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Author Topic: Stagecraft  (Read 6129 times)

Offline prjacobs

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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2008, 06:46:23 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by jefsummers

Weird interval, or weird sounding chord? One thing that can be tough for me, listening to keyboard players, is slash chords.  F/C, for example, where they are playing an F with their right hand and a C with the left. Tough to get those "right" first time through, as it can be hard to tell which chord will sound better in a given situation. Sometimes I will try to add a few notes from the "other" chord in the slash to get things to conform. So an F/C is F-A-C and I'll add either the E or G from the C chord (making Fmaj7 or F2). Those are a lot of trial and error, and really have to be worked out in rehearsals (and I always bring a pencil to scribble in what I find out).

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Jeff, for what it's worth...  As a keyboard player, guitarist and musical director for far too long, I would only play the top part of a slash chord on guitar, unless the bottom note is a total no brainer to grab  or perhaps if the band is small and then only if the note will really speak in a musical context. (Maybe it's a sensitive moment in a jazz song).[:)] I'm really just talking about what I consider to be the general rule, both as a player and an arranger. 99%of the time that note won't speak through the bass, drums and vocals. The example you use, F/C only contains one chord, an F major chord. Really a slash chord is saying, "I'm playing an F chord, that's the harmony I want... And there's a C in the bass." (I believe this may the first actual quote from a slash chord).  Let's take some polytonal examples, say an G/F where the F is not in the basic triad of the top part of the chord, or a D flat/G. If I write that it's usually passing harmonically into something else and I've written that chord because I want that sound of the top chord. And in the context to trying to follow changes I've never heard before, I would absolutely keep it simple and grab the top, the more important part of the harmony.  Let the bass and the left hand of the piano take care of the rest.
 

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Offline jefsummers

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« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2008, 09:39:04 PM »
Agree with the rule of thumb that the top chord is typically what you want to play on guitar, though there are times I find that the bottom chord "fits" better with the progression. I only play a little keyboards, but what my real keyboard player friends have told me is that it is the whole chord that is played with the left hand, not just the bass tone. The F/C adds the whole C chord in the bass, then, not just having a C note in the bass (which would technically be an F chord, second inversion, I believe, though pls correct me if wrong). I have the blatantly crazy opinion that people write chords as F/C or the like because they don't want to write it as Fmaj9, which has the same notes (F A C E G), and it tells the player the proper voicing for the chord (F/C, my tired example, is Fmaj9 2nd inversion).

So, in your examples, I will play a G7 when it says G/F as this adds the F and usually sounds better (keeping the 3 notes of the G major triad and just adding that F note). Db/G is harder, as the G is the raised 4th (or flatted 5th). Dbm/G would be simply a Db dim. Db/G I'd play the Db rather than try to figure it out!


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Offline BrainWorm

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« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2008, 12:21:58 AM »
Every music book I seen says a C/G is a C chord with a G note in  the bass. That seems to be a standard way of music notation. I'll use that chord form a lot in a 1-4-5 progression, C-F-G. I can't imagine what a C chord with a G chord under it would sound like. I would think the C in the C chord would clash with the B in the G chord, the half-step deal.

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Offline simonlock

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« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2008, 01:25:55 AM »
A C chord with a G chord under it will be a C Maj9. It's called poly chords I think. It's a clever way of reducing the brain strain of all those blasted names for chords. The aim is that if you want to hear a maj9 sound you play a major chord a fifth above a major chord. If you played a minor a fifth above a major chord you get a 9 chord. A m(M7) and you get a 9#11. A dim(triad) and you get a 7b9. The possibilities are endless.

