The most feared song in jazz, explained

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Vox : Madlib, one of my favorite Hip-hop producers, made an entire album flipping Blue Note recordings. It’s an incredible set of tracks that showcases how great hip-hop and jazz sound together. What are your favorite jazz inspired hip-hop songs? – Estelle

Adam Neely : Thanks for having me!

Henrik Johannessen : Jazz: 3500 chords, 3 people in the audience Rock: 3 chords, 3500 people in the audience

Ashley Bell : Me at the beginning of this video: That song doesn’t sound difficult Me at the end of this video: WTF COLTRANE?!

Jelly Bean : 0:31 that's not really where you put your hands on a saxophone

Frank Kelley : Watched the video, twice, still don't understand any of it. Music is magic, that's what I got out of this.

Helmet : A big shout out to the animator! Brilliant work.

Robert Schlesinger : Excellent explanation of some fundamental music theory and 'Trane's contribution to modern jazz.

Cody Stinson : So, Is Giant Steps the Dark Souls of Jazz?

Zaezae : We want nujabes back

Alex Stephens : It doesn't really make sense to demonstrate that the V chord resolves to the 1 by first playing the V and then the 1. You need to set up the context by playing the 1 for a bit and THEN going to V, and then back to 1

hey its me jop : *me at the start of this video* "Oh, giant steps, haha - wouldn't if be funny if they brought in adam neely?"

Gene De Lisa : "If you don't understand a lick of music theory like me..." and then she goes on to lecture us for another 11 minutes.

Dhruv Shah : Not quite my tempo.

Darren Klein : But I like Tommy Flanagan’s solo!

Isaac Chay : this is why I can't stand when people act like jazz is just a bunch of random mix matched notes,

insaneintherainmusic : This is the best Earworm episode yet. Everything was explained so well and the visuals are top notch as well. Thanks for spreading Coltrane's innovations!

