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Need help with reharmonization

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by gbf, Apr 13, 2004.


  1. Could you guys explain to me what reharmonization is and how it works? I've read about it alot and I'm clueless about what it is. If you have any sites and/or articles about it would help too.

    so :help: me guys :D

    thanks already
     
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    In it's broadest sense, reharmonization is taking a melody and "reorganizing" its harmonic structure (ie the chord progression). Which you can do in any number of ways.

    You can use chord "substitutions"- chords that fill the same function as another chord because they contain enough of the same notes or shared tones.

    You can "extend" the harmonic underpinning by implying modulations (basically just setting up some dominant chords ahead of your "target" tonality.

    You can abandon any relation to the current function and treat the section as creatively as your imagination and ear allow. Minor becomes major, everything becomes a dominant, major becomes minor, extended passages of one tonality become sections where every melody note is harmonized.

    You kinda need a good foundation in hearing this stuff, it's not really something that is well conveyed in an article. Mark Levine's JAZZ THEORY book will cover some of the material, and there's soem other paino player who may be Dick Katz or Dick Hyman that has a fake book that has some nice reharms fo standard tunes. So if you know the tune, you can kind of get where he is coming from with the reharm, how he's hearing the tune.

    I guess a simple analogy would be - driving to Philadelphia. If you know where Philadelphia is, in relation to where you are, the more familiar you are with all the roads and shortcuts and backways, the less you need to stay on the Garden State Parkway. And if you really want to go by way of Harrisburg, you can.
     
  3. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    You first have to get a handle on how to harmonize a melody. A text book on harmonization will give you a good foundation on that and it also helps if you do the excercise yourself i.e. take a melody and harmonize it i.e. select some chords for it that make the melody sound fuller.

    Here's a simple harmonization of the C major scale:

    CMaj7 Dmin7 Emin7 FMaj7 G7 Amin7 Bmin7b5

    Here's another:

    Emin FMaj GMaj Amin Bdim CMaj Dmin

    * Assume each note of the C major scale is a whole note.
     
  4. Ed and all the fellas in the big town;

    Are reharms generally worked out before you hit the bandstand, or are you pretty much at the mercy of the chordmeister? Are there certain "standard" reharms for certain tunes? Howzat work?
     
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Kinda depends. If somebody has something tricky for the head, they'll generally give you a heads' up. Once you're into solos, it's kind of expected that you keep your ears open.

    If there is an extensive reharmonization/arrangement you generally get a chart or a verbal rundown "You played 26/2 before? No, OK it's CONFIRMATION with Trane changes and here's where the bridge goes" kind of thing.
     
  6. bass_means_LOW

    bass_means_LOW

    Apr 12, 2004
    Las Vegas
    You get up there, use your ear and play. Remembering a time playing with Buddy Montgomery. He started playing "Afternoon in Paris" a song at the time I was unfamiliar with. I hunkered down and felt the pedals thru the tune. After the song, Buddy was smiling. I said, "Sorry about that Bubby." He said, "What do you mean? I thought you were just throwing some hip pedals on me." Just shows to go ya.
     
  7. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    But Buddy wasn't really reharming the A section, right? You were just trying to hear the changes to the tune. If he had reharmed the head so that it was an Abaug going to a G7, and you DID know the tune, well you see where I'm going.

    I used to hear Buddy play (trio) at the Parker Meridien in midtown in the late 80s, were you in that trio? Oh, and if you haven't checked it out yet, there's an interview with Neal Miner in the FEATURES section, he has a funny story about sitting in with that group.
     
  8. We were talking about Buddy on another thread having to do with non-reading "ear players" His ears are something else. But so were Wes'. Another one was Flip Nunez...I worked with these guys in the Bay Area. You know Flip Ed?
     
  9. bass_means_LOW

    bass_means_LOW

    Apr 12, 2004
    Las Vegas
    [QUOTE+bass_means_LOW]I see where your going!:) I played with buddy in Oakland for a minute. What a magnificent musician and composer. Handy told me a story that I tend to believe. He said that when the Montgomery brothers hit NYC in 1956, all the cats in town went down to the Village to check out Buddy on piano, not so much Wes or Monk.
     
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Flip Phillips, yes, Flip Nunez, no.
    How bout those MasterSounds? Wes, Monk and Buddy, who was on drums?
     
  11. bass_means_LOW

    bass_means_LOW

    Apr 12, 2004
    Las Vegas
    Benny Barth did it for a long time. (I had to call Bruce Forman for that answer.)
     
