Monday, 20 April 2015

Melodic Generic Shapes in Jazz Improv—#2 GS (1235) and GS (1345) compared and applied.

Now that GS4 (1235) has been outlined, it is time for some thoughts on the application of GS (1235) and to introduce GS4 (1345) and note the comparison of characteristics, and tendencies of the two.

GS4 (1235) and GS4 (1345) in the tonic of a major key are similar but with a subtle difference. Of course when used in chords other than major and the GS are comprised of scale-of-moment tones, this comparison changes. If the two GS are stated in major, then the comparison holds.

The differences between GS (1235) and GS (1345) in major.

First, let's examine the things that are the same in each. They both have a root and perfect 5th and a major 3rd. The differences are important and occur in a 4th note apart from 135.  GS 1235 has the 2nd degree which is neutral and has an effect of thickening the overall sound of GS 1235. Where as GS 1345 has the 4th degree which is a tendency tone that is a half step above the 3rd and has a tendency to fall to that 3rd. With GS 1345 when the tendency is not exercised in a melodic or chordal sense it creates sounds with a little more 'edge' and is has a possible dissonance that is attenuated somewhat in a chord sound. Both are useful and are often used together in a string of sounds but there is a definite difference that can be applied.

These two GS (I've taken to calling them GSA [GS1235] and GSB [GS1345]), originate from the 'major' pentatonic scale. GSA on the root of the major and GSB on the 6th of the major as in a relative minor of C major. As a result of this, GSB has a minor 3rd and has a sound that is sounding quite a bit like its major partner GSA. This does affect the approach to doing scale tone GS. For example in C major, the GS (A or B) would be (could be) dictated whether or not the third is major or minor. See Figure 1.

GSA and GSB originate from the major pentatonic scale:

GSA and GSB found within a major scale.

In Figure 2 below, the GSA (1235) and GSB (1345) in a major scale are outlined.

GS quality can be (will be) determined by the chord of the moment. GSA (example: C1235) can be adapted to minor or even diminished and augmented. See Figure 3.

GSB (1345) as major.

This 2nd GS I'm calling Generic Shape B (GSB) is, as stated above, often associated with minor, but it also serves in today's sounds in major and dominant chords. Not only from the root but also as pluralities or slash/chords to produce this edgy but masked sound that is (can be) virtually found in all chord qualities to some degree (This is also true of GSA [1235]). Chord qualities that can support GSB (and GSA and so on) will be outlined in a later blog but meanwhile here are a couple of examples just to get this idea across see Figure 5. Figure 4 exemplifies the establishment of new shapes (from the primary GSB) generated through simple inversion/Rotation (R). See Figure 4.

New GSBxR that produce 3 new shapes from the original (total: 4).

Chord qualities from different roots that enable GSA example: C(1235), and below that, chord qualities from different roots that enable GSB example: C(1345).

Here's a summary of GSB (1345) on C with BP1—6 x R1—4 and S1—4... for a total of 96 permutations.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Melodic Generic Shapes in Jazz Improv..a practise in discovery

These melodic shapes are documented and championed by Jerry Bergonzi and others. In this discussion, I'll call them Generic Shapes (GS) and they are available (and in current use) in a one octave diatonic scale and can be calculated and practised into improvisation over scales/chords and, over tunes. Let's say that a GS will have at least three notes, and in fact can be four notes (quite accessible), five notes and even six notes (not totally impractical). I will outline some thoughts I've had for a number of years on this topic over a series of upcoming blogs. There is a lot of detail and understanding to be discussed so it may take a good number of blogs to cover this. A large part of this will be the discovery and application of possible permutations of the original Primary Shapes (GS). Permutations of primary GS will include:
  1. Basic Permutation (BP)—(note order change in a GS)
  2. Rotations R (inversions of a GS)
  3. Staggered Starts of each Rotation (SR) of a GS
Five possible four note Generic Shapes:

The first GS under discussion, since it's the most common and is easy to use, would be a four note GS. There are five unique four-note Generic Shapes existing within an octave of a major scale or any seven-tone scale. Using the C major scale and C root as an example, they would be: 1235 (CDEG), 1345 (CEFG), 1245 (CDFG), 1234 (CDEF—Tetrachord), and 1357 (CEGB—7th chord). These are the primary Generic Shapes and each can be played diatonically over any scale tone. For example CDEG 1235 has an ascending intervallic shape of Ma2nd, Ma2nd, and min3rd. This same 'shape' could be applied to say: D Dorian 'D' being the 'new 1' with the result: DEFA which has this same ascending shape only the interval quality may be different as in Ma2nd, min2nd, and Ma3rd. It still falls under the umbrella of being a 1235 GS(4). See Figure 1.

