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the nature of jazz

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Richard_Halley
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Some of these are points repeated, some of which you have not met in your rebuttals:

"[...] chords are the temporary vertical result of voices moving, changing horizontally, throughout a piece. A chord can exist by itself (a simultaneous sounding of more than one note) but it has no musical meaning."

I gave as a counterexample that a vamp can be a chord repeated with no moving voices. In these instances the chord has musical meaning without voice leading.

A "chord repeated" is not ONE chord. It is more than one. It may be the same chord repeated with some rhythmic pattern over a period of time or measures, but it is more than one. My quoted statement refers to ONE chord by itself. The specific example of "So What" does not even use just the same chord repeated. The vamp consists of moving voices outlining G/D moving to Dmin7. Very simple & containing parallelism but moving nevertheless. If you want to limit it to simply one chord repeated over & again in some rhythmic pattern then fine. But the problem here is that I don't know of any jazz tunes that do not then present a melody and/or solo over this type of vamp. Also, every version I have ever heard of "So What" (including Davis & ones in which I have played live in jazz shows) uses the melody that suggests a V chord by using the notes A & the note E suggesting a ii chord. Also, the phrase is set up to suggests melodic cadence even though this is a "modal" piece.

Even if this was not enough, the soloists (in Davis up through to ones I've been involved with) typically outline chord, scales, modes, lines, etc. that suggest harmonic movement over the more static background vamp. By the time the bass player gets swinging, there's all kinds of contrapunctal motion happening between bass, solo/melodic line & vampers. I suppose it would be possible to ask the pianist or guitarist to limit themselves to playing nothing but repeat that one chord over & again. You'd probably get a reply of a raised eyebrow & a "You do know this is a jazz tune, right?" :lol:

In any event, you'd still have the melody creating a bit of harmonic motion (minimum) or the soloist creating, suggesting all kinds of harmonic motion far beyond that "one chord repeated vamp".

Also, a chord can follow another chord, usually after some rest in the music, without regard to the relationship of the voices in the first chord to the voices in the second chord. In these instances, the chords have musical meaning without voice leading.

This is to the point of explicitly bringing in epistemology & auditory perception. I suppose if you waited a few minutes (or some extremely extended time from a musical perspective) you might not expect a person to mentally connect the two chords. In any event, a chord that follows another will be connected in some manner. I'm not sure how you expect the two to NOT be connected by voice leading.

Also, a soloist may play phrases, such as arpeggios, over chords such that the phrases do not link the voice of one chord with that of the next, but instead abruptly move from chord arpeggio to chord arpeggio. In these instances, the melodic line is not explained as voice leading.

Why not? The example you give would just result in "choppy" or "angular" sounding voice leading as opposed to "smooth" or "chromatic" or "strict classical" voice leading.

"Do you agree that a chord is "a simultaneous sounding of more than one note"?"

For our purposes, that's fine. But if we were to get more specific, a vertical chord is the simultaneous sounding of more than one note, while a horizontal chord is an arpeggio. Also, we might qualify that a chord is three or more notes (just two notes is merely an interval, and especially, a unison or octave is not much of a chord) and that not just any set of notes is a chord (some sets are clusters, not chords).

Jazz typically uses chords of at least 3 if not more voices. I was setting a very specific minimum definition from which to work. As soon as a chord is arpeggiated you are talking about horizontal aspects. This is exactly the aspect I have been attempting to focus on.

"As soon as the musicians start playing, they are creating specific, concrete, explicit lines that interact in specific, concrete, explicit ways."

Yes, and some of those ways are not explained as voice leading, as I mentioned examples earlier in this post. Also, that even when voice leading is present, my point remains that there is a level of musical analysis that does not depend on the voice leading but merely on the progression. Much jazz analysis is of this kind.

Much jazz analysis? You have references to prove this? Do you know some percentage of jazz analysis in which this is more true than not? And why "jazz" analysis anyway? Why not just "musical" analysis?

"Perhaps you could show me an explicit musical instance?"

Any vamp in which the chord is not revoiced.

Even more fundamentally (and why didn't I think of this before!), the first chord of a song does not depend on any voices leading into it. The song has musical meaning during that first chord. The music becomes more meaningful when it goes to the second chord, but the duration in which only the first chord has been played is a duration of musical meaning.

A vamp such as that without a melody or solo would indeed be an example. Sounds like extremely boring music. I don't know ANY jazz like that. I'm not sure you could even call it jazz if a piece was like that.

The first chord (by definition) will be followed by another chord so it is not isolated. It is important in setting the context, or presenting the first rhythmic event of the context. It is not a chord that exists alone, by itself.

"any possible line played over any chord" ... that is how broad voice leading is.

But the term 'voice leading' is used in a much more special sense.

"What conditions, qualifications, essential characteristics would form a line that divides, for example, THIS melody & chords has voice leading & THAT melody & chords does not have voice leading?"

