hmm.?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by ♫♪♫, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. ♫♪♫

    ♫♪♫ Member

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    Are tensions in a scale basically the notes that are not chord tones?

    so like in a Cmaj7,

    C E G B

    the tensions would be the 2, 4, and 6?

    D F A?

    is there any reason the tensions of a Cmaj7 chord are really a Dmin chord?

    and can this be used somehow in improv. or musically?
     
  2. Austinrocks

    Austinrocks Member

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    I think the diatonic scale is constructed to minimize tensions, so using notes out of the diatonic scale are the ones that cause tension,

    C major scale C D E F G A B C

    tension notes C# D# F# G# A# when played against a C Major Diatonic, just my experience.
     
  3. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    not really.

    It depends on what type of harmony you're talking about, and how you define "tension," combined with how you define "dissonance" and "consonance."

    In some contexts, like at the cadence of a renaissance chant, anything other than a unison or an octave would be a 'tension.'

    In other contexts, there is no such thing as a 'tension.'


    In your example above, C major 7th, in a jazz or contemporary pop context, the D and A, being the 6th and the 9th, wouldn't create much tension at all. It would be safe to say you could almost certainly include the D natural and/or A natural without changing the essential functional tendency of the chord at all-- in other words, if the chord is stable with the 7th in it, it will probably sound just as stable with the 6th or 9th in it, just a slightly different color but functionally equivalent.

    The F natural is probably the only one that would create anything resembling a "tension" in a standard major-key "tonic" sort of function from a half-century or so ago. It would not, however, create that sort of tension if the context were some sort of "ionian vamp," for instance (many composers utilize the natural fourth degree to create 'ionian' harmony, for a particular color).

    I think of a "tension" as something that begs for "resolution," and that would depend almost entirely on the context. If you were playing a popular standard, let's use "I Got Rhythm" as an example, playing a note a perfect fourth above the root of the tonic chord might 'ask' for resolution. But in an Ionian section of a Maria Schneider piece, for example, it would sound very stable and not need to resolve at all. It would feel like a part of "home" rather than a foreign invader of some sort.

    If you are looking for tensions and dissonances, the first place to look are the tones that are not a part of the scale or mode from which the harmony is generated. The secret to using those tones is to integrate them in some logical way. The strategy for doing that is one you either steal from someone else or make up yourself, the important thing is that you have a reason for playing whatever notes you are playing. If it makes sense to you, it will make sense to the listener guaranteed.
     
  4. GtrWiz

    GtrWiz Member

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    Yes this exactly right. 2, 4, & 6, up an octave are 9, 11, & 13.

    Without going into too much detail, it goes hand and hand with chord substitutions. A really great book that explains this is Artful Arpeggio's by Don Mock.
     
  5. GtrWiz

    GtrWiz Member

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    And respectfully disagree with most of Brad's post, unless you're into free jazz or 20th century classical.
     
  6. ♫♪♫

    ♫♪♫ Member

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    thanks!
     
  7. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    With what, exactly, do you disagree, and why?
     
  8. ♫♪♫

    ♫♪♫ Member

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    and thanks too!

    lots of info here.
     
  9. russ6100

    russ6100 Member

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    GtrWiz wrote:
    Heaven forbid.....the deformed children, hidden away in the basement.....

    How about a heady mix of both?
     
  10. 12guitdown

    12guitdown Member

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    :munchI hope it's gonna get good.
     
  11. gennation

    gennation Member

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    I find that the notes that aren't in the scale are just as important as the notes in the scale. That's why there are so many songs with melodies that aren't just all the notes of the scale, and why we have the Parallel Major and Minor borrowing, as well as tunes that change many Keys as the basis of the song (as many great Jazz Standards do).

    The 9, 11, and 13 are extensions not tensions as far as dissonance.

