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<br/> <b>Strict Standards</b>: Non-static method BP_Options::get() should not be called statically in <b>/home/actidemann/</b> on line <b>9</b><br/> Quartal harmony adaptation over standards « The Kurt Rosenwinkel Forum

Quartal harmony adaptation over standards

(18 posts)
  1. Sandemose

    How do you guys practice this? Lets say over a tune like "Autumn Leaves" i Gm, starting on a Cm7 chord. This question can be devided into two sections, harmony and linear playing.

    How would you guys imply the changing of chords when they belong to the same key: Cm, F7, Bbmaj, Emaj.

    Like this perhaps? x-x-10-10-11-11 (Cm11), x-x-8-8-10-10 (F13add4NoRoot), x-x-7-7-8-8 (Bbmaj13), x-x-5-5-6-6 (Ebmaj13). Could one work with chordal pairs, the basic chord + a stack of fourths?

    How do you guys practice quartal leaps, in your linear improvised solos? Or using fourth as a device to create tension and outside sounds?The fourth interval is very hard to execute with flow esp. more than three in a row. Any ideas?

    I think that this concept of jazz is very important, a very significant sound for the genre but I havent grasped it by far yet. Any ideas are appreciated deeply.

    best, Sandemose

  2. monk

    "How would you guys imply the changing of chords when they belong to the same key: Cm, F7, Bbmaj, Emaj."

    I would highly recommend nailing straight 8th note arpeggio over these changes. Then add in diatonic passing tones.

    It opened the door to playing for me.

  3. Sandemose

    Yeah, absolutly, but how would you imply the chord changes using stacks of fourths? Harmonically and linear?

    Best regards,


  4. animitta

    Totally agree with monk : ).
    Arpeggios, closed or broken kind, seems to me the best way to play through every type of changes.
    Also trying to play motifs using part of the arpeggio. And some melodic pattern. Threating every chord as one kind (be bop style) instead to "glue" them together with just one scale cause they all refer to the same tonality.

    All the Best

  5. Sandemose

    This is not about how to navigate through diatonic harmony overall. Everyone remotly familiar with jazz knows that chordtones together with passing tones is the foundation for improvisation. But there are alot of other ways as well, using quartal harmony one of the most common and thats what I want to know more about. What you guys says is absolutly true, but a bit off topic.

    Best, Sandemose

  6. steepcreeks

    I suck at music but..
    I do Hanon exercises using quartal voicings for the purpose of exercise and so that my ear is attune with leaps (usually no more than a Maj or Min third typically for me), although I'm pretty linear when playing Quartal voicings. I'm still trying to work the m.m. quartal voicings into my playing, can't wait to have it's harmonies digested and shapes engrained. One thing I do from time to time for ii-V-I maj is ignore the ii-V and just focus on the one and play lydian quartal voicings over it. I do that all the time on Bluesette.

    One other thing I love to do with Quartal voicings is fingerpicking every other string (strings 1&3,2&4,3&5,4&6) so you are harmonizing 7th's, I particularly do this a lot on ballads where there is time for the sound to really soak in with listeners ears.

    Rick Peckham also has a nice instructional vid all about quartal playing.

    Like I said, I suck ( sound clips to prove it, lol :)) and play very basic and inside but am fortunate enough to play around 170 jazz gigs a year right now so I'm def learning fast and can't wait to get the m.m. bag of sounds added into my playing.

  7. Sandemose

    Yo steepcreeks!

    This was exactly what I was looking for. Great advice on the that lydian quartal harmony voicings! Im listening to Bluesette right now and I think you play really really great. I hear you use this quartal device really musically. I will probably get in contact with you via your homepage. I was very impressed with your playing. Thanks again, and best regards,


  8. animitta

    Sorry Sandemose,
    i had not intention to offend your intelligence with a not so related answer. I just thought that before to learn to "run" everyone need to learn to "walk". Hope you catch my analogy.
    If you are ready to run then quartal/modal playing it's a great subject. In my humble opinion i am still concerned on learning to walk in a good way, after that i will consider to investigate some more abstract/advanced subject. Too many meats on the BBQ is difficult to prepare : ).
    Our ears work the same way, you can't ear and use well quartal until you don't hear perfectly tertial harmony. I am not speaking for everyone, just for myself.