The word 'voice leading' shifts in usage between referring to the line(s) and referring to an analysis of the line(s). Roughly, one talks about voice leading in terms of "rules" for how voices in chords move in relationship with one another and especially in terms of how a note in one chord is resolved (or remains unresolved, perhaps) as a voice in the next chord. And more specifically, especially in jazz, voice leading is most concerned with half-step and whole step movement of the tension notes. On the other hand, if, for example, a soloist plays an entire scale in sixteenth notes over a chord then that is not voice leading.

Do you have a specific definition of "voice leading"?

It depends upon what those notes are in that 16th note run.

Again, to show the difference, by example, between voice leading and mere "any possible line played over any chord": The B in G7 moving up to the root in CM7 is voice leading. But running the D melodic minor scale over G7, then running the G major scale over CM7 is not voice leading.

I can't see how those are mutually exclusive...? The note B is in the D melodic minor scale. The note C is in the G major scale. "Running" those scales over those chords is just one way of achieving the specific voice motion you mention:

B-->C inside G7-->CM7

As to voice leading, not what makes the chords sound as they do, but what makes the sequence of particular voicings sound as it does.

This is getting close to a definition. But how does "what makes the sequence of particular voicings sound as it does" exclude "what makes the chords sound as they do"?

Though I feel that some of the tangents we've struck would be more mutually informative to pursue than the wrangle we have now, which seems to me to be barely better than a logomachy.

A dispute over words or definitions? What tangents interest you? BTW, are you a musician? Have a primary instrument?

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A "chord repeated" is not ONE chord. It is more than one. It may be the same chord repeated with some rhythmic pattern over a period of time or measures, but it is more than one. My quoted statement refers to ONE chord by itself.
Of course we don't conflate occurrences of a chord with the chord taken as a thing itself. In the previous sentence there are two occurrences of the word 'of', but there is only one word that is the word 'of'. If GM7 occurs more than one time, then those are different occurrences, but it's the same GM7 in the same way that it is the same word 'of'. Your point is gratuitous and we shouldn't even have to talk about it.

Here it doesn't matter that they are different occurrences, because in such vamps there is no voice leading. That's the point you just skip right past. Whether standing alone as a sole occurrence or whether occurring over again, a chord can have meaning without voice leading.

Your point about "So What" is well taken, but misses the point that changing voicings is not required. Changing voices enhances the music and relieves monotony, but one could repeat a chord a few times to be emphatic or to allow the rhythms to predominate rather than the harmony or for other reasons. Whether that would sound good to certain people is a different issue from whether it is possible to play a chord without voice leading.

(What are the notes implied in your notation 'G/D'?)

I suppose it would be possible to ask the pianist or guitarist to limit themselves to playing nothing but repeat that one chord over & again. You'd probably get a reply of a raised eyebrow & a "You do know this is a jazz tune, right?" :lol:

Oh please, you get to make yourself laugh there only by making a strawman out of what I've said.

In any event, a chord that follows another will be connected in some manner. I'm not sure how you expect the two to NOT be connected by voice leading.

Because voice leading is not just any arbitrary following of one chord after another. There might not even be common voices between the chords. Voice leading is tracking what happens to a voice as it goes from one chord to the next. But if a voices in one chord doesn't have an associated voice in another chord, then the voice in the first chord didn't lead into anything at all. And it's not true that music is always played so that there are voices associated that way. Heh, if someone said, "Hey, you didn't resolve that tenor voice; there's not even a tenor voice in the second chord," then the likely response would be, "You do know this is a jazz tune, right?."

If any arbitrary juxtaposition of chords were voice leading, then there'd be no need for the term 'voice leading'. Yours is a reduction that wipes out differentiation of meaning. Voice leading is a set of special concerns and a set of events that is different from the mere juxtaposition of chords or mere horizontality.

The example you give would just result in "choppy" or "angular" sounding voice leading as opposed to "smooth" or "chromatic" or "strict classical" voice leading

Only if you insist that voice leading be subsumed as voice leading. It's like saying "Look at those people standing around. They're all in a queue." No, just because they're standing next to one another doesn't entail that they're in a queue. Just because chords are juxtaposed doesn't entail that they're connected by voice leading.

As soon as a chord is arpeggiated you are talking about horizontal aspects. This is exactly the aspect I have been attempting to focus on.

Two arpeggios juxtaposed does not voice leading make.

Much jazz analysis? You have references to prove this?

I'm not about to produce a statistical survey of texts, if that's what you mean. On the other hand, type 'voice leading' into a search and see whether voice leading is discussed as just something that is present in arbitrary juxtaposition of chords or any melody whatsoever or whether voice leading is discussed as a much more specific concept.

And why "jazz" analysis anyway?

Because you brought it up vis-a-vis jazz!

And why "jazz" analysis anyway?

A vamp such as that without a melody or solo would indeed be an example. Sounds like extremely boring music. I don't know ANY jazz like that. I'm not sure you could even call it jazz if a piece was like that.

1. I didn't whether a melody or solo is present.

2. A vamp even with a melody or solo from another instrument would still be an example.

3. That's its boring is not material for this issue.

4. Vamps get their attraction from their rhythms. The melodic and harmonic monotony is intentional as the repetition is like a chant which is carried by the impulse of the rhythm.

