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Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: rintincop] #2946420 02/13/20 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by rintincop
In free play there are no rules.

You can copy what you hear,
You can compliment (accompany what you hear),
You can contrast what you hear, go against it,
You can do your own thing,
You can introduce a theme,

Herbie and Ron are engaged in melodic free play . They are not thinking about chords.
Herbie weaves shapes in his favorite scales: melodic minor, major, diminished, whole tone , chromatic , and a bit of blues.

I hope that you understand that only words do not prove anything.

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Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: rintincop] #2946437 02/13/20 02:49 PM
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rintincop Offline OP
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nahum, you are looking at it thru the wrong lense ....

The improvisation section of Orbits was performed as an act of free play. "You know, these guys are playing without a net."
Wayne Shorter responded by quoting the famous mission statement from “Star Trek”: “Boldly go where no man has gone before.”
“Like leaving what you know and not being afraid,” Shorter continued. “How’re you going to rehearse that? How do you rehearse the unknown?”
"...guided and shaped by nothing other than the group’s collective ESP"... surprised by what they "can conjure, from the barest materials, on any given night"
"The way I look at it — at "Orbits" or anything else I've done — is that the creative process always has an element of surprise. And even if the surprise is ignored, or the surprise is not recognized by the recipient, it's there anyway."


Professional | 1966 Mason & Hamlin | Kawai ES110 | Mojo 61 |
Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: rintincop] #2946440 02/13/20 03:02 PM
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Herbie Hancock said on those tunes without changes he would just let his fingers play ‘automatically’, i.e. just fire off any patterns or sequences that came out, without really thinking about it.

Then Miles told him to stop using his left hand. So this made his lines even more random or open sounding, as there was no chordal reference coming from his left hand.


Professional | 1966 Mason & Hamlin | Kawai ES110 | Mojo 61 |
Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: rintincop] #2946446 02/13/20 03:15 PM
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Free Jazz: Free Jazz, as the name implies, is all about freedom.
http://www.thejazzpianosite.com/jazz-piano-lessons/modern-jazz-theory/free-jazz/

"The goal of Free Jazz is to allow greater freedom of expression through completely free improvisation. Each artist, naturally, expresses him or herself differently, and this is precisely why Free Jazz is a notoriously difficult genre to define. It’s not about any one particular characteristic or technique. Instead you can only define Free Jazz in the negative:

Free Jazz is the systematic rejection of musical norms and established rules in favour of personal expression.

The whole trend of Modern Jazz is towards greater freedom in improvisation. The way this was done was by reducing the importance of chords. This is because chords restrict your improvisation by forcing you to work within a given harmonic framework or chord progression. By reducing the importance of chords, you free up your ability to improvise.

Traditional (Tonal) Jazz
Uses functional harmony in a particular Major or minor key with a tonal centre
There is a strict chord progression which is inevitably leading towards the tonic chord
The goal of the soloist is simply to restate the chord changes by targeting Guide Tones and avoiding Avoid Notes
Modal Jazz
Uses non-functional harmony, with or without a tonal centre (though usually with) but is still based within a diatonic mode
This allowed the soloist greater freedom in improvisation because there are no more Guide Tones or Avoid Notes (though there are still Character Tones)
The goal of the improviser is to create an interesting melody within the given mode or scale
So while you have more freedom than in tonality, because you could disregard chord progression, you were still restricted to a particular mode (like D Dorian).
Free Jazz
Is often atonal, with or without a tonal centre, and is NOT in any particular diatonic key (instead, you could say that it is ‘chromatic’)
This allows the soloist almost complete freedom in improvisation because you don’t have to worry about chords or keys or modes anymore
The soloist can use any of the 12 note in any order – and all notes are created equal!
Tonality Modality Free Jazz
Major & minor keys All modes No Key (Chromaticism)
Functional Harmony No Functional Harmony No Functional Harmony
With a Tonal Centre With or without a Tonal Centre With or without a Tonal Centre
Improvisation based on chords Improvisation based on scale/mode Free Improvisation
Different Free Jazz musicians approached this idea in different ways, and I’ll cover some of these below.

