#1
I hope someone here is familiar with this so I don't have to explain TOO much, but I have a question about the application of mode that he explains. He states that for a ii V I in C Major you would play D Dorian, G Mixo, then C Ionian. This is crystal clear to me. He then explains that the Aeolian, phrygian, lydian, and locrian are only used in more specific instances. He then goes onto to explain how MM modes are used for specific chords like susb9 chords. My question is when I apply this I become completely confused what to play where. Applying this to Autumn Leaves the chords in G major are

Am7 | D7 | GMaj7 | CMaj7 |
F#m7 | B7 | Em7 | E7alt |

Now the first for chords are A dorian, D Mixo, G Ionian, C Lydian. Then do I need to switch keys to be able to incorporate the next few? Do I need to recognize that it is a ii V in E then either a i I or some other chord in a different scale and play F# dorian, B mixo to be able to apply this? I'm a little confused about this. Any help would be super helpful. Thanks in advanced!
#2
a few things

welcome to jazz

Autumn Leaves is in G minor

stop using scales when soloing as soon as you can. the only good they serve is for basic aural training. when you use them, really try to think about how each note sounds relative to its root

that's a minor ii-V in E. it should be F#m7b5, which while technically invoking the locrain mode, doesn't reeeeeeally. **** locrian. and that B would be a dominant chord, while on paper a mixolydian mode would work, think about the notes in that

B C# D# E F# G# A

and the notes in a really closed E minor cord (like the one you're hearing)

E G B D (F#) (A)


see that clash? That's why i'm not really a fan of strictly adhering to modes for chords. you dont do that anyway. You'd really want some sort of altered B dominant 'mode' but for my sake, lets build it like a fully extended chord

B D# F# A C (E) G


this could be seen as B Phrygian dominant. But the thing about dominant chords is that literally any note will work as an alteration, just for basic jazz theory's sake we can call it that


i'll stop ranting now

just don't keep doing the scale/mode thing for very long. seeing a ii-V-I as 'D dorian, G mixolydian and C ionian' is how you get solos from middle school band kids, not jazz players
#3
THanks for the rant, haha. If not using Chord Scale Theory, I assume you suggest listening and playing what I hear? I've been doing a little bit of that approach, but I literally have no idea where to begin. The only thing I know is basically any note works in the right context, but I can play in key, but don't stay in key otherwise it's boring, but don't play the wrong note. I listen, but apparently my ear doesn't hear "interesting enough" notes to be considered worthy of improv.

I've also started learning licks over ii V I's, but they are only so helpful when I'm lost inbetween. I've also done transcribing and continue to do so. If you have any other advice I'd be more than happy to hear it/try to implement it.

Also as a side note have you read Mark Levine's Jazz Theory? Just using it as a basis for your obvious distaste towards the whole chord scale theory thing.

Edit: Also how did you know it was in G minor and not G major (I didn't put C major did I?)?
Last edited by a0kalittlema0n at Nov 27, 2013,
#4
I think you're misinterpreting what Mark is saying. The thing about chord scale theory is that you look at the "mode" as the extended chord of the chord you are playing over. So that every note is a chord tone or extension. When you understand this, you can look at a chord and see the available tensions which gives you some possibilities of what you can play over it (as a general guideline).
Last edited by GoldenGuitar at Nov 27, 2013,
#5
ok, so I'm misinterpreting the overall use or the idea? I understand this is a super basic idea for soloing in Jazz and not really used as an overall end all rule, but I'm trying to grasp the beginning. Am I off in the application of what he is saying, or did you think I was misinterpreting the use of what he is teaching?
#6
Alright I'll make it easy for you, if you stack a D dorian scale in thirds what do you get?
Last edited by GoldenGuitar at Nov 27, 2013,
#7
the ii chords in minor keys are theoretically flat5 chords. Am7b5 is the ii-dim of G minor or the vii-dim of Bb major.

Watch out for the 4th while soloing during major chords. Play the notes C-E-F-G to hear why. the F is the 4th.

The Modal Approach is for advance players. Get back to the basics and learn that first.

A dorian, D Mixo, G Ionian = G major. play G major.