5. Vamps usually only a section of a piece. So the relief from monotony is achieved when the next section begins. And with that transition people enjoy having heard the vamp as a buildup.

The first chord (by definition) will be followed by another chord so it is not isolated.

1. It's pedantic to say, but true, that a first of something is not by definition followed by a second.

2. The point is not that the chord will be followed by a next, but that the first chord has meaning whether not it is followed by the next. If the first chord lasted, say, two bars, but the take were interrupted in the studio, then those first two bars are still music, albeit not a complete performance.

Do you have a specific definition of "voice leading"?

No, not in a wallet in my back pocket that I can take out an read right now. But I did mention some of the concepts it includes.

What is your definition, since you first used the term?

"The note B is in the D melodic minor scale. The note C is in the G major scale. "Running" those scales over those chords is just one way of achieving the specific voice motion you mention:

B-->C inside G7-->CM7

No, because many notes can intervene between the B and the C.:

One could run the D melodic minor starting on A and ending on F and then the G major scale starting on B, so the interval in transition is a tritone. That's hardly voice leading.

[...] how does "what makes the sequence of particular voicings sound as it does" exclude "what makes the chords sound as they do"?

What do you mean by 'exclude'? You should ask "How does (1) "people standing in a queue are each waiting to perform the same action (such as entering a building) one person after another" differ from (2) "people standing around one another". One excludes to differentiate concepts from more general concepts. Not just any juxtaposition of chords is voice leading, since voice leading is a certain kind of event that occurs when certain voicings are juxtaposed, and not an event that occurs in just any arbitrary juxtaposition of voicings, just as the formation of a queue is a certain kind of event, and not just an event that occurs whenever people are standing near one another.

/

Tangents that interest me? I've probably forgotten at this point. Let's see. Somewhere (else maybe?) you mentioned Tatum, I think. I love him. Some people don't. If I were to play devil's advocate against him, I'd choose the Heindorf tapes. Tatum keeps playing descending runs in the same way in so many places. Even for a Tatum lover, it's irritating. What are your thoughts?

I'm not much of a musician and not currently one at all. Alto and tenor.

Edited by LauricAcid
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[i don't know why the quote tags are not formatted.]

A "chord repeated" is not ONE chord. It is more than one. It may be the same chord repeated with some rhythmic pattern over a period of time or measures, but it is more than one. My quoted statement refers to ONE chord by itself.

Of course we don't conflate occurrences of a chord with the chord taken as a thing itself. In the previous sentence there are two occurrences of the word 'of', but there is only one word that is the word 'of'. If GM7 occurs more than one time, then those are different occurrences, but it's the same GM7 in the same way that it is the same word 'of'. Your point is gratuitous and we shouldn't even have to talk about it.

Here it doesn't matter that they are different occurrences, because in such vamps there is no voice leading. That's the point you just skip right past. Whether standing alone as a sole occurrence or whether occurring over again, a chord can have meaning without voice leading.

Your point about "So What" is well taken, but misses the point that changing voicings is not required. Changing voices enhances the music and relieves monotony, but one could repeat a chord a few times to be emphatic or to allow the rhythms to predominate rather than the harmony or for other reasons. Whether that would sound good to certain people is a different issue from whether it is possible to play a chord without voice leading.

(What are the notes implied in your notation 'G/D'?)

I suppose it would be possible to ask the pianist or guitarist to limit themselves to playing nothing but repeat that one chord over & again. You'd probably get a reply of a raised eyebrow & a "You do know this is a jazz tune, right?" :lol:

Oh please, you get to make yourself laugh there only by making a strawman out of what I've said.

In any event, a chord that follows another will be connected in some manner. I'm not sure how you expect the two to NOT be connected by voice leading.

Because voice leading is not just any arbitrary following of one chord after another. There might not even be common voices between the chords. Voice leading is tracking what happens to a voice as it goes from one chord to the next. But if a voice in one chord doesn't have an associated voice in another chord, then the voice in the first chord didn't lead into anything at all. And it's not true that music is always played so that there are voices associated that way. Heh, if someone said, "Hey, you didn't resolve that tenor voice; there's not even a tenor voice in the second chord," then the likely response would be, "You do know this is a jazz tune, right?."

If any arbitrary juxtaposition of chords were voice leading, then there'd be no need for the term 'voice leading'. Yours is a reduction that wipes out differentiation of meaning. If it's true that any juxtaposition is a voice leading or that any melodic movement is voice leading, then it is only trivially true, while the actual concept of voice leading is not a trivial consequence of mere juxtapositin or mere presence of melody. Voice leading is a set of special concerns and a set of events that is different from the mere juxtaposition of chords or mere horizontality.

The example you give would just result in "choppy" or "angular" sounding voice leading as opposed to "smooth" or "chromatic" or "strict classical" voice leading [...]

It's like saying "Look at those people standing around. They're all in a queue." No, just because they're standing next to one another doesn't entail that they're in a queue. Just because chords are juxtaposed doesn't entail that they're connected by voice leading.

As soon as a chord is arpeggiated you are talking about horizontal aspects. This is exactly the aspect I have been attempting to focus on.

