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Thread: 'Styles'

  1. #1
    Ibreathe Follower Kinoble's Avatar
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    'Styles'

    Hey guys.

    Thought id post something thats been bugging me for a bit-How to play certain 'styles'.

    Basically its an answer to someone asking-'play me some jazz' or 'play me some classical'.

    Because you learn what you like to play, i know i miss out on some of the characteristics of other styles.

    Obviously learning a 'style' requires years of practice, but perhaps some hints on use of chords, progressions, and general rythm would be of great help.


    Thanks

    Ben

  2. #2
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    I would suggest listening to a lot of different styles, but don't worry about classifying them. Gravitate to whatever you gravitate towards and just play music. If you listen enough you will start to pick up on little mannerisms that will come out in your playing. That might not sound like much of an answer, but at the end of the day classifying genres isn't really all that useful. Any deaper level of listening has no use for genre classification, it's just good music.

  3. #3
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    If you listen enough you will start to pick up on little mannerisms
    That's exactly what a musical style is, silent-storm.

    "mannerisms" &/or characteristics that help create a musical style.

    This is a great question Kinoble, problem is to really explain a musical style it is quite an indepth answer. for instance you have to study it, eat drink and sleep it, and listen and transcribe many artists that perform in that style.

    and that is just a general description of how to learn a musical style.

    I'll explain by comparison the BRIEF(read not a thorough explanation) differences between 2 musical styles, Blues and Jazz.

    In Jazz for the tone, many musicians will not use wound strings for the bottom E, A, and D string. Jazz strings are typically thicker, unless you are Stevie Ray Vaughn.
    in Jazz there is not much bending of notes. Chord progressions are embellished and many times feature "advanced" harmonic concepts. Jazz is very theory based and very thorough in both a melodic and harmonic context. etc

    now take blues, first they do play on wound bottom strings, and many times for tone they will raise the action to "improve" tone, but they typically play on skinnier strings. they bend notes frequently, many times to "imitate" the human voice. Standard Blues Chord progressions are 12 bars in length and are typical 3 chord progressions, entailing the I chord, IV chord, and V chord. that description is very basic blues, but you get the idea. As in Jazz there is a turnaround, but in Blues the turnaround is not as Harmonically "advanced". etc.

    my advice other than to do what I recommend previously:
    "for instance you have to study it, eat drink and sleep it, and listen and transcribe many artists that perform in that style.

    and that is just a general description of how to learn a musical style."

    There is alot you can learn by doing a search at IBreatheMusic.com for the musical styles you have a desire to learn, study and apply what you are learning, and ask questions when there is something you need more clarification on.

    I do think it is an important question you asked though
    "Success is arriving at a Personal Satisfaction within yourself"

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  4. #4
    Ibreathe Follower Kinoble's Avatar
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    Hi guys, thanks for the reply's. The title probably makes me look more novice than perhaps i am, but it seems to have yielded some great answers!

    Glad you like the question schooligo.

    Perhaps what sparked it off was listening to Andy Timmons, and his use of chromatics which i later found out was probably due to his schooloing in jazz music. What struck me was his sheer ability to utilise this approach effectively in a non-jazz context.

    Thats the key i think, knowing when to use snippets of certain styles to create your own and it appears you need to study these other styles for quite some time.

    Its interesting schooligo mentioned jazz is based on a turnaround, commonly i though it was generally atonal, with no real 'centre', a constant movement. Perhaps i need to listen to my john coltrane somemore!

    Then again, it is usually mentioned as the ii-v-I proggression-a good start? Perhaps another key element of jazz is the use of chromatic chords sliding down a half step or up a half step maybe to reach the ii-V-I.

    Thanks for the comments guys, any more comments welcome


    Ben
    Last edited by Kinoble; 07-16-2006 at 09:36 AM.

  5. #5
    Registered User leppard81's Avatar
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    Ok, maybe Im a bit late with my reply, but its quite an interesting question you raised here. I also thought alot about that subject in the past weeks: Im always in search for guitar students, and I was able to walk in into a few different schools last week to talk to the kids for a few lessons and maybe if Im lucky a few of them want me to teach them...

