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#2004753 - 12/26/12 11:35 PM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: kiedysktos.]
davefrank Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/09
Posts: 672
right. Lennie showed me this extension/dim thing at a memorable lesson once. He was reluctant to show it to me but did. it was pretty mind-blowing at the time..

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#2004821 - 12/27/12 07:29 AM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: custard apple]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1344
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: custard apple
That's a very interesting example which you provided, printer, of using the LH to emphasize delayed resolution.
It's something that Mozart gets up to quite a lot.
_________________________

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#2004825 - 12/27/12 07:41 AM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: LoPresti]
kiedysktos. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 425
Loc: Europe, Poland
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
So, here’s my take on linear construction : It is something that is built horizontally, rather than vertically. This would NOT be limited to step-wise, or chromatic movements. Indeed, large leaps in intervals do nothing to keep a piece from being “linear” in concept.

If we are considering melodies, we are constructing LONG melodies, as opposed to fragments. If we are working with sequences, they will be strung together to form those LONG melodies. I would think that phrases would be extended and flowing, rather than clipped. Improvisational ideas would be over-arching, rather than compartmentalized.


Thanks for your post a lot! I think you nailed it. That's what Barry Harris said listening present pianists: "Poverty. Lots of notes, but lack of the right ones"
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#2004833 - 12/27/12 08:11 AM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: davefrank]
jawhitti Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/12
Posts: 235
Originally Posted By: davefrank
right. Lennie showed me this extension/dim thing at a memorable lesson once. He was reluctant to show it to me but did. it was pretty mind-blowing at the time..


You said as much in the vid Dave and I'm not sure I understand the reluctance? It seemed like one of the more straightforward ideas you presented. Modal assignment seemed like a more sophisticated trick to me. If you are playing at a level where you can pretty easily pull that one off then holding a chord for a few extra beats should be cake. I do it all the time but in my case it's because I'm failing to keep up... wink

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#2004837 - 12/27/12 08:30 AM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: kiedysktos.]
davefrank Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/09
Posts: 672
It had more to do with me I think than him. I hadn't been studying with him all that long with him at the time, and back then most of us were playing on changes and trying to master the form, so from a teaching standpoint it was kinda early to be messing with that.
He presented the chord ex/dim thing like he was showing me a secret handshake of the Masons or something)

DF

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#2004941 - 12/27/12 12:53 PM linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: kiedysktos.]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: kiedysktos.
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
So, here’s my take on linear construction : It is something that is built horizontally, rather than vertically. . . . . . If we are considering melodies, we are constructing LONG melodies, as opposed to fragments. If we are working with sequences, they will be strung together to form those LONG melodies. I would think that phrases would be extended and flowing, rather than clipped. Improvisational ideas would be over-arching, rather than compartmentalized.

Thanks for your post a lot! I think you nailed it. That's what Barry Harris said listening present pianists: "Poverty. Lots of notes, but lack of the right ones"

I like the quote from Barry Harris - HE nailed it!

Those who endeavor to “teach jazz”, if that is even possible, have always struggled with how to impart everything that needs to be transferred from master to apprentice. Obviously, the best way is, and always has been, a one-on-one, in-person teaching, where the master helps his student build knowledge and skills precisely as needed.

Somewhere along the path, the educational technicians realized there was a market for learning to play __________ (fill in your favorite type of music.) In true math or science fashion, they set about breaking down the playing of music into its component parts. During this deconstruction and analyzing, then reassembling the various parts process, much of the soul of music disappears. It is even worse for jazz than for many other forms of music, since the improvisational heart of jazz is not written down, and is not intended to be duplicated note-for-note. Even the very notation of jazz depends upon the sadly inadequate Western-European system that serves classical music fairly well.

But the educational technicians, aided by many famous jazz players, did take up the challenge of teaching improvisation. We have chords and we have scales - concrete and definable. If we can teach the student to play the notes of a certain scale while a certain chord is sounding, that will be a good start. More advanced? If we can teach the student to play a certain substitute chord when they see a basic harmony, now we are accomplishing the goal - jazz playing for the masses. “Double-time feel”? No problem: Have the bass walk, and the drummer doubles his hi-hat. Now we are really cooking! And . . . it is all systematized and clearly defined -- all from a textbook.

