How does one use the minor 6 chord, and the minor 7 b5 chord?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by dead of night, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. JonR

    JonR Member

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    It's resolving to Am, so is clearly a secondary ii chord; ii/iii, while the E7 is V/iii. (The Am7 is in turn a secondary ii chord, as well as iii.)
    OK :). I think at that point in the thread, we were looking for uses of a m7b5 which are not ii chords. That was certainly my interest, and a few intriguing ones were supplied around there.
     
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  2. DeadLazy

    DeadLazy Member

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    And a lot of times on lead sheets you might see a minor 6 chord and then a half diminished chord written.

    Like Gm6 to an Em7b5. They are assuming you know that and just write that way because (at least the author) finds it easier.

    Once you see that then it makes a lot of sense.

    Has anyone mentioned borrowing chords? In case I missed it.

    When I see a ii chord in a major key that’s written as a m7b5 to I usually see a borrowed chord.

    G major borrows a chord from G minor.

    Also: Tri-tone substations.
    That tri-tone sub (if someday addressed it already sorry for being redundant) is:

    Lets say D7 goes to an Ab7 (plenty of extended harmony can be used)
    D7 and Ab7 share the 3 and the 7th in an inverted relationship. Those being the most important (3rd and 7th) in a chord they can be substituted.

    You are still going through the cycle of 4ths (standard tonality) but you can make the bass a chromatic movement; as you mentioned.

    You also notice smooth voice leading. I’d see a G7 to C#7b5 as as using this principle, altering the dominant. You can have chromatic movement in the bass with an inversion and the Gb on top. If you move to D that’s a nice back door resolution. A C# being the 7 chord of D major.

    With the Tritone interval present in a Dominant chord ( in a G7 chord B natural to the F natural is the Tritone interval, the 3rd and the 7th) wants to resolve you can move to any other dominant chord. Tritone desperately wants to resolve. You can keep that tension moving. Smooth voice leading always helps.

    These principle, especial with 9ths involved, allow for chromatic movement for the inner voices and melody.

    It’s not written on the sheet of you don’t have the melody but that melody is completing the extended harmony, 9 chords and 13 chords and so on.

    To play a song seeing that melody is important.

    Classical theory has the Neapolitan chord that’s a flat 2 chord to them and it resolves to the 1 chord. Effectively the classical version of the Tritone sub.

    Common tones allow for the breaking of all kinds of “rules” and with a lot of jazz I find thinking in a key distracts me from just seeing what’s there.

    Moving up the cycle of 5ths (move through a key) use a diminished chord.

    Find the melody note and just chuck anything you want on top. It’ll get funky but you can make it work.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  3. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    And the drop 2 version as well
     
  4. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    And while we at it...
    The diminished 7 makes for a handy device of arriving at voicings and arpeggios.
    Spelled 1 b3 b5 bb7 or as drop 2 voicing 1 b5 bb7 b3 or for example Ab, D, F, B....
    So Ab/G#o7 is also B,D and Fo7 since it's inversion are symmetric... Spelling changes. In other words every note can be viewed as the root.
    It also happens to be a 7b9 half step above an imaginary root.
    Abo7=root less G, Db, E, Bb7b9
    The fun starts when we lower one of the notes in the chord we arrive at a Dom7, by lowering a half step.
    Abo7 with the Ab lowered becomes G7.
    If we alter one of the other notes they become Db7, E7, Bb7... This also shows us the 4 drop 2 inversion.

    Raising a note in it a half step results in 4 min7b5, m6 or rootless Dom9 chords.
    Raise that Ab to A and what was once the root of now that o7 has been raised to the b7 of the Bm7b5 or the 5th of the D-6 or the 9 of G9 (no root).

    If you move 2 consecutive note a half step up i.e. Ab and B become A and C or the 1 and b3 of the Abo7 become the 5 and b7 of D-7 or 3 and 5 of F6...
    Naturally if you move the b and d it'll become F-7/Ab6 or moving d and f a half step it becomes B-7, Ab/G#6 etc...
    Same by moving two consecutive intervals down. Ab and B down to G and Bb becomes the 1 and b3 or 6 and 1 of G-7/Bb6 respectively.

