Harmonic Experience - ordering today, what else should I get for theory?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by giggedy, May 19, 2008.

  1. giggedy

    giggedy Member

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    Any suggestions? I'm looking to incorporate more "out" sounds into my playing, think Miles and Trane. I would like to also incorporate some of the stylings of Shawn Lane and Al Di Meola. Basically looking to go "out" more and understand what I'm doing in a more comprehensive way.
     
  2. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    Thesaurus of Scales and Musical Patterns by Slonimsky appears to be a standard reference text for everyone into expanding their modern music vocabulary. Torn ("splatt") quoted directly from it in his post about scalar interpolation (which is actually a term used in the Slonimsky book).
     
  3. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Miles was out? I can see what you might mean in late career Trane, but Miles isn't someone I typically think of when I think of out players. Anyway, there's all kinds of tensions you can create with standard scales, including pentatonic, arpeggio, triad superimposition. Scott Henderson's first video, the fusion one, talks about a lot of this. But it's more about the ideas and concepts than about hands on playing. He seems to assume you'll know how to make music out of the ideas. I really don't like recommending books or videos any more. I think they're by and large a waste of money if you're not already learning stuff from recordings.
     
  4. giggedy

    giggedy Member

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    When I mentioned Miles, I guess I should have clarified. I mean some of the things he did on Bitches Brew.

    I have a copy of the Slonimsky book. It is very dense and makes me want to spend more time on notation. Thank you, I'll try to look at it a little more.

    Could you clarify what you mean by learning stuff from recordings?
     
  5. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Like figuring out what you liked about what Miles did on Bitches Brew. So listen to the recording, figure out the underlying harmony, and then figure out what he's playing over it, and why it works. Then repeat for everything you like by any artist.

    P.S. The Shawn Lane thing has a lot to do with odd rhythmic groupings, which also brings up the idea that there's a rhythmic "out" too (which IIRC Harmonic Experience talks about some).
     
  6. giggedy

    giggedy Member

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    i couldn't agree more, and thank you. I guess I'm just looking for information that will give me an "ah ha" moment about what I hear.
     
  7. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    I think Harmonic Experience is a great book. You will really enjoy it, I think. The Slonimsky is really cool too.

    BUT, if you think of those and other texts as a 'means to an end' (especially the end you have expressed desire to get to) you might come up empty-handed.

    Some people look too hard for the "secret" of playing notes that have oblique (as opposed to direct or obvious) relationships to the underlying harmony. That's what most people mean when they say "out," I guess.

    The real answer is that there is no secret or simple answer, otherwise someone would've written the book already and made money ;) . The most productive thing for me was always to experiment with generating your own methods and theories or discovering new ways of trying to apply someone else's concept once you've assimilated it. In other words, make it up yourself. Play a lot around on a keyboard and think about harmony a lot, and you'll eventually start to figure out little systemic ways of spiraling the harmony further and further out. The most important thing is not the concept itself but the fact that you have a concept, and understanding--even if your concept is wholly fictional and invented--exactly why you are playing what you are playing (even if the understanding is an instinctual, aural understanding and not an intellectual, theoretical understanding).

    Generally the deeper and more involved the strategy, the deeper and more involved the music.

    For example, if your concept for oblique relationships is simple and one dimensional--i.e. "play 'normal' diatonic ideas a half-step above the underlying harmony"--then the dissonant ideas and resulting music will themselves be simple and one-dimensional.

    On the other hand, if you sit down and work out deep but logical methods of juggling dissonance against harmony and understand the underlying tangential relationships, then the resulting music will sound complex and rich, even if the relationships only make sense to you and only exist in your mind. In fact, if that is the case, it will be so much the better, because your style will be highly personal.

    Forget anything that feels restrictive. Forget existing chord/scales if you have to. Experiment with harmonizing as many chord types as you can with diminished scales. Anything at all. Whatever floats your boat.

    In the end it's all about what you are hearing. Making up little strategies and theories of your own will expand your ear, and you will start to hear and play ideas that are inspired from your work.

    The improvisation of oblique melodic choices not a little technique that can be captured. For each player, it seems, those types of ideas, when they work and don't sound contrived, occur as a natural outgrowth of a broad-based knowledge and musical development.

    So I guess I'm saying that devouring theory texts is the right way to go, after all. ;) But don't do it with an 'objective' in mind, do it because you are fascinated by music, and any objective you could've had will eventually be fulfilled, effortlessly, in due time.

    No need to rush. Good luck!
     
  8. giggedy

    giggedy Member

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    wow, thank you. I think I really need to sit down and look at what I do when I try to find different combinations that I like about sounds I consider to be "out", and embrace and try to expand on those.
     
  9. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    I just reviewed the thread that inspired your purchase of the Matheiu book ("Kimock says play like Coltrane" or something like that). Wow, that book sounds deep.

    I have been treating my copy of the Slonimsky book like Sheets Of Sounds. I pick a set of patterns (eg. the 5 or whatever from "Division into Tritones" section), sight sing them to myself, THEN I play them on an instrument. I find the sight singing part necessary to ingrain the sound of the patterns into my head - if I can't hear the new sounds, I can't use them in improv later, right? I'll pick a different set for the next practice session. Perhaps a more experienced playah can weigh in on usage of this book.
     
  10. Berlin Chris

    Berlin Chris Member

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    "How to improvise" - Hal Crook.

