elden - thanks for the listen - I think I need to stop trying to cram so much tension into a short duration without enough release - density has always been a thing I overdo.
Also: now that I pause for thought and a closer listen the pad used for the backing track had a very strong 5th in its sound and I went and tried using it as the b7th, resulting in the nasty nasty natural 4th being present in all of my (normally) lovely x13 chords. OOps. (did that follow?)

Irish: the less you have to think about note choice the more you can focus on what the notes are doing and saying. But you're not limited to four notes, unless you want to be. The backing tracks are not chords but 4 sustained pitches, which is where that comes from.

griff. I agree - you got carried away at the end. But getting carried away was nothing short of very very impressive. Although I was starting to get visions of industrial fans blowing long hair away from your face, codpieces and shiny leather ...
a third one is up at

went for groove on this one
Well thanks. I had just a vague pastoral evocation in mind but the savanna fits the bill. The vibrophone (synth ...) over top was actually going to be a kalimba but I really wanted the warm flutter. I'm a big Masakela fan so maybe that just showed itself given the appropriate setting.

evo. I dig your second one way more, in particular your control of tone through string attack. Wonderful. And the phrases seem so much more free, where in the first I felt confined.

canvas. I love the space you leave (it can be hard to resist the urge to cram in more more more daddy more notes) and echoing evolucian I find it delightfully apocalyptic but there's a certain reactiveness to it that's making it fall a hair's breadth behind - It's either you (and in that case you just need to relax and let the notes come out first) or some latency in your system (easy fix, zoom in, drag the audio region a smidge to the left)

eldan. I dig anyone these days who plays clean and you do really nail that hi-fi sound that grunge (sadly) did away with, like what Jeff Buckley was doing, and I love it. All that shimmery treble boost. mmmmmmm. If I'll say anything it's that you could be more careful to listen to the drums and play complementing their rhythmic accents, like a bassist would.

hockey. I'm feeling the floyd influence on this one, from the tone of both guitars to the big downbeat bends, all very gilmour, and well pulled off. Just remember: the barline is the second worst thing that happened to music (after equal temperament): it was never meant to dictate form.

2:37 - changed it back to kalimba and fixed the ending
Humanity is at its finest facing adversity. Rising to challenge is the highest anyone flies. That's my perspective. It's not for everyone, and it's not for jamming. I'm nice, then. Anyway I am aware that my tone tends to carry judgment when believe me I do not mean to judge, I just hate dressing up my language in assurances and flatteries. They take away from meaning. All my criticism is meant in the spirit of "why not try this? you might find that you like it."

On the stiltedness: there is a certain "clang" I cultivate in my rhythm that is intentional: My view is that the guitar is a percussion instrument and I normally take that perspective over the singing one. It also may be because when I improvise I try as hard as I can to play beyond my means. Just a personal thing, but it means that hopefully it's always at the edge of control.

I had gathered that something a little sweeter was what you were looking for, so this is a bit more in that direction. (the one with the 2 ...)
I guess I forgot the "should you choose to accept it". I mean it only as a suggestion, where I would like to see your playing go. My taste is drawn to asymmetry. I respect aesthetic choices, but not ones of convenience. And I believe in "tough love" when it comes to music: I grew the most with teachers that tore apart my playing on a weekly basis, that reduced me to tears. Anyway, if you mean that you have a challenge for me I would love to hear it.

I might also apologize for my language which tends to be a little stark and provocative. This is on purpose, an aesthetic choice. (So, incidentally, were the dissonances I used in the accompaniment and lead of my entry - while I take your criticism seriously, "will come with time" is a rather condescending turn, don't you agree? I have found that nothing undermines respect like condescension.)

Anyway I'm about to do some tracking so I'll have something to say about the ones that have been uploaded since when I post my second.
Thanks for the crit pillo. The great advantage here is that we might as well each take three stabs at it while paying attention to comments and hopefully improving. I know I'll do at least another, probably this afternoon.