Am7 | D7 | GMaj7 | = Gmaj with no 4th on the I chord.

I will have used Aeolian, phrygian, lydian, locrian, and every other mode and no one will be able to tell unless you make it obvious by playing the root of each scale on the 1 beat. I actually look for locrian during the I chord, but that's just me looking for Ti(the major 7th) as an anchor point

Real tunes go by fast. thinking modally will slow you down.

Also, those lead sheet chords are just guides. You need to start using extended and altered chords to get the right color for the songs.
#8
You get Dm7,9,11,13. I got that part, it's an extended chord tone to include all possible notes in D Dorian.

Get back tot he basics and learn what? I understand it's playing the major scale, where should I go after that? Isn't Jazz in general for advanced players?
#9
Not really. It's just music. Ever thought about arpeggios?

You might want to try Pat Martino's approach of minorization. Basically he uses minor pentatonic shapes for ****ing everything lol.
Last edited by mdc at Nov 27, 2013,
#12
Relative pitch is one of the most important things you can develop as a musician.
#13
Quote by a0kalittlema0n
Aren't the modes more options to be used as chord tones?

depending on how you look at it. But not really. Say your chord is A7. A works. Bb makes it A7b9. B makes it A9. C makes it A7#9 C# is a chord tone. D makes it A11. D# makes it A7#11. E is a chord tone. F makes it A+7. F# makes it A13. G is a chord tone. G# is the only one that isn't really going to work with an A7, but it can still work as a passing tone. modes just lock you in to only having so many chord tones.


Also what about relative pitch do you mean? Being able to play what I sing?

kind of. you'll be able to do that as a result of having relative pitch. But relative pitch is knowing how a note will sound relative to a root (like hearing a C in the key of A - it really sounds the same as hearing a G in the key of E unless you have strong, innate perfect pitch or synthesia. Odds are you don't, and you'd know if you do, so work on that.) I got my bearings in relative pitch (and subsequently theory) playing in garage bands and whatnot. it's incredibly valuable to have in every facet of music. otherwise, you're just playing notes that you know 'should' work with a chord, but if you don't know how a D will sound over an Am7 chord, odds are you're not going to use it as well as you would have if you knew how that would sound.
#14
Thanks for the explanation, I have one more question though.

Everytime I begin to practice something in Jazz aimed at improvisation I either feel completely lost or that I'm doing something wrong. Some things I know I need to keep doing, such as transcribing, listening to jazz, improving my ear (relative pitch) and others, but when it comes time to actually PRACTICE improvising I have no idea where to start. I look at Autumn Leaves (which I know quite well familiarity-wise) I think to myself (hmm key of G (thought it was major before come to find out it's minor and I'm not sure why) I can play the G major scale and that should generally sound ok, except once I get to the 5th chord everything I know about what I can do is gone. I know it's easy to SAY and HEAR just play what you hear/feel, but that's seriously the worst advice I've gotten so far. I hear that everywhere but that doesn't teach me what I could begin doing when I play. I've tried playing what I hear/feel and it sounds like I'm playing out of key and completely randomly. I know that will apply greatly when I have some sense of what the heck to do, but I'm apparently nowhere close. I think learning modes was helping a bit, but when I have a question about them everyone tells me to quit learning them.

So honestly just a little direction in what to practice would be nice. Best advice I got was to learn chord tones and play them throughout the song, it's only the next step is what? I can't play a solo through a standard with only chord tones without sounding completely elementary.

Edit: So, the question of that rant was What can I practice that will help my improvisation?
#16
The thing is, you really can't hear anything wrong. Because I think your ear will naturally choose notes that fit the chords you are playing over. Playing what you hear is the same as singing. You just "sing" with the guitar. So I don't think you are actually playing what you hear if the notes sound random.

And also, it's jazz - there's no wrong notes.

When you start improvising, of course the things you play are more simple than what good improvisers play because you haven't improvised that much. But I'm pretty sure that when you get more experience, you'll start playing more complex things. I think the same applies to songwriting - your first songs are usually not that great but when you just write enough songs, you'll see how your songwriting gets better.

