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-   -   dominant 7 chords over blues scale (http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1564945)

petered1 09-26-2012 12:33 PM

dominant 7 chords over blues scale
 
hi why is it that dominant 7 chords are used over the blues scale? eg if playing the blues in A= A7 D7 E7 how does the A blues scale fit with this proggression? the A7 chord contains a C# where as there is no c# in the A blues scale, the D7 has an F# in it [there is no F# in A blues scale and finally the E7 has a G# and a B in it [the A blues scale doesnt]. Can any1 shed some light on the theory behind it please. I know it might sound right when playing but i just want to know how the scale fits with the chords. thanks.

chronowarp 09-26-2012 12:52 PM

Blues isn't diatonic.

The harmonic framework doesn't directly correlate to the typical melodic vocabulary.
The 3rd & 7th are variable and meant to be f'd with. It's integral to what makes it sound "bluesy"

Over the I chord, the m3 is meant to be bend to a blue 3rd (slightly between the m3 and M3) - infact that's the case over every chord, really. Over the IV chord the minor pent matches the chord, though it's not uncommon to incorporate the M6 (third of the IV). The V is a sandbox.

Start transcribing blues solos and you'll begin to understand that most good players incorporate a mixture of minor/major pentatonic, diminished ideas, and some dorian mode.

A lot of guitar players start out playing blues based music, and intuitively understand what makes sense, but when they start learning theory they get really confused, because theory is taught from a perspective of CPP, key based harmony. Blues doesn't fit that mold, it's a different beast entirely - you need to learn to hear and differentiate between the two.

mdc 09-26-2012 02:12 PM

I love how no one dare **** with you over something you said there. Brilliant!

MaggaraMarine 09-26-2012 03:58 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by chronowarp
Blues isn't diatonic.

The harmonic framework doesn't directly correlate to the typical melodic vocabulary.
The 3rd & 7th are variable and meant to be f'd with. It's integral to what makes it sound "bluesy"

Over the I chord, the m3 is meant to be bend to a blue 3rd (slightly between the m3 and M3) - infact that's the case over every chord, really. Over the IV chord the minor pent matches the chord, though it's not uncommon to incorporate the M6 (third of the IV). The V is a sandbox.

Start transcribing blues solos and you'll begin to understand that most good players incorporate a mixture of minor/major pentatonic, diminished ideas, and some dorian mode.

A lot of guitar players start out playing blues based music, and intuitively understand what makes sense, but when they start learning theory they get really confused, because theory is taught from a perspective of CPP, key based harmony. Blues doesn't fit that mold, it's a different beast entirely - you need to learn to hear and differentiate between the two.

This.

But the question was really asked wrong. You don't play chords over a scale, you play a scale over chords. In that scale you don't need to have all the notes that the chords include (and in this case, you have both, major and minor 7th and major and minor third). The chords form the scale that fits them, not vice versa. You don't build chords to fit the scale. Because there are many chords that fit a scale. You can play E minor pentatonic over major chords. And this is used a lot in rock music. The b7 and b3 just give it that bluesy feeling. They have that kind of dissonance that sounds good.

EDIT: If you wanted to form a scale that fits all of the chords, first the chords: A7: A, C#, E, G; D7: D, F#, A, C; E7: E, G#, B, D

So the notes would be: A, B, C, C#, D, E, F#, G, G#. And what we have here? Nine notes out of the 12. So you've got a chromatic scale without flat 2nd, flat 5th and minor 6th. Also, the flat 5th is used in blues all the time so now there's only two notes of the chromatic scale that don't "fit" the chords. But actually you can play them too if you want. But these nine or ten notes (if you also include Eb) are what fit the best the chords in 12 bar blues. You choose which of them you use over different chords (some fit the chords better than others).

Remember: The chords don't fit the scale, the scale fits the chords.

chronowarp 09-26-2012 07:18 PM

Ya, that's worth mentioning.

But I think the issue the OP needs to avoid is...if you play "per chord" in a blues, in the sense of trying to match a scale that fits all the notes in chords, you probably aren't going to get a bluesy result.

Playing mixolydian lines over a dom7 isn't bluesy at all, unless you're framing the lines in a way that sounds bluesy - IE thinking minor pent/blues, but filling in the gaps w/ the M2, M6, and sliding or bending into the M3.

I've seen that shift in consciousness really warp some beginners.

AlanHB 09-26-2012 07:38 PM

In keys you can use any notes you wish, they are called accidentals. Use of b3, b5 and b7 accidentals in a major key result in the typical blues sound.

chronowarp 09-26-2012 07:42 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
In keys you can use any notes you wish, they are called accidentals. Use of b3, b5 and b7 accidentals in a major key result in the typical blues sound.

I would be extremely hesitant to say that any blues tune is in a "key" - in the same way a music with functional harmony is. It's very nuanced, but I'm sure you know exactly what I mean. That may be pragmatic...but your description is what I'd say is part of the confusion a lot of players have when they start trying to learn the difference.

griffRG7321 09-26-2012 08:38 PM

^Lol are you serious?

AlanHB 09-26-2012 11:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by chronowarp
I would be extremely hesitant to say that any blues tune is in a "key" - in the same way a music with functional harmony is. It's very nuanced, but I'm sure you know exactly what I mean. That may be pragmatic...but your description is what I'd say is part of the confusion a lot of players have when they start trying to learn the difference.


:haha:

Ok mate, here are your choices.

