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#2056828 - 03/30/13 11:59 AM Minor/Major Chord Turnaround
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Some time ago I wrote a piano arrangement of the French Musette-style accordion tune Brise Napolitaine. I've just revisited my arrangement and realized I hadn't notated the chords for a turnaround from a minor to its relative major.

The tune is in A major. Its B section ends with an A minor modulating to F via a C7. Have I named the chords for the turnaround right in the bar before the double bar line? Whether I have or not, I'd appreciate anyone's explanation of how this simple turnaround works harmonically. Theory was never my strong suit!


Almost the same sequence occurs a couple of times within the C section to move from F to C7. I've notated that variation as F Am6 B6 C7.

Many thanks,

-Andy


Edited by AndyJ (03/30/13 02:01 PM)

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#2056878 - 03/30/13 01:52 PM Re: Minor/Major Chord Turnaround [Re: AndyJ]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
I see I made a blunder up there ... not sure what I was thinking, but the second chord can't be an Am6. How about Am add11, like this:


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#2057630 - 04/01/13 02:32 AM Minor/Major Chord Turnaround [Re: AndyJ]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Hi Andy,

I think the second chord in the measure before the double bar is more of a Dm7, and the A in the bass puts it in second inversion. Even theoretically, the Dm7 is a very nice bridge between the A minor tone center, and the key of F major. Then the B6 is simply a chromatic "slide" (in contrary motion) up to C7.

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2057647 - 04/01/13 04:17 AM Re: Minor/Major Chord Turnaround [Re: AndyJ]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I don't see how that second chord before the double bar would be Dm7 just because there is a D on the RH. There is no third(F) of Dmin7 anywhere. Also, On inversions, you usually have to double to root note to emphasize that the bottom note is not the root note, but the chord in question has 3 A's. Amin11 is much obvious/logical choice here.


Edited by etcetra (04/01/13 04:19 AM)

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#2057711 - 04/01/13 10:00 AM Minor/Major Chord Turnaround [Re: etcetra]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
When I looked at this in the wee hours of the morning (here), my mind's ear heard a distinct SHIFT in base tonality from strictly A minor notes for a measure and one half, to something with a different tonality (Barbershop Quartet style) on that second beat of the measure. IF one is forced to analyze every beat as SOME chord, I did not hear it as a continuation of the A minor tonality. (I still do not.) The phrasing at that point also supports this idea of a tonality shift.

After checking it on the piano this morning, those two beats before the double-bar would not be analyzed as chords at all, but as easy chromatic slides (or passing tones), in contrary motion (in the RH) to the new C7. The LH, because of its reinforcement of the open octaves, is simply a scale walk up from Am to C7 - not complicated.

My actual ear does agree with my 3 AM mind's ear that, because of its chromatic movement, the modulation is very "Barbershop" in sound.
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2057718 - 04/01/13 10:19 AM Re: Minor/Major Chord Turnaround [Re: LoPresti]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Hi Andy,

I think the second chord in the measure before the double bar is more of a Dm7, and the A in the bass puts it in second inversion. Even theoretically, the Dm7 is a very nice bridge between the A minor tone center, and the key of F major. Then the B6 is simply a chromatic "slide" (in contrary motion) up to C7.

Ed

Hi Ed,

Many thanks. Once I see them explained, changes usually make perfect sense to me. I just have way too much trouble perceiving them for myself, especially in minor chords. Dm7/A works perfectly there and it explains the harmony.

Thanks again,

-Andy

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#2057722 - 04/01/13 10:29 AM Re: Minor/Major Chord Turnaround [Re: LoPresti]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
After checking it on the piano this morning, those two beats before the double-bar would not be analyzed as chords at all, but as easy chromatic slides (or passing tones), in contrary motion (in the RH) to the new C7. The LH, because of its reinforcement of the open octaves, is simply a scale walk up from Am to C7 - not complicated.

I do agree with my 3 AM mind's ear that, because of its chromatic movement, the modulation is very "Barbershop" in sound.

You're very welcome for waking your inner Barbershop. :-)

Your remark prompts another question. Although I'd like to understand the harmonic forces at work, my main interest here was to correct the guitar chords I had before the double bar, originally just Am on all three beats. That's how the lead sheet I started with expressed it. I'm not a guitarist; maybe they'd find Am(11) easier to read. But now that I understand the harmony I think I'll leave Dm7/A in the chord staff and let any guitarists who stumble over this figure it out for themselves.

