8 Tonics- All major keys play-along in Eb


Scooby said...

Thanks for this! These lines illustrate the concepts you lay out in your first 8-tonic post.

joesh said...

Nice post(s). I also learnt this system many years back from one of my sax teachers - John Ruocco (c.1988), who was, and still is, a very advanced thinker using this system. However, although like everyone who knows this way of looking at harmony, I have one little 'gripe', which is that many/most people learning such techniques, now start to improvise technically, but not melodically. By this I don't mean it's not melodic, but that there is no taking into account of melodic ideas, or melodic phrases. Kenny Brooks sounds awesome, but to a certain extent its a kind of technical finger wriggling at the end of the day (no offence meant, just a turn of phrase).

Even though I listen to players such as Tony Malaby et al, I'm still blown away by the advanced style of Lester Young, who after all still sounds incredibly modern. This, I think, is due to total harmonic, melodic and rhythmic control, which I guess Warne Marsh/Lee Konitz continued in their own way.

Anyhow, you could write much about this concepts downside here (and upsides - which you have), although I guess for many players its a nice possibility to make there playing sound incredibly hip, whilst side stepping some basic problems.

Thanks for the great blog, and all your excellent suggestions and articles.

Best - Joe

David Carlos Valdez said...

I figured there must be other people who have run across this type of system, though I didn't find anyone who was using it for improvisation. It seems to be such a natural extension of existing techniques, so there must be others who have considered it. I would be very surprised if John Ruocco was talking about hexatonic applications back in the 80's, since hexatonic scales are a relatively new concept. The four tonic system is nothing new and it's an integral part of Jazz substitution, and you could argue that an 8 tonic system is pretty much the same thing as a 4 tonic system. The thing that I think is new with my system is the 12 triad pairings, but it is certainly quite possible that someone else has discovered this already.

The downside to this system, and any other advanced harmonic technique, is that it sounds formulaic. You can't sing this shit, and it is not going to sound like something that Chet Baker would play. We have plenty of these types of complex harmonic devices in modern Jazz, the 3 tonic system is a good example of one that have been used for decades by improvisors and to my ear it sounds less melodic than the 4 or 8 tonic systems. We can't get too caught up in harmonic devices or we forget to play what we hear. The 8 tonic system is something to use sparingly and for a particular effect. Many younger players are getting completely lost in advanced techniques and this can make them unlistenable.

Balance is the key...