The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #626

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick View Post
    What would you prefer?
    Thanks for responding; I've posted about a dozen questions along this line over the last couple of weeks and I think you are my only reply. I would prefer that when I read music theory terms (e.g., "note" and "interval") in posts within a music site's "Theory" forum that they be correctly used as defined by music theory. The correct definitions provide the foundation to the rest of theory's structures, and not using correct definitions of the elements confounds the understanding of these structures, but there does not seem to be much of any concern about this.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #627

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    Quote Originally Posted by CliffR View Post
    It is however an interesting comparison, even if flawed. Language can also be about expression, eg poetry. One thing that bothers me a little about the comparison with speaking in particular is that most speech is mundane, whereas we look for much more in improvisation.
    we look for more in intense uses of language - lectures - speeches - poems - plays - books (many different kinds)....

    i can play blues choruses which are recogniseable as blues choruses - but they are very mundane if compared to Parker's blues choruses

    the comparison is not just with language - the point is that music is a rule-governed social practice like chess, football, cooking, building - and the mother of social practices are linguistic social practices (all the others - including football and cooking - are linguistic too....)

    there couldn't be rule-governed activities like football (and asking someone to do something - or telling someone about something....) unless it was possible to SAY what the rules are. But you don't have to be able to say what the rules are in order to be able to participate skilfully in the practice. This was the point that so undermines the contrast between theory and intuition which is bandied about endlessly and pointlessly in these discussions.

  4. #628

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    Quote Originally Posted by LankyTunes View Post
    At this point it's hard not to think you're just being obtuse.

    Cheat codes make the game easier. They also let you skip levels and such. That doesn't equal easy, which I never said. It equal easier.

    Just like being told any number of things are connected vs having to figure it out by yourself does.

    I'll assume there's someone out there with some incredible chord vocabulary who figured it all out by ear, but there is no possible way that that was faster then if they had been told how chords are built. Same goes for any number of things like chord substitutions, key changes, ect.



    Who is arguing that you don't?

    But knowing what is going on makes it easier and faster by even knowing what to focus one's practicing on in order to internalize it.




    Yes, but they are essentially throwing licks on chords which is essentially the same thing....which I think we all inevitably wind up doing, even if they are our own licks we've played to death.




    Just the unnatural nature of playing guitar makes ingrained habits the default. I think of improv as most tweaking these on the spot. Then there's a bunch of happy accidents with cool recoveries. But true thinking the line then playing it is probably a quite small percentage of this...especially as the tempo increases.



    I see this as a totally false dichotomy. You're not improvising "properly" if it doesn't sound good.



    I have heard numerous exhortations that folks need to listen to jazz if they want to play it, so I guess it's an issue. I simply don't see why in the world one would bother, let alone think you could get good at a genre you don't even listen to...especially jazz.

    That sounds like child abuse or the terms of parole or something.
    as I mentioned elsewhere I find it hard to respond in film to multi quote responses like this on my phone.

    So main point, no I don’t think theory makes playing jazz easier because there’s an endless supply of people who know all the theory and who can’t play jazz (maybe at best a sort of pseudo jazz that doesn’t feel or sound like the real deal etc). I was one of them and I meet them all the time, and what they invariably need is ear learning which is usually the thing they’ve been avoiding.

    I know this is true because I see it every day.

    So, yeah, a little bit of theory is maybe necessary depending how you define it, you know ‘this lick goes over this chord’ that type of thing. But theory is far from a shortcut or cheat. It is at best something that can be useful in combination with actual musicianship.

    If you think of it as a cheat code the only person being cheated is you. I speak from bitter experience. you’ll find you get to the higher levels and you won’t have the power ups and weapons you need to make it to the next check point.

    What the manuals do at best is teach you to fake jazz a bit. That’s not even a bad thing per se, because it’s a gateway for some, but to really get to grips with the music things have to get real sooner or later. the music itself as the saying goes, is the real textbook. (And you refine your own aesthetic sense, which is essential.)

    I think most players go through this realisation sooner or later?

    If there’s a cheat code, it’s developing your ear. That’s what makes music easier. Although that’s not a cheat code either as it takes work for most of us.

    If you actually want to be a musician, as opposed to the person who knows a million chords or can type a good solo on the internet. Some of the best compers I know use only basic grips for instance… But these lessons are best learned on the bandstand rather than JGO plonkers like me and that’s harder every year.

    anyway not certain how much contention there is here, but I wouldn’t choose ‘theory is a way to cheat at jazz’ as a hill to die on myself haha.
    Last edited by Christian Miller; Yesterday at 02:22 PM.

