Critique my summer practice plan, please!

(52 posts)
  1. JorgeRubiales

    Floatingbridge, what you mean is that most of my goals are explained in brett willmot's book? That's because I'm studying from that one heheh. I haven't come to the chapter when they talk about substitutions etc. but it's nice to know that there's more to study there ^_^

    By diatonic substitution I mean subbing chords of the same function (in C, subbing Em or Am for C, and that might include sevenths).

    It think piano players tend to sound more advanced harmonically because they tend to integrate the melody inside the chord, and that's more difficult to us poor guitar players. But hey, they can't bend a note, can't they? lol

  2. JorgeRubiales

    Well, after meeting my teacher and your advice, I've come up with a pretty good list for a 6 month practice.


    - m7b5 arpeggio
    - harmonic minor, melodic minor and diminished scale
    - drop 2 vocings 1234 and 2345 strings of: maj7, m7, 7, m7b5, maj7#5, m6, 6, 7#5, 7b5, 7sus4, dim7, m(maj7)
    - improvising using chord tones only over "what is this thing called love", "i got rhythm", "yardbird suite" and similar.
    - chord melody: learn arrangements for Waltz for Debbie and Time Remembered
    - A bach violin sonata without open strings.
    - ear training: all intervals up to an octave; chords up to seventh, all inversions.
    - Transcription (many tunes, I need gigs and will be from all kind of styles)

    We've decided to drop m7#5, maj7b5 and dim(maj7) vocings from the chord list, because they're kind of "special" chords, in the sense that you don't see them often in charts. Also, he told me to put emphasis on practicing over tunes, so as long as I can play some exercise slowly but clean, I take it to a tune (or a fragment), in various keys.

    I think I'm sticking to this as strictly as I can, and I'll tell you on december how it went. If anyone wants to go on this one with me, tell how is it going for you!

  3. silverwater

    Not going to practice maj7b5 (Lydian) chords? That kind of eliminates you from playing most tunes by Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock...

    Not to mention that it works really well on the IV chord, and any Maj7 chord with a non-diatonic root...most soloists will play Lydian on these chords, even if the chart doesn't specifically call for it.

  4. JorgeRubiales

    Strictly speaking, those are #11, not b5 chords. I have already one or two vocings for those, but right now I think it's no a necessary investment to learn four inversions over two sets of strings of a chord that doesn't appear that much compared to the others I'm ging to practice.

    I didn't mean I won't eventually learn every chord in every inversion, but this is a 6 month goal, and I'll have to pass an audition, so I need to focus.

  5. silverwater

    98% of the time when a maj7#11 chord pops up on a chart, I don't play the 5th in my chord voicing, so I'm effectively playing a maj7b5 chord. The 5th is probably last my (and a lot of others') list of tones to play in a voicing when I run across a maj7#11 chord, I'm more interested in the playing a 3rd, 7th, #11, root, 9th, and even a 13th before I play a 5th, at least when it comes to voicing the chord.

    I'm telling ya dude they're worth investing in...maybe it doesn't seem that way now, but the more you progress the more you're going to be playing with people that will call tunes from the 60s like the ones by Wayne and Joe that have that sound.

    I hope I'm not being annoying, it's certainly not my intention, but here's what I would do if were in your situation:

    Scratch the m(maj7) off your list and add maj7b5 to your list (keeping in mind that they're really to played for maj7#11).

    I'd choose the m(maj7) to axe because if you're going to learn maj7#5 voicings, then you're already learning a superior Herbie-esque voicing to play over a m(maj7) chord. You just play your maj7#5 voicing a minor third up from the root of the m(maj7) chord.

    For example, is the chart calls for a Bm(maj7) chord, play a Dmaj7#5, or if it calls for a Gm(maj7), play a Bbmaj7#5 chord. (I chose these two chords because it's exactly what Herbie does on Pinocchio)

    Just my two cents.

  6. jorgemg1984

    The name should be #11 because the chord has a perfect 5, the b5 is used on chords without a perfect 5. Thats a great a chord to play all the triads contained on the 1 3 5 7 9 #11 13, specially UST. The pentatonic half-step before (Bm7 on Cmaj7#11) is also a great choice - Time Remembered by Bill Evans is a good tune to deal with those chords and Chris Cheek solo ("I Wish I Knew" CD) is brilliant.

  7. silverwater

    Yeah jorgemg1984, that's what I was trying to get at. I don't think I've ever seen a major7b5 chord on a chart that wasn't really meant to be labeled a maj7#11. I think it it's just the old way of making leadsheet notation, similar to how you see Dom7b5 on old charts, when you really know they mean #11. (ala Beautiful Love, Bernies tune, etc).

    I think the "b5" labeling in those charts was just to let the chord player know to substitute the 5th with the #11, either that or the transcribers didn't know the difference. But the 5th was substituted for to avoid playing the #11 in a higher register, to leave the soloist the option of playing the natural 5th and not have it me just a minor second away.

    C Maj 7 b5...C D E F Gb A B...that would be a pretty unusual sound, even for someone like myself that gravitates towards unusual sounds.


    "Cmaj7b5" on a chart =Cmaj7#11=C Lydian

    "C7b5" on a chart (usually) =C7#11=C Lyd. Dominant

  8. gleepglop

    It depends, if you're in the key of F and B7b5 shows up, it's really b5, not #11. If you have non-tonal harmony, then it often makes more sense to describe the actual chord (which is b5), since #11 implies a scale choice that may unnecessarily restrict the improviser.