Two arpeggios juxtaposed does not voice leading make.

Much jazz analysis? You have references to prove this?

I'm not about to produce a statistical survey of texts, if that's what you mean. On the other hand, search 'voice leading'and see whether voice leading is discussed as just something that is present in arbitrary juxtaposition of chords or any melody whatsoever or whether voice leading is discussed as a much more specific concept.

And why "jazz" analysis anyway?

Because you brought it up vis-a-vis jazz.

And why "jazz" analysis anyway?

A vamp such as that without a melody or solo would indeed be an example. Sounds like extremely boring music. I don't know ANY jazz like that. I'm not sure you could even call it jazz if a piece was like that.

1. I didn't say whether a melody or solo is present.

2. A vamp even with a melody or solo from another instrument would still be an example.

3. That it's possibly boring is not material for this issue.

4. Vamps get their attraction from the sound of the chord itself and the rhythms used to play the chord. The melodic and harmonic monotony is intentional as the repetition is like a chant that is carried by the impulse of the rhythm.

5. Vamps usually last only a section of a piece. So the relief from monotony is achieved when the next section begins. And with that transition people enjoy having heard the vamp as a buildup.

The first chord (by definition) will be followed by another chord so it is not isolated.

1. It's pedantic to say, but true, that a first of something is not by definition followed by a second.

2. The point is not that the chord will be followed by a next, but that the first chord has meaning whether or not it is followed by the next. If the first chord lasted, say, two bars, but the take were interrupted in the studio, then those two bars are still music, albeit not a complete performance.

Do you have a specific definition of "voice leading"?

No, not in a wallet in my back pocket that I can take out an read right now. But I did mention some of the concepts it includes.

What is your definition, since you first used the term?

"The note B is in the D melodic minor scale. The note C is in the G major scale. "Running" those scales over those chords is just one way of achieving the specific voice motion you mention:

B-->C inside G7-->CM7

No, because many notes can intervene between the B and the C:

One could run the D melodic minor starting on A and ending on F and then the G major scale starting on B, so the interval in transition is a tritone. That's hardly voice leading.

[...] how does "what makes the sequence of particular voicings sound as it does" exclude "what makes the chords sound as they do"?

What do you mean by 'exclude'? It's as if you ask "How does (1) "people standing in a queue are each waiting to perform the same action (such as entering a building) one person after another" differ from (2) "people standing around one another." One excludes to differentiate concepts from more general concepts. Not just any juxtaposition of chords is voice leading, since voice leading is a certain kind of event that occurs when certain voicings are juxtaposed, and not an event that occurs in just any arbitrary juxtaposition of voicings, just as the formation of a queue is a certain kind of event, and not just an event that occurs whenever people are standing near one another.

/

Tangents that interest me? I've probably forgotten at this point. Let's see. Somewhere (else maybe?) you mentioned Tatum, I think. I love him. Some people don't. If I were to play devil's advocate against him, I'd choose the Heindorf tapes. Tatum keeps playing descending runs in the same way in so many places. Even for a Tatum lover, it's irritating. What are your thoughts?

I'm not much of a musician and not currently one at all. Alto and tenor.

Edited by LauricAcid
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P.S.

Throughout some of these posts, I've not been accurate on one very important point.

When I say things like:

(1) Two chords merely juxtaposed is not voice leading.

What I should say:

(2) Merely the fact that two chords are juxtaposed does not entail that there is voice leading from one to the other.

In all cases, please understand that I mean (2) and not (1), otherwise I would be making a terrible strawman of your position.

Edited by LauricAcid
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All I'm saying in this connection is that the musicians may decide on the sequence of chords well before and independent of how they get the voices moving. And in practice, a horn (as opposed to a chord instrument) player's first question usually is "So, what are the changes to this tune?", not "So, how do the voices move during my solo?" And he's supplied with an answer in the form of a chart that specifies the chords without regard to voicings or voice movement. Granted, during improvisation, the player usually is concerned with the resolutions of chord tones. But this does not contradict anything I've mentioned. Moreover, between certain passages there might not be any voice leading to speak of. A phrase can end during one chord and a new phrase begin during the next chord.

That's not actually all that true. When labelled, those sheets that the "horn" players get have figured bass on them, so that those horn players know what the root note is. So, when they read that section, they will see I-IV7-V6/4. The bass/root note DETERMINES the voice leading, as you study in elementary harmony.

I don't know. After reading all this, I agree with Christopher. If you look at the history of it, voice leading came first, and chords progressed because of voice leading, not the other way around. Normally, most composers know, and set aside the chords/chord progressions they want, becuase they have an idea of how the voicings are going to go. I know for my writing, in particular, that the chords are secondary to the actual notes and leading, but then, most of my writing is done in counterpoint.

To the original point of this thread, the art of jazz (swing/be-bop etc.) is in the syncopation between the drums/rhythm and the melody (which is written/composed). I think that's where the true art and appreciation comes in. Yes, much of it is improv, but you just don't get the syncopation like that anywhere else.