So, where is the problem? Many (MANY) players who grew up with this sort of hands-off training, got stalled while they were still learning. They completed the elementary method book, thought they had conquered jazz, and are now ready to be playing it. They never made the next leap:
[1] Melodic melodies, that have some soul and actually say something meaningful. They extend way beyond scales and exercise-like eighth notes.
[2] Chords that are substituted with taste, and that serve to make the harmonies “progress”
[3] Rhythms that accentuate the flavor of the piece in question, and that buoy the melodic and harmonic elements
[4] Combining these musical elements in new and creative ways

I have a feeling that Phil Markowitz, with this metaphor of “linear construction” is attempting to help those who are stalled make that next leap to playing meaningful, creative, and soulful jazz, instead of fragmented, compartmentalized, boxed-in exercises.

I could be wrong.
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2005043 - 12/27/12 04:10 PM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: LoPresti]
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 629
Loc: Chicago
Ed (LoPresti): Have you actually encountered students who, when improvising, play scales? In various jazz discussions, I frequently hear the criticisms you level at chord-scale theory (often targeting Berkeley where it was supposedly developed), but I've never encountered a player that seems to suffer the ills it should cause.

My teacher certainly taught me basic chord-scale theory, but it was always explained as a pool of notes to draw upon; never was it suggested that you play a scale or anything like it. Furthermore, I was also taught things such as emphasizing the 3rd and 7th, using enclosures, not to mention listening to tons of music and transcribing and playing actual solos.

I go to a jazz camp each summer, and sure, some of the very, very beginners will play scales for an improvisation. But all the more advanced players rely on chord-scale theory, and yet all of their improvisations are attempts to play melodies; I never hear scales used in some mechanical way.

So I agree with everything you say about the need to learn how to produce melodies, but I'm curious as to whether there is really a probably out there?

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#2005111 - 12/27/12 06:43 PM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: davefrank]
jazzwee Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7064
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: davefrank
right. Lennie showed me this extension/dim thing at a memorable lesson once. He was reluctant to show it to me but did. it was pretty mind-blowing at the time..


I learned this too and the example used was Tristano. I was told Evans and Bud Powell apparently used it a lot too. I just heard this referred to as "over the barline" changes.

Haven't put it to use yet but glad to have been reminded of a very old lesson. I guess I was not ready when this topic was introduced. In one ear and out the other... smile

My teacher actually used it in a recording of ATTYA and so I have some practical reference to it.

By the way Dave, I missed this on your video. Maybe it's time to watch that again. I must not have been paying attention at that moment.


Edited by jazzwee (12/27/12 06:44 PM)
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#2005118 - 12/27/12 06:55 PM linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: jjo]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
In fairness, jjo, I do not recall ever hearing any improviser, even students, playing a complete 6, 7, or 8 note scale or mode consecutively. (Unlike Joy to the World, which has become an internationally popular . . . you get the idea.) What I do hear often is the use of scale fragments, chord outlines, and exercise-like pattern repetitions, IN PLACE OF an extended melody. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with using any one of those elements occasionally, and in conjunction with other melodic ideas; and ESPECIALLY if the scale fragment, or chord skeleton, or pattern-of–alternating-thirds enhances or completes the melodic idea.

But what frequently happens is that the improviser strings together a bunch of these devices - scale, chord, exercise, mode, chord, etc., and the entire solo sounds fragmented, contrived, and exercise-like. The faster the tempo = the greater the desire to fill every microsecond with sound = the higher the reliance on the devices. Further aggravating this problem is the more recent trend of jazz composers to utilize static harmonies, and for long periods. I can play Dorian on G only so many ways!

Personally, I learned to improvise by ear - by careful listening, and by trying different things. (This method has its limitations.) The chord -> scale theory you mention is a means of categorizing and teaching jazz, and obviously a very good one based on its wide-spread use. I have absolutely no problem with that method, or any other method that proves to be effective. My problem is with the students who use the method to “learn jazz”, but then fail to go beyond it. The study method has become the goal. They are stuck in chord -> scale theory, and their improvising reflects that limited state of development.

