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  1. #1

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    Hello. In my practice etude, I have a vanilla Ami7 - D7- GMaj7, among other 2-5's. I want to keep incorporating altered tones on the D7 but I ran into a problem, wondering if I should not change the D7 chord in my band in the box progression, to a D7altered chord, such as D7#5b9.

    So my question is, do I need to alter the chord to effectively use altered lines over it? Or, can I just play D Altered Scale (also known as Super Locrian), for example, over the vanilla D7?

    As I was saying, I use Band-in- a- Box and I was not sure if how traditional Jazz guitarists approached using the Altered Scale over a resolving, non-altered dominant.

    Thanks in advance.

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  3. #2

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    By the way, this question was prompted by my observation in a few of my guitar instructions books. For example, in the Bebop Bible, lines that had altered notes were only used when the harmony had altered chords. I began to wonder if this is the way Jazz is traditionally done.

  4. #3

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    Technically you don't need to alter it but the altered notes might fit better if you did. I'd try both to see which works best for that tune.

    (For a perfect fit you might want to leave out the 5th (A) and put in, say, a b9 or #9, etc. Or play the chord as Ab7b5/#11).

  5. #4

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    Ever try Ab Lydian Dominant instead of D altered scale?

  6. #5

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    That would be the same pool of notes.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    Ever try Ab Lydian Dominant instead of D altered scale?
    I am going to have to write out those notes and see what you and rintincop are saying.

    By the way, I love that Lydian Dominant scale when I have fooled around with it in the past. But for now, I really want to use that Altered Scale, with all those altered notes to see if I can internalize it.

    Thanks.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Technically you don't need to alter it but the altered notes might fit better if you did. I'd try both to see which works best for that tune.

    (For a perfect fit you might want to leave out the 5th (A) and put in, say, a b9 or #9, etc. Or play the chord as Ab7b5/#11).
    Thanks for your thoughts. It is good to that in other's experience, I do not necessarily have to go altered chords. I guess that in these lick books, they just like to do it that way.

    I am going to have to write out that Ab7b5/11. I am thinking it is some kind of rootless version of another chord that I am considering.

    Thanks.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan
    I am going to have to write out those notes and see what you and rintincop are saying.

    By the way, I love that Lydian Dominant scale when I have fooled around with it in the past. But for now, I really want to use that Altered Scale, with all those altered notes to see if I can internalize it.

    Thanks.
    Here is the thing, I discovered and loved Lydian Dominant long before I had ever heard of the altered scale. To this day I have never intentionally played an altered scale thinking of it as such. My "internalized basis" for that sound is the Lydian Dominant. It made sense to me because in the example discussed above, the tri-tone of D is Ab; I think of the LD rooted from the tri-tone Ab instead of altering something rooted from D. I also think the LD may have more apparent direct connections to diminished and augmented figures, too.

  10. #9

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    Fun fact:

    The notes of any 7b5 a tritone apart are exactly the same -

    The notes of D7b5 are D F# Ab C.

    The notes of Ab7b5 are Ab C D F#.

    Same notes, different order.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan
    Thanks for your thoughts. It is good to that in other's experience, I do not necessarily have to go altered chords. I guess that in these lick books, they just like to do it that way.

    I am going to have to write out that Ab7b5/11. I am thinking it is some kind of rootless version of another chord that I am considering.

    Thanks.
    I just mean 4x453x. That would be Ab7b5 as a sub for D7alt. So you could play your 2-5-1 as Am11 - Ab7b5 - G69 or M7 (5x553x - 4x453x - 3x223x or 3x443). That's an old move that works very well.

    (I only wrote 7b5/#11 because many people think the Ab note ought to be called a #11, not b5. But personally I only call it a #11 if it's played above the octave).

    -----------------

    Re. the Lyd Dom and Altered scales, they're the same scale over different chords. D altered is the Eb melodic minor, right? But Ebm is also the ii of Ab7. So if you play Eb mel m over Ab7 that's the Ab Lyd Dom. And if you play it over D7, that's the D altered.