    Anyway, I thought about what to show them within that one hour I had for each class and one of the concepts i made up was to play a simple chord progression in as many styles as possible. And silent storms phrase that Schooligo quoted above was the perfect answer for me. Sure to be REALLY good at a style it needs months/years of practice, but just LISTENING to it ALOT(!) and trying to grab that small mannerisms of a genre is something thats working for me. Heres what I tried to do to create (or fake) different styles of playing. Sure, not everything might have come across perfect, but more or less it worked.

    I mostly used the chords G C and D for each style and improvised their order/rythm more or less on the spot:

    Rock - I played the 3 chords as powerchord versions.

    Metal - the same here only as straight 16th notes with a muted bassnote or E-string and threw in a tritone sub for the evil sound

    Blues - the usual blues progression, played with powerchords as a shuffle, with 7th chords and as Arpeggios/Walking Basslines

    Folk - Well, here I just strummed them

    Fingerpicking - a basic pattern used with barre chords on the E-string

    Jazz - Here I used a IIm7-V7-Imaj7 progression first playing it on its own and throwing in their secondary domintants the second time i played it.

    Bossa Nova: I took 3-4 barre chords and "tied" them together chromatically using modal interchange or secondary domintant-substition (using a VIIm7b5 instead of the V7) or simply because they sounded good - e.g. Fmaj7-G7-Gm7-Gb7. Then I play the respective chords bass note with my thumb, let it ring while i play the rest of the chord with my other fingers, but keep their sound "short" - well basically, just like in "Girl from Ipanema". Correct me if Im wrong, but if i keep those ringing bass notes on the 1 and 3, while the other notes are played within the rest of the bar, i tend to think that this sound very typical of that style. I hope someone understands what Im talking about. Oh, and I also dragged the tempo alot while playing to really create the slowness that genre is famous for.

    Polka - the same as Bossa Nova - but here i used G C D again and the bassnote and chord sounded for the exact same length. I kept both of them very short and played it alot faster than Bossa Nova.

    Funk - I imagined myself a steady 16th rythm, played the chord voicings in the G-B-e strings and put them on any single 16th beat i wanted them to be; say

    1e&e 2e&e 3e&e 4e&e



    Ok, now Ill stop my lenghty post, dont know if it helps you, but i dont think my approach is that worthless .



    ALEX
    Last edited by leppard81; 11-01-2006 at 08:06 PM.
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  6. #6
    Did I say that out loud ? joeyd929's Avatar
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    Phrasing

    I was posting in another topic but the subject matter is basically the same in my opinion. It is all about phrasing. Blues players have this repertoire of blues licks that they use. The way they phrase makes it bluesy.

    Same with jazz or classical. Just listen to different styles and try to emulate the phrasing. Sometimes it requires lots of adjustments and practice but once you get the phrasing in your mind you can bluff your way through a solo.

    Jazz players, no matter who they are, all see to have the same bag of licks that they just know how to use. I can hear the same licks and runs in various songs by different jazz players, be it guitar, sax, or piano.

    Billy Joel was a guest on the Actors Guild on TV last year and he took some of his songs and to make a point, he played a couple of them (very briefly) in the style of classical. Changes the context but it is just phrasing..

    Liberace used to do this thing on TV where he would say "I am going to play a classical piece, and it will sound like Bach trying to play Beethoven, or something like that.

    Then when he would play the piece, he would use some bach counterpoint to get through melodies that beethoven wrote, or he would use the Chopin style (lots of notes very fast) and play Brams in the style of Chopin.

    Not to drag this out, but it was all phrasing that tricked the ear into thinking of a different style.
    Last edited by joeyd929; 11-01-2006 at 08:36 PM.

  7. #7
    Registered User Obivion's Avatar
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    If you know the history behind the music, you understand the style well. Classical guitar is generally played on the lower frets with finger picking similar in style to a lute (because thats where it came from) with mostly major/minor chords (few 7ths etc). It is often fairly complex (like most classical music)

    Blues guitar sprang in southern states where it was hot and strings went out of tune. Popular techniques are the bend and slide along with legato for speed, as few were classically trained. Backing is simple i.e. 12 bar and the style is simple but effective.7th chords etc were often used.