I can not recall EVER criticizing Berklee. (But then I have trouble remembering what I had for lunch!) Indeed, I have a very high regard for that institution – especially the “old Berklee”. One of the finest players I had in my big band was a Berklee graduate. He could sight-read ANYTHING, and he could play the most amazing solos! A real, full musician.
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2005147 - 12/27/12 07:54 PM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: LoPresti]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 650
Loc: Leicester, UK


... charlie parker playing rhythm changes ... the first measure is a pickup ... disregard the chord notations.

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#2005258 - 12/28/12 12:35 AM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: Mark Polishook]
custard apple Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/09
Posts: 2300
Loc: Sydney
Hey Printer
To me this is a lovely example of two exquisite lines, a long one and a medium one. The lines can be analyzed by chord-scale theory and chromatics. Also I love the space between those two lines.

Even though Bird might never have heard of CST, his music can be explained by it.

Here is my own imperfect understanding, from a beginner's perspective of various approaches to improv, and artists exemplifying these approaches, regardless of whether the artist has ever described his music as such.

1. CST (Bird)
2. Guide-tones within CST (Clifford Brown)
3. Modes within CST (Burton, LaVerne)
4. Thematic improv (Rollins, Pilc)
5. Modal (Miles Davis)

The above are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
For 1 year I've been working with just CST. Lately I've been adding 2 and 4.
Next year I want to begin adding 3.

I think it's good to be open to learning all the different approaches to improv. Then it's fine to stick with the one(s) that you feel are most you. That is what defines your style.

Hey Chris
So this delayed harmonic resolution is a classical thing pre-dating jazz. Interesting, I didn't know that.
oh and I just noticed the nice cake, have a good one.


Edited by custard apple (12/28/12 12:40 AM)
Edit Reason: b'day

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#2005350 - 12/28/12 08:06 AM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: custard apple]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1344
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: custard apple
Hey Chris. So this delayed harmonic resolution is a classical thing pre-dating jazz. Interesting, I didn't know that.
oh and I just noticed the nice cake, have a good one.

Thank you.

Yes they did. Those old masters got up to all kinds of mischief.
_________________________

I never play anything the same way once.

https://soundcloud.com/chrisb/sets
https://www.youtube.com/user/djboing/videos

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#2005379 - 12/28/12 09:08 AM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: jazzwee]
davefrank Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/09
Posts: 672
What did you say JW?

DF

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#2005386 - 12/28/12 09:25 AM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: davefrank]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 650
Loc: Leicester, UK
custard apple ... those two lines really don't get explained by (so-called) CST. did you (and you certainly DO NOT HAVE TO AS A REQUIREMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

(a) look at those lines as they fall over rhythm changes and
(b) if they do fall over rhythm changes identify the scales?

in other words ... what are the scales and what are the chords? what are the scales over which chords? ... do you see what i'm getting at ... ? smile

those two lines are gems w/qualities that go unnoticed and unseen - soooo easily --- in the bigger picture.

... please don't think at all that is a test to see who knows what! ... i have my understanding of those lines ... which is precisely what i have (my understanding!) ... which may not convince anyone else.

it may be that if someone ventures to explain what's going on we'll all learn something very valuable.

hope this helps ... and again it's not a test! no way!

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#2005392 - 12/28/12 09:39 AM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: kiedysktos.]
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 629
Loc: Chicago
LoPresti:

I agree with what you say. Perhaps, though, the problem is some people simply don't have the creative spark to truly improvise. They like the sound of jazz, but don't really have the creativity to truly improvise. On the other hand, maybe, as you suggest, if their instructional program had emphasized imitating actual solos and using the ear, to theory, a creative spark might have been ignited. My teacher, who does use basic chord-scale theory, has nonetheless told me many times that she is amazed at the improvement she hears in her students' improvisations after they learn to play a transcribed solo.

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#2005444 - 12/28/12 11:03 AM linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: jjo]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: jjo
LoPresti:
I agree with what you say. Perhaps, though, the problem is some people simply don't have the creative spark to truly improvise. They like the sound of jazz, but don't really have the creativity to truly improvise. On the other hand, maybe, as you suggest, if their instructional program had emphasized imitating actual solos and using the ear, to theory, a creative spark might have been ignited. My teacher, who does use basic chord-scale theory, has nonetheless told me many times that she is amazed at the improvement she hears in her students' improvisations after they learn to play a transcribed solo.

