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Masemm

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Reply with quote  #1 

With the material that is now slowly becoming available to those of us who want to 'Be Like Ted',  I have been wondering - How do I begin to learn & incorporate Ted's style of playing into what I already do.

 

Where I would like to end up is to able to play improvised (or partly improvised) arrangements of songs that I love to play using the voice leading & techniques that Ted uses.

 

My strategy at the moment is to learn some of the chord progressions and then use similar voicings in my songs so that instead of voicing the chords the way I do now ( ie based on limited variations of chord shapes I know) I will use some of Teds changes to make the harmony more rich and satisfying rather than sounding 'always the same' as it does now.

 

I was wondering if anyone else had any thoughts on where/how it is best to begin and how to quickly transfer this into our own playing so that it becomes part of us rather than a series of learned arrangements.


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LeonWhite

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Reply with quote  #2 

Are you talking about chord melody/solo guitar arrangements or accompaniment?

What level are you at in your playing?

 

-L

Masemm

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Posts: 66
Reply with quote  #3 

Hi Leon

Thanks for replying

I am mainly interested in chord melody playing however I think there is potential to apply similar principles for backing a singer rather than just plain struming chords with a few riffs and bass notes

 

My Level Of Playing

I play much better at home than in public

I have have been playing for over 30 years

I have learn't various classical, jazz and country fingerstyle arrangements

Eg

*I Got Rhythm - Martin Taylor - walking bass

*True - Martin Taylor - ballad

*Missionera - Jorge Morel -

*Danza Brassilera - Jorge Morel

*Mombassa - Tommy Emmanuell

*Various Chet Atkins Alternating Bass songs eg Tears, It Don't Mean a Thing..

 

I can do things like play an improvised arrangement to Just Friends, Misty or Georgia On My Mind but my ability to re-harmonize on the fly is very limited.  My so called 'improvised' arrangements sound all the same after a while.

 

I could sit down and reharmonize pieces using techniques I learn't from the Concepts - Arranging for Fingerstyle Guitar by Howard Morgen book.  This takes a fair bit of time and does not really develop the ability to do it on the fly. 

 

I think the ability to reharmonize a song while performing it is probably something that you need to practice and practice. As you design your own arrangements to songs the ablity to do it very quickly will develop over time.

 

I really love what I hear Ted doing and would like some recommendations for learning to use his style of harmonizing a tune but also to learn how he learnt to do spontaneously.  Was there things he got students to do to learn how to do it.

 

I am starting to work through the Modern Chord Progressions book but how do I apply these chord progressions?  How do they become more than just mindless practice?

 

Thanks

Michael


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LeonWhite

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Reply with quote  #4 

Wow - good info and good questions.  

You're pursuing what I consider the hardest of all musical challenges (other than raw composing). 

 

I'd hope others will respond, but here's my 2 cents worth:

 

Ted moved in and out of styles and so on because he knew them as discrete things (i.e. Bach, Big Western Scores, etc.).  He knew what made those sounds unique - both the harmony and rhythm. 

 

So, one could argue you might pursue your goal by picking a style and studying it.  The Bach improvisation, for example, was one area he taught quite a bit.  Folks like Mark Thornbury are quite familiar with that. 

 

So I'd suggest you try to 'quantify' the style or styles you're interested in, and then find ways to capture that on the instrument.  From time to time I've visited the impressionists like Debussy - I found it challenging to say the least. 

 

An alternative, which is to explore chord forms etc on the instrument, is one I find to be too hit or mis and too time consuming, so I would say DON'T do that. 

 

The problem is that most players didn't float between musical era's as effortlessly as Ted.  You may have to pursue a pianist who approaches it that way.

 

In the short term, pick one or two styles you're really ready to chase, and then ask here in the forums for anyone who can help in those styles and/or with any Ted pages they might have. 

 

Because Ted's teaching pages were often targetted to a particular student, you may get only pieces of the puzzle so I'd encourage you to get a perspective on the style to guide you.  Some one here may be able to recommend well focussed material.

 

Again, I'd say "Style first, then the instrument."  That's a drag for some because its theory and logic heavy, but I'm not sure anyone has really quantified different styles, crisply, for use in guitar arranging.  Ted seemed to have the lead in that area.

 

I would say that his books are probably not too useful regarding this subject.

 

There are recent audio lessons posted that have ted explaining Gospell and Blues that are a good start on those areas. 

Ted had pages that summarized musical styles, by era - those might also be a very high level guide.

 

Good Luck!

When you figure this out, let me know.  I'll come over for lessons . . .

 

Leon

barbarafranklin

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Reply with quote  #5 
Maybe this will help.

