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#1714322 - 07/16/11 06:35 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
beeboss Offline
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Originally Posted By: beeboss



It's a different thing in a way. When composing out of time there is plenty of scope to make the note choice what you really really want but the flip side is that it is very hard to imagine how it will sound when played in real time to an ear that has never heard it before.


Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy

That's interesting. I was actually referring to composing with a piano, or some other tool, rather than just by ear. I've yet to do that with more than just melodies and simple harmonies.



I meant with the piano, just regular composing with a pencil. The ear I meant is the ear of the listener.
Let me put it like this - when I deliberate over each note for 10 minutes before committing it to paper what gets lost is the connectedness to a real time experience, because composing is not a real time experience in the way that improvisation always is. It is really important to somehow imagine the composition as a real time experience because ultimately when performed that is what it will be, but it is hard to do for me.

Something is gained when composing - the chance to really ponder each note - but something is also lost - the flow.


Edited by beeboss (07/16/11 07:32 PM)
Edit Reason: spellling
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#1714473 - 07/16/11 01:30 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: beeboss]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Originally Posted By: beeboss

Originally Posted By: beeboss



It's a different thing in a way. When composing out of time there is plenty of scope to make the note choice what you really really want but the flip side is that it is very hard to imagine how it will sound when played in real time to an ear that has never heard it before.


Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy

That's interesting. I was actually referring to composing with a piano, or some other tool, rather than just by ear. I've yet to do that with more than just melodies and simple harmonies.



I meant with the piano, just regular composing with a pencil. The ear I meant is the ear of the listener.

Got it. However, I've got to say that I'm always impressed with those people that can write without an instrument. I remember seeing Amadeus years and years ago and thinking that if it was a true portrayal of the composing scene (from his bed transcribed to Salieri) that I really wasn't capable then (or now for that matter) of ever hearing music like this.
Originally Posted By: beeboss

Let me put it like this - when I deliberate over each note for 10 minutes before committing it to paper what gets lost is the connectedness to a real time experience, because composing is not a real time experience in the way that improvisation always is. It is really important to somehow imagine the composition as a real time experience because ultimately when performed that is what it will be, but it is hard to do for me.

Yes, I see what you mean.
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#1715536 - 07/18/11 08:22 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
chrisbell Offline
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Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
Well, what follows is me improvising, digging in . . .

I dig it!
Nice playing.
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#1715538 - 07/18/11 08:31 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
chrisbell Offline
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Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
. . However, I've got to say that I'm always impressed with those people that can write without an instrument. I remember seeing Amadeus years and years ago and thinking that if it was a true portrayal of the composing scene (from his bed transcribed to Salieri) that I really wasn't capable then (or now for that matter) of ever hearing music like this.

Well, it's mostly practice . . ., one has to work on one's inner ear and get what's inside to the pen and paper. It takes time. One mustn't forget that that's what 'they' did in those days - all the time.
There's a really good book about how to learn this particular skill: "Hearing and Writing Music" by Ron Gorow.
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#1715805 - 07/18/11 04:40 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: chrisbell]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Originally Posted By: chrisbell

I dig it!

Thanks!
Originally Posted By: chrisbell
Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
. . However, I've got to say that I'm always impressed with those people that can write without an instrument. I remember seeing Amadeus years and years ago and thinking that if it was a true portrayal of the composing scene (from his bed transcribed to Salieri) that I really wasn't capable then (or now for that matter) of ever hearing music like this.

Well, it's mostly practice . . ., one has to work on one's inner ear and get what's inside to the pen and paper. It takes time. One mustn't forget that that's what 'they' did in those days - all the time.
There's a really good book about how to learn this particular skill: "Hearing and Writing Music" by Ron Gorow.


Ya, I guess the key is that if it takes practice, and it is something low on my priority list, that I'll probably never master that skill since the alternative is much easier.

That is, unless you, or someone else can point out some benefits to being able to write sans instrument besides the ability to write something anywhere (ie plane, park). Do you think this ability crosses over into your other playing abilities (I assume you write this way)?
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#1716069 - 07/19/11 12:41 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
chrisbell Offline
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Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
That is, unless you, or someone else can point out some benefits to being able to write sans instrument besides the ability to write something anywhere (ie plane, park). Do you think this ability crosses over into your other playing abilities (I assume you write this way)?

