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#1287570 - 10/15/09 01:15 PM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: ten left thumbs]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7060
Loc: So. California
Well don't make me look too bad smile Everyone else is practicing and I'm just plunking along without any kind of preparation.

But maybe that's a good thing. It shows how automatic this can be. As I said, even my initial recording was done without much planning.
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#1287633 - 10/15/09 02:45 PM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: MiM]
(Was)TrueBeginner Offline
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Registered: 05/01/08
Posts: 116
Loc: Northern VA, US
Originally Posted By: Music_in_Me
Personally, I would like to learn more about chord styles (in this thread or somewhere else). I like to hear the same song (strictly the same song, note for note, proper timing, etc) using block chords, broken chords, ballad style, Alberti Bass, arpeggiated styles, and many others, and variations thereof.


Music_in_Me, I remember Seaside Lee posted several videos on this forum demonstrating different ways to play the same chords progression. I don't know if you have seen them.

TB
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#1287648 - 10/15/09 03:08 PM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: (Was)TrueBeginner]
MiM Offline
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Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: TrueBeginner


Music_in_Me, I remember Seaside Lee posted several videos on this forum demonstrating different ways to play the same chords progression. I don't know if you have seen them.

TB

I haven't seen them. I will do a search, that sounds good.
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#1287697 - 10/15/09 04:21 PM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: jazzwee]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Well don't make me look too bad smile


Well I'm not sure a meagre vi-ii-V-I can make you look bad, but I'm willing to try:

http://www.box.net/shared/c0epee0r6m

smile
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#1287988 - 10/16/09 01:23 AM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: ten left thumbs]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
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Loc: So. California
TLT, you're really learning how to use those circle of fifths! Bravo! thumb
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#1287993 - 10/16/09 01:51 AM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7060
Loc: So. California
Looking to Reharmonize? Let's Start With the Basics

I want to just expand little by little on what I tried to explain earlier. There are many facets to this so I could go on and on until the topics get really complex. But in the meantime, we're still at the simple stage.

So first we started out with our normal seventh chords.

Scale Degrees in C
I C-E-G-B (CMaj7)
ii D-F-A-C (Dm7)
iii E-G-B-D (Em7)
IV F-A-C-E (FMaj7)
V G-B-D-F (G7)
vi A-C-E-G (Am7)
vii B-D-F-A (Bm7b5)

Then we added another note to the end (called an Extension and specifically it is called the 9th extension).

Scale Degrees in C
I C-E-G-B-D (CMaj7(9) )
ii D-F-A-C-E (Dm7(9) )
iii E-G-B-D-F (Em7(9) )
IV F-A-C-E-G (FMaj7(9) )
V G-B-D-F-A (G7(9) )
vi A-C-E-G-B (Am7(9) )
vii B-D-F-A-C (Bm7b5(9) )


And then I proceeded to split the same chords into a bass and another chord.


Scale Degrees in C
I C / E-G-B-D (Em7)
ii D / F-A-C-E (FMaj7 )
iii E / G-B-D-F (G7)
IV F / A-C-E-G (Am7 )
V G / B-D-F-A (Bm7b5 )
vi A / C-E-G-B (CMaj7 )
vii B / D-F-A-C (Dm7 )

I just want to examine this more closely because this is one of easiest ideas to reharmonizing ever. Again there are tons of official "music theory" books that discuss this (classical theory) and you don't have to delve into it, but the main concept is that you can often find substitute chords by looking for COMMON TONES. Just by the geography of the notes, you will find as I show above that chords a THIRD away are often consonant.

So look closely at the last two scale degree charts above.

Scale Degrees in C
I CMaj7(9) contains (Em7)
ii Dm7(9) contains (FMaj7 )
iii Em7(9) contains (G7)
IV FMaj7(9) contains (Am7 )
V G7(9) contains (Bm7b5 )
vi Am7(9) contains (CMaj7 )
vii Bm7b5(9) contains (Dm7)

What can you see here? You can see that you can safely substitute a chord a THIRD UP. And that's exactly what we did here. If you don't play the Bass note to the I chord, it sounds like an Em7. However, depending on your melody note, likely the melody will imply C so there's this ambiguity that exists. Ambiguity creates tension and interest. Often you can release that tension by occasionally playing the bass note "C".

