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#2192073 - 12/03/13 06:56 PM Giant Steps
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 735
Loc: Leicester, UK
An essay on my blog about Giant Steps and Symmetry

http://www.polishookstudio.com/2013/12/giant-steps.html

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Piano & Music Accessories
#2192448 - 12/04/13 02:21 PM Re: Giant Steps [Re: Mark Polishook]
RonL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 181
Nice - looking forward to reading this. Thanks

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#2192527 - 12/04/13 05:04 PM Re: Giant Steps [Re: Mark Polishook]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 735
Loc: Leicester, UK
your very welcome ..

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#2192748 - 12/05/13 01:40 AM Re: Giant Steps [Re: Mark Polishook]
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1565
Starting at 2:10 what is Barry Harris trying to explain? He goes on for 10 minutes and seems to be speaking in a way I don't understand. He doesn't seem to be able to explain clearly what he means....
He says things like
"You play 1 beat of B and immediately you play D..."..."...that's only way I could play that song and be musical..."

Is he simply trying to make the point that the tonalities are changing abruptly and quickly?


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#2192934 - 12/05/13 12:42 PM Re: Giant Steps [Re: Mark Polishook]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 735
Loc: Leicester, UK
rintincop,

you've picked the spot.

what he's showing is the D7 (the 2nd chord in GS) is the destination. so he plays the F# over the Bma7 KNOWING if he goes right to D as he does - F# quarter note then 2 eight notes ( E and Eb) followed by D - that's going to sound WITHOUT CHORDS as it's he's playing from a D maj scale (where the Eb is a passing tone and F# and D are the important notes).

That's his big point - find ways to use pitches that hang together over a larger span of time rather than running up and down scales and arpeggios. when he says 1 beat of B he's assuming (i assume) that we feel GS in 2 (cut time) ... because it goes by so fast.

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#2192950 - 12/05/13 01:22 PM Re: Giant Steps [Re: Mark Polishook]
stalefleas Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/16/13
Posts: 249
Such a great tune. I've been intrigued by it for a while now, thanks to a friend who worked on "mastering" it for years. I don't think I could ever forget Coltrane's opening line.

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#2192960 - 12/05/13 01:48 PM Re: Giant Steps [Re: stalefleas]
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1565
I have studied Coltrane's solo on Giant steps and he repeats sections of it note for note on different recordings and even on the same takes. It was obviously something he had heavily practiced and was employing a sytematic approach on.

He relies almost entirely on three simple melodic devices:

1) "Coltranes' 4 note cell (motif)":
1 2 3 5 or 5 3 2 1 (can start on the root or the 5th or related minor such as F-7 for Bb7 ) (Used variations of the "4 note cell" such as 6 5 3 2 which he favored on Bb7 numerous times)

2) Arpeggios (either triad or 7th chord arpeggios)

3) Scale runs (more often descending)

Also used occasional short little harmonic melodic ideas such as in measure 16 of his first chorus (targeting chord tones).

SOLO TRANSCRIPTION:
http://www.lucaspickford.net/transgs.htm

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#2192969 - 12/05/13 02:17 PM Re: Giant Steps [Re: Mark Polishook]
RonL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 181
Two books come to mind: Developing a Jazz vocabulary - there is an analysis of Coltrane cells on Giant steps, and Metaphors for Musicians that talks about thinking of the pools of available notes over chords and choosing to emphasize the common tones or the different tones.

Giants Steps always sounded like a big exercise to me - it's impressive and logical but never did it for me.

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#2193024 - 12/05/13 03:56 PM Re: Giant Steps [Re: Mark Polishook]
stalefleas Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/16/13
Posts: 249
I have heard that it was written as an exercise, though I am not sure that is true. Either way I think a lot of musicians treat it as an exercise and I can see where you're coming from.

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#2193097 - 12/05/13 06:03 PM Re: Giant Steps [Re: Mark Polishook]
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1565
It was obviously more than an exercise for John Coltrane.

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