No. But being able to read music does. Being an improvising musician I believe that developing ones inner ear visavi the ability to play what one hears is really important.
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#1716124 - 07/19/11 02:23 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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I think that Jazz would be different if pre-written. There's something about the unexpectedness of what will happen that impacts even the performer.

I again recall the concert with Wayne Shorter and Herbie I saw some months ago. It clearly was all unplanned and based more on interaction among the players. I think it was delightful that even Herbie and Wayne didn't really know where it was going to go either.

One thing my teacher always tells me to do is to end phrases unexpectedly. The change in pattern seems to affect what I play after. Suddenly all the practiced shapes fall apart and force me to rethink. I just wish I can concentrate on the moment more and more of this will happen naturally.
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#1716172 - 07/19/11 06:18 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: chrisbell]
beeboss Offline
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Originally Posted By: chrisbell
Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
That is, unless you, or someone else can point out some benefits to being able to write sans instrument besides the ability to write something anywhere (ie plane, park). Do you think this ability crosses over into your other playing abilities (I assume you write this way)?

No. But being able to read music does. Being an improvising musician I believe that developing ones inner ear visavi the ability to play what one hears is really important.



Definitely. We all have the ability to imagine intervals and melodies and chords in our heads, and so composing away from the piano only involves writing down these imaginary sounds. I am sure we can all do it to some degree if we try. It is probably a really good thing work on as it is impossible to do too much of anything that improve the ear.
It is the ear that really determines the quality of the music we make. It determines even how we perceive music and so shapes all our understanding of music.
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#1716585 - 07/19/11 04:51 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Originally Posted By: jazzwee


One thing my teacher always tells me to do is to end phrases unexpectedly. The change in pattern seems to affect what I play after. Suddenly all the practiced shapes fall apart and force me to rethink. I just wish I can concentrate on the moment more and more of this will happen naturally.

I think the idea of ending phrases unexpectedly is probably an intermediary step, wouldn't you say? I suppose if one is aiming to sound be-bopish this might help in that goal. I also think that making phrases sound complete, or groups of phrases sound complete together, is probably a much more musical approach. Maybe that will come later when you/one absorbs the unexpected phrase idea and then can incorporate these ideas into broader musical statements.
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#1716590 - 07/19/11 04:54 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Well the point of it was to break patterns. There are plenty of top level players who thrived on patterns -- e.g. Oscar...

So when you play a pattern, doesn't the finger (muscle memory) dominate instead of the ear? At least when I do this, it's not necessary for every phrase. It's when I hit a rut.

It's like passing the buck back to the ear...
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#1716591 - 07/19/11 04:56 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
jjo Offline
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My teacher suggests the yin of the "stop at odd times" yang: nameley, start at different places in the measure than you normally would. Even more effective is this advice she's given me: The first time you think you should start playing a phrase, don't, and the second time, don't. Then, play. By starting a phrases in an odd place, it shakes up your whole rhythmic approach, I generally find for the better. It also fights the too many note problem (which I recently hears referred to as "fist a chord").

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#1716660 - 07/19/11 06:55 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jjo]
jazzwee Offline
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Originally Posted By: jjo
My teacher suggests the yin of the "stop at odd times" yang: nameley, start at different places in the measure than you normally would. Even more effective is this advice she's given me: The first time you think you should start playing a phrase, don't, and the second time, don't. Then, play. By starting a phrases in an odd place, it shakes up your whole rhythmic approach, I generally find for the better. It also fights the too many note problem (which I recently hears referred to as "fist a chord").


I also am told to do that. I think the point is quite similar.

At my jam sessions, I hear so many players that have been playing much longer than I have and everyone plays TOO MANY NOTES but no message in the notes. That's when you know it's just muscle memory.

I'm beginning to stand out as the sparse player. But when I listen to the recordings, it needs even more sparseness than what I deliver. I need to make each idea stand out more on its own before I overlay it with another fistful.