Derek Martin : Loved the video, got a lot out of it. Wanted to add some detail to continue the explanation of why perfect 5ths sound so consonant, why they occur as an overtone, and why the 5th degree of a key has such pull and creates such a nice resolution to the I. The perfect 5th is essentially vibrating 3x as fast as the root note - that's why it is one of the main overtones that you hear alongside the main note. Also, depending on the timbre of the instrument, you might have multiples of 3x like 6x, 12x, 24x, etc. - all of them perfect 5th overtones. The octaves of the main note are vibrating 2x as fast as it and powers of 2: 4x, 8x, 16x, etc. The Major 3rd is 5x (10x, 20x, etc.) These are overtones that you hear in the main note, but the regular notes you sing or play on any instrument are based on them. The frets along the string or the places you learn to press it, the keys and holes and slides that change the length of tubing on wind and brass instruments, the relationships between the strings in a piano, these are all designed to mimic the same intervals you hear in the overtones and other intervals that can be derived from them. All 12 notes per octave that you can play on western instruments come from combinations and inversions of these (but all except the octaves are fudged slightly), and even the microtones spoken of in other musical systems are just variations of these. If you think about it, something vibrating 2x or 3x as fast as another thing will align better with it than other multiples. 2x will feel almost like the same note, or a different version of the same note - thus the octaves are considered the same notes. 3x will have an interesting pattern, bouncing back and forth between melding with the main note and pulling against it. Looking at a sine wave graph of the main note with 2x and then 3x sine waves (separately) laid over it can demonstrate this. Also think of rhythms - get a steady beat going (4/4 quarter notes) with one hand and then tap out something 2x as fast with the other (eighth notes). It lines up just like octaves do. Then do three 3x as fast (8th note triplets) - this is what higher octave perfect 5ths are like. But to really understand the pull against part of a perfect 5th in the same octave, try a 2 against 3 polyrhythm where both hands start each measure together, but one plays 2 steady, equal beats, and the other plays 3. These two patterns will alternately meld together and pull against each other in each measure as you keep repeating the pattern. Speed this up a whole bunch and you have a perfect 5th. For example, let's say you do this 3:2 rhythm at a slowish tempo of 80 bpm for the 2 beat pattern (120 bpm for the 3s) - each beat of the 2 beat pattern takes 3/4 of a second, so there are 4/3 of a beat - or 1.333 cycles - per second. If it were possible for you to play this 60 times faster (4800 bpm and 7200 bpm! together as a cross-rhythm - go ahead and try this at home drummers), like a string can, you would basically be playing the classic low E5 power chord on a slightly down-tuned guitar (80 Hz - or cycles per second - vs. 82.4 HZ for concert pitch). I hope that makes sense. I see a lot of discussion in the comments about music is math or music is not math. Look people, it's math. Just 'cause you don't see the math, doesn't mean it's not there - and this applies to pretty much everything in the world, not just music. You certainly can feel music and play it and compose it like the greatest musical geniuses that ever existed without realizing that it is math, but, on some level, you are actually feeling the math. You are feeling these intervals that are vibrating at speeds (approximately) 2x, 3x, 5x as fast as some home note. Drummers and other non-tuned percussion players, along with everyone else, are feeling rhythms that divide the time into regular intervals - usually 4, sometimes 3 - and then leave a beat out or hit at an unexpected off-beat between intervals to create syncopation, or divide the time into odd numbers (5, 7,11 etc. beats per measure). Music is math. And finally, Giant Steps works as such an interesting harmonic invention, because the 3 key centers within it perfectly split the octave, allowing them to each pull against each other with equal weight, but do so using a consonant and sweet-sounding interval. The most common musical system today - equal temperament - splits the octave into 12 equal steps. This system is a little bit of trick that allows any key in the system to be the main key of a piece of music, and this trick - a logarithmic scale - is what causes the slight fudging of the pure 3x, 5x intervals I mentioned above. Systems based on the pure intervals favor keys that are close to whatever key you tune the instrument to, and there isn't a way to give the keys equal weight. In an equal temperament system, If you wanted to have some ambiguity in your key center, you just split the octave in any equal division. Splitting the 12 note octave system in 2 produces a famously discordant interval of 6 chromatic steps (sometimes called 1/2-steps) - the b5/ #4, also historically named the devil's interval or the wolf in music (mathematically it is 2^(1/2) = the square root of 2, which is an irrational number). Split the 12 notes in 3 and you get an interval of 4 chromatic steps, which is actually kind of consonant because it is close to a pure Major 3rd that is related to the 5x overtone [2^(1/3) = 1.2599... which is close to 1.25 or 5/4]. A Major 3rd is a nice, sweet interval that plays some role in probably every tonal piece of music. Our equal-tempered approximation actually sounds normal to us, since our music has used this temperament system for centuries, so Coltrane can take advantage of that to split the octave equally in a way that plays with our sense of key center while still sounding nice.

None of your Business : What a pity that Coltrane had his pianist so poorly instructed. If you want a singer to change language every 4 beats, you'd better _prepare_ them and not let them run aground every second. The lag in that solo is not the piano player's fault - the composer is to blame for not keeping his musicians in the loop.

NJbakintheday : I LOVE music. In fact, while I listen to some more than others, there are very few genres of music I don't like. Sigh... I wish I'd stuck with my flute in 5th grade instead of abandoning it altogether. My daughter is a cellist, now studying music and business in college, and I always told her that loving music the way I do without being able to read it, play it, or understand its composition is very frustrating. It's like trying to speak without knowing proper sentence structure or without having a vocabulary. I can't tell you how many times she's tried to explain music concepts to me (notes, keys, chord changes, etc...). It usually just goes over my head. I guess it's also hard to explain musical things with words alone, though. Keep doing what you're doing! I love hearing musicians talk about music (and in this case illustrate too).