    All the Best

  9. I think if you want to play through the changes using fourths only, that is one thing as an exercise, but definitely is going to sound lame if you try to develop it too much. I think Joe Henderson is really the master of the "fourthy" thing. I agree it is damn near impossible to play more than three at a time with any fluidity; however, practice picking single notes through your quartal shapes over given changes. I like to see the modes on the guitar and know exactly which shapes fit over which mode for a given tonal center. i know them on the middle 4 and the top 4, bottom 4 gets a little muddy in my opinion. So as an exercise, I'll try outlining a blues just going up and down the neck arpeggiating those quartal chord shapes in different patterns. I only play one note on a given string before I move to the next shape. I feel like if you want to do a fourth leap on one string, it sounds cooler probably, but just isn't a sustainable approach (at least for me, probably is for kurt).

    As for the question about implying chord changes when quartally speaking you are really implying the same chord, I think this is really good to ask, but the fact is that unless you wanna throw in your own little implied bass notes, it is all up to the bass player. Listen to how McCoy Tyner plays a tune like softly as in a morning sunrise that has a very static harmony. It's actually the beauty of the whole thing I think, because it will take you out of playing "changes" and more into playing real melodies when you see that a given set of chord changes is really, modally speaking, all the same.

  10. Neither

    In order to answer to your question, I can suggest some things (no order in it !) :

    *For single note improvisation, I suggest you to transcribe and/or play some Kurt Rosenwinkel (If Kurt was an interval, I think he would be a fourth !) and Mike Moreno lines (he plays a lot of modern licks using fourth based on the pentatonic). For Mike Moreno, you can find a transcription here of a solo on Isotope :
    You'll find on Ted Greene's Jazz Guitar Single Note Soloing, Volume 1 some great quartal exemples with fingerings.
    Try using different fingers for perfect quartal single note lines. It helps sometimes for velocity and precision (I'm in this kind of fingering problems and I did not resolve it !). Playing a 4th on one string too, sometimes (1rst and 4th fingers !).
    Take a look at Bergonzi's method (the one about pentatonics).

    *Listen to pianists (begining with McCoy Tyner). If you can, transcribe their comp. If you can't, try to find piano transcriptions (adjust voicings for guitar : drop some notes or leave them when you need it) and play it and/or analyze it. Read all the jazz piano methods you can.

    *Take a look at Mel Bay's Complete Book of Harmony, Theory & Voicing by Bret Willmott, especially on the Fourth Voicing Chapter (+ you've got there an harmonized pentatonic scale that can be used as a system. You can easily figure it if you take a quartal voicing with the low note on C and then move each note of the voicing to the next note of the C minor pentatonic and then move the same way for the next voicings... If you know what minor or major pentatonics you can play on every chords you see, you'll be able to use this harmonized scale in order to create interesting comp or play some chord melodies in a new way and with a little work, it will seem natural).

    *You'll have to play harmonized scales in fourth for each kind of chords. And work on them in all tonalities and all string groupings (A, D, G, B and D, G, B, E are the grouping I use most of the time). Maybe play then mixing the string groupings in order to stay in the same area on the neck. Then, take a progression (working each kind of chord on the circle of 4th and 5th will help a lot I think) with chord changing every measure. And play 2 quartal voicings on the first chord moving up diatonicaly, begining as low as you think it can sound with a bass played under it, then play the 2 next voicings that feature the second chord and on... You'll have some smooth lines going up. When you think chords are played so high that it doesn't sound great (or if you can't go higher), change the direction... After that, you can make some variations : when the 2nd voicing of a measure is a voicing that can be played on the second chord, stay on this voicing for the first part of next measure and then go up... or play it using 3rds movement in the harmonized scales in fourth etc... That's just exercices. You'll have, in order to master it, to take every kind of chords and play and find the quartal chords that feature the best this chord. For exemple, take a II-7 chord (with a function of subdominant, "dorian" if you want). Play the harmonized "dorian" scale in fourth on it and see what notes each fourth chord is composed of, and his interval with the Root (R). And listen to his sound with the bass. You'll notice that some sounds great in tonal context, other not, some poor, other not. And then make a hierarchy with them.
    Chord I : R, 4, b7, m3
    Chord II : 9 , 5, R, 4
    Chord III : m3, 6, 9, 5
    Chord IV : 4, b7, m3, 13
    Chord V : 5, R, 4, 7
    Chord VI : 6, 9, 5, R
    Chord VII : b7, m3, 13, 9
    In order to create a hierarchy you'll have to make choices. For my own choices, I first leaved all chords that contains the 6th (or 13). The more "important" chord is the one that contains both the m3 & the b7, so the Chord I is the more important. Then the Chord V, and the Chord II. The other chords can be played as passing chords. Or/and you'll have to make them less important in the measure (because of duration, of situation, accentuation, or other things... use them as approach chords, neighbor chords etc... , or passing chords between the "important" chords).
    Then do an equivalent work with other kind of chords.
    For exemple, for IM7 (Tonic, Ionian) and for V7 (dominant, "mixolydien"), leave the 4th, for VII-75b (subdominant in a minor context, Locrien), leave the b9 etc... For the chords derived from the Major scale, there is always a note that you can, in tonal context, consider as an "avoid" note, excepted for the IVM7 ("Lydian"). On this last one you can play each quartal voicing because there is no "avoid" note (and it helps a lot !). If you use the dorian for a I-7 (Tonic, dorian), this is the same (idem... !). It is the same too for each chord derived of the melodic scale (idem !)...
    In a modal context, you'll have to change this concepts, but I suppose you wanted to have answers about quartal voicings in a tonal context.
    I must add that in order to play smoother lines, you can add some chromatic passing chords. And I think you'll have to mix quartal voicings with other voicings...
    Another thing you can do is to adapt voicings that contain the "avoid note". For exemple, you can move the "avoid" note of the voicings it appears on. The 6th here can become a 5th or a b7. Then you'll have a chord scale with quartal voicings and adaptations of quartal voicings.
    So you'll have, if we stay with that same II-7 exemple :
    Chord I : R, 4, b7, m3
    Chord II : 9 , 5, R, 4
    Chord III : m3, b7 (because a 5th would produce an octave interval) , 9, 5
    Chord IV : 4, b7, m3, 5 (because a 7th would produce an octave interval)
    Chord V : 5, R, 4, b7
    Chord VI : b7 (...), 9, 5, R
    Chord VII : b7, m3, 5 (...), 9

