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Elevating oneself

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by Alex Scott, Mar 12, 2004.

  1. I said resolve itself through working on intervallic relationships and harmony overall. I don't suffer under the delusion that it will just go away.
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I still think it's the other way around, working out the problem (I don't hear the difference between the tonic and the 4th or the 5th, Eb or Bb or F) by singing the intervals ( tonic to 4th, tonic to 5th, tonic to 11th , tonic to 12th) BEFORE you move on to singing the chords (F in root FAC, in 1st inversion ACF
    in 2nd inversion CFA) is what's going to "resolve" it. You're not going to successfully hear and sing a 3rd inversion dominant b9 chord without being able to hear and sing tonic to fifth or fifth to tonic.

    Slow and steady is what gets you there. No foundation, house falls down.
  3. Right, but by working on melodies against root notes of a chord progression, that's exactly what I am doing....right? Or am I missing something in what you're saying?

    Addition: Ed, crap, I realized you are right. I said "chords" in my first post but what I really meant was two note intervals/harmonies, but I didn't really mean chords - I just play those, I don't sing those as of yet.
  4. You said it yourself. You don't have a singing problem, you have a hearing problem. I can remember experiencing the same thing - I would be improvising over a tune, either in my head or on my instrument, and by and by I would find myself in a key center a 4th or 5th away from where I should have been. It seems to me you should first make sure you are hearing the root motion correctly. See if you can identify the interval between each root, then hum or sing them in succession. Once that is solidified, you can add the other chord tones, but even if you're singing the third of a chord, you should still be hearing its root, so you maintain the integrity of the progression in your head. As you alluded to, the fifth of a chord does nothing to define its quality (except in the case of a flat five) so I would focus more on thirds and sevenths. Two tunes which are excellent studies for this are All The Things and Fly Me to the Moon, as they both have an abundance of thirds and sevenths in the melody.
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Yes you are missing something, I'm not talking about singing melodies or melodic lines here, I'm talking about ear training. You know "here's F, sing a perfect 12th. OK do it with a different bass note. OK, you hear how you are pulling a little flat on the top pitch OR OK, you hear how when you sing it the second time you are letting the bass note move around?"

    So that when you hear a series of notes/pitches, it locks into a structure, in your mind's ear. Like seeing a constellation form out of a chaos of stars. or maybe more like recognizing a molecule, even though you are looking at it from a different angle, because you immediately recognize its unique construction. Your ear training/singing work gets you to the point that you don't make the mistake/mis-hearing of the tonic/4th/5th when transcribing or singing a melodic line against the harmony. You don't have to stop and read it, or figure out what color it is or shape, you stop at the STOP sign because you know it's a STOP sign. You don't pause for thought, it happens because the meaning has been absorbed.
  6. In that each interval has a distinct quality to it, it may be helpful to associate a familiar melody with each one, as a mnemonic device. Example: Theme form Star Trek = minor 7th, Here Comes the Bride = P4th, the NBC signature = M6TH, etc.
  7. I'm doing what my teacher suggested and thinks is appropriate for ear training. And I still don't really see how singing a set of intervals (melody note over root note) is different from singing a set of intervals (interval note over root note).
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    There's the SLIMGALLITOE I know and love.

    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. As I said earlier to MOOK, working with your teacher with their methodology is going to be more productive in many ways than trying to apply suggestions in absentia from strangers on the web. However, in an effort to get you to shut up and pay attention to me, please ponder the following analogy. Not to see if it is a good analogy, not to critique as to whether or not it is the best analogy that cold be used in the situation, merely to see if it communicates my point any further.

    Singing a melody note (really more specifcially LINE, intervallic work is point to point, melodic work is points in a line) is much like Our Hero Larry Bird drilling plays with the team. He's out there in a somewhat artificial situation, but one that mimics actual game play as closely as it can while still maintaining the idea that you are working on/practicing concepts or ideas.

    Intervallic ear training is Our Hero Larry Bird standing 3 point distance about 4:30 from the board practicing left handed jump shots. Over and over again. Then moving over a foot and practicing them. etc.

    Concrete. Abstract. Concrete. Abstract. Concrete. Abstract. Till the abstract starts informing the concrete.

    I do this a lot. Ray does this a lot. Tom Baldwin does this a lot. Chris Fitzgerald does this a lot. You don't do this a lot. Maybe you want to do a little more listening and a lot less picking at nits.
  9. Ed, I AM listening to you. I basically end up working on about one bar of a melody at a time, though, which I just think is really similar. I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want to know, and when I say "I don't understand" something, that's what I *really* mean, I am not patronizing you, picking nits, or anything. If you were standing right here, or if you were my teacher, I would ask the same thing. I don't trust you because you are an Authority, I trust you because I understand you and your ideas make sense. So I am just trying to ask why A and not B.

    OK? I'll "shut up" as you suggest, now.
  10. I don't know if you're already doing this, so just tell me to shuddup if you are, but it sounds to me like you need to be singing both notes of the interval. This may allow you to lock in to the distance between the two notes. Also, the exercise you describe can be learned by rote. Instead, or in addition, have someone (or a computer) quiz you by playing random intervals for you to identify. In school, we would be quizzed first with melodic intervals (the two notes played separately), then harmonic intervals (played together). In either case, sing to yourself first the bottom note and then the top note. Get away from the idea that either one has to be the root. Could be the 3rd and b9, doesn't matter. You just want to be able to recognise the distance. So sing both pitces in succession. Sing the note names as you sing the pitches. "A,F#" then sing the name of the interval - the word "Major" on the bottom note, the word "sixth" on top. As you sing the notes, picture them in the staff, on the keyboard, and on your bass. Eventually it should start to sink in. If you can find someone else who wants to work on it with you, you can quiz each other. Then go paint each other up. Paint the town. Night out on the town, right? Sizzlechest?
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Well damn now SLIM, it sure don't come across that way. But if I caught a huff, I apologize. But a lotta the time it sounds like "Why are you telling me that, I don't find it to be so" and I'm just saying you don't find it to be so because you don't have the same range of experience. If that's not what you mean, I'll try to be less tender and sensitive and snivelling.

    We cool?

    But does what I said make it any clearer? Does what Tom said make it any clearer? Is it clearer?
  12. It is much clearer, thank you. I know I can be infuriating in that respect, but honestly all I need is to understand it. I obviously respect all of your guys ranges of expereince, and that's why I hang out here for free advice. But I can't do something (nor would you advocate, I am sure) just 'because', only because it does me more good to understand its context. I understood mechanically the difference between the two, but not really *why* they are different in their results/intention. Your basketball analogy helped with that, although I would counter that it definitely ain't Larry Bird that's doing the practicing in my case ;-)
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Remember that anytime you play something "by ear", you are really playing a series of intervals intuitively. It might help you to do some formal or informal "testing" on yourself to see which intervals consistently give you the most trouble, then focus on clearing those up. Like I always tell my classes, the 12 intervals are our alphabet (in terms of pitch, anyway). If we want to be good writers (or even readers), we damn well ought to know them. Most people have real trouble with only a few of the intervals, but few actually take the trouble to try to quantify which are "easy" for them and which are hard. This in itself can shed a lot of light on the subject.

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