I'm not a good improviser but what I would do is maybe play less notes. Maybe first focus on how different notes sound like over different chords. And maybe play with rhythm. Playing straight 8ths just sounds boring. Also use rests - they are really important and make your solos sound more structured.

And if those are the chords, I would say it's in E minor.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#17
How many players have you transcribed playing over Autumn Leaves? I've been transcribing a lot of Charlie Parker lately and it's been great to see what he played over common progressions. I've also been transcribing multiple takes of the same tune to compare the differences. In some sessions for example he always ended on the b9 when he got to the VI7 chord on each of the takes. That's what you should do when you transcribe. Learn a lot of different versions and try to see what structured their solos. So you could say "I'm going to end on the b9 when I get to the V today" and practice that. Practice hearing that sound so you don't have to be aware of it in the future, you can just hear it and play, and practice getting there when you want to so you have something to fall back on incase your mind goes blank when you're on the spot. Notice other things like what notes players end their phrases on. Parker ends on the 3 or the 5 when he has to resolve in the middle of a solo because ending on the 1 "halts the motion" so to speak. Or how they navigate tricky chords. He played the same lick in the two takes of "Cheers" I've transcribed. He even came in early once. He played a Dbm7 arp over an F7b9. The Fb, ( enharmonic to E) was a bit interesting. I suppose it would be b5 #9 M7 #9 lol. Super alt. He then paused and played the lick where he meant to when he remembered where he was at.
Last edited by Duaneclapdrix at Nov 28, 2013,
#18
Quote by a0kalittlema0n
Thanks for the explanation, I have one more question though.

So honestly just a little direction in what to practice would be nice. Best advice I got was to learn chord tones and play them throughout the song, it's only the next step is what? I can't play a solo through a standard with only chord tones without sounding completely elementary.

Edit: So, the question of that rant was What can I practice that will help my improvisation?


I come from 2 methods of solo improvising. On my own, I learned to solo by starting with just 2 or 3 scale notes and slowly incorporating the scale over time. This should get boring really quick and your only answer is to play different rhythms with those few notes.

That's the additive method.

In my school, they teach by using all the scale tones in continuous 8ths and then they want us to NOT play some tones and extend others.

That's the subtractive method.

My advise it to do both. Find a backing track on youtube that deals with only 1 key and 1 particular style(there's a lot).

Example: I just google'd "Backing track A minor" and i got this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMIv65XfQSw


Sing with your instrument too.

Don't expect to find some book or method to instantly make you a better soloist. We are good because we practice. What you've heard is what we've played hundreds of times before.
#19
Quote by a0kalittlema0n
Thanks for the explanation, I have one more question though.

Everytime I begin to practice something in Jazz aimed at improvisation I either feel completely lost or that I'm doing something wrong. Some things I know I need to keep doing, such as transcribing, listening to jazz, improving my ear (relative pitch) and others, but when it comes time to actually PRACTICE improvising I have no idea where to start. I look at Autumn Leaves (which I know quite well familiarity-wise) I think to myself (hmm key of G (thought it was major before come to find out it's minor and I'm not sure why) I can play the G major scale and that should generally sound ok, except once I get to the 5th chord everything I know about what I can do is gone. I know it's easy to SAY and HEAR just play what you hear/feel, but that's seriously the worst advice I've gotten so far. I hear that everywhere but that doesn't teach me what I could begin doing when I play. I've tried playing what I hear/feel and it sounds like I'm playing out of key and completely randomly. I know that will apply greatly when I have some sense of what the heck to do, but I'm apparently nowhere close. I think learning modes was helping a bit, but when I have a question about them everyone tells me to quit learning them.

So honestly just a little direction in what to practice would be nice. Best advice I got was to learn chord tones and play them throughout the song, it's only the next step is what? I can't play a solo through a standard with only chord tones without sounding completely elementary.

Edit: So, the question of that rant was What can I practice that will help my improvisation?

first off, you have the right changes to autumn leaves, but if you call it at a jam, they'll play those same changes in G minor. so the first chord is Cm7.

