this (insert John Stowell fingering)

    I get what Christiaan is getting at and tend to agree.

    If it in fact was true what Rhett is saying then there would be some sort of mechanical consistency in his fingerings, but there is none, so there is no way I believe that he went from the first fingering to the second thru some natural process. There would be a narrative of sort that is believable. Either the starting Am shape was not the open Am or it was a prolonged process of several shapes morphing into one another .. and I'd say that if it was the latter then he'd be inclined to show that off, which he didn't.


    Guitar usually forces you into coherent mechanical logic and that is actually not addressed often enough imho.

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    Rick Beato and Rhett Schull are the greatest salesmen in the guitar stratosphere of YouTube. Like all good salemen, they never sound like they are selling you something.
    They do to me....

  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    They do to me....

    Oh ... C'mon Christian .. Are you proposing something hidden we've not noticed .. Like I don't know ... A Beato book???? :-O

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    “you can move stuff around and get new sounds .. especially easy on piano .. “

    I play piano very well, guitar not so well. There are way more hurdles and limitations in guitar physically and visually. The piano has so many advantages it makes me wonder sometimes why folks chose to play guitar.



  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    Sure you can move stuff around and get new sounds .. especially easy on piano .. but c'mon .. the switch from the standard Am to the next fingering is not just moving notes around .. Those are mechanically totally different fingering and the chances of going from that open chord Am to the second fingering are slim.
    I agree that what Rhett Shull showed wasn't the best way to demonstrate the concept of creating voicings by thinking chord voices horizontally or even counterpointally if that's a word. But this pianistic approach to harmony on guitar is nothing controversial. Having listened to a lot of JIm Hall and transcribed some, I think he is a good model of this approach.

    It's possible I misunderstood Christiaan's criticism there, maybe he was expressing his doubt about the specific examples rather than the general approach.

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    The piano has so many advantages it makes me wonder sometimes why folks chose to play guitar.
    yes the piano is cheap, small, light, easy to tune, you can carry it to the beach party and impress the ladies, it looks cool on stage hanging round your neck, etc. etc.

  26. #25
    About the E- to the exotic E- voicing, I can clarify.

    Lobomov was right, I don't buy that someone would find that stretchy voicing from a E- open chord.

    The problem I have with that narrative is that beginners might fall for it and think that learning all triads in all inversions will lead to those pretty voicings.

    That's just not how that stuff happens. I can't recall the amount of times I was sitting with high level guitar players and we were showing each other cool voicings that the others had never seen before. That's how you learn those kinds of voicings, someone shows you or you get them from videos/transcriptions.

    A good example of this is that Peter Bernstein G7 chord I show in the video. I have shown that chord to many guitar players and until now not one of them had ever played that chord before and I don't see a path from an open G to that chord by "moving some notes" even though it is completely based on it.

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    The problem with learning theory is that it often gets confused with learning music. They are not the same thing. They can reinforce each other, though.

    "You can use the second mode of the D harmonic minor scale over the Em7b5 chord" is not music. Learning the melody of "Alone Together" is music. The latter can help you make musical sense of the former, and the former may help you make sense of why the latter is what it is.

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    The idea of theory being counter productive in music is the most moronical thing I have EVER heard. IN GENERAL, if you want to get good at anything you have to study it. Saying to just do it or just play music would be like saying you'll become a pro writer if you never study vocab or grammar or writing. Or maybe Madison Bumgarner got the lowest ERA in world series history by just 'figuring out' his pitches. Uh no, there's extremely in depth study involved in everything that most of the greats do. Ok.. say you're one of the 5% of musicians who is talented enough to play advanced music without studying it theoretically.. If you're that smart, is picking up knowledge from a theoretical standpoint going to make you worse? Not 1 time in a million. Give me a break! Practical knowledge and theoretical knowledge are not mutually exclusive. You can learn 100 tunes and know theory as well. So stupid.

