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My first hearing of Gypsy Fire yesterday

Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
edited January 2009 in Gypsy Fire Posts: 1,311
Hi Andreas,

Gypsy Fire arrived yesterday, so I started listening to the CD before attempting anything else, as suggested on page 1...

First reaction--- there are a lot of great licks in there that I'll plan to learn and use, but in China Boy, there was just a simple little phrase that really knocked me out, and I'd like to ask you about it.

This lovely phrase occurs in the first "B" part of China Boy, bars 5-6-7. (It's written out on page 22 of the book.) It's not hard to play, in fact it's all eighth notes, all downstrokes, and played with a bit of vibrato.

But what an odd and unexpected sound! It sort of reminded me of a phrase from some symphony or other... I've been trying to figure out which... perhaps Tchaikovsky, somewhere from the Nutcracker Suite?

Andreas, would you be so good as to enlighten me on where this phrase came from? Did you make it up, or is it taken from Django, or another gypsy player?

See, I may be a bit of an odd duck, but this is the kind of stuff that impresses me more than all the dazzling arpeggios which you play at such amazing tempos.

After hearing the passage, I had to look it up in the book and see how it was done, and was amazed to find that although it was fairly simple to play, it was not a musical choice that I would ever have made myself?

(And this is what I REALLY want some insight from you about....)

Andreas, why did you choose a pattern of mostly F and C notes to play over an Eb7 chord?

Was it a mathematical decision ("OK, time to use some 9ths and 13ths!"?)

Or was it just an intuitive choice?

Or was it a carefully planned choice, like you heard the pattern somewher else and decided to incorporate it into your solo?

See, for me as an improvisor, what I'd really like to master isn't so much dazzling arpeggios as being able to invent wonderful stuff like this... so any enlightenment you can offer would be gratefully appreciated.

Will Wilson
Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON

PS Oh yeah, forgot to mention: the first three bars of the China Boy solo has another simple pattern which is almost as tasty as the one discussed above, so I'd like to ask you all the same questions about that one, too!
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.

Comments

  • AndreasObergAndreasOberg Stockholm,SwedenModerator
    edited January 2009 Posts: 522
    Hi,
    Sorry for my late reply, I'm on tour in the US.
    I don't have the book here right now so I'm not sure exactly what phrase you're refering too? Is it the first phrase of china boy bar 17-20?

    All the solos are improvised and then transcribed but i tried to keep the china boy solo kind of melodic and similar to Django's style in the 30ths.

    If that's the phrase you're refering to, it's inspired by the first phrase of Django's Tiger...using Cb (or B) the minor 3rd to create tension (later to be released) over a major chord. I think of melodies when I improvise, not of names or functions although i know that stuff as well. An outside note can create good tension if it's resolved properly. The same ideas was used for the first phrase of china boy, using the C#,Db #5 or b13 to create tension over the F major chord.

    regards a
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,311
    I just checked the book and counted bars and the phrase I'm talking about falls in bar 21-22-23, though it's mostly in bar 22, with only one note each in bars 21 and 23.

    It happens in the bridge, on the second Eb7 chord.

    Beautiful!
    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.
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,311
    but here's the thing I really want you to talk to me about...

    It seems from my experience of guitar players in general, and GJ players in particular, from Django on down, that as soloists, many of us, and certainly me, tend to be really focused on the chords.

    Then you listen to a guy like Stephane Grapelli play, and you don't get the sense that he's particularly thinking about the chords at all.

    Now focussing on the chords has given me someplace to start with the instrument, because I know most of the commonly-used chords in their various inversions on the fingerboard. And I can always use that knowledge in my solos, though I try not to be the often-mocked-here kind of player who thinks in little boxes.

    So I guess what i'd really like you to talk about is, how do YOU think outside the chords?

    I mean, obviously you know your arpeggios incredibly well and all that, but you know what I'm talking about.

    So when I hear you play a beautiful little phrase over an Eb7 chord that uses mostly notes like F and C, I'm thinking, hmmm... whatever made him think of THAT?

    First hypothesis- Andreas is quoting some other piece of music?

    Andreas says, nope.

    Second hypothesis- Andreas is deliberately tying to use 9th and 13th notes?

    Andreas says, nope.

    So here's my third hypothesis:

    in this piece of music, the next chord after the Eb7 chord in question is an Ab6 chord, which DOES happen to have the notes F and C in it.... were you deliberately anticipating the next chord?

