[Harp-L] Counting to 13

(Apologies in advance for some jazz jargon that may not make sense to all.)

This week’s post at www.jazzadvice.com gives some very nice jazz advice about adding altered chord tones one at a time, in scale fragments, rather than trying to tackle a new kind of scale all at once, and I found that helpful.

But here’s my quandary.  Sometimes I want to use the flat 6th as an approach tone to the 5th.  BUT in the jazz world, the flat 6th is called the flat 13th.

I think in  *12*  tones, and regarding any particular scale in any particular key, I think in terms of 7 tones plus sharps and flats.  I quickly lose my bearings when I try to enter 9th, 11th, and 13th territory.  And when you start slinging around b9, #9, #11 and b13, well, here be dragons.  Yes, I get it that we’re counting up by twos from the root, and that 9, 11, and 13 gather in the notes that are between 1, 3, 5, and 7, and that b6th and b13th are different names for the same note.  I also get it that you can’t fight city hall, and that it would be unproductive to rant about the GROSS INJUSTICE of bringing in these extra numbers just when I was starting to feel cozy with 1-7.

What I would like to know is how all you jazz cats actually think about those notes, and if you do think in terms of 9-11-13, how you taught yourself to do so with facility.  I’m looking for a gradual way in rather than the bazooka gun approach.  It is my current “stuck point”.

ObHarp:  I went to Harmonicollege in Huntingon, WV this past weekend and had an absolutely fantastic time.  The teaching, the inn, the food (provided by members of the Huntington Harmonica Club and friends), and the camaraderie among the attendees were all amazing.

It would change the vibe if it were ever to become as popular an event as SPAH or Augusta -- the small size of the group was a big part of the charm -- but at the risk of undermining that aspect of it, I would recommend this event to anyone.  Kudos and thanks to Jim Rumbaugh for all his organizational effort.

Tin Lizzie

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