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#1880694 - 04/16/12 05:23 PM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: daviel]
Gary D. Offline
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: daviel
Tension in chords - chord substitutions - resolution - voice leading w/ chords.

I "lost the thread" yesterday, not here but in life - family, all that.

I have mostly steered clear of this forum because of the name: "non classical". But that may have been a mistake.

First of all, the word "classical" has never meant sense to me. What is it? smile

I really enjoyed this discussion. One of the things that has been going through my mind is how important the fully diminished chord is. There are only three of them (not counting enharmonic spellings), and just adjusting one or two notes in the diminshed chords slides to all sorts of interesting places. I see this as sort of the "grease" in modulation, and to me it is so powerful that it playes a central role in everything.

I thought about talking about that a bit here, because I think the "non-classica" group has a much more adnvanced understanding of chord movement and all sorts of cool scales than the so-called "classical" group. smile
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#1880708 - 04/16/12 05:37 PM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Gary D.]
Exalted Wombat Offline
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Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1207
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
I thought about talking about that a bit here, because I think the "non-classica" group has a much more adnvanced understanding of chord movement and all sorts of cool scales than the so-called "classical" group. smile


Oh, the "non-classical" bunch can get stuck on a rather mindless "chord=scale" system, and sometimes want to call every change of chord a "modulation". Plenty to be shared by both camps!

The point of the diminished seventh chord is that it contains tritones. Several of them. It can act as a dominant minor 9th (root omitted) chord in 4 keys.

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#1880752 - 04/16/12 06:38 PM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Tango]
zrtf90 Offline
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Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2458
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
I'd just like to express gratitude and appreciation to all the participants in this thread. I've recently crossed 'worlds' with some of you before quite recently and here's another instance.

Regardless of Tango's presence or absence I've both enjoyed the discussion and profited from the results as a passive bystander.
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#1880767 - 04/16/12 07:24 PM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Exalted Wombat]
Gary D. Offline
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Registered: 08/30/08
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Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
I thought about talking about that a bit here, because I think the "non-classica" group has a much more adnvanced understanding of chord movement and all sorts of cool scales than the so-called "classical" group. smile


Oh, the "non-classical" bunch can get stuck on a rather mindless "chord=scale" system, and sometimes want to call every change of chord a "modulation". Plenty to be shared by both camps!

The point of the diminished seventh chord is that it contains tritones. Several of them. It can act as a dominant minor 9th (root omitted) chord in 4 keys.


This was exactly what I was getting at! I teach something I call "slithering", and it means that any chord can go to any other chord, but if you can make a way to happen all with 1/2 steps and whole steps, either making some notes (voices) go up and other down, it always sounds great. Or combine that with the idea of keeping some notes as "common tones" while others move up and down.

That's why, for instance, something like Db7-5 going to C works so well (or the same idea in any key). Db slips down to C, F moves down to E, G doesn't move, and B moves up to C. That's a great sound in jazz, especially when the idea is dressed up with color tones, but it goes right back to Bach, Mozart, etc.

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I did not fully understand such simple movements until I was forced to gig, which at first I hated. It was just for money. But I was surrounded by friends, all chiefly jazz players, and it took awhile before I:

1) Realized how much I did NOT know.
2) Started to fully realize the richness of what could be done, starting with "stock" chords but listening to what really fine arrangers did with them.

(This happened about four decades ago. It changed my view of "clasical" music forever.)


Edited by Gary D. (04/16/12 07:25 PM)
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#1880774 - 04/16/12 07:40 PM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Gary D.]
Exalted Wombat Offline
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Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
That's why, for instance, something like Db7-5 going to C works so well (or the same idea in any key). Db slips down to C, F moves down to E, G doesn't move, and B moves up to C. That's a great sound in jazz, especially when the idea is dressed up with color tones, but it goes right back to Bach, Mozart, etc.


What gives Db7b5 its dominant function in relation to C is mainly the F - Cb tritone which (read enharmonically as F - B) are tne tension notes in a G7 chord. The "slither" from Db to C is an added bonus, but nowhere near as harmonically important.

