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#1693159 - 06/09/11 07:30 PM what's the deal with modal jazz?
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
My guitar teacher has had me working on So what now for about a month. I'm not a great fan of Miles. These chords sound vile, at least they do when I play them. I did check out the relevant chapter in Mark Levine's jazz piano book, and the same chords sound marginally less vile when I play them on piano.

More than that I'm struggling with the concept of modal jazz. I know what modes are. Modal jazz is - jazz without tune? jazz without rhythm? jazz without chord changes? jazz that modulates up a semitone and then back down again? It just seems to function in a universe different from the one I understand.

Am I alone?
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#1693187 - 06/09/11 08:25 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
scotpgot Offline
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Registered: 10/26/10
Posts: 129
Modal jazz, when trying to define it, is a tune based on a single "mode". In the case of "So What", the Dorian mode (first the D dorian scale, then Eb). This is different than, say, bebop, where the chord progression moves you through different tonalities (dorian, mixolydian, etc.) and much more often than not - different keys.

In a more general sense, modal jazz can be said to be based on a single "sound" or "mood". Other than lacking a chord progression, it can be accomplished through a bass ostinato, a repeated phrase/lick, and many other things.

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#1693190 - 06/09/11 08:35 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
etcetra Offline
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Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Maybe it will help to listen to Modal music in other context.. a lot of folk music are based on modes, a lot of spanish flamenco music are based on phyrigian modes.Remember, The major/minor scale are modes too

Like scotpgot says, every mode has it's own mood/aesthetics. I think you just have to let go of your pre-conception of music (which may be more based on tonality), and spend some time listening to modal music. I think you'll start to appreciate for what it is once you do that.

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#1693204 - 06/09/11 09:11 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
Cudo Offline
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Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 138
Loc: Heidelberg, Germany
In his jazz piano book Mark Levine does not realy tell what is going on in modal playing.

As the ionian and the aeolian are modes also dorian is a possibility to have different cadencial behavior between his different degrees.
We are not anymore speaking about authentic and plagal movement like in ionian and aeolian, but just about cadencial chords and the tonic chord. In modal playing tonic chord is allways only the chord on the I degree. There are no subs like in ionian or aeolian.
Cadencial chords in the dorian mode are those who contain the typical dorian scale degree which is the dorian sixth.
These cadential chords you'll find on the bVIIMA7 and the II-7 degree in dorian.
The VI degree which of course allso contains the dorian sixth as the root, does not work, because it's chord structure is a diminished triad which tends to resolve towards the relativ ionian, a behavior which is not desired when playing modal.

So it is not just a ONE chord playing on "So What". You allways think in cadences. in dorian cadences.

By the way, the typical "So What" chord in the theme has pentatonic origen. It would be a good thing to understand his structure and where it comes from to form more of this kind of chords!

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#1693209 - 06/09/11 09:21 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: Cudo]
etcetra Offline
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Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Originally Posted By: Cudo
In his jazz piano book Mark Levine does not realy tell what is going on in modal playing.

As the ionian and the aeolian are modes also dorian is a possibility to have different cadencial behavior between his different degrees.
We are not anymore speaking about authentic and plagal movement like in ionian and aeolian, but just about cadencial chords and the tonic chord. In modal playing tonic chord is allways only the chord on the I degree. There are no subs like in ionian or aeolian.
Cadencial chords in the dorian mode are those who contain the typical dorian scale degree which is the dorian sixth.
These cadential chords you'll find on the bVIIMA7 and the II-7 degree in dorian.
The VI degree which of course allso contains the dorian sixth as the root, does not work, because it's chord structure is a diminished triad which tends to resolve towards the relativ ionian, a behavior which is not desired when playing modal.

So it is not just a ONE chord playing on "So What". You allways think in cadences. in dorian cadences.

By the way, the typical "So What" chord in the theme has pentatonic origen. It would be a good thing to understand his structure and where it comes from to form more of this kind of chords!


Cudo, while what you are saying is true, I am not sure if it's that helpful to someone who is relatively new improvising to introduce more theory. It's probably better for the OP to understand this aurally, rather then technically. Once he does, he can better appreciate what you are trying to explain.