Edited by Styles2112
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I don't know what you mean by 'labelled'. I've seen thousands and thousands of charts. The horn players don't get figured bass. They get changes, such as:

FM7 Db7 | GbM7 A-7 D7 | G-7 C7 | etc.

Once in a while, a bass note will be specified, such as A-7/D but that doesn't tell the horn player that he has to do any voice leading. Usually, in an instance such as A-7/D, this pretty much just tells the player that this is a D9sus. And sometimes a pedal point note is specified so that a series of chords all have the same bass note, but this just tells the soloist that the rhyhthm section will be playing a pedal point. And I can't think of a time I've seen a horn player get actual numeric style figured bass notation. And bass, root and chord type (even with given melody note) do not determine a voicing, nor that there must be voice leading nor, if there is voice leading, what it will be.

P.S. Sometimes in exercise and theory books, such as the John Mehegan series, one gets things like numeric figured bass, but those are for analysis and for exercise, not charts from which people usually play music.

Edited by LauricAcid
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I don't know what you mean by 'labelled'. I've seen thousands and thousands of charts. The horn players don't get figured bass. They get changes, such as:

FM7 Db7 | GbM7 A-7 D7 | G-7 C7 | etc.

Once in a while, a bass note will be specified, such as A-7/D but that doesn't tell the horn player that he has to do any voice leading. Usually, in an instance such as A-7/D, this pretty much just tells the player that this is a D9sus. And sometimes a pedal point note is specified so that a series of chords all have the same bass note, but this just tells the soloist that the rhyhthm section will be playing a pedal point. And I can't think of a time I've seen a horn player get actual numeric style figured bass notation. And bass, root and chord type (even with given melody note) do not determine a voicing, nor that there must be voice leading nor, if there is voice leading, what it will be.

As my memory recalls, most of the horn sheets I've seen (since, as a drummer, that's usually what I like to read off of) all have the figured bass written in. But, in some ways, it really wouldn't matter for the horn player, since he really only has to worry about his written melody, and playing a solo (yes, he needs to be aware of the chord changes, but if he's playing a blues scale, it doesn't matter as much). The point is, all music is based on the voice leading from chord to chord. Just sticking random chords next to each other without reason (i.e. Voice leading) will not, usually, present a good song, or unless you're intentionally avoiding voice leading, and attemtping to go against all written music theory.

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I agree with the topic starter. Some people I know say that Jazz is great for listening. I can't do it. I don't like listening to Jazz as I would listen to some classical composer. However, it can be a nice touch to have Jazz music playing somewhere in the background, like in a restaurant, or perhaps having it play at home while doing chores. It's what I call "light" music which won't interfere with what you are doing.

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Styles2112: If a chordal instrument does not attend to voice leading, then usually the results won't be good. That does not contradict anything I've said in my posts.

source: Yours is a statement of what you can do or can find depth in. What are some of the jazz recordings you refer to?

Edited by LauricAcid
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Herman Hesse called jazz "the music of decline." For me it's sad, twisted and chaotic. It seems like a cry for help--or a confession of total personal defeat. Jazz deliberately puts people off and (perhaps maliciously) lacks most melody and rhythm. And it's frequently the background music in sad bad clubs for senseless poems which also lack rhyme and rhythm--all as spoken by lost, defeated and hopeless societal rebels.

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Herman Hesse called jazz "the music of decline." For me it's sad, twisted and chaotic. It seems like a cry for help--or a confession of total personal defeat. Jazz deliberately puts people off and (perhaps maliciously) lacks most melody and rhythm. And it's frequently the background music in sad bad clubs for senseless poems which also lack rhyme and rhythm--all as spoken by lost, defeated and hopeless societal rebels.

Then you've been listening to the wrong cats. Try Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman or Fats Waller -- and then tell us about jazz lacking melody and rhythm.

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source: Yours is a statement of what you can do or can find depth in. What are some of the jazz recordings you refer to?

I'm not referring to any particular recordings. I mean Jazz in general. As I don't listen to Jazz, I'm not familiar with particular recordings or the improvisers that play it. I only heard the music several times in my life and I came to the conclusions I presented in my post. It's only good as background noise. But I don't like it even in this respect that much so as to actually acquire it.

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Hm, I guess I'll be dismantling my own statements after all and stick to the conclusion I held before, which was that every type of music, however bad most of it sounds, has the "gems" that are worth listening to. I just remembered that Louis Armstrong's "What a wonderful World" is on my favorites playlist. :blush:

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source, there are a lot of different kinds of music called 'jazz', much of it, though it is called 'jazz' by some people, lacks the essentials of jazz. So it's hard to know what people mean when they state a distaste for jazz unless they give an example of a particular recording. See, I don't know if the music you heard and was called 'jazz' is the same music that I find such great value in.

Louis Armstrong's version of "What A Wonderful World", by the way, is pretty attenuated as jazz (that may be why it gets through your filter), though I do appreciate what people like about the performance and the song.

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Herman Hesse called jazz "the music of decline." For me it's sad, twisted and chaotic. It seems like a cry for help--or a confession of total personal defeat. Jazz deliberately puts people off and (perhaps maliciously) lacks most melody and rhythm. And it's frequently the background music in sad bad clubs for senseless poems which also lack rhyme and rhythm--all as spoken by lost, defeated and hopeless societal rebels.