    -----------------

    Both these subjects are the sort of thing that can have the purists frothing at the mouth but it's not that hard once you've got the basic idea.

  12. #11

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    Probably too much information now, but one last tip...

    There are two sorts of dom chord, resolving and non-resolving. A resolving dom7 goes to its I chord and the non-resolving doesn't. So if you had

    Em7 - Eb7 - Dm7 - G7 - CM7

    you'd play Bb mel m (Eb lyd dom) over the Eb7 because it doesn't resolve and Ab mel m (G altered) over the G7 because it does resolve to its I chord, CM7.

    Technically, anyway.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan
    Hello. In my practice etude, I have a vanilla Ami7 - D7- GMaj7, among other 2-5's. I want to keep incorporating altered tones on the D7 but I ran into a problem, wondering if I should not change the D7 chord in my band in the box progression, to a D7altered chord, such as D7#5b9.

    So my question is, do I need to alter the chord to effectively use altered lines over it? Or, can I just play D Altered Scale (also known as Super Locrian), for example, over the vanilla D7?

    As I was saying, I use Band-in- a- Box and I was not sure if how traditional Jazz guitarists approached using the Altered Scale over a resolving, non-altered dominant.

    Thanks in advance.
    Yeah, I could write several books about the altered scale so will try not to do so here lol.

    In terms of ‘how did traditional jazz guitarists do it’ I would say one of the unwieldy things about the chord scale method is how many notes it involved. In fact if you go and check out bop lines (which presumably is what you mean by ‘traditional’) you won’t find that many altered notes and what notes there are are used to connect one chord to the next; maybe just one or two. So a b9 or #9 here, a b13 there and less frequently, a b5. Get to know these notes in isolation and how they connect the chord tones of the vanilla dominant to the target chord. So learn how to run lines from G9 to Cmaj7. And always refer to the lines people actually played for reference.

    I don’t think they really had the concept of the altered scale in the 50s. In any case they were mostly interested in chromatic connections with target chords. Given that chord changes are often too quick to think about a seven note scale I’ve found this the most useful approach for bop playing (also diminished seventh arp is very useful for connection.)

    In terms of modern applications, how long have you got? One key element of the altered scale for me is how much it is ‘voice leading in a can’ I did a video about this aspect of it here:


    So long as you CONNECT to the target chord your lines will make sense. That’s the Number One thing I seem to have to teach students for example about changes playing; connect your chords.
    Last edited by christianm77; 04-26-2021 at 03:38 AM.

  14. #13

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    There’s a few melodic figures that can be understood to belong to the altered scale which are very common in bop lines. I’ll put them in C here. All these lines resolve to the C chord.

    Bb-Ab-G-(F-E)
    (Bb-)B-Bb-Ab-G

    I call 1-b9-#9-3 the ‘bebop tetrachord’

    theres also
    Db-B-C

    And
    F-Eb-D

    To be honest if I wanted to play bop I would take a very good look at the possibilities of the diminished chord on the third of G7 as well, and link this into the bebop tetrachord: look at Donna Lee.

    The dim 7 doesn’t include a b5 but this sound is less common than the other alterations, all of which belong to the parallel minor scales on the I incidentally.

    Another common technique is to use the tritone substitute triad (don’t sleep on triads) so Db triad on G7 for example.

    Or; the related minor (II V), so Abm triad in this case.

    If you connect these triads into the target chord you’ll be amazed at how effective they are. Later try Abm(maj7) and Abm9(maj7); this is more like viewing the G altered as a mode of Ab melodic minor I suppose.

    So, in terms of bop, i view the altered scale less as a panacea for playing altered dominants and more as a sort of theoretical umbrella for a bunch of seperate things that people were doing in the bop era such as those I’ve listed here. I’ve found value in working on them all separately.

    And then, as I say, there are the modern applications...
    Last edited by christianm77; 04-26-2021 at 03:50 AM.

  15. #14

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    In terms of your actual question, I think it’s a good one.

