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Textbook wrong or ME? G7


jar546

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I have a great book called the "Bass Chord Encyclopedia" written by Tracy Walton. He is showing a G7 chord with the following fingering:

Root= G on the E string 2nd finger on 3rd fret: I agree

3rd note= B on the A string 1st finger on 2nd fret: I agree

7th note= F on the D string 3rd finger on 3rd fret: DISAGREE

 

They have the 7th note down as a flat 7 but show it on the 3rd fret which is wrong in my opinion.

 

In my opinion the 7th note (3rd of the chord) should be the 4th fret of the D string.

 

What would the real name be of the chord they are showing in their diagram?

"The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know" by Me
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A G7 chord has the notes G B D F, which are the 1st, 3rd, 5th and b7th notes of a G scale.

 

A GMaj7 or G Major 7 chord has the notes G B D F#, which are the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th notes of the scale.

 

G7 is one of the most common chords used in all kinds of music that a bass player might play. GMaj7 is used mostly in jazz and ballads and almost never in classical music.

 

The chord in the book is given without the fifth and I can't imagine anyone actually using that voicing. It's too low, the notes are too close together and it would sound horribly muddy.

 

Play it up an octave with the G on the 10th fret of the A string, the B on the 9th fret of the D string, and the F on the 10th fret of the G string.

 

Or with the G on the 15th fret of the E string, the F on the 15th fret of the D string, and the B on the 16th fret of the G string.

 

Unless you want to play a GMaj7 chord.

 

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Here is a statement in the book.

"When you cannot play all the notes in a chord, 5ths are usually the first to be eliminated"

"The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know" by Me
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GMaj7 is used mostly in jazz and ballads and almost never in classical music.

 

??

 

Interesting that you think a major chord with a sharp 7 is "almost never" used in classical music. True that in baroque and early classical (meaning post-baroque, pre-romantic period) music, a sharp 7 will be more of a passing or leading tone. But once you get into late classical, romantic, and especially 20th century music, all bets are off - you'll find major chords with raised 7th all over the place ...

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GMaj7 is used mostly in jazz and ballads and almost never in classical music.

 

??

 

Interesting that you think a major chord with a sharp 7 is "almost never" used in classical music. True that in baroque and early classical (meaning post-baroque, pre-romantic period) music, a sharp 7 will be more of a passing or leading tone. But once you get into late classical, romantic, and especially 20th century music, all bets are off - you'll find major chords with raised 7th all over the place ...

 

You are right, music-man. However, when I was getting my degree in music at a school in which jazz theory was not taught, they never used the word major 7th chord....they always said that the note was a passing note.

 

Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun by Debussy starts and ends on a major 6 chord, a chord which is not mentioned in the harmony book by Walter Piston which was our bible.

 

In the 20th century music that I played in various ensembles, and of course in 12 tone music, they stopped using chord names and stopped analyzing anything in terms of traditional harmony.

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Although I feel the question has already been answered, I just wanted to share my own initial confusion with chord names.

 

The first chords taught are usually major and minor triads, and the only difference between the two are the second notes of the arpeggios (the 3rds of the scales).

 

Then 7th chords are taught. As Jeremy points out the dominant 7th (with b7) is more common than the major 7th in popular music when not counting jazz.

 

So the dominant 7 chord (7) often gets associated with the major chord and the minor 7 chord (m7) with the minor chord (m). This makes some sense because in both cases you just add a b7 to the arpeggios learned previously.

 

What confused me initially was that if you wanted to add that b7 to a minor (m) triad you called it a minor 7 (m7), so adding the same note to a major (maj) triad should yield a major 7 (maj7). But of course it does not; it yields the dominant 7 (7).

 

The problem hinges on the multiple uses of the "major" qualifier. Originally it refers to the 3rd of the scale, or the "quality" of the chord. But later it is used to denote the 7th of the scale.

 

And this is why you can end up with the totally illogical (from a triad point of view) "minor major" chords, because the quality (3rd) is minor, but the 7th is major.

