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How does theory influence jazz appreciation?

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Category: Other music related lounges
Forum Name: Jazz related lounge
Forum Description: Discuss bands and albums classified as Jazz related
Printed Date: 13 Jun 2024 at 8:06am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 10.16 -

Topic: How does theory influence jazz appreciation?
Posted By: Perdido
Subject: How does theory influence jazz appreciation?
Date Posted: 15 Nov 2020 at 7:32am
Hi everyone,

I have been a Jazz listener for quite a while, although I am not a musician nor I have a strong music theory background (can't identify chords or keys  by  ear, for example...)

Since I don't know  personally any other jazz enthusiasts, the only contact I have with other jazz fanatics is through the Internet.

But lately it came to my attention that almost all jazz discussions (particularly on Youtube) are about the technicalities of a particular song ("look how he goes from Eflat to E to the power 3 flat..."). I understand that this is just a language, and perhaps the most convenient language to talk about these various musical ideas. But I it makes  a little bit insecure and afraid that it is not only the appropriate vocabulary to talk about music  that I am lacking, but that I also don't have the right "tools" to appreciate it. That I am listening in the wrong way.

I pretty sure that this is a very silly way of thinking but, nonetheless, I would like to hear your opinion on this and a little bit of assurance/comfort from you guys.


Posted By: js
Date Posted: 15 Nov 2020 at 8:34am
If you are enjoying jazz music, or any other kind of music, thats all that matters, you don't have to label it or identify it.
In the summer I like to go swimming, often I'll float on my back and look at all the different cloud formations. I know nothing about clouds, how they are formed, how to identify the different varieties, I just think they look great.

I'm a music teacher and have two degrees in theory, but I am not always thinking about that when I listen to music. I hear people talk about all the things Sonny Rollins can do with melody. I'm not always hearing it even with my background, but it just sounds good to me.
I'm not thinking about theory when someone plays a hot solo, I'm just thinking, wow, that was exciting, lets hear it again.

I certainly hope jazz listening and appreciation isn't just for musicians, that would be kind of dreary in the long run.

Posted By: Perdido
Date Posted: 06 Dec 2020 at 9:04am
I agree. Thank you!

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