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#1693385 - 06/10/11 06:38 AM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: scotpgot]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: scotpgot

In a more general sense, modal jazz can be said to be based on a single "sound" or "mood". Other than lacking a chord progression, it can be accomplished through a bass ostinato, a repeated phrase/lick, and many other things.


I think this is probably the crucial thing. I just never feel like it's getting anywhere. It starts, continues, then eventually stops.

Quote:

Modal jazz, when trying to define it, is a tune based on a single "mode". In the case of "So What", the Dorian mode (first the D dorian scale, then Eb). This is different than, say, bebop, where the chord progression moves you through different tonalities (dorian, mixolydian, etc.) and much more often than not - different keys.


Moving through different keys (and back again) I get in modal and bebop. The tonalities and modes business, I just don't get. It always seems to me, if I'm in C, then I'm in C and that's all that matters.
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#1693386 - 06/10/11 06:43 AM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: etcetra]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: etcetra
Maybe it will help to listen to Modal music in other context.. a lot of folk music are based on modes, a lot of spanish flamenco music are based on phyrigian modes.Remember, The major/minor scale are modes too

Like scotpgot says, every mode has it's own mood/aesthetics. I think you just have to let go of your pre-conception of music (which may be more based on tonality), and spend some time listening to modal music. I think you'll start to appreciate for what it is once you do that.



I appreciate what you're saying etc. But as you say, major is also a mode. Old MacDonald had a Farm is in a mode (ionian), so everything (scale-based) is 'modal'.

But it seems to me in 'modal jazz' the word 'modal' means something else. Thinking that 'modal jazz' is 'modal' is just a distraction.
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#1693389 - 06/10/11 06:48 AM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
Studio Joe Offline
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Registered: 03/28/07
Posts: 1803
Loc: Decatur, Texas
When yo say D dorian scale, Do you mean a dorian scale that begins with D, or a dorian scale with a key signature of D maj.?


Edited by Studio Joe (06/10/11 06:49 AM)
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#1693390 - 06/10/11 06:49 AM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: Cudo]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: Cudo
In his jazz piano book Mark Levine does not realy tell what is going on in modal playing.


Thankyou for your reply cudo. It's helpful to know Mark doesn't necessarily have the last word. As to the rest of your reply, I'm afraid etc is right. You are using words like 'authentic', 'cadencial' and 'plagal' in technical ways that are unfamiliar to me. It would simply take too long to unpick it all. Thankyou for trying! smile
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#1693395 - 06/10/11 06:59 AM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
scotpgot Offline
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Registered: 10/26/10
Posts: 129
The difference between Old MacDonald (or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) using a single scale in the melody, and it actually being a "modal" song, is that the chords accompanying the melody change (i.e. have a progression). If you were to "blow"/improvise over the changes to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, you'd start on I, move to IV, etc... (actually I suppose it'd be better to reharmonize that IV to a ii7. What was I saying? Oh yeah...)

In most popular pieces, there is a chord progression. Think of that word literally, if it helps.

THIS:
Quote:
I think this is probably the crucial thing. I just never feel like it's getting anywhere. It starts, continues, then eventually stops.
is correct, generally. It is then up to the improviser to provide a shape to the solo outside any chord changes would provide. Then at THAT point, you begin to add what Cudo was talking about. Cadences, deceptive cadences, chord substitutions, and all that good stuff.

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#1693483 - 06/10/11 10:48 AM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: Studio Joe]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: Studio Joe
When yo say D dorian scale, Do you mean a dorian scale that begins with D, or a dorian scale with a key signature of D maj.?


I think in this case he/she meant, a dorian scale that begins with D (i.e. no sharps or flats).
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#1693488 - 06/10/11 10:57 AM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: scotpgot]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: scotpgot
The difference between Old MacDonald (or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) using a single scale in the melody, and it actually being a "modal" song, is that the chords accompanying the melody change (i.e. have a progression). If you were to "blow"/improvise over the changes to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, you'd start on I, move to IV, etc... (actually I suppose it'd be better to reharmonize that IV to a ii7. What was I saying? Oh yeah...)

In most popular pieces, there is a chord progression. Think of that word literally, if it helps.

THIS:
Quote:
I think this is probably the crucial thing. I just never feel like it's getting anywhere. It starts, continues, then eventually stops.
is correct, generally. It is then up to the improviser to provide a shape to the solo outside any chord changes would provide. Then at THAT point, you begin to add what Cudo was talking about. Cadences, deceptive cadences, chord substitutions, and all that good stuff.


