<![CDATA[bobbysternjazz.com - Blog: B Natural]]>Tue, 25 Nov 2014 19:47:43 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[More Blues Minor - The Coal, Hard Sax!]]>Tue, 18 Nov 2014 17:27:14 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2014/11/more-blues-minor-the-coal-hard-sax.htmlMore Blues Minor - The Coal, Hard Sax!
Picture Miner Blues - The Coal Hard Sax
This post could be considered as an addendum to "C Minor Blues - The Last Four" from a few weeks ago.

This 4 bar mini-etude didn't make the cut, only because it was conceived at a much slower tempo (ca. quarter note = 120) as in, for example, Joe Henderson's "Out of The Night" or  "Bags & 'Trane", than the dozen or so in that post.

It does, however contain the same premise; being based on bars 9, 10, 11 and 12 (bVI7-V7-i-i) of the type of medium tempo Minor Blues as those tunes named above.

This one contains a single, four bar phrase, presented in 12 keys, with a 16th note feel.

It works really well as a warmup type exercise.

The breakdown is simple.

Line #1, Measure #1 - Starting on the b7 of Bb7 (bVI7), 4 groups of 16th notes alternating direction (ascending - descending). The second grouping contains a passing tone (A), which is consistent with what is known as the Bb Bebop Dominant scale, a descending Mixolydian mode with a non-diatonic passing tone between scale steps 8 & 7.

Line #1, Measure #2 - As the final note of measure #1 is D, starting the A7alt chord / scale (V7) in bar #2 on a Db (C#), Major 3rd is a smooth choice, with the same asc.-desc. pattern of 16th note groupings, as well as a passing tone (D) in the second grouping again. This scale is Bb Melodic Minor. Depending on the starting note, Melodic Minor can accommodate "BeBop" passing tones between scale steps 3 & 4, 4 & 5, 5 & 6  and 1 & 2.

Line #1, Measure #3 & 4 - The tonic (i) D minor chord starts on its 3rd and the scale choice here is, you guessed it; D Melodic Minor. The pattern employed here is an "altered" take off on the common Major scale 1-2-3-5  4-5-6-8 "digital" pattern.

As the Melodic Minor scale is, in reality, an "altered" Major scale (with a flatted 3rd), it's patterns will "alter" accordingly.

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Treble Clef           Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Got the Digits? - Melodic Minor i-V7 Digital Patterns]]>Tue, 04 Nov 2014 11:50:23 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2014/11/got-the-digits-melodic-minor-i-v7-digital-patterns.htmlGot the Digits?
Melodic Minor Tonic to Dominant (i-V7alt) Digital Patterns

Picture"Dig It All! Re: Doo-Doo" painting by Fo-Toh Zjiap
The Melodic Minor scale, being in reality, an "altered" Major scale (with a flatted 3rd), translates those alterations from Major to it's phrases and melodic patterns as well.

This exercise is a technical study in the use of inherent Melodic Minor "1235 type" "digital patterns" over a common Tonic to Dominant (i - V7alt) harmonic movement, aka the "A" sections of "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise", or "A Night in Tunisia" (which has a bII7 sub for its V7).

By "digital patterns", I don't mean "ones and zeros" or Boolean Algebra; just good ol' analog left and right hand "digits", more commonly known as fingers.

While one might be familiar with the common Major Scale "digits" (ie, 1235 4568, 2346 5679 and so forth), the altered Melodic Minor versions of these same patterns might be less familiar, both in feel as well as sound.

The downloadable exercise is designed to familiarize oneself with these Melodic Minor "altered" digital patterns.

Each measure of this exercise contains, as in Line #1, Measure #1, 2 ascending groups of 4 eighth notes per measure. Each subsequent measure begins with the next available diatonic scale tone, between the two scales. This sets up and follows the basic shape and contour of the exercise, which is 8 bars per key.

The basic scheme, with exceptions, is step up - step up -
skip up / step down - step up - step up -skip up.

Line #1, Measure #1 - (D min) D-E-F-A / G-A-B-D  = scale steps 1-2-b3-5 / 4-5-6-8  of D Melodic Minor, right? Solid!

