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View Full Version : Table of Note Choice - New and enchanced version



misery
06-05-2005, 10:21 PM
http://teinum.no/alexander/Table_of_Note_Choice.pdf

You'll find the explanation on page three in the document.

Also check out my other two documents:

http://teinum.no/alexander/Major_Harmony.pdf
http://teinum.no/alexander/Melodic_Minor_Harmony.pdf

Maarten
06-06-2005, 09:58 AM
Well it's nice you've put it all together this way, but for tonal music this system won't work.
If you're playing in the key of C and an F major chord shows up you can't play F major over it, it should be F lydian. If you encounter a Dm chord in the same key, it will not sound very good when you play an aeolian scale, dorian will sound logical.

This table is like saying about driving a car: When driving in a car, you can go left, right, forward, and backward. When you're on the road it all depends on which way the road goes, and who else is driving around you.

misery
06-06-2005, 11:16 AM
That's correct.

The purpose of this table is to have a reference to what scales can be played over different chords in jazz and fusion.

Maarten
06-06-2005, 05:27 PM
Jazz and fusion are both very tonal music, so I still don't really see the use of a table like this, it will probably confuse most people trying to learn this stuff, while the people who understand it already know it and have it memorised. There's really no need to write it down, if you know the sound of those scales and melodies made up from them in a chordal context it's all really simple actually.
The only thing you need to do when looking for a scale to go with a chord is filling the gaps between the chord tones by listening which of the remaining notes sound right. These other notes will change depending on what function a chord has in a progression.

I might sound a bit negative, but I don't think supplying stuff like this as a learning tool is helpful. Most people on boards like these know very much theory and can play a lot of scales, but never took the time to really learn how these scales sound and thus use all this information in the wrong way. They've got more notes under their fingers than they've got in their aural imagination. You can't play over a (even simple) (jazz) progression by calculating what scales to use, you need to listen, hard. Theory is nice, but overused as an improvisation-learning tool.

Please don't take this too personal, but I'm graduating on this subject next week so I had to say something about it.

misery
06-06-2005, 08:17 PM
First of all, thanks for replying! :)

This is a subject I really enjoy discussing, and of course I'm open to other ways of thinking. I've posted this table in a lots of forums and the response has been mixed.


Jazz and fusion are both very tonal music, so I still don't really see the use of a table like this, it will probably confuse most people trying to learn this stuff, while the people who understand it already know it and have it memorised. There's really no need to write it down, if you know the sound of those scales and melodies made up from them in a chordal context it's all really simple actually.

The only thing you need to do when looking for a scale to go with a chord is filling the gaps between the chord tones by listening which of the remaining notes sound right. These other notes will change depending on what function a chord has in a progression.
The scales in the table are merely suggestions to what sounds that fit over general jazz chords. I don't have all this information memorized myself, so for me it's useful. Thanks for correcting me about jazz and fusion being modal music. I haven't studied that in depth.


I might sound a bit negative, but I don't think supplying stuff like this as a learning tool is helpful. Most people on boards like these know very much theory and can play a lot of scales, but never took the time to really learn how these scales sound and thus use all this information in the wrong way.I definately see that. But I wouldn't blame the tools, but rather say that it's an user fault. Give them a copy of the Scott Henderson - Melodic Phrasing video, where he is addressing just that. Btw. the same man is the one who did the Jazz Fusion video, which is where 90 % of this information comes from.


They've got more notes under their fingers than they've got in their aural imagination. You can't play over a (even simple) (jazz) progression by calculating what scales to use, you need to listen, hard. Theory is nice, but overused as an improvisation-learning tool.

I agree. It's a good idea like to develop the phrasing just as much as the note choice, just as much as the ear.

Please don't take this too personal, but I'm graduating on this subject next week so I had to say something about it.
Congratulations! :) I think you've got lots of valid points actually, but again I stress that this is just an overview of different sounds.

I'd like to hear how you would suggest a fresh jazz student to plan out e.g. the solo section on a tune like Pat Metheny's Bright Size Life. Or your approach to note choice and playing over a tune in general. If you would give an example, that would be great. How would the approach differ when you're more experienced?

Maarten
06-06-2005, 09:02 PM
I'm glad you're taking this in a constructive way Misery, you seem truly interested in this topic.

The way I suggest people (beginner to pro levels each the same)learn to improvise is through hat I call Exploration and Imitation. What I suggest people to do is take one soundscape (I use the term soundscape to refer to arpeggios, scales an the likes) and really take the time to learn it inside out. When I say learning it inside out, I mean knowing how each note in the soundscape sound and where you can find it on your instrument.

