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jerome
Reply with quote  #16 

Hi Guys,

First, let me restate my position. I am not "against" modes. I am for whatever gets me (and my students) playing and improvising in the simplest, fastest way. I was not discussing composition. The introduction of composition into this discussion is an apples versus oranges debate. I also should have said that Function & Context are everything. Music theory, unlike Quantum Physics and Higher Mathematics, is not theory at all. It's a set of Observational Facts that explain how music works. That C+E+G=C major is not a theory, it's a fact.

Second, B Phrygian Major is the fifth mode of E Harmonic Minor.

               B  C  D#  E  F# G  A  B

               1 b2  3   4   5  b6 7  8/1

What it is, does not change regardless of what chord sequence you choose to play it over. If you chose to play a C major scale over a Gb major, it would still be a C major scale. How the notes relate to the chord are a matter of Function and Context. C would be #4, D would be #5, E would be #6, F would be 7, et cetera. But you would still be playing C major.

Regards,

Jerome

hal9000
Reply with quote  #17 

yes, diatonically, B Phrygian major is and will always be the 5th mode of e harmonic minor, but to me it's function and context changes over my example (B7 to Cdim).  I would just think B Phrygian major as the I and thats it......no modes, just one big giant B Phrygian major.  If my changes modulated up a minor 3rd, I would think D Phrygian Major.  For me, thats easier.  (at no time did I think that you were "against" modes, that was someone else I think) 

jerome
Reply with quote  #18 

Hal,

It appears that you and I are basically in agreement. We have arrived at the same place via different paths. In your earlier post describing E to F#/E, you choose to think of it as E Lydian, to me it's just B major.

If the situation were a one or two chord vamp, Modal thinking would probably be simpler. My discussion of Tonal Centers was offered as a means of simplifying improvisation over the type of songs that we generally refer to as Standards. The pop tunes of the 20s, 30, 40s, show tunes and such. For me, it's easier to deal with 4 or 8 bar groups in a 32 bar song than to deal with 32 individual measures, particularly when there's more than one chord in a measure.

Here's a thought for you. Some jazz players have approached modal tunes such as So What & Impressions from the flip side of the coin and have superimposed Tonal Cadences over the harmonies.

My Best,

jerome

hal9000
Reply with quote  #19 

no question we are in accord, for standards tonal centers are basically the way to go.  However, when going for certain sounds, I like to think in modal keys.  I know that E Lydian equals B major but when I base a theme around a I major to a II major I will always think Lydian.

Walt Whiffle
Reply with quote  #20 
Koek Wei Chew, I couldn't find music samples by Okazaki Ritsuko online. Do you know any websites where we can hear her music?
MarioAbbagliati

Registered:
Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #21 
Hi guys,

I do think about the modes and find them very useful.  It really depends on the harmony of the piece.  It's obvious that a modal song it's the best framework for them, however there are songs that use complex chords that without thinking about the modes it becomes too cumbersome.  For instance, some of the songs that John Abercrombie or Kenny Wheeler write are imposible to play unless you approach modal wise.  Quite often they will have a long chain of slash chords, moving fairly quick, like one chord every one or two bars, completely unrelated to each other.  In a situation like that if I have to start figuring out the original key center of each chord it becomes a big mess for me.  The way I see it is as each chord being it's own key center, regardless of the chord/scale relationship.

Most of the examples you guys have mentioned are based  over more traditional chord sequences and styles.  I believe that over standards the first place to start must be the arpeggios if we really want to outline the sound of the chord.  Let's say we are playing a II-V-I in C major.  Thinking key center may lead to resolving to an F over CM7 or C over G7.  To me the arpeggios are the first step, after that comes the key center approach, but it will sound completely different if we come from the arpeggios, it will be way more harmonically accurate.
Hal9000

Registered:
Posts: 23
Reply with quote  #22 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarioAbbagliati
Hi guys,

.  Quite often they will have a long chain of slash chords, moving fairly quick, like one chord every one or two bars, completely unrelated to each other.  In a situation like that if I have to start figuring out the original key center of each chord it becomes a big mess for me.  The way I see it is as each chord being it's own key center, regardless of the chord/scale relationship.

  Thinking key center may lead to resolving to an F over CM7 or C over G7.  To me the arpeggios are the first step, after that comes the key center approach, but it will sound completely different if we come from the arpeggios, it will be way more harmonically accurate.

