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Please help me chart a tune


JeffLearman

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This is an original. I wrote an oversimplified chart for a sax player who requested it. The purpose of the chart would be for stuff like that, or for slumming with jazz cats (vice versa, really).

 

Working title is Dark and Cold. That's a concept demo, with a few warts.

 

It's a 12-bar blues, fairly standard format, but the harmonic underpinning is the augmented V chord (G) resolving to the I (Cm7). It's basically the G melodic/harmonic minor thingy, where both minor and major 3rds work depending on going up or down, and with the minor 6. On the transition to the C, those same notes become the scale for the CmM7 chord, which I've heretofore found useless, but it works nicely here.

 

Also, the G+ gets extended and partially resolved before returning to the C. The note in question is an Ab, which is a b9, making it G+b9, if that's what you'd call it. Noodling on that is what lead to the "chorus".

 

If I wasn't playing it alone, when breaking into solos, I'd avoid hitting the 3rds (Bb or C) on the G chords or minor 7 on Cm's, to open it up for the soloist to interpret (to play Bb or B).

 

The chorus or bridge consists of three different small alterations of the G+b9.

 

There's a passing chord before the first F-9. I don't know how to name it, but it's a Gb with augmented 4, and all the notes in the scale fit. I use two different voicings in the recording (alternate verses).

 

The Gm is close enough for a soloist, but a wrong clue to an accompanist. It's F-Bb-C over G. What would you call that?

 

Is there a better way to notate the C-6/G? I don't really understand what I'm doing there, and that notation is just the easiest way for me to convey it but probably not harmonically clueful.

 

Verse
 ||: C-7 G-7 | C-7 G-7 | C-7  G-7 | C-7 G-7  |
 |   F-9 C-7 | F-9 G+  | C-7  G-7 | C-7 G-7  |
 |   G7      | F-9 G+  | C-7  G-7 | C-7 G+ :||
Chorus:
 |  C-6/G Fo/G | C-6/G Fo/G | C-9/G Csus4b9 | G+ (and toss an A natural in there just for grins) :||

b = flat

- = minor

+ = augmented

o = diminished

/ = over

 

Let me know if you'd like to see MIDI or notes for any chord.

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First off I don't hear a melody to adhere to , so I'm assuming you just wrote out a set of changes to blow on based off the Minor blues with a little bridge/interlude....which is perfectly cool. :cool:

 

That passing chord to the Fm is a Gb7+11 or Gb7b5. Very common tri- tone sub there. The 1st time you played it it almost sounded like an F#m9 (which also works) but I think you want the Dominant 7th in there if I were to guess.

 

The first 4 bars of the verse are an "ain't no sunshine" type of thing. Simple Cm Dorian through that section.

 

If you want the freedom to use that Minor Major 7 thing on the Cm, I'd write it |Cm G7b9| or |Cm G7+5+9 |

It's a different harmonic movement altogether. And takes it out of the Dorian Cm7 to Gm7.

 

On the other hand, if you're just dealing with the bass going back and forth between C & G and there's no other chordal instruments comping behind you, and if the bass player has good ears, he should be able to follow you on which ever way you decide to play it.

 

 

The Gm is close enough for a soloist, but a wrong clue to an accompanist. It's F-Bb-C over G. What would you call that?..

 

Gm7 sus. If you specifically want that very common "fourthy" sound --Gm7sus. no5th or write out the voicing...even just the 3 notes in Treble clef with the chord symbol above would suffice.

 

Is there a better way to notate the C-6/G? I don't really understand what I'm doing there, and that notation is just the easiest way for me to convey it but probably not harmonically clueful.

 


Chorus:
 |  C-6/G Fo/G | C-6/G Fo/G | C-9/G Csus4b9 | G+ (and toss an A natural in there just for grins) :||

.

 

No what you have it there is fine although it would be easier to sight-read with an G7b9 as opposed to the Diminished slash chord but either is acceptable.

 

However you do want to include a 7 behind all your Dominant chords that are altered..like the last chord G+ or in bars 6, 10 & 12, or earlier in your post when you said G+b9.

 

Also not sure about that second to last chord in the the tune..Csus4b9. Is that over G or just played as is ? I mean I know what to play on it or how to voice but just wondering if you left out the G pedal thing here.

 

A fwiw. Again I don't know if this would conflict with the melody...but landing on just a straight G7 on bar 9 sounds kind of white/vanilla to my ears. No offense but you usually hear some type of altered chord there on the V. Whether it's a G7+5, G7b9, G7+5+9 or even an

 

|Ab7 G7+5 | Fm7 G7+5 | type of movement- which of course changes your tune a bit. But just the G7 alone for a whole bar sounds, how can I say it ? Somewhat common, colorless or maybe anti-climatic to me there. If I were playing or sight-reading it off your chart, even if it were marked just *G7*...I would instinctively throw in some sort of altered or blues voicing/scale/lick on that chord just to make it sound more in character with the rest of the progression..

