~ Two / Five / One ~

~ Three / Six / Two / Five / One ~

'... shaping ideas to their natural balance ...

triads / /diatonic / non diatonic ... ?
double Two / Five
combine shapes such as F- in 1st position to blues in 6th etc.
251 where 1 is ctdim 7 / up -3 makes 5 of diatonic 5 ...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

.

In a nutshell. Whole books and semester length courses are often dedicated to 'form in music' at the collegiate level. That said, there's a dozen or so basic terms that describe the most common of our Americana musical forms for writing our musics. Knowledge of the forms used to write music is a large part of improving one's ability as an improvisor. Much of the following discussions are pointed that in that way; that by knowing of, understanding and hearing the 'form' in our music, our ability to create improvised dialogue in whatever format, is strenghtened as we hold the sense of 'closure' that the forms in music brings.

books
closure

~ Two / Five / One ~

~ 3625 ~

'an accelerating cadential motion that knows no stylistic bounds ...'

v v
v
v
v
v
v
cadences
by ear

~ improv ~

'connecting our heart, head and hands together in spontaneous creativity ...'

Two
Five
One
Four into Two
2 5 cell
cadences
songs

in Bb major from Blue in green

evolutions

1st inversion C- becomes Eb maj 7 then b7of the V chord then reolve

not maj 3rd in v7 so the b9 nine can replace the tritone ?

Three Six ...

. Know any top 10 hits written with just these three chords in one key center? Hip to "Just My Imagination" by The Temptations. Well, you can be now. Actually it's more back and forth between the One and Two, Five comes along in the bridge for a couple of bars. Sets up the return path to the main groove and theme.

~ Just My Imagination ~

~ When Sunny Gets Blue ~

In a nutshell. In the course of one's everyday musicmaking, when the cherished Four chord evolves into the 'sleeker' Two and pairs with Five as the primary go-to cadential motion, chances are we're not in the original Kansas where we started out.

Chances are that we've moved a good bit along our spectrum of musical styles; from the children's songs and folk stylings to the blues, on into country, rock and pop towards jazz. If there really is a true theory bridge that get us to another musical continent, understanding the Two Five One motion can surely be one.

Two / Five cell. Know any top 10 hits written with just these three chords in one key center? Hip to "Just My Imagination" by The Temptations. Well, you can be now. Actually it's more back and forth between the One and Two, Five comes along in the bridge for a couple of bars. Sets up the return path to the main groove and theme.

A top 10 One / Two / Five / One hit. Know any top 10 hits written with just these three chords in one key center? Hip to "Just My Imagination" by The Temptations. Well, you can be now. Actually it's more back and forth between the One and Two, Five comes along in the bridge for a couple of bars. Sets up the return path to the main groove and theme.

2 / 5 / 1 ~ built for speed. Things built for speed tend to be sleeker in shape and form. In our music theory case here, this is reflected in the bass line story and its motions. First, Four is intervalically located two and a half steps from One, so five frets. While the Two chord is separated by a just one whole step or two frets from One. Surely this closer proximity reflects a sleeker motion. As a jazz thinker here, I've already divided this whole step into two half steps, thus am thinking chromatic or motion by half step. Surely a sleeker motion Sleeker is faster.

A second idea here is how we can more 'sleekly' hint at directing the music towards a key center without actually going there through an official resolution to. Surely a jazz thing, non-resolving Two / Five motions are quite serious about generating and even accelerating energies thus sense of forward motion in the music. Of course tempo helps too but the sleeker Two is the catalyst. Did this evolution of American harmony of Four becoming Two begin a new pathway that took us within a decade or so to America's most challenging improvisational artform; bebop?

Slicing the diatonic pie. In the bebop music created through the 1940's or so, composer / saxophonist Charlie Parker wrote well in excess of 50 compositions. If we could somehow sift all this music down and place it on some sort of chromatic theory graph, I'd bet there would be zero spots left uncovered. That every nook and crany of what could occur given the times did occur. Mr. Parker covered it all and often in very very bright tempos.

So slicing the diatonic pie is simply about thinner and thinner slices. In theory there should be 24 pieces in each pie. A chromatic 12 pitches from both relative minor and major pitches and the key centers we can build upon each. It's a ton of resource. 12 ieces of the pie that cats might want to go visit during the course of a song. If the tune is going to modulate to Four anyway, the most common of our American destinations, why not just Two / Five cycle ourselves there?

Chord substitution of V7b9.