Another thing which is similar to stopping at unexpected points in the phrase is to let a note ring (long) at some unexpected point in the phrase. To my ears, Jarret does that a lot. He does that instead of space.
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#1716664 - 07/19/11 06:59 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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I think the other approach is to repeat the idea, which is like pausing in a way because it frames the idea. Scep -- you did that a lot in your free piece and it sounded good.

Beeboss -- your ideas are already so organized that I don't feel it suffers from too many notes.
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#1716719 - 07/19/11 08:27 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
beeboss Offline
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Originally Posted By: jazzwee


Beeboss -- your ideas are already so organized that I don't feel it suffers from too many notes.


Thanks JW. I like music with a lot of notes. But it helps if they are the right ones at the right time ;-)
I also like music with few notes, it all depends
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#1716924 - 07/20/11 01:17 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: beeboss]
jazzwee Offline
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Originally Posted By: beeboss
Originally Posted By: jazzwee


Beeboss -- your ideas are already so organized that I don't feel it suffers from too many notes.


Thanks JW. I like music with a lot of notes. But it helps if they are the right ones at the right time ;-)
I also like music with few notes, it all depends


But as a general rule, most of us don't know what the right note is and when the right time is particularly if given so little time to develop it.

As you know, so much discipline comes from being selective with those notes and perfecting their placement. But it's easy to fake it with a lot of fast runs.

If ones ears can actually directly control the fingers at 16th note speed -- distinctly for each and every note, it's very impressive.
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#1717030 - 07/20/11 06:40 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
beeboss Offline
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Loc: uk south

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

If ones ears can actually directly control the fingers at 16th note speed -- distinctly for each and every note, it's very impressive.



I don't know JW. I am not happy about the clear distinction between notes 'directly controlled by the ear' and others that are controlled by 'muscle memory'. I understand that these are just metaphors but when I am playing I am not aware of notes fall into these category, and neither can I tell by listening to other players.
All in all I am not sure what the point of the distinction is or in what way it could help our playing. My view is that memory is a very mysterious subject that we don't understand much about.
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#1717235 - 07/20/11 01:07 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Beeboss, my point is that the less skilled of us will rely more on "filling in" notes based on what's convenient to our fingers rather than a truly musical context (pattern playing).

The proof is when I play at 150bpm vs. 220bpm, I make different choices. Because I can't execute the same concepts at 150bpm at the higher tempo. But it is expected of me (not necessarily by the audience but by other players looking for chops) to play fast and so I succumb by filling with practiced runs and shapes.

Now if we slowed down based on the notes we actually have the capacity to hear, I would bet the musicality increases.

Behold Eldar -- master of blistering speed in Bebop. Is his musical content really mature enough compared to Wynton Kelly who plays mostly half the tempo? But yet nowadays, it is expected that players fill in with tons of 16ths.

Even the top players like Brad Mehldau, I find, are not as random and crowded in their fast playing as I previously thought. There's a lot more space and buildup than I realized.

So apparently some teachers realize this and force us to slow down our playing to match our ears.
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#1717254 - 07/20/11 01:38 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
KlinkKlonk Offline
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How much time have you lot spend on the structure of the your solos to make it meaningful to the listener? It's something Jarret manage very well. Taking 10 choruses and still manage constant tension and release with climaxes that builds organically. Intensity and so on. Is this really something you can practice?

I've been thinking about this lately and so far I got some concrete devices that seem to work decently: First chorus use the melody as target notes. Works best if the melody emphasizes extenstion of the chord tones, like Stella.
Try to use call and response.
Try to peak intensity about 2/3 into the solo and tie it togheter.

Im guessing this is something players do subconsciously and that the skill is achieved through experience by playing with others, but since I seldom have a chance to play with better players nowadays I'll have to find some other way...


Edited by KlinkKlonk (07/20/11 01:39 PM)

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#1717332 - 07/20/11 03:50 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
beeboss Offline
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Originally Posted By: jazzwee

The proof is when I play at 150bpm vs. 220bpm, I make different choices. Because I can't execute the same concepts at 150bpm at the higher tempo. But it is expected of me (not necessarily by the audience but by other players looking for chops) to play fast and so I succumb by filling with practiced runs and shapes.