    Jazz guitar took advantage of the musical expertise around in the 30s and 40s. Lots of unusual chords i.e. 9ths and 11ths are used along with jazz progressions. LInes tend to be fast and complex due to a lack of reverb etc on early amps meaning more space had to be filled in and with unusal time signatures i.e. swing style.

    Rock was derieved from the blues , but due to distortion, the use of the ambiguous power chord became more common and thus chord progressions became simpler. A lot of blues ideas remain however i.e riffs and legato.

    Metal is just rock with more classical and fewer bluesy ideas. It's generally played a lot faster and has lower sounding riffs in minor keys. The technical bar is also a lot higher than in classic rock.

    The Shred Era Due to better access to higher frets in the 70s, guitarists such as EVH began to play higher up the neck. Due to more classical training and more ideas circulating, music became more complex culminating in players such as Vai, Satch, Malmsteen etc who played their own music in a rock style.

    I know there's mistakes, but that's my two cents.
    No one sings the blues quite like Yngwie!

  8. #8
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    You need to look way beyond chords and scales. In western music, most styles use the same scales (major, minor, common modes like dorian and mixolydian).
    The differences come down to rhythm, timbre (tone), dynamics (volume and variation in volume), types of instrument.

    Here's a few more generalisations to add to the above :

    CLASSICAL is the most harmonically and formally complex music we have. Speaking specifically of guitar (which is our area of interest, right?), most classical guitar music was originally written for lute, or transcribed from piano or violin pieces. Some more modern stuff (the last 150 years) was written specifically for guitar, mostly by Spanish or South American composers.
    It uses very few chords, and consists mostly of fingerstyle playing, melodies harmonised with bass lines in counterpoint. (Chords may be suggested, but they are rarely played as such, and change very quickly anyway.)
    Use of melodic minor (ascending, natural minor descending) is a good way to get a vaguely baroque sound.
    Rhythmically, it's dead straight (usually rather dull in fact). Timbrally, a pure sound is regarded as ideal. Most importanly, everything is written down - no room for improvisation, other than maybe in interpretation and expression (though even expression marks are part of the compositions).

    BLUES is an African-American folk music. It leans very much on vocals and traditional singing styles inherited from African culture. It's characterised by swoops and bends in pitch, rather than fixed pure notes. Instruments often copy voices.
    Harmonically it's very simple (the simplest there is). Melodically and rhythmically it can be quite subtle in expression. Improvisation is a big part of blues. Nothing is written down, and each performer makes their own version.
    It uses swing, which is a rhythmic feel where 8th notes are not even (the first half of a beat is longer than the 2nd half).
    (This feel is peculiar to African-American music. African music, generally, doesn't swing - and neither does classical of course, or any other Western music.)
    Syncopation and rhythmic drive ("groove") is also common.
    There's also an emphasis on beats 2 and 4 in the 4/4 bar.
    Timbrally, blues can be quite harsh - it was where the idea of guitar distortion began. Harshness of timbre is valued in African music too.

    JAZZ is very similar to blues - it swings, it is timbrally harsh (although maybe less so than blues), it uses vocalised instrumental techniques and syncopation, it accents beats 2 and 4 (if any), and it puts improvisation in the foreground. The difference is that jazz also uses harmonic complexity, borrowed from classical practices. Where blues sticks to one key, jazz commonly moves through several keys in a song - maybe only 2 main key centres, but passing hints of other keys on the way.
    Also unlike blues, jazz is a progressive music - it has developed over time, as composers have sought new areas of exploration.
    Blues is pretty static over time, a vintage style.
    Jazz doesn't always swing. Jazz that doesn't swing tends to get called "Latin" - and is inspired by both Cuban and Brazilian styles (firstly Cuban, via Dizzy Gillespie, later Brazilian, samba and bossa nova).
    In a sense, it's more accurate to think of jazz as less a style of music, than a way of playing music, an attitude to music. It began from musicians messing around with marching band tunes, and then messing around with popular hit tunes. IOW, it was always about taking some existing music, and screwing around with it, loosening it up, taking it for a ride. It was only later than people actually started to compose jazz.
    (The tradition continues with bands like Bad Plus covering Nirvana and Radiohead tunes.)