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Offline prjacobs

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« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2008, 07:24:03 AM »
Jeff and Simon... What you say just isn't the case.  Brainworm, you are correct.  C/G is a C chord with a G note in the bass.  It is not a polytonal chord. Simon, if you want a C Maj9/G, that's the way you'd write it, using the triangle symbol between the C and the 9 to indicate major, than the slash sign with the G under it.  That is also not a poly chord, just a major 9 with the 5th in the bass. There is no brain stress when reading a chord like that.  It's the convention and everyone is as used to reading it as seeing C and playing C major. I have never, ever heard a keyboard player, nor have I ever been in a situation in the studio where one would play a C major chord with the left hand when reading F/C. It would sound wrong and more importantly, uncool.  Certainly it would never work in rock, country, or Motown/Soul music. I once ran into a situation where someone wrote, C Maj7/F maj7. It was the ending of a jazz ballad and the producer didn't know very much about jazz harmony, but wanted a cool, polytonal ending. But because it was atypical, I asked for an explanation. What he was actually hearing in his head was G/F. So the band ended in the key of F and I got to noodle an ending in G with the right hand.  Jeff, similarly, d flat minor/G is just that, not d diminished. You lose the A flat, which is what's wanted if written that way.  If you want d flat dim./G, that's the way you'd write it.  Same with your example of G/F. If I wanted a G7/F, that's the way to write it. The F is not wanted in the chord if it's written G/F.  In an orchestration, it's quite possible that another instrument might play the F, doubling the bass, for a certain sonic effect, but if you're the guitarist and you see G/F, stay away from the F until further notice.  Jeff, a quick, (and somewhat picky) technical note.  D flat can only be the flatted 5th of a G chord.  Only C sharp would be the raised 4th, or raised 11th, depending on the octave.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2008, 08:30:18 AM by prjacobs »
 

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Offline Paul Marossy

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« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2008, 08:48:38 AM »
quote:
Every music book I seen says a C/G is a C chord with a G note in the bass. That seems to be a standard way of music notation.


That's what it always meant to me. Whenever I play bass, I am looking at playing the G in C/G.

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Offline mountaindewaddict

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« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2008, 10:23:55 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by Paul Marossy

quote:
Every music book I seen says a C/G is a C chord with a G note in the bass. That seems to be a standard way of music notation.


That's what it always meant to me. Whenever I play bass, I am looking at playing the G in C/G.

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Ditto here.

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Offline jefsummers

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« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2008, 11:17:37 AM »
OK, I'm willing to confess ignorance, but I did check with 2 keyboard players on this topic. All here said they play the chord, not just the note, with the left hand, generating not just a simple inversion with F/C but rather a 5 note chord. I have now done some searching on the web on this topic, and it appears that the majority of sites support the other point of view - mea culpa!  However, they do say that a Dm/C is a Dm with a C in the bass, making it a Dm7 chord, voiced with the C in the bass. So, I guess I still question the comment that you leave the F out entirely in a G/F chord. And, Dbm/G, losing the Ab as mentioned, is G-Db-Fb, which I believe is indeed Db diminished in the second inversion, is it not?

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Offline prjacobs

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« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2008, 04:52:15 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by jefsummers

OK, I'm willing to confess ignorance, but I did check with 2 keyboard players on this topic. All here said they play the chord, not just the note, with the left hand, generating not just a simple inversion with F/C but rather a 5 note chord. I have now done some searching on the web on this topic, and it appears that the majority of sites support the other point of view - mea culpa!  However, they do say that a Dm/C is a Dm with a C in the bass, making it a Dm7 chord, voiced with the C in the bass. So, I guess I still question the comment that you leave the F out entirely in a G/F chord. And, Dbm/G, losing the Ab as mentioned, is G-Db-Fb, which I believe is indeed Db diminished in the second inversion, is it not?