  29. #28
    IMO, there is a lot of B.S. in the thread. Someone has to define what theory is for me. For me it is just a way of naming and cataloging sounds.

    Even knowing what a C note is theory. The same note can be played at different frequencies but we catalog them as the same note even though it isn't.

    Same for a G7. There are many different inversions and combinations of notes that can be called a G7 and it is useful to know that.

    Now, for me theory only becomes problematic when it becomes prescriptive, i.e. you should play this scale over this chord. But knowing the names of things and hearing them is definitely valuable.

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    I think what some of us are saying is... there are ton of youtubers out there who know a crap ton of theory, but are making very blah music. They may hit all the notes perfectly, their time may be perfect, but there's no emotion or fire in their performance. Would you rather listen to a player piano play Monk, or would you rather hear Monk play? In this way, "knowing theory" isn't helpful in making good music.

    Theory is the cookbook. 2 people can make the same soup from the same recipe, but they could taste very different, due to only minor variations in the recipe, based on experience, taste, whatever.

    In my post above, Tommy Emmanuel has admitted he knows very little theory - in fact, he KNOWS it, he just doesn't call it anything. He knows how to build the chord he wants to hear (or do whatever), he just doesn't label it as a 13th chord (or whatever). So in that situation, we are really all talking the same language- just in a different dialect. If a player calls out "play the 13th there" and I say "what's that?" it doesn't mean I don't know... because if he plays me a 13th and I say "oh THAT. No problem." I DO know. I just don't call it anything.

  31. #30
    That makes total sense.

  32. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    IN GENERAL, if you want to get good at anything you have to study it.

    Yes off course .. Take someone like Lionel Messi. He off course has a physics degree with a ph.d in Mechanics. To suggest that he became the greatest football player ever by actually playing the game from morning to night in the streets of Rosario, Argentina as a kid and never looking in to the theory of what makes a ball move like it does ... Well that is an utterly preposterous idea.

  33. #32
    The Messi example isn't that great. He started playing club football at age 4 with Grandoli FC and received coaching at even younger ages. He is more like a guy who started playing classical piano at age 3.

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    A generic, philosophical debate about whether music theory is useful or not is pretty pointless. Everybody, even many none musicians know some theory (the major scale, note names etc). What is meaningfully considered a no-theory approach vs theory-friendly approach can only be determined when considering specific applications, musical roles, styles or even instruments (a classical composer, folk singer, big band arranger, orchestral violinist, jazz improviser, pianist, vocalist etc etc.)

    One thing I liked about Christaan's video is that he was very aware of that distinction and made it very clear that he is speaking only with respect to jazz improvisation specifically on guitar.

    A question like this make sense:
    Is an explicit mental conception of major, minor tonality and the functional harmony as postulated by the western music theory a useful asset for a straight-ahead jazz clarinet improviser?

    In a way this is much like the gravity. People intuitively knew about the gravity, they felt it and acted accordingly. But it took a brilliant mind to conceptualize it as a force and propose a mental model of the world as a mechanical system governed by various similar forces acting on each other.

    Musicians and nonmusicians alike intuitively understand and feel the similar gravitational system of tonal music. That's why tonal music works. But it's by no means obvious to see it as the way the western music theory lays it out without studying it, again much like people never thought of gravity as a force before Newton. In a way it's a beautiful construction like Newton's theories. But is it useful to a musician? Well again that discussion makes no sense without clarifying whether we are talking about an orchestral violinist or a singer-songwriter or ...
    Last edited by Tal_175; 11-21-2020 at 12:03 PM.

  35. #34
    I'm not sure what we are even discussing here. Maybe, I should go watch Christiaan's video.

    But, I think the discussion here isn't really about traditional Western Tonal Music Theory. Most would agree that learning that won't have much applicability to jazz improv.

    But some people equate "learning theory" with learning scales and chords and associations between the two.

    Instead they advocate to just learn songs and licks, transcribe, and learn to play what you hear and that it isn't that productive to tell someone place these scales over a ii V.