Now, Ab9 > G9 *is* more of a "slither". There's no rising leading note or descending 4th. Just a pure slither, with all the notes moving in the same direction. Analuse it as some sort of b5 substitution for the dominant of G if you wish. I'll settle for "slither" :-)

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#1880883 - 04/17/12 12:36 AM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Tango]
daviel Offline
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Registered: 11/14/07
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Loc: Waxahachie, Texas
I like "slide". The beauty of those kind of changes is they almost play themselves the way one can "slither into the resolution.
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#1880913 - 04/17/12 02:56 AM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: daviel]
Gary D. Offline
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: daviel
I like "slide". The beauty of those kind of changes is they almost play themselves the way one can "slither into the resolution.

To me any kind of chromaticism is not only what attracts me the most but is what initially pulled me into music.

The first music I aim for is not the typical Baroque and Classical teaching pieces that are in method books and many collections supposedly "graded" for beginning and intermediate students. I start of with things like Alloutte and other simple tunes that stick mostly to limited positions and are based on I, IV and V chords. I don't think complete beginners can handle things that are more challenging. I know I could not, when I first started.

But I jump really fast, and I do it early. I like to go over a rather famous C minor Prelude by Bach, one of the "little preludes", because it is full of (among other things) diminished chords that come down chromatically for almost a page. I jump right into minor key signatures by introducing things with all accidentals to show what the key is doing (in C minor showing all Bbs, Ebs and Abs), then following with a second version with the key signature, with clues written outside the staves, then a third version without the clues.

Chopin's E minor prelude is like a study in chromatic movement. The first half of the piece keeps playing a droning melody - C B----C B---- CB----CB, which finally changes to to A---BA---BA---BA. By itself it sounds like something written by an idiot. There is nothing there. But the LH chords keep moving just ONE note at a time, always 1/2 step, which is about as "slithery" as anything can get.

Jumping probably a century and a half, there is a super collection of Guaraldi tunes arranged by Lee Evans:

http://www.amazon.com/Charlie-Browns-Greatest-Hits-Evans/dp/tags-on-product/0793508207

It looks like something for tiny tots, but there are two ballades, Air Music and Love Will Come that are so elegantly arranged that they can be played note for note and sound great. Air Music uses: G--- BA------B------BA--------B------BAG, then uses an EGE fragment and repeats that. Like the Chopin, the melody, by itself, sounds idiotic, but all the movement is in the LH. The first half uses rootless chords, lots of 7ths and such on the bottom of chords in the middle of the piano, then it repeats with roots and everything fleshed out.

I doubt too many people would link Chopin, Bach and Guaraldi, but they are all doing much the same thing. That's what I think is so cool about music. I describe what is going on in all of them with letter chords. We go over the music exactly as it is notated, then explore ways to expand or alter things.

Have any of you heard a version of Heart and Soul that keeps the simple melody and puts it with a chromatically descending bass?
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#1881045 - 04/17/12 10:08 AM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Tango]
jjo Offline
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Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 653
Loc: Chicago
At least in jazz circles, we call using a Db7 to move to C a tritone substitution. Db7 is the tritone substitution for the normal V chord, G7. As exalted wombat points out, G7 and Db7 share the same tritone.

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#1881048 - 04/17/12 10:09 AM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Tango]
Jazz+ Offline
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Registered: 08/07/04
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I still say Cb9 is misleading (nonsense).
The composer of "Girl From Ipanema", Tom Jobim's, own publishing company shows shows B7(9). No confusion there.
The Hall Leonard Real Book I, Sixth Edition, simply uses B7. (All jazz pianists know that when we see a B7 we can add the 9th.)
Larry Dunlap should not have used Cb9 in Chuck Sher's lead sheet for "Girl From Ipanema". It's confusing. I doubt there are more examples of Cb9 beyond something from editor Larry Dunlap. He at least could have included some parenthesis like Cb(9)

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#1881107 - 04/17/12 11:17 AM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: jjo]
Exalted Wombat Offline
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Registered: 02/28/09
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Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: jjo
At least in jazz circles, we call using a Db7 to move to C a tritone substitution. Db7 is the tritone substitution for the normal V chord, G7. As exalted wombat points out, G7 and Db7 share the same tritone.


Yeah. Whether there's much point in thinking of tritones and substitutions when the Db9 merely slides down to C9 in parallal motion is another matter. No tension notes are being resolved. It's just a "slither" (I'm warming to that description!)