  12. This is gonna be like old home week...Low, please say hi to Bruce...We use to play alot together. And yeah, it was Benny but there's someone we're missing .And speaking of Flip Phillips did you guys ever see his Gall Stones? He had a whole bunch taken out and had them gold plated and made into a huge necklace!
    Going back to this thread....There are some tunes that have been re-harmed to the point that some of the young guys don't even know the original changes. A case in point is "I Can't Get Started With You" I think Mingus was the guy that first came up with that B- to E7 Bb to Eb7 ETC. I sometimes suggest alternating these changes with the originals, or at least using the originals on the head.......PROBLEM--some people don't know the originals. With the advent of the Real Book guys are looking in there for the definative changes for a tune and don't have a hint of what the original changes really are. A pet peeve of mine.
     
  13. Paul: how do know you've got the original changes to a standard with so many variations in so many books (unless you were born when they first came out? :D ) let alone recordings.

    And to flip this about, book changes often don't tell you the changes that all the other hip guys usually use (Ok - tell me to use my ears! :eek: ). I got books giving loads of options as played by various great and good. I started to wonder if there was an original and did it matter anyway?

    BTW Paul - on the some principal, do you play Fly me to the Moon (its either that or Beautiful Love - not sure at the mo) in the original 3/4? I can never imagine it but its what it says at the foot of the tune on Chers Vol 1 (oops - just admitted to a fake book).
     
  14. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    FLY ME TO THE MOON (or SING AMONG THE STARS) was originally in a waltz. You find out the original key and changes by going to the original lead sheet, published by the composer (well, his/her company). And you can find many many strange changes, long sections over static harmony, a change evry two bars instead of every two beats.

    It's important because of the way that game TELEPHONE works. If what you are playing is a version of a version of a version (especially if it's a version transcribed by a Berklee student) you will have a hard time understanding the essence of the song. If you can't undersand the essence of a song, it can become just a series of changes (one of the 119 basic progressions, remember that?) and whatever the composer was trying to communicate with THAT melody and THAT harmony can get lost.

    The same way "Britney Spears defecates on the head of a small weasel" becomes "Bret and I definitely can't make the dead eat a boll weevil". If the TELEPHONE line is long enough.

    If I read PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST, I can open avenues of thought and consideration. If what I am working from is somebody's best recollection of what PORTRAIT was about and dealt with, my own thoughts and considerations are coloured by the "filter" that my understanding came through.

    edit - right, IN OTHER WORDS. I must have Jazzheimer's, you start forgetting titles and changes.
     
  15. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I always thought those were Dizzy's changes. I think I read that in his book, I'll go check this weekend,
     
  16. Yes it can Ed, but this is getting into folkies territory or going back to using hard to play original instruments in the classical field. Should every piece of music be intimatley studied like a classical conductor does before approaching performance? What about the mass approariation of standards for be-bop blast-aways like Cherokee, Beautiful Love, Indiana etc. No-one will ever truly know what the composer was up to - quite often it might have been 'lets try and write a hit' and they often did.

    Now I know you haven't argued for preserving things is aspic, so perhaps we need a Smithsonian archive of songs so we can always re-refer to the original, even if it was composed on a Friday afternoon before a weekend date. Many a composer (Minugs too) revised there work, and the classical mob are always arguing about the relative merits of each version and which best reflects the composers intention. Trouble is, composers never wrote what they meant and the music they left behind didn't always expain it. And when it comes to standards, I know you will be one that has read the lyrics. Go on - tell me how meaningful most of them are. You heard Miles famous rendition of Blue Room after doing Cold Turkey - pure heart-rendingly beautiful - now read the words.

    BTW, in UK we the Telephone game is Chinese Whispers. If you want to be horrifed about re-harms and intentions hows about this then: our tenor payer comes in with a transcription he's done of a tune called A Pint of Bitter. We were impressed. The chords were odd. "How did you get them down?" we asked. "Oh", come the reply, "I just clicked the harmonize icon in Band-in-a-Box once I'd worked out the melody". This is how its gonna be - GBF - don't worry about re-harm, someone will have a program somewhere to do it soon if not already :bawl: .
     
  17. msw

    msw

    Aug 21, 2003
    Massachusetts
    I think you're right Ed. Those changes first appeared on the 1945 record that had Red Norvo, Dizzy, Bird, Slam Stewart, , Flip Phillips, J.C. Heard and Teddy Wilson. You hear, on I Can't Get Started, the B-7 E7, Bb-7 Eb7 etc. w/ a specific bkrd. melody as well.
     