 

Also fwiw- a very common harmonic movement in Minor blues in jazz at bar 5 is:

 

|Fm7 C7+5b9 or Gb7+11 | Fm7 Db7 or Db13+11| Back to your |Cm Gm7| etc.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

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I would write G-11 rather than G-7sus4

C7alt works for C7(#9 b13) (Mark Levine is adamant about the alt usage)

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Harry spends his time teaching jazz piano online and playing solo piano gigs.

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I'd much rather see G7b9 than Fdim/G just as I'd prefer not to see G11 written as F/G. I never want to see Cmaj9 written as Em7/C, but I do on occasion.

 

I'd write G11 if there's a 9 in the chord and G7sus4 if there isn't. An 11 chord resolves nicely to a 7sus4. It's not the same chord.

 

C7alt means nothing to me. If it works for both #9 and b9, that's downright ambiguous. I'd rather see it spelled out.

--wmp
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Thanks, Dave! Just the kind of help I was looking for.

 

There's no melody yet. I often put the cart before the horse. :laugh:

 

That passing chord to the Fm is a Gb7+11 or Gb7b5. Very common tri- tone sub there. The 1st time you played it it almost sounded like an F#m9 (which also works) but I think you want the Dominant 7th in there if I were to guess.
The notes that work here are Gb Ab Bb C Db Eb F. The first time it's voiced as C Db F Ab; the second it's F Bb C (both over Gb). Or maybe it's F# -- I don't know the rules as to whether this is a Gb or F#, when it's a passing chord like that.

 

By +11 do you mean "add 11" or "sharp 11"? I assume the former, unless it's in front of a 5.

 

GbM7+11 works, and I hadn't thought of that. Thanks!

 

Do these passing chords show up in charts or are they usually left to the imagination?

 

The first 4 bars of the verse are an "ain't no sunshine" type of thing. Simple Cm Dorian through that section.
Good point -- probably no need to over-chart the root-fives there.

 

If you want the freedom to use that Minor Major 7 thing on the Cm, I'd write it |Cm G7b9| or |Cm G7+5+9 |

It's a different harmonic movement altogether. And takes it out of the Dorian Cm to Gm.

Great! I get it, thanks! Also the Gm7sus. Not only are those good options for notation, they suggest some great alternate voicings, with some variations in the colors.

 

G7b9 [as opposed to the Diminished slash chord]
Yes, thanks. Much better.

 

However you do want to include a 7 behind all your Dominant chords that are altered..like the last chord G+ or in bars 6, 10 & 12, or earlier in your post when you said G+b9.
Right -- the 7s come so naturally I tend to forget they're there!

 

Also not sure about that second to last chord in the the tune..Csus4b9. Is that over G or just played as is ? I mean I know what to play on it or how to voice but just wondering if you left out the G pedal thing here.
Just forgot to write the G. I sure do hope there's a more sensible way to write it!

 

A fwiw. Again I don't know if this would conflict with the melody...but landing on just a straight G7 on bar 9 sounds kind of white/vanilla to my ears. No offense but you usually hear some type of altered chord there on the V. Whether it's a G7+5, G7b9, G7+5+9 or even an |Ab7 G7+5 | Fm7 G7+5 | type of movement- which of course changes your tune a bit. But just the G7 alone for a whole bar sounds, how can I say it ? Somewhat common, colorless or maybe anti-climatic to me there. If I were playing or sight-reading it off your chart, even if it were marked just *G7*...I would instinctively throw in some sort of altered or blues voicing/scale/lick on that chord just to make it sound more in character with the rest of the progression..
Does it sound wrong in the mp3? It's a movement from the Gm7; there's enough "meat" in altered tones elsewhere, and this sounds right to me at that place. I bet you wouldn't actually toss in much color there. It's room for the soloist, and I fill it with a blues lick (with minor 3 and flat 5) -- additional color in the chord there works against my intent. Definitely not a +5; it's kind of a baseline against all the other dominant G+ chords.

 

Thanks again!

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I didn't yet start my piano set-up today. I listened to the mp3, and when I read Dave's comment about the resemblance I agreed, it's bluesy, with a certain type of added jazz feel. I think such schemes or jams are great, but it's always hard in a jam to make something decided out it all, but if it's a band with some Jazz knowledge, it may work out even better than acceptable.

 

Of course the blues feel can go many directions that I don't think you emphasized, for guitar players, I'd think the chord progressions would dictate the main direction, for piano solo, there'd have to be jazz progressions that can be recognized, which there are, but I'd have to know your style to fill in the harmonic blanks.

 

From the intended jazz-feel for guitar or piano (which I'd perceive as different, but I've never much recently made any materials which actually fall back on my combo-knowledge, so I can't easily exemplify what I mean), you'd have to derive your chords and possible variations of the chord.

