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Lessons w/ Gamma


robinjessome
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Well, to be honest, I kind of want to start all the way back at square one if you don't mind. I always seemed to compose by sitting at the computer putting melodies and harmonies in on finale notepad rather than using manuscript paper and playing it out on the piano. I think it may be one of the reasons I've stopped composing recently, it takes all the fun out of it. Which I now intend to compose completely by hand. Then I can record myself playing the way it's meant to be played rather than stupid midi files and stuff.

Anyways,

I would really like to learn about Jazz harmonies. The most I ever use is major, minor, augmented, and diminished, for that's all I was taught. I've experimented in other things but I don't really understand why and how harmonies are suppose to work in theory. So, if you could do something about harmonies that would be pretty cool. I really like the old time jazz musicians, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong, Gene Krupa, and George Gershwin if he counts. So I guess big band stuff.

Thanks for accepting me by the way.

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Yeah tonal but not really modal. It was mentioned briefly a year ago but I never think about it when I compose. I read the article, learned a lot.

Cool cool!

...

Okay...let's start back a square one.

You're revamping your process, which makes for exciting times. ...SO, how do you tend to get started? What sparks your initial interest in a piece? Where do they come from? What gets the ball rolling?

A melody? A chord? A colour or texture? Rhythm? Feel? Energy?

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Here's the 8 measure melody you asked for.

Melody1.pdf

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Cool.... I like it.

I guess we're looking to get you to really think about your process and expand your method, and also to expand your harmonic vocabulary to include more "jazz" elements.

SO...

Where'd this melody come from?

What "tonality/modality" were you aiming at (if any)?

What's the significance of the implied A7 -> DMaj (that's how I heard it) in the last 2 bars? Is that what you meant?

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What do you hear happening underneath this? A single chord, a more modal texture? Fully voiced out, chords on each note?

What energy are you wanting to imply? I tend to think in terms of FORWARD, BACK...UP, DOWN...LIGHT, DARK... Where do you want to take us? The texture you put under/over/around your melody will instantly change/effect/affect the perception.

Let's take this somewhere.

----------------------------------------------------

What sort of ensemble do you hear this for? Solo piano? Piano accompanying an instrument? jazz quintet? Ad Hoc chamber group? Jazz orchestra?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Where'd this melody come from?

The melody came from me, sitting at a piano, playing what came into my mind.

What "tonality/modality" were you aiming at (if any)?

Pretty tonal, I think what you say, Dorian mode? But in general, there was no aiming, just what came to mind.

What's the significance of the implied A7 -> DMaj (that's how I heard it) in the last 2 bars? Is that what you meant?

I think it symbolizes some sort of uneasiness, which symbolizes the end of the phrase, and the foreshadowing of a new one.

What do you hear happening underneath this? A single chord, a more modal texture? Fully voiced out, chords on each note?

I think I hear broken chords. I don't understand what you mean by modal texture.

What energy are you wanting to imply? I tend to think in terms of FORWARD, BACK...UP, DOWN...LIGHT, DARK... Where do you want to take us? The texture you put under/over/around your melody will instantly change/effect/affect the perception.

I think it's a fairly light sounding melody. It's suppose to be happy sounding, with a slight of what I would consider remembrance of some sort, if that makes any sense at all.

What sort of ensemble do you hear this for? Solo piano? Piano accompanying an instrument? jazz quintet? Ad Hoc chamber group? Jazz orchestra?

Since I don't really know how to compose for anything besides piano, maybe alto sax, I would initially put this under the category of solo piano.

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1) Where'd this melody come from?

The melody came from me, sitting at a piano, playing what came into my mind.

2) What "tonality/modality" were you aiming at (if any)?

Pretty tonal, I think what you say, Dorian mode? But in general, there was no aiming, just what came to mind.

3) What's the significance of the implied A7 -> DMaj (that's how I heard it) in the last 2 bars? Is that what you meant?

I think it symbolizes some sort of uneasiness, which symbolizes the end of the phrase, and the foreshadowing of a new one.

4) What do you hear happening underneath this? A single chord, a more modal texture? Fully voiced out, chords on each note?

I think I hear broken chords. I don't understand what you mean by modal texture.

5) What energy are you wanting to imply? I tend to think in terms of FORWARD, BACK...UP, DOWN...LIGHT, DARK... Where do you want to take us? The texture you put under/over/around your melody will instantly change/effect/affect the perception.

I think it's a fairly light sounding melody. It's suppose to be happy sounding, with a slight of what I would consider remembrance of some sort, if that makes any sense at all.

6) What sort of ensemble do you hear this for? Solo piano? Piano accompanying an instrument? jazz quintet? Ad Hoc chamber group? Jazz orchestra?

Since I don't really know how to compose for anything besides piano, maybe alto sax, I would initially put this under the category of solo piano.

1) Cool. From your head is good - do you feel it has a strong melody? A good clear direction? For me, it's good - but might be more effective if it were cleaned up and simplified a tiny bit.

2) Tonal okay. Do you hear moving/changing progression, or a static harmony underneath it?

3) Cool.

4) Modal texture - a more static harmony, perhaps a repeating ostinato or something to anchor the listener in one modal texture.

5) Nice.

6) Let's go solo piano.

CONTINUE!!!!

Play something, and write it down...keep going!

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