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Trifonov Live in Carnegie Hall

Hear Trifonovs captivating recital at Carnegie Hall as of December 7th in works by Schumann, Shostakovich, Stravinsky and encores by Medtner. The music on this program requires poetry and passion that only a master pianist can deliver. “Daniil Trifonov’s playing has it all … he leaves you struggling for superlatives,” said The Guardian. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Jazz Theory vs. Classical Music Theory - Which one wins?  (Read 4115 times)
j_tour
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« Reply #50 on: September 15, 2016, 10:08:11 PM »

I dont like that childish classical against jazz theory ideas. There is no contradiction or divergence.

Thank you!

I was all set to say "jazz theory" doesn't exist, nor does "classical theory," really.

Obviously, some different focuses, but there's no reason you couldn't apply transformations of pitch-classes to some jazz solo.  Probably wouldn't get very far, but neither would it always be appropriate to write down roman numerals over every vertical structure in a Scriabin or a Bach piece.

I wouldn't say it's childish, necessarily -- just wrong, and greedy, and self-serving on the part of "jazz textbook authors" to try to distinguish their chord+scale approach from the larger tradition of music theory. 

Jazz+classical analysis are the same thing, using the same tools.  Just some people are better at analysis than others.

And if you really want my opinion, take a look at who's generally writing so-called "jazz theory" books.  They tend to be performing musicians who may or may not teach as a significant part of their professional lives.  As such, they have every possible interest in trying to add some kind of mystical value to their often peculiar systems.

And that's not even getting into the well-established truth that, generally, musicians aren't to be trusted when it comes to explaining how they do what they do.  Jazz is competitive, people guard their secrets, people have been known to deliberately obfuscate what their actual techniques are (for example, the myth of the jazz organ "footpedal basslines," or whatever mumbo-jumbo about "real swingers tap their feet on the upbeats.").
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classicalinquisition
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« Reply #51 on: September 16, 2016, 03:28:21 PM »

true; there is no reason to disclose special secrets except for pecuniary value; philanthropic offerings of music tips will only be given to an extent, as anything more than that would give free reign to their secrets as the above post stated
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j_tour
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« Reply #52 on: September 16, 2016, 04:13:47 PM »

true; there is no reason to disclose special secrets except for pecuniary value; philanthropic offerings of music tips will only be given to an extent, as anything more than that would give free reign to their secrets as the above post stated

Well, that's a bit more an acid tone than I would have used, but this is an excellent chance to say what I believe to be generally the case:  there's a value in research, done typically by universities and places like the US Department of Defense.  Yeah, I'm being a bit sarcastic, but I'm also right, even if we don't live in a perfect world.

Not perfect, obviously, but in music and in life, cui bono is not a bad question to ask.

And, just from experience as a 40-year-old musician, I don't think anyone can possibly argue that musicians are, generally, a pretty cagey bunch. 

It's not my intention to suggest one be paranoid about every bit of advice given -- just that, in my experience, it's better to look at what people actually do, rather than what they say. 

So, generally, that's why the recordings are the real source for jazz -- there's just too much bloviating among "jazz theorists" to take it seriously.  It's pretty simple, since there are only so many records of jazz -- just transcribe it and pauca intelligenti, remember that the people who propose some systems, are not any more likely to be correct than anyone else.

That's how you get aberrations like melodic-minor mode "theory" or John Mehegan's "rootless voicing" theory.  They're fine and useful up to a point, but they're not rooted in theory.  Good reading, but not important examples.
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classicalinquisition
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« Reply #53 on: September 16, 2016, 04:29:33 PM »

so is your position saying jazz musicians make things up and other readers just accept it as truth?  Then where is the accepted standard of it all?
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j_tour
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« Reply #54 on: September 16, 2016, 04:34:34 PM »

Then where is the accepted standard of it all?

Exactly the same as in classical music.  The composers and improvisers use all the theoretical tools at their disposal.

The standard is in what people write/record/play.  And some theoretical tools have, just like any other grammar, more or less explanatory power.

Just for a laugh, I was looking at "Seabiscuit Rag," by Bill Bolcom, I think.  Well, whatever it was, the key signature in one of the sections was c-flat.

Yeah, that's kind of an abomination, but, hey, it makes sense. 

But I certainly wouldn't make a habit out of it!
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