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"Aha!" moments studying gypsy jazz

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  • MattHenryMattHenry Washington, DC✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 128
    Since last year's DIJ my ah ha moments have been super basic. I guess another way to put it is that, while I've learned some melodic and harmonic stuff, the big ah ha moments were about simple pedagogy and proficiency since I've always been a slacker in my approach:

    1) Always practice with a metronome on the 2 and 4 for both lead and rhythm.
    2) Slow down and prioritize right hand technique over everything else.
    3) Use interrupted sweeps and other strict gypsy picking tactics (something others have already mentioned).
    4) Dedicate time to practicing rhythm as it not only helps with evenness and tone but also improves the rhythmic element of your lead playing (i.e. steadier swinging eighth note runs).

    You can see what I mean: none of those are proper "ah ha" moments. They're more like "no duh" moments, honestly. =)

    More recently, I hadn't ever notice or been shown that the -7b5 arp fits the minor chord a minor third above (for example, playing a B-7b5 arp over D-). This is the same lesson as Wim's first one, really but I'd only ever played that chord as substitute for D- in Danube and never arp'd it or asked myself why it worked (being enharmonic to D-6).

    That counts as a separate ah ha by my low standards because I tend to chase chords around when I'm soloing. So let's add to my no duh list:

    5) Practice soloing in position as the changes move around you rather than chasing the chords around the neck as if you were mentally still playing rhythm.

    Another thing I've been doing is playing in front of a mirror, which helps me notice if the wrist angle of my picking hand drifts over time.

    kevingcoxjonpowladrianWim GlennbopsterJazminhotclubdebrampton
  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆModerator 503
    Posts: 1,017
    Had another "aha!" moment the other day, when looking at the chord harmonisation of melodic minor scales. There's a neat trick that was shown to me by a friend who plays cavaquinho that I thought I should share here.

    I assume everyone knows how to harmonise the major scale, and that the chords you get in key of C are CΔ, D-7, E-7, FΔ, G7, A-7, Bø. If you harmonise melodic minor you will get some kinda weird chords, C-Δ, D-7, Eb+Δ, F-7, G7, Aø, Bø. If anyone doesn't know how to do that, let me know and I can explain.

    So here's the thing, if you make the scale into an octatonic scale by adding in one more note, namely throwing in #5 between the 5 and 6 scale degrees, then some fun stuff happens! Melodic minor is just like the major scale with a flattened 3rd. So if we chuck in that additional note between 5 and 6, for the scale itself the notes are: C D Eb F G G# A B

    Now the 1-chord is no longer the wacky and "spooky" C-Δ, instead it's a plain old C-6 which is a much more typical sound in gypsy jazz. But more interestingly, you see a nice symmetry when you re-harmonise the chords off this scale!

    1, 3, 5, 7 chords are all just inversions of the I chord
    2, 4, 6, 8 chords are all just inversions of the V chord (actually all the same dim7 chord)

    You can make some nice sounds and find substitutions you might not have otherwise noticed this way. For example, try playing with these chord voicings in sequence:

    [xx2000] E-
    [xx1212] D#°
    [xx2003] E-
    [xx4545] F#°
    [xx5657] E-6
    [xx7878] A°
    [xx9989] E-6
    [x x 10 11 10 11] C°
    [x x 9 12 12 12] E-

    We're really just alternating between I and V, that is between E- and B7 here, but when you play the chords in sequence you can clearly hear the melodic minor scale pop out because I've put the scale in the melody note of each chord [plus that "extra" C note in the Adim chord at 6th scale degree, due to using an octatonic version of E melodic minor].

    Since nothing here was really specific to melodic minor, it actually works for the major scale too! You get I V I V I V I V alternating between the four inversions of the tonic (also a 6th chord) with the 4 "copies" of the dim7 chord inbetween. Here is an example in C major:

    [x3201x] C
    [x2313x] B°
    [x3555x] C
    [x5646x] D°
    [8x798x] C6
    [x8979x] F°
    [8 x 10 9 10 x] C6
    [x 11 12 10 12 x] G#°
    [x 10 10 12 13 x] C

    Of course you can throw in the usual colourations to any of the C chords (6th, M7th, nat 9th) without screwing up the sound.