    This is where I disagree. I think it can be valuable for someone to practice specific things like this to get familiar with these sounds. The Barry Harris method is essentially this, IMO, with the added emphasis on rhythm and placing chord tones on strong beats.

    For me the real question is how much time should be spent on X versus Y and the emphasis that "theoretical" exercises are not prescriptive exercises for how to play but rather tools to learn sounds.

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by charlieparker
    IMO, there is a lot of B.S. in the thread. Someone has to define what theory is for me. For me it is just a way of naming and cataloging sounds.

    Even knowing what a C note is theory. The same note can be played at different frequencies but we catalog them as the same note even though it isn't.

    Same for a G7. There are many different inversions and combinations of notes that can be called a G7 and it is useful to know that.

    Now, for me theory only becomes problematic when it becomes prescriptive, i.e. you should play this scale over this chord. But knowing the names of things and hearing them is definitely valuable.
    For me there’s a difference between naming and categorising things; which I think is a natural product of the way the human brain and ears work, and looking to explain why things work.

    So for example, Chord Scale Theory aims to explain why many note choices work on chords by systematising things into scales that go with the chords in a chart. It’s a very closed, complete system with neat answers that are good for exams.

    This is more what I regard Music Theory than simply recogising something is a II V I lick, or spotting repeated phrases or ideas in a solo or a song.

    I don’t think that chord scale ideas are wrong or bad - actually the danger I would say is getting too much into that sort of thing too early. When you are having discussions with people about whether this or that note is allowed because of music theory, and not instead relying on ones ears and musical judgment, it has got out of hand.

    Theory can suggest useful abstractions and concepts for the musician who can already hear.

    But the problem with Jazz Theory as I see it is that it stopped being simply resources to play with and started being regarded as the Laws of Musical Physics or something. Even where music theory is grounded in physics (and a little bit of CST is) I would argue this type of thinking (and teaching) discourages learners from making their own aesthetic and creative decisions by using their ears and encourages them to look for quasi scientific answers in a book.

    That I suspect is something Christiaan would agree with?
    Last edited by christianm77; 11-21-2020 at 12:17 PM.

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    Where Barry differs from a lot of theory guides out there is it actually has much more of an emphasis on creating music than seeking to understand it. His scales are used to make music, not explain it.

    In the improvisation class for instance we start pretty much with two or three straightforward scales and go through hundreds of ways we can use those notes to create bop language.

    There’s not much emphasis on understanding what is going on harmonically beyond straightforward suggestions about other scales and ways of using scales one could use for different sounds, such as the tritone, minor and so on.

    Barry doesn’t talk about upper extensions for example. The implication is that none of that stuff is terribly important to learn how to play the music. Well actually he pretty much straight said that.

    There is sort of a Barry musical cosmology about scales, DNA, mother and father, the brothers and sisters and so on, but that seems almost like a helpful mnemonic or humanising story to help describe the basic relationships.

    I’m not saying a musician couldn’t get something out of a more harmonic approach, more that it’s striking how little time is spent talking about why things work. Everything is focussed towards creating music.

  38. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by charlieparker
    The Messi example isn't that great. He started playing club football at age 4 with Grandoli FC and received coaching at even younger ages. He is more like a guy who started playing classical piano at age 3.
    Ahh yes ... People that started classical piano at age 3 are not really musicians

  39. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    For me there’s a difference between naming and categorising things; which I think is a natural product of the way the human brain and ears work, and looking to explain why things work.

    So for example, Chord Scale Theory aims to explain why many note choices work on chords by systematising things into scales that go with the chords in a chart. It’s a very closed, complete system with neat answers that are good for exams.

    This is more what I regard Music Theory than simply recogising something is a II V I lick, or spotting repeated phrases or ideas in a solo or a song.
    Christian, I always love your advice here and agree with everything you said here.

    But, I would disagree on the distinction here you made. To me chord scale theory is just another form of categorization, just of a sound of a chord and a scale together. I don't think the why part is super relevant.

