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Herbie Hancock lesson!

Graham English

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That's a very strange article.. as if to say that hthose are patented Herbie techniques.. but without any reference to what song or recording they come from?


In the first example it seems like the author is showing a phrase that was in an e minor pedal point, but he over-analyzes the notes and calls it a progression of seventh chords, most of which are incomplete. It's really just a bunch of clusters that have varying degrees of an "out" sound, mostly in terms of how many black keys he uses. The melodic contour is a bit strange, but eother than that I don't find it a particularly revealing passage. It just shows a player grabbing notes rather than thinking chordally.


The second example shows rather rudimentary Bi-chordal sounds (second inversion major triad over an augmented triad), played in chromatic parallel motion, something Herbie got from Debussy. The notes that these two chords from are part of the hexatonic scale, the scale of alternating minor thirds and half steps. I love that scale and have done stuff that uses exclusively that part major part minor sound.. the best way to think of it, though is in terms of stacked triads (major or minor, doesn't matter) that are separated by major thirds. You can also thing of it as two Augmented triads separted by a half step. If you separate them by a whole step instead, you get a whole-tone scale.


I hope that gives you a deeper perspective into those examples.. I love music theory, but sometimes when I hear jazzers talk about it they make things over complex in a way that can be detrimental to your playing.



As for those flashing keyboard diagrams.. they really weird me out since the spacing is all off... the sixths look like sevenths, the octaves look like tenths.. too weird.

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