    It's cool in comping sometimes to walk up and down between I and V, you can hear Django do this a bit in "vendredi 13" for example, and in the B section of "clouds". It's also a neat effect in soloing to keep in mind alternating between I and V all the time when playing arpeggios. Question and answer, stable and unstable, tension and release and all that. Hope this helps someone!
    BarkonatorLango-DjangoMattHenryCharles MeadowsBucotobolekDaveycmorricone
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,342
    Thanks, Wim. A great idea, and very clearly expressed.

    Exactly the kind if thing I come here hoping to find... :)
    I live in a little tourist town called Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, which is about twenty miles north of Niagara Falls.

    If you are ever planning on visiting the beautiful Niagara area, feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and do some jamming.
  • bopsterbopster St. Louis, MOProdigy Altamira M30, Wide Sky PL-1
    Posts: 425
    I found it really cool to see that Stochelo plays his ascending diminished runs as sequential 2 note sweeps using all downstrokes. Made it much easier.

    This is now driving my wife crazy. "Can't you play a song or something?"

    Charles MeadowsBucofabulousT1mothy
  • fabulousfabulous ✭✭
    edited February 2015 Posts: 18
    My "aha!" moment:

    - Am dorian scale over minor chord and find G lydian scale is the dorian mode of the relative mainor Em dorian
    - E melodic minor get also #5 and melodic mior over minor chord (Am minor over Am chord) get the nice maj
    - the blue note of the IIm chord is the b9 of the V7 chord
    - the tons of possibility get the diminished scale over dominant chord
    - the nice Ebm pentatonic over D7 (tritone sub)
    - Em triad outline the G6 chord and Bmin7 outline the GMaj9

  • wimglenn wrote: »
    Had another "aha!" moment the other day, when looking at the chord harmonisation of melodic minor scales. There's a neat trick that was shown to me by a friend who plays cavaquinho that I thought I should share here.

    I assume everyone knows how to harmonise the major scale, and that the chords you get in key of C are CΔ, D-7, E-7, FΔ, G7, A-7, Bø. If you harmonise melodic minor you will get some kinda weird chords, C-Δ, D-7, Eb+Δ, F-7, G7, Aø, Bø. If anyone doesn't know how to do that, let me know and I can explain.

    So here's the thing, if you make the scale into an octatonic scale by adding in one more note, namely throwing in #5 between the 5 and 6 scale degrees, then some fun stuff happens! Melodic minor is just like the major scale with a flattened 3rd. So if we chuck in that additional note between 5 and 6, for the scale itself the notes are: C D Eb F G G# A B

    Now the 1-chord is no longer the wacky and "spooky" C-Δ, instead it's a plain old C-6 which is a much more typical sound in gypsy jazz. But more interestingly, you see a nice symmetry when you re-harmonise the chords off this scale!

    1, 3, 5, 7 chords are all just inversions of the I chord
    2, 4, 6, 8 chords are all just inversions of the V chord (actually all the same dim7 chord)

    You can make some nice sounds and find substitutions you might not have otherwise noticed this way. For example, try playing with these chord voicings in sequence:

    [xx2000] E-
    [xx1212] D#°
    [xx2003] E-
    [xx4545] F#°
    [xx5657] E-6
    [xx7878] A°
    [xx9989] E-6
    [x x 10 11 10 11] C°
    [x x 9 12 12 12] E-

    We're really just alternating between I and V, that is between E- and B7 here, but when you play the chords in sequence you can clearly hear the melodic minor scale pop out because I've put the scale in the melody note of each chord [plus that "extra" C note in the Adim chord at 6th scale degree, due to using an octatonic version of E melodic minor].

