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Question about "The Chordal Approach"

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by Maleski, Jun 14, 2001.


  1. Michael,

    I'm assuming you're the same Michael T Dimin who wrote the book "The Chordal Approach." I've been trying to make sense of the logic of basic chord progressions, and I've found this book lays it out really well (better than any other I've found). I've never understood substitutions as well as I do now that I've read through this book. However, I have a question or two from the first chapter.

    1) In chapter I you cover the standard I-IV-V blues progression, but the examples uses strictly dominant 7th chords. Now, I know that in rock and blues the rule is "break the rules," so I don't really expect to see strict adherance to jazz theory. Should I just forget about playing a natural 7th in these styles of music?

    2) Here's something that puzzles me a little more - also in chapter I you cover the IIm7-V7 progression. Now we're getting to something much more characteristic of jazz. I would expect the V7 to lead to a Imaj7, but in the example you move from (key of F) Gm7 to C7 to F7. Why wouldn't you play a Fmaj7 here?

    Thanks for your consideration, and I'm glad I stumbled onto your forum here!

    MMaleski
     
  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Yeah, it's me - hiding out in talkbass land. I'm glad the book has been helpful. Let's see if I remember what (and why) I wrote the things I did.

    The blues is a unique theoretical beast. The I, IV and V chords are all dominant 7th chords. The blues does not have Western Classical music roots. It's roots are in Africa and the American South of the 1700's and 1800's. The harmonies are much more related to the blues melodies than to any music theory text. Jazz is a direct decendent of blues. In today's music, they are inseperable.

    To answer your first questions, I started out the form with all dominant 7th chords as tradition dictates. I wouldn't totally forego the natural 7th, but I would be clear with the other musicians on just what the chord your playing is. You really don'f find a whole lot of major 7th chords in blues and rock - they're just too pretty sounding.

    The reharmonization theories I present are almost a chronological tracing of what has happened to blues over it's 150 year history, as the blues has entwined itself with Jazz. Now, you can precede any chord by it's related II-V. The resolution is strongest to the major chord, but the reharmonization techniques developed by countless jazz musicians has made the II-V resolution part of the musical vocabulary. It works going to major, dominant or minor chords [albeit a II-7(b5) to a V7(b9)].

    I believe we create music and develop rules or theories to communicate or teach the concepts but the music itself has no theory.

    Mike
     
  3. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    BTW

    Book II, "The Art of Solo Bass" will be out shortly

    Mike
     
  4. Mike,

    Thanks for the reply! I guess my problem was assuming that jazz is supposed to follow western music theory fairly strictly. Not sure why I thought that - I guess because I find jazz chord progressions to be much more complex than a 12 bar blues.

    I once asked my Music Theory professor (in college, years ago...an elective class not in my major) why the subject was called "Music THEORY." If we were dealing with a set of rules which could be applied time and again and were proven correct, shouldn't the subject be "Music LAW." I remember not being satisfied with the answer then, but now I understand!

    v/r
    MMaleski
     
  5. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Western musical theory is kind of a moving target. It changes to accomodate musical realities. And anybody who has taken apart a few jazz tunes harmonically realizes how important 7ths (often with altered notes and extensions) are to the lexicon.

    Then there is chord stacking and quartal harmonizing -- just to make those thirds-based naming conventions all the more difficult to apply. Heh. Why can't music just stay the same so it'll all fit the rules I learned in Serious Music 201? And that damn Debussy didn't help matters any either! ; }

    <-- greenboy ---<<<<
     
  6. Hey, solo bass, neato. I was interested in getting into solo bass, and it can't hurt it'll only be good to learn some of that. I've asked some questions to you and Mr Lawson, but I think a book will be good too, where can I get those books?
     
  7. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author &quot;The Art of Solo Bass&quot;
    The Chordal Approach is available directly from my site at www.michaeldimin.com

    The Art of Solo Bass, when finished should also be available there (depending on if I publish it myself or if someone else picks up the publishing)

    Mike
     
  8. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    At the risk of repeating myself, I heartily recommend Mike's book - it's a fine introduction to the ideas and approaches relating to playing chords and chord/melody type pieces on bass.

    On top of that, he's published it himself, so you're not paying over the odds for copyright clearance on a load of meaningless photos of Sting and Jaco, like in so many other books... Just good solid information.

    cheers

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  9. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author &quot;The Art of Solo Bass&quot;
    Steve,

    please, please please keep repeating yourself.

    Mike

    BTW,
    when do i get invited to perform at one of these "looping festivals". I might have to start an East Coast version and not invite any of you west coasters (or Brits for that matter)
     
  10. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Mike

    PLEASE do an east cost festival!! There are loads of loopers in NY state area - get together and do a festival. Don't bother inviting people from outside (unless it's me... :oops:)

    Get onto the loopers digest discussion list as www.loopers-delight.com and get organising! I'm going to do one in London later this year...

    ...and if you're ever in the UK, or in California, let me know and I'll hook you up with some gigs...

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  11. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Um...yeah....Steve! Hehe.

    Mike, don't know where you are located, but it'd be nice to see both of you perform here on the East Coast. :)