 

 

 

Two / Five / One ~ evolving Four into Two. Using our chord spelling chart, examine how easily Four evolves into Two. This theory of 'one click back' in the arpeggio makes all the difference. Example 1.

diatonic chords
I
ii
iii
IV
V
vi
vii
VIII
scale degrees
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
scale pitches
C
D
E
F
G
A
B
C
arpeggio degrees
.
.
.
.
.
1
3
5
arpeggio pitches
.
.
.
.
.
F
A
C
arpeggio degrees
.
.
.
.
1
3
5
7
arpeggio pitches
.
.
.
.
D
F
A
C

That's it. F A C becomes D F A C.

 

Added magic. The initial magic of this motion is generated by approaching the root of the two chord by half step. Often termed a 'half step lead in', this bit of magic helps open up the se=wing in the thing..

Backpedaling / cycle of fourths. The initial magic of this motion is generated by approaching the root of the two chord by half step. Often termed a 'half step lead in', this bit of magic helps open up the se=wing in the thing..

Rapid modulations. The initial magic of this motion is generated by approaching the root of the two chord by half step. Often termed a 'half step lead in', this bit of magic helps open up the se=wing in the thing..

Two chord voicings. In the course of one's everyday musicmaking, when the Four chord evolves into the 'sleeker' Two and paired with Five as the primary go-to cadential motion, chances are we've moved a good bit along our spectrum of musical styles; from the folk and blues, to country and rock into pop towards jazz. If there really are theory bridges that get us to other musical ground, understanding the principles of the Two Five One cadential motion can surely be one of them.

Five chord voicings. In the course of one's everyday musicmaking, when the Four chord evolves into the 'sleeker' Two and paired with Five as the primary go-to cadential motion, chances are we've moved a good bit along our spectrum of musical styles; from the folk and blues, to country and rock into pop towards jazz. If there really are theory bridges that get us to other musical ground, understanding the principles of the Two Five One cadential motion can surely be one of them.

One chord voicings. In the course of one's everyday musicmaking, when the Four chord evolves into the 'sleeker' Two and paired with Five as the primary go-to cadential motion, chances are we've moved a good bit along our spectrum of musical styles; from the folk and blues, to country and rock into pop towards jazz. If there really are theory bridges that get us to other musical ground, understanding the principles of the Two Five One cadential motion can surely be one of them.

In a nutshell. In the course of one's everyday musicmaking, when the Four chord evolves into the 'sleeker' Two and paired with Five as the primary go-to cadential motion, chances are we've moved a good bit along our spectrum of musical styles; from the folk and blues, to country and rock into pop towards jazz. If there really are theory bridges that get us to other musical ground, understanding the principles of the Two Five One cadential motion can surely be one of them.

In a nutshell. In the course of one's everyday musicmaking, when the Four chord evolves into the 'sleeker' Two and paired with Five as the primary go-to cadential motion, chances are we've moved a good bit along our spectrum of musical styles; from the folk and blues, to country and rock into pop towards jazz. If there really are theory bridges that get us to other musical ground, understanding the principles of the Two Five One cadential motion can surely be one of them.

Why so? First that there's easily 100 years worth of great music in the American library that often features this 251 chordal motion in core theory ways. So maybe a million or so tunes chock full of melodies, modulations, lyrics and time, each capturing some aspect of the era of its creation, a snapshot of other times. Second, that the story of the bass line is new and surely different than Four Five One, so there's really a whole new form to telling the stories. With the root motion now potentially in perfect fourth intervals, longer episodes of root motion backpedaling can really take hold. Third, the sleeker Two Five One opens up the discussion of chord type. This alone, depending on artistic direction, can advance our harmonic palette dramatically. And lastly, as we combine Two Five One and chord type, new voicings, ways of voice leading and chord substitution become exciting ways to create variety in shaping and energizing music's tonal gravity.

How so? The process ~ Four becomes Two. Here we find another of the 'one pitch super-evolution of the theory' magic. Simply by slipping a new root note, of Two, under the diatonic triad built on Four, creates the ii-7 chord we can pair up with the tritone within V7 to create the tension which resolves by the sounding of One. Example 1.

The learning process. Just turns out that in each of our five core shapes, hidden within each one is a rather handy Two Five One group of chord shapes. of Two Five One our basic five shapes lend us five Two Five One .

"The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known."

Pete Seeger

Grout, Donald Jay. A History of Western Music, p. 10. W.W.Norton and Company Inc. New York, 1960.

 

Three Six ...