Another way of looking at this is that:

I = iii
ii = IV
iii = V
IV = vi
V = vii
vi = I
vii = ii

So you can see how you can substitute some chords for the other in a very safe way. Again, why is this acceptable? It is because these chords share common tones. The difference that cause the ambiguity is only one note. In this case, the BASS root note.

In Jazz, we utilize this concept a lot by not playing the root many times. We call it rootless voicings. So often, chords start on the 3rd of the chord and giving the exact same relationship shown above.

So in conclusion, Reharmonization Lesson 1: You can substitute a chord a THIRD AWAY (thinking here in roman numerals).

BTW this explains why many posters were able to use chords like IV, vii, iii, vi, ii, V, I in their reharmonizations. If you look at the chart above, you can find substitutes for I, IV, V. In fact, if you look closely you can find a substite going UP a third, or DOWN a third (do you get it? Just look for the I, IV and V to the left of the equal sign. Then do the same thing from the RIGHT side of the equal sign. Two possible substitutions). Again this all looks complicated but in reality it is simply finding the substitute chord a THIRD UP or a THIRD DOWN.

This kind of substitution, which is very basic, is what creates the circle of fifths and to simplify, most tunes can fit into the structure of scale degrees IV, vii, iii, vi, ii, V, I.

Try playing this sequence on the piano and you will hear a familiar sounding progression. Again several people followed that same progression here so at least we know it is well known.

But it isn't over. This is the most basic of harmonizations...

Music has a lot of symmetry have you noticed? So my teacher says Music is a lot like Math...
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#1288050 - 10/16/09 06:36 AM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: jazzwee]
simon288 Offline
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Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 99
Loc: london
Great thread Jazzwee. You really do explain things very well.
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#1288056 - 10/16/09 07:11 AM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: jazzwee]
mom3gram Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 1129
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Looking to Reharmonize? Let's Start With the Basics

I want to just expand little by little on what I tried to explain earlier. There are many facets to this so I could go on and on until the topics get really complex. But in the meantime, we're still at the simple stage.

So first we started out with our normal seventh chords.

Scale Degrees in C
I C-E-G-B (CMaj7)
ii D-F-A-C (Dm7)
iii E-G-B-D (Em7)
IV F-A-C-E (FMaj7)
V G-B-D-F (G7)
vi A-C-E-G (Am7)
vii B-D-F-A (Bm7b5)

Then we added another note to the end (called an Extension and specifically it is called the 9th extension).

Scale Degrees in C
I C-E-G-B-D (CMaj7(9) )
ii D-F-A-C-E (Dm7(9) )
iii E-G-B-D-F (Em7(9) )
IV F-A-C-E-G (FMaj7(9) )
V G-B-D-F-A (G7(9) )
vi A-C-E-G-B (Am7(9) )
vii B-D-F-A-C (Bm7b5(9) )


And then I proceeded to split the same chords into a bass and another chord.


Scale Degrees in C
I C / E-G-B-D (Em7)
ii D / F-A-C-E (FMaj7 )
iii E / G-B-D-F (G7)
IV F / A-C-E-G (Am7 )
V G / B-D-F-A (Bm7b5 )
vi A / C-E-G-B (CMaj7 )
vii B / D-F-A-C (Dm7 )

I just want to examine this more closely because this is one of easiest ideas to reharmonizing ever. Again there are tons of official "music theory" books that discuss this (classical theory) and you don't have to delve into it, but the main concept is that you can often find substitute chords by looking for COMMON TONES. Just by the geography of the notes, you will find as I show above that chords a THIRD away are often consonant.

So look closely at the last two scale degree charts above.

Scale Degrees in C
I CMaj7(9) contains (Em7)
ii Dm7(9) contains (FMaj7 )
iii Em7(9) contains (G7)
IV FMaj7(9) contains (Am7 )
V G7(9) contains (Bm7b5 )
vi Am7(9) contains (CMaj7 )
vii Bm7b5(9) contains (Dm7)

What can you see here? You can see that you can safely substitute a chord a THIRD UP. And that's exactly what we did here. If you don't play the Bass note to the I chord, it sounds like an Em7. However, depending on your melody note, likely the melody will imply C so there's this ambiguity that exists. Ambiguity creates tension and interest. Often you can release that tension by occasionally playing the bass note "C".