Now if we slowed down based on the notes we actually have the capacity to hear, I would bet the musicality increases.


We can choose to play slower if we like but it would be nice to choose to play slowly because that is what a tune demands rather than because we don't have the option of playing faster whilst maintaining musicality.


Originally Posted By: jazzwee

Behold Eldar -- master of blistering speed in Bebop. Is his musical content really mature enough compared to Wynton Kelly who plays mostly half the tempo?


I don't really know Eldars playing but there are plenty of people who play fast and musically, and there are plenty of people who play slowly and unmusically. Of course it is harder to play fast and musically but actually it is pretty hard to play slowly and musically as well.
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#1717333 - 07/20/11 03:52 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: KlinkKlonk]
beeboss Offline
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Originally Posted By: KlinkKlonk

I've been thinking about this lately and so far I got some concrete devices that seem to work decently: First chorus use the melody as target notes. Works best if the melody emphasizes extenstion of the chord tones, like Stella.
Try to use call and response.
Try to peak intensity about 2/3 into the solo and tie it togheter.



That is good stuff to practice
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#1717339 - 07/20/11 04:02 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: beeboss]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Originally Posted By: beeboss

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

If ones ears can actually directly control the fingers at 16th note speed -- distinctly for each and every note, it's very impressive.



I don't know JW. I am not happy about the clear distinction between notes 'directly controlled by the ear' and others that are controlled by 'muscle memory'.


I recall many many guitar players that learn to play the blues scale in the box (I think it's called) and have no real idea about which notes they are actually playing, but the fingers have been there so many times that the players don't question the purpose or suitability of each note and therefore the ear is quite passive in the activity, almost as if to simply approve of what the fingers were automatically doing.
The more sophisticated players become by learning multitudes of scales, arpeggios, patterns, etc, the less it becomes apparent as to whether the ear or the hands are guiding the phrase. It's when one is asked to play something in an unfamiliar key, or to play the same phrases with the left hand that one can better determine if the phrases were hand lead or ear lead. In the moment though, with high level players, I agree with Beeboss that it is pretty hard in most cases to determine how something is being played.

I think it just depends on your perspective when considering the question.
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#1717342 - 07/20/11 04:03 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
Scott Coletta Offline
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Registered: 01/07/11
Posts: 514
Loc: Chicago
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Beeboss, my point is that the less skilled of us will rely more on "filling in" notes based on what's convenient to our fingers rather than a truly musical context (pattern playing).

The proof is when I play at 150bpm vs. 220bpm, I make different choices. Because I can't execute the same concepts at 150bpm at the higher tempo. But it is expected of me (not necessarily by the audience but by other players looking for chops) to play fast and so I succumb by filling with practiced runs and shapes.

Now if we slowed down based on the notes we actually have the capacity to hear, I would bet the musicality increases.

Behold Eldar -- master of blistering speed in Bebop. Is his musical content really mature enough compared to Wynton Kelly who plays mostly half the tempo? But yet nowadays, it is expected that players fill in with tons of 16ths.

Even the top players like Brad Mehldau, I find, are not as random and crowded in their fast playing as I previously thought. There's a lot more space and buildup than I realized.

So apparently some teachers realize this and force us to slow down our playing to match our ears.



This makes sense to me, but I think our ability to hear what we want to play speeds up over time and blends in with our muscle memory. For example, 9 or 10 years ago when I was first starting to play jazz I remember trying to play Cherokee at about 200bpm and giving up because all I could do was barely hang on with some muscle memory type patterns. There was no way I could think that fast. But if I played it at 120bpm I could explore what I was hearing and find interesting things without getting lost. Now when I play Cherokee at 200bpm I don't have any trouble exploring and playing what I hear... so it feels about the same as it did at 120bpm 10 years ago. But if I try to play 240bpm now it's too fast. I figure that players who are very creative at fast tempos are in a way able to "slow down" what's going on in their mind because they are just so familiar with it.

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#1717368 - 07/20/11 04:48 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Beeboss, my point is that the less skilled of us will rely more on "filling in" notes based on what's convenient to our fingers rather than a truly musical context (pattern playing).