    If you don’t specify alterations I would think it quite rude for Band in a Box to play them. Does it sound like it is? If not why not leave it open so that you can alter the chord how you like in your lines?

    As a comper, it’s important to be sensitive. So, you want to complement the soloist. As a result I’ll often play simple shell voicings until I get to know a soloists style a bit. This gives soloists enough room to use whatever they want on a dominant. It’s similar with majors and minors - I think it’s often better not to include the seventh.

    But over time I am starting to care less and less about clashes. The important thing to my ears is not that both soloists play the same ninth on a dominant chord but that they know how they are resolving and have a clear melodic logic (for chords this is usually in the top voice). The point of jazz is not that everything lines up harmonically but that every layer has its own compelling musical logic and swing.

  16. #15

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    In another thread there is discussion of Mike Stern's recent book on Altered scales which just arrived in my mailbox. FWIW he strongly suggest viewing the altered scale or whatever you want to call it from the context of the root. And I think I like that approach. He further describes that scale as mixolydian but with every non chord tone altered.

  17. #16
    Don't miss the implications of harmonic rhythm. Anything works on the last beat /last measure before a change, depending on the duration etc. Learn to hear/play mixo-alt-Ionian.

    Also, I don't necessarily think it's as helpful to learn to "alter mixo" one note at a time. I agree with Paul that Lydian dominant (bII7#11) is the gateway to hearing/playing MM -- in being the most easily played/ heard. Basic dominant diatonic chord tone lines will work, once you learn to pay respect to #11. (Your "11 as upper neighbor tone to 3" lines from Mixo and Dorian will sound crap and mostly are in this context). Learn to hear #11 as lower neighbor there.

    The other departure point is the resolution. Dorian and mixolydian basically resolve to something which is "diatonic" to them. Melodic minor "as altered" mostly doesn't. You have to flip the last two notes , change direction , or learn to hear Chromatic enclosure resolutions etc. You have to do this regardless with MM, but again, I think Lydian dominant is the easiest to play and here. Symmetrical descending diatonic" lines for Dorian/Lydian dominant/Ionian still work fine and are good ear training.

    After Lydian Dominant, I would do the same kind of resolution work with "diatonic" -type chord tone lines for the I-maj7 [Imin(maj7)] from MM. Your Dorian vocabulary will mostly work, again accounting for the one note which is different. If you think of the notes of this chord (Eb-maj7) as "chord tones" of your D7 alt, you'll avoid 90% of the problems which most people starting out with melodic minor have with altered "not working" and sounding horrible etc. If you do an analysis viewing this chord in context of chord tones and passing tones this D7, you can see why it works pretty well.

    TLDR for the above paragraph: traditional diatonic chord tone vocabulary works well if you play as if targeting the I chord of mm.

    Again, you have to work on "resolving out" of MM at the cadence….

    Learn to do the same with the VI-7b5 chord of melodic minor. So, for D7 alt, your traditional diatonic C-7b5 vocabulary works (targeting C-7 b5 chord tones). Of course raise the 9th to nat-9.

    In my opinion, all of these are much easier to hear as D7 alt in the beginning (and using more typical diatonic chord tone vocabulary) than learning to hear D7 alt in place of your diatonic D7. THAT relationship has four notes difference – four points of departure from the original relationship, whereas the other examples have only 1. Again, all examples do require that you actually learn to "resolve out".

    The 4 degrees of separation problem is where I think most guitarists get the idea that "melodic minor doesn't work ".

  18. #17

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    Bet you're sorry you asked now lol

  19. #18

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    I mean it's kind of all bullshit really. The main thing is to work on lines.

    People who work on lines and vocabulary from day 1 always sound good. It's not necessary to understand everything you play, on the other hand it's not helpful to try to construct jazz language from scales and things until you know what you are doing. That usually means being able to intuit how jazz lines work.

    The theory is not enough to get you there.

  20. #19

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    Mute the chord instrument for greater flexibility.

  21. #20

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    Lots to take away from this. Thanks everyone.