Line #1, Measure #2 - (A7alt) Db-Eb-F-A / G-A-Bb-Db  = scale steps b3-4-5-7 / 6-7-8-b3  of Bb Melodic Minor, which is the parent scale from which the "A altered" scale is begat, being born on its 7th degree ("....it's the one, it's the one; the one they call the Seventh Son").

Maybe they should call this the "Hoochie Coochie" scale!

But seriously, folks........

By beginning the second measure pattern on a Db (C#), we're employing the next closest descending scale tone to the first note of measure #1, which was D. The Db (C#) is the Maj 3rd of A7alt chord, as well as the b3 of Bb Melodic Minor.

Well, you ask, shouldn't you be thinking Db (or
C#) Lydian Augmented (the mode built off the 3rd scale degree of Bb Melodic Minor)?

No, not really.

The fact
that Melodic Minor contains no "avoid notes", means that you can start the scale on any of its notes. It doesn't matter what you call it, because in this case, you're expressing Bb Melodic Minor over A. Why tax your brain with a bunch of names.

The modes of Melodic Minor are useful to know and understand if you are using them "modally".

That is, when improvising over a static harmonic situation lasting several measures or more. In that case, if you're vamping over a Db for say, 8 or 16 bars, you might think, "Hey, Db Lydian Augmented!".

I still think it's much simpler, even then, to think in terms of the Melodic Minor parent scale or "key
"; Bb Melodic Minor over Db, in this case

The remainder of the exercise follows along the same basic scheme; although not all 4 note groupings are symmetrical
, as well as several note combinations have been left out.

For example, both Line #1, Measure #3 and Line #2, Measure #2 employ a basic1-2-3-6 / 5-6-7-8 (counting the first note of that measure as "1"), which translate to

step up - step up - skip 2 steps up / step down - step up - step up -step up
= B-C#-D-G / F-G-A-B and G-A-Bb-Eb / Db-Eb-F-G, respectively.

Each measure ends a perfect octave higher than the note from which it started.

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Treble Clef               Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[B. There! - "Invitation" - The Last Eight]]>Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:31:44 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2014/10/b-there-invitation-the-last-eight.htmlB. There! - "Invitation" - The Last Eight
Here's another in a series of "Last Eight" (or "Last Four") groups of etudes; designed to zero in on a certain section of a particular tune, where the chord / scale choices and their connectivity might be somewhat ambiguous, and might in general, might make you say "Huh?!"

This time, we'll take a look at the well known and oft played standard "Invitation", by Bronislau Kaper, the Polish born film composer who also wrote "On Green Dolphin Street'.

At the very end of last year, I posted an etude based on the complete set of changes of "Invitation" (here), for what it's worth.

The last eight measures (and especially the last four) of "Invitation" used to make me scratch my head (I'm sure it wasn't dandruff, or worse), before I knew how to recognize and handle Melodic Minor chord / scale relationships in these situations.

And if you didn't already realize it "Invitation" is a Melodic Minor lover's dream!

So, approaching it from an MM point of view, we can cover the last eight bars of "Invitation" with but four Melodic Minor scales.

Here they are, chord by chord (in concert key):

Eb min
= Eb Melodic Minor (Eb-F-Gb-Ab-Bb-C-D). Eb Dorian (change the D to a Db) is also a choice here.

B7#11 = F# Melodic Minor (F#-G#-A-B-C#-D#-F). The common way of thinking of this scale would be from the root of the chord "B", and you would call it "B Lydian Dominant", the 4th mode of F# Melodic Minor.

However, I find it to be much less confusing to simply think of it in terms of its parent Melodic Minor scale. Since Melodic Minor has no "avoid notes"
, you are free to start the scale anywhere, regardless of its root, and it therefore doesn't necessitate thinking of the names and notes of a million modes. You just be conscious of the Melodic Minor "key" you are in.