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#1881110 - 04/17/12 11:19 AM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Jazz+]
Exalted Wombat Offline
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Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1207
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: Jazz+
I still say Cb9 is misleading (nonsense).


You're dumbing down too far here. For instance, Ab minor tonality happens. Among all those Ab, Db and Gb chords and notes a B is just misleading.

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#1881119 - 04/17/12 11:26 AM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Tango]
daviel Offline
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Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 933
Loc: Waxahachie, Texas
Use of Cb - sounds like a horn player. grin


Edited by daviel (04/17/12 11:26 AM)
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#1881208 - 04/17/12 01:45 PM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Tango]
keystring Offline
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Yesterday I ran into a chord that had a Cb in it and I was tempted to call it a B. But that Cb gave a clue about where the chord was going and what role it played. I still understand that it's context in the music and context in what kind of music it is. I can't see someone playing by ear having an image of a Cb in his head. Or maybe he does(?) Like if I'm playing an ordinary C7 chord going to F, will I imagine the 7 to be an A#? Do I imagine it as anything or do I just play the darn thing?

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#1881235 - 04/17/12 02:27 PM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Jazz+]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Jazz+
I still say Cb9 is misleading (nonsense).
The composer of "Girl From Ipanema", Tom Jobim's, own publishing company shows shows B7(9). No confusion there.

There is sort of a fork in the road here. The bigger picture is that by the time you get to the key of Gb/F# you are stuck with 6bs or 6#s. F# has a C# V chord, ugly, but a B IV chord.

Gb has a Db V chord, much nicer, but a Cb IV chord. Obviously how you stack additional notes onto these chords is going to have a huge impact on simplicity.

I think the main point is that sooner or later we have to deal with major to minor moves, quick ones, and we run into Db major/C# minor, Ab major/G#m. The point is not about whether something is jazz or classical but rather the complexity of the changes. Ipanema is somewhere in the middle. It's not all I IV V, but it does not have totally wild changes either.

I'm all for the practical, so I would tend to think F# to B because F#m is immediately coming up, moving to D. (I'm not bothering with 7 or 9, because that part is obvious.) So I would write it the way you suggest, but the other way would not bother me. An Fb9 would.

I'm just not so quick to use the word "nonsense" for something that I don't agree with - well, actually, not in PUBLIC! wink
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#1881239 - 04/17/12 02:33 PM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: keystring]
Gary D. Offline
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: keystring
Yesterday I ran into a chord that had a Cb in it and I was tempted to call it a B. But that Cb gave a clue about where the chord was going and what role it played. I still understand that it's context in the music and context in what kind of music it is. I can't see someone playing by ear having an image of a Cb in his head. Or maybe he does(?) Like if I'm playing an ordinary C7 chord going to F, will I imagine the 7 to be an A#? Do I imagine it as anything or do I just play the darn thing?

Just play the darn thing, name it later. smile

Something like an Fb7 or Fb7-5 going to Ab is very common in Romantic music. But for me this is all about notation, a combination of what is easier to write AND convenetions. In my mind, if I think of chord names at all, I'm certainly not thinking "French 6th". I'm just thinking of a V7 in another key slipping to a key down a half step. Fb7-5= E7-5, dominant of A, and the idea is to slip to or slip BACK to Ab. I teach augmented 6th chords (the classical name) as simply being the dominant of a key 1/2 step above the key we are moving to. The spelling problems I reserve for advanced students who need to know about notational conventions. I don't want them writing the "wrong" thing, wrong meaning unconventional, without knowing WHY they are breaking rules. Once they know the rules, I don't care if they break them.

I do. smile
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#1881245 - 04/17/12 02:45 PM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Tango]
Jazz+ Offline
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Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Guys, we know the theory... the fact remains that B7 is more practical because it's easier on the eyes when sight reading a chart than the very esoteric symbol Cb9 that only Larry Dunlap used. That's Larry Dunlap, if you know the guy... Antonio Carlos Jobim, the actual composer, was more practical and published it with a B7 chord symbol and rightly so for the above reason.