    I got my answer and then some. I am starting to view the "altered scale" and its use a little differently now, especially with regards to other scales that have similar notes, and also in how I use the altered tones (#5, b5, #9, b9). Just because they are all in their does not necessarily mean I need to tap into them all so regularly.

    For now, I will leave my chords non-altered, and I will take it from there. My goal is to have two progressions, one with unaltered chords, while the other will have altered chords of my choosing. I hope to be really acquainted with the sound each altered note brings.

    Again, thanks. That is what makes the forum so valuable.

  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I mean it's kind of all bullshit really. The main thing is to work on lines.

    People who work on lines and vocabulary from day 1 always sound good. It's not necessary to understand everything you play, on the other hand it's not helpful to try to construct jazz language from scales and things until you know what you are doing. That usually means being able to intuit how jazz lines work.

    The theory is not enough to get you there.
    Ha. I guess you're talking about my post? To be fair, I was actually discussing how one might more easily apply familiar VOCABULARY.

    Do you not get the feeling, from others' posts, that there is a basic disconnect - for many -with applying familiar diatonic -type vocabulary over altered? My basic sense from others in multiple threads is something like: "When I play my dominant -type vocabulary and change the notes to altered, it sounds crap". I personally think the assumed methodology in statements like that *is* the actual problem, but I'd be interested to hear whether you think I am misunderstanding something in hearing that over multiple threads?

    My claim, maybe not clearly stated, is that you'll get much farther in exploring D7 altered, as a beginner, if you approach it "as if" you're playing Ab7, Eb-maj7, Cm7b5, F#maj7#5 (enharmonic) etc. Even though all altered scale pitches are somewhat "chord tones", melodic playing is more easily heard and played in the context of chord tones and passing tones, even if arbitrarily implied in the moment.

    All of these examples sound great as D7. They convey altered very well and allow a beginner to use familiar chord tone/passing tone vocabulary, including arps, in learning to hear and play altered.

    Anyway, that's my supposition, and I would be interested to hear others' thoughts related to my possible misunderstanding of other players' stated issues /problems.... or related to flaws in my thinking regarding methodology… beyond dismissive one-liners. :-)

    PS: it's a forum. Hence, words... I'd except criticism about my being long-winded from posters, such as Mr. B, who are actually quite often pithy and concise. :-) Just saying.

    All said with best intentions.

    Thanks.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher

    All of these examples sound great as D7.
    let's hear it then

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    let's hear it then
    You're the pro. Have it your way. They all sound bad...

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    You're the pro. Have it your way. They all sound bad...
    you think i'm being facetious but i'm not. they do not sound good or bad. it ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it (jimmie lounceford).

    if you use your examples like "Ab7, Eb-maj7, Cm7b5, F#maj7#5" to organize, understand, generalize, and reproduce language they will sound good. if you expect language if you just permutate your examples you'll fail. chords/scales do not produce language.

    chris has put it much simpler: if you study language from day 1 you'll always sound good. the reverse is true as well.

  26. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    you think i'm being facetious but i'm not. they do not sound good or bad. it ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it (jimmie lounceford).

    if you use your examples like "Ab7, Eb-maj7, Cm7b5, F#maj7#5" to organize, understand, generalize, and reproduce language they will sound good. if you expect language if you just permutate your examples you'll fail. chords/scales do not produce language.

    chris has put it much simpler: if you study language from day 1 you'll always sound good. the reverse is true as well.
    Everything I said was based on the presumption that one can actually play some basic vocabulary over diatonic in the first place.

    But how do you approach adapting similar language to D7 alt? D7#5 doesn't have stackable tertian context... from melodic minor. However, when you apply standard arp/scale, "diatonic" lines to actual stacked chords which are "diatonic to MM", you can pull from vocabulary which is mostly standard diatonic.

    Honestly, i never assumed that this was for people who could already play altered lines, nor would I assume that they CAN'T otherwise play over diatonic - if they're asking. Is that really what we're talking about?