Another way of looking at this is that:

I = iii
ii = IV
iii = V
IV = vi
V = vii
vi = I
vii = ii

So you can see how you can substitute some chords for the other in a very safe way. Again, why is this acceptable? It is because these chords share common tones. The difference that cause the ambiguity is only one note. In this case, the BASS root note.

In Jazz, we utilize this concept a lot by not playing the root many times. We call it rootless voicings. So often, chords start on the 3rd of the chord and giving the exact same relationship shown above.

So in conclusion, Reharmonization Lesson 1: You can substitute a chord a THIRD AWAY (thinking here in roman numerals).

BTW this explains why many posters were able to use chords like IV, vii, iii, vi, ii, V, I in their reharmonizations. If you look at the chart above, you can find substitutes for I, IV, V. In fact, if you look closely you can find a substite going UP a third, or DOWN a third (do you get it? Just look for the I, IV and V to the left of the equal sign. Then do the same thing from the RIGHT side of the equal sign. Two possible substitutions). Again this all looks complicated but in reality it is simply finding the substitute chord a THIRD UP or a THIRD DOWN.

This kind of substitution, which is very basic, is what creates the circle of fifths and to simplify, most tunes can fit into the structure of scale degrees IV, vii, iii, vi, ii, V, I.

Try playing this sequence on the piano and you will hear a familiar sounding progression. Again several people followed that same progression here so at least we know it is well known.

But it isn't over. This is the most basic of harmonizations...

Music has a lot of symmetry have you noticed? So my teacher says Music is a lot like Math...


Okay, now you totally lost me. :-) But I'll get back to it eventually.
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mom3gram

ALFRED'S ADULT BOOK 1 GRADUATE


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#1288066 - 10/16/09 08:14 AM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: mom3gram]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Mom3 - did you try putting an F chord in - in beats 3 and 4 of the first bar? Then go back to a C chord for the second bar.

Try it both ways (C right through those two bars, or C-F-C) and decide which way you like it best. smile
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#1288088 - 10/16/09 09:21 AM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: ten left thumbs]
Manndrew Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 267
Loc: Massachusetts
Jazzwee,

As someone who doesn't have a lot of time to participate, but occasionally follows your threads, just let me say that it is exceptional that you are able to explain these musical ideas so clearly and that you have taken the time to do so. Excellent and very inspirational work.

Andy
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#1288147 - 10/16/09 10:42 AM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: Manndrew]
jazzwee Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7060
Loc: So. California
Simon and Manndrew, thanks for such kind words. I'm glad what I post is useful. I do explain it differently and sometimes I wonder if it can be understood.

Mom3Gram, when you get back to it, tell me where I lost you and it will teach me to enhance the explanation.

There's more to follow here. This is sort of an endless topic and a bit different from the Jazz thread (although there are certainly connections).
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#1288383 - 10/16/09 06:02 PM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7060
Loc: So. California
Backtracking on Scale Degrees

Maybe I went through Scale Degrees too fast as apparently not everything is clear. So I'll go through the 1st part of the explanation more slowly, then you can return to the lessons I already posted.

If you look at the keys of a piano, you will find an irregular pattern of black notes over the white notes. This has some implications which we will take advantage of.

We will look at the key of C and put our fingers on C E G B. Alternating White notes starting on C.

Got this so far? This is CMaj7.

Now move all 4 fingers to the right by one white note. So your fingers should be on D F A C. This is Dm7.

Next move all 4 fingers one more white note to the right. Now you will be on E G B D. This is Em7.

Now if you do this movement by a step you will create a sequence of chords as shown below.

1. C-E-G-B (CMaj7)
2. D-F-A-C (Dm7)
3. E-G-B-D (Em7)
4. F-A-C-E (FMaj7)
5. G-B-D-F (G7)
6. A-C-E-G (Am7)
7. B-D-F-A (Bm7b5)

Although all the chords appear to be symmetrical (same number of white notes and same alternating pattern, the intervals between each note actually changes since there could be a black key in between. Because of this, you actually create different chords when you move up the scale of C.

It does NOT do this:

1. CMaj7
2. DMaj7
3. EMaj7
4. FMaj7
5. GMaj7
6. AMaj7
7. BMaj7

It can't do that because the intervals are not the same (remember the black keys? Watch the black keys as you move this pattern up the white notes.