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#1881247 - 04/17/12 02:48 PM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Jazz+]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Jazz+
Guys, we know all the theory... the fact remains that B7 is easier on the eyes when sight reading a chart than the very esoteric symbol Cb9

Well, pardon the **** out of me. I was explaining this for people who DON'T know all the theory. If I take your stance, I simply will not talk to anyone who I don't judge to be up to "my level" and therefore will stay away from anyone who does not "know all the theory". laugh


Edited by Gary D. (04/17/12 02:49 PM)
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#1881248 - 04/17/12 02:51 PM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Tango]
Jazz+ Offline
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Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Sorry, I didn't mean to offended you, Gary. I wasn't directing "Guys we all know the theory" to you in particular, there are 8 pages of theoretical explanations in this thread now. I suspect it has maybe become overcomplicated.

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#1881252 - 04/17/12 02:56 PM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Jazz+]
Gary D. Offline
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Jazz+
Sorry, I didn't mean to offended you, Gary. I wrongly assumed musicians new music theory.

LOL!!!

OK. In my world running into people who know the kinds of things we are talking about is a very rare thing. I caught your point immediately.

The problem is that different keys have different problems, and what is effortless to notate in one key, any system including chords names, can become a problem in another. I spend about half my life trying to explain why something that "looks weird" is actually logical OR why something that looks weird actually COULD be written in a much more practical way. smile

If I'm talking to you, you'd just say "No reason for Gb to Cb here, F# to B is clearer", and I'm going to agree with you in a heartbeat.

It might not be so easy for students to understand this. smile
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#1881412 - 04/17/12 08:16 PM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Jazz+]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1207
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: Jazz+
Guys, we know the theory... the fact remains that B7 is more practical because it's easier on the eyes when sight reading a chart than the very esoteric symbol Cb9 that only Larry Dunlap used. That's Larry Dunlap, if you know the guy... Antonio Carlos Jobim, the actual composer, was more practical and published it with a B7 chord symbol and rightly so for the above reason.


Very esoteric? You really shold get out more! What IS hard on the eyes (and the brain, should you use it while playing) is a B chord with Abm, Db etc. on either side of it!

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#1881431 - 04/17/12 09:02 PM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Tango]
Jazz+ Offline
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Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Whatever... I will say it a final time, Jobim wrote B7, Hal Leonard writes B7 ...

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#1881519 - 04/18/12 12:46 AM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Jazz+]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Jazz+
I still say Cb9 is misleading (nonsense).
. . . . . Larry Dunlap should not have used Cb9 in Chuck Sher's lead sheet for "Girl From Ipanema". It's confusing. I doubt there are more examples of Cb9 beyond something from editor Larry Dunlap . . . . .

Maybe some of you folks have heard of Thelonious - umm - can't remember his last name. Of course, I don't believe he was very strong on theory and such. He wasn't a horn player, though, as I recall - maybe one of those rhythm instruments. This guy is reported to have written a couple of jazz tunes in his time, maybe even in Eb minor. But, I'm probably wrong - my writing is misleading AND nonsense.
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#1881524 - 04/18/12 01:04 AM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Tango]
daviel Offline
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Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 933
Loc: Waxahachie, Texas
Where else are we going to get a discussion like this? Many of us have a pix of the chart Jobim wrote out on a napkin in the restaurant. I like taking all this stuff apart and putting it back together. I'd much rather bat this around than discuss it with civilians. grin
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#1881561 - 04/18/12 03:27 AM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: daviel]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: daviel
Where else are we going to get a discussion like this? Many of us have a pix of the chart Jobim wrote out on a napkin in the restaurant. I like taking all this stuff apart and putting it back together. I'd much rather bat this around than discuss it with civilians. grin

I could not agree more. For me it's not about a right answer but about considering something that, on the surface, may seem cut and dried, obvious, but may not be. I had to really think this through, because I have never really worried about playing Ipanema in any key but the standard one.

The elephant in the room is getting to keys like Ab and Db, where a switch to minor means switching to sharps. Ab to G#m, Db to C#m. But the key of Gb is a special case. Both Gb and F# average out to equally messy, depending on whether modulations or movements push to the sharp or flat side. In the case of Girl from Ipanema, I would choose F#maj7 to B7, because Gbmaj7 is fine, but Cb7 uses a Bbb. I avoid chords with double flats or double sharps IF POSSIBLE, and in Ipanmena putting the bridge in sharps at the beginning seems like a more elegant solution, notationally.