The proof is when I play at 150bpm vs. 220bpm, I make different choices. Because I can't execute the same concepts at 150bpm at the higher tempo...

This makes sense, but what follows doesn't really support your argument.
Originally Posted By: jazzwee

Behold Eldar -- master of blistering speed in Bebop. Is his musical content really mature enough compared to Wynton Kelly who plays mostly half the tempo? But yet nowadays, it is expected that players fill in with tons of 16ths.

Is Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and those that followed considered players from nowadays? Mastering 16th note runs has been de rigeur for about 60 years or more. It's just that the jazz universities these days now require their graduates to have a command of the instrument that few did when the jazz language was developing.

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

So apparently some teachers realize this and force us to slow down our playing to match our ears.

I think most, rather than some, good jazz teachers realize this. I think that most jazz students though would like to run before they can walk so to speak.
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#1717379 - 07/20/11 05:07 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Scott Coletta]
beeboss Offline
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Originally Posted By: Scott Coletta

I figure that players who are very creative at fast tempos are in a way able to "slow down" what's going on in their mind because they are just so familiar with it.


Or they just have faster brains (and fingers) than the rest of us !
But you are quite right - over time what we thought was impossible somehow becomes possible. It we practice the right things diligently that is.
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#1717407 - 07/20/11 05:54 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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There's a couple of different elements here. There's the textural playing where melody isn't the concern (e.g. some of Herbie's work). Then there's the completely melodic playing (e.g. some of Herbie's work -- smile ).

It's safe to say that playing with a texture/background is pretty much like comping so obviously it is expected to be pattern playing. And anyone who's transcribed knows that Bill Evans is fond of repeated arpeggiated patterns which he obviously practiced long and hard.

So I'm not saying that we don't revert to patterns, especially since Oscar Peterson made a career out of patterns.

However, for true melodic playing (which requires more thinking) I think it's related to what Beeboss already alluded to. It's the brain. Isn't it?

We are often expected to play fast because it's de rigueur. Clearly some have the fast brain/ear connection that can execute. But most players that think their brain can handle it actually can't. I certainly can't.

I'm just saying that if one's brain isn't at that level (and I really believe few are), then one should play less and be more musical as a result.

Or perhaps most fast players have just remained at the level of creating a texture of music and have put melodic sense in the background.

Isn't a good melody a true application of tension and release? This often suggests variety and a mix of space, note size and tones. Wouldn't an unending string of 16ths, by their nature be, non-melodic?

I contrast this with Keith Jarrett who appears to maintain a melodic structure at all times regardless of tempo. So his brain can handle it.
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#1717421 - 07/20/11 06:03 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
jazzwee Offline
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Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Beeboss, my point is that the less skilled of us will rely more on "filling in" notes based on what's convenient to our fingers rather than a truly musical context (pattern playing).

The proof is when I play at 150bpm vs. 220bpm, I make different choices. Because I can't execute the same concepts at 150bpm at the higher tempo...

This makes sense, but what follows doesn't really support your argument.


Ok to be clearer -- the faster I go, the less I'm able to direct a melodic flow to what I'm doing. Now obviously this is a moving target. I'm probably able to do it now with 8ths at 200 but certainly not at 240 (which would be the equivalent of 16ths at medium swing).


Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
Originally Posted By: jazzwee

Behold Eldar -- master of blistering speed in Bebop. Is his musical content really mature enough compared to Wynton Kelly who plays mostly half the tempo? But yet nowadays, it is expected that players fill in with tons of 16ths.

Is Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and those that followed considered players from nowadays? Mastering 16th note runs has been de rigeur for about 60 years or more. It's just that the jazz universities these days now require their graduates to have a command of the instrument that few did when the jazz language was developing.


Well my teacher is at a university and he's one of those trying to break this. In his mind, it's about creating a musical message and it's not about tempo or pure chops (to him). Of course that happens to be handy to me since I don't have the chops anyway.



Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

So apparently some teachers realize this and force us to slow down our playing to match our ears.