    ROCK developed from a combination of blues with folk and country styles.
    Rock does not swing, but it does use syncopation, and also values harsh, dense timbres (extremely harsh in some cases).
    Harmonically it's pretty simple - slightly more complicated than blues, but nowhere near as complicated as jazz or classical.
    But the main identifying quality of rock is VOLUME. Rock is marked out from other musics by being much LOUDER. Volume is a crucial part of what rock music is about. If you play it quietly, it isn't really rock music any more!
    Rock rhythms can be quite complicated, but in comparison with jazz they are tighter and more direct, less variable. Rock tends to hit every beat pretty hard, although 2 and 4 get marked by the snare.

    But quite often, you can make a rock chord sequence sound like jazz by turning off the distortion, adding 7ths to all the chords, and playing much less - in particular, making less emphasis on beat 1.
    In rock, it's important to fill all the space, create a wall of sound, an onslaught. In jazz, it's the opposite - less is more, space is crucial.
    In jazz, as in blues, many things go unsaid.
    Jazz is about having a conversation. Rock is about delivering a big sensory experience.

    Rock blues and jazz can all use either electric or acoustic guitars, but it's rock (of course) that has really made the electric guitar its own.
    Rock is very solidly guitar-based.
    Jazz is more horn and piano-based.
    Blues uses guitars, but also harmonicas. As soon as you hear horns in blues, it's starting to move towards jazz.
    The drum-kit is also crucial to rock. Although it was invented in jazz, you can have jazz and blues without drums - you rarely get rock without drums.

  9. #9
    Hacked Account widdly widdly's Avatar
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    Lots of good advice here.

    I suggest you find a simple piece piece in each different style you want and memorize them. Once you a have a few solo pieces memorized and fluent, when some one asks you to play something you can play an actual complete piece of music instead of the parts the lead guitarist might play if there was a band there.
    ________
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    Last edited by widdly widdly; 04-11-2011 at 07:36 AM.

  10. #10
    Registered User Obivion's Avatar
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    JonR sure knows his stuff. The only thing I disagree with is that jazz has more space than rock. I think the "big" power chords in songs such as Paradise City lend more space than the blistering 16th note runs of jazz extradinaires i.e Al di Meola.
    No one sings the blues quite like Yngwie!

  11. #11
    Registered User SeattleRuss's Avatar
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    Obivion wrote:
    LInes tend to be fast and complex due to a lack of reverb etc on early amps meaning more space had to be filled in...
    With all due respect, I tend to think that any speed and complexity in early jazz guitar lines were due to the fact that they were being heavily influenced by the horn players around them.

    and with unusal time signatures i.e. swing style.
    Swing really has nothing to do with the time signature.

  12. #12
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obivion
    JonR sure knows his stuff. The only thing I disagree with is that jazz has more space than rock. I think the "big" power chords in songs such as Paradise City lend more space than the blistering 16th note runs of jazz extradinaires i.e Al di Meola.
    That would be an exception that proves the rule.
    Di Meola might be defined as jazz-rock, or fusion, which adopted many of the qualities of rock, especially heavier drum rhythms, more volume, and the filling of space with lots of notes.

    It's not so much the quantity of notes, in any case. Jazz players are often very fast. It's more the feel of the background.
    E.g., jazz chord players play a lot less than rock chord players - they use more complex chords, certainly (with more different notes in them) but they play them more sparsely. Typically, a jazz player uses 2- or 3-note voicings, not played on every beat - maybe only one or two hits per bar or per chord.
    Jazz uses chords to hint at harmonies. Rock uses chords to set up grooves, to drive the rhythm and fill out the background space.

    In jazz, it's mostly the bass that sets the groove. In rock it's more down to the drums. It's in the drumming, in fact, that rock really differs from jazz. Jazz drumming (generalising now!) is mostly on the ride; snare and kick drum are only used for punctuation. In rock, kick and snare are there all the time, laying down the beat, along with hi-hat. It's the cymbals that are used for punctuation.

    Obviously these are all huge generalisations. There are lots of exceptions on both sides. The clearest difference is really dynamic level. Rock is louder. Jazz can be loud, but it uses dynamics expressively, all the time, in a way rock rarely does.
    The harmonic complexity of jazz is replaced in rock by timbral complexity - a distorted power chord can be as timbrally rich as a clean jazz 13#11; the frequency mix of the former is more chaotic, of course, but that's not a bad thing.