GS 1235:

It may seem arbitrary but starting with 1235 [CDEG] is a good idea because it abbreviates both the major scale, major pentatonic scale, and, it also establishes a triad chord. A possible first device to be used in the task of finding permutations, is a Basic note order Permutation (BP). It turns out that there are six BP for each of the original primary four note GS. The original primary, CDEG using the same notes, is now reordered (BP) five times for a total of six. See Figure 2.

Six Basic Permutation (6BP) applied to the primary GS4 as in CDEG:

CDEG (prograde-original—BP1) can be reversed to GEDC (retrograde—BP2). The next BP can be discerned by doing an obvious process of every other number as in CDEG becoming: CEDG (BP3) which itself can be reversed (retrograde) to become GDEC (BP4). Making a total of four BP so far. The last two remaining BP can be seen by reordering the original by the only remaining ways available: CDEG becomes CDGE (BP5) and the original retrograde form GEDC is given a similar treatment and becomes GECD (BP6). See Figure 2.

Figure 2.

Outlining the above BP (process):

BP1          BP2          BP 3         BP4          BP5          BP6


1 2 3 5 — 5 3 2 1 —1 3 2 5 — 5 2 3 1— 1 2 5 3 — 5 3 1 2

Thus you have six Basic Permutations (BP) of note order.

Now to each of these examples of six BP we can apply the further changes (permutations) to each GS through: inversion (rotation) and staggered rotation (see the list above under the first paragraph of this blog).

Each one of the original GS (CDEG—1235 as an example) will have 6BP x 4 inversions (rotations) x 4 staggered rotations for a total of 96 possibilities. A first step in practising these might include the 6BP to get familiar with. Basic Permutations (BP) are purely about changing the note order in the starting GS. It sounds like a lot to deal with but once the ideas are committed, there could be some possible freedom experiences in that something right and NEW might emerge from this study. See Figure 2 above.

Permutations (4) through Inversion/Rotation): 'R'

This is a relatively simple process and creates new shapes out of the original.

CDEG 1235 rotated (inverted) once, creates a shape: DEGC (2358) and the new ascending intervallic shape derived is Ma2 Min3 Perfect 4th. By reducing it to it's 'new root tone' D (DEGC) this new shape can be easily thought of as 1247 (Ma2 Min3 Perfect 4th) reckoned from D. In Figure 3, I take this generated GS and impose it on the original root C (CDFB) to get a clearer comparative view. See Figure 3.

By applying this same thinking process to the 2nd inversion of 1235 (3589 or 3512), related to C as 1 it reads 3589 and if the note E becomes the 'new root' note, the GS of 1235 can be seen as 'E' 1367 (EGCD) in this case the ascending intervals are: min3rd, Perfect 4th, and Ma2nd using only the original notes. Again I've taken this generated GS and imposed it on the original root C (CEAB) to get a comparative view. See Figure 4.

Applying this process to the fourth inversion (rotation) of CDEG, the notes generated are GCDE (589 10) and have a new shape from 'G' (root) which reads 1456 (Perfect 4th, Ma2, Ma2). Note the comparative view with 1456 over a 'C' root (CFGA). See Figure 5.

Thus, from the 4 'rotations' of CDEG (1235), the new shapes 1247 (CDFB), 1367 (CEAB), and 1456 (CFGA) for a total of inclusively: 4 GS through an inversion/rotation process (R). See Figure 6 for a summary of these 4 shapes created by the inversion/rotation of on GS (1235 in this case). All the generated rotations are imposed over a C note as the bottom note. Truly it is the Rotation shapes that serve best as a basis for permutation because once these are learned and learned as transferable (C1235—D12b35 etc.) GS, the application of BP and SR (staggered starts in rotation) can be applied as they are gradually learned.

N.B. If one takes into consideration the 6BP applied to each one of these 6BP x 4R there are 24 individual yet strongly related Generic Shapes (GS).

The next application of permutation emerges when the rotations (R) are given staggered starts (S). I would like to acknowledge Lane A. called these Staggered Rotations, internal rotations, which I think is quite correct.

This additional device (GS4 x 6BP x 4R x 4 SR) creates the rest of the potential 96 GS permutation possibilities with four notes. It is simply a process achieved by staggering the start of a single rotation, for example 1235 can be started on successive notes in the shape: 1235, 2351, 3512, 5123. This same idea can be applied to the other rotations of our example: DEGC can be started in a sequence of staggers on the same shape. DEGC, EGCD, GCDE, and C(octave up)DEG.. and so on. When BP (6) and R (4) and S (4) are multiplied the potential numbers of GS is 6BP x 4R x 4S = 96 possibilities. See Figure 7.

See the page below which illustrates the 96 possibilities (on C major etc.) of the GS4 (1235). See Figure 8.

Figure 8.