    In the end, both symbols are valid and improvisers/accompanists need to use their judgment as to how they interpret them.

    As a composer, I tend to prefer the "b5" symbol unless I specifically want a #11. For me, it comes down to whether I hear the b5/#11 as a chord tone or an extension.

  9. JorgeRubiales

    We're talkin Maj7b5 here, so no dominant chord. I don't think it refers neither to a Maj7#11.

    I took this from Brett Willmot's book, and it's organized in seventh chords, and then tensions. This is the 7th chord section, so no reason to assume #11

    I agree with silverwater that most of the time we see it on a chart, it really means maj7#11, but we should be careful and not eliminate the chance to find a "real" maj7b5 chord, for example in inner voice movement type of progressions, maybe like this: Cmaj7b5 | Cmaj7 | Am9/C
    (the b5 moving up).

  10. jorgemg1984

    Actually chord notation is very confuse and both real books and aebersolds are horrible in that particular. #11 is not the fifht note of lydian or lydian dominant, its the fourth. The fith is 5.

    Jorge I think voice leading doesnt justify that notation. If you have the 11 of a minor chord going to the fifth do you notate Cm7(4) Cm7?

    I think extensions should always be notated as they are (9 11 13). There are some exceptions, usually when you put C6 it means the 7 is not present and the 6 is a chord tone and when you put Cmaj7(13) you will have both. This also happens with triads sus2 and sus4, 3 is not present and 2 and 4 are the structural notes.

    I dont see the 5 as being an avoid note on a #11 chord, i do 5 7 (or b7) 3 #11 voicing a lot on this chords (and kurt also btw), obviously they clash if played as a minor 2nd (even 7 and 1 and lots of other examples) and the #11 is much more important then 5 but its not replacing it! b5 exists on m7b5 chords where you have a 11 and the b5 is the fifth note of the scale.

    The altered scale ins the only dubious to me because its such a special scale - in theory you would spell with 1 b2 b3 b4 b5 b6 b7 but in real life it means 1 b2 #2 3 #4 b6 b7 or 1 b2 #2 3 b5 #5 b7.

  11. silverwater

    Jorgemg1984: "...and the #11 is much more important then 5 but its not replacing it!"

    I agree with that 100%, and I think it has been the source of a lot of confusion with leadsheet makers. When people comping 3-4 note chords over the years have avoided the 5th and replaced it with the spicier #11, it's caused transcribers to just write down "b5".

    And I also agree that the 5 is not an avoid note on either a maj7#11 or a dom7#11, especially as a soloist.

    I don't think I've ever seen a "real majb5" chord on a jazz chart. Modally speaking, it's bizarre, because by definition, it MUST create a sequence of 3 notes, each a semitone apart: M3,P4,b5. Even in the Eastern scales of Double Harmonic Major and Double Harmonic Minor, which have 2 semitones back to back, you can't stack any sequence of thirds directly on top of each other to create a maj7b5 chord.

    JorgeRubiales: I've never seen this book by Brett Wilmont, but I'm sure his "maj7b5" are just chords for the Lydian mode.

  12. ... ( just to ruin your plans for getting rid of those 3 chords) try these instead of ( or over a ii V I in C):

    Dmin7# 5 ( or Amn7#5) / Fºmaj7 ( or Bºmaj7 ) / Cmaj7b5.

  13. JorgeRubiales

    Floatingbridge, I can't look at that progression right now, but I'll play it this afternoon and tell you what I hear ;)

    silverwater, I think this kind of chords come from a vertical harmony, that's why I chose to show an example with a voice moving. Don't we see A7sus | A7 all the time on charts? It's the same, a voice that moves and produces other chords. They're not usually notated, but who says that we can't do it?

  14. ... you WON'T look at it because the power of the forum is far more compelling.

  15. JorgeRubiales

    Hahah I did!! I really like the m7#5 sound, but you really have to voice lead well to make that diminished fit in there. Cool sounding, it reminds me of a song from Brian Blade's fellowship, don't remember the name though.

  16. not that bad, just voice lead period ; some positions will put you in the inversions you like for certain chords.
    incidentally,maj7b5 can also be used for 6th mode of harmonic minor. A harmonic minor( Fmaj7b5). not common, just another use.

  17. JorgeRubiales

    Whoa! I totally missed that one! I had a typo in my notes, and wrote m7b5 off the 6th degree melodic minor scale, when it's a maj7b5

  18. gleepglop

    6th degree of melodic minor is m7b5, Floatingbridge was saying that 6th degree of harmonic minor is maj7b5 (actually maj7b5#9)

  19. JorgeRubiales

    Man, really, I have to stop writing before coffee...

  20. true that gleepbop. just dont stop drinking coffee in the first place.

  21. JorgeRubiales

    Mmm, intravenous caffeine....

  22. silverwater

    "silverwater, I think this kind of chords come from a vertical harmony, that's why I chose to show an example with a voice moving. Don't we see A7sus | A7 all the time on charts? It's the same, a voice that moves and produces other chords. They're not usually notated, but who says that we can't do it?"

    Yeah I hear what you're saying, and from a chord comper's perspective your progression of Cmaj7b5 | Cmaj7 | Am9/C makes sense a lot of sense to write it out that way.

    However I again must assert the need to recognize modally what is taking place here: Movement of the top voice through the Lydian mode, over a Cmaj7 chord.


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