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#1697620 - 06/18/11 06:11 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: etcetra]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: etcetra


Maybe you should have your teacher demonstrate the difference between modal and tonal music? Like LS said, what makes tonal music unique is the pull of certain notes and chords.. some notes and chords has strong tendencies to move to a certain note for resolution.. In modal music, that pull is not that strong, and happens on different places(or scale degrees). I think it'll be more helpful for you to hear the difference rather than giving you a theoretical explanation that seems to be confusing you more.


Thanks, this makes sense.

I appreciate the time people have taken to answer my question. The trouble is, jazz theory can easily get so complex I can't see the wood for the trees. I was asking a real 'what's this all about' question, stemming from a place of total bewilderment. I really don't need more complexity just now. If I get the general idea, which I think I do, then I can listen and play some more, and I can work out the details later.
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#1697627 - 06/18/11 06:23 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: etcetra]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: etcetra


I-V-vi (deceptive cadence)



Ah, so that's a deceptive cadence! smile We used to call it interrupted.
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#1697927 - 06/19/11 04:57 AM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
l.s. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/12/11
Posts: 12
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Originally Posted By: etcetra


I-V-vi (deceptive cadence)



Ah, so that's a deceptive cadence! smile We used to call it interrupted.



Well, that's one of the several possibilities of a Deceptive Cadence. In Jazz, a Deceptive Cadence exists when the tritone of a dominant7 chord resolves into chord tones other than the tonic and third of a chord. For example, in the Key of C again:

The tritone on a G7 chord - notes B and F - resolves into a Cmaj (to the notes C and E), Cminor (C and Eb), a F#maj (F# and A#) or F#minor (F# and A). So, if the chord after a G7 has a C and E, C and Eb, F# and A# or F# and A on its Basic Structure (i.e. tonic, third, fifth and seventh), then that makes it a Deceptive Cadence. That is what happens with the Imaj - V7 - VI-7 progression. The C and E are the third and fifth of the A-7. There is more to it, but this is the basic idea.

Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs


I've never heard the expressions tonal music or tonal jazz before.



Well, if you have ever studied Music Theory, I am pretty sure you know what Tonal Music is. If you haven't, then I strongly suggest to you to get a better understanding of it before attempting to know what's the deal with these "more complexes" kinds of music; it would make things a bit easier and more enjoyable for you.

Now coming back to your topic.

I was gonna transcribe one text for you, but I don't believe that would be legal. So, if you have access, try to find a book called "Jazz Harmony" by Andy Jaffe [Advance Music] and read the pages 32-33. Maybe what he says there will give you a better idea of what's the deal with modal jazz.

Have fun!

l.s.


Edited by l.s. (06/19/11 05:15 AM)

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#1698022 - 06/19/11 10:38 AM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1344
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
(I do wish that when people make an album that will change the world, they would have the decency to put it in concert pitch.

" . . . then-current Columbia Jazz Masterpieces version was released with a different cover (Davis in a post-1950s floral print shirt) and even more outrageously, the music had been transferred at the wrong speed. The reissue prepared for CD restored the original cover, corrected the pitch and added the alternate version of "Flamenco Sketches"."
Not the musicians fault.
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#1698038 - 06/19/11 11:17 AM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: l.s.]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1344
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: l.s.
I don't know how did you come up with "Modal Jazz isn't based on chord progressions". How can any kind of music not be based on chord progressions, among other things???

Modal jazz.
I quote from the Kind of Blue session book (a great book btw) when Cannonball asks Miles: -"what shall I solo on, there's no chords?"
- "Play the scale" is Miles answer.

Modal is all about the scale.

Ps: The Making of Kind of Blue book
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#1698087 - 06/19/11 12:44 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Interesting-looking books.

Chris, you realise what I said was tongue-in-cheek? I had worked out the recording was sharp. I suppose it stands to reason it was also too fast. I will feel less inadequate if I play it a little slower then, as my fingers have trouble keeping up.

Play the scale. I can manage that. I only have trouble making it sound like music.
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#1698105 - 06/19/11 01:36 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: chrisbell]
l.s. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/12/11
Posts: 12
Originally Posted By: chrisbell
Originally Posted By: l.s.
I don't know how did you come up with "Modal Jazz isn't based on chord progressions". How can any kind of music not be based on chord progressions, among other things???

Modal jazz.
I quote from the Kind of Blue session book (a great book btw) when Cannonball asks Miles: -"what shall I solo on, there's no chords?"
- "Play the scale" is Miles answer.

