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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Solo transcriptions are very important, though not the only, part of mastering the skills of improvisation. In this way, the process of learning (musical) language with its stylistic features is carried out; and the hope of a transcriber, that after a certain number of transcriptions, they will begin to have a direct impact on the student’s play. This, of course, happens sooner or later; however, transcribing without concomitant analysis creates a picture of sequences of phrases of various lengths, which should be memorized and re-transposed into all keys.
However, in melodic line of improvisation, not just phrases are intertwined, but also three kinds of melodic structures in the interrelations between them:
1. riffs (motives),
2. their variations and
3. transitions - passages.
In a well-constructed solo, there is some logical balance between these structures, the absence of which f.e. with an emphasis on virtuoso passages over time creates the feeling of boredom . To navigate in improvisation, the identification of these structures and their correlation is required; however, with the development of jazz phrasing, this process has become increasingly complex. The improvisation in the earlier period of jazz was based on the riffs - motifs and their slight variations .

Satchmo's solo :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve75y5NbqL4

( Trummy Young on t-bone - Satchmo a octave lower. )

Swingers have significantly expanded the proportion of passages - transitions, observing, however, the balance with riffing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DmtPvFa_W8

However, bebop introduced a revolution: he began to represent melodic lines made up of passages that played around harmony; and from broken riffs, often shrinking to the size of two eighths with a pause - formula Bebop, ending the passages.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1PzmVKnyTY

Hard bop introduced more balance between melodic structures, which is clearly seen in the example of the famous Red Garland solo in "Bye bye black bird" solo” .



Partial analysis: Bar 10: initial motive occupying half bar;

Bars 12-14: riff and its 2 repetitions - the 3rd time with embellishment and an accelerated rhythm;

Line function from mid-10th bar: connection between initial motif and first riff;

And again: the passage, which began in the middle of bar 14 , leads into the riff in bars 16-17 ;

From the middle of the bar 17 the passage begins, which ending on the formula "Bebop". However, unlike previous bop players , this formula turns into a full-fledged riff, returning to typical swingers' phrasing -Lester , Duke;

Bar 22 to begin 24: a standard bebop phrase at pattern II-V, but ends on the initial motif of this solo.

This is followed by a lengthening of passage structure to 3 half bars; but nevertheless ending in bar 30 on a clearly decorated motif, including ornamentation;

Bar 32: A riff that immediately repeats and leads to a melodic shape of classical type - with a non-classical ending "Bebop"

Etc. - everyone can continue to his taste.
 

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My study of composition is limited, but one similarity classical has with jazz improvisation is the use of motives. Your observation of how the use of motives kind of evolved in jazz is interesting, and I wonder if there are similarities in this change in the use of motives/variations in classical music from different eras (like from the fugal works of Bach over the centuries into the 20th century composers). If so, jazz seems to have very quickly evolved in just a few decades what took hundreds of years for other western music. To be fair, jazz had the backdrop of the evolution of the other eras and this could have accelerated the process I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My study of composition is limited, but one similarity classical has with jazz improvisation is the use of motives. Your observation of how the use of motives kind of evolved in jazz is interesting, and I wonder if there are similarities in this change in the use of motives/variations in classical music from different eras (like from the fugal works of Bach over the centuries into the 20th century composers).
The study of the history of the development spoken languages in the world demonstrates that there are no languages ​​that do not consist of words, phrases and sentences. This is due to the specifics of human thinking, behavior and communication, flowing in the form of patterns. Since the source of music is singing, and the language is involved in singing; it is not surprising that speech structures are historically involved in music (although professional music has overstepped this framework in historical development). When we talk about music, we always consider it as a type of communication language that has its own syntax and logic.
Therefore, in working with students on the development of improvisation skills, I see it as my first duty to encourage them to unite what they are trying to play with what they say verbally; and it works amazingly fast!


If so, jazz seems to have very quickly evolved in just a few decades what took hundreds of years for other western music. To be fair, jazz had the backdrop of the evolution of the other eras and this could have accelerated the process I guess.
You are absolutely right ; just forgot to mention the oncoming influence of jazz on world music.
 

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Yes, it seems that many human endeavors, when you get right down to it, all have the similiar underpinning of patterns of some kind- language made into literature/poetry, movement made into dance, materials made into visual arts. The patterns seem necessary in order to convey things in all kinds of mediums, and to learn. The hard sciences even moreso- math and physics, etc. with all of their patterns and elegance. Your term "broken riffs" that comes into play in bebop seems like it's in concert with other disciplines at the very time it was created, and it's fascinating how they all seem to run neck and neck. Sorry to get off topic- just got me thinking about how motives seem like kind of a universal way to communicate in all kinds of contexts.
 