So the question is: is it better to spell the chord so it's harmonically correct, or in a way that a guitarist will find easier to read? Which leads to another question: how does a non-guitarist know which chords are easier to read?

-Andy

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#2057727 - 04/01/13 10:45 AM Re: Minor/Major Chord Turnaround [Re: etcetra]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Originally Posted By: etcetra
I don't see how that second chord before the double bar would be Dm7 just because there is a D on the RH. There is no third(F) of Dmin7 anywhere. Also, On inversions, you usually have to double to root note to emphasize that the bottom note is not the root note, but the chord in question has 3 A's. Amin11 is much obvious/logical choice here.

Hi Etc.,

I was looking for an explanation of the harmony, which I think LoPresti explained nicely. But I'm also interested in readability. Are you a guitarist? If so, would you find Dm7/A harder to read than Am7(11)?

Thanks,

-Andy

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#2057739 - 04/01/13 11:19 AM Re: Minor/Major Chord Turnaround [Re: AndyJ]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Originally Posted By: AndyJ
Originally Posted By: etcetra
I don't see how that second chord before the double bar would be Dm7 just because there is a D on the RH. There is no third(F) of Dmin7 anywhere. Also, On inversions, you usually have to double to root note to emphasize that the bottom note is not the root note, but the chord in question has 3 A's. Amin11 is much obvious/logical choice here.

Hi Etc.,

I was looking for an explanation of the harmony, which I think LoPresti explained nicely. But I'm also interested in readability. Are you a guitarist? If so, would you find Dm7/A harder to read than Am7(11)?

Thanks,

-Andy


Well, if you want to notate the harmony that is actually being played, Am11 would probably work better. Again, if you put Dmin7/A, whoever is reading it as lead sheet will play the note F, which is not in the written chord. The most important notes of a chord is it's 3rd and 7th, how can you call it a major or minor chord without the 3rd there?

IMO The harmony is Amin to B to C7, that D on 2nd beat is a passing not that is there for better voice leading to the D#(note that bass is playing middle C right before that). Note that it's happening on the weaker beat(beat 2) too. Passing notes don't neccesarily define a new harmony.

Personally I would not label the 2nd beat for that reason. It's the same reason I won't put E/Bb on 3rd beat of 2nd measure.

I guess for my info check out this article on nonchord tone

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonchord_tone#Appoggiatura


Edited by etcetra (04/01/13 11:53 AM)

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#2057759 - 04/01/13 12:06 PM Re: Minor/Major Chord Turnaround [Re: etcetra]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Thanks, I really appreciate all the commentary.

There's another purpose to my question though. I was wondering how I'd indicate chords on a lead sheet that only had the melody and the chords, leaving out all the complicated piano stuff. In that case it'd be nice to suggest that the guitarist play the D that leads to the D# in the next beat. I suppose Am(11) would be the clearest way, would you agree?

Putting this tune in context might help, too. It's a French musette-style accordion tune. This is the tradition that Django Reinhardt played in when he needed to earn a living, before he became a headliner playing Manouche jazz. In fact, he is said to be the guitarist (or possibly only the rhythm guitarist) accompanying the composer in this recording:



The bit I'm asking about happens at 1:05 in the video.

Passing chords like I'm trying to notate here are a hallmark of Django's style, so I guess that's what got me started thinking about them here.

Thanks again,

-Andy

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#2057763 - 04/01/13 12:13 PM Re: Minor/Major Chord Turnaround [Re: etcetra]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: etcetra
The most important notes of a chord is {sic} it's 3rd and 7th, how can you call it a major or minor chord without the 3rd there?

Soooo . . . . . just where is that all-important seventh (or ninth) in your Am11 then? That is precisely why I wanted to test those sounds at the piano - not the theory, but the SOUNDS themselves. The tonality makes a definite shift from the first to that second beat - much more-so than simply adding an extension to the Am.

Originally Posted By: etcetra
Personally I would not label the 2nd beat for that reason.

With this, I agree. Chromatic movements of this type are seldom easy to analyze using the "stacked chords" system.


Andy, if I felt it was important to notate a chord for the comping guitar on that second beat, I would play through etcetra's suggestion of Am > Am11 > B6 > C7 IN ROOT POSITION. I would also play through the other possibility of Am > Dm7 > B6 > C7 IN ROOT POSITION, and then decide which one better reflects your intent. The root position technique tends to lay bare the actual harmonic movement.

Your question about knowing how best to notate progressions for the guitar is a good one, and not easy to explain. As evasive as it may seem, your best answer will depend upon your guitarist and his/her exposure and experience. On one extreme will be a player who has a couple of years of reading chord symbols and forming triads and sevenths; and on the other, an experienced jazz or studio player. If in doubt, I prefer to keep things simple.

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2057793 - 04/01/13 01:30 PM Re: Minor/Major Chord Turnaround [Re: LoPresti]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Thanks Ed, that's something to chew on.

I think Etc. meant Am(11), not Am11. My Mozart music processor doesn't support the parentheses notation, probably because it's ambiguous, so I'd end up with the unwieldy but precise Am add11.

Andy

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#2057869 - 04/01/13 03:43 PM Re: Minor/Major Chord Turnaround [Re: LoPresti]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
[quote=etcetra]The tonality makes a definite shift from the first to that second beat - much more-so than simply adding an extension to the Am.

[quote=etcetra] Personally I would not label the 2nd beat for that reason.


That's subjective. I hear the whole thing as A minor(first 2 beat) and nothing more or less. Putting Dmin7/A will just confuse a lot of people, and not many people are going to catch on to the fact that 3rd/F is implied in the harmony(which isn't something you can definitively prove)


Originally Posted By: AndyJ


I think Etc. meant Am(11), not Am11. My Mozart music processor doesn't support the parentheses notation, probably because it's ambiguous, so I'd end up with the unwieldy but precise Am add11.

Andy


Yes, sorry for the mistake!

Originally Posted By: AndyJ
Thanks, I really appreciate all the commentary.

There's another purpose to my question though. I was wondering how I'd indicate chords on a lead sheet that only had the melody and the chords, leaving out all the complicated piano stuff. In that case it'd be nice to suggest that the guitarist play the D that leads to the D# in the next beat. I suppose Am(11) would be the clearest way, would you agree?


If it was up to me, I'd actually write out the voicings out, at least the RH part. Sometimes chords are written out to indicate that you want a specific voicings. I'd probably do the same if i was notating 1:05 of that Django tune too... or at least write out the chromatic notes.


I guess you can also write something like Dmin7/A (omit 3rd), or put that F on the chord and actually make it Dim7/A and remove all doubt.


Edited by etcetra (04/01/13 04:01 PM)

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#2057904 - 04/01/13 04:50 PM Re: Minor/Major Chord Turnaround [Re: etcetra]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
I think I've removed all doubt by taking Ed's suggestion and going back to the piano. Playing through my options, I can hear why I didn't include an F in that chord: it really is just another Am with an added D to lead to the D# in the next chord.

I also made a little test file in Mozart to listen to different voicings in playback.* The Am7 add11 sounds better once it's voiced right.

So thanks to both of you for talking through this little issue with me,

-Andy

*I've never used any other notation software but Mozart really has impressive tools for this kind of thing. In this case, I selected four bars and used the "open clipboard in a new file" command to make the test file. That made me a new file with the same layout as the original but containing only the chords I'd selected. Then I pasted those four chords in again, changing the one I wanted to examine. Finally I took my eight bars from the chord staff and pasted them into a treble clef staff so I could play with the voicings.

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#2057913 - 04/01/13 05:03 PM Re: Minor/Major Chord Turnaround [Re: etcetra]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Originally Posted By: etcetra
... that Django tune ...

Actually Brise Napolitaine isn't a Django tune, it's a Guerino tune with Django playing in the band (according to the comments anyway). Django played in musette groups to pay the bills. From what I've read though, he didn't like it much and leapt at the chance to play his own, jazzier stuff. I think it's interesting to hear the restrained Django in that recording and compare it to what he did when he was the leader. Do you hear the beginnings of his own style in it?

-Andy

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#2058092 - 04/01/13 11:33 PM Re: Minor/Major Chord Turnaround [Re: AndyJ]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Originally Posted By: AndyJ
Originally Posted By: etcetra
... that Django tune ...

Actually Brise Napolitaine isn't a Django tune, it's a Guerino tune with Django playing in the band (according to the comments anyway). Django played in musette groups to pay the bills. From what I've read though, he didn't like it much and leapt at the chance to play his own, jazzier stuff. I think it's interesting to hear the restrained Django in that recording and compare it to what he did when he was the leader. Do you hear the beginnings of his own style in it?

-Andy


Cool thanks for the info. I am not really familar with Django to be honest, but definitely very unique and I agree with you about beggining of his style too. Anyways glad to hear that you've figured it out smile

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