I have nice tone?

I’m such a noob that I’m always afraid my sound sucks. In the past year, people have been telling me my tone is good. Last semester Jon said I played out of tune and had terrible phrasing. I’ve been trying to work on those things… That’s why I really liked the vibes… b/c the tone was more or less the same. I saw a xylo in one of the practice rooms and ran through my scales 🙂

I need to be better at changing my reeds. Jon says, one way to soften a reed is to put face oils on it. I do admit that I squeak a lot.

Being 1st tenor has really been a challenge, but not in a discouraging way. Jon keeps picking tunes that really expose me. I’m nervous about changes that aren’t intuitive (like the blues) AND my high notes. The last few weeks, I’ve had to be confronted with having to deal with it. I need to do long open tones on my high notes. Play with my tuner out!

I guess I have a fear that I’m just broken or my horn is broken and there is no hope for me to sound good…

A few months ago, a guy said I had nice tone, and I said, it must be the horn. More recently, a guy in the ADVANCED big band.. said I had a nice big sound. Again, I said, it must be the horn. I guess I just don’t hear myself.

Yesterday, the pianist said that I have good tone and that’s what her husband says about me… WHAT?!… I have good tone?… This is news to me.

Here’re my updates from theory land…

  • triads were back during bach
  • swing era added the 7ths
  • bop added the 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths
  • post-bop went into alterations
  • rock went back 2 centuries

so in regards to chords we have:

  • 7 chords – primary chordal tones
  • 9, 11, 13 – extensions
  • #9, b9, etc. – alterations

klesmer bands have violins and clarinets.

  • there’s a french 6 which is a b13 alteration

one of my classmates said i have nice bass clefs.. haha, i was like, “uh, thanks.”

  • aug 7 – raised 5, lowered 7
  • dom 7 – lowered 7
  • diminished 7 – lowered 3, 5 and double lowered 7
  • half dim 7 – lowered 3, 5, 7

the next class someone said that I rip on the saxophone when asking which instrument I’m taking theory for. I think that I just get lucky and I pretend well. There were two students that said I was good. I guess confidence during performance is the name of the game.. or the whole “fake it till you make it.”

Ray called the real book, the wrong book… haha. I’ve heard that many times before.

I have a hard time hearing the 4 different triads… but Ray had some good mnemonics… for the aug 7, he referenced the Rolaids commercial. aka, wholetone scale.. no half steps.

Ray has his own way to notate chords.. he likes the approach of causing as little confusion as possible…


  • Cmaj7
  • CM7
  • C(delta)7
  • C(slash)7
  • C(delta) – aebersold


  • Cmi7
  • C-7


  • Cdom7


  • C+7


  • Co7


  • C(slash)o7

Half dimished functions as a minor. Cm7b5 goes up a 4 to F7. Cdim7 goes to either Db or B. Dim is up a half or down a half in classical music. #2 or b3 are the passing chords.

90% of songs are: ma7, dom7, min7

  • as we go higher, we include everything underneath
  • the 11th is a “bad” note
  • cut down the options towards what you want to be “right”… highest possible

Classical aug7 has a ma7 – Jazz has a dom7. The equivalent is a ma7#5. dissonant sound.

There is no 11 with a ma3.

Charlie Parker, after first time playing with people, went away for 9/10 months to get better.

At weddings some drunk idiot will want to sit in… and they’d play “All the things you are” or “Cherokee”.. b/c those were hard…

Primary chordal tones are 1 – 3 – 5 -7

  • 6 chord is the exception to the dominant rule.. not dom7
  • 13 includes the 7
  • E6 is like a major

extensions are 9 – 11 – 13

  • highest unaltered extension
  • then alterations in ascending order
  • preferably in parens

alternation is an extension that has been raised or lowered

  • C13(b9)
  • C9(b13)
  • C7(#9,b13)

The bible for traditional harmonics: diatonic 7 chords. Back at the “wedding factory” they could call out tunes in the modes of the diatonic scale.” I is major and ii is minor.



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