key elements for music genre's

Discuss playing styles and techniques, or share your own here.
Randy07
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Hey everyone,

So i've been trying to master chords and their appropriate usage to fundamentally illustrate common musical genre's. I've been at it for a while now and i'm starting to realize it's eaiser said than done. So i'm curious if any of you would like to lend a hand in outlining some basics ( be it chords, chord progressions, scales, etc.) for common musical genre's...say for example: blues, country, rock, jazz.

Help is always appreciated,
-Randy
shredlord
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Hmm... okay... let's give it a try (though it's pretty complicated in the long run ^^)...

(Standard) Rock music is mostly made up by powerchords in combination with simple major or minor triads or doublestops, either played in the whole or arpeggiated. Most Rock music is based around the natural major and minor scales, i.e. the ionian and aeolian modes. Using mostly these two scales to build up harmonic sequences (sometimes flavored up with some seventh chords for transition), the minor and major pentatonic (both derived from the beforementioned scales) and the so called blues scale also play a big role in defining the melodic harmony of classical Rock.

Jazz, by far more complex, adds tons of scales to the whole deal, making it harmonically more rewarding. Standard scales for Jazz music are the seven church modes aka the modes of the natural major/minor scale, also the seven modes of the melodic minor scale are used very often (the seventh mode of melodic minor, the so called altered or super-locrian scale, had a vast impact on Jazz harmony), but also harmonic minor, melodic/harmonic major, diminished, whole tone and bebop (8-note scales, mainly church modes with an added chromatic note) scales, as well as hybrid Jazz scales are nothing extravagant.
Since you've got so many scales, chordal textures also gain a lot of complexity. Where most standard chords have 3 to 4 different notes, Jazz chords may have 6 or even more.
An example: the seventh mode of the melodic minor scale, the altered scale, makes up a 7#9#5 chord. I.e., a major triad with an augmented fifth plus a minor seventh plus an augmented ninth. A G7#9#5 would contain 5 notes, G, B, D#, F and A#.
Then, one big deal in Jazz music is the Art of Voicing. There are many different ways to play a certain chord, and when you're in search of music where this nitpicking is appreciated, Jazz is your thing.
Last important thing about Jazz, chord progressions (the famous II-V-I is only one of 'em). Jazz musicians, especially in the bebop/hard-bop/post-bop area made up hilarious stuff, just like the "Coltrane changes", named after Jazz maestro and tenor saxophone player John Coltrane, complicated way of mixing up chord progressions. Just listen to his infamous record "Giant Steps" to get aware of it.
Ah, and every Jazz musician should have fun improvising. ^^
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-SkiZ-
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I'm just adding that standart rock also does use (less often though) other church modes, like mixolydian and dorian(from wich minor pentatonic and major pentatonic are also derived) the other modes are used very rarely. and of course some progressive rock bands/musicians use almost as many(or about as many or even more) musical elements as jazz musicians do
budt
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And I'd like to add ...

There are still a lot of jazz musicians out there that feel the need to slag rock guitarists ... "all they do is play pentatonic minor scales and parallel fifths".
Blah blah woof woof. They are living in the dark ages ... we've come a long way! What I try to explain to them is that we just have a different approach more appropriate to the solid body electric guitar. Pent minor and power chords, on E, that combo is just square one for us. You can start there and get to all the music theory in the universe. If you want to. Its your free choice. Just a different perspective. Instead of the ol' standard ... "here's middle C and this is a C major scale and this is a C major triad. Now go play Yankee Doodle for ten years" ...

Whereas a lot of jazz musicians, so proud of all the harmony they studied, sound like they are drowning in a matrix of even tempered thirds. Big deal. They navigate melodically through their tertiary soup with an ionian bias, always trying to resolve to Yankee Doodle, even in a minor key. I'm not talking about the great ones, mind you. You can find them in all genres. Why harmonic complexity has to be the sole measuring stick is beyond me!

BTW, you can find plenty of harmonic complexity (that's not so ionian/tertiary biased) in the music of 20th century composers like Stravinsky and Varèse. Hey, and that rock and roll guy Frank Zappa.

Its also obvious that one Mr. Vai knows his music stuff as well ...
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-SkiZ-
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true, but we were talking about standard rock, like ac/dc or something. and of course, zappa and vai are far beyond "standard"
shredlord
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BTW, you can find plenty of harmonic complexity (that's not so ionian/tertiary biased) in the music of 20th century composers like Stravinsky and Varèse. Hey, and that rock and roll guy Frank Zappa.
As Skiz said, even if Frank, whom I truly adore, was known as a rock 'n' roll player, works like "Jazz From Hell", "Yellow Shark" or "Civilization Phaze III" were something completely different. Most of it was avantgardistic and dodecaphonic "Neue Musik", which was more into Schönberg, beforementioned Stravinsky and Varèse, Webern, Cage etc..

It's important for the topic to show characteristics of each genre. When guys like Govan, Kotzen or Vai incorporate complex theory into their music, it is just isn't rock music anymore, it's drifting into fusion, which has no static characteristics.

