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Thread: Concept: Playing a Song

  1. #61
    just some dude nateman's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    hahaha...please do! if you time it right (and trust me, it would be tricky) you can see my fledgeling classic rock cover band perform in nearby Federal Way, Washington.

    seriously though, it's definitely coming along nicely. i would have just plain said so, but after James's lovely comments i felt there was a smart-***-sized hole in this thread waiting to be filled.

    now's a good time to mention that when i started reading through some of the threads that pre-dated my membership here, and i saw you post this thread about trying to further your musicianship via jazz standards, i thought you were crazy! i'm very impressed with the the effort and thought you've put into it. having that kind of motivation and following through on it can go a long way towards helping you put all this crazy stuff in a part of your brain where you can use to play whatever comes to mind! i wish you the best of luck, and i can tell everyone here is rooting for you.

    cheers,
    nathan

  2. #62
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Thanks..but I'm still bringin' a garlic aroma that'll level Tacoma!

    i'm very impressed with the the effort and thought you've put into it.
    ...and I'm not stopping until I've taken all of these sappy standards (and their goofy lyrics) and turned them into some kind of hardcore, industrial speed-grunge tunes, and have ruined them for everyone!!!

    Best wishes for you and your band, BTW.
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 10-15-2002 at 05:47 AM.
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  3. #63
    i Breathe ... Admin Guni's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bongo Boy
    ...and I'm not stopping until I've taken all of these sappy standards (and their goofy lyrics) and turned them into some kind of hardcore, industrial speed-grunge tunes, and have ruined them for everyone!!!
    What other purpose is there for Standards ???

    Seriously, your recording is really good - well done. I can hear how you started to 'play' with the melody - to try to interpret it, give it some syncopations, etc ... very nice. You've come quite some way. Just wondering, is this a result of listening to vocal versions of the tune?

    If my soundcard wouldn't be dead I'd love to add some chords to your recording .......

    As you mention the lyrics: I am very bad with memorizing song titles. Sometimes I need the first few notes of the melody, which I then can hook up with the lyrics. Together with this all of the tune comes back - melody, chords etc .... so, I guess this is another way of solfege :-)

    Guni
    Please don't email or send me private messages with music related questions as they will be ignored. Rather use the forums for this and I will try my best to take part as much as I can.

  4. #64
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Guni
    What other purpose is there for Standards ???

    You've come quite some way. Just wondering, is this a result of listening to vocal versions of the tune?
    Yes. Your initial recommendations to get the lyrics and listen to the vocals was the greatest single influence in getting beyond the mechanics of the lead sheet--at least to the extent that I did that. It also helped to get several renditions (easy to do for this tune). I even found a Mel Torme recording where he did it at probably 140 bpm.

    It's quite odd--I was able to clearly hear Diana Krall and Doris Day renditions in my head while I played, and that immediately allowed me to move forward--almost like playing music

    But after a few practice sessions where I worked on that kind of inner listening, I started using the rhythm track and just kinda "moving" a little on my throne. Granted this doesn't exactly "got that swing", but what life it does have comes more from a sort of "dancing" if you will--as well as hearing some of the lyrics.

    In any case, I'm going to start adding in some chords now--using those that Guni has already recommended and others where I have to. I'm going to really need serious help with this before I get into it very far. I hope you guys are ready for some questions!
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 10-16-2002 at 12:47 AM.
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  5. #65
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    ...I didn't get too far.

    Q1. In using Steve's guide tone line (see excerpt below) for this song, the last bar has a Dm7 and a Db7. Both of these work in 2d inversion with the notes he gives, IF the F's are F natural I think, but not F#. Have I missed something that would permit F#'s here?

    When I wrote out all of the chords for this miserable song as four-part chords and used the 2d inversion for half of them, I was able to match up to Steve's guide tone notes, match the topmost note of each chord (and inversion) to the song melody, and have a very nice voiceleading situation.

    Q2. Will the chords that resulted from this exercise provide okay chords for adding to my melody, and

    Q3. Can I use the bottomost note of each of these chords (or inversions) as the basis for my bass line for the tune?

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 10-16-2002 at 04:52 AM.

  6. #66
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    ..here's what I've done:

    ...and for Q2 and Q3 above, the chords I'm referring to are explicitly shown below for the entire song (bars 1-8 are repeated one time). Yellow marks areas where I have 'concerns'.

    Steve's guide tone line provided the secret code for what looks to be a very nice voiceleading transition between most if not all of these chords. I've probably made it too simple and screwed something up.
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 10-17-2002 at 03:28 AM.

  7. #67
    i Breathe ... Admin Guni's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bongo Boy
    Q1. In using Steve's guide tone line (see excerpt below) for this song, the last bar has a Dm7 and a Db7. Both of these work in 2d inversion with the notes he gives, IF the F's are F natural I think, but not F#. Have I missed something that would permit F#'s here?
    No F# in these chords. The f is an essential chord tone (3rd) of both chords.