. Know any top 10 hits written with just these three chords in one key center? Hip to "Just My Imagination" by The Temptations. Well, you can be now. Actually it's more back and forth between the One and Two, Five comes along in the bridge for a couple of bars. Sets up the return path to the main groove and theme.

Aebersold, James and Slone, Ken. Charlie Parker Omnibook. New York: Atlantic Music Corp., 1978. I know this is a troubling stand to take but I felt I had to and as jazz player, I based it on Charlie Parker's compositions in the Omnibook. Find a copy, count the number of tunes, then compare the number of major key to minor key songs. Any real book of popular American song, by a mix of composers, will follow along similar lines in this regard.regard.

For while we know it is there, form in music is usually not something we readily hear when starting out. Once we understand the sense of closure to any length of musical phrase, there becomes no limit to what degree we each may strengthen up in the improv process. Historically, soloists have been known to blow for 20 minutes or more, weaving their ideas through the form of the song being performed. And again while there's whole books dedicated to the study to understand musical form, with a few essential 'updates' to bring our thought process in line, we each can be well on our way to strengthening our own inner sense of the musical forms used to shape the music we enjoy.

silent architecture

All musical forms have a beginning and end. the turnaround is the harder of the two to master.

.

SForm in music helps to practive

while it's fun to jam

shaping the practice by performance models or forms

2 choruses say ... then break review etc

imply to explore the essential sound difference between major and minor, look at the theory of the pitches that create this difference and how we can also realize our two core tonal environments from the exact same group of pitches.

tonal environment

Finding the top.

Simply to explore the essential sound difference between major and minor, look at the theory of the pitches that create this difference and how we can also realize our two core tonal environments from the exact same group of pitches.

tonal environment

Modulation. true to four both major and minor liitle wing ...

musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

an idea
top 40

Four bar phrase. This next

musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

an idea
top 40

Children's form / 4 bar idea. This next

musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

an idea
top 40
mb

Modal blues. This next musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

wayback
top 40

Folk form / 8 bar form. This next

musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

wayback
top 40
mb

Jazz form / 8 bar riff form. Into the wayback to find this next idea said to have originated with Charlie Christian, another young wizard from Kansas City.

his next idea comes from

musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

wayback
wizards from KC
mb

Ballad form / 8 bar form. This next

musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

wayback
top 40
mb

Blues form. This next musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

wayback
top 40

The vamp. This next musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

wayback
top 40

Form / letter named sections A / B / etc. This next musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

wayback
top 40

8 bar songs. This next musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

wayback
top 40

12 bar blues. This next musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

wayback
top 40

16 bar songs. This next musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

wayback
top 40

32 bar songs. This next musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

wayback
top 40
jump

Form in music ~ a 'jump' blues. This next musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

wayback
top 40

2 bar pfrase / Ants in yoyr pants w when you do the mambo dance / merrit chain gang ... : Now that we have created an overview of our musical resource including its origins and perfect closure, let's pause a bit and sure up the theory and sounds of major and minor, our primary musical colors. For from this point forward in our theory discussions, nearly everything will include either one or both of these core sounds.

primary colors

Song form ~ A / A / B / A . This next musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

contrasting theme
top 40
miniaaba

Song form ~ A / A / B / A . This next musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

"On Broadway"
top 40

Rhythm changes. This half step above the tonic is often simply referred to by its numerical designation. Generally we'll use the sharp (#) when ascending away from the tonic and the flat (b) designation when descending towards our tonic pitch. I also call this pitch a blue note, but I'm probably the only one that does.

half step
music notation

 

Form in music ~ musical arrangement. We use this term 'arranging' in music to describe how we arrange the various components in our song.

from regular time 'a tempro' to double time half time etc.

.

wayback
top 40

 

Intro / outro. This next musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

right on it
4 bars
down from V

Final hold. This next musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

right on it
4 bars
down from V

Coda. This next musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

right on it
4 bars
down from V

Into the wayback machine. This next musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

wayback
top 40

As musicians we dig a most poignant melody line to interpret. As theorists we marvel at the balance of two distinct melodic phrases that aurally bring to life the passion of the words, one each in our yin/yang ~ major/minor dichotomy. Know this tune? No? Surely a good time to learn another classic line. Cool with the idea of 3/4 time and how it all works? Example 1.