The thing about improvisation is that, in my mind, it develops exactly like conversational skill. That element makes is incredibly personal, and is why I love every facet of it, from watching to participating to teaching and beyond. Taking that into consideration, you have to think about how you come to learn a language: at first through listening, then senseless audiation and repetition of sound, then finally coming to understand the meaning behind these phrases.

The way that I support going about learning to play jazz kind of gets boiled down into:

1. Building off of your existing aural abilities (hopefully you have some from some kind of music you've listened to before, for me it was Jimi Hendrix and Deep Purple) by listening to jazz solos, and maybe even recreating them - the first step I took into 'jazz' was when I learned this whole song by ear, and that was a good few months after first hearing it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHXk2VuSgUY

(for some reason the only video I can find of this tune has a video full of girls in bikinis - no complaints, just confusion)

But I had already done this sort of thing with more basic rock solos (as little as I like to admit it, Eric Clapton was useful to me at one point - I figured out the solo to 'cocaine' note-for-note as it happened when I was 13 and while it was a good test of my ear, it really showed me how little was there). Start as small as you have to, like a lick or two from Dexter Gordon playing Lullaby of Birdland or Johnny Smith playing I'll Remember April

2. Getting down to the 'meaning' as it were. You're already transcribing, its time for analysis - one of my favorite exercises for students is to transcribe one 2-4 bar lick and then WRITE a paragraph or two about it. Describing it as a lick and how it interacts with its chordal contexts. The more advanced/eager student might write about how it or a section could be applied elsewhere, but the main goal is that they get the 'idea' of it - something like how the 7th of a iim7 chord can resolve to the 3rd of a V7 chord, which becomes the leading tone headed to the Root of a I chord. (or remains on that pitch to be the 7th of a Imaj7 chord - but that's neither here nor there)


3. Play with others! You owe much of your language comprehension to the conversations you've had over your life - your parents talking to you as a baby is why you understand English. And when you do play, above all else listen to your group (hopefully they're listening too) and do all you can to complement the other players and develop ideas without being too overbearing. It's hard finding that balance but a group effort is almost always way better than a solo effort - hell, i'm at a point where I can barely play by myself. Solos are emptier, chords and basslines often boil down to the same few patterns if I'm just running a tune alone. I feel like I'm talking to myself, there's no real challenges or new ideas/perspectives that make me think.


So the key to all of this is listening. I take a really, really organic approach to music, so my underlying idea with improvisation is that I can't stand if it's just filling up chord changes with as many 'right' notes as possible. My idea is that improvisation isn't an exercise in jazz, it's just calling on all of your experiences, thoughts and sensibilities as a musician in one moment. And the best way to better understand what those sensibilities are (i.e. what you like about music - any kind of music) is to do a lot of listening. And if you'd like a good grounding in playing jazz you have to listen, because when you do finally play jazz all you really do is listen, either to yourself or others, and its like a 5%-95% split there.


and by the way

Quote by MaggaraMarine

And also, it's jazz - there's no wrong notes.



90% of the notes you play will feel 'wrong' for the first few years. You're cognitively capable of making that distinction (unlike when you were learning your first language) and are going to be more critical of yourself for it. Embrace it. That perspective can make you a more thoughtful musician than you would be otherwise. But saying there are no wrong notes is like saying there are no wrong words - sure, the words themselves aren't wrong, but they can be put together terribly or have 'right' words that are entirely out of place.

"I have a dream that one day, my children will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

That sentence, while 'right', could be worded so many other ways with poor phrasing or out of place words and still be 'right'

"I have dreams sometimes that my children won't be judged 'cause they're black. Maybe they'll get judged by how cool they are."


same thought, godawful execution creating no effect at all.


so yes, there are no 'wrong' notes in jazz. Instead, we just have a lot of poorly placed ones.
Last edited by smartguyreviews at Nov 28, 2013,
#20
^ Yeah, though I wasn't serious when I wrote "there's no wrong notes in jazz". Though it's kind of true and kind of isn't. I think there are no wrong notes if you play what you actually want to play. But if you hit notes that you don't want to play, they are "wrong notes", even if they actually sound good.

And also, you can make any note work over any chord if you really know what you are doing.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115