In the key of G, for the bridge, I would use: Abmaj7 to Db7, G#m7 to E7 (and so on). I would avoid using G#maj7 to C#7, though it would not bother me. My logic would be the same. I don't like using G# B# D# Fx IF I can avoid it.

But this is ONLY for Girl from Ipanema, and it is a personal choice.

I would not argue with anyone who chose different solutions. wink
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#1881562 - 04/18/12 03:40 AM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Jazz+]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Jazz+
Whatever... I will say it a final time, Jobim wrote B7, Hal Leonard writes B7 ...

Let me see if I understand you:

You are arguing for B7, not Cb7, in Ipanema. (I would too.)

But aren't you also concentrating on lead sheets, specifically?

I would only say this: Cb7, both tradionally, but also in tonal, popular music (jazz, etc.) is going to be the V7 of Fb.

I'd avoid going there IF POSSIBLE, and usually it can be avoided.

If it is used as a IV7, just for an example, if you are in something that is set in a key, you are going to end up with Gb7, Cb7 and Db7. I can't think why a simple blues tune would end up in that key, but if it did, I would pick F#7, B7 and C#7. As a brass player I would not want to be in such a key in the first place, and with so many instruments like sax, trumpet, and so on, there may be a very good reason why keys that are a pain to write in also do not appear much in arrangements.

For solo piano it would be a different matter.

I think we have to make sure we are not mixed up about whether we are limited to the chord symbol itself or the chord as notated in music that doesn't settle easily into any key. I'm used to dealing with things like A#7, not as symbols, but as a chord that suddenly pops up in a quick modulation right in the middle of something in sharps. Some composers do not like flipping from sharps to flats when there is a lot of chromatic stuff going on.

There can be quite a clash between chord charts and written out arrangements, for instance.


Edited by Gary D. (04/18/12 03:47 AM)
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#1881583 - 04/18/12 05:53 AM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Gary D.]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1207
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: Gary D.

Just play the darn thing, name it later. smile


Which opens another interesting point. In commercial/jazz playing we rarely play the notation literally, we use it as a road-map that shows where the music is going, then play the music. Correct spelling (rather than what may be superficially "easier" spelling) makes life much easier. If music has strayed into a lot of flats, the odd Fb chord is easier to take in than an E. Of course, if the music stays in that area for too long, a complete enharmonic shift into sharps may be indicated!

But be careful! Most music is on computer, in Sibelius or Finale, these days. Running off a transposed copy to suit a particular singer is common. Say we're going from E to Eb. No problem choosing the transposition of an augmented unison rather than a minor second - no-one wants to read D# major! (Actually, the software lets you choose a key rather than messing with augmented unisions, but it's good to understand the mechanism.) But if the logic of the music has been broken by the odd "easier" enharmonic, chaos can ensue!

(And then - I'm picturing that woman in "The Simpsons" who runs around wailing "Think of the children!" Think of the Eb sax players! Each age of music has its own practicalities, problems and solutions :-)

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#1881764 - 04/18/12 01:34 PM Fb9 chord [Re: Exalted Wombat]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Just play the darn thing, name it later. smile


Which opens another interesting point. In commercial/jazz playing we rarely play the notation literally, we use it as a road-map that shows where the music is going, then play the music. Correct spelling (rather than what may be superficially "easier" spelling) makes life much easier. If music has strayed into a lot of flats, the odd Fb chord is easier to take in than an E.

I think Miles said it originally (not using “darn”), and Gary was quoting him. Or, maybe Gary was quoting someone else who was quoting Miles. Or . . .

Explorers and Sea Captains have realized for ages that “the map [chart] is not the territory”. So if we are setting out to do something inventive, like improvise, or write an arrangement, we are going to use the harmonic structure “as a guide”, just as Mr. Wombat writes. But even here, we have two drastically different cases:

If I am improvising, and I hear in my “mind’s ear” a certain pitch, I am going to simply play that pitch (hopefully accurately!). It might be an Eb, it might be a D#, it could well be Fbb, it might serve as the flatted 5th on A, or the augmented 5th on G. There is a good chance that it is the suspended 4th above Bb, and it could even be the flatted 9th of a D7. I really do not care! Nor do I want to know! I hear, and I play it - end of story. But that is playing -- the territory. Now, let us turn to the map . . .