    Move one note up a whole step it becomes the major 7 of a o∆7, the 6 of a 13b9 or #9 of a 7#9... i.e. raise the Ab in a Abo7 and you get Abo∆7, or rootless Bb13b9 or rootless E7#9.

    Lowering two non-consecutive intervals by a half step...
    i.e. Ab and D moved to G and C#/Db become the b5 and root of a C#/Db7b5 or root and b5 of a G7b5 and also b7 and 3 of a rootless A9#5.
    Raising them a half step gets the rootless B9#5 and Ab7b5/D7b5.
    Side note moving that A9#5 grip up in whole steps gets you respectively A7b5,A9b13b5(no 7 or 3), A9#5 (no root), A7b5, A9b13b5.

    And while I'm at it moving 2 consecutive notes the lower one done and the upper one up gets you the 1 and 7 of a G∆7 or b3 and 9 of a rootless E-9.
    Inversely moving them opposite gives you an G7sus4/G-11(no 3rd), F6/9 (no 3rd), rootless Bb6/9....
     
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  5. bobotwt

    bobotwt Supporting Member

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    This is exactly why I've gotten so discouraged over the years trying to understand this stuff. People can't even agree on nomenclature. I try to make some kind of simple connection to get better at it, and someone tells me its incorrect. There has got to be a more straightforward way of bridging the gap between where you guys are and someone who is not as versed in theory and harmony. It feels like trying to drink from a fire hose.

    Josh
     
  6. StevenA

    StevenA Member

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    Hey Josh,
    This forum may not be an adequate avenue for many players with your needs although I assume every poster means well. There may be a right and wrong way, but trust me nobody cares. If you are a jazz player, then 90% of what you know, you have taught yourself. No one comes out of a conservatory playing jazz. Get a teacher, get a group, keep jamming, do your own research, take a break from reading theory minutiae. Listen constantly and swim in the ocean of swinging, bopping, jazz.
     
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  7. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Well, I guess the cheeky answer is: don't stand in front of a fire hose!
    I.e., you don't have to read these threads, and shouldn't expect to understand everything that gets thrown around.

    If you ask questions yourself, we'll all promise not to turn the fire hose on you. Just enough to drink at each stage, and if you start getting too wet we can always turn it down. :)

    You make a valid point about nomenclature. Most music theory terminology is well agreed, conventional, but occasionally - especially in jazz and rock - there are (shall we say) flexible uses of some terms, often quite valid, and the problems come from not defining contexts clearly enough to begin with. Start talking modes, for example, and this tends to happen: :drown - if not this as well. :brick

    As I always say, music theory is supposed to make music simpler. If it doesn't, either you don't need that piece of theory (forget about it), or you're misunderstanding it - probably because you learned it from someone who didn't explain it properly. Either way, it's not worth worrying about. Music theory is really not something any of us have to care about.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
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  8. bobotwt

    bobotwt Supporting Member

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    Understood. I find myself seeking similar insight as the OP but quickly get overwhelmed with all the possible options. I wish I could figure out how to slowly add one thing at a time, but usually perfectionism and analysis paralysis kicks in.

    Josh
     
  9. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    Thing is...to quote Howard Roberts...
    A student wants to learn what he wants to learn when he wants to learn it.
    And there's the issue, a good teacher assessing what the student needs and getting the student the is great... Unfortunately that doesn't by happen so often....
     
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  10. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Yes.:)
    I'd also say that a student will understand theory when it matters that he understands it.
    I.e., it will click when it makes sense of a piece of music he is playing, or listening to. Before that point, there's no need to understand it.
     
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  11. bobotwt

    bobotwt Supporting Member

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    I have respected you guys and your knowledge, but don't you think that is a bit condescending? It sounds as if your saying I'm just not trying. If I wasn't trying, I wouldn't be so frustrated. Some things just aren't clicking. That could be because I've never found the right teacher or I could just be an idiot, but its not for lack of effort.

    Josh
     
  12. JonR

    JonR Member

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    You're probably trying the wrong things, or the right things in the wrong way. That's pretty common when you use the internet as a source of knowledge. You pick up all kinds of disconnected information, much of which is supposedly "important", so you think you have to know it.

