Very cool, Ted. It really illustrates how difficult it is to improvise over that tune. A friend of mine, Mark Levine, has a book, "The Jazz Theory Book" that provides a lot of analysis like this. In fact, page 352 of that book breaks Giant Steps down into further details of these tonal centers: I chord in B, V-I in G, V-I in Eb, ii-V-I in G, etc, etc. It's basically taking the standard ii-V-I format of jazz standards and turning it into one butt kicking tune. That song scares the hell out of me. I've only played it as a ballad live, never at 300 bpm. At least Giant Steps is analyzable like this. Other more modern jazz tunes, such as by Metheny, Pat Martino, Jaco, etc...are crammed full of slash chords, synthetic chords, polychords, etc, which make it difficult to find the tonal centers.
I think there could be a program that does what you ask. It would have to look at the song as a whole and make some decisions on chord functions based on pre-defined criteria. For instance, a minor chord followed by a dominant chord is probably a ii-V in most jazz charts, but it could be the ii chord of one key, and the V chord of another, or it could be a ii chord in one key, and a secondary dominant chord in the same key. I bet the program would do well with most of the tunes in the standard Real Books. Analyze the head melody over the chords and it becomes easier, because the melody will provide hints on chord function.
Thanks for sharing! It was fun watching that.
p.s. I just blew the dust off of some clips of me playing some cover and original jazz tunes. The cover tunes are Goodbye Porkpie Hat (by Mingus) and Footprints (by Wayne Shorter) live...Goodbye Porkpie Hat is another tune that has some interesting tonal centers. The other three are originals of mine. I added the sheet music to one tune, if anyone wants to try it out!
From: ArsOcarina@aol.com [mailto:ArsOcarina@aol.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 29, 2004 12:37 PM
Subject: Fwd: An Interesting URL for All You LD Jazzheads Out There . . .
A jazz guitarist friend of mine that i used to work
with/for sent this the other day. Its a URL for a
website that diagrams the tonal centers of
Coltrane's "Giant Steps" in real-time. Check it
out. It's very interesting.
Wouldn't it be really, really cool if there was
a computer program that could "listen" to any
live musical input and similarly diagram it?
tEd ® kiLLiAn
"Different is not always better, but better is always different"
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