Liberté, Equalité, Fraternité
20th Century Classical music also made use of atonality. After a brief period of ‘free atonality’ in the early 1900’s, Classical composers like Schoenberg created a very rigid, structured, and academic way of playing atonally which was called 12 Tone Serialism. The goal was to create music which completely lacked any sense of tonality, where you use each of the 12 notes (or ‘pitch classes’) without repeating any, in such a way that no tonality is established.

Jazz is far less academic about atonality. The high degree of structure found in serialism is not found in Jazz. This is probably because it’s too difficult to improvise using such rigid and complex rules, and because it completely defeats the purpose of Free Jazz – which is to have more freedom to improvise. There’s no point breaking the old rules just to create new ones. In Free Jazz, you’re allowed to play both tonally and atonally, it’s up to you.

But of course, Free Jazz is about more than just playing ‘atonally’. As I stated at the beginning, Free Jazz is the systematic rejection of musical norms. And there are plenty of other musical norms to reject.

Traditional Music Free Jazz
Tonality Polytonality Atonality
Tempo Polytempic Atempic
Rhythm Polyrhythmic
Meter Polymeter Ameter
Strict Form Can be formless
Rehearsal Spontaneous
Smooth Disjointed
Free Jazz Individuality
It’s worth discussing how various Free Jazz musicians approached atonality
John Coltrane Ornette Coleman Cecil Taylor
Modal Tonal Centers Tone Clusters

John Coltrane took non-functional chords (like in Modal Jazz) but improvised over them using a lot of chromaticism so that he wasn’t just playing in a single mode.
In fact, he played ‘outside’ the mode more than ‘inside’ the mode so that the whole modal framework collapsed.
The mode just functioned as a starting point from which to depart into atonality.
He also often created ‘noise’ rather than ‘sound’ by doing things like overblowing his saxophone.

Ornette Coleman went one step further and simply got rid chords altogether.
By removing all the chords, the soloist was free to literally play anything because there was no harmony to adhere to. If there are no chords, then there is no underlying harmony and no key – so you are free to play whatever you like.
But interestingly, even though he got rid of chords, Coleman still retained a tonal centre – which was played as a pedal point by the bass. This ‘tonal centre’ or ‘focal tone’ acts like a ‘base from which to explore’ atonality.

He also came up with the theory of harmolodics – which is essentially the idea that all musical elements (harmony, melody, speed, rhythm, time and phrasing) are all equal and none should take precedence over any other.

Cecil Taylor is a Free Jazz pianist who abandoned the Modal Framework used by Coltrane and Tonal Centres used by Coleman and instead made wide use of Tone Clusters to avoid playing in any specific key or tonal centre.
A ‘Tone Cluster’ is simply playing 3 or more neighbouring notes at once (so mashing the keyboard)
Tone Clusters can be Chromatic, Diatonic or Pentatonic.
All tone clusters are classifiable as secundal chords—that is, chord built out of 2nds (minor, major, or augmented)
Tone Cluster Free Jazz
And this is what I meant when I said that Free Jazz was hard to classify. Three different Free Jazz musicians used three different approaches to free improvisation and atonality – modal, tonal centred, and tone clustered – and all are still classified as ‘Free Jazz’.

Structure & Motion
Now, getting rid of tonality and chords creates two problems – you lose the underlying ‘structure & form’ of the song and the ‘sense of motion’ that chords provide.

Structure & Form
Despite the rejection of ‘musical forms’ & chord, Free Jazz is not completely ‘formless’. All music, in order to be music rather than just noise, requires some kind of structure. So Free Jazz musicians created new ways of structuring music.
Free Jazz removed ‘chords’ in order to focus on ‘melody’, so it makes sense that they structured songs around melody. This idea can be called ‘thematic development’ or ‘motivic development’ or ‘motivic chain association’.
You take a motif, then change it, and then change it again, then play a different motif, and change that one, then go back to your first motif, and change it again, and so on…
A → A’ → B → A’’ → B’ → C → C’ → B’’ → A’’’ → etc.
So improvisations, despite being free, were often quite structured. By rejecting harmonic structure, Free Jazz musicians instead used melodic structure as the basis of form in their songs.
Sense of Motion
Functional harmony is what creates a sense of forward motion & movement (towards the tonic). Without it, the music feels like it’s not going anywhere. This is fine – many modal songs just float around. But if you want to create a sense of forward motion, in place of functional harmony, you need to employ other techniques. An idea used by some Free Jazz musicians to create that sense movement is that of ‘energy’.
Increase energy by – playing louder (dynamics), playing faster (tempo), playing higher (register), playing staccato (touch & timbre), playing more notes (density).
Moving from low energy to high energy and then back again creates a sense of motion.