F7alt =
F# Melodic Minor (F#-G#-A-B-C#-D#-F). Wow! Speak of the devil! Here's that exact same F# MM scale again. This time, for use over this F7alt. Starting F#MM on F, it's 7th degree, is known as the "F altered scale". But who cares what you call it? You're thinking the key of F# MM over F, right?; functioning as a dominant (V7) chord, looking to resolve somewhere; such as........

Bb7alt = B Melodic Minor (B-C#-D-E-F#-G#-A#). Again a so called "altered scale". Forget about it! Think "B Melodic Minor", which is the Melodic Minor key a Perfect 5tth below the previous measure, and resolves naturally (V7-i) to.....

Eb min = Eb Melodic Minor (Eb-F-Gb-Ab-Bb-C-D), before
moving again, in the next measure, to the MM key a P5th below; namely......

G7alt = Ab Melodic Minor (Ab-Bb-Cb-Db-Eb-F-G), which is the dominant chord (V7alt) that leads back to the C min tonic chord at the top of the tune.

It's interesting to note that the harmonic movement of Perfect Fifths is accomplished here not only with
root movement, but with the Melodic Minor keys as well; as is between the last two measures (Eb MM to Ab MM).

To sum up:

I think it's important, initially, to learn the names of each of the modes and chords (and their symbols) of all the Melodic Minor "key
s". That way you'll recognize and relate them to the parent Melodic Minor scale when you come across them in a playing situation. You won't have to think, "What's G Lydian Augmented", for a G Maj7+5 #11, for example. You'll think "E Melodic Minor". Period. The lack of avoid notes allows you to do that.

It's like learning multiplication tables. You don't
have to think about "What's 5 x 5", do you? I hope not.

You'd automatically know it's 55, right?!.........

Did I getchya?

So once again, to echo the words and sentiments of that great 20th Century American poet, Slim Harpo
, in his epic poem, "Scratch My Back":

                                                                 "I know you kin do it;
                                                                    so baby, git to it!"

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Bb                 Eb
Concert           Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[See Myna Fuddah Boids! - C Minor Blues - The Last Four]]>Wed, 22 Oct 2014 20:14:07 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2014/10/see-myna-fuddah-boids-c-minor-blues-the-last-four.htmlTweet 'Dis! See Myna Fuddah Boids!
C Minor Blues - The Last Four

Picture"See Myna Blues" Bird
Hello "Bird" Lovers!

Actually, the subject of this post is neither the bird, the man, nor his "Ornithology".

Rather, based on the positive reaction to recent posts (here & here), which take 8 bar sections of tunes for study and analysis, this one focuses on the last 4 measures of a typical "Mr. PC" type C Minor Blues (bVI7-V7-i), for which I've scribbled out a dozen (12, count 'em) 4 bar mini-etudes.

A good precursor to this post, and where you'll find the basic premise for this exercise, would be this post from 2013, which deals with the same VI7-V7-i movement, with the accompanying exercises focusing on the Melodic Minor derived Pentatonic b6 mode.

It's probably a good idea to check that one out, as there isn't much to add here in the way of a basic harmonic breakdown.

The dozen lines presented here are a bit looser in their scale choices, although Melodic Minor still predominates.

After all, it is supposed to be a Minor Blues, right? ...o
r a piece of one, anyway.

Although the tempo isn't marked, these lines were conceived at quarter note = 180 - 220. Play them as slow as you need to to gain accuracy and speed up gradually.

The basic melodic material for the different lines is made up from Melodic Minor (Penta b6, Triad Pairs, MM BeBop), Diminished Scale (Penta b2)
, Augmented Scale, and the good ol' Dorian Mode.

Material wise, It doesn't go any farther than that.

As you play through
these lines, see if you can identify some of the above named elements.

If some of this stuff comes across as ancient Sanskrit, then please feel free to go archeological and dig
the archive of Recent Posts by category (also listed down the left side and bottom of the Home Page). These elements are also featured in all of my books.

Hopefully, it might then become at least as comprehensible as say, Pig Latin.