This pattern in music is fixed. If you go up the scale on any Key, the same sequence of chord types will appear, the first one being a Maj7 and the next one being a Minor7, etc.

The sequence of chords starting from the first note (C) in the key of C, are given a Roman Numeral to represent the order. Thus coming up with SCALE DEGREES. So here it is below with the Roman Numerals.

Scale Degrees in C
I C-E-G-B (CMaj7)
ii D-F-A-C (Dm7)
iii E-G-B-D (Em7)
IV F-A-C-E (FMaj7)
V G-B-D-F (G7)
vi A-C-E-G (Am7)
vii B-D-F-A (Bm7b5)

So if someone says, I'm playing a song that's I, IV V, then you will play the chords below.


Scale Degrees in C
I C-E-G-B (CMaj7)
ii D-F-A-C (Dm7)
iii E-G-B-D (Em7)
IV F-A-C-E (FMaj7)
V G-B-D-F (G7)
vi A-C-E-G (Am7)
vii B-D-F-A (Bm7b5)

How do you translate this to any key? Just take the template below and put the first note of the scale in I, second note of the scale in ii, etc. until you get to vii.


Scale Degrees
I Maj7
ii m7
iii m7
IV Maj7
V 7
vi m7
vii m7b5)

Example: In the Key of F

Scale Degrees in F
I FMaj7
ii Gm7
iii Am7
IV BMaj7
V C7
vi Dm7
vii Em7b5)

Now why are scale degrees important? It's because most songs follow a specific sequence of scale degrees, the most common one being I-IV-V and the next most common is ii-V-I. Knowing this allows you compose some songs that will mimic popular tunes.
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#1288488 - 10/16/09 10:32 PM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: jazzwee]
mom3gram Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 1129
Loc: New Jersey
Got it! At least the part about the scale degrees in C. I did learn how to do that (with only 3 keys in a chord), just didn't know what it was called.

For changing it to other keys, I'll have to print your post out and bring it downstairs to try it on my piano. Wish I had enough room to have the piano and the computer in the same room - or at least on the same floor. A laptop would be nice too. Santa???
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mom3gram

ALFRED'S ADULT BOOK 1 GRADUATE


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#1288734 - 10/17/09 12:46 PM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: mom3gram]
jazzwee Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7060
Loc: So. California
Concept of Tension and Release - Part 1

Several have mentioned the need to understand how to make chord progressions using some rule or guideline. So I will introduce the ONLY rule that every successful composer has figured out in music.

It's all a balance of TENSION vs. RELEASE.

This goes back to early music theory and is a concept used in Classical music or modern music and that is to play with Tension and Release. Some chords are called "Tense" chords and some chords have a more settled feel which releases the tension.

This is no different than watching a movie. Even a horror flick goes through stages of slowly building tension and then pausing, and then peaking at some stage of extreme tension before resolution at the end of the movie. Well, it's funny that one might observe music following the same sort of pattern. Unrelenting tension without even moments of release will probably make you sweat fear in a movie. Probably not too enjoyable. Then there are degrees of suspense that some people prefer. Music is no different and probably this accounts for our difference in musical tastes.

You could even classify genres by some sort of tension level. Genres like Blues and Jazz tend to have more tension than let's say Nursery Rhyme music. It's amazing how all this can be explained by how the chords are voiced and how the progressions are laid out.

So enough with the background talk and back to specifics. Apparently, and I don't know if this is from training or a natural trait, people react to certain intervals differently.

Intervals and Tension Level

We perceive intervals of an Octave, a Perfect Fifth as indicating a settled feeling. Like it's not going anywhere.

In contrast, intervals containing a tritone interval (flatted fifth interval like C to F#) as the most unnerving. Musicians often joke that if you end a tune with this interval then you may not be able to sleep until you release it. In history, this was referred to as the "Devil's interval" and was banned from Church music in the middle ages (remember Church modes -- or the music they play in movies when you see a bunch of monks walking in a monastery? Think of the imagery there).

Anyway, this will be the framework from which we will examine what chord progressions work and what doesn't work.
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#1288749 - 10/17/09 01:15 PM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7060
Loc: So. California
Concept of Tension and Release - Part 2

I keep going back to our Scale Degrees chart which is critical in understanding music. So by now you've seen this over and over.