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Discussion Starter #6

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Looking at the general definitions (not necessarily just musical) of the word motive is kind of interesting. One definition is "reason"- coming from the Latin "to move". The opposite would be chaos I suppose, which generally means random- and chance is supreme. In physics having to do with small changes and even formlessness. So, would Broetzmann say his playing was driven by reason?

Like you said, the motivic ideas are what make the music interesting to most people, and bebop is a sophisticated way of keeping the riffs but also play around with harmony, beyond what they were doing in swing. Probably some people can't comprehend/appreciate bebop because maybe they can't hear how the motives are still there- maybe it sounds like chaos to them. Mathematically, even a three note motive can actually have a tremendous amount of variation, but people would have different levels of abilities to perceive them. Over the centuries human beings have evolved their ability to comprehend arguably more and more complex music, melody, harmony and rhythm.

What I'm trying to say is that I wonder if a solo like Broatzmann's can have all kinds of variations on a motive going on at a higher level that I, for one, can't perceive? I didn't used to like/understand free jazz at all, but now I can "hear" it- I developed an ability to hear it after years of listening and playing. On the other hand, maybe Broatzmann is just playing chaotically without any "reason" driving him.

I learned in a class once that the reason for art is to convey human emotion- to make someone feel something, or to realize/understand arguably the most important part of human experience- how someone else feels. Humanity=empathy. Although some emotion doesn't seem like it comes from reason, ultimately I guess it does. Does Broatzmann's solo, that seems to have no motives or structure, evoke emotion in the listener? Maybe chaos itself evokes emotion- agitation, fear, etc.

Do some very accomplished, kind of brilliant players spontaneously create music with very sophisticated/complicated motivic develpment that isn't easily understood? More importantly, is this music coming from some overdeveloped ability to do musical/mathematical permutations the player can execute, or from the soul and heart, which truly would be an evolution of the music?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Looking at the general definitions (not necessarily just musical) of the word motive is kind of interesting. One definition is "reason"- coming from the Latin "to move". The opposite would be chaos I suppose, which generally means random- and chance is supreme. In physics having to do with small changes and even formlessness. So, would Broetzmann say his playing was driven by reason?

Like you said, the motivic ideas are what make the music interesting to most people, and bebop is a sophisticated way of keeping the riffs but also play around with harmony, beyond what they were doing in swing. Probably some people can't comprehend/appreciate bebop because maybe they can't hear how the motives are still there- maybe it sounds like chaos to them. Mathematically, even a three note motive can actually have a tremendous amount of variation, but people would have different levels of abilities to perceive them. Over the centuries human beings have evolved their ability to comprehend arguably more and more complex music, melody, harmony and rhythm.

What I'm trying to say is that I wonder if a solo like Broatzmann's can have all kinds of variations on a motive going on at a higher level that I, for one, can't perceive? I didn't used to like/understand free jazz at all, but now I can "hear" it- I developed an ability to hear it after years of listening and playing. On the other hand, maybe Broatzmann is just playing chaotically without any "reason" driving him.

I learned in a class once that the reason for art is to convey human emotion- to make someone feel something, or to realize/understand arguably the most important part of human experience- how someone else feels. Humanity=empathy. Although some emotion doesn't seem like it comes from reason, ultimately I guess it does. Does Broatzmann's solo, that seems to have no motives or structure, evoke emotion in the listener? Maybe chaos itself evokes emotion- agitation, fear, etc.

Do some very accomplished, kind of brilliant players spontaneously create music with very sophisticated/complicated motivic develpment that isn't easily understood? More importantly, is this music coming from some overdeveloped ability to do musical/mathematical permutations the player can execute, or from the soul and heart, which truly would be an evolution of the music?
The truth is learned by comparison.

My opinion about the music Broetzman not based on spontaneous guessing, but in comparison with music of prominent representatives of free jazz: Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Pharoah Sanders, Paul Bley , Lester Bowie , and others . I'm sorry: Broetzman's solo imo does not meet these standards ; and no matter how well he known. Or did I not understand something in his music? Don't think so .
On the other hand, I did not claim that he was playing chaos; only that his music is of no interest; and does not cause interest because it is based on monotonous use of the element speech melody - in the absence of others. In contrast, for example, with the music of Coltrane at his last public concert at the Olatunji Center of African Culture. The intonation of speech melody is not chaotic and not accidental (the nature of human thinking does not allow it to think completely chaotic - there is always some system hidden ; or according to the clinical term, pattern of behavior); just in this case it's not interesting. BTW, in later recordings, Broetzmann yes uses motives.
 