    To be fair, I DID actually talk about why straight permutation doesn't work.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    Ha. I guess you're talking about my post? To be fair, I was actually discussing how one might more easily apply familiar VOCABULARY.

    Do you not get the feeling, from others' posts, that there is a basic disconnect - for many -with applying familiar diatonic -type vocabulary over altered? My basic sense from others in multiple threads is something like: "When I play my dominant -type vocabulary and change the notes to altered, it sounds crap". I personally think the assumed methodology in statements like that *is* the actual problem, but I'd be interested to hear whether you think I am misunderstanding something in hearing that over multiple threads?

    My claim, maybe not clearly stated, is that you'll get much farther in exploring D7 altered, as a beginner, if you approach it "as if" you're playing Ab7, Eb-maj7, Cm7b5, F#maj7#5 (enharmonic) etc. Even though all altered scale pitches are somewhat "chord tones", melodic playing is more easily heard and played in the context of chord tones and passing tones, even if arbitrarily implied in the moment.

    All of these examples sound great as D7. They convey altered very well and allow a beginner to use familiar chord tone/passing tone vocabulary, including arps, in learning to hear and play altered.

    Anyway, that's my supposition, and I would be interested to hear others' thoughts related to my possible misunderstanding of other players' stated issues /problems.... or related to flaws in my thinking regarding methodology… beyond dismissive one-liners. :-)

    PS: it's a forum. Hence, words... I'd except criticism about my being long-winded from posters, such as Mr. B, who are actually quite often pithy and concise. :-) Just saying.

    All said with best intentions.

    Thanks.
    I can dole out a lot of hypocrisy but not that much. It was aimed at myself as much as anyone. Look, part of the problem is whenever I write out stuff I find simple it looks like ... all the other theory. I’m just not sure if it helps much. Well not people learning the basic ropes anyway.

    i know what does help here - playing lines.

  28. #27

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    The thing about using, for example, chord scales is this; you need musical intuition which comes from experience and a ton of listening.

    A jazz musician playing around with a chord scale thing is not the same as a beginner. The jazzer has an intuition for what makes an effective line, what swings. So they can go from basic material into music.

    the beginner obviously can’t do this.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    Everything I said was based on the presumption that one can actually play some basic vocabulary over diatonic in the first place.
    edit: what chris said

  30. #29

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    hey Alsoran

    There are a few approaches to using altered references. Everyone has their own approach or they copy someone else.

    I'll skip the complicated BS, most don't care or have the skills anyway. But as Matt was getting into... Rhythm and Harmonic rhythm are the easiest approach to using Altered notes, scales, arpeggios...whatever version of creating lines your using.

    The 1st approach or vanilla version is just using Strong and weak, Tonic and Dominant. On your II-7 V7 Ima7

    If you want to use altered scale or arpeggios etc.. on D7.... Whatever the space, say two beats. Call the second beat the Weak beat. Do on the 1st beat you say Diatonic to your Vanilla D7 and on the weak or 2nd beat you would use the altered version of D7... D7alt.

    What your actually doing is expanding the harmonic Rhythm. Say the progression was.../ A-7 D7 / Gma7.../

    You would be adding a D7altered to the 1st Bar after the D7, on the 4th beat... / A-7 D7 D7alt / Gmaj7.../

    Or as others were saying... adding some other chord from that collection of notes, Pauln likes the tritone sub or Ab7#11 version... Matt was just giving more examples of possible chords that also are created from that different collection of notes, Ebmm.

    If you check out my playing.... I use this approach all the time.... Having chops makes using and understanding this basic application of expanding Harmonic Rhythm when soloing or comping simple.

    Think like Licks. You don't really need to go through the thinking process every time you use a Lick. The lick becomes or functions like a... note. You expand your ability of using notes melodically. You begin to hear groups of notes.

    And when you start using Rhythm and subdividing... Your expanding the Harmonic Rhythm. You create more organized space for notes.

    You then start having each note to have Harmonic references. Those two beats of D7 to D7altered can become a Chord Progression A-7... D9 Ab7#11 C-7b5 D7#9 / Gmaj7.../ And the simple target notes could be... note for each chord...................... C ... E....D..........Eb.......F....../..D

    But... yea you either want to understand the BS or you don't.