    I agree that it isn't terribly useful for beginners, so maybe I agree with everyone here .

    It isn't useful because, for one jazz is much more than knowing pitch collections. It is about phrasing, melodic shape, and rhythm, etc. And it isn't the way music is made.

    I guess, I would just say things differently. To me, no theory is kind of an anti-intellectual statement.

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    Ahh yes ... People that started classical piano at age 3 are not really musicians
    ???

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    For me there’s a difference between naming and categorising things; which I think is a natural product of the way the human brain and ears work, and looking to explain why things work.

    So for example, Chord Scale Theory aims to explain why many note choices work on chords by systematising things into scales that go with the chords in a chart. It’s a very closed, complete system with neat answers that are good for exams.

    This is more what I regard Music Theory than simply recogising something is a II V I lick, or spotting repeated phrases or ideas in a solo or a song.

    I don’t think that chord scale ideas are wrong or bad - actually the danger I would say is getting too much into that sort of thing too early. When you are having discussions with people about whether this or that note is allowed because of music theory, and not instead relying on ones ears and musical judgment, it has got out of hand.

    Theory can suggest useful abstractions and concepts for the musician who can already hear.

    But the problem with Jazz Theory as I see it is that it stopped being simply resources to play with and started being regarded as the Laws of Musical Physics or something. Even where music theory is grounded in physics (and a little bit of CST is) I would argue this type of thinking (and teaching) discourages learners from making their own aesthetic and creative decisions by using their ears and encourages them to look for quasi scientific answers in a book.

    That I suspect is something Christiaan would agree with?
    Well, if you had the responsibility to educate thousands of music majors over multiple decades, which approach do you think would be more effective?:

    1. Use theories that guide them in composing, arranging, and performing - while they develop and mature their ears and capablities as composers, arrangers, and players,
    OR
    2. Tell them to let their ears be their guide, no theory, and of course turn in their composing and arranging assignments on time and with excellence, and perform at a solid level too.

    Remember, a GPA below "B" gets the students "counseled out" of the best schools.

    Philosophy is nice. Results count.

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    Well it’s all categorisation on some level? And CST is indeed another form of that. Have another look at what I wrote, I don’t contradict any of this.

    what I’m specifically concerned about is basically a form of mission creep towards trying to supply a general theory of how jazz works and away from just being a set of rules of thumb and resources that some players may find useful. Over time CST seems to have ended up at the top of the tree as the arbiter of what will and won’t sound ‘good’ and a general theory of ‘how jazz works.’

    At its best it’s a fabulous resource for creating beautiful sounds. At its worst it offers not ideas for music making, but strict prohibitions and advice on what not to play. Framing and language are key here. The way things are taught and presented.

    I have learned to be very skeptical of the value of the idea of a general theory with respect making music, but there are also obvious reasons why such an idea might gain traction in education though.

    TBF such unifying theories may have value as an intellectual pursuit for its own sake (although I think Cst is remarkably bad for this purpose ironically) but that’s something I have learned we need to keep separate from music pedagogy.

    (Musicians are not always intellectuals. They are always artisans and craftspeople.)

    (I did physics at uni so I’m always aware of my tendency to try to come up with general theories and so on.)

    I think you are right to say that all jazz theory is essentially geared towards providing resources to make music... have a look at the Ritchie Hart interview which I posted elsewhere.

    in classical music this is much better defined on the difference between conservatoire performance and composition courses and university
    music degrees, although it is arguable that much of the practical hands on knowledge that allowed 18th century composers to write and improvise music with such facility, as separate from the analytical theories of figures like Schenker, was largely lost and is only recently being rediscovered.

    In jazz I think the academy and publishing industry have gradually encouraged the teaching of theory to resemble more the general, analytical style theories. There’s many reasons for this. I could send you one of my essays if you really want more info lol.