I'mway avinghay unfay, ain'tchay ouyay?
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Bb                 Eb
                 Concert          Bass Clef                 
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Joe Henderson's "Black Narcissus" - The Last Eight]]>Wed, 15 Oct 2014 18:27:30 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2014/10/october-15th-2014.htmlJoe Henderson's
"Black Narcissus" - The Last Eight

Joe Henderson's "Black Narcissus" is a delicate jazz waltz and one of the legendary tenor saxophonist / composer's better known compositions.

Originally recorded on May 29, 1969 and released as part of Henderson's album "Power to the People" (which included Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Jack De Johnette) on the Milestone label, Joe recorded it several times subsequently. That includes the 1974 version, recorded in Paris and featured on the album of the same name.

It has since been covered by many by other artists.

Although completely different
in emotional intent, scope and style, "Black Narcissus" has striking similarities in compositional structure, as well as harmonic usage, to another one of Henderson's classics, and the subject of an earlier post; namely, "Inner Urge".

I had heard different versions of "Black Narcissus" for years before actually trying to learn it myself. At that point, I realized that this simple sounding tune necessitated some closer scrutiny; especially after hearing many improvisers trying to "ramrod" their way through the last eight measure, "B" section of the tune.

When doing a comparison analysis of "Black Narcissus" and "Inner Urge", the first thing I noticed about each of these tunes is the total absence of any ii-Vs in either one.

In checking out the lead sheets below, we find that each tune has a 16 bar "A" section of slow moving, modal type harmony. In the case of "Black Narcissus", that means alternating adjacent diatonic m7th chords over a pedal bass for 8 bars, then repeating that scheme down a whole step for another eight.

"Inner Urge"
employs the use of four 4 bar phrases for it's 16 bar "A" section; starting with an F# min7b5 (Locrian derived material most of the time; A Pentatonic b3 is a good choice) for the first 4 bars, followed by FMaj7#11 for 4 bars; then EbMa7#11and DbMaj7#11 for 4 bars apiece. Each of these Maj7#11s move down a whole step.

Probably the most obvious similarities between the "B" sections of these two Henderson classics is the almost exclusive use of Maj 7 or Maj7#11 chords (or Maj7b5, as is on the "Narcissus" lead sheet) in each tune, the lone exception being the next to last measure of "Inner Urge"
, where a Dominant 7th chord (could be more accurately written as Bb7 #11 13) is used to great effect, in order to create both tension and sudden variety.

Because the last 8 of "Inner Urge" is, as mentioned, already a separate post, we come back to the subject of this post, which is the last 8 bars of "Black Narcissus".

One of the best ways, I find, to really learn a tune, or a piece of one, is to write a set of etudes over the particular chord changes. The purpose is not necessarily to memorize and play what I've written; 'cause that wouldn't be improvising, would it?

Rather, this idea of writing out etudes is a method of getting up close and personal with the changes, form, feel, etc., and getting as much of this into your subconscious and muscle memory as you can, so when it's time to pull it out during an actual playing situation, it'll manifest creatively in some form or fashion. Hopefully, not exactly as you practiced it.

Just like "Inner Urge" the last 8 bars, or "B section" of "Black Narcissus" has a sped up harmonic rhythm. Whereas the chords change every 4 bars in the A Section of "Inner Urge" and every 8 bars in "Black Narcissus", the rate of chord change shrinks to one, or even 2 chords per bar, as in the the final 3 measures of "Narcissus".

These last eight bars of "Black Narcissus" can be challenging, not only because of the unusual (from a traditional bebop standpoint) parallel movement of Maj7 chords, but in getting really comfortable with the 3/4 time, as well.

However, this type of musical situation will uncover a number of possible common tones, related pentatonics, trichords and other good stuff to help you waltz like Matilda through the last section of this great tune.

The below download contains merely a few suggestions and is but a drop in the ocean of possibilities.

Can you thay "Nar-thi-thith"!?

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Bb             Eb
 Concert                  Bass Clef
Original Recorded Version of "Black Narcissus" from 1969
B. Stern
<![CDATA[One Cool Warmup....Comin' Up!!]]>Wed, 08 Oct 2014 13:13:41 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2014/10/one-cool-warmupcomin-up.htmlOne Cool Warmup.....Comin' Up!!
Here's a nifty little chromatic warmup exercise, great for getting those icicles out of your fingers any time of the year.