Scale Degrees in C
I C-E-G-B (CMaj7)
ii D-F-A-C (Dm7)
iii E-G-B-D (Em7)
IV F-A-C-E (FMaj7)
V G-B-D-F (G7)
vi A-C-E-G (Am7)
vii B-D-F-A (Bm7b5)

Of course in the key of C, it looks like an evenly laid pattern of alternating white notes. Luckily, there is a key of C that enables us to see things clearly. Now all of you learning piano know that playing a scale in the key of C isn't exactly the easiest (key of B is easier). But yet our teachers continue to teach us starting with the C scale. That's because Piano is such a symmetrical and visual instrument and the C scale proves that. All white notes (now try that with guitar... wink ).

Now I just want to alert you to some interesting occurences of intervals in the Scale Degrees chart. I alert you to four categories of intervals of interest. Perfect Fifth, Major Third, Minor Third, Tritone, Flatted Fifth.

Scale Degrees in C
I C-E-G-B (CMaj7) - Perfect Fifth, Major Third
ii D-F-A-C (Dm7) - Perfect Fifth, Minor Third
iii E-G-B-D (Em7) - Perfect Fifth, Minor Third
IV F-A-C-E (FMaj7) - Perfect Fifth, Major Third
V G-B-D-F (G7) - Tritone
vi A-C-E-G (Am7) - Perfect Fifth, Minor Third
vii B-D-F-A (Bm7b5) - Flatted Fifth, Minor Third

Just for technical reference I will repeat the same chart but indicate the actual note intervals.

Scale Degrees in C
I C-E-G-B (CMaj7) - Perfect Fifth (C-G), Major Third (C-E)
ii D-F-A-C (Dm7) - Perfect Fifth(D-A), Minor Third (D-F)
iii E-G-B-D (Em7) - Perfect Fifth (E-B), Minor Third (E-G)
IV F-A-C-E (FMaj7) - Perfect Fifth (F-C), Major Third (F-A)
V G-B-D-F (G7) - Tritone (B-F)
vi A-C-E-G (Am7) - Perfect Fifth (A-E), Minor Third (A-C)
vii B-D-F-A (Bm7b5) - Flatted Fifth (B-F), Minor Third (B-D).

I've bolded the V chord above (G7 here) because it is the only one with the Tritone interval which is the most tense sounding in music. If one were to grade these in order of tension, it would be as follows:

Tension from Least to Most
1. Perfect Fifth, Major Third
2. Perfect Fifth, Minor Third
3. Flatted Fifth, Minor Third
4. Tritone

Note that I've ignored the seventh (7 and b7) interval here just for simplification. Based on what we are talking about, it doesn't really change the picture until you start including chords not in the above scale degrees.
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#1288772 - 10/17/09 01:45 PM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7060
Loc: So. California
Concept of Tension and Release - Part 3

Now at this point, I haven't even mentioned the Circle of Fifths. In the Part 2 post, I was talking mostly about intervals and how intervals affect tension level. However the chord progressions themselves create another layer of tension and release even of the intervals were limited to triads as shown below. Notice that the only significant intervals here are Major Fifth, Major Third, Minor Third, Diminished (Flatted Fifth). There are no sevenths.

Scale Degrees in C
I C-E-G (CMaj)
ii D-F-A (Dm)
iii E-G-B (Em)
IV F-A-C (FMaj)
V G-B-D (G)
vi A-C-E (Am)
vii B-D-F (BDim)

But even with this some other relationship is apparent when playing Pop, Folk, and Rock music and some Classical. Varying levels of tension and release relate to the distance of the chord from the I chord (or Tonic). This music theory based progression deals with these labels.

Scale Degrees in C
I C-E-G (CMaj) - Tonic
ii D-F-A (Dm) - Supertonic
iii E-G-B (Em) - mediant
IV F-A-C (FMaj) - Subdominant
V G-B-D (G) - dominant
vi A-C-E (Am) - Submediant
vii B-D-F (BDim) - Leading tone

Based on this, a specified series of progressions sounds pleasing and I will reorganize the list to show what I mean.

Scale Degrees - Organized in the Circle of Fifths Progression
I C-E-G (CMaj) - Tonic
vii B-D-F (BDim) - Leading tone
IV F-A-C (FMaj) - Subdominant
iii E-G-B (Em) - mediant
vi A-C-E (Am) - Submediant
ii D-F-A (Dm) - Supertonic
V G-B-D (G) - dominant
I C-E-G (CMaj) - Tonic

Now I will not bore you with all the reasons why this is so in some complicated way except to simplify it with a single important relationship.