    My point is only that if you don't understand a piece of theory, then you don't need to. When you need to, you will understand it. That's because it's only names for sounds you're already making - which you may well understand well enough by ear anyway - i.e., when things sound right and when they don't.
    If you don't know why something sounds right (or wrong) theory won't tell you. E.g., you could say the chords C F and G all come from the C major scale, but is that why they all work together? What's so special about a scale, the major scale in particular? It's common, that's for sure. But why is it common? Because it sounds good! But why does it sound good? Because it's common (familiar). And so on.

    Of course, it's music theory that enables us to use terms like "C", "F", "G" and "major scale" in the first place (they're all theory terms - you know those, right?). A labelling system is certainly useful - and it can make us feel good when we know the names of things - it just isn't any kind of explanation.
    I've no idea myself why the major scale sounds right (science is not the answer, just in case you were wondering), or why blues scale sounds good. I know how modes work, but not why. I don't feel I need to know "why" - it really doesn't interest me, except maybe in some vague, idle philosophical way.
    I played for decades, all kinds of rock, blues, folk and jazz before I ever heard of "modes". I never felt I was missing anything. Of course, I read a lot of theory on the way, because I was curious, but I never did it to help my playing or writing - because it never did. I often came up against theory concepts I didn't understand, but I just ignored them - because I didn't see how they applied to what I was doing (because generally they didn't). I knew that to be a better player meant just practising more, developing my ear and my technique. I knew that to be a better songwriter meant learning lots of other peoples songs - I certainly never found the answers in theory books. (I found descriptions of things, ways of putting chords together and so on, but only what I'd already seen in songs. I guess I occasionally did discover links between concepts that hadn't occurred to me, but they were like random pieces of a jigsaw that I was already connecting up pretty well.)

    When I started studying jazz, then I discovered modal jazz. (I never really listened to jazz much before, other than Django.) It made sense because I heard it first, and then learned the names for it. The principles were simple and obvious, once you heard the music. This was all before the internet, so I never encountered this idiocy that we all have to learn modes because they open up your improvisation, whatever kind of music you play. That's BS.

    On the topic of this thread, I encountered min6 chords occasionally in songs (eg Beatles songbooks), so I played them whenever I played those songs. I encountered them as tonic chords in Django's tunes and others. All cool stuff, no problem. No theoretical questions or confusions. (It never occurred to me to ask "why" those things worked, or to ask "why is that chord there when it doesn't belong?" Of course it belongs - there it is in the song! :rolleyes: )
    Later in the jazz lessons I saw m7b5 chords all over. Again, obviously they work because they're there. I recognised that they were inverted m6s - not hard to see that. It was mildly interesting that it was just a change of bass note between iv and ii. I spotted voice-leading too, which was also how altered chords worked. I.e., there are always various observations like that you can make - fairly idly - while you're playing or studying a piece of music. There's really no point in worrying about such things if you're not seeing them in music you're playing. (By that point, btw, I'd been improvising for long enough - since I first picked up a guitar - to know how it was done, so I never took chord-scale theory too seriously. Imagine an Kenyan athlete, used to running in bare feet, entering a race and being offered trainers... "hmm", he might think, intrigued, but would soon realise they offered no real advantages and even felt a little inhibiting or uncomfortable.)

    OK, that's all about theory. ;) Other things you might well struggle with (and we all do) are technique and ear training. That's just practice. Keep playing whatever you can - making sure you listen of course - and your technique and ear get better together, automatically. Got a tune you want to play and can't (yet)? Stick with it and you will. If it's well beyond your capacity now, you may find it just takes too long - so long you get bored and frustrated with it. So, give it up and try something simpler. It's not like there isn't more than enough music out there that you can tackle, and love enough to stick with. Maybe a year or so down the line your technique will have improved enough (thanks to those other things) that you can tackle that tricky piece. Or maybe by then your tastes have moved on anyway.

    Lastly - I'm just some guy on the internet.;) This is just my $0.02 based on my own experience. The potted biography above will give you some idea about how seriously (or not) you ought to take anything I say. I have no academic theory qualifications, no guitar grades, just a post-grad cert in teaching music. Oh, and almost 54 years playing guitar, not all that well TBH. As you can tell, I like mouthing off at length on forums like this - partly to improve my teaching skills by testing responses (mixed success there, obviously).
     
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  13. bobotwt

    bobotwt Supporting Member

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    That's a helpful response! Thank you!

