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Cool use for maj7#9#11....

russ6100

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,561
Idea is new to me but certainly not to some of you...

I was ponderin' the maj7#9#11 chord, more specifically E/F...

I've seen it used as a dominant.

I've seen it used as a Tonic.

But how about E/F resolving to a C major variant? All the notes are the same as G13b9 so it subs nicely for a V7 but the F on the bottom gives you a plagal cadence-type root motion..

I mean like....how cool is that? :aok

eg.

X 8 9 9 9 X to 8 7 7 7 8 X
 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,063
Idea is new to me but certainly not to some of you...

I was ponderin' the maj7#9#11 chord, more specifically E/F...

I've seen it used as a dominant.

I've seen it used as a Tonic.
Can you give examples of its use as a tonic?
I can see it as a rootless G13b9, dominant function.
But how about E/F resolving to a C major variant? All the notes are the same as G13b9
Well, not all of them... ;)
so it subs nicely for a V7 but the F on the bottom gives you a plagal cadence-type root motion..

I mean like....how cool is that? :aok

eg.

X 8 9 9 9 X to 8 7 7 7 8 X
Definitely cool. It's most like a minor plagal cadence to my ears (Fm(maj7) to C), but of course you have the leading tone too.

What confused me initially about your question was the "maj7#9#11" name. I don't quite see how E/F makes that. There is no A in the chord, so it's not major. Relative to F, the G# acts as Ab (m3), not #9. (Hence the "Fm" sound.)

I can think of 3 possible improv scales that fit:

1. A harmonic minor. That confirms the G# as #9 (of F), but doesn't (to my ears) resolve well to C.
2. F WH dim (G HW dim). Suits the functional identity of the chord as (rootless) G13b9, and resolves well to C.
3. C harmonic major. Also makes the chord a rootless G13b9, and resolves quite well to C - tho with less tension than WH dim.
 

russ6100

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,561
Can you give examples of its use as a tonic?
IIRC, one of Richie Beirach's tunes may provide an example - I'll take a look.

What confused me initially about your question was the "maj7#9#11" name. I don't quite see how E/F makes that. There is no A in the chord, so it's not major. Relative to F, the G# acts as Ab (m3), not #9. (Hence the "Fm" sound.)
Well, it's the same kind of thing as C/F - no A (3rd) but I have no problem considering it a variant of an F major chord.
 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,063
Well, it's the same kind of thing as C/F - no A (3rd) but I have no problem considering it a variant of an F major chord.
Right, but in that case there is no G#. In the absence of A, a G# is going to sound like Ab, a minor 3rd. (It's like playing a 7#9 chord without the major 3rd; it will just sound like a m7 chord.)

If neither A nor G#/Ab is present (as in C/F), then we're most likely to assume a missing major 3rd (unless maybe the established context is minor). It also helps that C/F is quite a common sub for Fmaj9; we're used to hearing it in a major context.
 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,063
JonR if the major third is present, couldn't be used????
My issue with it as a "tonic" is the dissonance.
Without the M3, it sounds like a minor chord. Maj7s are no problem on a tonic minor, but a b5/#4 is. It's not just that - without a C in the chord - B will sound like b5, not #11 (in major keys, #11s on tonics can work); it's that we never hear #11s on minor chords.

And if the M3 is present, then the #9, maj7 and #11 make a highly dissonant mix. #9 is OK with b7 (as a blues tonic), but only thanks to familiar use. Maj7 with #11 is OK, again thanks to jazz usage. But all 3 together don't fit any common tonic scenario.

A functioning tonic chord needs to sound stable and consonant, a point of rest, that's the issue. Major or minor triads are best, but jazz and blues have got our ears used to other classically dissonant extensions. It's just that we are not yet familiar enough with that whole mix.
Naturally, one can END a tune on any chord one likes. A final chord needn't be consonant or rested. It's only a tonic that (by definition) must be.
 

kape

Member
Messages
137
Can you give examples of its use as a tonic?
It's quite common as an appoggiatura chord on the tonic.Most people like to name it dim maj7."Corcovado" (aka Quiet nights of quiet stars) bar 7, "No more blues" bar 7 of the second (major) part, "Stella by starlight" bar 23.
Bill Evans was apparently fond of it ("People", "What kind of fool am I" etc ).
As for it's use without resolution, I'm quite certain that Richie Beirach and Dave Liebman got that from early Chick Corea ("Now he sings, now he sobs" era).Lieb's "Third visit" is a perfect example.
 

russ6100

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,561
JonR,

I see where you're coming from.