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Barbara Franklin
Masemm

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Reply with quote  #6 

Thanks Barbara and Leon for replying

 

Very good food for thought!

 

I suppose that's where it starts - working out where we want to go and breaking it down into small bite size pieces.

 

Leon -  I agree that narrowing myself to a 'Style' is good advice. A bit hard to do but worth the effort keeping in mind that what I write now can be developed and expanded on.  The important thing is to DO IT!

 

Here is brief go at it:

The style I would like to develop is based on what I would call 'Jazz Ballad'  I love the rich sound of altered chords and harmonies.  I love a simple ballad type melody that you can embellish and enhance with different chords and moving bass lines.  Ted plays a Christmas carols/songs in the style that I would like to develop - (DVDs & lesson sheets) 

 

I was thinking this morning that what I might try and do is start to learn Teds arrangements to the Xmas songs and then use some of the lines/progressions in them to make simple arrangements to other simple songs and also use them as a basis for improvisation. 

 

Thanks Barbara for the lesson sheet - this is great advice for all of us. With the amount of material available today it is very easy to loose focus on what you are really trying to do.  We collect advice materials, books, guitars, CDs etc, etc and this becomes a distraction from what we are really trying to do - if we have ever stopped long enough to really think about it.  I like Ted's advice about exploring harmony - I think that is another way to say what I am trying to say as I define the style I want to work on.

 

Thanks again

 

Michael

 


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LeonWhite

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Reply with quote  #7 

OK.  Well if you're going for the Jazz Ballad, you sure came to the right place.  The christmas carols are good, as are the one or two arrangements in the back of Chord Chem (they're short, in Ted's handwriting if I recall).  I'd also suggest you take ANY of the short Ted standards arrangements that are in easy keys (for you). 

 

Some of his blues  "progressions" are mini lessons in voice leading (we had some up on the site but they're gone now. Perhaps someone else can put them in the forums).   

 

One way to approach the arrangements is to simplify parts of each.  In effect, you're 'reverse engineering' the tune from Ted-ish back to the basic changes.  Sometimes that lights up a connection or two ("Wait! - He put all that in for a plain iii chord!!  Let me try that in the new P Diddy standard!")

 

In particular you can create your own little catalog of 'bits' - like iii - vi - ii -V or whatever that Ted's voiced.

 

That's a favorite tack for me.  As Ted often noted, sheet music for standards is often pretty poor, which is why he wrote out tunes with basic changes and then his substitutions.  If you look at the 'sheet music' and try to connect it to Ted-ish, sometimes you can't as the sheet music (diminished and augmented chords in particular) is off. 

 

thanks barb for that great page!!

 

-L

 

barbarafranklin

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Reply with quote  #8 
Here is a page that gives insight into the many ways Ted considered his "options"

Hi Leon! thank YOU for your input. B.


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Barbara Franklin
Masemm

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Posts: 66
Reply with quote  #9 

Thanks Again Leon & Barbara

 

Leon can you please point me to where I can find the "short Ted standards arrangements" you refer to.

 

Your suggestions of reverse engineering and making a catelogue of changes and 'good bits' is where I'm starting to head.  Thanks for the confirmation.

 

I have pdf files of some of the original arrangements that were first put on the site.  I tried to upload one but got an error.  Is it easy to make the site accept pdf uploads or should I convert them to jpg format?

 

Thanks  again

 

Regards

Michael


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PaulV

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Reply with quote  #10 

Well, I tried to upload some of the Blues studies that Leon posted on this site earlier, but I was unable to do so.  It seems that the attachments for the Forums doesn't allow for .pdf files.

Any ideas?

--Paul


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--Paul
barbarafranklin

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Reply with quote  #11 
Hi Paul,
What does that mean?

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Barbara Franklin
PaulV

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Reply with quote  #12 

Hi Barbara,

When posting a message on this forum, at the bottom, regarding attachments is written:

"Valid file extensions:  bmp gif jpe jpeg jpg png"

 

A pdf file is one which was created with Adobe Acrobat, and apparently this won't work here.  I downloaded some pages that Leon had put up on the old "Teaching" section before it was removed, and they were all pdf files.  Perhaps Leon would be able to convert those into a different format in order to post them here again. 

 

I'm guessing that this is all temporary until the other sections of this site are fully functional.

--Paul


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rafikenn

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Posts: 72
Reply with quote  #13 

to play partly improvised,you need to be able to play fully

improvised;than, the arranged stuff will,organically ,find it's way

into your song;dont worry about style,chops,sound,time,avoid notes,nothin.

play s l o w,from where the ear meets the heart.

complexity in music is allways[in the context of your question]a combination

of simple plus simple.harmony always either 1.4.5,

work through the pain.

 onelove from india

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