    Fourth hypothesis: Andreas has some mystical way of playing over the melody like Stephane Grapelli and isn't focussed on the chords like garden-variety players like me...?

    Anyway, Andreas, that's what I'm really hoping for you to talk about, when you have time after your tour, and I bet there are a lot of other guitarists around here who'd find your comments interesting, too.

    Will Wilson
    Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON
    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.
  • AndreasObergAndreasOberg Stockholm,SwedenModerator
    Posts: 522
    Hey Will,
    I'm not home yet so I haven't been able to check out that specific phrase from the book but i will asap.

    The secret of being a good improviser is to be able to hear the chord changes without thinking of scales, arpeggios and functions. Of course it doesn't hurt to learn all the theory (i did) but it's only a way to get accquainted with all the different sounds. Playing outside is an art itself, if you have a strong musical/rhytmical idea and a clear direction...you can use any of the twelve notes over any chord. A good way of practicing this is to superimpose different triads (major, minor, sus) and choose the ones that has either 3 notes inside, 2 inside 1 outside, 1 inside 2 outside or maybe even 3 outside..but the phrasing has to be really convincing to make that last one sound good. So after a while, you start hearing these superimposed sounds instead of thinking about the functions of the notes.

    I'll teach stuff like this on my new site:
    http://www.andreasguitaruniverse.com

    Regards and good luck!
    Andreas
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,311
    Andreas, I'd like to try to discuss a specific example of what you were talking about in your last posting about superimposing triads.

    You may have assumed more knowledge than I actually have... I'm guessing you were talking about superimposing single notes from one triad by playing them on top of another triad played as a chord?

    So let's say the chord we're going to superimpose over is C7.

    Superimposing the notes of an Eb major triad would give us two "inside" chord tones, G and Bb, but the third chord tone, Eb, is "outside" because it's not a member of the C7 family... is that what you meant by "inside" and "outside"?

    Superimposing the notes of an Ab major triad gives us only one "inside" chord tone, C, while the other two notes, Ab and Eb, are both "outside" notes for our C7 chord.

    Superimposing an Ab minor triad gives us three "outside" chord tones, because none of the Ab minor chord tones Ab, B, and Eb fall "inside" our C7 chord.

    And what you seem to be suggesting is practising the process of superimposition until this becomes an automatic process and not an academic one?

    Have I captured the essential ideas of your posting?

    Thanks,

    Will
    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.
  • AndreasObergAndreasOberg Stockholm,SwedenModerator
    Posts: 522
    I think you got the point right, but I since there are many major triads avaliable I will help you pick out a couple of good sounding ones. then you also have minor triads and sus (1,4,5) but that's another story.

    Chord C7

    Inside triads: C triad of course and Bb triad (which because of the note F gives a sus 4 kind of sound)

    1 note outside: D (the F# gives it a lydian dominant sound) , A (the Db note is the outside one), Eb flat triad will work too as you mentioned (with the minor 3rd as the outside note)

    2 notes outside: F# triad or Ab maybe even Db (with this one it's important to have a direction like creating tension and then maybe end up inside the C7 chord.)

    3 notes outside: B triad..this one is fairly out so you might use this as an approach chord to the C triad..once again if you know tension release, you can even use a major 7th note on a dominant chord like in this case...haha!

    All the best
    A
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,311
    Wow...You've sure given me a lot to think about.

    Like, I wonder how long it will take me to internalize all this stuff and incorporate it into my playing?

    This all seems to be such new, weird territory right now.

    Andreas, from your knowledge of jazz history, how far back does this kind of triad superimposition go?

    Like say, Louis Armstrong, an acknowledged master who even impressed Django with his rapid-fire arpeggios--- was he into some of this superimposition stuff?
    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.
  • AndreasObergAndreasOberg Stockholm,SwedenModerator
    Posts: 522
    Let me just mention that some of these sounds are often found in modern jazz and modern classical music and not gypsy jazz although it's changing with Bireli and a new generation of players.

    I play with Bireli sometimes and although he doesn't know the name or theory behind it, he's using these devices. He was born with good ears and like i mentioned before, the goal is to hear it but it doesn't hurt to know what you're doing either (especially if you're planning on teaching others ;)

    Django and Armstrongs were using super imposed triads like the tritone sub v7 (Bb triad over E7) so this can be found way back in jazz history.
    I've checked out the whole jazz history both modern and traditional because I don't want to be limited into only one style or branch of jazz.

    regards andreas
  • pinkgarypinkgary ✭✭✭
    Posts: 282
    All good words from both of you, cheers.
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