    Q2. Will the chords that resulted from this exercise provide okay chords for adding to my melody
    Can I use the bottomost note of each of these chords (or inversions) as the basis for my bass line for the tune?
    Yes they will but you somehow will need to record a bassline with playing all of the roots. In my view you are jumping a bit ahead here. Here's how I would go about it:

    1) melody (you did that)

    2) use full sounding chords that have the root of the chords in the bass (so you really can hear the sound of the chordprogression when playing on your own). Add those to you recording.

    3) Split up the tune into melody, chords (like your inversions - these fill up the middle range) and bass. So your recording will have 3 tracks.

    Guni
    Please don't email or send me private messages with music related questions as they will be ignored. Rather use the forums for this and I will try my best to take part as much as I can.

  8. #68
    i Breathe ... Admin Guni's Avatar
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    Re: ..here's what I've done:

    Originally posted by Bongo Boy
    ...and for Q2 and Q3 above, the chords I'm referring to are explicitly shown below for the entire song (bars 1-8 are repeated one time). Yellow marks areas where I have 'concerns'.

    Steve's guide tone line provided the secret code for what looks to be a very nice voiceleading transition between most if not all of these chords. I've probably made it too simple and screwed something up.
    Db7: db f ab cb (second inversion ab cb db f)

    now, as this is the theory you need to make a few changes to the chords in order to make 'em guitar chords. some of the voicings above are not very practical and hard to play.

    This is where the Drop 2 and Drop 3 techniques come in (I explain that in my article about 7th chords - sorry, this article is still in the old pdf format http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/...hp?threadid=11 )

    Here's what I suggest:

    Say, you wanna place all chords and their roots either on the A or E string.

    A string: example Db7
    second inversion: ab cb db f
    Drop 2: db ab cb f (so we drop the secong voice from the top down by an octave).

    Now we have the root of the chord in the bass and the fingering with the root on the A string looks like this:

    x
    6
    4
    6
    4
    x

    E string example Am7
    In order to perform a Drop 3 so that the root is in the bass we need the 3rd inversion of Am7.

    Am7: a c e g
    3rd inversion: g a c e
    Drop 3: a g c e

    Again, root in the bass. Fingering for this Am7 is:
    x
    5
    5
    5
    x
    5

    I hope that helps.

    Guni
    Please don't email or send me private messages with music related questions as they will be ignored. Rather use the forums for this and I will try my best to take part as much as I can.

  9. #69
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Yes, that helps...sorry you had to tell me twice .

    The ideas for designing the chords and learning to play them as a continuous progression through the piece makes sense, and I think it's a good idea to learn to crisply play these chords before I do anything in particular with them. But...

    I don't think I ever understood the original objective--I think it's to play this piece of music as though I were performing with, say, a 3-piece ensemble. So, recording a rhythm and bass track makes sense.

    But, recording the chords and melody separately is only an interim step, right? The only reason I recorded the melody was to have something to play the chords over, to learn the chords. I think I should expect the 3-track recording suggested above to be be a bit goofy musically, but useful as a learning tool.

    The ultimate goal is to play that guitar part for the fictitious ensemble mentioned above--learning to combine pieces of melody, the chords and someday a solo to complete the scene.

    Everything I've just written is actually a sort of question: is my thinking reasonable here or am I missing the Big Picture.

    Guni says:
    In my view you are jumping a bit ahead here.
    Can you elaborate just a little bit on this? Did you mean only that the 7th chords I laid our weren't 'baked' yet and needed the tweaking you showed me, or was there something else? Your comments (and everyone's) are extremely appreciated.

    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 10-16-2002 at 08:09 PM.

  10. #70
    just some dude nateman's Avatar
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    Bongo-

    i'll give you my (non-professional) perspective of what you're trying to do and one way to go about it. i think you've got some reasonable ideas, but i'll try to add some additional comments on the Big Picture.

    you're of attacking a broad spectrum of skills all at once by learning to play melody and rhythm and learn music theory ideas all together, and compounding the complexity of it all by doing it all via jazz. that's not how i'd do it, but that's not to say it can't work if you approach it right. if it doesn't kill you, it'll make you stronger.

    you're goal of being able to play this song as if you were part of a 3-piece ensemble is great, but being able to play that guitar part is a big undertaking that should be divided into bite-sized chunks. it sounds like maybe you already have some multi-track recording software, so i'd take what Guni said a step further and add a percussion track. you'd have four tracks:

    1) percussion (this can be a canned rhythm like the one you used to post the clip the other day -- the beat just has to be rock solid)

    2) bass (record a basic line to hit the root notes of the chords, like Guni described)

