which one is better?
i'm working on memorizing more tunes, and i thought it would be more efficient to memorize the songs using key-independent charts.

which way do you guys think is better?  it seems that the nashville numbering is easier to read and takes less thinking.  for example, "7" is easier to read than "vii".  on the other hand, "ii" might be easier to read than "2m".

when you guys memorize tunes, do you do so in a specific key or do you  use this kind of system?
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ok, i just thought of something.  you know how a lot of jazz songs modulate to different keys in bridges and stuff?  so, there will be a 1-6-2-5 pattern in a couple of keys.  if i were using nashville numbering, would it be better to just stick to the primary key of the song, or maybe add a note saying, "modulate up to 3" and write the numbers in reference to the new key?

i ask because that's how my brain works when i hit those bridges.  i'm usually thinking "ok, now i'm going to play 1-6-2-5 in this new key".  otherwise, the numbers can get all funky and seem complicated when it shouldn't be.

i guess the answer to my question is do whatever works for me, right?
when in rome do as the romans do, when in nashville do as the nashvillians do.

yeah, i kinda figured that was the answer i would get.

how do you guys go about memorizing your tunes?
these days i learn tunes based on intervals or sound.  if it's a sound i'm not familiar with, i'll remember that "the next chord is a fourth up" or whatever.

take "embraceable you" for example, i just learned that tune. i never had to know it from memory before, even though it's a standard everyone should know.

i played it a few times from the chart, then i turned the chart over and went for it for a while and figured most of it out.  when i started changing keys, i would think, "ok, up a diminished third" if i didn't have the sound under my fingers immediately. i also practice the "slow down" method.  if i'm coming to a spot where i'm having some trouble, using this on cakewalk by oscar peterson right now, i slow way down but don't pause.  seems to help, then i speed up after the hard spot.

of course you gotta go back and work on the hard spots so you don't learn that "slowing down" in that part is how you play the tune!
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you know, scot, i've been convinced that all the pros do it the way you are saying.  i guess you just know the changes and can hear it.  i can do that for some changes, but not all of them.  i remember when i was learning to play the blues, how i would have to be told to go to the "4" or "5" and so on.  now, of course, i can just hear it, and i know almost beforehand where the blues song is going.  i just need to extend this familiarity with other intervals with the fancy extensions like flatted-9th chords, and so forth.

on a similar note, is perfect pitch a useful skill, or is it overrated?

cakewalk is a fantastic song.  one question for you scot, have you ever heard oscar play that song at a slower speed than he normally plays it?  i've seen it on one dvd, and it's the best version i've heard.  it's with joe pass.  there's several other recordings (both video and audio) of him playing cakewalk (also another with joe pass) but they are all at a much faster tempo.  i mention it because i've only heard it that one time so it might be hard to find.  all the youtube videos are the fast version.  if you want i can try to get the slow one for you.
i don't like the nashville numbering system, i always write roman numerals.
i associate 1 3 6 7 9 11 13 with chord tones.
i associate i ii iii iv v vi with diatonic chords.
jazz+, how do you write the chords that are non-major scale intervals away from the key of the song?  like, if the song is in the key of c, and there's a eb7 chord, how would write that?  iiib7 ?  or the bb7...viib7?
biii7 and bvii7  (the flat sign precedes the roman numeral)
it should be pointed out that unless there is an actual key modulation, that often times when you see non-diatonic chords in a given key signature that they can and should be thought of as functioning in relation to a diatonic chord. for example if you are in c and you see the chord progrssion  

i f#ų7 b7alt i  

those chords are functioning in relation to the iii chord, e- and should be thought of as iių of iii followed by v7 of iii. this can be notated as iių(iii), the numeral in parentheses being the diatonic chord, or sometimes a slash is used, iių/iii.

an eb7 in c major is very likely to be functioning as a tritone substitution for the v7 of ii, so for me it's easier to think of it as bii7 of ii. a bb7 chord could possibly be functioning as bii7 of vi, although it is very common in many tunes to see that chord preceded by an fmaj7 chord, in which case i think of it as functioning in relation to the iv chord, a blues iv7 of iv.

i had never heard of nashville numbering before, but i agree with jazz+, it doesn't allow for describing upper extensions, or any qualities of the chord other than the basic triad. it probably works fine for styles of music that are predominantly based on triads, not so much for jazz.
hmmm, should be bii7 where i wrote bii7. me nitpicking myself.
ok, so i see how you should be thinking when you play these chords.  but is that what you would actually write down on the sheet of paper when you are trying to memorize a tune?  would you actually write iių(iii) or would you write #ivų ?  i think the latter would be easier for writing down since it's straightforward and the mental part can either be noted with some text...or the other option is what i said before, where you note a key change to a new key, and write the new chords in reference to that...which i guess would be the same as what you're saying (writing it in parentheses).

ok, i don't know!  does anybody actually learn tunes this way, or is it just me?  do you guys actually do the work of converting the chords to roman numbering before you learn a song?
. the whole point of doing a chord progression analysis is to recognize the underlying patterns in the harmony, which, yes, is very, very important when learning and memorizing new tunes. chord progressions of standard tunes follow fairly predictable patterns, once you recognize those patterns learning a new tune is more a question of recognizing "oh, it's one of those." this as opposed to learning a tune from scratch every time.

no, i don't actually think in roman numerals when i'm playing or learning a new tune, but i've done the work of understanding the relationships in standard chord progressions. roman numeral analysis is simply a language for describing those relationships, the map isn't the territory. it's a good system that has withstood the test of time.
excellent points and analysis, jw76.

"would you actually write iių(iii) or would you write #ivų  ?  "

i think a thorough analysis would write it down both ways.
there are a few sites online that i'd recommend for more about this-dealing with the basic progresssions and how to do this in terms of various systems-jvw76 hits the nail on the head re-"styles of music that are predominantly based on triads, not so much for jazz.";if you want to get into this type of analysis and then extend things theoreticaly re-specific jazz-type voicings/subs etc.,this link uses a system and contrasts it with the nashville one,definitely worth taking a look at-
also take a look at this for using this kind of analysis in a jazz-specific context-https://www.ralphpatt.com/tonal.html
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