And, I agree with what you say, AND would like to further comment on your transcription idea. There is huge value in learning to play a transcribed solo, and even more value in TRANSCRIBING that solo before learning to play it. When one thinks about it, the cycle involved here really covers it all:
[1] Find a recording that one likes, and that is worth working.
[2] Listen -- REALLY LISTEN -- to the piece to be transcribed.
[3] Learn to capture the sound on staff paper. (This involves a whole other sub-set of valuable skills.)
[4] In transferring the piece or solo from sound to paper, certain things become evident - melodic patterns, phrases, rhythmic patterns, (perhaps the harmonic patterns also), spaces of silence (in the solo), the overall form, the use of range of the instrument (for horns), accents and inflections, etc.
[5] Turning finally to one’s instrument, the transcriber plays with a depth of understanding that was not there before the transcription.
[6] Finally, tackle (and practice) the technical playing problems that are found in the solo - yet another learning.

Painstaking? Yes. Invaluable? YES!
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2005470 - 12/28/12 11:30 AM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: kiedysktos.]
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 629
Loc: Chicago
Couldn't agree more. However, I have to confess that right now I'm working on a Bud Powell transcribed solo (Celia) that I got from a book. I am learning to play it at full speed with (hopefully) many of the subtle things Bud does. With a full time job, I don't always have the time to transcribe a solo (It's still slow going to me, even with a slow down program), but I'm learning a ton even from this half of the process. It's critical not just to learn the notes in the solo, but all the nuances: how are the notes articulated, what notes are accented, etc.

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#2005475 - 12/28/12 11:36 AM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: jjo]
davefrank Offline
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Registered: 06/26/09
Posts: 672
I can tell you without question that EVERYONE has the creative spark to improvise, it simply has to be cultivated correctly. It's exactly the same as the fact that everyone can speak English if they go about it the right way.

Human life = the potential for musical improvisation. It's a matter of combining all the things that have been well described here as necessary into a coherent system of approach. It's a whole brain activity -analytical and FLOW working hand in hand hehe. Science and an art. Serious study of musical elements are necessary, such as chord/scale relationships, etc. etc, and then the real improv process is ignited with the enzyme of improv concepts that introduce flow into the mind and heart.

Birds can sing. Humans can improvise music.

It's a gas)

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#2005659 - 12/28/12 04:15 PM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: davefrank]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: davefrank
the real improv process is ignited with the enzyme of improv concepts that introduce flow into the mind and heart.


Hi. "The enzyme of improv" ... did you just, like, improvise that? A great lick, hope you don't mind if I use it from time to time!

By the way, I agree a hunderd percent, EVERYONE has the creative spark to improvise.

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#2005689 - 12/28/12 05:14 PM linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: davefrank]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Hey Dave,

I think that “spark” of which jjo and you write is evident in many, many players. But it seems to me that the “cultivation” part is where things begin to fall apart, and much of the discussion on this thread is devoted to that.

Many (MANY) examples are found on the Composers Forum. There is never a shortage of individuals who WANT to be a composer. Composing is an impulse (spark?) in a high percentage of players. But, in reality, very few actually become composers, and even fewer ever compose anything of note or lasting worth.

I have given much thought to this disparity between those who WANT to compose (spark), and those who actually do BECOME composers (cultivation). If I follow the course of most of these aspirants, they are like amateur mountain climbers who have scarcely walked up a hill. They may have a basic desire, and maybe even some of the equipment. But, most have no idea about the scope of what is involved: the training, the conditioning, the commitment, the dedication, the hardships, and the failures.

To me, that cultivation part of improvisation, of which you write, is critical . Would you mind sharing a few thoughts on what it typically takes to jump the breach between wanting to improvise, and being able to solo in a meaningful and cohesive way?

Oh -- and keep that gas under control . . .
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2005691 - 12/28/12 05:16 PM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: landorrano]
davefrank Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/09
Posts: 672
steal away, mein host!

