Author Topic: Reharmonization  (Read 185 times)

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saltamontes

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Reharmonization
« on: March 18, 2020, 12:02:56 AM »
One of my all time favorite, extant composers is Joni Mitchell.  Her use of modal harmony, quartal structures, slash chords, melodic phrasing, and poetry weave fables of passion, indecision, despair, and resignation.  Like a potter who throws a perfect pot only to make an imperfection as not to offend God, Joni defined a generation with her poignant lyrics and compositions.  Marc Copland reharmonized "Rainy Night House" carefully capturing Joni's subtle, haunting melancholy with jazz harmonies and improvisation.  Perhaps this will give inspiration to others as it has given me.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_nn4UtxH38
Hold gently the hearts of those you love. For once they are gone, you will shed a thousand tears for each one you caused and the memory of each callous moment will be your companion.   Saltamontes

Jerry Engelbach

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Re: Reharmonization
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2020, 11:17:37 AM »
Thank you for the link.
 
Coming from a jazz background, I have a particular love for reharmonizations.
 
Although the tune is not to my taste, I love what that guy is doing with it.
 
Cheers,
Jer
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SallyS

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Re: Reharmonization
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2020, 03:11:17 PM »
I too love Joni Mitchell.... and I found the reharmonisation very pleasant... Relaxing.... Enjoyable. But I would ask 'Why reharmonise' that particular song. I think the strength of the original is not particularly in the melody.... and although the harmonies are definitely Joni and I love them.... there is somehow an awkwardness about them. The strength of the original song, I believe, is a combination of melody, harmony, the lyrics.... and of course her very distinctive voice. Take any one of those away... For me... It then spoils the magic.
Not knowing much about jazz (I've sung a little but would never profess to be a jazz singer) I would ask those in the know, why are there so many re-harmonisation numbers in jazz? Sometimes the melodies or harmony are taken away so far from the original that you can't recognise the original... Is that the aim? Why don't the jazz musicians just set up their own melody ... and then develope the material from that? I love Listening to jazz.... but with not having studied it or been much a part of a jazz scene, I do find it very difficult to understand. Any pointers.... greatly appreciated!!😀

Jerry Engelbach

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Re: Reharmonization
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2020, 04:07:14 PM »
Sally,
 
Reharmonization is a form of improvisation — which is, after all, what jazz is about.
 
New harmonies can also reveal an aspect of the the melody that may not have been apparent in the original. For example, playing a G as the tonic of a G7 chord has less exotic "flavor" than playing it as the #11 of a Db13#11 chord, a typical dominant tritone sub.
 
And finally, musicians like to have changes that lend themselves best to soloing, and certain progressions do that better than others. For example, jazzers have long favored ii-V-I progressions because of the strong guide tone lines moving between thirds and sevenths.
 
Cheers,
Jer
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SallyS

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Re: Reharmonization
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2020, 02:26:13 PM »
Thanks Jer... All taken on board. I've a lot to learn. Sadly college frowned on jazz... So something we never touched on. I'll go work on my 13th chords with sharpened 11th's!! 😀

sandalwood

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Re: Reharmonization
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2020, 06:25:44 PM »
In case you  want to hear what the uninitiated may hazard  about the subject :): As an outsider to jazz, when trying to learn more about writing for the big band while recently working on my Mi Bolero-Chá, I had a glimpse of the harmonic world of jazz. I remember having found this resource

http://www.timusic.net/debreved/jazz-melody-and-voicing-part-2/

for instance, among the helpful and smooth introduction to this world. Once somewhat exposed (even elementarily like myself) one can see/intuit how mentally seductive that endeavor of (re)-harmonization can be.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-pwTkgRE-M&list=PL613D1A6B3C4BBDF2&index=30&t=0s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GMNzLUhbdk

Looking at such examples one can't help thinking the reharmonizations are sophisticated  clockworks. I tend to think, probably wrongly as the outsider I am, each jazz standard provides sort of an olympic category where every arranger can try to run his best time and thus challenge the medalists in that category.

Jerry Engelbach

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Re: Reharmonization
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2020, 11:29:26 AM »
I tend to think, probably wrongly as the outsider I am, each jazz standard provides sort of an olympic category where every arranger can try to run his best time and thus challenge the medalists in that category.
Reha,
 
I don't think you're wrong, as (IMO) there are reharms out there that seem to lessen rather than improve the originals.
 
However, some reharms have become as famous as the originals. Bill Evans reharmed a huge number of tunes, which have replaced the originals in many cases.
 
Bill had a way of finding the strongest, most vividly colorful progressions for tunes, and these were adopted by many jazz musicians as THE way to play them.
 