SUPERTONIC -> DOMINANT -> TONIC
BUILDUP -> TENSION -> RELEASE
ii-V-I (2-5-1)

Whoa!!!! Stop Jazzwee. You're all messed up! I only see one DOMINANT TO TONIC in the above list. It is only V to I!

Hold on to your hats boys and girls. Watch this:

Scale Degrees - Organized as ii-V-I's
IV F-A-C (FMaj) - 2
vii B-D-F (BDim) - 5
iii E-G-B (Em) - 1

iii E-G-B (Em) - 2
vi A-C-E (Am) - 5
ii D-F-A (Dm) - 1

ii D-F-A (Dm) - 2
V G-B-D (G) - 5
I C-E-G (CMaj) - 1

You don't believe me? Subtract the tonic from the preceeding chords and you will arrive at 2-5-1. So the Circle of Fifths is made up of 3 ii-V-I patterns.

This is such a common progression although it is not the only valid one, mainly because of a special relationship between the 2-5's when you use seventh chords. There is good voice leading. Since Pop/Rock/Folk doesn't use Seventh chords much (using triads instead), this is not a popular progression in those genres.

Instead, Pop/Rock/Folk uses:

SUBDOMINANT->DOMINANT->TONIC.
IV-V-I

And now we are back full circle to the original chords we used for "Mary Had A Little Lamb".

You will notice that many people (including myself), posted "Mary" versions using Seventh chords. This allowed us to use the ii-V-I (Circle of fifths) progressions as substitute chords.

So if you're trying to reharmonize a tune, you will get more chord choices if you use seventh chords (4 note scale degree chords).
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#1288782 - 10/17/09 02:15 PM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
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Concept of Tension and Release - Summary

Now what was the point of the above discussions, which I'm sure is too advanced for many? The point is that to arrive at a good chord progression, whether for composing or reharmonizing nursery rhymes and Christmas Carols, one has to be able to mix in chords that have a good mix of tension and release.

|CMaj7 DMaj7 EMaj7 FMaj7|
is probably not too interesting for "Mary". These are all tonic chords (I chords). So there's no tension in the chords themselves both in the INTERVALS contained in the chords, and the POSITION of the chords.

|CMin7 DMin7 EMin7 FMin7|
will probably sound sad and droning. Like old Church music. But even Church music goes back to the Tonic. This one does not even end at the first chord. One other thing to note here is that Cmin7 and Fmin7 are in a different key from DMin7 and EMin7. You will not find them in the same circle of fifths.

|CMaj7 FMaj7 GMaj7 CMaj7|
This progression could be mildly interesting because of the chords themselves following a sort of I IV V I order. However, being Major Sevenths, the tension level is not built up since the GMaj7 also sounds like the I chord of the key of G. No real dominant.

Have you checked out the Blues? A blues progression will look like this:
|C7 F7 G7 C7|
So it is made up entirely of dominants. Each chord has a tritone interval. However the order of the chords follows the I-IV-V format so in one sense the V chord wants to go to some I chord in another key (high tension), but the underlying progression has some sort of release going from the G to the C (V to I) in the key of C. Now how's that for ambiguity? So blues is more tense than any typical I-IV-V progression.

So what's the rule then? What I'm saying is that it's all a matter of taste. The most popular tunes appear to be those that combine tension and release in some alternating manner and in varying degrees. So if you want to draw a bigger audience, then probably some V-I pattern is called for.

And my only MAJOR TIP is that the progression should be consistent with the MELODY.
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#1288820 - 10/17/09 03:58 PM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: jazzwee]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Well jazzwee, you've certainly given us something to think about!

Another rendition:

http://www.box.net/shared/49lnt3fs0d

Anyone got any idea what happened in bar 5? All I know is the LH went F, F#, G. Apart from that, I think I understood what I did.
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#1288961 - 10/17/09 07:48 PM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: ten left thumbs]
jazzwee Online   content
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That was lovely TLT! I really liked it. When you went to the F# you implied a D7 so you can really hear that nice tension that wants to release to G.

