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 Another Rationalization for Ignoring Chords and Guide Tones 
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Post Another Rationalization for Ignoring Chords and Guide Tones
Another reason why it could be O.K. to ignore the chords along with their thirds and sevenths is that if an indeterminate 5 note quartal or non-3rd chord is playing, [or a power chord] there's no indication which of the notes in the chord is the third and sometimes which kind of third, especially if the bass player isn't playing roots but is playing melodically instead. Anyway, the 5 notes of a full quartal [or a non-3rd spelled 54671 bottom to top, for example] are almost half of the total 12 notes, so the chances are high that you're either going to start on a note of the chord by accident or shortly after your first note like if there had been a suspension. Getting that right and failing to do that will probably alternate satisfactorily enough for jazz. Javier who made that website on Coltrane's three tonic system recommends alternating hitting guide tones and playing suspensions on his lessons blog. A serious jazz saxophonist like him will of course do that much more intentionally but also probably more rigidly. 3 note quartals don't have all the pitches but they're even less defined. C Major usually only has CG and D, or GD and A depending on if you want to descend from the 1st or the 5th [unless playing rides]. No third, No seventh. Bye bye. And maybe the bass player is playing an Ab. Corea grounds his three note quartals with a 1-5 stomp sooo... don't do that if you're trying to get away with heresy.

Rides would involve CG and D plus DG and E. It's got a third but your context may minimize that interpretation and that's a total of 6 notes you may hit by accident or move to like a suspension so your chances are even better than before: exactly half. I'll take those odds.

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Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:03 am
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Post Re: Another Rationalization for Ignoring Chords and Guide To
The way I see it, if you're playing in a major context and you play five notes in fourths, then that is pretty specific: third in the bass, then 6-9-5-1.

I'm no expert in jazz harmony, but I study when I can, and I'm more used to building chords in thirds than in fourths, but I'm getting there.

R


Fri Nov 13, 2015 9:10 am
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Post Re: Another Rationalization for Ignoring Chords and Guide To
Anyway, the context matters for quartals. If you've set up the expectation in the quartal chords that you're only playing the root, fifth or 3rd in the highest voice of the chord for several passes for example, then when you hear four notes in fourths in the solo, your ear will interpret them in the limited choices that you've set up. But if you've started with tertian harmony then switch to quartals that do NOT have chord tones in the highest voice because you're being intentionally obscure, listeners won't be sure WHAT interpretation to give your four notes in fourths except they're expecting the triads and sevenths that you already played in the beginning (maybe D halfdim in the first bar, G Alt in the second and C minorMaj7 in the third bar as an example). No matter what you play next time around on the first bar, folks'll be expecting a D half dim which is why you're now free to play less defined quartals without chord tones in the highest voice.

And if the "key" you're playing in is Melodic minor sharp four add b7 and build quartals from that (in which case they'll consist of augmented and diminished fourths here and there), people won't be able to immediately tell what root chords have, even if you only ever put the root in the highest note of ALL the chords, especially if you never put chord tones in the bass and are using locked hands like with b7 or b6s in the bass instead. Actually, it'll probably be hard to tell that the soloist has played an arpeggio in fourths even if the listener has a great ear because the context is so disorienting.

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Fri Nov 27, 2015 8:41 pm
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