It’s easy to play while ignoring all chords and rules of harmony, but it will sound terrible – like you’re making mistakes. What then, is the difference between Free Jazz & a cat walking across the piano? They do actually sound quite similar. The answer is that Free Jazz has:

Non-harmonic structure (melodic structure and energy – as above)
Conviction and Emotion – you need something strong and convincing to replace chords, you have to play confidently and emotively.
Free Jazz songs often try capture an emotion (Expressionism) or a scene (Impressionism), which is generally stated in the title of the song – such as Peace or Lonely Woman. And songs sound different depending on what mood or emotion or picture you’re trying to paint – Free Jazz improvisation over a song called ‘Sadness’ should sound different to Free Jazz improvisation over a song called ‘Energetic Puppies!’

Free Jazz Techniques
Some of the techniques & ideas underlying & characterising Free Jazz are:

Rejection of a strict chord progressions or even chords

Rejection of Formalism & embrace of Expressionism and Impressionism
Melody/Timbre > Harmony;
Content (Emotion) > Form
Tone Clusters ~ Taylor
Harmolodics ~ Coleman
New sounds from instruments – overblowing, microtones, multiphonics
Create noise rather than sound
Extended Techniques
Use of unusual instruments
Primitivism
Jazz returning to its ‘roots’ of ‘uneducated/out of tune folk music’, with the ‘call & response’ and raw emotion of Blues and early Jazz – before it was made academic and commercial and ‘Europeanised’ with notation and formal harmony and playing in ‘keys’
Collective improvisation
Everyone in the band improvising at the same time with no set key or tempo or harmony. Free Jazz made extensive use of collective improvisation – which, again, was a throwback to early Dixieland Jazz which also used collective improvisation (though in a particular key).
Complete freedom of expression through improvisation above all else



Context & Contention:
Free Jazz arose in the 1960’s during the Civil Rights Movement, so as African-American people were fighting for freedom on the streets, they were also fighting for freedom in music. So even the name ‘Free Jazz’ is a politically loaded term.
Some people doubt whether true atonality can really exist – because if you listen hard enough you can always hear some kind of tonal centre or frequent modulations. But that’s a matter of contention.
Some say Ornette Coleman does NOT play ‘atonally’ at all, but rather plays Bebop and Blues with a constantly modulating tonal centre. At a certain point this becomes academic. Is atonality really possible? Or is every single note it’s own tonal centre and therefore if you play all 12 notes in a row, you’ve simply played from 12 different tonal centres?
Freedom in Chains
The ultimate goal of Free Jazz is ‘freedom of expression through free improvisation’ – this was achieved by breaking musical ‘rules’. Interestingly, Free Jazz is not completely free – Free Jazz musicians still employed tonal centres, or thematic development in order to impose some structure onto their song and improvisation. So perhaps complete freedom is undesirable. As I’ve said in previous lessons: Music without structure is noise.

Free Jazz is not easy to listen to, and it’s not supposed to be. You have to know what to listen to. Free Jazz is like conceptual art – the idea behind it is just as important as the music itself. It’s not like a Mozart song, which innately sounds pleasant. You have to really understand what you’re listening to in order to appreciate it. And sometimes it’ll sound like a cat walking across a piano. But other times it will sound very powerful and emotive.

Have a Listen to
Listen to the following albums:

Impressions ~ John Coltrne
Ascension ~ John Coltrne
Meditations ~ John Coltrne
The Shape of Jazz to Come ~ Ornette Coleman
Change of the Century ~ Ornette Coleman
Free Jazz ~ Ornette Coleman
Indent ~ Cecil Taylor
Looking Ahead ~ Cecil Taylor

Last edited by rintincop; 02/13/20 03:22 PM.