I think most, rather than some, good jazz teachers realize this. I think that most jazz students though would like to run before they can walk so to speak.


I'm surprised though how this is the mindset of so many. I have lately encountered so many jazz musicians due to the regular jam sessions I attend.

I had a little workshop with many of these players and I suggested to them to just play less and see what happens. The result was shocking to them and to the audience. Everyone sounded MUCH better.

I don't mean here to stop playing 16ths. I'm just saying, if they play to the level of their ear (whatever that is), it seems to work wonders.
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#1717491 - 07/20/11 07:32 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
beeboss Offline
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Registered: 07/18/09
Posts: 1198
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: jazzwee

So I'm not saying that we don't revert to patterns, especially since Oscar Peterson made a career out of patterns.

However, for true melodic playing (which requires more thinking) I think it's related to what Beeboss already alluded to. It's the brain. Isn't it?


Everything is a pattern, or can be thought of in that way, even slow melodic playing.

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

I'm just saying that if one's brain isn't at that level (and I really believe few are), then one should play less and be more musical as a result.


We should always try to play musically, whatever our 'speed level'. It is tempting to play too many notes though and I definitely recognise that tendency in myself and others. Sometimes I fight that tendency and sometimes I don't. Probably I should fight it more.

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

Isn't a good melody a true application of tension and release? This often suggests variety and a mix of space, note size and tones.


What makes a good melody is a mystery to me. Sure it needs some tension and release, and notes and space, repetition (but not too much) and variety (but not too much. But even a great melody can easily be completely destroyed by insensitive playing so it is not all in the notes. In fact I think the notes are the least important part. Jarrett could make a nursery rhyme into a masterpiece of melody whereas it would just be rubbish if someone lesser played it.
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#1717623 - 07/21/11 12:05 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7064
Loc: So. California
Beeboss, I agree that the notes themselves are not the most important as long as they are the correct ones. But it does take some thinking to phrase it, doesn't it?

It is funny to think that in most cases, we only have as few as 5 or 6 note choices at every given harmonic moment and yet there seems to be an infinite way of organizing them in a phrase.

I've struggled with the idea of what 'melodic' means, yet we all seem to know if it exists and can probably play it if we give it thought.

What my teacher has suggested to me is that by playing less (more space), the melodic structure shows itself.

The way he's demonstrated it to me is that when he feels that I've stated something melodically, he forces me to stop playing to make it stand out. It's one of the most valuable lessons I've learned because it shows I wasn't even listening to what I was playing. I had the tendency to overplay. Before the last idea had even time to sink in, I was playing something else.

This is the danger of too many notes IMHO.

Maybe what's missing here is taking into consideration what the audience can hear/comprehend.
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#1717867 - 07/21/11 09:43 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 1475
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
Originally Posted By: jazzwee

...This is the danger of too many notes IMHO...

Maybe what's missing here is taking into consideration what the audience can hear/comprehend.


Interesting comment. I always used to get myself in trouble when I thought too much about audience's listening abilities. When I tried to play what I thought they might want to hear I usually came up short, whereas when I played for myself in the best way I knew how I'd get more positive feedback.

Of course, there's always the pearls before swine thing too.

I still grapple with the idea about to whom I should be directing my musical thoughts, and have no clear answer as to whether considering the audience (including the other musicians) is beneficial or actually detrimental to creative and musical playing. Of course if you're playing a country and western gig Cecil Taylor stuff might not go over so well, but excluding this type of scenario I think it might not be so easy to tell when audience should have control over a musician's ideas.
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#1717968 - 07/21/11 12:29 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7064
Loc: So. California
Well I myself am not clear on audience vs. ones self. But how do you describe what happens when we play? How does my teacher say: "STOP! Make that idea stand out before you clutter it with the next one"?

Maybe the answer is to listen to yourself like YOU are the audience.

When there are too many ideas flowing and it's not framed by space, and it's desensitized to your thinking of tension and release, I think one is playing with chops in mind and not musicality. I think if you are a true listener of someone else's playing, you'd know this.

I think we are all guilty of this to varying degrees.

I think this realization provides jjo's teacher with the logic saying "if you think there's enough space, give it even more."
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