    I use to just call this playing on the weak side..... and when you sub divide your creating more space for weak sides.

    Yea.. that is just a possible 1st step.... when you open the sub dominant door, you expand possibilities.

  31. #30

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    I thought the OP was asking whether to change the chord in BIAB to an altered if he's going to play an altered.

    It's a good question and the answer isn't a simple yes or no.

    If you comp a ii V I and play on the tritone sub for the V it will sound hip. If you then change the comping to the tritone sub for the V, the same solo will sound less hip.

    On the other hand, there will be situations, probably with fancier harmony, where you'd do it the opposite way.

    Yet another consideration is the octave. If you solo in the same octave as the comping, half step disagreements between the chord and a note in the solo may not sound as good as the same solo played an octave higher.

    You just have to try it both ways.

  32. #31

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    Yea...that was his 1st question... I moved on to 2nd question. And then how to use Altered, and simple improv approach to expanding note collections when soloing. How to use Harmonic Rhythm as simple approach to organize when expanding note collections when soloing. (or comping).

    The Harmonic rhythm is not just the chords, it's how the chords or harmony are organized rhythmically.

    Of course, using tritone subs as note collections when soloing etc... probably should come after one knows... the organization of what and where of those note collections come from. ( at least it's something to think about))

  33. #32

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    You should use ultralocrian, because that’s one better

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I thought the OP was asking whether to change the chord in BIAB to an altered if he's going to play an altered.

    It's a good question and the answer isn't a simple yes or no.

    If you comp a ii V I and play on the tritone sub for the V it will sound hip. If you then change the comping to the tritone sub for the V, the same solo will sound less hip.

    On the other hand, there will be situations, probably with fancier harmony, where you'd do it the opposite way.

    Yet another consideration is the octave. If you solo in the same octave as the comping, half step disagreements between the chord and a note in the solo may not sound as good as the same solo played an octave higher.

    You just have to try it both ways.
    After reading through this thread again, this post seemed to hone in on what I could not put properly into words for my my first question.

    In past threads, I asked about how does a band know when to play an altered chord in the harmony since there are multiple altered notes. Many answered that it is agreed upon in advance. But, since then, I have learned how in comping, a nice style of comping is taking little half and whole step liberties with the notes of the chord as you play through its measure. This creates little dissonances, the extent of which depends on what everyone else is playing.

    I can see it really depends on how much dissonance one might be after on the functioning V chord. Which really makes the answer based on what one is after.

    I am thinking that at this point, it might be best to seek out one of our local Jazz Guitar instructors (time-permitting), and take advantage of some of this stimulus money that I recieved.

  35. #34

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    So your taking the 1st step.... now you need to organize how you use those "dissonances," The easiest and generally 2nd step is using rhythmic organization as the organization. It's basically one dimensional... not that complicated to .... say use your "dissonances"... on the weaker attacks of your comping or soloing. Tension and release

    And then is you start with possible 3rd steps, like using ultra Locrian as christian suggested from Harmonic minor... or Altered, which is generally from MM... now your adding a 3rd level of organization.

    When you begin to be able to have controlled use of these different organizations of playing.... the results tend to be better, they feel natural and ... maybe even be able to lock in... groove etc...

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan
    After reading through this thread again, this post seemed to hone in on what I could not put properly into words for my my first question.

    In past threads, I asked about how does a band know when to play an altered chord in the harmony since there are multiple altered notes. Many answered that it is agreed upon in advance. But, since then, I have learned how in comping, a nice style of comping is taking little half and whole step liberties with the notes of the chord as you play through its measure. This creates little dissonances, the extent of which depends on what everyone else is playing.

    I can see it really depends on how much dissonance one might be after on the functioning V chord. Which really makes the answer based on what one is after.

    I am thinking that at this point, it might be best to seek out one of our local Jazz Guitar instructors (time-permitting), and take advantage of some of this stimulus money that I recieved.
    OK, so the problem is really that there’s no blanket rule.