It can be worked in over a iii-VI-ii-V7-I (in C: E-7 A7 / D-7 G7 / C / C ) progression, and the breakdown is pretty straightforward.

Question: What's 4 measures long, contains all 12 notes, includes a descending Maj7+5 arpeggio, a descending dim7
arpeggio and ends on the Major 3rd of the key?

Uhhhhhh............Give up?

Just keep on reading and the truth shall reveal itself (...and maybe even set you free!)

As mentioned previously, it's pretty straight ahead.

In line 1, measure #1, the exercise kicks off on the tonic of the key (C in line 1), ascends chromatically in 3 groups of 4 sixteenth notes (functioning harmonically as E-7 to an A7), descending from C as a C#M7+5 arpeggio, which over A, completes the A7(#9 b13).

It then leads smoothly and chromatically up to the tonic of the D-7 in measure #2, again ascending, as in bar 1, chromatically in 3 groups of 4 sixteenth notes, before falling back down in the form of an F dim7 arpeggio (G7b9), only to connect with the C Maj tonic chord in measure #3, stepwise via a D# (Eb) minor third with bluesacious (blues scale) flavor, climbing the heights, once more semitone-wise, to the Maj 7th (B) as the first 16th note of the 3rd group of four, before sliding back down to a G, where we wave "hi"
on the way by to Thelonious; and, like a "Blue Monk", we then conclude our chant, only to repeat it often.

Ahhhh!..........I can feel the heat coming back on already.
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Treble Clef                Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Deep Space b9 - Descending Tritone Minor Scale Shape]]>Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:23:12 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2014/10/deep-space-b9-descending-tritone-minor-scale-shape.htmlUnidentified Descending Shape (UDS)
Landing Near You
Origin determined to be from the planet Tritonius Minorus in the Diminished Scale System, according to reports from Deep Space b9
PictureIdentified as Unidentified Descending Shape (UDS) by Deep Space b9
Don't jump out the window just yet...........!

Swap that tricorder for a trichord and check out this supplementary exercise based on my last post, which deals with a hexatonic scale comprised of two minor triads, a tritone apart (C- & F#-).

As this scale seemed to have been nameless,
for lack of one better I dubbed it the "Tritone Minor Scale".

It's close resemblance to it's likewise Diminished Scale offshoot cousin, the more popularly known "Tritone Scale" (2 Major Triads, a tritone apart), confirms its DNA and keeps it in the family.

The descending shape used for this exercise is the same one used on a different scale in an earlier post, and is a hip way to let your fingers run through the intervallic construction of any scale, regardless of how many notes it contains.

The Tritone Minor scale is broken down in the last post, and the breakdown of the descending shape is rehashed here with modifications.

The configuration of the line in the exercise below is a kind of hybrid "Bergonzi Shape" (The eight pentatonic shapes from tenor master/ guru Jerry Bergonzi's book "Vol 2 - Pentatonics" Advance Music).

Whereas the Bergonzi shapes utilize 4 note groupings, with a repeating scheme of alternating skip or step motion in an up or down direction, this exercise employs an 8 note, measure long repeating scheme.

This exercise uses
2 lines of 4 measures each; one line for each tritone half of the scale.

Excluding the 3 note pickup, and starting on the downbeat of measure #1, C Tritone Minor (C-Db-Eb F#-G-A, asc., C-A-G F#-Eb-Db, desc.) the scheme is:

(A) Skip down (F#)- Step down (Eb)- Skip up (G)- Step down - /
          (Skip G)                                             (Skip F#)              

(F#) Skip down (Db) - Step up (Eb) - Skip up (G) - Step down (F# next measure)
           (Skip Eb)                                         (Skip F#)

And the scheme pattern repeats itself each measure.

An interesting point to notice is that, including the pickup, the first note of each measure of the first line (F#-A-F#-Db-A), combined, spells out (enharmonically) an F# minor triad, which comprises half of this hexatonic scale.