phrasing
dichotomy
3/4 time

Well? Which phrase is which? Those in the know of course do know. The first phrase is in the minor tonality. The second phrase, starting at measure 10, is in the major tonality with the sounding of the D major chord. The music then cycles downward diatonically before closing in measure 17 back in E minor. And can you hear which melody is major or minor? Perhaps try and google / Wes Montgomery / Greensleeves / to hear the Greensleeves magic come to life.

cycles
diatonic

Melody and chords. Let's look at the first two bars of the tune and see what we have there. One sharp in the key signature puts us in E minor / G major. Example 2.

bar
  key signature
E minor/G major

Seven theory discussions of 'Essentials.' Here are links to the seven broad discussions of music theory within this text.

silent architecture

the organic and historical origins of our pitches

loops of pitches

examining the unbreakable loop of our pitches

major /minor tonality

examining the Yin / Yang balance of our system

groups of pitches

evolving our musical scales

scales into arpeggios

how our scales become arpeggios

arpeggios into chords

how our arpeggios become chords

evolution of tuning

the evolution of our tuned musical pitches

'They who conquer others are strong, those who conquer themselves are mighty.'

Lao Tzu

Footnotes:

(1) Appel, Willie and Ralph T. Daniel. The Harvard Brief Dictionary Of Music. New York: Pocket Books, a Simon and Schuster Division of Gulf and Western, 1960

(2) Ottman, Robert. Elementary Harmony, Second Edition, p. 4-7. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1970.

(3) Isacoff, Stuart. Temperament ... The Idea That Solved Music's Greatest Riddle, p. 210. U.S.A. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 2001

(4) To find "middle C", sit at the middle of the piano, extend your arms outward to touch the furthest keys you can, then bend from the waist and bring your nose to gently touch the keys. The closest "C" is probably "middle C."

(5) Ottman, Robert. Advanced Harmony, Theory and Practice, Second Edition, p. 272- 298. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1970.

(6) Ottman, Robert. Elementary Harmony, Second Edition, p. 8. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1970.

sans le tritone: My French language version of "without a tritone."

(1) Ottman, Robert. Elementary Harmony, First Edition, p. 4. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1970.

(2) Isacoff, Stuart. Temperament ... The Idea That Solved Music's Greatest Riddle. U.S.A. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 2001. The theme of this wonderful book explores the historical struggle to conquer the process and implementation of equal temper tuning within European society. For those that need to get to the historical core of the evolution of our tuning, "Temperament" weaves a fun, fascinating and researched historical perspective.

(1) Appel, Willie and Ralph T. Daniel. The Harvard Brief Dictionary Of Music, p. 221. New York: Pocket Books, a Simon and Schuster Division of Gulf and Western, 1960.

Aebersold, James and Slone, Ken. Charlie Parker Omnibook. New York: Atlantic Music Corp., 1978. I know this is a troubling stand to take but I felt I had to and as jazz player, I based it on Charlie Parker's compositions in the Omnibook. Find a copy, count the number of tunes, then compare the number of major key to minor key songs. Any real book of popular American song, by a mix of composers, will follow along similar lines in this regard.regard.

(Y) Visit YouTube to see Johnny working his magic. In most of the clips his guitar is capo'd at the first fret or he's tuned up his ax a half step to better match his voice I'd imagine. Either way the chord voicing for "Folsom Prison Blues" is the open E as in example 2c above. The character of the tune to experienced ears, especially that bass lick moving south at the end of the phrase is clearly an open E major chord. And while there are often other ways to find the same pitches on the guitar, although that is not the case here, when we hear such a character sound as "Folsom Prison Blues", we know that there is only one way to get that sound. No other E major chord rings like the open chord E major, it's just the nature of the animal.

Modulation. true to four both major and minor liitle wing ...

musical idea goes wayback to the later 1500's to locate probably what was the top 40 hit of the 16th century. Luckily for us "Greensleeves" has not only survived but has thrived and still today is an inspirational song to so many of us.

an idea
top 40

 

In a nutshell. Thinking that the melody of a song can clearly define the emotional character of the story being told, we look here to examine ideas and create ways to to play melodies by ear. That by doing so we can build up and strengthen our own artistic abilities to interpret melodies and project our take or interpretation of a song's story line.

Overview. From the old as the hills artistic technique often termed 'a theme and its variations', an artistic concept and philosophy which also applies to many of our art disciplines; musics, sculpt, painting, writing etc., this theme and variations is the basis of so much of what American improv is about, where the music being performed is played by ear. That traditionally our musics are not being read as they are being performed.

theme and variations