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Hi Jeff,
   With all respect, your 2 keyboard player friends are not correct in playing a 5 note chord with a C triad  in their left hand with an F/C written. It is musically incorrect. First of all, playing a 5 note chord with a triad in the left hand, leaves only 2 notes for the right hand, and that's bad voicing. I don't mean to sound like a snot, but I'm not guessing.  I've played and written well over a thousand sessions for over 40 years, and an F/C means an F chord over a C bass.... No question. Also, as a keyboard player, you'd never play a major triad in your left hand.  It's really square.[:)]

I also disagree with about the dmin/C being the same as a dmin7 with a C in the bass.  If someone wants a dm7/C it is written that way.  a dm/C means that they don't want the 7th in the chord.  They want the minor triad sound.  These things may not seem so important in small band settings but they can be more critical with larger orchestration, when many instruments are sharing a limited amount of notes. Regardless of the setting, they are different and that difference must be respected.
In terms of the G/F, again, it's the specific way it's written that defines the sound.  Imagine an R & B song in 4/4.  At a slow to moderate tempo, say 72 bpm. The first bar is is 2 beats each of C and than C/E. The 2nd bar is 2 beats of G/F and F.  In this case, as in many cases of polytonal chords, the polytonal chord functions as a passing chord to a more stable chord. Maybe measure 3 is 2 beats of Em7 and 2 beats of an a minor chord, than the next bar is dm7 to G, and than it repeats.... The chart is written that way to create tension and then release it. By adding the F too early, you're contradicting the intention of the chart. But regardless, if we're talking about reading something for the first time, you'd simply play the top part of the chord. You absolutely would never play an F major triad in the bass.

As far as the d flat minor/G goes, yes losing the A flat makes it an inversion of a D flat diminished chord, but it's not the chord that's called for.  This fictional chart is requiring the A flat.  Look, you could get away with only playing a d flat and an f flat, but it won't communicate what's required. If a note is called for it should be played, if at all possible. I only used that chord because you gave it as an example.  I can't think of too many circumstances where it would be used, but let me make one up.  Say a song has the progression c minor/G, to D flat minor/G, to d minor/G.  So you'd have a chromatic voicing of minor chords.  I would not want to hear c dim, d flat, dim and d diminished on top of that.  Sorry to run on a bit, but I hope you get my point.  Charts are written extremely specifically to keep everyone from stepping on other's notes and for an specific sound.  Sorry to sound so picky, but I am picky about what I want to hear.

Best,
Paul
« Last Edit: May 13, 2008, 04:55:37 PM by prjacobs »
 

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Offline Paul Marossy

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« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2008, 05:48:55 PM »
quote:
Say a song has the progression c minor/G, to D flat minor/G, to d minor/G. So you'd have a chromatic voicing of minor chords. I would not want to hear c dim, d flat, dim and d diminished on top of that.


Me either. I would think that would sound pretty yucky...

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Offline jefsummers

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« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2008, 08:58:23 PM »
Pass the salt, makes the crow go down easier...

It is probably important that the guitarist and keyboard player talk and make sure they have a proper understanding of what is being played - there are at least 2 keyboard players out there who are playing full chords in the bass, making extended chords. Some websites support this as well - http://www.playpianotoday.com/report/070600advanced1.html says "Slash chords can be used very easily to create thick chord extensions (9ths, 11ths, 13ths) and get HUGE sounds out of your piano with minimal brain power!"  So, there is confusion out there.  That online lesson goes on to say that to play a great modern sounding G11 instead of a G7, play the G root in the left hand and an F chord in the right, dropping the 3rd and 5th of the G chord to make it "sound more airy", and notate it F/G. So, some _could_ logically conclude that an F/G is the same as a G11.  Pianofun.com makes similar points, with an interesting statement that a Csus chord and Bb/C are basically the same chord (not to me). And, of course, I want to play the proper chords for the orchestration.  

I can certainly go back to just playing the left side of the slash, but I remain confused on the Dm/C issue. I would think, though I am now doubting myself, that the notes to be played are C, D, F, and A. If it were just the DFA, then it would be written Dm. C-D-F-A are the notes of a Dm7 chord, though the order implies the 3rd inversion. I understand the importance of the voicing and certainly would not play the typical 1st position Dm7 chord, with the C on the second string, rather playing a Dm with the C on the 5th string. I would say, though, that it is a Dm7 chord, technically speaking, in that different voicing.  Is that wrong?