    Practically, I’ve noticed many students who simply want a theoretical justification for everything; something I recognise from when I was getting started and I’m still by no means entirely over.

    this mindset is deeply unhelpful, even obstructive to ideas like melodic improvising, and a real problem in my experience. It’s like the ears are somehow at the bottom of the pecking order when it comes to improvisation. This seems like a tremendous failure of mass market jazz education. And a right pain in the bum.

  43. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    Ahh yes ... People that started classical piano at age 3 are not really musicians
    Bit of a Strawman. I took your "learned soccer on the streets of Rosario" as an allusion to the idea that Messi just sort of learned to play soccer by just playing around with other kids. Instead he retrieved technical coaching from a young age.

    Classical pedagogy is a somewhat formalized training with a graded repertoire and scales and exercises that a student typically learns and masters along the way.

    Similarly, Barry Harris has an intriguing way of teaching that some have called a theoretical framework (Adam Neely).

    While I am sympathetic, to the "No Theory" narrative, I think we can take the sentiment too far depending on what we classify as "Theory".

  44. #43

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    ...

    Rick Beato ... the greatest salesmen in the guitar stratosphere of YouTube. Like all good salesmen, they never sound like they are selling you something.
    Do you need the discount code for the Beato book?

  45. #44

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan
    Well, if you had the responsibility to educate thousands of music majors over multiple decades, which approach do you think would be more effective?:

    1. Use theories that guide them in composing, arranging, and performing - while they develop and mature their ears and capablities as composers, arrangers, and players,
    OR
    2. Tell them to let their ears be their guide, no theory, and of course turn in their composing and arranging assignments on time and with excellence, and perform at a solid level too.

    Remember, a GPA below "B" gets the students "counseled out" of the best schools.

    Philosophy is nice. Results count.
    If you need to hear this from someone with a bit more clout, go and listen to what Ritchie Hart has to say on the subject. I posted an interview elsewherez

    (He actually teaches at Berklee as I understand it.

  46. #45

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by charlieparker
    Christian, I always love your advice here and agree with everything you said here.

    But, I would disagree on the distinction here you made. To me chord scale theory is just another form of categorization, just of a sound of a chord and a scale together. I don't think the why part is super relevant.

    I agree that it isn't terribly useful for beginners, so maybe I agree with everyone here .

    It isn't useful because, for one jazz is much more than knowing pitch collections. It is about phrasing, melodic shape, and rhythm, etc. And it isn't the way music is made.

    I guess, I would just say things differently. To me, no theory is kind of an anti-intellectual statement.
    I don’t disagree with anything said here. I posted a lengthy response above but might not get seen as I didn’t quote you in the message...

    Or, check out this interview.



    says everything I need to on the subject. Exact argument I am (trying) to make

  47. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by charlieparker
    Bit of a Strawman. I took your "learned soccer on the streets of Rosario" as an allusion to the idea that Messi just sort of learned to play soccer by just playing around with other kids. Instead he retrieved technical coaching from a young age.

    Classical pedagogy is a somewhat formalized training with a graded repertoire and scales and exercises that a student typically learns and masters along the way.

    Similarly, Barry Harris has an intriguing way of teaching that some have called a theoretical framework (Adam Neely).

    While I am sympathetic, to the "No Theory" narrative, I think we can take the sentiment too far depending on what we classify as "Theory".

    Off course I'm strawman'ing, but my point stands. I don't know much about Messi, but I choose that name due to his current fame. But plenty of footballers just come from a background of street football and just rise to the top based on their skills.

    Zlatan is a prime example of this .. There was no formal training of his talent at an early age ... He just played and if his autobiography is to believed it wasn't until very late in his development it dawned on him that he was extraordinary. He was just a kid having fun.

    Same here you get a kid involved in a gigging and jamming every day and it will lead to something creative is he has the right personality.