At this point, I honestly have no idea what you are talking about. Maybe my mind's just not in the right place for it just now.

Certainly I'm familiar that with most tunes, there is a chord progression. The chords tend to go in a certain way, or at least in one of several ways that our ears get used to.

Take that chord progression away, and you get modal jazz, right? If I'm wrong, just tell me.

If you take the chord progression away, then I don't see the point of talking about chord substitution. Because why not just play any chord? A cadence is a chord progression, so that's out too. As for a deceptive cadence, why should I trust it anyway? smile
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#1693503 - 06/10/11 11:32 AM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2999
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
Ten,

The beauty of tunes like So What is that in fact, you have a lot of options.
Miles came up with the concept of the "so what" voicing (played by Bill). It's stack fourths with a 3rd on top. You can let your LH play any 3 notes separated by the interval of a 4th, and instead of thinking of it as a chord, think of it as playing those notes within the scale.

Assuming you play So What in the common key, it starts with D dorian, so you can play any 4ths on the white keys. What becomes clear after messing with it a bit, is that all those 7 chords that you will play work, in some way.
So instead of outlying a chord, like D minor, you're really saying these things:
* The root is D, and I'm going to let you know. Because either I have a bass player falling on D on most first beats, or every so often, I'm going to go low on the piano and play D - A, which clearly indicates we are in D. Every 8 measures, it might be a good idea to play that voicing D-A in the bass.
* Sure I'm in D, but I'm going to mess with my chords by playing any open voicing using only white key. So it's going to be very open that way. And there is no mistaking it for any thing else, you are playing D dorian.

An easy way to solo on this is to simply play D dorian scale, essentially C major. Even better would be a D minor pentatonic. Pentatonic scales work really great.

Modal tunes are often recognized because they have whacked out chords that you may not be used to. Naima is one, Nardis is another. Even though they have nice chord changes, it is played within scales, rather than chords. Look for tunes by Herbie Hancock, Miles, Coltrane or Wayne shorter. Coltrane took My favorite things and made it a modal tune.

I can think of easier tunes to start soloing on ...

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#1693507 - 06/10/11 11:37 AM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
scotpgot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/26/10
Posts: 129
Quote:
Take that chord progression away, and you get modal jazz, right? If I'm wrong, just tell me.


That's right. If you think of non-modal jazz as having motion. Think of modal jazz as resting on a single tonality and staying there.

Quote:
If you take the chord progression away, then I don't see the point of talking about chord substitution. Because why not just play any chord? A cadence is a chord progression, so that's out too. As for a deceptive cadence, why should I trust it anyway?


This is where we are talking about much more advanced playing. And all that (substitutions, etc.) is hinted at by the soloist (though the rhythm section will sometimes follow along through a chord substitution, or, especially, a sequence that goes through different keys).

You can think of it like this: the D dorian bebop scale and the G Mixolydian scale have the same notes - D E F F#/Gb G A B C D E F F#/Gb G (and so on). So, while soloing, the player can either stress the chord tones of the D dorian (D, F, A, C) OR G Mixolydian (G B D F) and slightly change the tonality of what they are playing without changing any of the notes. (This is a basic example.)

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#1693514 - 06/10/11 11:46 AM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
knotty Offline
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Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2999
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
The easiest way to look at modal music is to look at new age.

That's how I tell my wife that anyone can play piano. She's never played anything her whole life. I said:

* play 1 white note in the left hand and hold it as long as you can.
* play any white note in the right hand.

That's modal music right there. Although she's not quite sure what mode she's playing.

But essentially, it's modal for you.
She's very impressed by the result by the way.

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#1693567 - 06/10/11 01:59 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: knotty]
jazztpt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/18/10
Posts: 345
Originally Posted By: knotty
Ten,

The beauty of tunes like So What is that in fact, you have a lot of options.
Miles came up with the concept of the "so what" voicing (played by Bill). It's stack fourths with a 3rd on top. You can let your LH play any 3 notes separated by the interval of a 4th, and instead of thinking of it as a chord, think of it as playing those notes within the scale.