 

Like the recently mentioned piece from the great Joe Sample uses a sort of probability game on minor and major chords, usually there's something (simpler) that you intend for those chords to sound the way you want.

 

In jazz (which Dave gave some good comments on) there's almost always clearness about what the meaning is of the progression of the addition notes could be (in, like real-book level songs) or is. Unless you want to write standards, you want to stay away from multi-interpretable important chord addition notes, either in altered mode or not. Your example does that, I'd say you could emphasize that "blues + diminished 2/5 chord tension', make small variations in the main chord addition notes according to blues scales, and maybe chose some dominant solo mode (like Dorian) to which you fit the feel and notes of the addition notes (most not altered unless you're feeling adventurous).

 

Of course chords in Realbook sense are (in most cases, and that's right by me) always notated with the proper root-note, so you could want to rewrite some of the alternating "dual" chords to have a small jazz-like meaning by for instance running a melodic or bass line through them which decides on the small variation, and notate the chords accordingly.

 

Much can be said, of course, so these are just some general comments!

 

T.

 

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It's a nice little comp, got some character, and your soloist should be able to blaze away, soulful like, over it.

 

What is it you really want help with?

Thanks! Just the kind of thing Dave offered: better ways to spell the chords, to give the right clues.

 

I would write G-11 rather than G-7sus4

C7alt works for C7(#9 b13) and C7(b9 b13)

Good idea, but (though this isn't clear from the clip) I want the Ab rather than the A natural there, most of the time.

 

[As a side note, I had a lot of fun with this seeing how many different (chromatic) scale tones I could include in riffs without them sounding alien, and I think I got all but one. The A is the hardest of the ones that I did manage to fit in; the Ab is a lot easier. I could find no use for E. Db was a stretch too, except in that passing chord.]

 

I'd much rather see G7b9 than Fdim/G just as I'd prefer not to see G11 written as F/G. I never want to see Cmaj9 written as Em7/C, but I do on occasion.

 

I'd write G11 if there's a 9 in the chord and G7sus4 if there isn't. An 11 chord resolves nicely to a 7sus4. It's not the same chord.

 

C7alt means nothing to me. If it works for both #9 and b9, that's downright ambiguous. I'd rather see it spelled out.

I agree, Wayne, on all counts.

 

C7alt might mean more to someone with a deeper understanding than mine. I'd interpret that as "C7 with some shit, pay attention and figure it out!" Meaning, lay back the first time through.

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But just the G7 alone for a whole bar sounds, how can I say it ? Somewhat common, colorless or maybe anti-climatic to me there. If I were playing or sight-reading it off your chart, even if it were marked just *G7*...I would instinctively throw in some sort of altered or blues voicing/scale/lick on that chord just to make it sound more in character with the rest of the progression..
A G7b9 or sharp 9 does work nicely there, thanks! I still like the simplicity of the G7 for the head, but these others would be sweet variations. Of course, a melody would probably answer the question.

 

G7+5 definitely no soap, it destroys the movement to that same chord in the next bar.

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Thanks for your comments, Theo.

 

I'd LOVE to write a jazz standard, but alas ... not likely to happen!

 

So far I've played this with blues players and just during warmup with my soul band, and everyone really liked it, but haven't played it with any jazz cats yet. I'm not much of a jazz player, despite having what some (nonjazz) folks say is a jazzy style to blues. But there is a very good local jazz jam I sometimes join, and they're cool enough to dumb it down for me. I'd like to be able to pull this one out there, and it would help to have a chart for it. Plus I know a few other jazz players I might find myself playing with.

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I'd much rather see G7b9 than Fdim/G

 

Me too

 

just as I'd prefer not to see G11 written as F/G.

 

I prefer the slash chord actually

 

C7alt means nothing to me. If it works for both #9 and b9, that's downright ambiguous. I'd rather see it spelled out.

 

I like alt. It implies melodic minor harmony (as opposed to diminished scale harmony). In a general sense it means any combo of #9,b9,b13 and #11, often voiced as #9b13. As the accompanist I can choose which tones to omit or use. I like having that choice.

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Now alt means something to me. Thanks, Bobby!

 

And thanks for the pointer to Mark Levine's book, Jazz+. I really need to study some jazz theory. Some folks think I play jazz, and that's just silly. I'm not fooling anybody who knows any jazz.

--wmp
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I like alt. It implies melodic minor harmony (as opposed to diminished scale harmony). In a general sense it means any combo of #9,b9,b13 and #11, often voiced as #9b13. As the accompanist I can choose which tones to omit or use. I like having that choice.

 

This is great advice. I remember the following points about altered chords, which I hope will be helpful to some here.

