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Thread: Classical Theory/Jazz Theory & Analysis

  1. #1
    In the woodshed rmuscat's Avatar
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    Classical Theory/Jazz Theory & Analysis

    I've seen/heard people referencing to Jazz Theory or/and Classical Theory.

    1 - Is there any difference? If so what is it?
    2 - Is it good to tackle one before the other? (I presume if there is any distinction classical should go first)

    Another Question regarding Analysis
    3 - What does analysing music exactly mean? For now i had to read a score (with baseline + melody line) and find - for example the chords for it.

    4 - Do you have to take care of weak beats and strong beats to determine the most important notes and stuff like that?

    5 - Also besides that (assuming its a kind of analysis) what else falls under "analysis"? (E.g. i remember we analysed the chord structure of a song once in the analysis forum, i presume thats another kind of analysis)

    6 - Are there extra things (besides theoretical) you need to know to analyse Classical pieces and Jazz pieces (maybe historical issues like this is not possible coz in that time this was not used etc)


    usual me bunch of questions and long posts ... apologies
    Edwin Land: Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity.

  2. #2
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    Classical Theory is more along the lines of thinking in 4 part harmony, and resolving using various cadences and certain chord movements particular to the vernacular of each period. It includes the study of various cadences (Perfect, Deceptive) along with the various mechanisms for internal line movement such as Arpeggiatura, Suspension, etc..., also while placing a bit more emphasis on inversions.

    Jazz Theory incorporates much more chromatic harmony, taking into account advancements in the language added by composers from Irving Berlin to Wayne Shorter to Jim Hall. It involves the study of enclosures, shandard chord progressions, voice leading (much like classical, but with more opportunities to break the rules). Most pieces are written using root inversions as a base, and using the various tensions as modifiers in the progression, often slightly changing the character of the progression. This is not to say that people don't use other inversions of a chord voicing, its just that the basic information for fake/real books and analyses are given in Root Inversion.

    It will never hurt to learn either one first, it just comes down to you to learn which one will suit your style. Take into consideration what you want to do with it.

    Analyzing music essentially means not just listening or reading music, but seeing inner voices move in chords along with their respective arpeggios and melodic themes, and seeing how those relate to the progression or chords underneath, and from there, extracting that to turn it into a more generalized theme, which can generally be classified by a name.

    Theres Chordal Analysis, Song Form Analysis, Improvisation analysis, anything else you looking for...?

    Lastly, yes, Music doesn't exist in a vacuum, and you have to realize that something like a Neapolitan 6th progression from the bII-V may sound 'interesting' or sorta out there when it comes down to voicing a II-V progression in a certain piece, while in others it may sound contrived and extremely dated. Context, context, context.
    Hard luck and trouble...

  3. #3
    In the woodshed rmuscat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dommy
    Theres Chordal Analysis, Song Form Analysis, Improvisation analysis, anything else you looking for...?
    i just wondered if there is a defined (or generally agreed upon) list of "types of analysis"

    as for the rest,
    dommy i can't thank you enough

    real big thanks
    Edwin Land: Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity.

  4. #4
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    no problem, and for the analysis thingy...I dunno lol.
    Hard luck and trouble...

  5. #5
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Going out on a limb here.

    I am going to take a theoretical crack at it at the expense of setting mysef up for contraversy, (again).

    All that has been said above is well put. I could not agree more. I think that there is a philysophical difference that also exists. For me the Study of Classical theory concentrated its practice excercises on very little movement. What I mean by that is that you work towards knowing how to start on a note but knowing where the next closest note is, whether up down or better yet, stay the same. Counterpoint is all about direction. In the beginning you look at a chord progression and play just one note over the entire chord until the chord changes, when it does, you have to think about whether to go up, down or stay the same. Avoiding big jumps, you stay the same if you can or move in the direction of smallest interval. Later when you add another voice, (two part) then the same applys. Each note is independant of each other and they have the ability to move either parrallel, Contrary or oblique motion. The study works with cadenses and ultimately works its way to four part harmony. All in all the end result is a playing style that is very harmonious.

    Jazz on the other hand, has a different phillosophy. A Jazz tune has a head that is the signature of the song. All the musicians know the head. When it comes time to improvise, it is Taboo to ever play the same riff twice. (Hence Jazz is the ultimate in improve in my opinion) Jazz players find it more kool to play outside the lines or more Atonal when ever possible. To be a good Jazz player, one would have to devote alot of time to learning many , many of the classic lines done by the masters. You go to any jazz show and you will here bits and pieces of Dizzy, Davis and Coltrane.

    Jazz in not as haronious by it's own nature than Classic. I would tend to think that jazz is taking Classical theory, and stepping it up a notch.

    Now for my personal part. I have a Classical background. I took some jazz lessons and learned some kool lines but they are not my style. I would tend to think that it might be better to learn the classical first then the jazz but don't see why it ould be a problem if you did it the other way.

    Ok Jazzers, Hit me! I am ready for punishment.
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  6. #6
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    Actually, thanks for clearning up the whole classical thing. I think I sort of mentioned that vaguely when I metioned Arpeggiatura and Suspension, but I didn't really mention the emphasis voice leading is given. I think that helps explain it a bit better.

    Its not that Jazz is taking classical theory and stepping it up a notch so to speak, its more that Jazz has somewhat different roots than classical. Although it was influenced by earlier composers, the nature of its evolution and how it was learned(on the bandstand), causes it to be less bound by the traditional roots of western music, and alignes itself more closely with blues, African music, and the American Songbook. Many many jazz musicians learned to play by ear, copping licks off of records and through continued association of certain 'hip' sounds, they developed their own style.