 

Keep at it Jeff. Eventually it all makes sense.

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Here is a statement in the book.

"When you cannot play all the notes in a chord, 5ths are usually the first to be eliminated"

 

Great. There goes all my "Hair Metal" theory, right out the window. Not that I play a lot of chords on the bass, (maybe a R-8 from time to time at the end) but just for the sake of curiosity, why drop the 5th? Would one want to drop the 5th in, say, a diminished chord were the voice of the 5th is important?

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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Well, the diminished chord is the exception.

 

But most other chords have a perfect fifth and what is different betweeen them is the third and the seventh.

 

So playing root third and seventh gives you the basic color of the chord. Many bass players who play chords (and I am certainly one of them) use these kind of voicings.

 

This rule obviously does not apply to power chords. :)

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Well, 'tain't that hard, minor or major in a chord just always refers to the third except when it's repeated as in the case of the minor major 7th chord. I'm trying to think of another example where the major/minor term doesn't simply dictate the quality of a chord in terms of it's families.

 

Knowing this fact at least helps beginners avoid think that a minor 6 chord has a b6, as many do.

 

Rules:

 

Major or minor in a chord always refer to the third (except in a minor major 7 chord)

 

There are three main families of chords (excluding diminished and augmented for now). There are those built on major triads - C, C6, C major 7, C major 9 etc. Those built on minor triads - Cm, Cm6, Cm7, Cm9, etc.. And there are the dominant chords - C (in the key of F), C7, C9 etc. Those last lot all have a flattened seventh.

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Power chords are the exception. If you listen to piano players, they often omit the third. Except for chords with a flattened or raised fifth, you get all the quality of a chord from it's third and seventh. You can even omit the root at a push (if you're not fulfilling bass function). That's why the 3rd and 7th are called guide tones. Try it, play a blues in C using guide tones only (as 2 note chords)

 

Play C7 for 4 bars (as Bb and E);

then F7 for 2 bars (as A and Eb);

then C7 for 2 bars (as Bb and E again);

then G7 for 1 bar (as B and F)

then F7 for 1 bar (as A and Eb)

then C7 for 2 bars (as Bb and E)

 

You can hear the blues chord structure without any roots or fifths. You can hear the internal semi-tone and tone movements. Brass sections often play guide tones. Jazz soloists often emphasise them during solos - if you emphasise the semitone movement from e to eb going from the C7 to F7 chord, for example, you really outline the changes.

 

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Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun by Debussy starts and ends on a major 6 chord, a chord which is not mentioned in the harmony book by Walter Piston which was our bible.

 

In the 20th century music that I played in various ensembles, and of course in 12 tone music, they stopped using chord names and stopped analyzing anything in terms of traditional harmony.

 

I agree that undergraduate music programs might not teach Maj7 chords as a part of the "traditional" harmonic vocabulary (we used Walter Piston's harmony book too), and also that, particularly until the 1990s, 20th century music was moving away from any reference to traditional harmony.

 

Having said that, Debussy, Resphighi, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and many other composers who were composing before Piston's analysis regularly used Maj7 chords, as do neo-modern composers (Arvo Part, Henryk Gorecky, Phillip Glass, etc.) that reference harmonic progressions of earlier traditions.

 

To be honest, I'm certain you know all this, but I always feel like I have to challenge (or at least push back on for explanation) statements that imply that classical music is "dead," or less evolved or less complex than jazz ...

 

 

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....I always feel like I have to challenge (or at least push back on for explanation) statements that imply that classical music is "dead," or less evolved or less complex than jazz ...

 

I think I may be the only person I know who goes to new music concerts on a regular basis.

 

You are certainly right.

 

Classical music (which is a horrible term to use when describing music since 1900 and especially since 1960) is not dead. However, Walter Piston is deceased. :)

 

The problem with theory books is that they are written to explain music which has already been written. Classical and Jazz theory books both share this trait. Neither kind of book explains music which has yet to be written, especially when the music is breaking new ground. You have to wait 50 years or so for the next theory book to come out.

 

 

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