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#2005994 - 12/29/12 11:46 AM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: kiedysktos.]
Cudo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 135
Loc: Heidelberg, Germany
Originally Posted By: kiedysktos.

1) do I understand "linear construction" term correctly?

Phil Markowitz, the "inventor" of the word "linear construction" wrote:

Linear construction:
This is the specific practice routine for developing and expanding your linear improvisational style.
...
This has to do with linear development and developing a strategy for developing and expanding your linear vocabulary. An example of this is the execution of an etude that you create incorporating the three essentials of linear construction: harmonic content, directionality and rhythmic approach. The important factor is to play the phrases all the way through the tune you are working on.


This is basically developing a phrase (motive) throughout a complete song.
Meanwhile mantaining the rhythm the phrase must be adapted harmonically to the chord progression.

Scalar stepwise ascending phrases like yours cited from the Levin Book are fine when based on chordscales without avoids. Levine took MM6 for Dm7(b5), MM7 for G7alt. and MM for Cm6. None of these scales have avoids.
Similar exercises can be done based on pentatonic scales. When I was a student I did transform all Hanon Exercises into pentatonic. This kind of sequence-playing is good when harmony is not changing to fast. It is like practizing thechnique and linear development at the same time!
A even better thing is to start these exercises within the circle of fifth like in ATTYA or Autumn Leaves.

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#2006026 - 12/29/12 12:50 PM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: LoPresti]
davefrank Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/09
Posts: 672
1) Get a good teacher
2) Do what he/she says
3) Practice

Bingo

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#2006081 - 12/29/12 03:28 PM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: davefrank]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2993
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
Originally Posted By: davefrank
1) Get a good teacher

Any good names?

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#2006094 - 12/29/12 03:53 PM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: Cudo]
kiedysktos. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 425
Loc: Europe, Poland
Originally Posted By: Cudo
Scalar stepwise ascending phrases like yours cited from the Levin Book are fine when based on chordscales without avoids. Levine took MM6 for Dm7(b5), MM7 for G7alt. and MM for Cm6. None of these scales have avoids.


I play sequences using avoids also. When it is on 1 or in other important place, I alter it (raise the fourth etc.), but in other places I leave it as it is. But it is easier without avoids.

It still sounds quite overwhelming devoting 50% of practice time to play a few phrases across the songs. For me it's qite tiring to do so for 15 minutes, not speaking about an hour or two smile But I admit it requires such an effort it has to be very fruitful.
I also don't catch the connection between this 'linear construction' approach and playing meaningful melodies, which are also discussed here. I suspect this way of practice leads to such a freedom that it's much easier to play phrases from your head and not stopping because of difficulties (technical, rhythmic or harmonic ones).
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#2006095 - 12/29/12 03:56 PM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: knotty]
davefrank Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/09
Posts: 672
Phineas Newborn, Thelonius Monk, Conan the Barbarian, Colonel Angus, Evan Evans, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Lady Bird Johnson, anyone named Ernst, Sigmund Freud, Moonunit Zappa, Whoopi Goldberg,
Engelbert Humperdink,Chubby Checker, Chevy Chase, Cher, Bing Crosby, Elvis Costello, Rodney Dangerfield, Millard Fillmore,
Dame Margot Fonteyn, Redd Foxx, Alicia Keys, Pee Wee Herman, Spike Lee, Twiggy, Meat Loaf, Benito Mussolini, Groucho Marx, Barbra Streisand, Zero Mostel, Judge Reinhold, Soupy Sales,
Phoebe Snow, Flip Wilson..

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#2006114 - 12/29/12 04:30 PM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: kiedysktos.]
jawhitti Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/12
Posts: 235
Dave I hope you've seen this before: Eddie Izzard on Engelbert Humperdinck:

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=ckGmMO0zbJo&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DckGmMO0zbJo

Also I left you a PM.