Ares : Coltrane hit Flanagan the musical equivalent of a sucker punch, I'm surprised he was able to do what he did given the complete lack of experience with Coltrane's revolutionary and never-seen-before chord progressions

Versaucey : *(jazz music stops)*

Afric Network : Coltrane is a legend.

lightnin bolt : Ma dad said music is simple.. i was right the whole time.

Ushim & Gilia Hutchinson : That's really not the way to listen to Tommy Flanagan's solo. It's not "halting", it's lyrical. Finding two (relatively unknown) musicians to be critical of a fellow musician's playing (and Mr. Flanagan's at that) is hardly a credible way to introduce the beauty that is Giant Steps. People who consider playing these changes to be like racing round a track have missed the point entirely. What a weak video and commentary. Check what Bheki Mseleku shares on this topic of Giant Steps for true insight (from someone truly qualified to speak about it).

Gary Oldman : Not even into music theory or jazz, but this was compelling viewing! Watched the whole thing. Good job!

Harry li : Who else LOVES vox earworm.

swagat sharma : Thats the same theory with Indian clsssical music. A percussionist always reaches the end beat but he can change the route and speed to be there.

Generson Bryantheart : And Joey Alexander can play this song easily and throw some improvisation on it at age 11 !!?? Just WOW.... Edit : Sorry, he already play it at 10 !!

GeneralTarik : I never heard that Tommy Flanagan “struggled” on Giant Steps. I’m not sure if that’s an accurate assessment of what he tastefully played. Also, I know Braxton was making a joke about a second take but others may not realize that there were multiple takes. I believe there is an alternate take on the CD.

rapture jazz : "...a musical M. C. Escher painting."

The NBA Storyteller - THE END : Suggestion: after all that learning, maybe you can bring the song back and let us hear it and appreciate a idk 20sec snippet with our new knowledge - I know we got a good chunk in the first chapter - and i did just click back to hear the tommy flaningan part, but it would be nice if the payoff was built into the end of the actual video. great lesson regardless.

Europa Eternal : 5:24 Sunday morning by maroon 5.

eerereps : Dope Stuff!

CalculatinGenius : it almost sounds dissonant but then you realize whats actually happening

The Camel Above : i didn’t know what overtones were i just called them ghost notes

JulianFernandez : You went from stealing from Mr. Neely to invite him participate. Wise move.

Simon Broome : So, Giant Steps is essentially "The Knowledge" (in that London Taxi Drivers historically needed to know every inch of the City of London), but for Jazz? Cool.

Robert : Giants Steps (the album) to me represents the best kind of Jazz. My absolute favorite all time.

Ian Richter : Brilliant. Hated theory when I was young, appreciate it it so much more now!

MusicalMack : I really love this! I’m in music school right now and this is just so intricate and beautifully explained. Keep doing what you’re doing! I’m in Vocal Music, but my friend is a jazz guitarist. I wonder if he’s done Giant Steps yet.

Godless Voice : You did a really great job on summarizing that. I for one can confirm that a drunk that knows nothing of Music completely understood what was explained... kudos

Andrew Freeman : Next, the genuis of MF Doom please!!

ivomonroemiller : We played this Jerry Coker Jazz Orchestra University of Miami Coral Gables 1968

NihilisticEntropy : Protip: Make sure the Sax and the Piano are in the same key.

AC/KC : 10:00 That's right folks. You should quit jazz and become a cab driver instead.

