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Old 10-18-2012, 01:30 PM   #1
Liams484
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Jazz vs.blues technique

I'm inquiring about the technical difference between blues and jazz guitar. I understand the different time periods and origins of these music genres but i want to further understand the actual differentiation of the technique applied to both of these styles (chord differences, scale differences, etc.)For instance,i listen to quite a bit of Stevie Ray Vaughan him bring the southern blues guitarist he was he had a tendency to stick to his southern blues style but every once in a while he would shift to more of a smooth jazz feel, what I'm asking is what differentiates songs with a Texas flood/sky is crying type feel from songs with a riviera paradise/Lenny feel?
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Old 10-18-2012, 01:45 PM   #2
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Both technique and theory are different in both genres.

If we talk about theory, jazz is far more complex, using chord extensions, tonal modulations, accidentals, bebop scales, different time signatures and more melodic lines.

Blues is simpler, as most of the chords used are dominant, and the blues scale is what gives the genre its feeling. It's a no-brainer. Both genres are similar because they rely on heavy use of improvisation.

Jazz guitar techniques are always melodic lines or runs, often using legato between chromatic notes and accidents, and rarely using bends; while on the blues, bending is very common.


Those are my 2 cents.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:08 PM   #3
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Svennz covered it quite well.

I thought I might add the following. I took lessons for just over six years - about half of that was studying only jazz. I could have probably studied jazz for another three years and still not come close to finding the bottom of the barrel. My instructor used to tell me, "if you're genuinely serious about studying jazz, then you almost have to play jazz and nothing else." Playing the blues doesn't even come close to the complexity of jazz. Something that can't be stressed enough, is the fact that jazz requires frequent key changes - and it's also a very modal genre.

When I play the blues, country or any other genre, I can generally lock into one key, or scale, and just play without too much thought. Not so with jazz.

By the time I got to jazz in my lessons, I was able to play guitar at a decent level. However, I remember commenting to my instructor that playing jazz was almost like starting over. The new chord fingerings were often a challenge, not only to play, but to memorize. Learning the notes on the neck and being able to figure out new chords without using a chord dictionary became a necessity.

Funny that Svennz mentions bending... I remember very early on, I was playing lead during one lesson and tossed in a couple of bends. Hey, they sounded cool. After the song was over, I was politely told that bending and jazz don't go together. While you will hear the occasional bend on contemporary jazz, you will not hear it on the standards.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:11 PM   #4
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I don't know people keep binding these two genres together. They are completely different genres and styles of music. You might as well put blues/death metal.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
They are completely different genres and styles of music.


Both forms of African-american music co-opted by white people?
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:40 PM   #6
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Jazz players will often look for "stranger" harmonies, both in rhythm and lead play.
Often they will look to notes outside of the standard modes and scales to give the melody more colour, as George Benson puts it.

If you want to get into jazz, in my opinion at least, there are two guitarists you need to listen to (there are actually loads, but I would say these two are the best starting points)

Wes Montgomery and Pat Metheny, whilst very different in style, will give you a good feel for what spans jazz guitar.
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Old 10-19-2012, 01:12 PM   #7
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*cough* playing without too much thought. Let me run that by Robben Ford quick and I'll get back to you on that. *cough*

Agreeing with xiaoxi... two very different styles and I don't know why people think blues is so easy. Create a blues track that gives a bluesman good/voodoo chills - then you can continue punting jazz as a higher grade version of music. Create a country track that brings all the studio hotshots to your front door wanting to know the magic ingredient - then punt one genre over another.

No brainer... pffft

edit: personally, I think funk is extremely difficult and extremely demanding. However, each genre does have its own tough spots. Anyway...

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Old 10-19-2012, 03:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
I don't know people keep binding these two genres together. They are completely different genres and styles of music. You might as well put blues/death metal.

eh....

Dude, not really at all. Jazz is built upon blues.

Even in bop you can hear them dropping blues lines all the time.
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by chronowarp
eh....

Dude, not really at all. Jazz is built upon blues.

Even in bop you can hear them dropping blues lines all the time.

