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LOL printer1, what you didn't answer was: what do you prefer? Either way can be justified by history.
In my case, as I've said, I prefer to use Nat 9 unless the melody calls for the b9.
A good example that comes to mind of a b9 melody is "Softly...". Now I do play Nat 9 there on a solo on occasion but usually I stick to b9. Of course it's easier to think of b9 since you stay in the same scale as the minor tonic.
Still I like Nat 9 for the color. My teacher before actually felt b9 was dissonant, though that's not something most people would think.
I guess I'm old fashioned because I find I play the flat 9 a lot on standards. I use the natural 9 when I want a more modern sound. I've been taught to use the Locrian #2 (I think that's what it's called), which is is used because it has the natural 9, whereas a normal Locrian has the flat nine.
The question of preference - and the reason I leave it open (and the reason I like Knotty's original comment about "no straight answers" is because if you approach this stuff with the idea of voice leading to fit style and context you don't have to choose one way or the other. And that's exactly what you find in Herbie and Bill Evans, Red Garland, etc. etc. Voice leading and context seem to lead the decision. Maybe the way to say it is a preference for voice leading?
And I'm totally with you about either way can be justified by history. BUT, if you're going to go down that road, post some history and examples (that we can put under our fingers!)
Well -- about posting history -- after listening to HH last week, clearly he can making anything go. A lot of what he was doing was the slide-slipping (half step scale move). Others he sounded like he only some of the notes where out. For example, perhaps he transposed the minor chords a fourth away.
Anyway, my point is, when HH plays "out", he does it with so much conviction and intent that it doesn't matter what he does. In which case, are we limiting ourselves by doing what's been done historically? After all, it's all about Tension and Release.
HH just kept the tension going a lot longer than most of us can stand. Given this logic, why even worry about "wrong notes", or worse yet in this discussion, worrying about a wrong note we can't even agree on? Frankly, he made me rethink a lot of what I do. The melodies become predominant. Not the scale. And only become conscious of doing a release.
In HH's case, he only released when he got to the tonic. LOL. He was out 80% of the time.
I say this because you tend to rely a lot on history as a basis for musical choice (per your words, since I don't know what you sound like). Given that my own past teacher didn't even teach me vocabulary, then it wasn't as important to him.
If HH can make it work with 80% of the time being in the "wrong scale", it should make us all think.
Jazzwee: I'm not sure HH is "out" that much of the time. I transcribed several choruses of one of his solos (One Finger Snap). He certainly uses a lot of altered notes, and has lots of passing chromatic passing tones, but generally his phrases were well within the written harmony. Every now and then you'll find runs that you know he had substitution in mind. He also uses sequences that clearly go outside the harmony, but are internally consistent. But I'd say that that stuff was less than 10% in the one solo I looked at. Of course, one solo does not a statistical sample make!
I'm telling you. Last week, you couldn't recognize the tune. These are pretty regular standards so I know them well. By out I don't mean always 1/2 step out. That would be always dissonant. I'm just saying that 80% of the time he was not in correct scale for the key, though there could be common tones. For example, he could sound major in a minor chord. And we're not talking about dominants here either.
What should make us think is when someone insists that 80% of the time they've heard "this" or they've heard "that." Yet despite that specific number - which is included several times in your posts - there's no hard evidence to support that assessment - only subjective description of what might or might not have happened in a concert.
How many times have we heard something once and then heard it again and realised in the second hearing we missed a lot in the first hearing? And then in a third hearing how many times have we had the impression of the second hearing? - that we missed stuff. And how many times do we go back to a recording many hearings later only to find that we're hearing it in a completely different way?
It's because of that that that a transcription is useful when referring to the specifics of someone's style. The transcription gives us common ground - and history - to which we can refer. If something's there in the transcription, well, it's there. It someone makes something up about what's in a transcription, well, that's there to see too.
A common musical vocabulary is helpful too. Musical vocabulary - jargon, professional language - whatever you want to call it: it's based on and comes from common stuff that musicians have long noticed and agreed upon. It's lets us speak more, specifically, than to say only that something is "out." Well, bebop was "out" to swing musicians. Ornette Coleman was "out" to the "inside" players of the 50s. But we have the means now to discuss how and why those impressions came to be and how why they eventually faded. So why not use all the tools we have? Why check some at the gate and admit others?