Assuming you play So What in the common key, it starts with D dorian, so you can play any 4ths on the white keys. What becomes clear after messing with it a bit, is that all those 7 chords that you will play work, in some way.
So instead of outlying a chord, like D minor, you're really saying these things:
* The root is D, and I'm going to let you know. Because either I have a bass player falling on D on most first beats, or every so often, I'm going to go low on the piano and play D - A, which clearly indicates we are in D. Every 8 measures, it might be a good idea to play that voicing D-A in the bass.
* Sure I'm in D, but I'm going to mess with my chords by playing any open voicing using only white key. So it's going to be very open that way. And there is no mistaking it for any thing else, you are playing D dorian.

An easy way to solo on this is to simply play D dorian scale, essentially C major. Even better would be a D minor pentatonic. Pentatonic scales work really great.

Modal tunes are often recognized because they have whacked out chords that you may not be used to. Naima is one, Nardis is another. Even though they have nice chord changes, it is played within scales, rather than chords. Look for tunes by Herbie Hancock, Miles, Coltrane or Wayne shorter. Coltrane took My favorite things and made it a modal tune.

I can think of easier tunes to start soloing on ...




Excellent explanation Knotty thumb .
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#1693609 - 06/10/11 03:52 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: jazztpt]
KlinkKlonk Offline
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Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 368

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#1693624 - 06/10/11 04:35 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: KlinkKlonk]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

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


Thanks, KlinkKlonk, but this is precisely what I don't need. I understand modes. The trouble with jazz is it takes perfectly good words and makes them mean something different. Reminds me of Kaballah, and that used to drive me up the wall. I don't mind words meaning different things, but the trouble is, people who are initiated into the secret club forget that those who aren't, don't get it.
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#1693625 - 06/10/11 04:41 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: jazztpt]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Thanks guys for the responses. I have spent a couple of hours with Miles and Bill and I think I can see where I went wrong. I was sitting on chords that sounded awful, but the point is you need to pass through them quickly or just a quick stab.

I can't say any of this music is my favourite, but I've got some listening I'll try. Sometimes I like things better once I understand them.
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#1693629 - 06/10/11 04:45 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
knotty Offline
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Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2999
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
see, you CAN get something out of listening to records wink


Edited by knotty (06/10/11 04:45 PM)

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#1693669 - 06/10/11 06:31 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: knotty]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: knotty
see, you CAN get something out of listening to records wink


I live in hope, having just got some tracks from Amazon. However, tonight's work was more playing with Bill and Miles, courtesy of Transcribe, than listening per se.

(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. Or that Transcribe would let me adjust by less than a semi-tone. It doesn't do that, does it?)

Edit: a night's work.
http://www.box.net/shared/3ttu31c8macaxdc1s0dq
Tomorrow, chords.


Edited by ten left thumbs (06/10/11 07:32 PM)
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#1693682 - 06/10/11 07:02 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
knotty Offline
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Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2999
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
You're like me, you have the original recording. It's been remastered since then.
But yes, you can alter the pitch by an amount of cents. Go to effects > Tuning and move the cent slider.

Or get a version off youtube.

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#1693703 - 06/10/11 07:47 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Wow, and here's me thinking it can't do that. Everything I think it can't do, and you just know how to do it. Speechless. Now I really have no excuse. Chords tomorrow.
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#1697361 - 06/18/11 06:49 AM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
l.s. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/12/11
Posts: 12
Quote:
More than that I'm struggling with the concept of modal jazz. I know what modes are. Modal jazz is - jazz without tune? jazz without rhythm? jazz without chord changes? jazz that modulates up a semitone and then back down again? It just seems to function in a universe different from the one I understand.


The basis of Tonal Harmony is the tritone resolution (V7 - I), whereas the basis of Modal Harmony is to define the mode itself; doesn't matter if one or several modes are used within the same piece of music. In Modal Harmony you don't resolve the tritone (otherwise it would be Tonal); the concepts of functions - tonic, sub-dominant and dominant - are non-existent, so you don't work with them; therefore, the chord progressions you will find within Modal music are slightly different than those of Tonal. To "define the mode itself", you need to build progressions that have the "characteristic note" of the mode as part of the basic structure of the chord being used.