    *You can use constant voicing structure (maybe I'll develop later) with each kind of quartal voicing.

    *You maybe should begin exploring 3 notes (triadic) quartal harmony first. It is more versatile and flexible. And maybe the 2 inversions of them (you can name them "sus2" : Root, 2nd, 5th, and "sus4" chords : Root, 4th, 5, for the inversions of the perfect quartal triad, or "7sus4omit5" : Root, 4th, 7th) : I hear a lot of this 2 inversions in Kurt Rosenwinkel's playing (If Kurt was a chord...). Play harmonized scales too with them...

    I'll add some tab exemples later on begining of Autumn Leaves.

    I hope that it helps a little and that it is not confused,

    best regards.

  11. Sandemose

    Great answers, and animitta: I was in so way offended by your post. You are absolutly right in what you say. Even if Im not there yet as well, I think I have to start running for a while just to re-appreciate how fun it is to walk again. Thanks for you colourful descriptions!

    DLighto1: thanks for your insightful comment, its really intresting. The difficulty of playing fourth fluently maybe should be solved in a different way? Perhaps one way is to shift position very fast (that is something I see classical players do insanly fast with accuracy) like:

    G---2-------7----------- (perhaps?)

    One other thing, you mentioned McCoy Tyner, and that was exactly what I thought of. Really cool that you mentioned it. It can be used as a great device to stop the motion of the tune, not really but almost creating a feel of time itself standing still. The root motions, voiceleading and cadences all display how the tune evolves, how it moves from A to B. One chord carry the expectation of the next chord which follows. Our ears search for function and structure. But when the function of the chords is blurred, music sort of stand still instead, waiting for being activated again.

    I think late hungarian composer Georgy Ligety spoke of his music as something compared to still life, or something not in motion. He otften used the octave (down tuned bouble basses with archbow together with piccolo flutes, like 7 or octaves appart or something) to create a sense of nothingness. He is a big influence on me I guess. Im glad he won the Polarprice before he died and made all this music come to this world.

    Thanks again guys,



    Neither: THAT IS ONE COLOSSAL POST! Haha, I just saw it (it got posted as I wrote mine so I missed it). This will take a while/life/wife (?) to read through, but from what I saw it had really great advices on the subject! Thanks a bunch Neither!