Once we analyze the playing, to preserve the sound, or to be able to reproduce it; once we systematize what a player did, in order to teach it; once we set out to create an arrangement for others to play; we have a new situation. Suddenly we are forced to treat each sound “in context”. I stated very early in this thread that once we write it down (create the map), a whole new set of rules apply. The sound no longer simply exists “in air”. We now must name it as D#, for instance, because of the key in which the piece “is written”, because of the underlying harmony, or because of the notes preceding or following. Equally with chords -- once we take that cluster of pitches out of the aural realm, and place them on the map, we are obliged to make them fit within the context of the surrounding elements on a theoretical level. To help with this, we often refer back to the sounds themselves. Is the sound in question "acting" as the augmented fifth, or as the flatted sixth?

Just as Mr.Wombat states, if we are deep into the “flat keys”, anywhere near Gary’s “point of equalization” with Gb or F# majors, but on the flat side of the dividing line (Ab, Db, Gb, Bb minor, Eb minor), an X-flat chord is going to “fit in” much better than an X-sharp chord, UNLESS the chord in question is intended as a “shocker” to the harmonic flow. Then, maybe!

Ed
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#1881801 - 04/18/12 03:01 PM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: LoPresti]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
I think Miles said it originally (not using “darn”), and Gary was quoting him. Or, maybe Gary was quoting someone else who was quoting Miles. Or . . .

I was just thinking of how I approach things, but now that you mention it someone here has used that quote, maybe in a sig. smile But what I said has to do with what I teach. Get the sound first, worry about names later. I have some kids who get the names for basic note values screwed up because I do not teach using fractions. They may say a "white circle that usually lasts for the whole measure" but forget the name "whole". If I have someone who plays the music well, it is easy to add names. If I have a student who is a young "Mr. Peabody", who knows the names of everything but who can't (yet?) make music, I don't think anything important has happened yet.

What happens when we play is different for each player. It is easy to overlook the importance of this. Even when I am reading music, the music goes from the page to my fingers. I hear what is on the page, and that translates to a mental picture of my fingers pressing the keys. The mental process of pushing the keys produces the sound. I exist totally in a world of black and white patterns, the keys and fingers in my mind. There are no names. Because of this, when I read about Cb9 vs B9, I simply saw the chord. I had to take a few mintues last night to write out the bridge of Ipanema before I had an opinion. When the bridge starts in F# major, the melody spins out in a very readable and logical way, and the chords look clean to me. In Gb major, switching to F# minor, the lead line looks clean until the "mode" changes (major to minor), but the way the melody then jolts up a 4th (from D# to G#) becomes Eb to G#, and I did not like the look of that. Then, with Cb Eb Gb Bbb in the Cb7 chord, it got ugly. Not a total no-go, but it just looked so much better to me starting in F#. But in the key of G, simply transposing everything in the bridge up a major 2nd, the resulting G#maj7 to C#7 to G#m7 to E7 looked horrendous.

My number one musical interest is arranging, so when I am writing music, my black-and-white keys emphasis has to switch, since now it has to look right. I've run into countless thousand snafus over a few decades, and sometimes no matter how you write something, there are simply pros and cons. One measure looks better, the next looks worse.
Quote:

Once we analyze the playing, to preserve the sound, or to be able to reproduce it; once we systematize what a player did, in order to teach it; once we set out to create an arrangement for others to play; we have a new situation. Suddenly we are forced to treat each sound “in context”.

I agree. I am interested in the practical side of it, but notation is full of choices. Notation is one person's attempt to communicate to another what to play, and how to play it, and to me it is a lot like writing a play. One person, for instance, may attempt to describe in great detail what each "player" should be doing, tone of voice, mood, body language. There may be a lot of micro-managing in the text. Does it work? I tend to think not.