Pillo: people used to give Miles all sorts of sh1t for turning his back to the audience - that's a little what it reminds me of. I'd like you to start using your instrument to ask uncomfortable questions to your listeners. A limitation you might use to force it: D is forbidden. Too safe. If you want be ridiculous, bar yourself from the entire D minor pentatonic.

Evo: I felt like there was too much connect the dots in this take. Your challenge: You must rest on every downbeat where the backing changes. Start your phrases somewhere else, let their forms not be ruled by the bar line.

I'd like to make clear with the criticism - you both are well beyond the point where I'd happily share a stage. Which is great because it means we can zero in on the quibbles.

Also: in a phrasing exercise, why would you WANT to quantize? at least half the fun is how you sidestep, prod, and twist rhythms to mess with the marching band. Plus if you have terrible timing you'll never know unless you stick it out there for people to hear.


when more people submit i will crit those but in the meantime feel free to walk all over my friday lunchtime well spent

10:34 - re-uploaded but this time in stereo. oops.
SATB writing is an exercise in optimization, not taste.
The C has a B implied in the second half of its duration in your progression, so your progression creates this line


Harmonic movement derives from good voice leading, not the other way around. Which is why that's just fine.

Sticking to a key normally ensures that, but going one step around the fifths cycle is also pretty safe.
If you're used to working things out by ear a great transitional exercise is to just sit down ten minutes a day listening to a piece of music with score in hand, following what's going on. You can find scores at

Try to practice sight singing as well as reading on your instrument (or both at the same time ... why not?) and you'll be literate in no time.

But remember: your teacher's teacher's teacher still practices his sight reading every day. And gets better at it.
to paraphrase Charles Olson:

The syllable is of the head, the line is of the heart and lungs


Transcription helps more than anything. Ask questions of the music you enjoy and figure out why you enjoy it.
While exploring alternate consciousnesses is a great frontier for discovery, don't let it be a crutch because crutches beget canes

Kahlil Gibran -

"The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals"

Fear not that as you live you will have ideas

Miles Davis said that he had about one new idea in a year
Famously said by Louis Armstrong: "If you gotta ask, then you never gonna know"

You will make huge leaps in your playing once you start paying attention to what some artists are doing that sets them beyond the masses of hacks. It's more than techniques and what to use when, it's part of an approach, a deep respect for the music and a dedication to it.

It's easiest see with guys like these.
Transcription. For that progression you might as well pick up Cannonball Adderley's Something Else and just work out what he and Miles play on Autumn Leaves (although they take it G, not E).

Transcription. Jazz is an oral tradition.
What I use for bend control:

Play a melody you know well -

Move your hand one step down the neck. Play the melody again but now you have bend each note up a semitone. Listen carefully to the pitches, make sure they're on, sing along if you have to. Keep moving down the neck until the bends are too big.
The solution to your problem is transcription
Allaboutjazz has a much older demographic that will kick your arse with theory (they've got a few guys there that really twist up crazy 12-tone and LCC stuff) but it's great to listen in. They've got guys with real experience, that have played with big names (in jazz) and are eager to help. Like any forum community it's hard to break into as a poster (the regulars are very tight), but if you want some real stimulation it's the only place to be.

Back when I posted regularly on sites like this I preferred mxtabs, which was like this but with posters a couple years older on average. I have no idea what it's like now.

If you want to drool over guitars, thegearpage is the internet home for people who like guitars and also happen to have oodles of disposable income. Their theory subforum can be great, though.

edit: "elitist" is a label normally thrown by those who would be if they could be - just sayin'
Quote by isaac_bandits
Try to write something that sounds conservatory western without using or suggesting any whole tones. Most western music will have all 12 intervals in it.

You missed the point. If it was that stripped of the instances where fifths and fourths are used, it will sound completely foreign to the tradition, where it will still be recognisable with the harmonic fluff cut away.


This kind of questioning, in rare occasions, indicates a brilliant autodidact, that, free from the forms beat in to them by training and expectation, comes up with an entirely fresh perspective.

All the other times it simply means you simply haven't spent enough time studying with your ear and mind the music that this was meant describe to discover what many have, that the system has been refined to a point where it is the most effective way to describe what it was meant to describe.