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I don't question your analysis which I'm sure is valid. I just find it interesting that, like you said, there has to be a hidden system- just like it would be difficult to speak gibberish for a long time, especially by a person fluent in any particular language. It then just seems like any system necessarily involves motives by definition. Therefore, doesn't Broetzmann have to ultimately be using a system- which would mean motives- whether he or anyone else realizes it or not? I guess the only way to really know would be some really complicated analysis by a super computer or something since there can be such a tremendous amount of variation.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Therefore, doesn't Broetzmann have to ultimately be using a system- which would mean motives- whether he or anyone else realizes it or not? I guess the only way to really know would be some really complicated analysis by a super computer or something since there can be such a tremendous amount of variation.
The best answer is his playing now:


I am sure that the changes in his playing are conscious.
 

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Thank you for the information on this-lots of food for thought.
 

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Wee dot. Wee dot. Wee dot do ba de da Wee dot. Weedle dot Wee dot do ba de da reedeep de ploy joy. Reedeep da Wee dot Weedle dot Reedeep da Wee dot.

I think a lot of analysis isn't necessarily required. Sonny Rollins in the 50's was all about motif/theme development, check his solo on St. Thomas. I agree that development of motif and having a theme lends more interest, along with development of intensity ala golden section, with rhythmic density, dynamics, extreme ranges, etc., especially for longer solos.

When I was in school, theory and analysis started with listening and tracing themes and motifs with colored pencils and highlighters in our anthologies of scores, leading to mapping out sonata allegro form and all that. Frankly, I'm still left not really digging all that stuff very much, the first time I heard it I was analyzing it, I can't really just listen and enjoy. I'm walking through Sears and analyzing the dang muzak, sitting in a restaurant unable to ignore the country or mariachi. But it no doubt had a big impact on my playing, hopefully a positive one.
 

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Lack of motives and structures in general makes music uninteresting. Peter Broetzmann:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHTDPx8LpuQ

That was my sentiment towards Wozzeck, actually, it was even worse, every time I thought I had found some structure or motif, it was immediately deconstructed and replaced by something else. Maybe if I had gone back and watched it another 3+ times I would have been able to find something to identify with but my motivation after the first time sitting through several hours of atonality was sub-threshold ...
 

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Speaking in terms of Jazz.
Blues provided the "Melodic Structures" for jazz. Some earlier jazz musicians like Parker and Coltrane added to their playing with elements they could use from classical composition. But they always new they were adding to the blues. That's why so many jazz tunes were called names including "Blues" even though they were adding other elements to the music. They would input "Melodic Structures" from Classical music theory to add interest and extra creativity to the music. Many of those very creative and complex solos usually had a closing blues "Melodic Structure" to end the solo with. It's as if they were saying I played all that other stuff but it's still about the blues. Jazz beginners are usually instructed to learn some blues first. That's why Jamey Aebersold provided blues playalongs so blues melodic structures could be worked out first. Things are a little different now and theory is more of the emphasis based on modes and other approaches, but when a player uses some meaningful blues melodic structures the audience recognizes that expression and many people still enjoy it. Blues and Bebop melodic structures are great elements to use in music solos.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you for the information on this-lots of food for thought.
Exactly that was my intention.:idea:


That was my sentiment towards Wozzeck, actually, it was even worse, every time I thought I had found some structure or motif, it was immediately deconstructed and replaced by something else.
Excuse me, how is it possible? - Sprechgesang accurately reflects melodically text structure! Only these are not song melodies, but speech melodies; and they are naturally out of tonality - try to play your speech exactly on saxophone ((Chico Freeman does it). Just the opposite is true: precisely because there is no tonal and harmonic logic, they are replaced by clear melodic structures; but their aesthetic beauty is a matter of taste. In any case, the evolution of jazz led to the same musical ideas in the person of Ornette Coleman 35 years later (exactly, as Roundmidnite noted, the development of jazz went faster than previous genres).

. Jazz beginners are usually instructed to learn some blues first. That's why Jamey Aebersold provided blues playalongs so blues melodic structures could be worked out first.
This is what I do with newbies - without the help of Aebersold. Everyone invents its own riffs, based on the pentatonic or blues scale.

https://yadi.sk/d/elUvDZpG0CUKEw
 

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Excuse me, how is it possible? - Sprechgesang accurately reflects melodically text structure! Only these are not song melodies, but speech melodies; and they are naturally out of tonality - try to play your speech exactly on saxophone ((Chico Freeman does it). Just the opposite is true: precisely because there is no tonal and harmonic logic, they are replaced by clear melodic structures; but their aesthetic beauty is a matter of taste. In any case, the evolution of jazz led to the same musical ideas in the person of Ornette Coleman 35 years later (exactly, as Roundmidnite noted, the development of jazz went faster than previous genres).
How is it possible? I don't really know but my uneducated guess is that my auditory system was simply not conditioned to translate text structure into musical structure with the result that I was bored - actually more like frustrated because I couldn't leave. To me, Sprechgesang is something that was created out of the need to create something and I am never really sure whether those who claim to enjoy it really do so or whether attending a performance at the Met is just another feather in their cap. Listening to some of the conversations afterwards made me actually lean towards the latter.