In line two, which employs the exact same scheme pattern
and is transposed up one Tritone Minor diatonic scale step, the first notes of each measure combines to make up a C minor triad (G-C-G-Eb-C), which is , of course the other half of C Tritone Minor, which is the same as.....you guessed it: F# Tritone Minor.

Ok, now you can beam me up, Squatty!

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Treble Clef                               Bass Clef
<![CDATA[Who Put the "Hex" on My Hexatonic?]]>Wed, 24 Sep 2014 23:19:17 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2014/09/who-put-the-hex-on-my-hexatonic.htmlWho Put the "Hex" on My Hexatonic?
(Tritone Minor, That's Who!)

Picture"Impression of Mr. Eerius N. Hedlace at the Piano''. Painting by Pho-Toh Ziap
Here's an interesting and useful hexatonic (6 tone) symmetrical configuration, which I came across recently:

C-Db-Eb  F#-G-A

This scale is actually a derivative of the half tone / whole tone diminished scale, with the E - Bb
tritone removed:

C-Db-Eb (E) F#-G-A (Bb)

In 12 tone set theory, it would be seen as a pair of 013 trichords spaced a tritone apart.

As a triad pair, it consists of 2 minor triads, a tritone apart: C-Eb-G / F#-A-C#

And, if you haven't already noticed, our new friend turns out to be the dark, mysterious, little known first cousin of what has become commonly known to improvisers as the "Tritone Scale", a likewise hexatonic formation; made up of 2 Major Triads a tritone apart (C-E-G / F#-A#-C#) and derived from the same diminished matrix.

As you will see and hear, there is a large qualitative difference between these two "relatives".

I haven't yet found any other names for an exact match to this scale (Slonimsky p.2 #6, no name. Several Carnatic Ragam come close, but no incense).

That's why
I, hereby, take it upon myself to christen it (drum roll).................

"The Tritone Minor Scale" (e.g. C Tritone Minor, F# Tritone Minor, etc.).

Pour the champagne and strike up the band!

As mentioned previously, The Tritone Minor Scale has a decidedly dark, mysterious quality to it. Small wonder, given its interval content:

3 tritones (C-F#, Db-G, Eb-A), 2 whole steps (Db-Eb, G-A), 4 min. 3rds (C-Eb, F#-A, Eb-F#, A-C), 2 Maj. 3rds (Eb-G, A-C#), 2 perfect 4ths (C#-F#, G-C).

Of course, the most telling are the minor 3rds and tritones, which create a diminished 7th chord (C-Eb-F#-A) plus a tritone (Db-G), which give you the 6 notes of the scale.

The fact that there are no Major triads included here make even the 2 Major 3rds (which are themselves a tritone apart) sound "un-Major" like. That pretty much explains why just about any flavor of Major has been sucked out of this symmetrical scale.

That's why you won't be hearing this one on local pop radio.

But, "'Cause I'm Happy", I really like the sound and feel of this scale. It has tons of character. The scope of feeling runs the gamut from "eerily enchanting" to flat out "grim"; depending, of course, on the context in which it's presented.

Hey, you need some dark colors on your palette, too.

It's probably best suited for use over an extended modal or pedal situation, although since it's a truncated form of the diminished scale, it should work wherever a diminished scale might.

In the downloadable exercise below, the Tritone Minor Scale is presented diatonically in ascending and descending order in the first 2 measures; followed by its 2 inherent minor triads (Triad Pair) in several different inversions for the next 2 measures. The next 4 measures contain the triad pairs, descending in groups of 4 eighth notes (top note repeating).

As this is a symmetrical scale "of limited transposition", meaning that there are really only 6 mutually exclusive scales involved before they repeat (C and F# Tritone Minor contain the exact same notes, for example), they are nevertheless shown here in all 12 keys.