It is this kind of thinking, a sort of postmodern trickle-down that proclaims every perspective as valid as any other, gone out of control and used for the sake of it, that rattles my cage. The complete uselessness and futility of this discussion drives me to continue it, if only to try to deny you your stated goal of not accomplishing anything except having people tell you that you're right.

I am confident that if you listen for the difference in use and sound you will find it to reveal itself. It is not my style to spell out my arguments by word. In my experience it only leads to the swamp of equivocation with each side taking advantage of more words from their opposite to find more ways to bend them to their own argument.

It is my opinion that the niceties of intonation are to be dealt with by ear, as they are traditionally in any culture I know of. I suppose in some cells of contemporary music the accuracy of a computer over the taste of the ear is called for but that kind of thinking defeats music.

This thread can hopefully be left to die.
Two tetrachords to an octave, they repeat. We base our tuning on the octave because it allows for equal temperament. I argue that the tetrachord is a more useful model for almost everything (than the octave). But that's me, and this isn't the place for that discussion.

What I am saying with the frame metaphor - try to write something that sounds conservatory western without using or suggesting any of the perfect intervals. Even if they are just implied, they are the base of the pyramid, the proletariat, whichever image does it for you. I think spatially - to me they are best represented as the edges of a figure with the colourful content on the faces.

Yes there are a million reasons to ignore, suspend, alter, dress up, whatever you do to existing models. But do it with the music, so that they have to invent new terms. Don't mess with something so old it's been all but abandoned by academia for a century.
The article with my post was meant to make my point

What I am trying to say: In our system the perfect intervals are a framework on which the others are hung. You have to change that before you change the names. No system can function without hierarchies.

(on the portion you quoted - we use the octave with equal temperament to approximate in all keys what the tetrachord system accomplished perfectly in only one at a time)
Question: are the unison and octave to remain perfect? Or will we have a "major octave"?

Anyway read this:

It's important.

also what he^ said

fourth and dissonance - in species counterpoint (and derivatives) you avoid fourths because without context they suggest the 6/4 chords that you are trying to avoid (because they're too ambiguous except as ornaments, a tradition that has long since had its day). They are not the same kind of "dissonance" as a m9.
0 - 11 by semitone or whatever your smallest repeating unit is. You can give every combination of pitches possible their day in the sun without favouring a single one.


Your suggestion sounds good to me but I don't think it'll catch on.
well the academics abandoned the named system of intervals for plain numbers (that most impartial - no "special provisions") in the early 20th century

The distinction they get in conventional western thinking is from their association with root movement. If you want to go beyond that there are other systems available.

Miles Davis told George Russell he wanted to "learn all the notes". Just because we group concepts together to make the basic connections easier to see, shouldn't stop you from continuously clarifying your meanings, looking closer, developing for yourself an individual relationship with smaller and smaller "notes". Yes they're different. And somewhere someone decided that 4s and 5s were more like each other than they were like 2s, 3s, 6s and 7s. And that's all there is.
what I'm saying is that the term "perfect" isn't a judgement, just a term used to describe its relationship with the other intervals. It's kind of like objecting to the systems / organization schemes that still use the terms master and slave.

The fourth and fifth share a sound quality (might be described as empty - it's the first distinct overtone and does little but reinforce the root, whichever direction it's in) that is not broken by switching between them, like inverting a major interval to a minor interval. A better clarification might be to add a new descriptor for the 2nd/7th set.

the burden is yours, as the one arguing a change, to show why the change makes it more accurate / easier to understand / whatever your priority is - I haven't seen it as anything but moving backwards. (plus, multiplying entities unnecessarily and all that)
Perfect intervals maintain their quality (that is labeled perfect) when inverted

To change the name to something that suggests they change quality when inverted (like major and minor) is creating confusion instead of clarifying.

that's all I'm saying
Quote by isaac_bandits
Read the thread. A major fifth would invert to a minor fourth. A minor fifth would invert to a major fourth. You're logic and thread reading skills fail.