Professional | 1966 Mason & Hamlin | Kawai ES110 | Mojo 61 |
Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: rintincop] #2946622 02/14/20 01:37 AM
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If you are interested in dialogue, please conduct it at eye level.

Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: rintincop] #2946974 02/14/20 09:50 PM
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You don’t see to be someone I can talk with, no offense intended. I have given my analysis which you have had no response to. You seem to be ideologically set on rejecting the premise of free play and insist on relating all improvisation to a chord system.

Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: rintincop] #2947919 02/17/20 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by rintincop
You don’t see to be someone I can talk with, no offense intended. I have given my analysis which you have had no response to. You seem to be ideologically set on rejecting the premise of free play and insist on relating all improvisation to a chord system.

First of all, you have no idea about my background. I started playing free jazz with my friends back in the late 60s under the influence of late Coltrane and post-Coltrane players like Charles Lloyd; but it was purely instinctive; can even be described as a pose. It took many years to assimilate the most diverse music from different cultures in order to create the prospect of free improvisation to the extent that allows truly transferring experience to young musicians. And this is done not by quotes, but by own examples. I was a partner in free improvisation with Dewey Redman, Chico Freeman, Eddie Daniels and other artists, I can’t remember anymore. Among my students in this field I can name Yitzhak Yedid, who later studied with Paul Bley; as well as Ruslan Sirota, twice Grammy winner. So, it seems to me that I understand something in free improvisation, even without the use of quotes.
There is not the slightest chance that the melodic line, improvised instinctively on the piano, will be truly atonal. Down with the slogans; there was already one such Derek Bailey, proclaiming non-idiomatic improvisation. Try to jump above the navel - you can train your whole life!
The human ear in a free stream instinctively searches for reference sounds from which it is possible to push off. Some of them can be defined as tonic, others - acoustically associated with them. These tonics can change even quickly, however, they shine through the melodic line, creating hints of harmony. It can be very veiled and chromatized, however, in combination with strong beats in the bar, a melodic skeleton and corner pitches, this can be detected much more clearly. This requires more ability to analyze than quoting from other sources.

Thus, in bars 3-4 of H.H.'s solo Gm is very clearly represented, for each beat: | G G Bb C # -D | G ||

Bars 5–9 contain following pitches that allow us to to reveal the tonic:
(piano)| C | Bb | F | Bb D | C Bb ||

(bass) |t C | */.| */.| F Bb | F E ||

The melodic skeleton in bars 10-11 in piano solo contains pitches taken from D blues scale: A-Ab-G-F-D.

The following one and a half bars contain, as you correctly noticed, C diminished scale.

In bars 21-23, the melodic skeleton consists of | G F Ab (Fm)| Db C A | G F (G halfdim) Eb D || The ending of phrase is taken from the shortened ending of theme . No hint of atonalism!

Bars 47-50, skeleton pitches:
| A Bb G(Gm) | B F # G B C (C maj7)| A C A Bb D | F Bb G (Gm7)C Bb ( Cm, C7?)||

The phrase in 51-52 (with upbeat) is apparently taken from Coltrane - its typical ending.

Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: rintincop] #2947974 02/17/20 10:22 AM
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https://musopen.org/music/10867-3-pieces-op11/

Those who consider this music to be atonal, i.e. non tonal, have poor ear. For each phrase from the first 11 bars, you can find a tonic, and without much difficulty. Therefore, Schoenberg himself protested against the term atonality.

https://musopen.org/music/10879-suite-op25/

There are other, antitonical forces, expressed in the rejection of the sequence of intervals, alluding to tonal chords.

Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: rintincop] #2948016 02/17/20 11:51 AM
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Late Roman Kunsman, the saxophonist with whom I played, constantly used the dodecaphone series in improvisation, combining with tonal and modal phrasing. He created a dodecaphone square for himself from 12 transpositions of four transformations of the series, and learned them by heart.

https://yadi.sk/d/PYeccG7I3RGEbX from 00:52 - 05:49
Also from 13:11 till 16:54

In a later period, I suggested using the method of dividing the dodecaphone series into 3 fragments of 4 notes, and using permutations inside each fragment, between the fragments themselves and their transposition. A rather atonal effect is obtained, but in this recording was not reflected .
H.H. did not use this at all.

Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: rintincop] #2948131 02/17/20 03:15 PM
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BTW , I am not comfortable with notation in real book:

[Linked Image]


In piano solo, structures of 2 and 4 bars can be traced, which often begin from strong odd measures, and even in their middle.
The pianist does not use long notes at all, except for the ending, replacing them with pauses. In this he follows Miles. Broken scales and wandering tonics transfer the emphasis to the development of melodic intonation, approaching human speech. Cecil Taylor did this in clusters.
The abundance of short notes, the rejection of chords and piano sustain: this is how the crisis of acoustic piano in jazz began to come to light. The next year, rehearsals of Weather Report begin, which later introduced a new concept to jazz, also with relation to keyboards. The group I performed with in Newport in 1974 was completely oriented toward Weather Report, which deserved a negative review from a critic in New York Times.

Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: rintincop] #2948252 02/17/20 08:22 PM
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rintincop Offline OP
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Actually, that's very interesting.

I do recognize that Herbie is shifting tonics and playing lines and patterns thru some of his favorite scale pools. My question is what is triggering his tonic shifts? Chance music (aleatory from Latin alea, “dice”) ?


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Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: rintincop] #2948259 02/17/20 08:42 PM
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Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: rintincop] #2948475 02/18/20 10:24 AM
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Interesting are the melodic transformations and techniques in bars 24-28. Starting from the second beat of bar 24 and until the beginning of bar 25, the central tone is Db, as the d-c decorating sounds first prove, then the Db-Fb-Eb-D-Db loop. The same Db becomes a pivot for the fragment of diminished scale at the beginning of bar 25, followed by the loop Ab-Fb-Gb-Bbb-Ab, which is almost a mirror image of loop in the previous measure. This pattern was clearly learned in all transpositions. Bar 26 is another loop Ab-Gb-F-Gb-Ab that pushes the ascending and descending chromatized move in Eb major in bars 26 - 28, which reminds the beginning of Lee Morgan's solo in Blue Train.

Last edited by Nahum; 02/18/20 10:26 AM.
Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: rintincop] #2948741 02/18/20 08:34 PM
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Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: rintincop] #2948882 02/19/20 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by rintincop
My question is what is triggering his tonic shifts?


It is like asking ‘why did Picasso paint that eye over there?’. There is never going to be a good answer.

My feeling is that Herbie can play anything that is in his mind, therefore what he played was just what he heard in his mind at that moment. He presumeably would have been influenced by some factors like the melody of the composed tune, what the last soloist played, the last phrses he played himself, etc.
To my way of thinking there is little point then in trying to analyse what happened, there is nothing important to be learned by this kind of analysis. So what if Herbie played a diminished scale then a chromatic pattern and an enclosure? I don’t even think this helps get an understanding of the music because (I am pretty sure) that is not in the spirit that Herbie approached this music.
Imagine trying to understand Cecil Taylor by transcribing and analysing what he played, that just seems like the wrong approach to me.

Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: rintincop] #2948889 02/19/20 06:28 AM
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rinticop, enough quotes! If you consider yourself a professional in the field of free jazz, then give examples of your analysis, your recordings, the recordings of your students to hear your approach, not the approach of quotes authors .For example, I took 12 bars from bass line posted by me here; and added my own free improvisation - as I understand it. My understanding , not quotes, is the starting point for analyzing the free solos of other musicians.

https://yadi.sk/d/KH4n6pIPFhV07w

I must honestly declare that the recording was made at a much slower speed : progressing problems with hands - unlike the head - simply don't allow me to play fast and clear ; which unfortunately also affects phrasing.

Originally Posted by beeboss
? I don’t even think this helps get an understanding of the music because (I am pretty sure) that is not in the spirit that Herbie approached this music.
Imagine trying to understand Cecil Taylor by transcribing and analysing what he played, that just seems like the wrong approach to me.