    I'm not advocating against theory as a useful tool ... I'm advocating against the popular view that it is necessary to be a good musician. It is not. Ear and chops is and you don't get either of those by studying theory (beyond the bare minimum like chord and note names). I claim that many a wannabe player is harming himself by speeding too much time trying to understand and/or justify his playing thru the lens of theory.

  48. #47

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    Off course I'm strawman'ing, but my point stands. I don't know much about Messi, but I choose that name due to his current fame. But plenty of footballers just come from a background of street football and just rise to the top based on their skills.

    Zlatan is a prime example of this .. There was no formal training of his talent at an early age ... He just played and if his autobiography is to believed it wasn't until very late in his development it dawned on him that he was extraordinary. He was just a kid having fun.

    Same here you get a kid involved in a gigging and jamming every day and it will lead to something creative is he has the right personality.


    I'm not advocating against theory as a useful tool ... I'm advocating against the popular view that it is necessary to be a good musician. It is not. Ear and chops is and you don't get either of those by studying theory (beyond the bare minimum like chord and note names). I claim that many a wannabe player is harming himself by speeding too much time trying to understand and/or justify his playing thru the lens of theory.
    I think the choice of Messi is a good analogy. Not much opportunity to play ‘street jazz’ anymore perhaps; or street rock and roll for that matter.

    So for better or for worse jazz is now more learned in the academy.

  49. #48

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    If you need to hear this from someone with a bit more clout, go and listen to what Ritchie Hart has to say on the subject. I posted an interview elsewherez

    (He actually teaches at Berklee as I understand it.
    The way you talk about it is not my experience at US based jazz schools, including Berklee. For one thing, no one teaches "CST", as such. You seem to be making up a straw man to object to. I have found the opposite to be true. I am reminded of a student asking what scale to play over a chord, and the instructor becoming so impatient with the question and mindset that he burst out - "it's the chord!!!"

    The reality is that when it comes to composing and arranging classes, things are more rules based because there is so much for the developing student to deal with when first learning those arts. Instrumental playing critiques however, tend to be much more open minded, and that increases with level of study. I have found that to be consistent across instructors.

    Teaching people to play coherent consonant music is a start, then specific ways to get more chromatic, altered, and "out", are taught. The simple fact is, there are known, established patterns and practices in music. It would be one thing if there were 1200 tones in an octave instead of 12.

    So, there is repeatability in the art. Either one wishes to learn it or not. And if they do want to learn it, we can then ask - can it be learned in a single lesson, and effectively applied as well?

    The answer of course, is no.

  50. #49

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    So for better or for worse jazz is now more learned in the academy.
    And that's why we need theory. So jazz can be written about, talked about and lectured on. Otherwise the Academy is just a bunch of wankers faffing about. For one thing, how does anybody get paid for that? Maybe that's why there seems to be so much more jazz theory available than there was 50 years ago.

    My theory of theory aligns pretty well with this:

    ...Theory to me is the attempt to explain how music works...
    It's useful in that if I learn a bit of it I get a new set of notes to dick around with. But I sure don't see how you can make a meaningful improv while thinking about it while you're taking a solo. We all agree that actual music is a lot more than a set of rules.

  51. #50

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft
    And that's why we need theory. So jazz can be written about, talked about and lectured on. Otherwise the Academy is just a bunch of wankers faffing about. For one thing, how does anybody get paid for that? Maybe that's why there seems to be so much more jazz theory available than there was 50 years ago.

    My theory of theory aligns pretty well with this:



    It's useful in that if I learn a bit of it I get a new set of notes to dick around with. But I sure don't see how you can make a meaningful improv while thinking about it while you're taking a solo. We all agree that actual music is a lot more than a set of rules.
    Well, traditionally "Theory" is targeted to part writing "voices", which can be applied to composition, orchestration, and arranging.

    And "Improvisation Theory" or "Jazz Improvisation" classes DON'T teach in the manner that you are mocking.

    What they DO teach is that we are to develop a substantial, coherent sounding, jazz vocabulary so well that it can be applied extemporaneously/impulsively.