Are we inventing intervals? What am I missing?
woaaaaah too much chew over something that is simple

invert a major interval (2, 3, 6, 7). It becomes minor. (& vice versa)
Invert a perfect interval (1, 4, 5, 8). It remains perfect.
(Augmented becomes diminished becomes augmented)

that's all there is too it it's not qualitative it just describes how it changes when inverted.
I keep a list of my repertoire at my stand. As part of my daily routine, I play through each one (Playing the head, blowing and comping, 3 choruses nice and quick). They grow as I add new ideas and play them from different perspectives (as if I'm with just a pianist. Or in a guitar trio. Or as a bossa. As a ballad. Or ...)

I try not to go more than 2 weeks without adding a tune to the list.

I don't know how I got by before I started practicing like this (well, I do know - I didn't). If you are interested in playing any music that has a standard repertoire (jazz) you should practice it this way.
Quote by TheWatchtower
why else play?


The joy of creating music with others is a kind of empathy, the highest ecstasy attainable (with or without the help of chemicals), more so because of the deeper (brainstem?) level it inhabits. Sydney Smith called it "the only cheap and unpunished rapture upon earth." (But he's best known for his recipe for salad dressing, so ...)

Jamming is a great term to because it covers so much - don't be restricted to any format (specifically, I solo, you all back me up ... ugh - but also, whichever instruments you have available - you can make music with them). As long as you are creating music, it is good. Make sure though, that you try as much as possible to jam with players so much better than you are it scares you into playing at a level you've never found before. Really listen to the people you're playing with, and try as hard as you can to make them sound good - you'll sound great as a result. Lose yourself in the music (but don't get lost - count!).
When Monk was teaching Coltrane his tunes he would play the parts for Coltrane until he picked them up - he'd show him the written out music only as a last resort. Jazz is an oral tradition. The Real Book is for faking it - how can you truly learn a tune without learning it from the original source? It's like looking things up in an encyclopedia when you have the opportunity to go out and learn it in the real.

The professors you'll have in school for music will probably be the most eccentric people you'll ever meet, and each one will have a different set of convictions about how music should be played. But I haven't met one that would tell me to trust the writing on the paper over my own ear - my ear is all I have.
Oleo - First fear confirmed - the band is a computer. It will do, but having a live band is much more transparent to the ear - the auditers can hear more of you, demonstrating confidence, creating an edge. And a good band can really boost your sound with their own talent (sidenote - being able to make others sound good is the skill that gets you the gigs). Plus the sound on the backing band isn't great, specifically the hi-hat, which is distractingly bad, and swinging poorly (you swing better - you should never swing better than your drummer). While we're talking sound, the coda head sounds like it was done in a different take, which you want to avoid - the illusion of a single-take is something to accomplish, another edge. The tempo you took is lethargic - if you can I would take it faster, if only because the computer drums wouldn't swing so bad if it's more up. It's also at the dreaded "med.", and the surest way to irritate someone listening to several audition tapes is by playing all your selections around the same moderate tempo. It's harder to play slow, and it's harder to play fast.

Your playing is a little stiff, but not the swing - you just seem a little uptight, a tension somewhere, a having to think to much that is causing you to hesitate and you need to allow your internal clock to never be interrupted. Hear what you play the moment before you play it. The comping is the weakest section - If you're going to play two stabs a bar either hit 1 and 3 or anticipate them by an 8th. Once you go into 4 a bar, it's much better, because it's a standard rhythm (and played well) even if not quite appropriate for this tune (which isn't that big a deal). The solo is the strongest part - some very nice lines in there - but it has some hesitant moments. The way I practice a tune a take my solo then comp a chorus, and this seems to be the normal format - If you have no reason for comping first I'd put it at the back.
Recommended listening is Miles' first quintet taking this - there's a world you can take from what they do with it.

