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Woodshedding - Learning to Play!
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Woodshedding - Learning to Play!
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Nicely put together video of which chords lead where, how and why in Jazz.
A of jazz musicians use this and similar principles to allow better understanding of the progressions of a song.

It's really hard to improvise well if you don't know a song reasonably well and/or can't reasonably predict where a song is going. Principles like these help a lot.


Jazz relative beginner, starting at a much older age than was helpful.
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Nice, but about half way through he simply states that now we need a cadence for each chord in the harmonized progression without any explanation as to why that would be so or what that would be used for. Starts out simple with the basics and then jumps way ahead with no explanation.

I just mention this in that in my looking at this teacher's offerings I often noticed these jumps in his material and for me he spoke just a bit too quickly. This is coming from a jazz beginner's perspective. (long time player in other genres).

This is not a complaint per se, but just my personal reaction to a certain teaching style interacting with my personal preferences. This is why I chose Matthew Warnock for my teaching platform. Of course everybody's reactions will be different.


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I agree. From a beginners perspective it assumes prior knowledge of why this is done.
Tonicising" each diatonic chord with its own II V turns it into a temporary key.
Using just triads this was the first chromatic harmony going back to Bach's system.
Why? It facilitates movement to remote keys giving a sense of variety and movement away from and back to the main key. Using the first inversion of the dominant triad of each scale harmony gives chromatically voice led sequences; moving through the key using all 12 degrees.
I.e. Cmaj/AMaj/C#/Dmaj ..etc
So that gives you license to break away from a possibly uninteresting strictly diatonic progression.

Jazz standards add extensions to the II Vs influenced by the Romantic era but its the same system. The difference is that by the late 19th century the major and minor keys on the same tonic were used interchangeably to further increase chord possibilities and ease of modulation.


It also allows for the use of all 12 notes melodically in any key so that non-chord and non-scale tones can be used as tensions that resolve by half step to a diatonic tone.

This kind of quickly resolving tension is characteristic of jazz standards.
Post 1960 originals by jazz composers is mostly a different ball game altogether.

Yet search for Ralph Towner's lovely composition ' Hand in Hand' to see how very overt use of the Bach system can still be used to telling effect today given a few modifications in harmonic colour.

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years ago , i and some rock mates of mine were friends and hung out with some very nice friendly jazzers.
the jazzers were heavy into very advanced extended chord structures. and we would have long intense discussions..
over a pint or two bout simple and advanced chord progressions, etc etc.
what was interesting was that the jazzers lamented often how "the man/woman in the street" didnt appreaciate jazz or even chamber music. as well as the fact gigs were sparse.
at the same same we were banging out G5's and C5's and
F5's etc etc....playing to "the man/woman in the street".

from the above experiences and others i concluded that
the structure of chord progressions have to be "accessible". and relateable to many music consumers.

in that era we also deep dived into "what makes a song
a success". ie what prompts "the public" to buy one song
versus another. we concluded it was due to 2 factors.
one being the sound picture painted by the session musicians, audio engineers and mixdown folk; and the other being the nature of chosen chord song progressions..ie the human
brain seems to react "psychologically" more to some progressions versus others.
i would be interested to hear what others think/opinions of these 2 latter aspects.

happiness to all.
om






Last edited by justanoldmuso; 01/26/22 04:47 AM.

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Originally Posted By: justanoldmuso
I concluded that
the structure of chord progressions have to be "accessible". and relateable to many music consumers.

This is certainly true, but one must remember that different people see "accessible" as different things, and that even that is a moving target.

One man's meat is another's poison.
You can't please all of the people all of the time.
Etc.

Personally I need to stretch my musical appreciation to new areas.


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I'm not sure you can generalise as to better or worse chord progressions on psychological or neurological grounds. It depends on conditioning largely. We can end up with the self fulfilling prophecy where statistics find that the public buys more songs with a VI II V I progression (or whatever) than any other so we conclude that there must be a scientific basis for this. But it equally might be a case of the public wanting what the public always gets anyway.

Can you really want only what you always get? But maybe only because you have ears and a brain that recoil from anything unusual before it gets a chance to work on you.

Maybe we can say that for some moods or emotions we wish to convey that some progressions and devices are more apt and communicative of those emotions than others.

And as for the audience much is dependent on what we grew up with and what the "man in the street" is looking for music to reflect. The Power chords you mention as the word suggests convey 'toughness 'strength', a suggestion of something primeval or mighty, ominous or whatever adjective it evokes. The heavy metal genre which used them were breaking away from what were seen as emasculating blues-free tendencies towards romanticism and impressionism in rock/pop that didn't resonate with the experience of young guys growing up in a tough competitive working class environment. That's just one market though even if its a a large and enduring one

In the 60's and 70's musical genres cross-pollinated so much that people were exposed to a whole gamut of harmonic and rhythmic devices in a way that was hard for the music industry to control and replicate in a standardised manner with 'manufactured' artists who tow the company line.

in spite of attempts to suppress it, today we still We live in a time of genre-busting fusions of all music genres but for many that's anxiety provoking and they take refuge in an atavistic attitudes of 'authenticity', the known, tried and trusted. This means re-creating the past and not deviating from a gold standard of musical devices for each genre established at the style's inception or peak period of development.

This is manna to industry moguls of course who love anything retro and 'safe'. People are essentially hooked on nostalgia; certain songs they know and the styles they're played in. But one person's time-honoured stylistic device is another's time-worn cliche that no longer communicates. Music evolves as it's always done.

I favour music where style is not a consideration so much as the desire to break through listener expectations and directly communicate emotion with strong sound. Not necessarily easy on the ear sound either. If that means unusual rhythms harmonies and progressions or even none at all then so be it. If not then that's okay too.








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