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Old 12-20-2013, 04:32 PM   #1
jtkguitar
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Theory Question:

I am walking through changes of this chord progression:
Cm, F7, BbMaj7, EbMaj7, Adim, D7, Gm, G7

On the EbMaj7, I am descending starting on Eb, and playing the notes in order...Eb, D, C, and Bb as the leading tone into Adim..

The problem I am having is that the D (maj7) in the decending does not sound quite right; almost like it should be a Db (dominant 7) instead...

I recall that somewhere in a theory class at some point in time I remember being taught a rule that dealt with this....something about a major 7 chord only sound correct when ascending and if playing in a descending, a dom7 should be played instead...
You theory guys, set me straight...
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Old 12-20-2013, 05:04 PM   #2
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No, I've never heard of a rule like that. And also, there are no rules. But yeah, progressions like C-Cmaj7-Am are used a lot.

But if you think a Db would fit it better, play a Db. Play what sounds good. Try both and play the one that sounds better to your ears. Music is all about sound so you should think in sound. Remember that theory is there to explain music, not to tell you what you should/shouldn't do. Theory comes after music, not before. And everything you do can be explained by theory.
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Old 12-20-2013, 05:13 PM   #3
jtkguitar
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"there are no rules"...???

of course there's rules; some things just don't work together, but if you like your music sounding terrible you just keep on playing it however you like.

Last edited by jtkguitar : 12-20-2013 at 05:43 PM.
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Old 12-20-2013, 08:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtkguitar
I recall that somewhere in a theory class at some point in time I remember being taught a rule that dealt with this....something about a major 7 chord only sound correct when ascending and if playing in a descending, a dom7 should be played instead...
You theory guys, set me straight...


that sounds a bit like melodic minor?

unless it's the opposite way round, i always forget which way round it goes EDIT: yeah according to wiki that's right.
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Old 12-21-2013, 06:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtkguitar
"there are no rules"...???

of course there's rules; some things just don't work together, but if you like your music sounding terrible you just keep on playing it however you like.

No, theory doesn't say what sounds good and what doesn't. That's what your ears do. Theory only explains what you have done and everything can be justified by theory, even if it sounds bad.

You can play whatever you want but of course it doesn't always sound good. Theory doesn't tell you what instruments should play. You could play any note over any chord and make it sound good.

For example there was a video where Victor Wooten only played "wrong notes" over the backing track and then he played a solo with only "right notes" and the students preferred the "wrong notes" solo over the "right notes" solo. If you are good enough, you can make whatever sound good. But that wasn't my point.

Playing Eb-D-C or Eb-Db-C is up to you. What do you think sounds better? Neither of them is against any rules and both of them are used in songs. But if you play Eb-Db-C the chord is no longer Ebmaj7, it becomes Eb7. So make sure everybody else plays Eb7 chord, not Ebmaj7 because it may sound pretty dissonant if you play a Db over Ebmaj7 chord.

Also, as I said, use your ears. They are the best at telling if something works or doesn't. Even if theory said Eb-D-C is the right way to play it but you still preferred the sound of Eb-Db-C, why wouldn't you play it like Eb-Db-C? Actually usually dominant chords resolve to a chord a fifth lower. In your case it doesn't. But that doesn't make it wrong. That's just how it's usually done.

So my point was, don't look at what theory says (it doesn't say anything - at least not what note/chord should come next). Trust your ears.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine : 12-21-2013 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 12-21-2013, 10:27 AM   #6
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I would play a natural D in this progression.
Or have the rest change the chord to Eb7.

Or you could avoid the problem altogether and play something that doesn't involve the 7th.
For example: Eb Bb G Ab or Eb Bb G Bb
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Old 12-21-2013, 10:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtkguitar
"there are no rules"...???

of course there's rules; some things just don't work together, but if you like your music sounding terrible you just keep on playing it however you like.


As MM says, there are no rules. Theory is there to describe, it's a language. If everyone just stuck to rules, music would get boring very, very quickly.
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Old 01-05-2014, 07:15 PM   #8
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The general view in many harmony books is that 7th being the leading note of the scale should rice.
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