  13. #13
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obivion
    LInes tend to be fast and complex due to a lack of reverb etc on early amps meaning more space had to be filled in
    Just to echo SeattleRuss...

    The complexity of jazz lines is due to an interest in exploring harmonic depth, as well as melodic invention. Nothing to do with reverb or amp design.
    In jazz, space doesn't have to filled in - this is almost the whole point! Jazz players will play fast sometimes, but they will also play slow and leave lots of space, for contrast.

    Reverb effects on amps were originally designed for recording, to emulate the sound of playing in big rooms. Early jazz bands didn't need this, because the big venues had their own natural reverb (as did many recording studios, in fact).
    Of course, amp reverb became a creative effect in its own right, starting with surf music.

  14. #14
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Amplification actually has a fascinating role in the development of 20thC popular music.
    In the 20s and 30s, bands could only be loud (and fill big venues) if they were big. The only thing amplified was the (occasional) vocalist. But a 20-piece horn section is quite a blast!
    Guitars could only thrash away as rhythm instruments, almost as a mere percussion sound. (That's why banjos were used in dixieland, because they were louder than guitars.)
    Otherwise, guitars could only be used by solo artists (eg blues), or in small acoustic groups (like Django's Hot Club Quintet) or duos (Eddie Lang and Lonnie Johnson).
    The first amplified guitars were used in the Hawaiian craze of the early 30s (the famous Rickenbacker frying pan). When Gibson put a pickup on a jazz acoustic (late 30s), it enabled guitarists to play melodic lead lines, like horns, in a big band situation (Charlie Christian with Benny Goodman). The amp wasn't supposed to give a particular sound, only make the guitar loud enough to compete with trumpets and saxes.
    It was later, in the 1950s, that blues players were attracted to the way amps distorted when turned up too loud - they weren't supposed to do that!
    Then rock in the 1960s fully exploited this effect, with Jim Marshall designing amps that were supposed to distort, and people like Clapton, Page and Hendrix finding out how far you could go...
    That was when volume started to become an essential part of the arsenal of the rock musician - a quality in its own right.

  15. #15
    Did I say that out loud ? joeyd929's Avatar
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    Good point

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    Amplification actually has a fascinating role in the development of 20thC popular music.
    In the 20s and 30s, bands could only be loud (and fill big venues) if they were big. The only thing amplified was the (occasional) vocalist. But a 20-piece horn section is quite a blast!
    Guitars could only thrash away as rhythm instruments, almost as a mere percussion sound. (That's why banjos were used in dixieland, because they were louder than guitars.)
    Otherwise, guitars could only be used by solo artists (eg blues), or in small acoustic groups (like Django's Hot Club Quintet) or duos (Eddie Lang and Lonnie Johnson).
    The first amplified guitars were used in the Hawaiian craze of the early 30s (the famous Rickenbacker frying pan). When Gibson put a pickup on a jazz acoustic (late 30s), it enabled guitarists to play melodic lead lines, like horns, in a big band situation (Charlie Christian with Benny Goodman). The amp wasn't supposed to give a particular sound, only make the guitar loud enough to compete with trumpets and saxes.
    It was later, in the 1950s, that blues players were attracted to the way amps distorted when turned up too loud - they weren't supposed to do that!
    Then rock in the 1960s fully exploited this effect, with Jim Marshall designing amps that were supposed to distort, and people like Clapton, Page and Hendrix finding out how far you could go...
    That was when volume started to become an essential part of the arsenal of the rock musician - a quality in its own right.
    I don't mean to talk about equipment here, but it relates to the sound of the solo or rhythm. Much time is spent in studios coming up with the right sound for the part. Again, I'm not talking about equipment, but rather, tonality.

    I record all my guitar parts dry and scroll through effects later to try and find the right sound for the part. Amplification plays a big part. If Eddie Van Halen played through a clean fender twin reverb with no distortion, it just would not be the same.

    If Joe pass put a big muff on his guitar and cranked it to full distorion, "blues for alice" would just suck...

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