    Someone like Peter Bernstein can take considerable liberties with the vanilla chords, but he’s also a massively experienced musician with great ears, so what he does will always work in context because he’s listening.

    A machine can’t (yet) do this. It can only literally or algorithmically interpret the chord symbols. It ends up being very literal like this.

    beyond learning the basics, it’s helpful to learn to sing all of the extensions and alterations over the base chords, transcribe lines.

    Beginners need to learn how to voice lead chords on their own, without relying on backing.

  37. #36

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    Yes maybe make sure the teacher can actually understand the differences....Most can't

  38. #37

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    It’s like Pokemon right?

    Locrian-Superlocrian-Ultralocrian

    Ultralocrian isnt even his final form

  39. #38

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    But bear in mind you can’t play any of these scales on a telecaster

  40. #39

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    I've read that the comping instrument is supposed to listen to the extensions played by the soloist and use the same ones.

    But, I have been scolded by a master player for doing exactly that. He played tritone sub against V7. Next chorus, I did too. He got angry and snapped, "you didn't help me out there". He wanted the tension created by the V7 in the comping and the tritone in the solo.

    And, then, of course, not all of us have the ability to do that -- to know instantly what notes are in the solo and find (or avoid) the chord with those notes.

    So, what do you do?

    First, play with great time feel. If the soloist is playing a lot of notes, the comper plays fewer. If the soloist leaves space, you have the option of filling it in, but it's only an option, not a requirement. When I'm soloing, I often want the dead air -- it's like whispering to get someone's attention.

    As far as the notes go, you can start with thirds and sevenths. I like roots and tenths sometimes. Then you vary things and listen to the result. TBH, I don't really know what elseto say about this. I'm reminded of a drummer who interrupted some obsessive discussion in advance of rehearsing a tune and said, "let's just play it and make it sound good".

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I've read that the comping instrument is supposed to listen to the extensions played by the soloist and use the same ones.

    But, I have been scolded by a master player for doing exactly that. He played tritone sub against V7. Next chorus, I did too. He got angry and snapped, "you didn't help me out there". He wanted the tension created by the V7 in the comping and the tritone in the solo.

    And, then, of course, not all of us have the ability to do that -- to know instantly what notes are in the solo and find (or avoid) the chord with those notes.

    So, what do you do?

    First, play with great time feel. If the soloist is playing a lot of notes, the comper plays fewer. If the soloist leaves space, you have the option of filling it in, but it's only an option, not a requirement. When I'm soloing, I often want the dead air -- it's like whispering to get someone's attention.

    As far as the notes go, you can start with thirds and sevenths. I like roots and tenths sometimes. Then you vary things and listen to the result. TBH, I don't really know what elseto say about this. I'm reminded of a drummer who interrupted some obsessive discussion in advance of rehearsing a tune and said, "let's just play it and make it sound good".
    Wow. I guess I should not be surprised at how subjective this topic of harmony in a band setting can be. I have heard similar stories from others who play Jazz, and they have said they just listen and follow - not worrying about any momentary "excessive" dissonance. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    For now, I will just slowly work in altered tones both in the chords and in the solo. I think you suggested this awhile back.

    I am still strongly considering a few months of Jazz lessons here locally with a fellow that I know.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I've read that the comping instrument is supposed to listen to the extensions played by the soloist and use the same ones.

    But, I have been scolded by a master player for doing exactly that. He played tritone sub against V7. Next chorus, I did too. He got angry and snapped, "you didn't help me out there". He wanted the tension created by the V7 in the comping and the tritone in the solo.
    Aha! So I think this is a really deep thing right here.

    You get these things rhythmically too.... so a soloist plays dotted quarters for example. Inexperienced musicians will latch right on. It’s a sort of ‘look I hear what you did!’ vibe. ‘Look, I’m interacting and I’m told that was important in improv class.’

    OTOH The old veteran will hear it; but not necessarily respond. They are hearing the whole music, and they are also hearing that negative space guys are discussing on that other thread.