The chord symbols, with their alterations, are suggested as they are based on the roots of the dominant 7th chords from the original diminished scale.
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Treble Clef               Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[On Ramp, Off Ramp - ii-V7 Fourth Cycle Vamp]]>Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:00:46 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2014/09/on-ramp-off-ramp-ii-v7-fourth-cycle-vamp.htmlOn Ramp, Off Ramp - ii-V7 Fourth Cycle Vamp
Sill inspired by "A Study in Fourths" by Walter Bishop, jr.
Since I realize y'all can't get enough of this 4th thing, and as I'm on somewhat of a roll with the subject, I thought I might just continue along this line of thought from the point where we left off last time.

I promise I'll give it, and the esteemed Mr. Bishop, a break after this.

Anyway, it occurred to me that measures #3 & 4 (D-7 / G7) of that exercise contained a complete, uninterrupted 12 tone cycle in perfect 4ths.

"So?!", you say.

"So" I say, "let me see if I can conjure up a few more lines like that one, over a ii-V7 cadence, which use the complete 4th cycle and which resolve to the tonic (I).

Of the 5 lines presented here, each starting on a different diatonic scale tone, 4 of them employ a complete 12 tone cycle in perfect 4ths; while the fifth (line 4) uses a number of shifts and rests, resulting in a series of 027 trichords.

The coolest thing about using a complete 4th cycle in these cases, is that the cycle, being a 12 tone row, contains all twelve notes of the chromatic scale; meaning that it also contains all of the eleven possible note choices, plus one, available for an altered dominant (V7alt) chord.

eg: G7(alt) = G (root) - Ab (b9) - A (9) - A# (#9) -B (3) - C (11) - Db (b5) - D (5) - Eb (b13) - E (13) - F (b7), and don't forget the F# (M7) for a pinch of added flavor, neighbor.

One of the most basic components of music, on planet earth, is that of tension and release.

In "Western Harmony", which is what we're dealing with here, one of the most fundamental movements, from tension to release is the well traveled road of the V-I cadence.

At some point, a ii chord was placed in front of the V7 to strengthen the root movement in 5ths /4ths. In fact if you inspect many of the early lead sheets of tunes of the 1920's & '30's, the ii chords preceding the V, in most cases are all but absent

In the tension and release scheme of things, a rough but reasonable analogy might go something like:

A rush-hour drive home, where the
ii chord
= the on ramp to the highway; the
V7 chord = the highway itself, with traffic and all of it's unpredictable behavior, requiring your full and constant awareness, and the
I chord = the exit ramp and home, where you can finally kick back and relax..

Since the ii chord acts like a preparatory extension of the V, ramping up to it if you will; why not then consider it to be part of the dominant V7 itself? Thus, one might view a D-7 (ii chord in C) as a D-7/G, or a G7sus.

What this means (in terms of using the complete 12 tone fourth cycle as a tension / release device)
is that no matter which note you use to start the cycle over a V7 (which, including its ii chord, is in and of itself a tension creating device), the cycle, as previously mentioned, supplies eleven "legit" tonal choices (root-3rd-b7th; b9-#9-b5-b13; 5-9-11-13) plus one more (Maj7).

Try playing a complete cycle starting on a non diatonic tone; like F# (over a G7), for example, resolving it to C Maj7.

The idea is to eventually come off the exit ramp, resolving to a target note belonging to that "restful" tonic I chord.

And on that note, I rest my case.

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B. Stern
<![CDATA[A Curious Case of Temporary Outness in the 4th Dimension - Inspired by "A Study in Fourths" by Walter Bishop, jr]]>Thu, 11 Sep 2014 18:58:34 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2014/09/a-curious-case-of-temporary-outness-in-the-4th-dimension-inspired-by-a-study-in-fourths-by-walter-bishop-jr.htmlA Curious Case of Temporary Outness
in the 4th Dimension

Inspired by "A Study in Fourths" by Walter Bishop, jr.
As with these two previous posts (here and here), this particular exercise covers improvisational techniques utilizing the interval of a perfect 4th, inspired by the legendary pianist and composer, the late Walter Bishop, jr., and his currently out of print book, "A Study in Fourths".

If you are unfamiliar with Mr. Bishop and his contributions to the music and its vocabulary,
this is a must see video, whatever your instrument happens to be.