    3) lead guitar (like the melody clips you've posted)

    4) rhythm guitar (strum those chords)


    good software will let you replace any tracks at will, or mute them selectively when you play back. if you record basic versions of all four tracks, then you can mute any one of them to work on that. you should also be able to mute or clip out sections of each track. that might help on the rhythm guitar track if you're having trouble with the chord changes...you could take as long as you want to get clean sounds for all chords and then clip out sections to make them all line up with the beat.

    if your software will let you edit like that, then you could probably get all of those tracks in one day...it might sound like three half-assed guitarists and a drum machine , but it would be a complete sound.

    then you can mute one aspect you want to work on (say rhythm guitar if you want to get better at the middle range inversions Guni mentioned, or rhythm guitar and bass if you want to work on the full chord sounds for a solo arrangement) and play along with the remaining tracks. the other stuff you've recorded will help guide you. maybe you get a little groove going on the rhythm part, and then you could record that and replace the old version. then you could re-record the melody part with the new rhythm track.

    using "baby steps" like that, you would steadily improve the overall sound as you improve the individual pieces. hopefully, you'd also develop a feel for how you could mix and match the chord and melody bits if you ultimately want to arrange the song for one guitar (either with or without bass accompaniment). again, when you get to this point, you can mute out the appropriate tracks (rhythm and lead, and possibly bass) and play over what's left.

    that's my long-winded attempt at "some additional comments."

    cheers,
    nathan

    p.s. my apologies if i misconstrued your questions and any of this seems like rehashing the obvious.
    Last edited by nateman; 10-16-2002 at 08:31 PM.

  11. #71
    just some dude nateman's Avatar
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    forgot to mention...it didn't seem to me like the F vs. F# thing was really resolved. as Guni mentioned, the Dm7 and Db7 both have F notes (as the minor third and major third, respectively) and not an F#. why, then, does the "guide tone" tab have F# notes under those two chords? if it went F-C-Cb-F, it would hit the b3 and b7 of D (for the Dm7), and then the b7 and 3 of Db (for the Db7), and that's pretty much the idea of the guide tones, right?

    with the two apparent F# notes, you get a major 3rd over the Dm7 and a perfect fourth over the Db7, which seems out of context. should he just assume they were supposed to be F notes? i guess that's implied in Guni's response to that, but i'm curious and just wanted to bring it up in case the crux of the question was missed.
    Last edited by nateman; 10-16-2002 at 08:23 PM.

  12. #72
    i Breathe ... Admin Guni's Avatar
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    Originally posted by nateman
    should he just assume they were supposed to be F notes?
    Oh, sorry, I didn't get that one. I just had a look and it's a mistake. These should be two f notes. I'll let Steve know ...

    nateman, you did a great job with outlining all the steps and issues involved. There's nothing else I can think of at the moment ....

    Guni
    Please don't email or send me private messages with music related questions as they will be ignored. Rather use the forums for this and I will try my best to take part as much as I can.

  13. #73
    i Breathe ... Admin Guni's Avatar
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    Ok, Steve just updated his guide tone chart and fixed the 'f' issue.

    Guni
    Please don't email or send me private messages with music related questions as they will be ignored. Rather use the forums for this and I will try my best to take part as much as I can.

  14. #74
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Thanks again Nathan and Guni. You didn't misconstrue anything, and I think all of your comments are helpful-especially concerning trying to do too much at one time. This has gotten quite ugly--there's a number of things that would probably be clearer to me if I simply listened to more music.

    Much of what I don't know may be obvious to all of you, but I think there are a number of very basic things I don't know that [might not] be so obvious. What a rhythm guitar and a bass do, for example, and how they do it. I've never paid much attention.

    But one thing I've been getting a lot of are comments such as yours, Nathan, regarding jazz. My brother-in-law, a classical guitar player, more than suggested this is a hard way to go--and others have also. I don't understand why--what's the idea?
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  15. #75
    just some dude nateman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bongo Boy
    What a rhythm guitar and a bass do, for example, and how they do it.
    as you learn more songs, you'll start to be able to peel it apart, but i'll try and lay it out a little bit, particularly how the terms relate to what you're doing with this song. i'm speaking mostly from informal experience, so anyone should feel free to correct me or add to this.

    i'll start with the easiest one to describe, which is actually the one you didn't mention: lead guitar. the lead guitar is generally the one laying down the distinct melody that's sort of up front. that would be like the melody lines that you've recorded and posted. lead guitar may also put down a distinctive riff or add fills between vocal sections. lead guitar lines by themselves can sound a little thin, and rhythm guitar and bass guitar are what's going on in the background that fills out that sound.