Yeah, you're definitely listening to the wrong stuff. Jazz is ALL about Rhythm. (Speaking from a guy who plays Jazz on drums.) It also has fantastic melody (Although, at times, simple). Listen to the artists spoken before, but also check out some: Dave Brubeck Quintet (especially "Take Five"), Miles Davis (pretty much anything by him), and for a bit more "rhythm" Get some Buddy Rich (Best of, perhaps).

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I think jazz is just an extention of ones mind. There was a time when i thought only classical and "jazz" (including all variations) were important, and really worth listening too. The complexity, thought, and richness of each both these genres are much better for lack of words better than other music. music industry of today is pitiful. The quality of music no longer hinges on practice, progression, and love, but rater on how much money we make and how Bling we are( all the other genres suck too, i just choose rap for this instance) some people might try and dissagree with me, and point out to the soloists that have taken blues, rock, or whatever to the limit. ie... hendrix, king, cobain, blah blah. Then i say, ok, lets see each of them solo over confirmation, NOT USING THE BLUES SCALE, OR THE PENTATONIC. A true musician uses them all. There are no scales in music if you look at it in a way. its funny becuase in any scale, there exists all the notes. From one tone to the octiave all the notes are in there, in between. unless we are in the middle east or china. Plus the bebop, (which uses the bebop scale) operates on molsty halfsteps, and not the usual forths and minor thirds that so many guitarists love to do. and no i am not picking on anyone. i am a guitar player also.

to be honest. music is music. you can say soemthing is better, or more something, or even worse...... but really it is all the same. Do you think jazz was always mature and a great thing? What do you think Charlie parker, miles davis, or duke ellington, hell coltrane thought when they were performing. oh.. jazz is ok, there is no room for progression, so hey lets just play the same stuff. in a way they themselves did not like jazz.. they knew it could become better. even when i hear a horrible song in terms of that, i still know that if the person took the time and effort they coudl change the song to become the same and even better than what was thought before.. only its up to them..

even if jazz is so fast, so much more complex, and requires more knowledge of music than most other types, then why can you turn on a blues tune, or a little john mayor song, some Sintatra, some nickcle back, or whatever. and still just follow the beat with your foot, with your mind, with your heart... it moves you... your soul. any music can do it. jazz is a performance, but just one that is a little more involved than the rest. it is neither better nor worse. it it just different.... and yet the same

Edited by JAE
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Herman Hesse called jazz "the music of decline." For me it's sad, twisted and chaotic. It seems like a cry for help--or a confession of total personal defeat. Jazz deliberately puts people off and (perhaps maliciously) lacks most melody and rhythm. And it's frequently the background music in sad bad clubs for senseless poems which also lack rhyme and rhythm--all as spoken by lost, defeated and hopeless societal rebels.

funny, a cry for help, have you listened to any musics lyrics in the past oh say... humanities existence. we are weak creatures, and for are whole time upon this planet we have been making art and anything else to undue our torture, the one so brought on by whoever you think. haha, my chemical romance with "i'm not ok", or the whole blues sceve. yes they are defeated and hopeless people. blues is one of the things that kept slaves ok in dire needs, when everything is lost and broken. than after it was dressed up and kind of "whitisized" then it got to everything and ALSO, you specific point. have you read the poems of agnst. i am not taling about the ones in concentration camps, or the ones that have been beaten and pained beyond what any typical human (dont infer too much, just a person who cdoesnt have to worry if he is going to eat, or die today. i am talking about the rich peopel. you know... the thoreau type... if you know his philosophies you might also know that he was loaded.. and after his time at the howse he well... pimped hismelf out. how about eternal sunshine for a spotless dream. comes from a poem about how love is so hard, and its almost a hell in which god has created. haha. what a crock, spoiled...

listen to britney and chritina, or probably even the group or person that you are thinking of that totally refutes my thoughts... is one that talks of life and its sorrow..

so then... isnt it a way to express onself, and to rise above it.? how do you think each of one those muscians feel after they get off the stage.. i can tell you that it somtimes feels better than getting laid. your thoughts are partiall right but also wrong, granted you are right in that they are depressed and how we are societal rebels. but wow, i dont see how ou cannot see... that rock music encompasses the whole (rebel thing) and they do it in a sex and drugs way, not in a drugs and look into ones life like jazz people do. every feeling you hvae against those others... is the same as i and others have against you. but we think our logic is better, or for the most part it is the (i just like it becuase i do). at that point nothing gets done, and we are seperated. i just wonder how country musician, rock musician, jazz mucisian, and everyone inbetween and around and on top, have thbe ability to JAM together.. does that mean anything, minus how it sounds, minus the politics, minus the emotional logic we so dearly hold onto...

anyways, have a good day. yhour music is your music... :)

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Herman Hesse called jazz "the music of decline." For me it's sad, twisted and chaotic. It seems like a cry for help--or a confession of total personal defeat. Jazz deliberately puts people off and (perhaps maliciously) lacks most melody and rhythm. And it's frequently the background music in sad bad clubs for senseless poems which also lack rhyme and rhythm--all as spoken by lost, defeated and hopeless societal rebels.