Cheers,
Jer
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saltamontes

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Re: Reharmonization
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2020, 12:30:37 AM »
Reharmonization is not just in jazz.  Classical music is replete with reharmonizations, i.e. works of Bartók, Copland, Beethoven, Mozart, Enescu, Ives, and many more are reharmonizations of traditional folk songs.  Reharmonization is a form of composition.  Many contemporary songs are in essence reharmonizations of previous compositions.  The beautiful Jobim "Insensatez" is closely adapted from Chopin's Prelude 28 opus#4, the motif of Dan Fogelberg's "Old Lang Zine" is, by his on admission, straight from 1812 Overture, and countless other examples.  These do not distract from the original compositions, rather they are interpretations.  Joni's oeuvre was heavily influenced by jazz, her use of modal harmonies, slash chords, quartal structures, etc. in the early 1960s  reflected the explosion of modal jazz at that time spirited by Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Mingus, and other jazz giants.  Indeed, she collaborated with Mingus producing an album by that name.  As I write this, I am listening to Herbie Han****'s poignant, cryptic reharmonization of Joni's "Both Sides Now" from the CD "The Joni Letters," a jazz masterpiece.  Peace.....
Hold gently the hearts of those you love. For once they are gone, you will shed a thousand tears for each one you caused and the memory of each callous moment will be your companion.   Saltamontes

saltamontes

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Re: Reharmonization
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2020, 12:41:33 AM »
Geez.... I see from my post Herbie's last name has been censored.  For the love of Pete..... 
Hold gently the hearts of those you love. For once they are gone, you will shed a thousand tears for each one you caused and the memory of each callous moment will be your companion.   Saltamontes

SallyS

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Re: Reharmonization
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2020, 12:06:55 PM »
Thanks for the links. I thought you had censored the name yourself😂 Weird!! It's lovely to hear you guys chat. So much for me to look up and listen to. Thanks. And OMG I'd forgotten about Dan Fogelberg!! I transcribed some of his songs when I was a young teenager!!

Jerry Engelbach

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Re: Reharmonization
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2020, 01:00:05 PM »
Geez.... I see from my post Herbie's last name has been censored.  For the love of Pete.....
I had a good laugh when I saw that.
 
The message board bot is a prude. Someone should tell it that it's not just part of name, but a male chicken.
 
Cheers,
Jer
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SallyS

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Re: Reharmonization
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2020, 04:10:06 PM »
I've just listened to the Herbie Han****eral 😂 Both Sides Now. It's amazing! Thanks for introducing it to me.... But I guess it takes me back to my first question.... Why have they used that song for their improvisation? If I hadn't know the title, I wouldn't have recognised any of the melodic or harmonic motifs. I presume it's for the inspiration.... the somehow 'fixed point' that they can then move away from? Or is it just taking the 'feeling' of the piece...and pushing that further than maybe the original song did? Am I just too tied up in the original?... And it doesn't really matter how or where the improvisation started? It is a beautiful reharmonisation... and will definitely go on my playlist!

SallyS

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Re: Reharmonization
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2020, 04:12:34 PM »
I just tried to be clever and put in the male chicken that crows in the morning!!!! But it still didn't like that!!! 😂😂😂

saltamontes

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Re: Reharmonization
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2020, 05:39:32 AM »
Sally, it's Herbie's interpretation of Joni's mood/intent and his exploration of harmonic possibilities.  Indeed, there is little there to delineate the original and it certainly is abstract.  The entire song collection on the CD is a tribute to Joni honoring her career and she sings on the song "The Tea Leaf Prophesy."  I suppose your question is kind of like asking Picasso why he creates such bizarre  paintings of his beautiful companion instead of just capturing her (original) loveliness in a traditional portrait.  It is his vision and result of decades of work to find a way to express it.  Although my analogy is somewhat contrived, I think you can grasp my intent.  Herbie, as many jazz greats, had his beginnings in classical music.  (I did as well, classical guitar, but of course I am most certainly not in their league). 
 
Since you're a Joni fan, I think you would really like Sarah McLaughlin's (more traditionally Joni) treatment of "Blue."  It is beautifully done..... 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STRGKm7T72M
Hold gently the hearts of those you love. For once they are gone, you will shed a thousand tears for each one you caused and the memory of each callous moment will be your companion.   Saltamontes

SallyS

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Re: Reharmonization
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2020, 03:27:06 PM »
Thanks Saltamontes. That has certainly clarified things for me. Although you think your response is somewhat contrived ..... It's hit a chord (not a pun)! I do grasp your intent. And I can see a little more as to where Herbie was coming from... and can see it as a very fitting tribute to Joni. As for Sarah McClauglin's version.... It's very beautiful.... But only as a cover version. It's a little too perfect somehow!! Joni's music has always had,for me, imperfections... technically.... but her soul and feel for a piece are sometimes overwhelming.. The rawness.... She bares her soul somehow and can take you in to that world of hers, where you feel priveldged to be invited. I guess that's really what Herbie is trying to show through his own work.... So yes.... That makes sense now!! 😀 And maybe he understands her more than most!!