  5. #629

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    Thanks for responding; I've posted about a dozen questions along this line over the last couple of weeks and I think you are my only reply. I would prefer that when I read music theory terms (e.g., "note" and "interval") in posts within a music site's "Theory" forum that they be correctly used as defined by music theory. The correct definitions provide the foundation to the rest of theory's structures, and not using correct definitions of the elements confounds the understanding of these structures, but there does not seem to be much of any concern about this.
    Thank you. I confess I have not seen the misuse, but perhaps I was paying more attention to other parts of the forum, and perhaps I do not have the knowledge of theory to spot the errors. What definitions would be better than "12 chromatic notes" and "the naming of intervals based on semitone distance"?

  6. #630

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    Quote Originally Posted by Groyniad View Post
    what rules?

    well the rules which, on the one hand, determine what counts as a well-formed sentence rather than a mere string of words

    and - on the other - the rules which determine what counts as a well-formed musical phrase rather than a mere string of notes

    an extraordinary question really

    you can't break rules unless there are rules!! so the whole thing about how hip and individual jazz is - just like poetry or drama etc. - makes no sense at all unless there is an established practice which makes it possible to identify mistakes

    if you can't make a mistake (because 'anything goes') you can't get anything right either....

    I do not know much about linguistic theory, but I believe there is a lot more to language than well-formed sentences. But in any case, the comparison does not hold because language conveys meaning. You and I can argue these points because we have the language to do so, and because these points are themselves in language. Music does not make arguments, commands, pleas or any of the other uses of language.

    I do not think jazz is breaking rules. Jazz makes alterations to the conventions of Western music. It introduces the blues and swing. It makes improvisation the purpose of performance. It forms its own conventions, just as other musical genres do.

  7. #631

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    I'm sorry I've missed 25 pages of comments prior (maybe just 23 since I've spot read a few).

    I'm a Linguist. We talk a lot about grammar, essentially as the rules that make communication in a given language possible. Did we get these rules passed down to us by generations of scribes? No, the rules are simply a description of how language is used. The language exists first, then we analyze and create a list of "rules" that everyone is free to break, modify, and even make their own. The rules exist regardless of whether or not we write them down. And the rules change constantly and are bent and modified by generations or various sociological groups to make the language work for their needs.

    Music Theory to me is a lot like this. It's not prescribed so much as described. Knowing the rules helps to create intelligent conversation and music. But the language and music came first (or simultaneously as people were playing around with theory). At some point, even as a second language learner you stop consciously thinking about the grammar ("does the adjective go before or after the noun?") and just start talking. As a musician you stop thinking about the theory and just play a lot of the times. So I think it's kinda an artificial distinction between theory and ear. At some point everyone who is any good is playing by ear, because the theory is so embedded in their minds and fingers. And this embedded theory can come from listening and playing (back to the language analogy, like a baby learning its native language) or through academic style learning (more like a second language learner).

    However we got there, we need to know the rules. If I want to jam on an F blues, but the band is playing a Bb ballad, our communication will not be clear or interesting since we are starting with a major break in the rules, and our musical goals will not be understood. Just like if an English speaker chose to ignore word order.

  8. #632

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    ^ I agree with most of what you wrote but disagree that theory is mostly descriptive and that the language - music - existed first and then we use theory to describe it. Although you did say that theory and music could have occurred at the same time which is most likely true. That isn't true that the musicians just created the music we listen to and then we use theory to describe and understand it. They also use theory to create it. Take the clip on the other thread. You think he just did that and then we use theory after to understand it? No. He theoried up those ideas.


  9. #633

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    Being mad at theory makes no more sense than being mad at plumbing. However, it is possible to be disappointed with individual theorists or plumbers, for example I would be disappointed with a plumber that seemed to not know the difference between a pipe and a fitting.

    I am disappointed with those who talk theory but seem not to adhere to theory's most fundamental definitions. Common examples are the assertion there are 12 chromatic notes or the naming of intervals based on semitone distance. These casual departures impair what is meant to be conveyed (especially for those new to theory and still close to the proper definitions of things like "note" and "interval").
    If people aren't mad at theory, why are there 26 pages on end of false info? And what the heck are you on about with some strange red herring about misusing terms?

  10. #634

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Smith View Post
    ^ I agree with most of what you wrote but disagree that theory is mostly descriptive and that the language - music - existed first and then we use theory to describe it. Although you did say that theory and music could have occurred at the same time which is most likely true. That isn't true that the musicians just created the music we listen to and then we use theory to describe and understand it. They also use theory to create it. Take the clip on the other thread. You think he just did that and then we use theory after to understand it? No. He theoried up those ideas.