 

I'm with you there.  When you have a row of slash chords or a series of changes that don't come from a orginised system of harmony, treating each chord as it's own key center works very well.  Thats more like fusion than traditional, however, traditional changes have also been played thru via each specific chord using added note arpeggios.  I think Charlie Parker would be a good example of that.  He's running thru arpeggios.  Many tradditional 1st or 2nd generation jazzers are sequencing arpeggios in addition to using tonal centers.

jerome

Registered:
Posts: 49
Reply with quote  #23 

Good points, Mario. While the original discussion was slanted more toward standard progessions, the slash chords you mention could definitely be seen as individual centers (modal) or originating from some other scale source such as melodic minor or diminished.

 

More importantly, you've raised the point of the importance of arpeggios as a solid fundamental tool for improvisation. Too many people have the idea, again from the guitar mags, that arpeggios are good for nothing more than "sweep picked 'hey, look what I can do' NAMM show grandstanding". As hal9000 pointed out Charlie Parker was (is) an example of someone who could manipulate arpeggios melodically as did Charlie Christian,Django,Wes and Johnny Smith to name a few more. Smith even had an exercise he called the Fundamental Link in his book Aids to Technique that was scale up/arp down/arp up/scale down. Quite a work out.

 

jerome 

Hal9000

Registered:
Posts: 23
Reply with quote  #24 

Aids to Technique......oh yeah Jerome, I have that book.  And you are right.  From Hank Garland to Tal Farlow, they ripped thru arpeggios, and what about how Coltrane used fragments of major and minor pentatonics to blast thru changes.  Now them's is chops..........

MarioAbbagliati

Registered:
Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #25 
In 1990 I attended GIT, and I have to say that I learned the most from Carl Schroeder's class.  His system was to have you running up and downthe arpeggios of each song first, and then the same with the scales before improvising.  The purpose of the exercise was to get you to hear the harmony in a melodic, linear way.  I did that starting with Blue Bossa to Giant Steps and everything in between.  The benefit of the whole thing, as I've got older and have use the method with my own students as well, it's that you engrave in your inner ear or subconcious mind the chord progression, freeing you up to just play, meaning key center approach, but that new key center no longer is a major o minor scale, but the whole chromatic scale.  Imagine this: to aim at playing the chromatic scale just as we played the pentatonic when started many years ago. The song it's just a white canvas and it's up to  us  to decide with colors  to paint with.  I've seen  Jim Hall playing All the things you are a few times, and I also have a some recordings of the song by him, and it's always completely different, incredible.
Some days I sort of see it, but others I loose my focus.  It's a long journey, but as a chinese proverb says: the journey is the reward.

gregh

Registered:
Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #26 
for what its worth my 2 cents,
  I seem to be in agreement with both sides. I want to state that in simple blues playing I definitely use both. I might think chord by chord ex: using mixolydian on  I7 , lydian dom on IV7 , then I might go pentatonic on the whole thing. I think the main thing is not to relate them to their respective Homeland scale ie: A mixolydian is A to A in DMaj but view as its own entity which is a major scale with a b7. Correct me if  I'm offbase but this seems closest to what Ted would do. I believe Ted was conscious of every chord and their extensions, arpeggios, altered tones when navigating either single note or chord melody. But he might not look at them as modes, just arpeggios and extensions/altered tones within the present tonal center. The result is he might look at something like "confirmation" as in the key of  F but he's still thinking chord by chord.
         greg

jerome

Registered:
Posts: 49
Reply with quote  #27 

Carl Schroeder is top notch. He was teaching Theory and the Styles & Analysis classes in the early 80s. He knows everything, can hear the crack of dawn and is one of the funniest guys in the western hemisphere. I can imagine how good his improv class was.

 

This might be a good time for some of Ted's students to check in and tell us how TG handled this subject. Nick? Mark? Steve? Anyone?

Hal9000

Registered:
Posts: 23
Reply with quote  #28 

the modal key thing I posted earlier was shown to me by Ted.  He was going over film composition which was and still is my main interest.  He also introduced me to the pentatonic cells that Coltrane and other sax players used.  We didn't do too much traditional stuff, which is why most of my papers that he gave to me were written on the spot. 

MarioAbbagliati

Registered:
Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #29 
Talking about cells, have a look at Jon Damian's book The Guitarist's Guide to Composing and Improvising published Berklee Press.  It's outstanding, with chapters on counterpoint, cells, intervals, composition and improvisation.  It's a book that will last a lifetime.


Hal9000

Registered:
Posts: 23
Reply with quote  #30 
The Guitarist's Guide to Composing and Improvising?  Sounds good, I just put it in my Amazon shopping cart....thanks! 
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