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Offline prjacobs

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« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2008, 09:57:12 PM »
Hi Jeff...
What I'm saying is that in a Dm/C there it is an indication that the C is absolutely not wanted in the top part of the chord.  It's not a matter of what notes make up a d minor 7th.  It's a difference in sound that is being notated. A Dm7/C implies that you want the sound of the minor 7th chord in the top of the voicing.  Of course, at any session, anything like this would be discussed in advance, but that is the standard.  I don't know how to explain the difference any clearer than that.  Chords indicate voicings. Yes, slash chords can be used to create huge sounding chords, but even though this website claims to be about advanced playing, it is really an advanced beginners lesson shown there. In that lesson he does exactly what I'm saying.  An F/G chord is written and he plays an F chord in the right hand and a G, not a G triad in the bass.  He even tells you that the "trick" is to play only the G.  He's not just dropping the other parts of the triad to make it sound more airy, he's dropping them because they will sound terrible if played.  So terrible that it is NEVER played that way. He is speaking nonsense in that regard.  The piano.com statement that a Csus chord and a Bb/C are the same chord is, again, absolutely wrong.  First of all, it is a Csus4 or a Csus2.  Many, many people do not know the proper way to label chords, and also lack the harmonic knowledge to teach correctly.  That's why a good teacher is so important.  Please let me know a specific example of where your friends would play a triad in the bass on and F/C chord.  I have never heard that in my life and I've worked with many, many top artists and musicians. In the end, I wouldn't lose any sleep worrying about where to place certain notes in a chord or what notes to include.  I was mainly addressing Paul's concern about playing something on the fly, the first time. At a session or a rehearsal, stuff like that could be worked out and we'll all live happily ever after.
 

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Offline Paul Marossy

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« Reply #27 on: May 14, 2008, 08:44:40 AM »
quote:
I was mainly addressing Paul's concern about playing something on the fly, the first time. At a session or a rehearsal, stuff like that could be worked out and we'll all live happily ever after.


Yeah, except that in my case, I have no sheet music at all and I've never played the song and sometimes I don't know what key they are playing in because I can't see the other leader's guitar to see what chords he is playing. Kind of a challenge...

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Offline prjacobs

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« Reply #28 on: May 14, 2008, 12:20:57 PM »
Paul, as I said before, minimally, the key for every song should be called out in advance.  Beyond that, I don't know of any ear training for chord changes.  Obviously, good interval training will let you know where the music's going in relation to the tonic or previous chord. It wouldn't necessarily work for every song, but you could do a kind of comping that leaves out the downbeat, so that you can hear the chord and sort of answer it. As Jeff said before, it would be good to listen to and play some standard chord changes, and then perhaps you'd find it easier to recognize some basic chord patterns of the genre.  Then again, since you're in church, an occasional look heavenward for inspiration is allowed.
 

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Offline Paul Marossy

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« Reply #29 on: May 14, 2008, 12:44:05 PM »
quote:
Paul, as I said before, minimally, the key for every song should be called out in advance. Beyond that, I don't know of any ear training for chord changes.


Yeah, at least knowing the key would help. I'm playing again tonight, so this should be interesting. Keeping a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude). I used to beat myself up for not having that ability to hear a chord and know what it is. My friend Steve Levine can do that with an uncanny ability. I guess that's a gift? [:0]

 
quote:
As Jeff said before, it would be good to listen to and play some standard chord changes, and then perhaps you'd find it easier to recognize some basic chord patterns of the genre.


I usually recognize the basics, like a I-VI-V progression, but they almost never have songs that are structured like that. Some of them are rather unusual progressions - which make them sound cool, but harder to follow. [B)]

quote:
Then again, since you're in church, an occasional look heavenward for inspiration is allowed.


Yeah, believe me, I'm going to be doing that a lot in the near future! [:D]

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