I suppose it's pretty subjective. Just for grins, I checked out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonic_(music)

..and found it surprisingly uninformative.

One could wonder:

Must a "tonic" chord sound "at rest" or even "resolved"?

Might a composer lay a forearm down on the keys and declare the resultant chordal structure as "tonic" in his newest composition?

I don't think anyone would argue that a minmaj7 chord couldn't be a tonic chord, yet, is it really more consonant sounding than E/F?

Fun stuff to ponder....

==========================

kape,

Yes - I've run across the dim maj7 usage. Also, I'll check out Corea's NHSNHS closer - I've actually been playing it to death lately.
 

mike walker

Member
Messages
4,155
Used a lot in the triad over bass note sound where the 3rd is not used, in order to achieve a more open sound. Happens with 5ths obviously, but also with 3rds and 7ths.

Also context helps the ear define it as a I chord.

ie, Gsus2/E | F#/A | Csus/D | E/G | B/C

These chords give a very specific sound to basic progressions. They take away 7ths and 3rds here and there to give less 'butter note' voice leading.
But they still retain an internal strength because of 4th movement, triadic movement, common bass movement (though you can get away from that, too).
The bass sound is comfortable aurally, but the upper movement has tension because of the lack of 7ths and 3rds where you would normally expect them.

The final 2 chords have a double cadence.

Bill Evans, Richie Beirach, John Scofield, Hal Galper, Randy Brecker, all have much to mine if ya go digging.
 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,063
JonR,

I see where you're coming from.

I suppose it's pretty subjective. Just for grins, I checked out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonic_(music)

..and found it surprisingly uninformative.

One could wonder:

Must a "tonic" chord sound "at rest" or even "resolved"?
If we're to define the word sensibly and usefully, yes.
It has a clearly defined conventional meaning, along with "dominant" and "subdominant" in functional harmony. (Only in functional harmony, note, not in modal harmony. The concept of a "tonic" has no relevance or meaning in modal harmony.)
It means a lot more than just "1st note of scale", and the notion of "tonal centre" and "resolution" is definitely part of it (as wiki says).
IMO, the wiki page is surprisingly informative (compared with some wiki pages), although I'm sure more can be said (it always can!). What additional information would you like to see to clarify the issue?

As I said, a final chord needn't be a "tonic" chord, not if we don't want a sense of resolution at the end.
So you could certainly end a piece with an E/F chord (key of F I take it?), nothing wrong with that. You just can't (correctly) call it a "tonic". It lacks two of the necessary notes (A and C), and adds other confusing or dissonant ones (relative to F that is).
It might almost work in F minor, but again C is missing, and the B upsets the root sound of F.
Might a composer lay a forearm down on the keys and declare the resultant chordal structure as "tonic" in his newest composition?
He might, but he would be using the word wrongly.
As wrong as if he played a C major chord and called it a Bb major chord.
I don't think anyone would argue that a minmaj7 chord couldn't be a tonic chord, yet, is it really more consonant sounding than E/F?
Absolutely - at least, more consonant enough.
The absence of C is the main problem, especially as there is a B. Without the P5, the B sounds like a b5.
A min(maj7) chord is dissonant, for sure, but we're used to it as an enriched tonic chord. The dissonance is "colour", non-functional decoration. The full triad is present.
The lack of the full F (or Fm) triad in E/F tips the balance.

I also see that you're moving the goal-posts a little, in talking of a min(maj7) - your original assertion was about an F major tonic: that this chord worked as a partial Fmaj7#9#11. There is certainly more chance of E/F working in a tonic role in F minor than in F major. (But while #11s have a place in major keys, they don't in minor keys. IOW, the case has not yet been made enough in actual usage in music, as it has in major)
Fun stuff to ponder....
Yes - the fun stuff is the experimentation with unusual chord voicings. The serious stuff is the proper definition of terms.
This is isn't about what sounds good or what sounds right; it's about what we call stuff. I don't believe we can play around with definitions of terms; they have to be consistent and generally agreed, and preferably conventional, as far as possible.
 

russ6100

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,561
...I also see that you're moving the goal-posts a little, in talking of a min(maj7) - your original assertion was about an F major tonic: that this chord worked as a partial Fmaj7#9#11.
Certainly not intentionally - just my brain doing a little flitting :)

Just though it interesting to compare the two chords *in* a vacuum, with no context.....of course how they're voiced is a huge consideration...