Frank Farance : You left a couple important holes on the explanation of fifths, "tension", and improvisation lines. Regarding the commentary, the main different between that sax solo and the piano solo is the distance in the harmonic horizon of resolution: the sax solo had a longer (more distant) horizon, which is why it might sound more fluid, dynamic, and daring. Not all musicians look for a long horizon, it can be adjusted per phrase, and more experience and range can give a long horizon. At its extreme, one can make every note sound consonant, as long as (1) there is time and a route to resolve it, and (2) the *listener* can perceive those longer horizon resolutions. The reason why 5ths (or 12ths an octave above) sound natural is that they have a low number ratio in frequencies, a 5th is 3/2 times the frequency of the root, a 12th is 3 times the frequency of the root. So in a 7th chord (commonplace in Blues and Jazz), the ratios of the frequencies relative to the root are: 4/4 (C), 5/4 (E), 6/4 (=3/2, G), 7/4 (Bb). The second element is "tension", perfect intervals such as octave and fifth don't really create much tension, harmonic intervals create tension, and dissonance (e.g., non-harmonic intervals and voice leading) create even more tension; whereas "resolution" relieves that tension. For example (again, assuming a C major scale), in the V-I transition, it isn't the 5 note that causes relief as much as it's the B (the 3rd of the V chord) resolving chromatically (half-step) upward to C (the root of the I chord) that we experience the gravitational pull of V resolving to I. With that V-I change being the "gravity" of the dominant (V chord) to tonic (I chord) transition, everything else is Dominant Preparation, i.e., the harmonic routes of getting to the Dominant (V to I), such as IV-V-I (commonplace in Blues turnarounds), ii-V-I (Jazz turnarounds), and vi-V-I or VIb-V-I (this last one having lots of chromatic "gravitational" pull). So the chords serve as the harmonic backdrop for the line of notes, such as improvisations mentioned in this video. In general, one's phrasing looks for a set of notes that carry you from a "harmonic" interval in the present chord to a "harmonic" interval in the next chord (I put harmonic in quotes because that can change in the context of the song). For example, this video discusses the circle of major thirds, such as A major, C# major, and F major (each 4 semitones apart), a chord sequence of A, C#, F in one chord per measure would support a phrase of half notes -two per measure- in the sequence below (along with my commentary of what might be in the mind of the player): Measure #1: A maj chord Play note A: Chord is A, I'm playing A, A is the root of A major, woo hoo everything is Good Play note B: Chord is A, I just played A, I am stepping off a in an upward scale, not to worry of B is harmonic as long as the next note lands on something harmonic ... which could be C# (most likely, since I'm in A major) or C (possible if there is some A minor connection in the next chord) Measure #2: C# maj chord Play note C#: Chord is C#, I just played a B and C# is a nice whole step, which looks fine for an A major scale (read: no dissonances created from B to C#), and C is the root of C# major, everything looks Good, except that C# major doesn't play in A major, but that's ok because my context has switched to C#. Play note D#: Like the B in measure #1, this serves as an upward scale, and the rationale for the note B above is almost like this for D#. However, we realize we're pulling aware from the A major framework, and our baseline for phrasing is now C# major ... this is the Escher painting disorientation starting to take effect Measure #3: F maj chord Play note F: Almost the same rationale as C# above. Play note G: Almost the same rational as D# above. Additionally, some phrasing an context might be provided to truly anchor the A maj chord as the REAL tonic among tonics, or it might be left ambiguous, as in the Escher painting. So add a 12-tone scale, about 7 to 15 scalar modes per note (pentatonic, ionian, dorian, phrygian, etc.) and at least three chordal modes (major, minor, diminish), and there are many many combinations ... and several musical styles within those combinations. An accomplished musician has his/her sweet spot of proficiency. When a musician is given this kinda chart, as presented to the pianist in the video, he/she is thinking about all those kinds of possibilities. Of course, many of them are familiar from prior work, but the questions and answers can be different for each of the notes, which is why a player can give more than one kind of solo for a particular chart. Or to frame it in a non-musician's perspective: it's like playing hopscotch, but the floor keeps changing, and you need to continually look graceful (conforming to dance mores, rather than musical mores) as you hop, skip, and jump along the changing floor. Hope this makes sense.

argossandia1 : Very keww.

Hyness for Smash : The Most Respected Song in Jazz: Gangplank Galleon

Le Dreca : Never heard Giant Steps until this, first time i heard it i was reminded of Bo En's My Time, which is probably inspired by it.