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#2006150 - 12/29/12 05:52 PM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: kiedysktos.]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 650
Loc: Leicester, UK
keidyskos, it's worth saying more than a few times that "linear" is just a jargon word that's long been used by musical theorists. in fact, it's been used all over the place.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/gabo-linear-construction-no-1-t00191

i'm not saying this to say the LC method isn't worth doing. If you want to do it and/or it you've been doing it and it works for you, well, then GREAT! Get going with it or keep at it! My point is these kinds of jargon names sometimes obscure essential stuff .. which you kind of point out in your post: "i ... don't catch the connection between this 'linear construction' approach and playing meaningful melodies."

Yes. Playing meaningful melodies is EXACTLY what you want!

i'm not saying at all the LC method won't lead you to meaningful melodies. What i am saying is trying to figure out HOW that method leads you to meaningful melodies or just structuring your time along the lines of that particular method may take longer than you want need to get to the "meaningful" melody part .... The thing is. You can be working with meaningful melodies right from the start!

For example. Transcription, which has been mentioned and described very well in this thread basically includes learning to hear a solo, learning to notate it, learning to play it, learning to analyse it, using it to inspire your creativity. And as you do all that you're DIRECTLY IN CONTACT WITH MEANINGFUL MELODIES!

Yet, Fred Hersch, who many consider to be at the apex in the jazz piano food chain (if you haven't heard FH, at least check out his recordings ... the last two are from live sets the Village Vanguard). He's said many times (interviews on the web) that he found no value in transcribing. So there you go. A major artist who didn't transcribe to learn jazz and has said he doesn't see the point in it. FH recommends instead very, very, VERY serious directed listening to all the different versions of jazz repertoire that great artists have produced. That is pretty serious!

Or, instead of transcribing, sing great solos (sing along with the recording). Sing, as in: FOCUS ON THE SOLO AND SING IT LIKE PLANET EARTH DEPENDS ON THAT SKILL!

Or get out whatever classical scores you have. Mozart, Bach, Chopin, etc. They all wrote INCREDIBLY MEANINGFUL MELODIES! In most cases, with just a little of bit of creative phrasing, those melodies will work directly in jazz.

A great book about listening to and creating music is "The Listening Book: Discovering Your Own Music" by W.A. Mathieu (he has major credits including writing for Stan Kenton). The chapter in the book: "What should I practice?" He says: "It doesn't matter what you practice as long as your energy for it is HOT [... my emphasis ...]. It is the quality of your practice that matters ... "

Mathieu isn't saying just be unstructured and do whatever you want ... you gotta read the book to get that larger context and to see how he says it. But the point is this: If you have limited time (and most of us do), one good way to go is practice whatever you can put your whole 100% focus on. Get your mind, ear, and body RESONATE to when you practice. If your interest is in playing and creating meaningful melodies, then focus your practice right onto that. Find examples, in recordings, scores, transcriptions Work directly with them! Play them, sing them listen to them, copy them, transpose them, think about them, discuss them, quote them, Play them in all keys. Play the major ones in minor keys. Play the minor ones in major keys! Write counterpoint against them. Re-harmonize them. Take liberties with them. Learn them so they just about feel like you own them!

Work with meaningful melodies -- you'll soon be making them yourself.

Just my opinion ....

Hope this helps!

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#2006204 - 12/29/12 07:34 PM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: kiedysktos.]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7064
Loc: So. California
Fred Hersch is one of my faves, printer1. I see his student (Brad Mehldau) was influenced by him too since I hear where some of Brad's stuff came from when listening to Hersch's recordings, including stuff like hand independence (solos in both hands simultaneously).

He seldom gets mentioned around here and maybe because he's original sounding (his syncopation for example is not typical of bebop). But I'm glad you did because I consider him a top influence for me.
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#2006222 - 12/29/12 08:08 PM Re: linear construction in jazz and general practice routine [Re: Mark Polishook]
custard apple Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/09
Posts: 2300
Loc: Sydney
Originally Posted By: printer1
The thing is. You can be working with meaningful melodies right from the start!



+1.
So if you are learning a scale, don't get off the piano stool until you have created a meaningful melody out of it, even if it's only 1 or 2 bars e.g.
Bar 1: add a chromatic to the beginning of the scale
Bar 2: for your new chord, repeat the Bar 1 pattern

Printer
I tried your delayed resolution idea across the G7, C maj 7 of ATTYA A sec. It sounded really really cool, even if I couldn't quite keep time.

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