    I probably didn't write as clearly as I was thinking. There are tons of examples of using theory to directly make new concepts. I agree with you that a lot of music comes from very intentional theoretical choices. I guess my thought is, the first guy to play a ii V I probably wasn't using theory per se, but rather heard something he liked. I think that's what I mean by descriptive...absolutely theory is used all the time to create music, just like how an author would use intentional grammatical structures to build a story. So it sorta has to be both.

  11. #635

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick View Post
    Thank you. I confess I have not seen the misuse, but perhaps I was paying more attention to other parts of the forum, and perhaps I do not have the knowledge of theory to spot the errors. What definitions would be better than "12 chromatic notes" and "the naming of intervals based on semitone distance"?
    Notes and pitches are not equivalent
    Notes are defined twice removed from their frequencies (the physical manifestation of sound) because they are defined as the letter names of the lines and spaces in the staff of music notation. Notes are locations for marks in the staff that represent multiple pitches, pending the application of either key signature enforced globally or accidentals marked locally (and those pitches may represent various frequencies pending assignment of particular concert pitch).


    Chromatic is applicable to pitch, not notes
    In the G clef (common treble clef) the second line up in the staff is the note G. All duration marks scored to sound on that line are called G. That note may sound different pitches. A note sounds multiple pitches and a pitch is sounded by multiple notes; the chromatic domain is pitch domain, not the note domain of staff locations.


    Intervals indicate the ordinal distance between notes, not pitches
    The importance of distinguishing notes from pitches is clear when introducing intervals, which are defined in terms of notes, not pitches. Prior to application of "quality", intervals remain independent of key, accidentals, and enharmonic pitch names, based solely on the distance between note letter names on the lines and spaces of the staff. The interval from pitch E to Ab is a fourth (note E to A, a fourth, with quality here of diminished fourth), but the enharmonic interval from pitch E to G# is a third (note E to G, a third, with quality here of major third). The pitch distance in semitones is the same (five) whether the third is major or the fourth is diminished, but those are two different intervals of different notes.


    Learn the names of the notes on the guitar and practice songs in all keys
    I have already asked specific questions elsewhere around here, but to be brief, all this bears on this example of common casual advise above. It is peculiarly not clear what that means. Does it mean knowing all 35 of the note letter+accidental pitch names per octave (for just up to the twelfth fret holds 210 names for 72 string:fret coordinates)? Does this mean when constructing or naming scale degree pitch names or chord tones /extensions /alterations pitch names using the tune's key signature to apply the correct pitch names and accidentals, or departure from that by adjusting as needed to a "local key center", or the local key of a current scale's or chord's tonic or root, or the "local" lingo of construction that may call for a "flat five" or "sharp nine" regardless of key, or a "sharp up / flat down" motion strategy for accidental application? Does this mean not only transposing of names when playing a tune in different keys, but additional transpositions relative to the tune's key for names within its own parts (local key centers, two-fives, chords, scales) as well?

    Is it important to grasp the fundamentals?

    Theory vs. playing by ear-soldering-jpg

  12. #636

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    Thank you. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing: that peculiarity of the pitch distance in semitones being the same for two different intervals confused me for a long time, until I decided to ignore it and just play.

  13. #637

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    This unacceptance of theory sure causes some strange neurosis.

  14. #638

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    Nothing of the kind; simply pragmatism. There is no point in following the rules of twelve-tone serialism if you do not like the resulting sounds. Besides, where is all this theory hiding?

  15. #639

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    Maybe your ears don't work when that's all you preach. There's theory in every tune.

  16. #640

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    Quote Originally Posted by AaronMColeman View Post
    I probably didn't write as clearly as I was thinking. There are tons of examples of using theory to directly make new concepts. I agree with you that a lot of music comes from very intentional theoretical choices. I guess my thought is, the first guy to play a ii V I probably wasn't using theory per se, but rather heard something he liked. I think that's what I mean by descriptive...absolutely theory is used all the time to create music, just like how an author would use intentional grammatical structures to build a story. So it sorta has to be both.
    me: starts to write some post about the origins of the ii V I in contrapuntal cadences from the 16th Century, thinks better of it thank god

    yeah, Bach wrote a ton of ii V Is but Roman numeral analysis did not exist in the 18th century. He more likely thought it a combination of a specific bass line with a typical suspended double cadence in the upper parts. Anyway, point is theory is also in flux and responds to changes in musical fashion, thought and even politics.

  17. #641

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick View Post
    Thank you. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing: that peculiarity of the pitch distance in semitones being the same for two different intervals confused me for a long time, until I decided to ignore it and just play.
    I think the diatonic scale gets a raw deal haha