[Harp-L] Harp-L Digest, Vol 182, Issue 16 - Modes and Trane's improvising

Richard Hammersley rhhammersley@xxxxx
Mon Oct 29 06:03:24 EDT 2018

Hi Jerome and everyone
(still love your CD by the way) In his classic book ‘Free Jazz' Ekkehard Jost has a decent go at explaining what John Coltrane was doing, and how it works. For instance:
   " In ‘India’ the mode is treated much more freely than in Coltrane’s earlier modal pieces. This is perhaps due to the influence of Dolphy, who tends to stray from a strict observance of the mode; even the entrance to his chorus has a distinctly bitonal character. By using flattened intervals at the focal points of phrases, he gives his melodies a minor coloration which now and then even collides violently with the mode of the piece, and thus with the pianist’s chord progressions.” p29.
Actually re-reading that I am not sure if this is about Dophy or Trane, but the key point stands: Once you understand the musical rules you can choose to break them, but you need to understand them first because it takes knowledge and skill to break the rules in ways that are musically enjoyable, exciting or effective, rather than sounding terrible or incompetent. I appreciate that some on this list consider free jazz to be bunkum, but anyone interested in improvising should give it a go even if it stretches the limits of your musical knowledge. Of course Jerome, it is highly likely you have read it already, but I know many harp-lers will not have. Another great and accessible music theory book is Arnold Schoenberg’s “The art of composition” - which is about the basic classic rules of harmony and melody, written by the guy who completely abandoned these rules. 
Toot toot pip

Message: 5
Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2018 21:04:34 +0100
From: "Jerome P." <jersimuse at xxxxx <mailto:jersimuse at xxxxx>>
To: Michael Rubin <michaelrubinharmonica at xxxxx <mailto:michaelrubinharmonica at xxxxx>>
Cc: gnarlyheman at xxxxx <mailto:gnarlyheman at xxxxx>, harp-l <harp-l at xxxxx <mailto:harp-l at xxxxx>>
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] All this Positions and Modes stuff
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Yes, under the condition you oblige the musician to play only with major
The only problem is that no jazzman would stick to the major scale for an
BTW, as you know, Giant Steps was composed by a musician, John Coltrane,
who used to continuously play on parallel harmonic lines, mixing modes from
different scales (not only major scale), all kind of scales, changing tonal
centers, even when the harmony played by the band doesn't change.
I don't see how one can describe a Coltrane solo with positions (apart from
rendering the positions theory as complex as the harmonic vocabulary &
grammar, which would sound a bit absurd).


www.jeromepeyrelevade.com <http://www.jeromepeyrelevade.com/>

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