  12. jazznan

    I'll just post one cool example that I use, it's something you can use with chords or pentatonics over a ii V I

    Let's take key of C: Dm7/G7/C

    Lowest note on 4th string: ADGC for Dminor, continue to move it up in half-steps, and you get BbEbAbDb for G7, BEAD for C

    You can also think of it like this for solo lines and comping(just stack the pentatonic scale in 4ths)

    Aminor pentatonic for Dm7, Bbminor for G7, Bminor for C

    This is pretty cool to do, but like all ideas, you have to use it musically

    There's a good video on this here, by Vic Juris here:

    [+] Embed the video | Video DownloadGet the Video Plugins

  13. Neither

    Yes, that's a cool example ! You can continue this idea : on a II V I VI. As Jazznan said, you can play the pentatonic a perfect 5th above the root of the II-7, the pentatonic a minor 3rd above the root of the V7(alt), the pentatonic a minor second below the root of the IM7, and then add the pentatonic a minor 3rd above the root of the VI7(alt). For the example in C major tonality (D-7/G7/CM7/A7), you'll have a chromatic movement : A minor pentatonic, Bb minor pentatonic, B minor pentatonic, and last C minor pentatonic. And you can use this idea with the harmonized pentatonic scale you can find in the "Fourth Voicing Chapter" in "Mel Bay's Complete Book of Harmony, Theory & Voicing" by Bret Willmott. It can generate some great comp and chord melodies with a little work. Using it for solos lines is great too.
    EDIT : correction mentioned in my post below made !

  14. Neither

    As I can't edit my post, I make a correction for the last reply. For "the pentatonic a minor second above the root of the IM7", you have to read "a minor second below the root of the IM7" !
    EDIT : correction made !
    Sandemose : György Ligeti is one of my favorite composer too. Lux Æterna, Requiem, Musica Ricercata, Volumina, Études pour piano, Nonsense Madrigals, Atmosphères, Continuum, Kammerkonzert, Hungarian Rock, Passacaglia Ungherese are my favorites !

  15. Sandemose

    Neither, my absolut favorite contemporary classical music piece is Allan Petterssons (dir. Antal Dorati). Its quite traditional and insanly beutiful. I also love, Schnittke, Kurtag, Penderecki (oh my God what a monster composer), and that composer who wrote Rothko chapell (I´ll have to look it up).

    Someone said that if Kurt would be an interval, he would be a fourth. For me, Kurt is a fifth, haha :). ACT would be major sixth since he seems so happy and positve all the time. I sometimes feel pathetic and sorry for myself = minor third. :)

    Regarding quarter leaps: this is a arpeggio involvning major seconds together with perfect fourths:

    I use a quite awkward (<--thats a awkward spelling, right?) fingering, that might not work for everybody. The code sequence is fourth/second

    Starting on G up a fourth, starting on C up a fourth starting on F
    --------------------------5--------------- ------------------------------10------------ -----------------------------------15-------
    -------------------3--5------------------- ----------------------8--10---------------- -------------------------13--15-----------
    ----------------2------------------------ -------------------7------------------------ ---------------------12---------------------
    -------------5--------------------------- ---------------10--------------------------- ----------------15-------------------------
    ------3--5-------------------------------- -------8--10------------------------------- -------13--15-----------------------------
    ---3--------------------------------------- ----8--------------------------------------- ---13--------------------------------------
    F:2 1 3 4 1 2 4 3 F: similie F: similie

    I do a slight hand position shift to make room for my 2:nd finger on the low E-string. The reason why I do this is because I find it easier to play sequences of notes, like ostinatos when using one finger per note, instead of tweaking the finger and barring the joint of the finger. Sometimes I just have to bar, and then Ill do it. I just try to avoid it.

    Code sequence second/fourth:

    Gmaj7 * = b9 (Maj7b9?) * = b9, and also the #5 on the last one to the right
    -----------------------2----- ------------------------4*-------- -------------------------------9----- -----------------------------------11----
    --------------------5-------- ---------------------7---------- ---------------------------12------- -------------------------------14---------
    --------------2--4---------- --------------4--6---------------- --------------------9--11----------- --------------------11--13*-------------
    -----------2----------------- ------------4---------------------- -----------------9------------------ ----------------11------------------------
    --------5-------------------- ----------7------------------------ -------------12--------------------- -----------14-----------------------------
    --3--5---------------------- --5--7--------------------------- ---10--12-------------------------- --12--14---------------------------------

    I dont know about you guys but I think the b9 works in the context of the sequence. Im not writing out a fingering, I havent thought about it yet. Hope there´s something intresting in there...

    Best, Sandemose

  16. Neither

    Hey Sandemose,
    "Rothko Chapel", by Morton Feldman.
    Why do you think my username is Neither ?

  17. Sandemose

    Neither: I...dont...know :( "Me stupid..."


  18. Neither

    Sorry for the formulation using a kind of riddle formulation...
    "Neither" is a Morton Feldman Opera


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