I have no problem applying principles across disciplines or arts, and I actually enjoyed reading Goedel, Escher, Bach many years ago, not to mention the Glass Bead Game - to me still the quintessential convergence of all arts (though only hypothetical). And I did a rather thorough analysis of the sonata structure of the Steppenwolf.

I am not saying that there is no value or structure in Sprechgesang but I am also not shy to state that it was completely lost on me. There is a saying where I come from: "Fuer den der's mag ist's das groesste", roughly translated: "No matter what it is, if you like it, it is always great."
 

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Discussion Starter #17
How is it possible? I don't really know but my uneducated guess is that my auditory system was simply not conditioned to translate text structure into musical structure with the result that I was bored - actually more like frustrated because I couldn't leave. To me, Sprechgesang is something that was created out of the need to create something "
Schoenberg did not appear out of nowhere; it was preceded by Mussorgsky , Liszt, Wagner, Caesar Frank, Berlioz, Richard Strauss. It remains for him to only derive a logical conclusion.

We are talking about jazz, right? So its existence includes prehistory from African cultures with characteristic phenomena - whether anyone likes it or not:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHqGQwHlD1s

So it continued in Brazil:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrgveUpwCnM&list=FL6fqDmZ4pyKBMwRtE4VUMvw&t=10s&index=67

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVajWqWdEco


And this is how it looks in North America:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKX3U5Pnf5Q


Hope you caught the linking red threads.
 

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Schoenberg did not appear out of nowhere; it was preceded by Mussorgsky , Liszt, Wagner, Caesar Frank, Berlioz, Richard Strauss. It remains for him to only derive a logical conclusion.

We are talking about jazz, right? So its existence includes prehistory from African cultures with characteristic phenomena - whether anyone likes it or not:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHqGQwHlD1s

So it continued in Brazil:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrgveUpwCnM&list=FL6fqDmZ4pyKBMwRtE4VUMvw&t=10s&index=67

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVajWqWdEco


And this is how it looks in North America:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKX3U5Pnf5Q


Hope you caught the linking red threads.
I think I did and curiously, I like each one of the links you posted with some reservations about Wishful Thinking, yet I fail to make the connection to Wozzeck, which as I mentioned earlier, I found somewhere between annoying and boring and I apologize if I rub you the wrong way but that is just my personal opinion.

Just because somebody creates something and it becomes accepted, it doesn't mean that I have to embrace it if I find it un-acceptable. But then, that's just me and my "I don't really care what others say" stance on life (has earned me a lot of love with many of my superiors :evil: )
 

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Blues provided the "Melodic Structures" for jazz.

Many of those very creative and complex solos usually had a closing blues "Melodic Structure" to end the solo with. It's as if they were saying I played all that other stuff but it's still about the blues.

Blues and Bebop melodic structures are great elements to use in music solos.
+1. To my ear, the blues lies at the heart of jazz, even when it's not a 12-bar blues form.

As to motifs and motif development, as bokagee pointed out Sonny Rollins is a master of this. But most, if not all, the jazz greats used it to some extent. And of course a lot of symphonies were composed around one or more simple motifs, so it's not limited to jazz.

Regarding 'free jazz' I can appreciate a lot of it, even when it gets pretty far out. I love what players like Pharoah Sanders, Coltrane, Ornette, Sun Ra, Archie Shepp (at least some of it), and some others did. But in most of those cases, there was some thematic development, rhythmic variation, and yes, blues, involved. Those clips of Brotzmann just sound like chaos and noise to me (I couldn't get through it to the end, but heard enough); I don't hear any melodic structure or improvised line in what Brotzmann is doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
yet I fail to make the connection to Wozzeck, which as I mentioned earlier,
The common thing between them: the elevation of human speech into the main one — together with the rhythm — driving force of the melody. I hope that it is not necessary to mention that the aesthetics of jazz melodic improvisation comes not from the Italian bel canto, but from the spoken English in its African American version.

I found somewhere between annoying and boring ...
Just because somebody creates something and it becomes accepted, it doesn't mean that I have to embrace it if I find it un-acceptable.
It's OK for a music consumer approach. The real jazz musician is constantly looking for new ideas, and doesn't reject anything , even if at first glance it is not pleasant. Exactly in this jazz musician has a huge advantage over the academic! I am more than sure that Charlie Parker would not agree with you.
 
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