The standard blues progression is in a:

1. Key
2. Mode
3. Atonal

If you cannot find any functional harmony, you must be picking number 3. Would you like to revise your answer?

wafflesyrup 09-26-2012 11:36 PM

I'm no where as good as the two above me, but chrono's key statement kind of tripped me up too lol.

chronowarp 09-27-2012 06:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
:haha:

Ok mate, here are your choices.

The standard blues progression is in a:

1. Key
2. Mode
3. Atonal

If you cannot find any functional harmony, you must be picking number 3. Would you like to revise your answer?

I'm pretty sure you and I have been through this multiple times in the past, so please save me the pedantic pandering to semantics.

Your description is completely dismissive of what needs to be considered when comparing a blues to a key based progression. While a blues may have a key center based on a major triad - it's based on a non-functioning dom7, and a melodic construct that isn't vertically congruent with the harmony...

Now if you want to call that "it's a key, and ****in all those notes are accidentals", I guess that's fine, but it misses the point, and doesn't really help the OP or anyone trying to understand the subtle yet distinct difference between functional harmony and the faux-modal function of blues music. Agreed,, mate? So please spare me the false dichotomy & haughty ****ing emoticons as if you're above me or taking me on a trip.

If you want to define a key as a tonal center based on a maj/min triad that is reinforced by the a functional sequence of chords that resolve to the aforementioned tonic, then blues isn't really a key, because the tonic chord is a non-functioning dom7 - as is the IV chord.

IF you want to define a mode as a diatonic series of notes accompanied by an absence of functional harmony with a tonic defined by the highly stringent melodic contour of the melody, possibly reinforced by clusters of notes (non-functioning chords)- then blues isn't really modal since the melodic vocabulary is drawn from, at minimum, more than 1 'scale'.

If you want to define atonal as the absence of a distinct tonal center, then that's not blues at all, because it clearly has a key center.

It's sad when these discussions spiral into a dick-slapping contest of semantics and snide-bullshit remarks, when the overarching goal is to just effectively explain a concept. The OP is clearly having an issue separating the more stringent harmonic/melodic construct of functional harmony from the quasi-modal and non-functional harmony of a blues. Saying a blues is a major key with accidentals isn't even a step in the right direction, it's just borderline wrong and not helpful or explanatory at all.

AlanHB 09-27-2012 06:56 AM

A blues is a "key based progression", by virtue of it being in a key. It resolves to a major chord, regardless of variations you employ whilst playing the I. So nothing quasi modal here, it's an I-IV-V progression, and that's about it.

The b3, b5 and b7 accidentals are not diatonic, they're accidentals and for that very reason they stand out when played over the key. This is the blues sound.

chronowarp 09-27-2012 07:00 AM

Key based....in what respect?

The I chord is a dom7 - which isn't the same as a vanilla major triad.
The b3, b5, and b7 aren't the only available or common tones used in a blues.
the very nature of a blues is quasi-modal.

These blue notes aren't juxtapositions against a functional harmonic background...it doesn't work that way. You don't employ a blues vocabulary over a functional progression and then claim it is now "blues" and those notes are accidentals in a major key.

From the very core there is a distinct difference between a key-based piece of music that employs functional harmony, and a blues based piece of music. That's the point I'm trying to drive home to the OP, while you're so focused on boxing everything up that you're confusing the issues to the point of exhaustion.

AlanHB 09-27-2012 07:12 AM

It's key based in the respect that it's in a key. A major key. There's nothing particularly special happening here, variations to chords are employed, no worries, it's still going to resolve to that "plain vanilla" major chord even if you don't play it.

chronowarp 09-27-2012 07:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
It's key based in the respect that it's in a key. A major key. There's nothing particularly special happening here, variations to chords are employed, no worries, it's still going to resolve to that "plain vanilla" major chord even if you don't play it.

But it's not in a major key - it's a blues.

They are two completely separate tonalities and require two distinctly different approachs.

You notice on a lead sheet either from a fakebook...or for a musical, what have you. They typically distinctly label the tonality of a song "A blues" versus, "A major". I wonder why that is...

Probably because "A blues" has a vastly different connotation, and melodic/harmonic approach than a "A major" with a bunch of non-diatonic dom7 chords that aren't traditionally functional and play off of the tug & pull of the m3/M3 & septimal 7th, and other key "Blue notes"...

AlanHB 09-27-2012 07:17 AM

I don't regard blues as a tonality, guess we''ll agree to disagree.

20Tigers 09-27-2012 07:37 AM

12 bar blues harmony is functional.

Sleepy__Head 09-27-2012 08:27 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by chronowarp
But it's not in a major key - it's a blues.

They are two completely separate tonalities and require two distinctly different approachs.


And that separate type of tonality would be the reason why I > IV > V > I is a popular progression in both blues and non-blues music?

chronowarp 09-27-2012 01:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepy__Head
And that separate type of tonality would be the reason why I > IV > V > I is a popular progression in both blues and non-blues music?

I IV V in a functional harmonic context is not the same as
I7 IV7 V7 in a blues.

I'd really love to hear the results of you playing BLUEZ LIX over a functional I-IV-V that is clearly actually in a major key. You're gonna love them "accidentals" and you'll definitely add that "blues sound" in doing so! :p:

You should start incorporating bluez licks in 4 part writings when you do a I IV6 I64 V7.

chronowarp 09-27-2012 01:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by 20Tigers
12 bar blues harmony is functional.

It certainly postures as such, but that's not really the point.


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