If you take any Ionian/Major scale and built up 4-part chords using only the notes of that scale, you will ended up with chords like:

Imaj7 | II-7 | III-7 | IVmaj7(b5) | V7 | VI-7 | VII-7(b5)

Maybe you are already familiar with them. Like those of the Ionian scale, we already do the same with the 3 minor scales (natural/aeolian, harmonic and melodic minor), and the chords are:

Natural Minor: I-7 | II-7(b5) | bIIImaj7 | IV-7 | V-7 | bVImaj7(b5) | bVII7
Harmonic Minor: I-(maj7) | II-7(b5) | bIIImaj7(#5) | IV-7 | V7 | bVImaj7(b5) | VIIdim7
Melodic Minor: I-6 | II-7 | bIIImaj7(#5) | IV7 | V7 | VI-7(b5) | VII7alt

*obs: on the Harmonic and Melodic Minor scales, there are several possibilities for the chords of a single scale degree.

We do this with major and minor scales and use the chords for modal interchanges between major and minor, etc,... in Modal Harmony is pretty much the same, but if you want to have a "pure" Modal music, you stick with only the chords of that particular Mode, otherwise is just another scale for modal interchange.

Take, for example, any Dorian scale and build up 4-part chords using the scale tones only, we will end up with these chords:

Dorian: I-7 | II-7 | bIIImaj7(b5) | IV7 | V-7 | VI-7(b5) | bVIImaj7
or
D dorian: D-7 | E-7 | Fmaj7(b5) | G7 | A-7 | B-7(b5) | Cmaj7

Again, do this with all the modes and you will see what Modal Harmony is. In Tonal Harmony we have a very strong cadence: V7 - I. The V in a Tonal Harmony (or within a Ionian mode) is a dominant chord, thus making a V - I resolution the "strongest" one (for reasons that goes beyond the point of this discussion); that's the reason why we have a "Harmonic Minor scale": there was no tritone (or V dominant) on the Natural/Aeolian scale, so the need to raise the 7 of the Natural Minor scale to a maj7, thus creating a V7 dominant for the minor keys and - as it was used very often - a new minor scale, the Harmonic Minor. If you build up all the modes, try the characteristic V - I resolution of Tonal music, but using the chords from that mode and you will see that the resolution is not as "strong" as the tritone resolution of a V7.

"So what" is a very simple and good example of this. The first 16 bars - it is in D dorian mode - they use the E-7 chord (II-7) as an "approaching" chord (for it uses the same chord structure on both chords and moves in parallel motion to the next one); the next 8 bars are in Eb dorian and they do the same thing, but one step up: | F-7 | Eb-7. Among other reasons that makes this tune a modal tune (the harmonic rhythm, the lack of resolution, etc) the II-7 chord used as an "approaching" chord is also there helping to "define the mode itself", as the chord holds on its basic structure the "characteristic note" of the mode: the major 6th is the characteristic note for Dorian or, in those cases, the note B on the E-7 and the note C on the F-7.

Hope it helped a little.

l.s.

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#1697444 - 06/18/11 11:25 AM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: l.s.]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Hi ls, interesting answer. I got as far as this:

Originally Posted By: l.s.

If you take any Ionian/Major scale and built up 4-part chords using only the notes of that scale, you will ended up with chords like:

Imaj7 | II-7 | III-7 | IVmaj7(b5)


and am wondering, why the flattened 5th?
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#1697503 - 06/18/11 02:04 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
l.s. Offline
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Posts: 12
Let's say - as usual - that we are in the key of C major. So, we use the C major scale to build up in thirds the 4-part chords. The scale notes are: C D E F G A B.

So here they are:

Imaj7 = C E G B
II-7 = D F A C
III-7 = E G B D
IVmaj7(b5) = F A B E or IVmaj7 = F A C E
V7 = G B D F
VI-7 = A C E G
VII-7(b5) = B D F A

We can do this for all the chord degrees on the scale, for example:

The II-7 can also be a II7sus4.

D-7 = D F A C or D7sus4 = D G A C. All chord tones are diatonic to the C major key.

Quote:
and am wondering, why the flattened 5th?