    Josh
     
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  14. aiq

    aiq Supporting Member

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    Good simile. I am not a jazz player but I study it. I know go figure. The revelations are few and far apart. It does get better but it is a Long March.

    As to OP Shorter’s Footprints turn around:
    F♯m7♭5, F7♯11, E7(♯9), A7(♯9), Cm7

    To illustrate my first statement I recently took a one off lesson from a local jazz guy on the Footprints turnaround. I have more understanding but also realize a lot of work is needed to get it under my fingers. I mean I can do the fake D7 Db7 and it sounds ok but I am trying to get it more “correct”.

    I don’t know why this is in bold. No emphasis implied.
     
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  15. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Yes, that's a good one.
    You can still interpret it as a ii chord of the E7, with F7#11 the tritone sub for the V, B7. But it's remote enough from the key to stand out as distinctive and unusual. It's like - wtf does that turnaround have to do with the key of C minor? :confused:
     
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  16. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

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    You guys know how to take the fun out of anything. :bonk:D

    I realize you’re looking at function and where/how a chord resolves. And to some extent you can just jam a ii chord in anywhere to eventually resolve a whole step down. But don’t you think there’s something unique about it being based off the b5th of the tonic? I mean, why there? Is it simply a way to get to a iii7 chord?

    My contention is that it is unique in comparison to a ii7b5. It’s not being used in order to get to the iii7 chord, it’s being used because of how it relates to the tonic and most often the melody. Often that melody note is the maj7th of the tonic, which is an extension of that min7b5 chord (for example, key of F, Bmin7b5 with an E natural in the melody). It’s a very pretty sound, one I could see writing an entire Tune around but saving it for the end (often how it’s used). It could resolve a 1/2 step down, a whole step, doesn’t matter. To me, where it goes is of less importance.
     
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  17. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    Maybe it got lost in translation...
    Point is that when something evades you a good teacher will able to likely sorry that out.

    My personal experience...
    I grabbed some lessons in my 20s from some heavy cats... Mostly cause back then in my 80s Metal days I wanted a back padding rather than learn Jazz.
    In my 30s I got actually into Fusion fairly heavy and studied with Don Mock and boy were those a lot of eye opening moments.
    Since then I'm fairly clear on what I need to get where I want to go.
    But as I said it only happened when I was ready.

    So....sorry if I came across as condescending... That was not the intent.
     
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  18. bobotwt

    bobotwt Supporting Member

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    No worries. I guess I misread the intent. Appreciate your insight.

    Josh
     
  19. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Hey, I'm having fun. :D
    Unusual, yes. Not unique.
    Well, I wouldn't say "simply", but I'd say that's probably why it's there. I mean obviously there's also some nice voice-leading between I and bVm7b5. But then you can construct nice voice-leading between just about any two random chords. And actually you could see bVIm7b5 as the normal vi chord with the major 6th in the bass. Not really a big leap.
    Yes, the melody is crucial. But harmonic analysis generally relates to following chords, not to previous ones. At least that's my understanding. Sometimes the preceding chord makes good sense of a chord too, but (IMO) more in terms of voice-leading than function.
    I agree. The 4th/11th on a m7b5 is really common, usually done (IMO) as a way of avoiding the melody being the root of a following V7 - put the ii in front to give a kind of V7sus sound! ;)
     
  20. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    Lack of consensus on nomenclature is just part of life in Internet forums. I don't mind being corrected if someone tells me I am wrong about something. If that person is someone who I've come to trust and respect for their knowledge, then the correction makes me happy. If that person isn't, well I don't get to the opposite of happy or anything, I just become like Teflon and let it slide off.

    My own process of "bridging the gap" is not what anyone would call straightforward. My discipline just hasn't been the best. I've been distracted just by being an easily distracted person, as well as having encountered situations beyond my control. But I've learned enough from life to not beat myself up over my limitations and just work on what I can when I have the time and I'm able to focus properly.

    Part of that process is learning tunes. If I were more disciplined, maybe I'd have learned double the tunes that I know. In any case, learning about minor7b5 chords, how they fit in harmony, or even what the heck functional harmony is about... none of that made much sense until I started learning tunes, and encountering those chords in the tunes.
     

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