    This is not a guitar-specific book. Hal Crook is a trombone player and all examples/exercises are played on piano. I´ve got lots and lots of good ideas out of the book. Timing, concentrating on pauses, playing chord tones only, focussing on upper extensions, focussing on "outside playing" (whatever that is really) an lots of other good stuff.

    It´s one of the best books I´ve found so far. Check it out....
     
  11. giggedy

    giggedy Member

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    Governor - I'd like to know as well. I looked at it, but don't know how to sight read. I am getting a little better at notation from reading Schoenberg's Theory of Harmony and trying to pay a lot more attention to the staff. Theory of Harmony is great, but it's not too great for reference. He gets into the history of harmony, and why things are the way they are. It's great for comprehensiveness, but not so much for quick reference.

    Sheets of Sounds inspired me to look at the major scale as 3 notes per string instead of the CAGED system of positions. I've been working on that first line for the economy picking, and finally after about 2 months of learning it, it's starting to come along and click. I can see myself being very very fast while using it. I also plugged it into a program I have which increases the tempo gradually until it gets to a point where you can't play it, and then it backs off the tempo until it's tiring, but still playable. It plateaus there for 5-6 times, and that's it. I found that practicing it while just adding notes to the phrase only when I was extremely comfortable with the notes already added increased my ability a lot. As soon as my mind could comprehend the notes being played that fast, and track it easily, then I could play it with feeling, and not just playing to be fast.
     
  12. giggedy

    giggedy Member

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    thanks chris!

    Brad - that gave me some ideas. I'm used to playing one scale at a time, and knowing where I am with that one scale. I'll throw in chromatic non-scale notes, but I didn't really do it with strategy all the time. I think the first strategy I'll try when I get home is to learn the positions of the D# minor pent scale while playing in C major.
     
  13. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    I wouldn't be surprised if Shawn Lane read Harmonic Experience.

    He was known to read vast amounts of books. (10 per day)
    and he had amazing recall, he remembered everything.

    I've often wondered if his "eastern" sounds had anything to do with
    Harmonic Experience. I know not.

    Al Demiola? I hear no connection to H.E.
     
  14. guitardr

    guitardr Silver Supporting Member

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    There has to be a talented teacher-musician around Boulder (doesn't have to ge a guitarist either) who can de-mystify bop, bossa, and old thru nu-school ideas for you.

    Whether it's Giant Steps or whatever, start listening to stuff with a trainer and slow it down. Snatch phrases, take them apart, and sing with them or play them. If you can get a tasty sax/trumpet or keyboard player to walk you along, that's a cool idea.

    Old school? Tal Farlow, Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis for starters.
    Newer ideas: Wayne Krantz, Oz Noy, Alan Holdsworth, Guthrie Govan, et al. Go to YouTube and get inspired too.
     
  15. giggedy

    giggedy Member

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    I've heard some Holdsworth, the guy just isn't even normal what he does. Absolutely amazing. There are a lot of musicians here, definitely. I'm going to start attending a jazz night in town someone recommended to me. He also said he could show me some things too, he plays really well.
     
  16. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    Can't sight read on guitar, or can't sight-sing?

    I only mentioned Sheets Of Sound as an example of another book that is more a repository of information that one digests a bite at a time, that's all. Other than that, one book is obviously for guitar specifically, and the other is not.
     
  17. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    Dude, the book is deep.

    But everything I finally understand
    feels like deeper truths. It just feels right.

    As deep as the book is, it really would never have caught my
    attention if it wasn't for Steve. I know, he's very difficult to understand
    as well.
    My suggestion, get the book, read the glossary, search for all the great
    posts by Steve on these subjects, get past the math. Get definitions
    ask questions and post here.

    Prerequisite, be sharp on conventional harmony and improvisation.

    And last but not least, keep it alive.

    I believe this is a process that takes years

    I also think Steve deserves a lot of praise for his
    developing this on the guitar.
    He is a modern day master of it.
    And a fine teacher.

    I mean, I didn't have a clue in my 44 years of playing.
    never read about it in Guitar player, or did I?
    and not really know was I was reading.
    I didn't learn it in college,
    not really in any of my vast book collection.

    I did not know it was an option.


    Amazing.
     
  18. giggedy

    giggedy Member

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    can't sight read or sight-sing. I just thought I would share my thoughts on Sheets of Sound, it was a little off topic. I haven't gotten past the first page in that book, I'm waiting until I can play that first line good enough. I'm up to the the 11th note as fast or as slow as I want (well, not quite as fast, but really fast). After that I can't control the medium speeds yet.
     
  19. giggedy

    giggedy Member

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    ok, I'm ordering Harmonic Theory in just a couple hours, and I originally made the post for a suggestion to add to my cart at amazon. Hal's book is a little more expensive that I would like to spend now, I'll pick that one up next month. Anything else for now?

    And yes, I would love to keep this discussion in general going.
     
  20. mike walker

    mike walker Member

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    giggedy,

    one thing about playing out is don't lose melody. I really sing the stuff i play even when it's nuts. Even when it's up there i sing. If i don't hit the notes i'm singing, i'll still hit the rhythm. Be commited to your out notes. Never play them apologetically. Feel them as you would the blues.

    http://www.mike-walker.co.uk/audio/madhouse/MikeWalker-InTwoMinds.mp3
     

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