    bass guitar usage can vary. what Guni suggested for you is to start with a bassline that is just the root notes of the chords (on the 5th and 6th guitar strings is probably fine if you don't actually have a bass guitar), and that's about as basic as you can get. what this would do for you is let you play inversions without them sounding like inversions. the bassline will put the root note of the chord square the in the bass, which is how you're used to hearing stuff. now you can play other inversions over it and still be grounded by that root note in the bassline. there are some pop and rock songs (many ZZtop songs, for example) where that's all the bassline does: just hammer on the root notes.

    the opposite can be true as well. there are some songs i really wanted to learn to play, and then i found out that the guitar part is actually just one or two chords and the "interesting" part is actually the bassline. in a lot of songs, the bassline will do kind of a "guide tone" thing, usually hitting the root note at the beginning of each measure, with little melody bits and occassional "riffs" thrown in, or distinctive patterns linking one chord to the next (which is good for rhythm guitarists like myself who tend to doze off when they spend too much time on one chord ).

    rhythm guitar is traditionally a whole lotta strummin' in the background. in some songs, you might not even notice it until you really listen for it, but if it wasn't there the song would sound oh-so-wrong. it may also simply hit chords to accent parts of the song, or to get the listeners ear ready for the melody stuff that's coming up. it may also include fills or distinctive riffs. without knowing too much about how "autumn leaves" usually sounds, my guess is that you'd start with sort of an accent: the rhythm guitar track would probably hit the chords once at each chord change and ring out for a while. if it sounds like there's more to it than that behind the lead guitar, you could build it up as you get familiar with the chord changes.

    what i've described above is sort of a "rule of thumb" view of the whole thing, but rules (like thumbs) are made to be broken. some of it depends on the skill of those involved. in my band, i am far and away the least experienced musician in the band, so the easiest role for me to fill is rhythm guitar: i strum a lot! i also play some signature riffs (play that funky music, your mama don't dance), but i never solo. our lead guitarist plays all the guitar solos, but he also strums or hits accent chords as dictated by whatever song we're playing. if our skills were equal, then "rhythm" and "lead" designations would be fluid, dictated mostly by the particular song (or even part of a song) that we happened to be playing at that moment.

    our bass player is quite talented as well, so the basslines he plays tend to be melodic rather than just hammering on the root notes of whatever chord i'm strumming at the time.

    Originally posted by Bongo Boy
    My brother-in-law, a classical guitar player, more than suggested this is a hard way to go--and others have also. I don't understand why--what's the idea?
    in simple terms, jazz is wiggedy-wack.

    you can spend a lot of time learning guitar-based pop and rock songs without ever worrying about b5 chords or maj7 chords or b9 chords, or chord substitutions, or inversions. you can play many, many songs with your basic open-chord shapes. having a capo and/or learning basic barre chords will open it up even further. basic music theory will help you figure out likely chords one you get the first one, and will give you some ideas on what chords should/could by minor or dominant 7 (or both), but you don't even need that much knowledge because you can often find the info you need on the net.

    jazz turns all that on it's head. lots of extended chords, alternate voicings, chord substitutions, partial chords, and stuff that was just done because someone tried it and it sounded cool in that context. lots of "closed" voicings which means that you can't rely on your good old open-string chords and stuff is (or can be) played all over the neck. challenging stuff.

    now, i'm not recommending sticking your head in the sand...but that's what i did for about 5 years. i learned some songs and got good enough to fool non-musician friends of mine into thinking i was some amazing player despite my insistance that i really wasn't. my music theory, however, was very rudimentary...and all intellectual, not applied. my general technique was poor as well...picking new stuff up took me a while.

    then i joined a band with some guys at work and had to learn electric guitar and had to keep up with some guys who are very good musicians. that in and of itself has helped drive some of the basic music theory stuff into my brain, but now i'm going back and "hitting the books" to try and learn music rather than just songs. i'm also trying to rework some bad habits i developed and work on my precision with both hands, but the experience i've gained is helping me assimilate the music theory stuff a lot better than i did the first few times i tried.

    starting with jazz standards is something i wouldn't do, even now, because for me the payoff isn't worth the effort and i don't have time for it anyway. if you're enjoying it, and particularly if you want to learn more jazz songs in the future, then stick with it, but keep in mind that there are going to be a lot more challenges ahead!

    in particular, i'd be worried if all you are doing is working on "autumn leaves." there are a lot of guitar skills that can only be honed with lots of playing, and struggling through the arrangement of a complicated tune will place inherent limits on how much actual playing you do. interleaving that with time spent learning and playing simpler tunes and scales will help you build strength and control in your fingers that will in turn pay off in "autumn leaves."

    if you persevere in this pursuit, however, you'll be armed with more music theory than a lot of fools that are being paid to make records, and you can use that to add flavor to anything you play!

    Originally posted by Bongo Boy
    "Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system!" Dennis, to Arthur.
    many years ago, this clip was played by my computer every time Windows started up.

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