    Its the whole nature of improvised music, its really hard to keep track of what voices are moving, and how you should move them and such, it just makes more sense to work with your ear and try to figure out what would sound right in that context, and when you put that in the hands of creative people not bound by any particular tradition, you end up with new innovative sounds.

    Btw, usually playing riffs is frowned upon. The best improvisers are the ones who take other peoples ideas, assimilate them, and then innovate. Its less about riffing than finding out what you have to say for yourself.
    Hard luck and trouble...

  7. #7
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Some nice words.
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  8. #8
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    I spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff, lol.
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  9. #9
    In the woodshed rmuscat's Avatar
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    guys interesting ... i'd really like to start a jazz appreciation thread and this stuff (have to check if one already exists somewhere) ... mainly because jazz is tough for me to listen. I can get away listening to "rock fusion" stuff (for want of better word) but i really do need to understand more about jazz. What to look for etc...

    Also why the hell is it a taboo to repeat riffs? What's wrong with that? (i am not talking about overdoing it, i'm talking of lines which repeat themselves like the melody line of someone singing) I believe sometimes that is a need.

    and dommy what do you mean by
    Btw, usually playing riffs is frowned upon.
    Last edited by rmuscat; 01-11-2005 at 07:52 AM.
    Edwin Land: Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity.

  10. #10
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    I believe,
    To be considered to be real good at it, Jazz players feel the need to be inovative with every line. That's is what I meant by the ultimate in Improve.

    A little story:

    When I first auditioned horn players for our group I told them outright that in order to earn the right to take a solo in this group, you whould have to learn the melody line of the vocals note for note. That it would be used as the reference point for soloing. I indicated that since most of our music uses similar chord progressions, that it was important to keep the flavor of each song that sets it apart from the rest. (The vocal line). At that, a couple of them packed up their bags and walked away. Our Saxaphone playes many musical styles but came mainly from a strong jazz background. It was a little peculiar for him to accept this at first but he stuck with it and learned the lines as I told him. Now him and I solo on the same page and to the same style. Our solos compliment each other because we have something in common. Our ideas are spawning from the same place. Oh yes, there is still alot of room for improve but it's the Vocal lines or should I say, the essence of the vocal lines that set this tune (a i-iv-V7) apart from any other tune with the same chords.
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  11. #11
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Throwing this in as a pure self taught analization ...

    I Can't Get Started in C 4/4 time first 8 bars.

    Cmaj7, Am7 / Dm11, G7sus4, G+7 / G7b9, Bm7, Am11 / D13(9), Dm9b5. G13 / Cmaj7, Am9 / Dm11, Dm11(9), G7 / E7b9, A7b9/ Dm9, G13(b9), G+7 / repeat

    Notice the ii, V progressions within the progression
    vi, ii, V is common in jazz
    iii like to drag the vi and then go to a ii, V, I to end-- in this case we do not end with the tonic I but repeat starting back with the tonic I.

    Point of interest --- front part of the chord is THE CHORD. Back part of the chord is THE FLAVOR. That extra part is what gives it the jazz feel. As far as a jazz chord progression being different look for the ii, V, I to weave it's way through out the progression. i.e. Am11, D13(9), Dm9b5, G13 is a ii V I in G which leads into the Cmaj7 and starts the next four bars.

    Hint -- get the circle of 5th back out. G leads to C and yes D leads to G...

  12. #12
    Registered User Mike7771's Avatar
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    I'm going to throw something in too.

    There is also a more concrete difference between "Jazz Theory" and "Classical Theory", that is the terminology used by these two genres. Much of what I'm talking about can be explained by what Dommy already explain so nicely, however what I'm talking about is kind of the end result of what he was.

    Example one:
    In jazz theory it is perfectly acceptable to call a chord with the formula of 1 3 5 (13) a "Major 6th Chord". In classical theory however you would refer to this chord as a "Major Add 6th" or "Major Add 13th".

    Example two:
    In jazz theory it is perfectly acceptable to call a chord with the formula of 1 b3 b5 b7 a "Minor 7th b5th". In classical theory however you would refer to this chord as a "Half Diminished 7th".

    In both the examples above the classical names are a little more correct if you are a stickler about these types of things. But again the reason for this can bee seen in Dommy earlier explanation.

  13. #13
    Registered User ashc's Avatar
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    If we are getting into "what things are called" differences, then:

    jazz/rock : natural minor scale => classical : descending melodic minor
    jazz/rock: melodic minor scale (generically) => classical: ascending melodic minor

    Just nice to know if you're reading classical based theory books.

  14. #14
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    What I mean by 'repeating riffs' is like taking a certain pre-learned lick or riff and constantly repeating that in either the same place in the tune, or just using it distastefully so it sounds cliche. A motif and a riff are not the same thing. You develop and play motifs, riffs usually sound 'out of place' with the rest of the solo. If you just throw it in without any continuity to the rest of the solo, then its frowned upon.

    If you took a riff, and developed it motivically, then it becomes a motif, which is what many players want to develop. Its a matter of intention and the amount of effort you put into playing it.

    Read the rest of the thing you quoted, it may clear something up for you.
    Last edited by Dommy; 01-12-2005 at 02:34 PM.
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  15. #15
    In the woodshed rmuscat's Avatar
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    oh i get the difference what you mean between riff and motif. Issue rised due to difference in defintion of terms.

    in fact thats a practice issue for me now. More structure less crap.

    yes perfectly clear now, thanks again
    Edwin Land: Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity.

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