Steppenwolf was written around the 1920's iirc, jazz has changed a fair bit since then.

My flatmate is a jazz musician so I've been hearing quite a lot over the last year, but I've never been able to 'feel' it. I'm not a great fan of classical either though, to be fair.

Edited by Hal
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Of course we don't conflate occurrences of a chord with the chord taken as a thing itself. In the previous sentence there are two occurrences of the word 'of', but there is only one word that is the word 'of'. If GM7 occurs more than one time, then those are different occurrences, but it's the same GM7 in the same way that it is the same word 'of'. Your point is gratuitous and we shouldn't even have to talk about it.

& yet here we are...

Here it doesn't matter that they are different occurrences, because in such vamps there is no voice leading. That's the point you just skip right past. Whether standing alone as a sole occurrence or whether occurring over again, a chord can have meaning without voice leading.

Your point about "So What" is well taken, but misses the point that changing voicings is not required. Changing voices enhances the music and relieves monotony, but one could repeat a chord a few times to be emphatic or to allow the rhythms to predominate rather than the harmony or for other reasons. Whether that would sound good to certain people is a different issue from whether it is possible to play a chord without voice leading.

I did not skip right past it. I directly addressed it. It is true, you can play one chord & there is no voice leading. You can play a vamp with one repeated, unchanged voicing chord & there is no voice leading. In my estimation, however, as soon as you add information in the form of a melody, solo, etc. (or another chord, other than the same exact chord with the same exact voicing) you are introducing voice leading. Apparently, this is an issue we will have to leave alone. It has been obvious for a while now that you simply do not agree with me & probably will not anytime soon.

(What are the notes implied in your notation 'G/D'?)

G major chord with a D on the bottom, i.e.: a G major in 2nd inversion. Which then moves down a whole step to form an F major chord in 2nd inversion, except since the D remains on the bottom it really the "top" of a Dmin7.

Oh please, you get to make yourself laugh there only by making a strawman out of what I've said.

Oh please....? Look, man, it was not my intention to be insulting or condescending. I really did think it was funny, so I put in a little smiley-laugh-face. Anyway, I thought I addressed the essential component of the issue, so I can't see how I've made a "strawman" of what you said. I disagree with you, but if I offended you then I apologize.

Because voice leading is not just any arbitrary following of one chord after another. There might not even be common voices between the chords. Voice leading is tracking what happens to a voice as it goes from one chord to the next. But if a voices in one chord doesn't have an associated voice in another chord, then the voice in the first chord didn't lead into anything at all. And it's not true that music is always played so that there are voices associated that way. Heh, if someone said, "Hey, you didn't resolve that tenor voice; there's not even a tenor voice in the second chord," then the likely response would be, "You do know this is a jazz tune, right?."

If any arbitrary juxtaposition of chords were voice leading, then there'd be no need for the term 'voice leading'. Yours is a reduction that wipes out differentiation of meaning. Voice leading is a set of special concerns and a set of events that is different from the mere juxtaposition of chords or mere horizontality.

I never stated/implied that voice leading was "any arbitrary following...". Even if a musician or composer "arbitrarily" assigns a series of chords without concern to the voice leading being created/suggested, it doesn't matter; the voice leading is still there. It's not necessary to have common voices or even the same number of voices from chord to chord (2 voices could merge for a time for example, modern music is filled with parallelisms that have no common tones whatsoever).

This seems to be a serious problem in our ongoing discussion: Why do you not accept that voice leading is conceptually regarding how all the voices present in a piece interact? More to the point, I did give you my operational definition of voice leading & you have not done the same. You have only told me you disagree without identifying a contrary viewpoint in essentials.

It's like saying "Look at those people standing around. They're all in a queue." No, just because they're standing next to one another doesn't entail that they're in a queue. Just because chords are juxtaposed doesn't entail that they're connected by voice leading.

I think we should avoid analogies from here on out. You didn't see how mine was applicable (I think you explicitly stated, "Bad analogy"); & I don't see how yours equates to representing my position on voice leading. If I had to try to justify my position in the context of your analogy, I would say, "Look at all those people standing around. They are each a certain distance from one another, and each facing a specific direction." However, even that fails to completely clarify any point I am trying to make. So, let's abandon the analogies, agreed?

...type 'voice leading' into a search and see whether voice leading is discussed as just something that is present in arbitrary juxtaposition of chords or any melody whatsoever or whether voice leading is discussed as a much more specific concept.

But I don't care what anyone with access to upload info to a website thinks. I am talking to you. I am interested in what you think & telling you what I think. If, however, you want to go to outside sources, a couple a Berkelee trained M.M. jazz musicians I converse with regularly about music see this whole thing exactly the way I do. Of course, there are music theory textbooks that do not (as I pointed out eariler) & there are texts that see it the way I do.

No, not in a wallet in my back pocket that I can take out an read right now. But I did mention some of the concepts it includes.

