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Thread: Nardis harmonic analysis

  1. #31
    Piano/Compose/Arrange engelbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tantocomo View Post
    I know this is the music theory and analysis forum, but allow me to suggest the possibility that you are all way overthinking it? Bill Evans himself says that jazz is not an intellectual process. Also one of my favorite quotes, is Keith Jarrett saying "Music is the result of a process that has nothing to do with music".

    Anyways, E minor works for the whole tune, and if you play intentionally you'll know where you need F natural, G#, C#, D#, whatever. Haven't you guys heard of modal jazz? (btw, playing F# over a Fmaj7, or any note that is distinctly not in a chord, is not illegal, it could work well in the middle of a larger passage don't ya know?)

    I'll will add a technical thought to this thread that I didn't see though. I like to play the measure that is | B7 - - - | in the A section as | F#m7b5 - B7 - | sometimes. I find it smooths out the progression somewhat. The closest I saw to this, is someone said B13, which could be played with those two chords...
    Derek,

    It would be helpful if you would expand a little on why you think people might be "overthinking."

    To me they they aren't. Different approaches to music may apply for different people dependng on their abilities. Musical analysis can help players to figure out the individual characteristics of a tune and how to improvise on it. Others may possess the talent to simply intuit the whole process. As we say, "whatever works." Bill's comment about jazz not being an intellectual process referred to performance, not the studying needed to attain the ability to play "without thinking."

    See Ed Byrne's comment two posts earlier:
    I am always looking for ways to diminish the thinking in performance. It is liberating. I do all the anal stuff in the woodshed, and then try to lose it altogether. Then it finds its own way into the story. Often, though, that reduction process takes place over time and in stages.

    You have added some analysis of your own with your suggestions, which are good ones.

    When Bill improvised on Nardis he didn't stick to the head changes. Doing the same as your suggestion, he leaned on establishing an Em feel throughout the "A" section, and varied the changes themselves from chorus to chorus.

    Breaking a dominant chord into a ii-V is of course the most common substitution in jazz, so your F#ø - B7 conforms to standard practice.

    Cheers,
    Jer
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  2. #32
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    Well of course, "whatever works". One of my favorite things about jazz is that while we are all dealing with music, we will all experience different things with jazz. But, Bill Evans was referring to more than just performance, he was refering to playing jazz.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm as big a theory nerd as the next guy and I didn't mean to say that anyone was wrong, or that time shouldn't be spent studying music separate from playing it.

    Why do I say people are overthinking? Like I said, I am as into music theory as anyone else, but this was a complicated read (someone pointed out the heavy stuff). While it was insightful (nardis is a tune I knew already), and there were some references to the tune lending itself to a more simple modal approach that i must have skipped over the first time, this thread makes nardis come off like giant steps, when really it reduces in a beautiful way and is very approachable.

    I think Kizzle was making this point, but he had a number of points in there. When improvising, there really are only three chords to this tune. Consider that Em7 & Cmaj7 are the same, Am7 & Fmaj7 are the same and that you would opt for B7 instead of Emaj7 for the most part while soloing. Now, this is coming from a pianist sure, and I would probably play each chord several different ways throughout the whole piece so okay there are more than three chords, but there are three chords driving the harmonies throughout the whole piece. This piece comes off like a vamp! Ok, I left out the ii-V-I in C major, but it is sooo similar still and is pretty straightforward.

    Ok, this is a liberal way to think of chords sure but this sort of harmonic freedom really is an essential part of this piece and jazz in general (and might I add was very prevelant in the bill evans transcription provided, which was very cool, and his solo was nearly entirely in e minor except when he had chromatic embellishments and used the dim7 chord over the V).

    Now that is an analysis that I have made separately from playing, but while still considering playing (that's why Am7 & Fmaj7 are the same, because while improvising I can play them interchangably). While studying music I never let playing get far from the mind because what is music without playing?

    When you don't consider playing, you are liable start labling chords as neapolitan chords. Ok, Fmaj7 is on the bII, and ok it goes to the V so its predominant. But calling it neapolitan, while a perfectly defensible & logical lable in the world of music without playing, seems a little forced. I have a different view. From the first time I heard this song I heard it as a reference to flamenco music, which is of course typified by chord progressions along the phrygian scale.

    One more point I'll make about the tune before I wrap it up. I went back and jammed this tune out a little bit, and when soloing I did like the F#m7b5 over the B7, but on the theme, I felt like it was appropriate two beats earlier over the Emaj7 thats always suspisciously in parenthesis. I decided i liked F#m7b5 there a while ago, because it works better with the theme and I think its closer to how Bill plays it. I kinda feel like that Emaj7 is a misprint or something (some transcriber who doesn't really know the tune saw D# in the meldoy and thought, Emaj7!). The only person I've ever talked to about it though was a bass player who wouldn't know a half-diminished chord from a fully diminished 7th, and he didn't have much to say. So any thoughts on that?

    So to wrap it up, don't believe all the chords you read on a lead sheet. When improvising always start, or at least consider playing, without the fancy voicings, so for this piece choose B7 over Emaj7 (both work on the theme too!). If it says B7#5, improvise with B7. For melodic solos E minor will take you through this piece, and it should begin to come off like a vamp. Thx a lot if you read this!
    Derek
    blockchords.com

  3. #33
    Registered User SuededSwede's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tantocomo View Post

    One more point I'll make about the tune before I wrap it up. I went back and jammed this tune out a little bit, and when soloing I did like the F#m7b5 over the B7, but on the theme, I felt like it was appropriate two beats earlier over the Emaj7 thats always suspisciously in parenthesis. I decided i liked F#m7b5 there a while ago, because it works better with the theme and I think its closer to how Bill plays it. I kinda feel like that Emaj7 is a misprint or something (some transcriber who doesn't really know the tune saw D# in the meldoy and thought, Emaj7!). The only person I've ever talked to about it though was a bass player who wouldn't know a half-diminished chord from a fully diminished 7th, and he didn't have much to say. So any thoughts on that?
    Evans voices Emaj7 during solos on some choruses and Em on others. He also makes frequent use of F# even over Fmaj. Sometimes he puts in a few secondary dominants aswell.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuededSwede View Post
    Evans voices Emaj7 during solos on some choruses and Em on others. He also makes frequent use of F# even over Fmaj. Sometimes he puts in a few secondary dominants aswell.
    Yeah but in that paragraph i'm talking about how he plays the theme, and there is a way that he plays the theme that the sheet doesn't get, and I'm pretty sure he uses F#m7b5 instead of Emaj7 in that second measure. I know about mixing the chords up on the improvising, i discussed at some length already.
    Derek
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  5. #35
    Piano/Compose/Arrange engelbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tantocomo View Post
    Well of course, "whatever works". One of my favorite things about jazz is that while we are all dealing with music, we will all experience different things with jazz. But, Bill Evans was referring to more than just performance, he was refering to playing jazz.
    Perhaps you should listen to the interview again. Bill referred to playing jazz as being not intellectual. In my dictionary, playing = performing. He did not reject the intellectual in studying jazz.

    Bill said, in regard to whether his jazz was intellectual:
    Only as far as being a student... You use your intellect to take apart the materials and learn to understand them and learn to work with them.
    Which is exactly what people are doing here. Including you.

    Your explanation in answer to my question was that you think the tune is simpler than some of the more complicated attempts to analyze it. Whether I agree or not, it's a valid point of view.
    Jerry Engelbach, piano/arrange/compose
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    If I may interrupt the train of thought for a mundane question from a novice:

    Is there a more or less standard way to end this song in a jam session?

    Thanks,

    Ed

  7. #37
    Gitariz Acci's Avatar
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    So in Fmaj7Q

    Is Q a character that is supposed to look different but I'm just seeing it as the letter Q?

    Is Q a #11?

    Is Q a typo?

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acci View Post
    So in Fmaj7Q

    Is Q a character that is supposed to look different but I'm just seeing it as the letter Q?

    Is Q a #11?

    Is Q a typo?
    Quartal voicing, presumably (which would also require a 9th and 13th).

  9. #39
    Piano/Compose/Arrange engelbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acci View Post
    So in Fmaj7Q

    Is Q a character that is supposed to look different but I'm just seeing it as the letter Q?

    Is Q a #11?

    Is Q a typo?
    I see references in previous posts on this thread to Fmaj13Q and C69Q.

    It's interesting that the most frequent LH piano voicing of these two quartals is exactly the same: (reading up) E - A - D.

    C69Q = 3 - 13 - 9.

    Fmaj13Q = 7 - 3 - 13.

    However, rather than F13Q it's possibly more frequent to see F69Q: D - G - C. This might be especially true if one were trying to use different voicings in order to keep some movement going in the LH for the Nardis bridge.

    For Fmaj7 play F69 = D - G - C.

    For Am7 play Am11 = E - A - D.

    This is only one possible solution to playing these chords.
    Jerry Engelbach, piano/arrange/compose
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  10. #40
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    I really like Derek's posts in this thread, though there is certainly nothing wrong with the analysis others have given.

    It's fun to compare versions of Nardis by just typing the name in youtube and going to work! Here's what I'm hearing, and feel to correct me if I'm wrong.

    The B is uncontroversial and clearly well-understood, so I only want to address the A.

    The original recording, the slow Cannonball version from '58, uses the following chords for A in both the head and solos:

    | Em | F E | B7 | C |
    | Am | F | E//Em | Em |

    (of course you can add 7ths, 9ths, etc., and F isn't treated as a dominant)

    During solos, measure 8 doesn't have the minor on beat 4.

    The Bill Evans trio version from Birdland in '60 uses the same A for the head, but following for A solos (bold-typeface where different):

    | Em | F E | B7 | C |
    | Am | F | E | E |

    (of course, Bill might put the V7 in meas. 8 to turnaround, from time to time)

    Fast-forwarding to this 1970 version, it's so informative to hear how the tune evolved, and I feel this version is closest to that which everyone is addressing in this thread:

    | Em | F | B7 | C |
    | Am | F | E//Em | Em | for head

    | Em | F | B7 | C |
    | Am | F | Em | Em | for solos

    and, of course, Bill adds subs here and there, particularly subbing B7 for F or vice versa (should be obvious why, lol).

    This latter version, so similar to what's being discussed, seems to be the standard approach to this tune in jam sessions, etc., as well, if for no other reason than the fakebooks have it that way.

    It is the E and the F chords that throw people in this tune. I mean, we take those out and we have:

    | Em | | B7 | C |
    | Am | | Em | Em |

    The C might throw you, but it's just a deceptive resolution of the B7 to a chord that actually sounds quite a lot like Em in this context. Iow, blowing Em sounds when that chord hits works perfectly -- you don't have to geek out and think C Lydian or something. What I'm saying, following Derek's great post, is you can really just blow in Em on this tune, and it works well. As an experiment, all of us with students who don't yet know a lot of theory should comp and tell them to play in "E minor." It will likely not only sound okay, but actually quite good relative to their skill level -- my hypothesis .

    If you think of the F as an F7 and then think of F7 as a substitute dominant for B7, you can just play V7 of Em stuff on that chord. If you treat F as FM7 (which is honestly how I hear that chord, and how Bill most often plays it), it's working imho as a Phrygian modal interchange chord, and you can adjust to E Phrygian/F Lydian to fit it better, but you can seriously get away with staying in "E MINOR" for that chord, which goes by fast anyway.

    I think it's important to acknowledge the "Flamenco" tinge, the Phrygian affect of this tune. "Nardis" was written near the "Sketches of Spain" recording, after all, not to mention "Flamenco Sketches," etc., though blowing in E Phrygian doesn't sound that good to me.
    "We start out playing by ear, learning everything we can, and finally ending up playing by ear again." - Lee Konitz

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    I'm new to this Forum and late to this thread . . .

    I was having the same struggles in analyzing the A section of Nardis. The lazy way was to think of the E min Phrygian as the tone center, which makes the F maj, B dom and C maj easy to figure out. You could play C Ionian/E Phrygian for all the chords. That would make the B dom an altered b5 #5 b9 #9 and the C maj. Basic stuff.

    Problem is, that's not the way the tune is written. It's the E maj that throws it off. Plus, the melody has an F natural over the E maj and it hangs there for most of a bar. And the B dom just doesn't sound right to me unless it has the natural 13 (G#).

    I wasn't happy finding a single substitute scale that I could use over all the changes, because it lost subtle harmonic movement from the B7 and E maj.

    So, I stopped thinking for a while and just listened. Then it hit me. Miles was thinking modal in 1958 when he wrote this tune. The melody is always resolving to E natural. The Aha! moment came when I tried to figure out how the melody F natural could work so well over an E maj chord. The harmony does the same thing. The F Natural played over the E maj makes the E maj an altered/dom sound that wants to resolve. The melody tells your ear that it wants to resolve to E minor. E minor is the "tonic" center. E maj/B dom are the subdominant and dominant centers. In other words, E maj tonality resolves to E min tonality. The E min can be Dorian, Phrygian, Aolian, or whatever.

    It's the resolution of the E maj to the E min tone centers that give the tune it's subtlety. E minor is the resolved/tonic sound and E maj is the unresolved/dominant sound.

    So what do you play over it? The F natural in the melody suggests that the E maj is not Ionian, and the B dom not Mixolydian. In other words, it's not simply alternating between the keys of E maj and C maj.

    What works for the E maj and B dom? You can play F# melodic minor for the E maj and B dom. That's how you get the F natural melody over the E major chord. That also gives you a B dom #11 13.

    On the guitar, substitute scales work out nicely for fingering. At the 2nd fret, play F# Phryg (E Dorian) for the E minor, F major and C major chords Play F# melodic minor scale for the E maj and B dom chords. I also find my ear wants to hear C Lydian for the C maj, to keep the F# in common with the B dom. C Lydian (B altered b9, #9, #5) leads nicely back to the E minor.

    I also think of it as different shades of E. E min = E Dorian, Phrygian or Aolian. F maj = E Phrygian. B dom = E Ionian. C maj = E Phrygian or Aolian. E maj = E Ionian. It's the shift from one E tonality to another that gives the tune its subtlety.

    It's a brilliant tune.

  12. #42
    Piano/Compose/Arrange engelbach's Avatar
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    Scott, welcome to the AAJ Forum.

    Have a look at Bill Evans' solo on Nardis.

    He tends to stay more or less within E minor.

    Cheers,
    Jer
    Jerry Engelbach, piano/arrange/compose
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    Quote Originally Posted by engelbach View Post
    Scott, welcome to the AAJ Forum.

    Have a look at Bill Evans' solo on Nardis.

    He tends to stay more or less within E minor.

    Cheers,
    Jer
    Thanks Jer. Check out Bill Evans' introduction to Nardis from this concert. In this one he stays a little less in E minor. Although he doesn't spend much time in E major either . . . . http://youtu.be/59Z6uBvGE94

  14. #44
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    Hey guys, sorry for maybe asking something that has been answered already.

    There is so much helpful information but sometimes it gets to much for me. However, I can clearly see that the way to approach this song is basically not to think in terms of modes and scales, rather thinking of tones and the way the sound in the context.

    Lately, this has been all I try to think of but I don't really feel that I can completely let go and think outside the box (no pun intended). Guthrie Govan mention that young musicians often get stuck in all the scale shapes and instead we should learn the sound of each note, so when we hit that B7 chord in the third bar we should know, or "feel", how it will sound if we will hit THAT note next and so on...

    I honestly don't really know how I should practice this. Maybe I am on my way - if you for instance take a pentatonic scale, add the notes that makes it complete (dorian, aeolian etc.) and the also add some chromatic tones (or should I say lead tones maybe) like the blues note, a major third (if your playing a minor scale) and the major sixth (if you are not playing the dorian already) you suddenly have all the tones except the diminished two, and all these tones basically sound good in a four bar ostinato with one single chord (if you know how to use them). In this case, I know what flavour the, for instance, major sixth will add to the sound but I can't really think in these terms if we are talking of three chords or more.

    So, to make it clear, is there any extremely easy way (I guess that is all what you guys have tried to do in the last three pages) to explain how to approach this song, or at least how to practice the "sound of each note"?

    Edit: I should also say I am very new to jazz. In general, it's difficult for me to understand what "modal" even means. I don't know if I am destroyed for all future, but I can't let go of thinking in terms of scales. Maybe it is the guitar, it even seems to me that the frets are there to tell me that there is an actual frontier between the notes and shapes. How should I approach "So What" and "Flamenco Sketches"? Help me stop thinking of "it works fine with D dorian..."! I saw somewhere that someone had written down the tone material for Flamenco Sketches-chords and when I play it, it sounds awesome, but I don't know how to figure that out by myself.

  15. #45
    Gitariz Acci's Avatar
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    David

    I think there are two things that are commonly suggested to help with your problem:

    1. Transcription. Use your ear, the more you use it, the stronger it will get... analyze what you transcribe.

    2. Singing. Sing the transcriptions, learn how to sight sing, sing different modes over a drone, learn solfege, or at least sing along with numbers (I prefer solfege!)

    3. Play with other people...you learn arguable the most about improvisational/harmonic relationships by trying to use them in real time in a live setting.

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