    Chord scales are scale to play ON THE CHORD, not AGAINST THE CHORD. It's like all the "safe notes".
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2008
  12. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    what gemnnation said...9/11/13 are etensions, b5/#5/b9/#9 are alterations and that's what I think of when it comes to tension.
    And those are as well found inside the scale, just not the major scale.
    For example take a 13b9, that chord to me resides on the 5 th mode of Harmonic Major...
    As in E 13b9, in a guitar friendly voicing...
    root-b7-3-13-b9
    With this as mode reference...1-b9-3-4-5-6-b7, or e,f,g#,a,b,c#,d
    Or from its parent scale A harmonic major...a,b,c#,d,e,f,g#
    In other words A major with a minor 6, or E mixo with a minor second.

    Second choice for me would be E half-whole
    as in e,f,g,g#,bb,b, c#,d. So you get the root,b9,#9,3,b5,5,6,b7.
    And then those alterations aren't much of a tension...

    Tension to me is a b9 against a minor 7 chord.
     
  13. GtrWiz

    GtrWiz Member

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    OK guys, here is the great, yet hard, thing about discussing Jazz or commercial harmony, there are many ways of explaining the exact same thing. As opposed to classical harmony which has an established set of terms and methods, a result of having hundreds of years to develop.

    My whole approach is based on the simplification of terms, ridding myself of the confusing nature of theory, and other musical "boogie-men". To that end I submit that tensions, extensions, and alterations, describe the same thing, non chord tones. Regardless of how much, or little, "perceived tension" there may be.

    Now there are generally considered two types of tensions, diatonic and non-diatonic. Diatonic would be tensions that occur naturally in a major key, non-diatonic would be everything else.

    Let's take a CMaj7 chord, Chord tones are 1,3,5,7. Diatonic tensions would be: 9, 11, 13. Non-Diatonic: b/#9, #11, b/#13. Anything else is an enharmonic description of these.

    Now, it doesn't matter what method you use to get there, chromatic approach, chord substitution, chord scales, etc... Those are the options.

    So now let's look at these in order: 1, b9, 2, #9, 3, 11, #11, 5, b13, 13, #13, 7. That ends up being every note.

    All this brings me to an EVH interview I read in high school where he said, "there are only 12 notes, it's all in how you arrange them".
     
  14. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    but listen!

    Isn't that what theory is about?

    Do you really hear a #11 as more "tense" sounding than a natural 11th on a major 7th chord? Really?
     
  15. GtrWiz

    GtrWiz Member

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    Again the terms are confused. What you are talking about is dissonance. I never said one was more or less, just diatonic vs non-diatonic.

    The #11 wants to resolve somewhere, to the 5, tension and resolution. The 11 is more dissonant, but it doesn't lead your ear to a particular resolution.
     
  16. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    Again, context is everything. Listen to "Inner Urge" by Joe Henderson. It has lots of major chords with raised elevenths in there. None of them really sound, to me, like they want to "resolve" anywhere.
     
  17. GtrWiz

    GtrWiz Member

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    And there are lot's of songs that have natural 11's that don't resolve, I don't understand your point.

    Are we talking about dissonance or tension and resolution? They are two different things. Also, improv or chordal/functional harmony?
     
  18. GtrWiz

    GtrWiz Member

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    I think I see now where you're going with this...

    In a progression, tensions do not have as much effect on the chord resolution, that is determined more by the chords function.

    In improv, the #11 definitely leads your ear to the 5th of the chord, where the 11, though it may be more dissonant, just kind of sits there. In jazz harmony the 4 or 11 is considered an avoid note in most scales.
     
  19. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    What I'm saying is, there is no "chart" or "prescription" for which notes will demand resolution over a given chord all the time.

    Tension and release tendencies are largely contextual and situational. A note that seems to demand resolution over a major chord in this context might feel stable in this other context over here.

    Unless you're talking about Fux's rules of counterpoint or some other set of constraints, there are no prescriptions. Tension is dependent on the situation, and is also to an extent in the ear of the beholder.
     
  20. GtrWiz

    GtrWiz Member

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    OK, so I didn't know where you were going...

    I agree to a point, but there has to be some standard otherwise it would be impossible to ever develop a method for teaching, and getting past theory to the point where you can truly appreciate that every note is a viable possibility. Unless you are truly gifted, it takes a lot of study to achieve that sort of freedom.
     

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