Sure, but it definitely evolved into a style entirely of its own, with a very different language, especially by the time that bebop was fully developed. It is absolutely ignorant to be grouping the two together or suggesting that they're related to each other.
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
Sure, but it definitely evolved into a style entirely of its own, with a very different language, especially by the time that bebop was fully developed. It is absolutely ignorant to be grouping the two together or suggesting that they're related to each other.

But they're still based blues based...and that permeates everything that expands outwards...even beyond the more complex harmony & melodic vocabulary, a lot of the concepts and melodic approaches are still based in blues.

I don't know why realizing that is "ignorant".
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:46 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by chronowarp
But they're still based blues based...and that permeates everything that expands outwards...even beyond the more complex harmony & melodic vocabulary, a lot of the concepts and melodic approaches are still based in blues.

By those standards, modern rock is still based in blues. There is no doubt that jazz's roots is in the blues, but the language of jazz is vastly different from the blues. They share no more similarities than today's rock and metal does with the blues.

It's ignorant because only outside observers with very limited experience with either genre would cast them in the same vague group. I don't mean ignorant in a necessarily insulting way. It's just the nature of literally not knowing enough on the subject.
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Last edited by Xiaoxi : 10-19-2012 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:48 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
By those standards, modern rock is still based in blues. There is no doubt that jazz's roots is in the blues, but the language of jazz is vastly different from the blues. They share no more similarities than today's rock and metal does with the blues.

Modern rock less so but still, yes...Rock from the 50-60's...ya most definitely.

Blues is integral to the attitude in Jazz & the backbone of a lot of the vocabulary, even if it's highly modified.

Are you telling me you can't hear how inherently "bluesy" stuff like this:




Listening to the phrasing...the attitude, even the note choice.
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:51 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by chronowarp
Modern rock less so but still, yes...Rock from the 50-60's...ya most definitely.

Blues is integral to the attitude in Jazz & the backbone of a lot of the vocabulary, even if it's highly modified.

I don't know how much more clearer I can make it. I already said that jazz has its roots in the blues. French, English, and Spanish are all rooted in Latin. Would you say that knowing any one of them makes you fluent in the others?
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:53 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
I don't know how much more clearer I can make it. I already said that jazz has its roots in the blues. French, English, and Spanish are all rooted in Latin. Would you say that knowing any one of them makes you fluent in the others?


I don't think placing the crux of your argument on analogies is fruitful or accurate.
This isn't just about roots...it has permeated and been integral to the sound.

Please listen to the songs...and tell me those aren't "bluesy" or "blues"...come on. It's what makes Jazz so special. It's that American music, dat blues feel. Dat phrasing, dat attitude, dat approach.

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Old 10-19-2012, 03:56 PM   #15
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If you want to make the argument that Jazz is simply rooted in blues, like all modern rock music is...then I have no recourse but for you to tell me the difference between these two songs:



Are they both equal levels of separation from blues?
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:58 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by chronowarp
I don't think placing the crux of your argument on analogies is fruitful or accurate.
Music is a domain of languages. It's not even an analogy. It's a direct comparison.

Quote:
Please listen to the songs...and tell me those aren't "bluesy" or "blues"...come on. It's what makes Jazz so special. It's that American music, dat blues feel. Dat phrasing, dat attitude, dat approach.

I don't need to listen to those songs. I know those songs and recordings by heart. Yes, they're bluesy, and yes there is even a whole canon of jazz style blues, but you continue to miss my point.
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:59 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
Music is a domain of languages. It's not even an analogy. It's a direct comparison.


I don't need to listen to those songs. I know those songs and recordings by heart. Yes, they're bluesy, and yes there is even a whole canon of jazz style blues, but you continue to miss my point.

Your point...?

"You might as well compare blues to death metal."
You sure...? That doesn't seem in line with what you just saiddddd
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:02 PM   #18
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Your point...?

"You might as well compare blues to death metal."
You sure...? That doesn't seem in line with what you just saiddddd

My point is that jazz, from early on, became a separate language and discipline from the blues, and that difference has only grown exponentially wider since. It has become a different entity that grouping blues with jazz is about as accurate as grouping blues and death metal together.
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:03 PM   #19
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:04 PM   #20
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But...it's not because the influence of Blues is since central to the sound of Jazz up through the 70's.

You can't even hear an indication of the relationship between Blues & Death Metal it's so far removed.
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