You mention in this discussion that you've never heard me play. Well, that's a two-way street now isn't it? Instead of going down that road, maybe the better question is: IS that relevant? If so, how? Why not just stick to discussing ideas about the music? So I'll be straight and to the point: Whether or not you've heard me play has nothing to do with the discussion at hand and I resent having to point that out.
Let's focus on the music. OK? There's a lot of expertise in this forum and we can all learn from each other. If you're short on vocabulary, well, then this is a good place to pick it up - in the same way that it's a good place to hear about your impression of a concert that no one else was able to attend.
I think you misunderstand me completely. You took more (including offense) that wasn't intended or did not exist. The comment about your playing was just a passing comment about what your style is in reference to being a stickler to the bebop vocabulary. I wasn't indicating in any way that you need to reveal your music in any form. You could just tell us in general.
You're obviously deep into transcription and definitely more so than my teachers before. So I was just thinking about whether this impacted being "strict" with vocabulary choices while playing. Now this related to the question of "can anything really be wrong?". Which is why I brought about HH.
What Herbie was playing was this:
I've posted this many times before. When you hear him go out, he just stayed there longer last Tuesday. But he's using the same exact techniques. Sounds exactly like it. I just happen to know because as you know I worked on documenting the different ways of playing out in my blog.
The only difference was that he did it more. It would be nice to see a transcription of "this" version. But in any case, you can probably hear the more obvious techniques like side-slipping, or some of the reharms.
The tunes played last week were regular standards so the form was very easy to follow. Heck, I played those same tunes just the night before
Now back to being strict with vocabulary. The issue then becomes, if HH can leave the current harmony, as he does frequently here, then are we being obsessive about note selection to the degree of b9 vs. nat 9 when more extreme examples abound?
My point was perhaps, as one gets more advanced, the bigger picture is more important and that's the balance of tension and release. Reminds me of the typical saying that if you hit the wrong note, hit it again, and again, and again (did that at my last gig, LOL).
Wouldn't you agree that the discussion of a b9 vs. Nat 9 pales in comparison to what HH is doing? Not a one note debate but a total departure from the original harmony?
It was just a thought. And perhaps this discussion is stretching beyond that simple observation.
Well that's some interesting stuff you guys got there Anyone got a tip on how to divide between Piano and (acoustic) Guitar?
I guess the Piano player plays the bass + chord when Guitar is playing melody/improvising.. and when Piano is improvising, Piano plays Bass + Improv/Melody and Guitar comps the chords?.. Because acoustic guitar can't go low enough for walking bass/bass.
That level of empathy is not for the faint of heart. I had the notion once that I was going to accompany myself on guitar ala Jim/Bill to Darn That Dream. I got as far as the sound check and realized that I couldn't pull off all of the intricate editing that would be required. Its really got to be two people with some serious empathy for what the other is playing.
Jjo's post a few back pretty much explains what's going on in that Herbie video. About being obsessive about b9 and nat. 9. Well, obsessive as a descriptive word implies more focus than the concept should have. I guess that opinion.
There are definite consistencies re: how and where many pianists use either one or the other. Looking at this stuff in a transcription shows that. It's there to see and hear. The controls and constraints and practice that go along with the choice - that's stuff that transfers to other things. I advise it as worth knowing because then you've got a guideline that transfers to other choices.
But does it all pale when HH is in a concert and a listener is hearing the conviction of the overall presentation. OF COURSE it does! But the point of the discussion is guidelines about how and why choices work. That's just info to use or not according to taste, interests, etc.
Lost Woods .. that question of dividing between piano and guitar. If you've got the opportunity to play in that situation, one way is just work it out w/the guitarist. Just by playing. And also by listening to great piano/guitar combinations. There are million! As you do that, you'll find stuff that works for you and stuff that doesn't. Maybe as you work through it you could post your observations?
Hey printer1, I thought you got mad at me or something.
I liked your choice of word for HH: "CONVICTION". Truly that is what makes it work. And HH is so CERTAIN about his moves. When I go outside, I lack that kind of conviction. Comes with knowledge and confidence I suppose.
BTW - just an interesting side story. I was at a LA Philharmonic concert this week and they were playing Bach, Mendelsohn, Mozart. And there was a little lecture beforehand and the PHD guy was talking about the "wonder" of Bach and Mozart leaving the "key". In Mozart's case it was grace notes. In Bach's case it was a true momentary key departure.