Blue Monk - Not all of your rhythms are right in the head, at least not if you're trying to get the accents monk played. The 4 a bar comp is more glaringly out-of-style for this tune than the last - monk comped in a much different way. The tempo is also too slow not to change pitches more often when you comp like that. It' s also "med." (ugh.). There's this thing with Monk tunes that is hard to sort out, because the way Monk wrote doesn't translate to lead sheet, and it sounds like you're playing this right from the real book (hal leonard sixth edition) without having seriously listened to monk play his composition, which you should. I recommend Monk with Coltrane at Carnegie Hall because well, listen and you'll know. But you need to know the song before you can swing it your way. Soloing is strong again and your technique is good. At this point I'll say that I expect you would get an audition (although, it really does depend which school) without too much trouble (and will do well at that) but the more you can blow them away with the little things the more money you can potentially save on tuition.

In a sentimental mood: I'll go ahead and say the opening lick to this tune is one of my favorite motives ever, and I just don't like the way you did it. Barry Galbraith does a really cool arrangement where he uses natural harmonics and open strings for that line - see if you can figure it out. Again, tempo too middling. I like your comping a lot more on this take but I'll urge to think about the contour (not quite the melody) you make when you - really listen to it. Then be the gospel chorus, backing up the soloist - a refrain. Simplify the motives of the melody or any part of the tune and play those contours and rhythms. What I want to hear you do with this is to take it real slow (this is where a live band is a better and better idea, because the slower you get the more the time must be let to breathe) and take your solo even slower, so slow it draws you in as you wait for the next note, always teasing, never quite there.

Jitterbug Waltz - Good call choosing a tune in 3, although the band is just not able to handle the new challenge. I like the head very much. Tempo - urgh. The jitterbug is a dance - This needs to bounce 'n' bump in a much livelier way, although you can blame the band. I like your comp on this one but it does go on - it could use some rhythmic variety something sore. Solos have all been good so far, nice use of space on this one.

The first change I'd make is to broaden the tempo range - speed up oleo, slow down mood.

It's a good selection, the tune choice was good, and it should be fine to get you in - there's an awful lot about it that was great, and I only really focused on the bits I see room for improvement with. If you want to really finesse it, you can always put in some more time. I wasn't super hot about your tone speaking as another guitarist but I'm strange for a jazzer because I like twang and twinkle. If it's possible to get a band to do some takes that would be the best but that's not always possible, and difficult to record.

I'll add to the sight reading recommendation - the most important thing about it, though, is it forces you not to look at your fretboard. Keep your eyes on the music. If you get lost in a position change, look down quickly to see where you are, go back to the music. When you sit with any measure of posture you should only be able to see the side dots anyway (that's what they're there for, and your wrist will thank you later). More importantly, the less you play with your EYES the more you'll start to use your EARS.

It's important to sight read properly. That means every day, because most of the effectiveness is lost without regularity. 20 minutes is more than enough. Set your metronome to a tempo where you can make it with only a few mistakes, and play through the whole thing without stopping. Don't stop for any reason. Remember where you made mistakes and go back to learn from them after you've finished.

Practice your scales, arpeggios and chord voicings while singing the notes (with good pitch - start slow, and NO SCOOPING!) to their solfege syllables or note names. Make sure you play and sing right on beat - be disciplined, don't use one as a crutch for the other. Trains your ear and your mind. I recommend no more than 2-3 keys a day, otherwise you get swamped. Playing while singing is also a good way to learn a tune quickly. And the variations are endless (play the line, sing harmony, sing the line, play harmony, and so on). If you're feeling confident, maybe even try sight reading this way.

Melodic Rhythms is a decent book but I prefer Rhythms Complete, by Collin and Bower. Much more melodic - many of Leavitt's melodies are kind of awkward, which makes it needlessly difficult. No one should ever lack sight reading material as long as they use - I prefer to read clarinet and violin music (for range). It's always good music, which makes it enjoyable to read, and the nice thing about sight reading is that difficulty is dependent on tempo. So nothing's too hard.

There's nothing wrong with reading from the omnibook but I'd suggest you can get far more from Parker by transcription, using the omnibook to check your work.