Modal is all about the scale.


In 1959 there was no such thing as "Modal Jazz"; or, at least, it wasn't common to hear that kind of approach to making music among the Jazz players - Bebop and Hardbop were the "mainstream" during that time. Cannonball was a bebop player and bebop is a Tonal Music, with lot's of chords being played one after the other, the harmony rhythm is very busy, the tempi is quite fast and the basis for their improvisation was the chord's tones. If the music they were doing on "Kind of Blue" had none of those characteristics, it was quite understandable that such question and comment could arise.

So, it is not that there weren't any chords - apart from Free Jazz and Atonal music, is quite uncommon to find music without chords -, but the way to approach the very few chords of those pieces was different from what they were used to. And you can see for yourself: "So what" has 4 different chords.

Like I said before: "the basis of Modal Harmony is to define the mode [scale] itself" and playing the scale is only one way to do it.

\=))

l.s.

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#1698236 - 06/19/11 04:48 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Well the thing with modal tune is that you can still play #7, or other bebop/tonal cliches in it too..so just playing the scale would be over-simplifying the music.

Maybe it would help if you think of Modal music not as a specific genre of jazz but as composition tool. It's not like bebop or dixieland where a player can choose to specialize in that sub-genre(maybe there is but that's really rare). And in most modern jazz songs, there is mix of tonal, non-functional and modal harmony within one song. I guess in that respect I see modal music as one of the tools that people used in post-bop era.

I mean even on Kind of Blue the only tune that was purely "modal" is So what(IMO). All blues and Freddie freeloader are basically blues, and "blue in green" isn't modal either.(well i guess you can say the tune centers around modes of F, Bb lydian and D minor(relative minor) with functional harmony in between)


BTW has anyone here has worked through the "lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization"by George Russell? I understand the premise, but I was wondering if anyone has worked through the book and influenced the way you hear music.


Edited by etcetra (06/19/11 04:56 PM)

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#1698584 - 06/20/11 10:36 AM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 629
Loc: Chicago
Modal jazz is one of those things that sounds complicated when you try to explain it, but couldn't be more simple to understand (not to play well!) when you play. I play plenty of modal tunes, but couldn't follow some of the explainations provided above. Just improvise on Impressions or So What, and you'll know in two minutes what modal jazz is all about. Now to sound good on it, and not repetitive, just transcribe someone's solo to see how they go about it.

Also, the first modal tune I'm aware of was 1958, not 1959, and that was Milestones, a great tune to play.

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#1698629 - 06/20/11 12:32 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Quote:
Maybe it would help if you think of Modal music not as a specific genre of jazz but as composition tool. It's not like bebop or dixieland where a player can choose to specialize in that sub-genre(maybe there is but that's really rare). And in most modern jazz songs, there is mix of tonal, non-functional and modal harmony within one song. I guess in that respect I see modal music as one of the tools that people used in post-bop era.


Interesting perspective.

Quote:
Modal jazz is one of those things that sounds complicated when you try to explain it, but couldn't be more simple to understand (not to play well!) when you play. I play plenty of modal tunes, but couldn't follow some of the explainations provided above. Just improvise on Impressions or So What, and you'll know in two minutes what modal jazz is all about. Now to sound good on it, and not repetitive, just transcribe someone's solo to see how they go about it.


Thankyou for saying. I admit I find some of the explanations above quite intimidating.
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#1698810 - 06/20/11 05:57 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: etcetra]
EliJ Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/24/09
Posts: 15
Originally Posted By: etcetra


Maybe it would help if you think of Modal music not as a specific genre of jazz but as composition tool. It's not like bebop or dixieland where a player can choose to specialize in that sub-genre(maybe there is but that's really rare). And in most modern jazz songs, there is mix of tonal, non-functional and modal harmony within one song. I guess in that respect I see modal music as one of the tools that people used in post-bop era.

I mean even on Kind of Blue the only tune that was purely "modal" is So what(IMO). All blues and Freddie freeloader are basically blues, and "blue in green" isn't modal either.(well i guess you can say the tune centers around modes of F, Bb lydian and D minor(relative minor) with functional harmony in between)


I totally agree with this. Kind of Blue is one of my favorite albums, and I have studied it extensively, but I am uncomfortable with the way the album has been characterized as beginning a new genre of jazz.