You're always ahead of me. So far I have explained reharmonization within the same key. The next round is moving to a different key at least in passing tones at first. And that was what was happening when you were using that #1-5-7 pattern.

I showed the 1-5-7, #1-5-7 pattern to my teacher and he was impressed. smile Of course, I have a little music theory behind this and we'll tackle it in little bites from here, since it may get a little complicated from here.

Anyway, I'll let what I posted before simmer for a bit.
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#1289146 - 10/18/09 06:36 AM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: jazzwee]
ten left thumbs Offline
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It was an implied D7, was it? Well, now I can feel clever that I know what to call it. smile

Anyone else stirring the pot?
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#1290002 - 10/19/09 05:12 PM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: ten left thumbs]
knightplayer Offline
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Registered: 08/28/09
Posts: 67
Loc: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Hi All
I've been stirring, but have just now caught up to the end of the thread and don't have the ability to record.
Simon288- that was a beautiful rendition of the tune.
Jazzwee- This is a really great thread. Thanks for putting it together.

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#1290086 - 10/19/09 07:33 PM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: knightplayer]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7060
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knightplayer, there's time to get your Zoom H2/H3. We'll be here. I figure we soon have to shift the thread to Holiday tunes/Christmas Carols. smile
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#1290354 - 10/20/09 06:52 AM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: jazzwee]
elendil Offline
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Registered: 05/27/09
Posts: 70
Loc: Denmark
Together with all the other stuff I'm practising (and all of the RL obligations), I don't have time to participate, but I'm following the thread for the theory behind it all.

It's great stuff.

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#1290361 - 10/20/09 07:03 AM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: elendil]
simon288 Offline
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Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 99
Loc: london
Knightplayer, Thank you for your kind comments! And Jazzwee
Christmas carols have to be done as it's not long now! And again fantastic explanations here, thank you so much for taking the time smile
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#1291042 - 10/21/09 05:25 AM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: simon288]
angelas Offline
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Registered: 08/01/09
Posts: 114
Loc: New Zealand (South Pacific, Do...
Well, I tinkered around the other night and did this really cool 'dark' Mary had a little lamb'. Alas, I cannot record and share it, so here is a little ditty:

Mary had a little lamb, it ran into a pylon. Ten thousand volts went up it's arse and turned it's wool to nylon!

I've got more of those too...


Edited by angelas (10/21/09 05:26 AM)
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#1291756 - 10/22/09 10:32 AM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: angelas]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7060
Loc: So. California
angelas, if you can't record, at least tell us what chords you used. That would be interesting to show.

Simon, start working on those Christmas carols smile We'll see what ideas everyone comes up with.
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#1293266 - 10/25/09 07:02 AM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: jazzwee]
angelas Offline
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Registered: 08/01/09
Posts: 114
Loc: New Zealand (South Pacific, Do...
Holy cow...that's a good idea. I'll have a little tinker around and post what I came up with. Probably nothing really amazing...but sounded OK to me. I like the jazzed-up versions that have been recorded. What about someone recording a version of 'Jack and Jill'????
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#1293578 - 10/25/09 06:23 PM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: angelas]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7060
Loc: So. California
Angelas, one thing that we haven't tried is trying to make the tune darker. I think we got it darker with all the jazz versions in minor. But I think it can get darker. It'll be interesting to see what you did.

I think to make it darker means really rethinking all the usual chords and leave the circle of fifths (I'm guessing using more obscure chords like minor/major and diminished). I have some ideas but I'm never actually tried it out. I guess it would also require playing in a lower register. It would be a challenge to figure out. Might be suitable for Halloween smile

Any takers?
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#1293587 - 10/25/09 06:34 PM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: jazzwee]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Make the tune minor? Makes a big difference because it all centres around the 3rd.
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#1293596 - 10/25/09 06:54 PM Re: Nursery Rhymes Revisited: Reharmonization Fun [Re: ten left thumbs]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7060
Loc: So. California
Actually, in my version I already made it minor but it's not scary dark because I could only do it in passing (the last chord). Also it requires some thinking because the third (major third) is part of the melody if in C. So it means that the chord used cannot have that "E" as the third. The minor 3rd will have to be some other note and the "E" will be some other part of the chord. You see why it's a challenge? In the other words, it cannot be a C scale.

The simpler the tune, the harder it is actually because you are limited by the melody.
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