I guess one could circumvent the "tonic" label by proclaiming a chord to be "home base", in the interest of keeping things tidy... ;)
 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,063
Certainly not intentionally - just my brain doing a little flitting :)

Just though it interesting to compare the two chords *in* a vacuum, with no context.....of course how they're voiced is a huge consideration...

I guess one could circumvent the "tonic" label by proclaiming a chord to be "home base", in the interest of keeping things tidy... ;)
Yes, "home base" is a nice cosy term which can mean what one wants it to mean.
"Tonic" ought to be kept for what it means in theory books, because it (still) does its job well.
It's already been broadened out in concept (thanks mainly to jazz) from its strict CPP meaning; and no doubt it will be broadened further, and maybe abandoned altogether (if tonal music finally goes out of fashion). I just don't think it can quite cover an E/F chord yet...;)
 

Clifford-D

Senior Member
Messages
17,048
Don Mock has great lesson on triads over bass in the out of print "Power Of Ten" book.

This what Don says about this chord.;
"Probably one of the most haunting and tense triad over bass sounds is the G#/A type.
The chord probably lends itself best to jazz and fusion styles but definitely can be found in some of the modernclassical music.
I hear this chord used primarily as a sub for G#7 and B7. If you try G#/A in place of
G7 this will give you a G#7b9 effect. This makes for a very modern
V chord in a progression. G#/A in place of B7 gives you a nice B13b9
sound, even though there is no B root note.

F#m7 l G#/A l Emaj7 ll

In the above example you could have a bass player play a B root and you play a
higher voicing of G#/A on top.
Some scale suggestions
A dim h/w
C# harmonic minor
E major
A melodic minor"

Thanks Don
 

Clifford-D

Senior Member
Messages
17,048
My favorite use of this chord is in a James Brown kind of groove
where your playing an E9 chord at the 7th fret, if you have to ask you don't know JB.

This is how it works

E
-
-9
-9
-9
-7
-

Raise the root
-
-9
-9
-9
-8
-

Next, play in minor 3rds

E9 funky
-10-----7--------------------------------7---7-7
-11-----8-----9-----6-----3------------7---7-7
-10-----7-----9-----6-----3------------7---7-7
--9-----6-----9-----6-----3------------6---6-6
---------------8-----5-----2------------7---7-7
------------------------------------0-------------

That is so cool
 
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JonR

Member
Messages
15,063
Don Mock has great lesson on triads over bass in the out of print "Power Of Ten" book.

This what Don says about this chord.;
"Probably one of the most haunting and tense triad over bass sounds is the G#/A type.
The chord probably lends itself best to jazz and fusion styles but definitely can be found in some of the modernclassical music.
I hear this chord used primarily as a sub for G#7 and B7. If you try G#/A in place of
G7 this will give you a G#7b9 effect. This makes for a very modern
V chord in a progression. G#/A in place of B7 gives you a nice B13b9
sound, even though there is no B root note.

F#m7 l G#/A l Emaj7 ll

In the above example you could have a bass player play a B root and you play a higher voicing of G#/A on top.
Sure, because you then have a complete B13b9 (well, lacking the F#, but no big deal).
Make it totally complete by playing G#7/A...
Some scale suggestions
A dim h/w
W/H surely? (typo?)
 

mike walker

Member
Messages
4,155
.


Yes - the fun stuff is the experimentation with unusual chord voicings. The serious stuff is the proper definition of terms.
Explain this a little more, Jon. Many would see this completely the wrong way about. But maybe I'm not reading you right.

.This is isn't about what sounds good or what sounds right; it's about what we call stuff. I don't believe we can play around with definitions of terms; they have to be consistent and generally agreed, and preferably conventional, as far as possible.
Again, where did this come into play? What's about 'what we call stuff?'
I'm confused as to how this pertains to the OP's first post, but maybe I missed something. This has been known..... :D
 
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mike walker

Member
Messages
4,155
Sure, because you then have a complete B13b9 (well, lacking the F#, but no big deal).
Make it totally complete by playing G#7/A...
The F# gives a much smoother sound, for me, (not better) because,
I. It adds a 5th to B
II. It adds a 7th to G#

If the chord G#/A moves to B/E the intrinsic sound is retained.

For me it is a 'big deal' because this approach can give a very distinctive sound to a composition, or it can give a fresh sound to more standard progressions.
 
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