While Walter Bishop, jr. certainly wasn't the first to come up with the concept of using fourth cycles as a tool for improvisation, his legacy as a contributor to the concept lives on, through his book, as well as the above linked instructional video.

In this case, we're talking about working some of these modified fourth cycles over a common, six measure iii-VI-ii-V-I chord progression.

The Breakdown:
Line 1, Measure #1 = E-7 employs the use of a pair of "shifts" (which break up the continuous P4th cycle), Shifts, in this case, are intervals other than a Perfect 4th (in measure #1, both shifts, D-B and A-F#, are min thirds), which create variations in the line as well as keep it inside, or close to, the underlying harmony.
E (root)
- A (11) - D (b7) - B (5th) E (root) - A (11) - F# (9) - B (5th)

in reality, spells out D/E or E7 sus. The line in this measure contains 4 intervals of a perfect fourth and two intervals of a minor 3rd. In other words, it's a D Major Pentatonic.

Line 1, Measure #2 = A7, begins with an eighth note rest. Rests, skips and expanded time values are ways of breaking up a line of continuous perfect 4ths in order to mold it to a given harmonic situation. It can be as "'in" or "outside" as you want to make it.

rest - C# (3rd) - G# (M7) - D# (b5)  F (b13) - Bb (b9) - C (#9) - G (b7)

With the exception of the G# (M7), this spells out an A7 alt. The G#, or Maj. 7th, is the only tone here that would be considered "outside" against an A7. Since the rest of the altered tones create a considerable amount of tension anyway, the G#, in context, doesn't really sound "out" at all.

The line in this measure contains 5 intervals of a perfect fourth, as well as one whole step skip (D#(Eb)-F) and an eighth note rest.

Line 1, Measure #3 = D-7. Beginning with a whole tone skip from the preceding measure (G-F), and interrupted only by two eighth note rests on the downbeats of 3 & 4, this measure is a straight up 4th cycle (5 uninterrupted P4ths) that spell out a D-11 chord.

F (b3) - C (b7) - G (11) - D (Root)  rest - A (5th) - rest - E (9)

The perfect
4th cycle continues along uninterrupted into the next measure, as well.

Line 2, Measure #1 = G7 is similar to the A7 in Line 1, Measure #2; in that a Maj. 7th (F#) is present against a dominant 7 chord. As before, it adds a nano second of "temporary outness" as well as keeps the integrity of the cycle, which includes all of the altered dominant tones inherent to a G7alt.

B (3rd) - F# (M7) - C#(Db) (b5) - G#(Ab) (b9)  D#(Eb) (b13) - A#(Bb) (#9) - rest - F (b7)

The line in this measure contains 6 uninterrupted Perfect 4ths. If we go back to the first eighth note of the previous measure (Line 1, Measure #3) to the last eighth note of this measure (Line 2, Measure #1), we've find ourselves with a complete, uninterrupted 12 note cycle in Perfect Fourths, from F to to F, which can be used over a ii-V7; in this case, D-7 / G7alt.

Line 2, Measure #2 & 3 = C. As all good things must come to an end, the final 2 measures resolve to a C Maj7, starting with a rest and a shift, finally breaking the completed cycle. This line actually spells out a G Maj. Pentatonic (G-A-B-D-E) over C.

rest - G (5th) - D (9th) - E (M3rd)  A (6th) - D (9th) - E (M3rd) - B (M7)

The line in this measure
contains four P4ths, 2 shifts of a whole tone each, and a rest.

There are many roads to Rome with this technique. What might even be more hip as an ending, would be to continue the cycle at the end of
Line 2, Measure #3, which ends on the note B (M7 of C) one more descending P4th to F# (#11 in C Maj). Beginning the next measure (Line 2, Measure #3) with an eighth note rest, give the F# a dotted quarter.

Just another possibili

As with most of these exercises, if you play a non-chordal instrument, it's highly recommended to program the changes into a "Band-in-a Box" type program to hear the basic harmonic movement behind the line. If you play a transposing instrument
, don't forget to take that into account when typing in the changes.

Thanks again, Mr. Bishop.

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Treble Clef                Bass Clef
B. Stern