I would even go a step further and say that modal jazz is only a subtle difference in style - not a new approach to jazz theory at all. Even So What, which everyone agrees is "modal," does in fact have chords. It's just 16 measures of Dmin7, 8 measures of Ebmin7, and 8 measures of Dmin7. You play D dorian over the Dmin7 and Eb dorian over Ebmin7, but that is what a bebop player would do anyway. Cannonball actually departs from the modes somewhat, and plays in the same style that he normally would on a bebop tune. Modal jazz is nothing but fewer chord changes.

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#1698956 - 06/20/11 09:45 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: EliJ]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Originally Posted By: EliJ
You play D dorian over the Dmin7 and Eb dorian over Ebmin7, but that is what a bebop player would do anyway. Cannonball actually departs from the modes somewhat, and plays in the same style that he normally would on a bebop tune. Modal jazz is nothing but fewer chord changes.


Yea, we learn to play the scale first as a student in order to play "modal tunes", but good soloists rarely stick to "defining the mode" when they improvise, and like you said bebop idioms does work well over "modal tunes" too. John Coltrane's solos and Bill Evan's comping on that album became one of the platform in which quartal harmony and use the pentatonic scales got developed in jazz, but both concepts are not necessary native the modal harmony. It's interesting, because cannonball and Wynton Kelly's solo feels like they managed the play the songs without really getting the aesthetic Miles was going for.

I do think that "kind of blue" contributed a lot in developing the modern/post bop sound, but I think people are over-simplifying things when they said that it single-handedly changed the world of jazz or somehow created this new music. IMO what Miles did with his quintet with Wayne Shorter/George Coleman, Tony Williams, Ron Carter, & Herbie Hancock (epsecially the plugged nickel sessions) are by far more revolutionizing then Kind of Blue, especially when it comes to innovation in rhythm.

Elij, I'd love to hear more about your extensive study of the album. Did you transcribed, analyzed the solos? did you do research on history surrounding that album?


Edited by etcetra (06/20/11 09:46 PM)

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#1699486 - 06/21/11 06:11 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Miles played some C# and G# notes (maj 7th and blue note) in his D minor So What solo.

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#1700718 - 06/23/11 05:31 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: etcetra]
EliJ Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/24/09
Posts: 15
Originally Posted By: etcetra


Elij, I'd love to hear more about your extensive study of the album. Did you transcribed, analyzed the solos? did you do research on history surrounding that album?


I may have overstated by authority on the subject; I have not studied the album extensively in the academic sense. I am just an amateur who has read Ashley Kahn's book about the making of the album along with some other commentary, and has put together rough transcriptions of a few of the simpler solos. It sounds like you know more about jazz history than me.

Originally Posted By: etcetra

It's interesting, because cannonball and Wynton Kelly's solo feels like they managed the play the songs without really getting the aesthetic Miles was going for.


I'm glad you mentioned Wynton Kelly's solo, and I could not agree more, but somehow it really works for me. One of my favorite moments on the album is the transition between Kelly's solo and Davis's solo on Freddie Freeloader. Kelly builds the intensity of the song with very traditional bluesy playing, and Miles takes it over with this incredibly smooth sparse solo with no drop in intensity. Until that moment, I feel like Freddie Freeloader does not really fit in with the rest of the songs.


Edited by EliJ (06/23/11 05:32 PM)

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#1700748 - 06/23/11 06:17 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: Jazz+]
KlinkKlonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 362
Originally Posted By: Jazz+
Miles played some C# and G# notes (maj 7th and blue note) in his D minor So What solo.


He emphazies chord notes on down beats and circle the D minor with it's dominant. It's tonal!

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#1701186 - 06/24/11 11:47 AM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Miles Davis' "So What" Solo Reduced to “Target Notes“
The chords changes are:
D-7 for 16 bars, Eb-7 for 8 bars
The pitches detailed here are Davis’s target notes (pitches to which he directs his melodic line).

Of these 83 structural or skeletal notes, Davis targets:

Roots: 21 times (D or Eb)
11ths: 15 times (G or Ab) 11= root of V
9ths: 13 times (E or F)
7ths: 12 times (C or D)
5ths: 12 times (A or Bb)
3rds: 8 times (F or Gb)
13ths: 2 times (B or C)

Although tonic pitches are targeted most frequently, Davis directs his lines towards pitches 7, 9, and 11 with regularity. These pitches (C, E, and G in D Dorian) form a major triad one whole step beneath the root of the mode in which Davis plays. These moments (such as bars 32-39) demonstrate points of true modality in Davis’s improvisation.





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