Of course you can play a very nice rock solo and use diminished quintuplets, but that's not so typically :)
budt
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-SkiZ- wrote:true, but we were talking about standard rock, like ac/dc or something. and of course, zappa and vai are far beyond "standard"
Yes, I know. And I like AC~DC too. Its just that I have a lot of jazz musician friends that are always giving me grief about rock guitar. "Its so limiting" they say with a snide tone of voice. And I just reply that their imagination is limited and I use Frank and Steve as examples, proof that rock guitar can be a starting point in one's musical development and grow into anything. Music is infinite.
Stephen Brown
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http://www.amazon.com/Chord-Progression ... 65-3253624
^
This book infront of me is very very good. Goes through every style you can think of. Rock,Blues,Folk,Country,Funk,Soul,Latin Jazz,Fushion,Ska,Reggae,Gospel.

A great insight into stylist approaches. Took me ages to choose the right type of book. There are so many but this one I find is a real cracker.
MI does it again.

Def a sit down & think book.
budt
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shredlord wrote:It's important for the topic to show characteristics of each genre.
I did drift from the intent of the original post a little bit. Checking out all genres of music is rewarding. I was just anticipating a little elitism creeping into the discussion: "my genre is better than yours". You find that everywhere, too. In my travels, I'm always running into this harmony question.
shredlord wrote:When guys like Govan, Kotzen or Vai incorporate complex theory into their music, it is just isn't rock music anymore, it's drifting into fusion, which has no static characteristics.
This is debatable ... they are still playing through souped-up guitars and amps. Bending notes and wangin' the wang bar, using feedback ...The timbre, feel and intent is so rock. Their interest in expanding harmonic content doesn't kill that feel. Alex Skolnick notwithstanding (all due respect) the final solution to complex harmony is not polite jazz guitar on a hollowbody.

But I digress. The topic was what basic chords and scales define each genre. e.g. Flamenco ... phrygian mode
Last edited by budt on Thu Sep 20, 2007 6:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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boswell
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The true greats mix scales and chord progressions from all genre, like the members great bands of whatever genre often have diverse musical tastes and hence produce fantastic music by blending all their influences.
The band comprised of all metal fans often produces "poor" metal.
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-SkiZ-
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budt wrote:And I just reply that their imagination is limited and I use Frank and Steve as examples, proof that rock guitar can be a starting point in one's musical development and grow into anything. Music is infinite.
:peace

budt wrote:
-SkiZ- wrote:true, but we were talking about standard rock, like ac/dc or something. and of course, zappa and vai are far beyond "standard"
Its just that I have a lot of jazz musician friends that are always giving me grief about rock guitar. "Its so limiting" they say with a snide tone of voice.
probably they're lousy jazz musicians, just guys who took a lot of classes and can't think by themselves.
I think that any kind of music is as limiting or as infinite as one makes it seem...
budt
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-SkiZ- wrote:probably they're lousy jazz musicians, just guys who took a lot of classes and can't think by themselves.
Some of them are! :lol: And some of them are really good. They are just insecure for one reason or another. Some are bitter for lack of gigs and some feel that they deserve more since they practiced more. The real interesting ones are the ones who have mental health issues because they saw their teacher as a guru. (and can't think by themselves)
-SkiZ- wrote:I think that any kind of music is as limiting or as infinite as one makes it seem...
That's it. Exactly. And ultimately, musicians should play the music they love.
budt
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Randy07 wrote:So i'm curious if any of you would like to lend a hand in outlining some basics ( be it chords, chord progressions, scales, etc.) for common musical genre's...
A fun genre is the so called "snake charming" scales.
Say, 5th mode harmonic minor, or the double harmonic minor.
Traditionally played with wind instruments, there are no chords to speak of, but you can harmonize these scales and find some interesting ones.

Anybody have some more scales/melodic fragments to add to this genre?
slash89
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Also, if you want to rape the fun out old classics, all you have to do is get into techno. You can make money without even knowing a shit about what you are doing! That pretty much covered that genre. :roll: :P
shredlord
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And I just reply that their imagination is limited and I use Frank and Steve as examples, proof that rock guitar can be a starting point in one's musical development and grow into anything. Music is infinite.
Indeed, there's no better example than Frank, because there is probably no genre that he did NOT incorporate into his music to create his very unique style.

That's why he's a hero to me, because he just had total musical freedom. No genre limits, no rules, just loooooootsa fun ^^
probably they're lousy jazz musicians, just guys who took a lot of classes and can't think by themselves.
I think that any kind of music is as limiting or as infinite as one makes it seem...
Indeed. These guys forgot or even didn't know what especially jazz is all about. It's about breaking rules, ignoring limits and testing out extremes. If you're limiting yourself to standards, noone will remember you as a great musician, but if you try the uncoventional, you may up end as Steve Vai ^^
fun genre is the so called "snake charming" scales.
Say, 5th mode harmonic minor, or the double harmonic minor.
Traditionally played with wind instruments, there are no chords to speak of, but you can harmonize these scales and find some interesting ones.

Anybody have some more scales/melodic fragments to add to this genre?
Yeah, these ones are very rewarding. 5th mode of harmonic minor is a classic, it's called phrygian dominant, as far as I can remember. These kinda scales sound very arabic, oriental.

Well, there's this scale, sadly I do not know if it has a name, just take the harmonic minor scale and raise the fourth, so that you've got three chromatic notes in a row. This scale also sounds arabic, but it's more rude than the Phryg Dom, just like the soundtrack of one of these bazaar scenes ^^

I have to point out that asian music is very interesting too, and I'm not talking about J-Pop. Check out this scale: 1-b2-4-5-b7. Pick the string near the bridge on clean channel to get a very koto-ish feeling.
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