In a wallet in your back pocket...? Is that a humorous way of stating that you regard my definition as not serious, valid, well thought out? I can assure you it is a well thought out concept in my mind that applies to objects in reality to which I can point. I'm not sure how we got this far in the discussion without doing it, but I think this would be a good place for you formulate a definition.

One could run the D melodic minor starting on A and ending on F and then the G major scale starting on B, so the interval in transition is a tritone. That's hardly voice leading.

Yes, it is! And using a tritone as a transitional interval is a very common "jazz" way of approaching voice leading. It could be part of a sequence or pattern (or the melody, theme, etc.). From a Schenkerian analysis perspective they could just be foreground notes that are connecting the background notes. Or even if a jazz soloist outlined those entire mentioned scales/modes & left out only the notes that would form a "proper/classical" half-step resolution, that would be a way of implying such a cadence; & a "jazzy" way at that.

In any event it IS a way of leading the voices.

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Steppenwolf was written around the 1920's iirc, jazz has changed a fair bit since then.

My flatmate is a jazz musician so I've been hearing quite a lot over the last year, but I've never been able to 'feel' it. I'm not a great fan of classical either though, to be fair.

I'm a great fan of documentarian Ken Burns and he did a whole thorough 8-hour special on jazz in his "American" series (which oddly also included baseball and the civil war). I really wanted to believe, but in the end it wasn't at all convincing. Jazz just doesn't speak to me. In fact--it sounds like the enemy. The best of jazz seems to be that which lacks the phony jazz "soul" and is strongly "anti-jazz." For me, the best jazz is that rare stuff which actually DOES condescend to have a decent rhythm and, above all else, a thoughtful, creative, pleasant, fun melody.

Jazz strikes me as being highly irrational and anti-Objectivist. I'm surprised Ayn didn't rip into it savagely--and I bet she did privately.

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You should ask "How does (1) "people standing in a queue are each waiting to perform the same action (such as entering a building) one person after another" differ from (2) "people standing around one another". One excludes to differentiate concepts from more general concepts. Not just any juxtaposition of chords is voice leading, since voice leading is a certain kind of event that occurs when certain voicings are juxtaposed, and not an event that occurs in just any arbitrary juxtaposition of voicings, just as the formation of a queue is a certain kind of event, and not just an event that occurs whenever people are standing near one another.

I have no idea what that means. So, I am going to start over on this one last time.

You originally said:

As to voice leading, not what makes the chords sound as they do, but what makes the sequence of particular voicings sound as it does.
In reply, I said:

This is getting close to a definition. But how does "what makes the sequence of particular voicings sound as it does" exclude "what makes the chords sound as they do"?

What I meant was...In your statement, I think you are excluding (by the use of "not") "what makes the chords sound as they do" from being a component of voice leading. And then limiting it to "what makes the sequence of particular voicings sound as it does". I am saying that "what makes the chords sound as they do" is a result of "what makes the sequence of particular voicings sound as it does" & that is called voice leading. Finally, voice leading is conceptually regarding how all the voices present in a piece interact.

OK. All done.

Somewhere (else maybe?) you mentioned Tatum, I think. I love him. Some people don't. If I were to play devil's advocate against him, I'd choose the Heindorf tapes. Tatum keeps playing descending runs in the same way in so many places. Even for a Tatum lover, it's irritating. What are your thoughts?

I also love Tatum. I think he was a musical genius. I'm not sure why you would want to play devil's advocate against him, though...?

Tatum frequently (& in my estimation, in the case you mention) used techniques similar to that & I think it was just a way of providing another layer of thematic information. As far as I'm concerned, if you've got that level of skill, use it! He was fully capable of beautiful playing without massive pyrotechnics. "What's New" from Pablo Solo Masterpieces 4 comes to mind immediately because I was listening to that disc just yesterday. I could see how even a Tatum fan could find it a bit much at times, though. I don't though! I love it, love it, love it!!! :) Go, Art, go!

A couple of times I've heard academic musicians say incredibly stupid things like, "He overplays", "It's not sophisticated", "It's just not that musical". And then of course they go listen to Liszt (who never overplays! Ha!) or worse some modern atonal crap & think it's musical. A freind of mine actually heard one academian say, "Tatum wasn't harmonically interesting". I'm thinking, "How does one get an academic job in music if one is deaf?"

But, hey, I don't care, I love Tatum. I've even done a coupla transcriptions of his performances for solo guitar. Had to leave some stuff out of course (imagine that!) but got the gist of what he did in the arrangement.

I'm not much of a musician and not currently one at all. Alto and tenor.

Alto & tenor...sax?

I don't know why the quote tags are not formatted.

Each post only supports a max of 10 quote functions.

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we are weak creatures, and for are whole time upon this planet we have been making art and anything else to undue our torture

Who's "we"? I am not a "weak creature". I am a Man: proud, strong, virtuous, heroic, benevolent...Rational.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I make art in order to glorify the qualities I mentioned in the previous sentence; not to pander to some pathetic need to escape from a "torturous reality that is crushing me".

I hope you also have a good day.

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