The PHD guy continued by saying, "...is this Duke Ellington? Schoenberg? They were ahead of their time...200 years...etc."
Then when I listened to the concert, as much as I listened closely to all this, it clearly was so sparse. 99% of the time all these composers stayed diatonic, excluding grace notes.
It was wonderful music, but boy, do I miss the extra tension from jazz. And I got reminded of the extreme end of HH completely playing out of key the whole time. Now it did remind me of what Bach did. What Bach did was retain the melody note but play harmony in a different key (common tone in both keys).
My perception of HH is that SOME of the notes in the lines belong to the original key so it's not completely disconnected. But it suggests a different harmony. So I suppose the effect is similar to Bach's.
I do like hearing that though more than 1% of the time. HH was maybe too extreme. But somewhere in the middle is good for me. Maybe departures in harmony 20% of the time.
No worries Jazzwee! Clusters of stuff going on! But the music is more interesting!
That "conviction" word: It's a really interesting concept - in the sense of what actually makes music sound good? Well, who knows? Is it clever harmonies, melodies and rhythms? Conviction? ... Bill Evans has a record called "A Simple Matter of Conviction."
That's a really interesting story about the PhD guy and what you got from the lecture. Do you have a book of the Bach Chorales or have you played Bach Inventions?
That's a really interesting story about the PhD guy and what you got from the lecture. Do you have a book of the Bach Chorales or have you played Bach Inventions?
No I haven't. But the Bach piece was a Chorale.
BTW that's an amazing find on Nef. We dedicated quite a bit of time on Nef a couple of years back (in the other thread). Everyone analyzed it to death. It would have been nice to have that article as a reference.
Re: Conviction. I just read this on The Bullet-proof musician site that makes sense: "Art and fear. Specifically, that if we want to be taken seriously as an artist, we must look at the score with our own eyes and our own ears and take a stand. Rather than copying others’ ideas or waiting for others to endorse or support our ideas, we must make our own conclusions about what we see in the music and bring our ideas to life boldly, courageously, and without question or apology.
I know I am late in this thread but, I currently have been working on the basic structure of AL from the Real Book using the chords and simple melody. It sounds ok, but lacking depth. My teacher went over using the e minor scale to do some improvising, but I'm not getting it. Any suggestions, ideas etc appreciated. I wont see the teacher for 10 days.
Here: on the major 251, use major scale of the one. In Bb, use Bb major. On the minor 251, use the harmonic minor throughout. In Gm, use G harmonic minor.
Run the scale up and down over the changes until you got it. Run the chords up and down 1357 and 3579 up and down until you got it, in blocks of 4 notes.
When you're confortable, running up and down scale and chord, set your metronome to 72bpm and improvise a little. Start with only 8th notes, but short or very short phrases. Maybe 4 notes, with long or very long rests. You want to feel when you can come in comfortably. Stretch it to 2 blocks of 4 notes, and perhaps even 4 blocks.
This particular tune might be worth running in 6 keys or so, ever the next few months. C, F, G, Bb, Eb and Ab
Go back to the up and down scale and chords all the time. You will internalize the changes very well that way. While methods differ on what scale / chord to use, most will tell you to actually run the scales and chords to internalize the changes and get comfortable.
(I haven't posted in a long, long time, but I've been following this thread.)
My teacher and I were just talking about this idea of "parent scales" just a couple weeks ago. He pointed out to me the usefulness of using the harmonic minor as a parent scale for minor-key tunes, just as you use the major scale for major-key tunes.
Melodic-minor harmony is sometimes maybe a bit more interesting, but involves associating a different melodic-minor scale with each and every chord. Harmonic-minor scales as parent scales help avoid that problem somewhat.
I was getting very hung up and frustrated trying to play a tune like "Woody n' You," involving a descending minor ii-V sequence, while sticking to melodic-minor harmony. Once I started using harmonic minor as the parent for the minor ii-Vs, everything became much easier, and I was able to be a good deal more expressive in my improvisation.
Thank God for Bill Evans. I've been looking around for ideas to improv piano in accompanying voice on: When I Fall in Love, Nat King Cole. I ran across an old recording of Bill Evans doing this in jazz. Gave me a ton to think about. Thank God for Jazz....love it. That album is so old. It has "Stereo" advertised on the front.
Ron Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon