Triadic etude #3- combining a traditional triadic approach with Garzone's TCA

I wrote this etude to illustrate how one might combine Garzone's Triadic Chromatic Approach and a more traditional triadic approach.

The first eight bars of this etude consists of Major triads used over a C7 alt or dim chord the triads used are (in order): F#, D, Bb, C, Ab, D, E, Eb, F, B, Bb, C, Ab, D, F, Ab, E, Ab, E, Bb.

The second eight bars were written using Garzone's TCA, then every eight bars alternate between the two different approaches.

You can hear how bars 1-8 and 17-24 actually fit neatly over the C7 alt/dim chord, but bars 9-16 and 25-31 sound more harmonically nebulous and freer. I do like both sounds and they contrast nicely with each other.

You might experiment with limiting the number of triads that you use to contrast the TCA to three or four instead of the eight that I used. This will create a bigger contrast between the traditional triadic approach and Garzone's TCA. For example by using Ab, F# and D Major triads over the C7 alt, when you make the shift to the fully chromatic triads of the TCA it will really sound more like it has opened up harmonically.(click on the above graphic for a larger view)
Listen to the audio file of this etude


Anonymous said...

Hey Dave, I'm glad to see that you gave Garzone's concept some space on the blog.

I study with George at Manhattan School of Music, and we concentrate on his triadic concept pretty heavily. I noticed that your etude doesn't adhere to George's concept completely, so I thought I would try to lend a helping hand.

One of the first rules George ever explained to me as foundational was to never repeat the same inversion in consecutive triads. If you play a root position C major triad (C E G), you can't follow it with a root position F# major triad (F# A# C#). You could put it in a different inversion, say 1st inversion, so that A# ends up being the lowest note in the triad (descending F# C# A#). So, ascending C E G then ascending F# A# C# is not cool, but ascending C E G then descending F# C# A# works better.

Sometimes are ear is drawn to patterns, but in George's concept the one of the main concepts is to avoid repetition and to keep the harmonic colors changing. Though your changing the triad, if you keep the same inversions the color hasn't changed completely. Keeping the same inversion for consecutive triads creates a clear pattern for the ear to follow, which is exactly what Garzone is trying to help us to avoid. The idea is to search for beauty in the unordered and in the unpatterned, just like many other contemporary artistic concepts.

So, in the first line of your etude you repeat root inversions on 2 or 3 consecutive. If I did that in my lesson Garzone would stop me on the spot to correct it. Also, the beginning of your etude has all the triads ascending one after. That might also create too much repetition to work in his concept. It would depend on the situation, but in general it looks like your triad don't change shape or direction often enough. I'll use my old example to clarify. So, we have ascending C E G then descending F# C# A#. What would make that even better is if we change the shape of the second triad. So, well make it F# descending down to the A# below and then ascending to the C# in between. Now we have ascending C E G then F# down to A# up to C#. That would work even better in the triadic concept. You have to be careful to change shape and direction at the right times to keep it unpredictable.

Anyways, I hope that helps a little bit. I know a lot of people are checking out the concept right now and that it can be somewhat difficult at first. If there are any questions feel free to shoot me an email (bbbritton@gmail.com). Good luck to all who are trying to shed it!

David Carlos Valdez said...

Thanks for your comment, but I think you didn't read my explanation of the etude. The first eight bars do NOT follow Garzone's concept at all.

I wanted to write something that would illustrate the difference between a more traditional triadic approach and George's TCA.

The second eight bars follow Garzone's guidelines, and so do the last eight bars. I wanted to player to really hear how the the TCA could be integrated with a more inside and traditional triadic approach.

This etude was kind of inspired by a question from a Casa Valdez reader who asked how Garzone's TCA was different than say Bergonzi's Hexatonic approach. I didn't exactly use a strict Hexatonic approach on the first and third eight bar sections, because I drew from more than two different triads.

Can you tell us any other ways that Garzone had you apply his CTA?

Anonymous said...

That is definitely a cool idea to show contrast between the more traditional approach and George's concept.

I checked out the second set of 8 bars. The shapes and directions are clearly randomized, so that is really great. There are still some of repetitions that you want to watch out for though (with the triad inversions). In bar 9, starting on beat two, you have an Ab triad in second inversion followed by a D triad, which is also in second inversion. Then you have a Bb triad in root position followed by a D triad in root position. That is the kind of thing you want to avoid. Like I said, when I accidentally do this kind of thing, George will call me on it. It's just too patterned, even with the different directions and shapes.

One of the main ways we work on this stuff is by concentrating on a single triad type, major, minor, augmented, or diminished. We take that triad type, let say major, and then we play the triadic concept mixed with traditional jazz language over a tune or some changes. You start really slow so you can more easily hear and think about what is going on.

When we started though, I just worked on a single triad type running consecutive triads trying to randomize inversion, shape, and direction . . . REALLY SLOW. I still have to do it pretty slow to keep it going for a long time. After a while you start mixing the triads together, and then after that you add the chromatic approach (random intervals a major 3rd or smaller). It takes a long time to start getting comfortable. I'm really just starting to grasp it. Another big part is using your ear to make it sound beautiful and personalized, which is the most rewarding part for me.

Garzone suggesting blowing over the II V I Jamey Aebersold, which I'm definitely going to do.

Again, best of luck with this.


David Carlos Valdez said...

I see what you're saying about repeated inversions, but I was going from what George's PDF supplement from his DVD says about Displaced Permutations:

"Once the triad is permutated, it is treated as a different inversion in this concept. Therefore the same inversion can be repeated back to back as long as one of the two triads uses a displaced permutation."

Do you remember him talking about Displaced Permutations?

Anonymous said...

So, I talked to the George, because I was very curious after the conversation we've been having. He did verify that permutation can be valid as a separate inversions. He always uses the word inversion in lessons so I had overlooked this apparently.

If you avoid rote repetitions of inversions, you should be good. Alright, sorry about that, talk to you later.


David Carlos Valdez said...

Thanks for checking that with George. I appreciate that. It's kind of ironic that you go practice using all of these rules to construct lines that sound kind of random.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to add a little note. That even if you are following all the technical rules its important to remember that its not mathematics, as George says. As we all try to get this concept down we should avoid repetition of harmonic patterns, shape patterns, overuse of a certain concept, and so on, to really stay true to the spirit of the concept. If you can pick up a patter aurally, then it is wrong, and that is the overarching rule of the concept.


Anonymous said...

I think its funny too that rules create randomness, but its the same concepts classical musicians have been working with for nearly a hundred years. Jazz musicians are just slow on the uptake!

Adam said...

"Math jazz!"

MonksDream said...

This is a very interesting discussion. One of the things that my most influential teacher, Hafez Modirzadeh, taught me, is that you have to develop your OWN concept that you can use to absorb and reflect on others' concepts.

This is, essentially what David's doing, as I know that he's already put quite a bit of work into Hexatonics. One of the most important things to remember is that the player should play things that they like and sound good to them.

If you like the sound of a certain pattern, I would say that figuring out ways to interestingly permutate that pattern, or play in an interesting fashion in a solo, done tastefully, can work. Listen to Bird, some of his most interesting runs, such as the incredible cyclical pattern he plays at the end of "Koko" came out of pattern oriented playing.

Although I understand that Garzone's whole point is to get away from this type of approach, I still think that one shouldn't necessarily get too hung up on the details, as this can also be a matter of personal taste.

In Dave's earlier posting with a recording of Brecker's clinic (I'm not a big fan but it was extremely interesting,) he points out that practicing certain patterns chromatically up and down the horn will definitely increase your technical facility, but one should avoid doing this during a solo, as it sounds kind of mechanical.

Anyway, just my two cents or fifty bucks on the subject. Someone's sending me that Garzone DVD for x-mas and I can't wait to check it out.

Anonymous said...

I would usually agree about not getting hung up on details, but in this case we are talking about the first introduction of Mr. Garzone's concept to a mass audience. I think he would appreciate it if we did pay attention to the details, at least until the system is well understood.

MonksDream said...

If that's the case, you should have just read the title of the posting, rather than immediately making a critique of David's etude, dude.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I really am sorry that I didn't catch the introduction of the etude . . . Basically, Mr. Garzone requested that I jump on the site and point out some of the rote inversion repetitions to help people understand the right way and the wrong way to approach the system. Anyways, this is his system, and he does care about the details. I misplaced my critique so I apologize again.


Unknown said...

I'm really interested in learning as much as I can about George Garzone's Triadic Chromatic Approach but I have found very little information on it. I even contacted him via email to see if he had a book or any study materials that I could purchase, but unfortunately his only suggestion was to take lessons with him! (If I lived 750 miles closer I would!)

It's great to see this information being discussed here and I sincerely hope that George will make study materials on the concept more widely available. Although I basically understand his concept, I still really don't know the best way to start working it into my vocabulary.


Unknown said...

Well! I just scrolled down and found the review of Garzone's new video!

It was less than a year ago that we exchanged emails and yet not a hint of this...very exciting.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the etude. I am just getting into the triadic approach and have recently gotten the Garzone DVD but would appreciate a comment on whether there are other triadic approaches in addition to the Bergonzi's Hexatonic method and how they differ. Is that what was used in the first 8 bars? Thanks

David Carlos Valdez said...

In the first part of this etude I just took triads that fit over a C7 chord This was more than just two triads, so this could not be called a Hexatonic approach.

There are many different ways of using triads over changes. The Hexatonic method that Bergonzi writes about is not especially original, Trane was using triad pairs in the sixties. Garzone's approach is a bit more unique, but it's still inspired by late Trane.

Trane didn't really have such a well defined way of generating 12-tone lines, but he did use triads in a similar way. Listen to Sun Ship and you'll hear how Trane uses different types of triads in a very free way.

Another good book on the subject is Gary Campbell's 'Triad Pairs for Jazz' book. Garzone's method uses triads, but the results are drastically different than if you use Bergonzi's or Campbell's approach.