    Harmony wise? I don’t think you can go far wrong with shell voicings. That way the soloist has options with what kind of extensions etc to play. And as Peter Bernstein points out, chords on the beat and in root position are often the best idea (maybe more so in duo.) Sometimes it’s good just to play the corners and let the soloist do the jazz; if that’s what the situation requires.

    I don’t need a comper playing extended chords and unpredictable syncopated rhythms; I’m doing that in my solo. That doesn’t mean everyone comp only basic stuff all the time but it’s a start and you have to learn how to interact I guess. Takes a lot of playing and listening. The negative space thing is huge.

    (And sometimes you need to do something else, but that’s further down the road....)

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    It’s like Pokemon right?

    Locrian-Superlocrian-Ultralocrian

    Ultralocrian isnt even his final form
    Forget the scale - it's a great name for a shampoo!

  44. #43

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    For me it depends on on the tempo. If it’s a ballad, possibilities become much more vast and detailed. On medium and up-tempo’s the choices become smaller.

    As a pianist my left hand is usually playing chords when I solo. That gives me an anchor of thought instinct that a guitarist don’t seem to have. so personally I have wired myself to instinctively go for this first choice instinct:

    Ballads:
    |D-7 G7|

    I play:
    | D-7 / G7sus G7 *|

    * = point of altering possibilities

    When medium tempo or quicker I simplify like Barry Harris says “we don’t play II scales”. We play Dominant. I vary my dominant alterations from my melodic instincts and experience (familiarity) being my guide. Not just by the chords changes, even though I was trained that way; after a while and one breaks away from that, IMO

    I underwent private intensive chord scale training with Mark Levine 40 years ago and he was somewhat pedantic about the modes of melodic minor and Alt scale. That fits in with the teaching methods of basic training. I immersed myself into it so that it became like the simple ABCs of music.
    I eventually realized that one does not need literally match the accompaniment chord of the moment , Barry Harris also points this out. And I testify that trying To do so is pedantic and limiting, and is somewhat maddening.

    The thread Has been an interesting read as I am bedridden with a broken right shoulder And a vaccine hangover.

  45. #44

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    I think also some shit that's absolutely natural and badass on the piano is not so much on the guitar. And vice versa. I know I'm a Peter fanboy, but this is my sort of thing harmonically.



    And it's just using the guitar fretboard and its innate chromaticism. I feel I've been missing a trick all this time.

  46. #45

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    Moved post to a new thread
    Last edited by rintincop; 05-02-2021 at 02:16 PM.

  47. #46

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    I think with the guitar it’s not so much the advantages as things that work with the instrument. The piano will always dominate in terms of sheer flexibility of harmony, but the guitar does some things that are very, well, guitary for want of a better word, open strings, fingerpicking patterns (especially re-enterent ones), harmonics, strumming, different tone colours and types of right hand attack, and so on and so forth. This is the type of stuff you’ll hear guitarists doing a lot in contemporary jazz bands.

    To my ears the guitarists that have done best with harmony for jazz are those that use the guitar to these natural proclivities and make it work within jazz, rather than sounding like a mediocre jazz pianist (and it takes a lot of application to sound like even a mediocre jazz pianist on guitar - just think of the time it takes to map where the flipping notes are.)

    Jim Hall was wise to this ...

    Peter has certainly achieved this, while also being heavily influenced by Monk in particular. There is quite a guitaristic aspect of Monk, interestingly.

    So I think a guitarist has to embrace their own instrument a bit; and stop trying to always make it a piano. Unless you are Pasquale Grasso of course haha.

    and yea having a degree of control over your instrument is most certainly a plus over the piano, especially when you consider all the sonic options a guitar gives you in terms of pedals etc. But portability has always been the instruments ace in the hole.

  48. #47

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    I also think the guitar has a bit of plus in a drum less setting because a strumming player can bring a bit of percussion into it. Of course it was quite traditional to do that with a pianist. The original piano trios were with guitar.