  18. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Yes, it's just like that.
    Sigh. What is it with you Brits and yer nits? Did you not like the Joyce analogy cause he's Irish? No, CRUMPET, it's not like playing Tommy Dorsey tunes on sackbut. Think of it more like trying to write a book report (what do they call those in Perfidious Albion?). And instead of getting to read the book, you have to have the plot described to you by someone else. Their entire take on the book is going to be based on THEIR experiences and THEIR range of knowledge. So rather than you forming your own thoughts and feelings based on the book, you are at a remove. Your understanding is colored by THEIR understanding. Plus you don't get the whole beauty of the language, the way stuff sits on the page pretty much the whole "artist manipulating their medium" part of reading.

    Now I don't know how much you play this music so I don't know if I'm preaching to the choir here or giving you an insight you haven't had before, so bear with me.
    Sometimes, when cats are coming up in this music, the lead sheet is GOD. You play THAT chord change every time through every chorus every time you play that tune. Well, you get to the point that the chnages of the tune are a loose harmonic framework that your ears can guide you through in a multitude of ways. And so, when everybody else in the band is basing what they are playing on a dominant 7 b9#9b13 chord, but the original change was a simple diminished chord, suddenly the world you are looking at is not the same world they are looking at. Not good players don't really hear it, and goodplayers hear it and it can make everybody very vague and thoughtful and listening really hard to try to understand what everybody else is hearing in that part of the tune. Kind of like us typing here and suddenly I start using this one phrase or some words in Farsi. Sudeenly instead of a free and open exchange of information, you got to remove yourself and scan for context, any other clues that might provide meaning. And once you've done that, you aren't in the moment anymore.

    It gets worse when what you're reading is an incorrect transcription off a record that the cat playing wasn't quite sure of what the change was, so he just played THIS chord cause it kinda made sense.
     
  19. Dude, you just described Cliff's Notes.



    Come to think of it the Real Book is a lot like Cliff's Notes!
     
  20. You could'a said Finegan's Wake, a book I have started at least twice - is this Farsi? :D
    No Ed, Tommy Dorsey had have to be played on a 30s 'bone which is fine but for bass players to sound authentic, maan that is painful on the hands and the pocket for those expensive guts. Book reports are reviews over here. Talking of perfidy, I've just read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (miaow!!).
    Ok - point taken but problems:
    Books and music are an impressice analogy - music without words is entirely abstract. You can make of it what you will and how it affects you. So do arrangers of light music who commit crimes against humantity by turning every tune into a an insipid jollity. There is a school of thought that its all just a vehicle and well, you are free to abuse it as you will. Like say Handel who recycled soemwhat profane excerpts to sacred use in the Messiah?

    This is sort of what Miles did to Blue Room, a melody of great potential otherwise a song with few other redeeming features. Miles again, went and upset Zawinal on 'In A Silent Way' by ditching Zawinal's rather good and cherished harmonisation for a modal approach.

    At least Miles got the original and his thoughts from the horses mouth. So in the end, it comes down to personal integrity I supose :confused: ? Am I going to interpret this tune in the knowledge of having read the original or treat it with the limitations of just what I know at the moment? Often you don't have the option, but yeah, I see the value in this. (I can do a bit of nerdishness -'I know what you don't - na na na ne na na').

    In my experience jazz education has a role in all this, as it is constantly urging people to consider options to the extent that the original never gets a look-in and nobody cares - at all - never crosses the mind to get to the other side.

    Funnily enough or not funny at all, I used to go round to my Grans when she was alive with a keyboard so we could have a singalong of most things from 1910 to about 1950. A great education. I was always saying to the band when they'd found a new tune - guys, if you knew what this was about you'd look at it a little differently.

    I know what you're talkin' about for the rest but thanks for mentioning it - you can never assume. (Note I didn't say I was playin' this way - sometimes - and sometimes just becuase I can usually follow accidents)

    Yup, I guess it's all down to integrity, which although I don't think I've seen you use the word, it is a recurring theme of yours and I applaud you for it. :hyper: All respect due.

    ps one case you don't make but I think is valid is an understanding of the social and technical context in which music is created. For instance, those trad plonky rythmn sections playing for three minutes were a product of the recording and playback equipment of the time, and at that time this was black music to dance to. A lame eg but you get the drift.