Let me give a concrete example in the form of a very simple chord progression based on a calypso tune: ||: C |G |G |C :||

Now I could tell someone new to improvisation what the note of the c major scale, where to find them on their instrument and let them play. But that will result (most of the time) in that person cluelessly wiggling their fingers on the /frets/keys/valves they "Know" will sound ok, including playing an f on the C chord which doesn't sound too good. The problem is that that person knows his theory, knows how to translate this to his instrument, but doesn't know the SOUND he should be making, and how to improvise with aural imagination as a starting point (= playing what you hear).

Instead of giving a C major scale I would start with teaching that person a C major triad. It's only 3 notes, so it will be easy to play on any instrument really fast. the next step would be to play some short melodies made with these notes and let the student try to repeat them. After that let him come up with some melodies. Let him sing some melodies with just those 3 notes. This way the amount of notes he'll know will be limited, but he will know these notes very well. The transfer to the G major triad will be fairly simple because the melodies will only have to be transposed. The student will never have to deal with more than 3 notes at a time.
The next step is combining the two triads with the progression, forcing him to switch between them in an relatively easy form (C triad, G triad, C triad).

This will give you a LOT of opportunities for quite some while. After that new notes can be added one at a time (eg. adding an a to the C triad and an f to the G triad making them C6 and G7). The whole point is to force someone to take it slow so that his ears can keep up with his fingers. Let him explore the possibilities with the notes he can play AND hear, and imitate examples of what others do with those notes.

Pentatonics are also a great way to start because they're a limited amount of notes but are very strong melodic material. A lot of guitar players know only a pentatonic scale, but they REALLy know it, the connection between their ears and fingers in that particular soundscape is really short, making them able to truly improvise within that soundscape. When they venture out of it they have trouble cause they're not familiar with the sounds outside of it, but by adding notes in time they add to their repertoire of sounds. I myself started out by playing blues only with pentatonics, then discovering a new note (the 6/13) that I picked up from copying BB KIng. After that I heard him play a major 3rd on the I chord so I copied that too, etc. etc. When starting to play jazz, playing over the changes, one of the most useful things was learning to know the chord tones during a II V I. So I know how the 1 3 5 and 7 of a II chord sound. Now I'm experimenting (due to Charlie parker) with the sound of the 9 and 13 on different chords. But only 1 thing at a time, and by listening, copying Parker's licks. For example, the theme of his 'Cool Blues' showed me the sound of a 9 on the I chord in a blues, and how to use it. I only hear this now because I already knew the sound of the chord tones on that chord well enough to hear the difference in color.

In the end it all boils to this: Improvisation is hearing something and playing it on your instrument. The problems are that people either don't hear anything, or they do but don't know how to play it. So feeding them theory won't help much. Theory is helpful to suggest possibilities sometimes, or to bulk information to help you memorize it. But it's not a starting point: music, melody, rhythm ARE. That's why some people can play really well without knowing "official theory". They use their ears, and know their instrument.

If there are any questions, please ask!

misery
06-06-2005, 09:28 PM
Cool, thanks!

Have you read the book "An Improviser's OS" by Wayne Krantz? He talks about the same exact method, but I've never really tried it out. I loved that book though.

SeattleRuss
06-06-2005, 09:42 PM
Great points Maarten.

I'm very familiar with Scott Henderson's instructional material and it's great stuff for sure.

The problem I see though with many young players, many who are coming from a rock background, (I'm raising my hand here too) is that they approach soloing over each change as if it were an island - in isolation. In any tune, context is everything. What comes before and after. Modes and scales are good to explore, but - and I've been through this myself - they certainly aren't the end all and are only one way, one angle or perspective on things. Time spent with modes should done with a "ground up" perspective, i.e. looking at it from the root up and not thinking in terms of conversions like playing in C major to get a D Dorian sound.

If you aren't aware of where the chord tones are, you are flying blind and it will sound like it when you solo.

Los Boleros
06-06-2005, 09:59 PM
If you aren't aware of where the chord tones are, you are flying blind and it will sound like it when you solo.And when flying blind, you are likely to hit something. Like a tree.;)

Mateo150
06-07-2005, 03:40 PM
yes, much better way of doing it. I'm gonna print it out and use it as a reference now.

mattfnk
06-10-2005, 03:35 PM
very useful thread fellas