 

1. It's "all the alterations". You need G and B and F in your chord (otherwise its not a G dominant). Now alter "everything else you can". So as Bobby says, b9 and #9, and #11 and b13 (I still think of them as b5 and #5, but that's my limitations showing).

 

2. It's built on the melodic minor of the note a semitone (half-step) above. Play Ab melodic minor - you'll see those dominant notes and alterations all come up.

 

3. Voicing - play a dom13 voicing of the tritone substitution. So for Galt, move a tritone (three tones) away to Db. Standard voicing for Db13 would be B* Eb F Bb, which picks out 3, b13, 7 and #9** of the G.

 

Enjoy, and great thread.

 

Cheers, Mike.

 

(* I know, Cb)

(** I know, A#. Enharmonics not helping here)

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C7alt is short for C7 #9 b13. See Mark Levine's books. He is adamant about its usage.

 

I like alt. It implies melodic minor harmony (as opposed to diminished scale harmony). In a general sense it means any combo of #9,b9,b13 and #11, often voiced as #9b13. As the accompanist I can choose which tones to omit or use. I like having that choice.
OK, thanks -- I'll have to school myself on that to understand what it means. Frankly, I'll have to google to remember which is melodic and which is harmonic; in this case both work at some points.

 

Stoken6, I'll have to study what you wrote.

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ascending form of melodic minor only (not the descending form)

 

Good point, although in jazz the ascending form is implied.

 

Cheers Mike

 

What do you mean?

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Harry spends his time teaching jazz piano online and playing solo piano gigs.

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Thread title should be "please help me chart a chord progression" since there is no tune here. That said, a tune would sound great over this progression. It has a smokey, Sade vibe. I particularly like the little high thing that appears a couple of times and at the ending. That in itself could be a defining part of the melody, if ever a melody turns this progression into a tune. :)

 

On the chord chart, I much prefer slash chords to complicated indications of 11th's and 13'ths and such. That way, you can define where you want the bass note. Steely Dan was notorious for that, or at least the Steely Dan fake books I've seen.

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A slash chord implies more about the voicing, which might be of benefit to an accompanist, but for the soloist, it requires an extra step of interpretation (albeit an easy one, for common stuff like F/G).

 

Also, with F/G, one is left guessing whether the underlying harmonics has a minor or major third. Of course, the more sophisticated players here probably know which is implied without a second thought, in context. Heck, even I usually don't need to think about that, in a simple enough context, and I'm definitely not one of the "sophisticated players" here!

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Most common is that the altered chords have addition notes which are lowered.

 

In some cases, that means octaves of the tones of the main chord, so that doesn't count. In some cases, like many occurrences of b10 there are harmonic implications, depending on the chord the additions are meant to be added to. In other cases, the lowered possible addition notes become "boring" (they're supposed to be spicy, so a lowered 9 is ok, but a lowered minor 10th is just a 9), and in the case of the non-, single-, or double- lowered 7, there's a lot of special stuff connected with the main theme of any classical and modern advanced harmonic theory course, the 4 and the 7 in the original scale acting as pivot notes to resolve from V-dom-7 to I, and all possible fun and misery connected with that.

 

T.

 

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On the chord chart, I much prefer slash chords to complicated indications of 11th's and 13'ths and such. That way, you can define where you want the bass note.

I'm left wondering how one might write a 13 chord as a slash chord.

 

Calling a chord an 11 or a 7b9 gives me a better understanding of what's going on. I like to use the slash notation only when the bass note really isn't the root of the chord.

 

I spent a lot of time in music schools when I was younger. As a piano tuner. So I really don't know schizzle from shinola.

--wmp
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A-/C7 would be the slash chord for C13. However this is not commonly used because it over complicates the simple C13 symbol.

 

When slash chords are used on dominant 7th chords it is usually to express some alteration.

The most common slash chords for a C dominant 7th chords would be:

A/C7 = C7 b9

Ab/C7 = C7 #9 b13 ("C7alt")

Gb/C7 = C7 b9 b13 (same mode as C7alt)

D/C7 = C7 +11

F#-/C7 = C7 b9+11

 

Some common non-altered types:

F/G = G7 sus

 

D/C = C Lydian

Ab/C- = C Aeolian

Db/C = C Phryg

 

 

 

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Harry spends his time teaching jazz piano online and playing solo piano gigs.

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11ths and 13ths are complicated?

 

 

To me... yup. I'm not a jazz player. If I see a C13, I have to stop and count notes to get to #13. If I see a Bb maj7 over a C bass, I know exactly what to play without thinking about it. Whatever works, right?

 

Whatever works, except Bbmaj7/C does not work for a C13

Bbmaj7/C is the equivalent C7 sus (4)

You would need to write A-/C to express C13

 

C13 includes a 3rd and not the sus 4

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Harry spends his time teaching jazz piano online and playing solo piano gigs.

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