I don't believe in systems for knowing the fretboard - the human brain is more than powerful enough to simply know the whole thing (how many words do you know? how many notes are there? exactly), and you're just adding extra steps and bindings to everything it does.
If you're having trouble with a solo, try this:

Listen to what you'll be playing with once, without playing. If you don't already know it well enough that you could sing the root movement, repeat this step. Sing the root movement over to make sure

Sing the head or melody over what you're playing with.

Improvise with your voice over what you're playing with. Stay within the limits of your voice - don't just say "widdly widdly widdly" while quickly blurring up and down. Try for something that sounds good. Try to hear the melody as you solo. Try to hear the root movement as you solo. Try to hear both as you solo. Extra challenge - try doing this with the radio playing loud country music in a different key. Think up other ways to make it difficult. Remember that this is practice and nobody cares how terrible you might actually sound, although if you practice this way frequently, you might start to sound pretty good.

Repeat this step until you find a piece of the song's groove. You'll know when you've done that because you'll start to feel great and and like you want to just keep singing. Keep singing for a while. It's fun.

Once you've found a groove, go back to your instrument. You will notice an improvement. Repeat the process as often as you please to keep improving.

*A note on unaccompanied solos - they can sound awesome. But if you want them to sound awesome, you need to be comfortable playing the same changes with accompaniment.
I think we can all agree on the existence of "talent" so let's stop spitting back and forth over details. The point of disagreement seems to be concerned with potential - the more optimistic view arguing that the range of potential is normally so far above what is actually achieved that even those with the lowest ranges could surpass someone with more talent through intelligent and focused work (making better use of what they were given).

I would like to believe that anyone can be reached, taught, made enthusiastic if only the right formula for that person can be found - that is the mark of a successful teacher, to know the formulas.

My opinion is that the highest goal of music is to be able to participate in the creation of music for the joy of it. Anyone can do this, even someone completely untrained. The "better" you are, the more you get from it. This is why the aspiration of greatness for its own sake is flawed.

On the original point -

There is a simple and enjoyable practice that any musician should do regularly. Find a friend. Play something on your instrument. Your friend plays it back to you. Then he plays something else, and you play it back to him, trying to get it to sound just so - or maybe translate it to your own voice. Try both. Try new things. Do not to use your eyes for this. It is for your ears.

It can be adapted to any situation. Instead of playing it back exactly so, maybe play it back with a twist - and back and forth you can watch an idea evolve and transform. Or play back a "response". The possibilities are endless - and doing this regularly, with as many different people as possible, and in different situations, will develop your musicianship to a high level - physical technique can and will follow.

It is better to have more music in you than your body can let out, than to have a body that performs more than you have to give it.

Oh, and every musician should learn to sing. Singing requires you to hear what you sing the moment before it comes out, an important habit.
The tearing up on opinion - everything anyone says is "opinion". Some carry more weight to me, authorities that I recognize and respect. They're still challengeable and open. I don't see where people found the notion that you have to preface your statement with a declaration that it's "opinion". Agree or disagree and say why.

We live in a culture that fetishizes accomplishment. And accomplishment is worthless if it can't be measured against a standard. It takes courage to remove yourself from that stake and just play. It's like letting go of the rope in tug-of-war and dropping the other team to the mud. You still lose, but maybe it's worth it.

Listen and play to music you enjoy doing both of and it will lead you.
People and the way they are, etc. Poetry and Literature. A related segment from a Khalil Gibran work that comes closer to expressing my view than I can:

Quote by from The Prophet

And a man said, "Speak to us of Self-Knowledge."

And he answered, saying:

Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.

But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.

You would know in words that which you have always know in thought.

You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

And it is well you should.

The hidden well-spring of your soul must need rise and run murmuring to the sea;

And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.

But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;

And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.

For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."

Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."

For the soul walks upon all paths.

The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.

The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.
The sheet says Freddie Green style.

Your voicings should be 3 notes. Maximum 4. 2 is better if you can. No roots, so definitely don't worry about the slash chords. Go straight for the juice - guide tones and a colour tone or two. Swing the same way as a bassist, and hard.