    Since nothing here was really specific to melodic minor, it actually works for the major scale too! You get I V I V I V I V alternating between the four inversions of the tonic (also a 6th chord) with the 4 "copies" of the dim7 chord inbetween. Here is an example in C major:

    [x3201x] C
    [x2313x] B°
    [x3555x] C
    [x5646x] D°
    [8x798x] C6
    [x8979x] F°
    [8 x 10 9 10 x] C6
    [x 11 12 10 12 x] G#°
    [x 10 10 12 13 x] C

    Of course you can throw in the usual colourations to any of the C chords (6th, M7th, nat 9th) without screwing up the sound.

    It's cool in comping sometimes to walk up and down between I and V, you can hear Django do this a bit in "vendredi 13" for example, and in the B section of "clouds". It's also a neat effect in soloing to keep in mind alternating between I and V all the time when playing arpeggios. Question and answer, stable and unstable, tension and release and all that. Hope this helps someone!

    This is great stuff, wim. Rick Stone talks about this in a series of articles:
    http://www.jazzand.com/Rick_Stone/Articles/JJG-2000 Aug-Minor 6th Diminished Scale.pdf
    Wim Glenn
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    edited February 2015 Posts: 1,342
    Hey, fabulous, yours truly is one of these primitive guys who doesn't know much about scales and modes and mostly play by arps and by ear.

    So I'd be grateful (and perhaps some others here, too) for any further explanations ("For Dummies") which you could provide to help me understand some of your AHA moments...

    The ones about using the dim over V7, the Ebm pent and Em/Bm triads were the only ones I really got!

    Thanks,

    Will
    Daveyc
    I live in a little tourist town called Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, which is about twenty miles north of Niagara Falls.

    If you are ever planning on visiting the beautiful Niagara area, feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and do some jamming.
  • Posts: 2,463
    My duh/aha moment was when I realized that whatever degree of the scale my finger is on, right below it is that number plus 3, except 4th degree and when moving from g to b string.
    I realize now this has to do with guitar being tuned in fourths but just doing that simple adding, and subtracting if going backwards, helps me figuring out the fretboard easier.
    Wim GlennCraig Denney
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Getting a guitar with a 10th fret position marker
  • Pompe_ojisanPompe_ojisan Tokyo✭✭ Le Voi '11
    Posts: 35
    Great thread!

    A couple of 'aha' moments for me had to do with realizing similarities and patterns in chords progressions. Which helped tremendously learning tunes quickly, not forgetting them, transposing for that singer (you know, that 'There will never be another you in Gb' guy). And of course improvising.

    It can be things as simple as realizing that the B section to Coquette, honeysuckle rose, A train, and many others are one and the same thing.

    Or that the Eb/Ab... section in nuage is the first section transposed one fourth up (yeah I played it a MANY times before noticing)

    Or getting familiar with a few patterns and identifying them instantly when seeing (or better even, hearing) them.

    For ex:
    1) Am6 B7 Em is just a minor 2-5-1 with F#m7b5 <-> Am6 (Menilmontant, China boy...)

    2) 2-5 that resolve a whole tone up, eg Am7 D7 Em. You can think about it as a major 2-5-1 to G, where G is substituted by the relative minor. And E can actually be major (eg four, nuages, round midnight)

    3) Christophes can come under many many guises. In C major:
    • F Fm7 C or F F#° C - these are the plain vanilla ones.
    • F Bb7 C, using the Bb9 <-> Fm6 equivalence (exactly like you, there will never)
    • Dm Fm C, using the relative minor equivalence Dm7 <-> F6 (avalon, shine)
    • F#m7b5 Fm C, as F#m7b5 is Fmaj7 with the root raised 1/2 tone.
    Using this I often think the downward chromatic sections of night and day/just one of thoses things as a simple Chistophe with a few subs:
    F#m7b5 Fm Em7 Eb° Dm7 G7 C
    FMaj7 Fm C A7 Dm7 G7 C
    And by the way, yes, that's also the A section of djangology :)
    4) minor 2-5-1 to the relative minor are super common. For ex:
    C Bm7b5 E7 Am
    (there will never, body and soul, embraceable you)

    There's many more, and even more still sitting out there waiting for me to notice, or one of you guys to point out :)
    BucoWim Glennhotclubdebrampton
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