~ Acknowledgements ~

'with a little help from my friends ...'

Larry Tuttalamundo

'... energize your own learning in life by stepping boldly into new journeys, challenges and discoveries.'

In a nutshell / formal music school. This text is written for all those folks, that at sometime along the way still have somewhere in their hearts, the desire to attend a school for music. Where everyone there has a keen interest in music. There are Dr.'s who teach there, experts specializing in their own love of music. And mentors of schoolmates, often working on the same tasks together. All this I got to do. Within this book are the basics of this music curriculum, including most of the topics of a Bachelor of Music degree.

Dr. James B. Miller. When you get to brush elbows with greatness, there's hopefully a few 'great brushings' that stick. Dr. Miller was this greatness for so many musicians who attended S.U.N.Y. at Plattsburgh, in N.Y. during the 1970's and 80's. A doctorate level in music education, reed player and arranger, and a self taught guitarist who had heard and seen the pioneering 'electric' guitarist Charlie Christian at the 1939 World's Fair in N.Y. in 1939 with Benny Goodman, Doc Miller was at the center of a faculty of Dr.'s, that all looked to guide us up and coming players. Here's a couple of Doc's principles that 'stayed stuck.'

wiki ~ State University of New York at Plattsburgh

"Think from the root of the chord ol'e boy and you'll never get lost ... " Perhaps Doc's most repeated idea to me, this one maxim becoming a sort of mantra for improvising through the changes. As a budding 'theorist', with a too mercurial mind, I'd race through possibilities of connectedness. Thus Doc's quip to ground my explorations.

"Spell the chord please." Think from the root pitch, coupled with spelling chords, became the key that unlocked door after door as my own understanding of music evolved over the decades. True then, true today, it's just a super solid way to think of the components that make up our music. A way to get to the core of it, to shed some light on the foundation stones of the inner magics, bringing our ideas to life as music.

Play the melody. Dr. Miller taught 'jazz improv', a class that met every Friday afternoon. Set up like a big ol' jam session, when one of us 'newby soloists' would get a bit to far off the 'academic radar' while improvising for whatever reason, Doc would stop the music to discuss possibilities, he might quip ..., ya know ol' boy, if ya get on thin ice, the melody of the song will get ya through.'

Turns out that in improvising melodic lines through and over chord changes, stringing bits of melodies from many songs all together creates lyrical melodies.

Accurate arpeggios. 'Accurate arpeggios will always win the day old boy.' I heard that a lot while in Doc's teaching studio, as Doc taylored my lessons to learning songs and working through the changes. I was not a schooled enough player at this level to be a true music major, so I had some curriculum flexibility. Doc took advantage of this and he taught me jazz standard songs and how to work the arpeggiation of their harmony. I spelled out the letters of a lot of chords, still do :)

Put in a Hollywood chord there ol'e boy :) Doc had a big handful of fancy chords that magically he could quickly grab and sound out, to light up the music and the room with Hollywood level coolness and its bright lights. Here's the ones I recall. Example 1.

Nice huh? Doc knew them all. Say a 'bless his soul' as I pass his wisdom along to you. Oh, and the last disaster chord, the #15 is all mine :) Yet, the theory of it comes from one of Doc Miller's collegues, Dr. Alan Frank.

Kirk Lamberti. One fine day after a big band rehearsal at formal music school, trombonist Kirk Lamberti hipped me to the 'tritone sub.' My musical world changed that moment, and has forever continued to blossom after that. A very special thanks here to 'K', I remain forever grateful for this evolutionry moment, our lifelong friendship and memories.

Dr. Yenoin Guibbory. If there was ever a topic in formal music school that I didn't get bit by, it was history. That is untill it was too late :( What remained for me are memories of Dr. Guibbory teaching us music history with a love that knows no bounds. And he plays it too, beautifully, on his violin. Well, turns out history is probably the most important part of understanding music theory.

For when I heard later in my studies that 'the history of our music is in a good part determined by how we've tuned the pitches', I was bit solid by the history bug, and forever more deeply inspired by Dr. Guibbory's methods, curiosities and love and appreciation that often come with a deeper understanding of the history of a topic.

formal music school

Dr. George Belden / UAA Anchorage. Doc Belden loves music theory and is my theory mentor here in Alaska, always taking the time to muse about the 'what if' questions I conjured. He once asked us in theory class, 'when moving along in the music, what's the easiest way to set up a new key center?' And none of us got the answer :)

Dr. Belden loves Beethoven and passed that on to me. The Beethoven String Quartets became a mid career theory analysis challenge for me. The evolution of their tonality, their evolution of opening movement sonata allegro form, evolition of their sequences and permutation of motifs.

UAA / Anchorage Music

Larry Tutt / 'coffee' chord spelling chart. A very special thanks here to Larry Tutt. I started formal music school a semester late, I was lost lost lost trying to decode the Bach chorales in theory class. I had no way into the 'theory of this music.'

Tutt taught me how to spell chords within a chosen key center. Wrote out his own chord spelling chart on the back of a napkin in the school's coffee shop. It is the same one that I passed along here for you. Used all throughout the text, it illustrates the basis of so much good theory. Spelling the chords opens locked doors.

Jacmuse bio
wiki ~ Plattsburgh State University College

Stu Schulman. Stu and I got to hang for a spell here in AK around 2010. And during a lot of these times, we watched sports games and drank SoBe's. And during these games, between innings etc., I asked Stu about how he understood music, who he played with, where he traveled to. An amazing story. The theory idea written into this 'e' book, as the 'diatonic 3 and 3', though my wording, comes directly from Stu. "In my world of music, there's just a couple of places it'll go."

the 'diatonic 3 and 3'

Randy Sutton. A very special thanks to Randy Sutton, who first showed me the magic of 'making the clicks go away.' While standing behind his vibes, and armed with four mallets, with Franz clicking merrily away, Randy played some 12 bar blues ideas that were so well placed with the clicks, that the characteristic 'snap' of a Franz metronome simply vanished, reappearing between his phrases. That when the clicks 'go away', we know we're right with the beat and right on time.

a metronome

Gary Sloan. Decades ago Mr. Sloan, a master blues harp, band leader, gig booker and entrepranuerial marketing wizard, came up to me on the bandstand, while I searched in vain for something to say over 12 bars and quipped; 'play primitive man.' Took a while to understand, I finally did, mastered these two licks.

'Muddy' blues lick
'Elmore James' blues lick

( start here :)