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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
Has anybody used this thing? I keep seeing the ads pop up on YouTube. https://mdecks.com/mapharmony.phtml

The maps kind of freak me out but look fascinating in a way. They seem to be modeled on nautical charts which I'm familiar with (note the little anchors and boats). As a visual representation, however, the idea of different tonal centers makes more sense to me than a very linear approach.
On the other hand, the play-alongs look like they take the scale/chord method to the Nth degree, with scales popping up for each chord. So the map and the play along are maybe looking at the music in two different ways? I haven't bought it or looked at all the available pages so I'm not sure.

It does kind of feel like it has so many features I feel I might need a computer science degree to use it. But has anyone tried it, and found it useful? I would be interested to hear.
 

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I got it in a package deal when they were running a special. It’s now being advertised as an ireal pro killer. I just wish that after watching three hours of YouTube videos I could make sense of its features. If only it came with instructions.
 

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While no doubt it could be a useful learning tool for musicians whose brains are wired that way, for me it would be an unnecessarily added layer (or two) of abstraction.

As a musical idiot savant with a rudimentary grasp of Theory 101, I can memorize a melody after hearing it once or twice, have a good sense of relative pitch, am comfy in various scales & modes, & know how to listen for cues from the other players. On the bandstand all I care about is what the tune is trying to say. I couldn't tell you whether the next chord is augmented or diminished, but I can play a coherent melodic line that gets me there.

Anyway, that's just me... & it's cool that every musician can find an approach that fits their style of learning & playing. Whatever works!
 

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Well right away, the piano chord voicings used in their example (Giant Steps) are not very good.
 

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While no doubt it could be a useful learning tool for musicians whose brains are wired that way, for me it would be an unnecessarily added layer (or two) of abstraction.
I'm not knocking it, probably just don't understand it - perhaps I should attempt to understand before criticising. However first impressions I'm not sure even then what you might learn would be that useful in the real world of actually playing music.
 

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What is the meaning of the brackets and curved arrows?
 

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Does anyone actually think like this?
Nop!

I have the mapping app on my iPad but i have not used it a lot. Anyway I like it, and i think it could be useful in classes to explain harmony, using the features. You can show basic harmony or go to extended harmonies with secondary dominants and all the thing. And you can click the chords so you hear what it is about when you are explaining any chord progression. I think it could be a good tool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everybody for the viewpoints. It sounds like it could be interesting as far as studying to deepen one's understanding of harmony. For practical improvisational practice, maybe not so much. I think I will peruse whatever maps are available for free.
 

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Does anyone actually think like this?
I do, in a way. This approach seems a little too rigid to me though. For instance, in the Giant Steps example on their site, suppose you wanted to play their suggestions the first time through, but on chorus 2 you wanted to change the the sounds up and play B A-7|G F-7| Eb | instead? Same notes, works with the same changes, but will certainly lead you to making choices that are different and build the solo up a bit. Kind of a non-substitution substitution.

I don't really think "Aeolian", but I might go for a flat 6 kind of sound sometimes, if I'm feeling diatonic. I don't think Lydian vs. Ionian per se; I'll think I want to do something with a +4 sound this time through. Course I know that's Lydian, it's just the word doesn't go through my head. The brackets and arrows are kind of interesting, but again, I'd try to do the opposite, or just something a little different, on subsequent choruses. Kind of like a recent post about chord substitutions: this time through a ii-V I'll play straight mixo arpeggio, next time I'll play an arp a major 3rd lower so it'll have a +5 - 1 - +9 - b5 kind of sound. But I don't really think about it like that either, if I'm thinking anything it's something like F# lydian aug for a Dalt7 chord and whatever arpeggios are within that. But if I'm into arpeggios, I think that posts suggestions are a nice structure for it. I tend to think of it more in terms of these tones will cause tension so resolve to these tones that sound pretty.
 

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Brackets are II-Vs and arrows marks the resolution to the I chord of the moment.
thank you. I think the brackets and arrows can actually be helpful as a visual aid and a mental concept.
 

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thank you. I think the brackets and arrows can actually be helpful as a visual aid and a mental concept.
The advantage of learning harmony is that you can actually make a 'map' for a song, or any work that is harmony based. For example it helps understand Bach works and language, as well as remember any piece. You relay on the harmony 'roadmap'.

Regarding the thread question i would name some very interesting books to look for for `mapping` the harmony of standards.
David Baker´s 'Hearing the Changes'
Conrad Cork´s 'Harmony with Lego Bricks'
John Elliot´s 'Insights in Jazz'

Maybe these are better and more practical from a jazz player's view.
 

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I believe the author of Hearing the Changes is Jerry Coker.

David Baker wrote A Creative Approach to Practicing Jazz and Guide to Jazz Ear Training.
 
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