This is not entirely accurate: the artist demonstrates his syntax and intonation, which is very important for study. Notes can be random, intonation and syntax - never!








Last edited by Nahum; 02/19/20 06:38 AM.
Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: rintincop] #2948930 02/19/20 08:51 AM
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beeboss: I'm kinda with you. I took Herbie's master class that's available for a fee online. While I loved hearing him play, he really just talked a little about his philosophy of life, and then played something incredible. He was never able to give some logical explanation of why he did what.

Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: jjo] #2948931 02/19/20 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by jjo
He was never able to give some logical explanation of why he did what.


Yes, music is not logic, and musical decisions are buried so deep in the mind that even the player is (often, usually) unaware of them. Some players even say that mind plays no part and that they are just vessels for the music which comes from a higher plane.

Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: Nahum] #2948941 02/19/20 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Nahum

Originally Posted by beeboss
? I don’t even think this helps get an understanding of the music because (I am pretty sure) that is not in the spirit that Herbie approached this music.
Imagine trying to understand Cecil Taylor by transcribing and analysing what he played, that just seems like the wrong approach to me.

This is not entirely accurate: the artist demonstrates his syntax and intonation, which is very important for study. Notes can be random, intonation and syntax - never



Hi Nahum, I am not sure exactly what you mean by intonation and syntax but I certainly agree that there are other aspects of the music worth studying (particularly in the case of Herbie I am fascinated by his articulation and rhythmic drive) but the kind of analysis mentioned has been about which notes come from which scale (enclosures, tone centres etc) and it is that kind of analysis I am not sure is useful (not useful to me anyway).
I think a useful way of approaching that solo would be to learn to play it along with Herbie until the feel is perfectly assimilated. If this could be done to such a degree that it was so easy to play that playing the whole solo used almost no brain power then maybe we could enter ever so slightly the brain space of Herbie.

Re: Herbie’s solo on “Orbits” analyze [Re: beeboss] #2949046 02/19/20 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by beeboss


Hi Nahum, I am not sure exactly what you mean by intonation and syntax



but I certainly agree that there are other aspects of the music worth studying (particularly in the case of Herbie I am fascinated by his articulation and rhythmic drive) but the kind of analysis mentioned has been about which notes come from which scale (enclosures, tone centres etc) and it is that kind of analysis I am not sure is useful (not useful to me anyway).
I think a useful way of approaching that solo would be to learn to play it along with Herbie until the feel is perfectly assimilated. If this could be done to such a degree that it was so easy to play that playing the whole solo used almost no brain power then maybe we could enter ever so slightly the brain space of Herbie.
[/quote] Yes, this is a hindrance to the discussion; IMO, these two elements plus the rhythmic foundation are central to improvisation - beyond harmony.
Musical intonation is what is called in English melodic curve or melodic contour. MI theory was first put forward by the Russian theoretician B. Yavorsky at the beginning of the 20th century, which after the great Russian revolution became the basis of Soviet musicology and music education. The West did not pick up this idea because of its connection with communist ideology; which was, of course, unreasonable: the theory was the result of Russian theoretical thought even before the Communists. You know for sure the other two names of the pupils of this system: Nicholas Slonimsky and Joseph Schillinger; only they left Russia and moved to the States, where they got a big name among music theorists. In such cases, the proverb is recalled that "you must be able to separate flies from cutlets."
The German theorist Ernst Kurt came close to the theory of intonation in the 1920s in his work Fundamentals of Linear Counterpoint, without mentioning a specific term.
In a very simplified form, you can imagine musical intonation as a reflection of the feelings and emotions of the person, which corresponds to the speech melody. Their unification occurred in Schönberg's Sprechgesang concept. The theory of innate speech syntax was developed by Noam Chomsky; professor Charles Limb scientifically proved the relationship between musical improvisation and communication through speech, which includes syntactic forms, but turns off the mechanism responsible for semantics. Hence my conclusion that work on improvisation should take place precisely in these areas, and they also help the perception of music from the outside.

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