If we begin the Cmajor scale on the 4th degree, F, we would have "F G A B C D E" and this is the Lydian scale. Therefore, there are 2 diatonic (using only scale notes) chord options for the 4th degree: 1) Fmaj7 (F A C E) and 2) Fmaj7(b5) (F A B E). As the 4th degree in a major scale is a Lydian chord, I used the IVmaj7(b5) [or IVmaj7(#11), it's the "same", I could also have used #11 instead].

Let me tell you why I used the b5 instead of the #11. Even though the more correct one in this case would be the #11, for improvisational purposes the b5 would be more conveniente if that is really what you want. Besides the IVmajor7 lydian chord on a Major key, there is also the bIIImajor7(#5) on both Harmonic and Melodic Minor scales. On the Harmonic minor, the scale structure for the bIII would be T 2 3 4 #5 6 maj7 and this scale is rarely used; on the Melodic minor, the scale structure for the bIII would be T 2 3 #4 #5 6 maj7 and this one, together with the Lydian scale, is also used a lot; it is called "Lydian #5".
So, as there are 2 very common Lydian scales for maj7 chords, the Lydian and the Lydian #5, if you write on your chord symbol only maj7#11, you wouldn't be telling which scale you're really talking about - it would be ambiguous, leaving room for options, as both of them have a #11 and both of them are commonly used, but one comes from a Major key and the other comes from a Minor Key on a different root (C major key and D "melodic" minor key). On the other hand, if you write maj7(b5) - even though the b5 is actually a #11 and there is also a perfect 5 within the scale - you are telling the reader exactly which scale - or which notes - you intended.

Clearer?

\=))

l.s.


Edited by l.s. (06/18/11 02:08 PM)

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#1697527 - 06/18/11 03:05 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: l.s.]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Originally Posted By: l.s.


Clearer?



Er - no. I'm in C. I'm building chords from 3rds to make 4 note chords. The chord on IV is F A C E.

Of course, I can do all sorts of other things besides, but why?

No point talking about the difference between b5 and #11 till I have some idea what you're talking about.

So far, I've asked what modal jazz is all about. What I've learned is that modal jazz isn't based on chord progressions. That, at least, I understand.

smile
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#1697573 - 06/18/11 05:03 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
l.s. Offline
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Posts: 12
Quote:
Of course, I can do all sorts of other things besides, but why?


It is another tool for composition, improvisation, reharmonization, or whatever you come up with. If you have no reason to use it, then don't.

Quote:
No point talking about the difference between b5 and #11 till I have some idea what you're talking about.


There is no diference between a b5 and a #11, they are the same note. I talked about the diference between the chord symbols used and what they would mean to me - and probably others - if I read them on a fakebook.

Quote:
So far, I've asked what modal jazz is all about. What I've learned is that modal jazz isn't based on chord progressions. That, at least, I understand.


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???
Do you know what "Tonal Jazz" is? Or, in another words, do you know what "Tonal Music" is?

l.s.

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#1697600 - 06/18/11 05:41 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
ten left thumbs Offline
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I've never heard the expressions tonal music or tonal jazz before.
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#1697609 - 06/18/11 05:59 PM Re: what's the deal with modal jazz? [Re: ten left thumbs]
etcetra Offline
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Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Originally Posted By: l.s.


Clearer?



Er - no. I'm in C. I'm building chords from 3rds to make 4 note chords. The chord on IV is F A C E.


So far, I've asked what modal jazz is all about. What I've learned is that That, at least, I understand.

smile


If you are in C, The chord on the IV is F A C E, but the scale starting from the 4th note is F lydian.

modal jazz isn't based on chord progressions as how we usually describe chord progressions (that is, in terms of V-I reasolution and other stuff Ls was talking about). Most music we hear are tonal music and it almost always ends on some kind of IV or V to I resolution.

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.

As an experiment play these chord progressions. (feel free to add the 7th too)

I-V-I
I-IV-I
ii-V-I
IV-V-I
I-V-vi (deceptive cadence)
I-IV-iv-I
I-vi-ii-V

You may not be able to explain it right, but you'll notice that this is the basic sound/principle of tonal harmony and you should start hearing how each chord has it's place/function and pull you to next chord. It may not help.. but it's just an idea.


Edited by etcetra (06/18/11 06:07 PM)

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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
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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
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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
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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
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Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1370
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
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Posts: 1370
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
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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
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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
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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 Online   content
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 368
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
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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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