Another playwright may write little more than the words to the play itself, leaving it up to a director and talented players to get the rest. I often think we have come full circle, because when we go back to Bach, for the most part there is just the music. He makes decisions about notation concerning stems up and down, ties, shows lines in contrapuntal music, but there is next to no phrasing, no fingering, very few dynamics, and so on. It is as if he is saying: "Play my music well. If you know your craft, you will do it justice. If you do not, nothing I add is going to help."

In the 19th century that changed. By the time you get to Chopin, or Debussy, there are so many markings that I feel they drive me AWAY from the music. In fact, you will hear great player after great player obviously NOT following some of the indications, because they don't work. This to me is micro-managing.

In the 20th century, and moving into the 21st, it seems to me that simplicity has returned, especially in jazz. The idea, again, is to get the ideas down, somehow, then trust that people who know their "stuff" will get it right. To me jazz and "pop" is/are incredibly practical. If someone writes a great tune, it's going to be used, but very seldom exactly as it was written, and since the emphasis is on turning something on paper (if it even GETS there) into something living, no one cares too much about now it is notated so long as nothing really confusing is going on.
Quote:

Just as Mr.Wombat states, if we are deep into the “flat keys”, anywhere near Gary’s “point of equalization” with Gb or F# majors, but on the flat side of the dividing line (Ab, Db, Gb, Bb minor, Eb minor), an X-flat chord is going to “fit in” much better than an X-sharp chord, UNLESS the chord in question is intended as a “shocker” to the harmonic flow. Then, maybe!

This is what I tell my students: "When you see something that looks needlessly complicated written by a fine composer or arranger, if you think it is just silly, you probably have not played/written enough music yet, because sooner or later that 'weird' solution is going to end up to be the only one that works. And that is a matter of experience." smile
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#1881923 - 04/18/12 07:22 PM Re: Fb9 chord [Re: Tango]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1207
Loc: London UK
I accompanied some old Music Hall songs this evening. There was a Cb chord in the printed copy of some song about a "German Band". It wasn't being a German 6th though.

Just thought I'd mention it :-)

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#1881958 - 04/18/12 08:17 PM Fb9 chord [Re: Gary D.]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
I was just thinking of how I approach things, but now that you mention it someone here has used that quote, maybe in a sig. smile But what I said has to do with what I teach. Get the sound first, worry about names later.

Yes.

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Even when I am reading music, the music goes from the page to my fingers. I hear what is on the page, and that translates to a mental picture of my fingers pressing the keys. The mental process of pushing the keys produces the sound. I exist totally in a world of black and white patterns, the keys and fingers in my mind. There are no names.

This is a superb description! Because I am not a pianist, and because I play primarily from lead sheets, each of my hands “acts” differently. My RH behaves as you say, as long as there is a single melody line: See the notes and rhythm >> hear the notes and rhythm in my head >> my fingers press MOSTLY the correct keys. On the other “hand” (yes! I know . . .), my LH “thinks” in blocks of notes, even if I am rolling or arpeggiating the chords: See the chord symbol >> hear the “color” of the chord in my head >> HAND makes fingers press all notes, usually correct.

So here is an interesting nuance -
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
There are no names. Because of this, when I read about Cb9 vs B9, I simply saw the chord.

Being a real pianist, you see the composite notes of the chord notated on the staff, and translate that directly to fingers on piano keys. When you say you “simply saw the chord”, I am certain you mean notes of the chord ON THE PIANO KEYS. I, however, have a couple of inversions of B9 set in my HAND - my eye sees the chord symbol, and my HAND forms one of the inversions. Because the Cb(9) is not used enough to be “set” in my LH, I have to either quickly “transpose” Cb(9) = B9, or quickly spell the chord, and intentionally get my fingers over the correct notes. It is simply not as automatic for me.

And, to the point make repeatedly on this thread, once I had figured out that enharmonic relationship, I would thereafter “think of the Cb(9)” as my B9 that is already “in my LH” - but for PLAYING PURPOSES ONLY. Just because I am going to be expeditious or lazy in playing does not excuse me from knowing the proper name that should appear “on the MAP”.

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
. . . when I am writing music, my black-and-white keys emphasis has to switch, since now it has to look right.

Exactly. We can no longer be in our own little worlds of sound, but now must make it so others can duplicate that world.

As you can tell, I am starting to enjoy this topic, too.
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