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Old 10-31-2012, 01:05 PM   #1
King Of Suede
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5 chord theory

These are the words my friend used to describe what some musicians use to play "out" or play things that sound out.

He also referenced Eddie Harris's "Freedom Jazz Dance" and that this tune's melody was basically an exercise in that theory.
I know the whole song is just a Bb7 chord, but I don't have the music to look at the melody.

Could someone quick outline what my friend was trying to say?
I'm guessing it has something to do with super-imposing chords over a chord using the chord tones (is chord even a word any more?) in some sort of non-diatonic fashion... But not sure exactly how to go about it.
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:29 AM   #2
AlanHB
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I dunno - accidentals? There's only 5 in each key.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:27 AM   #3
GoldenGuitar
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A quick check from my realbook says, for bar 1-8, the chords that can be played are Bb7(alt),Bb13#9#11, Bb7sus or Bb7sus(b9).
It says the alternate changes that can be played over bars 9-12 are
Absus/Bb Asus/B, Bbsus/C, Bsus/C#, ect. But the slashes in the chart are ambiguously done, I can't tell whether it's a horizontal slash indicating two chords over each other or a diagonal one indicating a bass note. Those chords alone indicate he is just moving down chromatically, and this is probably also reflected in the melody. But I recommend that you DON'T trust a realbook, they're often not reliable or inaccurate. So go transcribe the melody for it yourself!
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:04 PM   #4
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Nah, the melodies in the Real Book are normally pretty solid. Some are as they are on the recordings, some are made plain so you can expand on them.

The changes are by no means a doctrine to follow. But meh the 4 chords you listed for Bb plus just a plain Bb7 WOULD be 5 chords... And I see where thats coming from I guess.
I dunno, I'll talk to my teacher about it this week. Thanks for your help though.
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sht up u flthy librl foogit stfu u soo mad n butthurdt ur ass is an analpocolypse cuz ur so gay "my ass hrts so mcuh" - u. your rectally vexed n anlly angushed lolo go bck 2 asslnd lolol
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:39 AM   #5
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FYI, GoldenGuitar is totally right about the Real Book being wrong a lot. It's definitely a great tool to have, but versions have a lot of errors. Always check it against a recording. I think (at least in the book I have) the melody of Freedom Jazz Dance is correct, though.

As for the actual thread topic, I've never heard of this, but it seems like your friend may have meant 5 as in the V chord of a key, not 5 different chords. I think what he's really talking about it just dominant chords in general.

If I had to guess, this "theory" is just playing different tensions on dominant chords. Freedom Jazz Dance is, in fact, a great example of this. The whole song is over a Bb7 chord, but the tensions keep changing. It goes through every possible tension (9, b9, #9, #11, 13, b13) and some parts where a sus4 is implied. This is specific to dominant chords because they have the widest variety of possible tensions.

In a practical way, this means you can superimpose different dominant scales over dominant chords to get a more "outside" sound. Here's a list of some:

(An "S" means you shouldn't hang on a note for too long - it should usually just be a passing/approach note. In this case, because of the nature of these scales, it'll usually be the 4th degree. If you want a sus4 sound, avoid the 3rd instead.)

Mixolydian ("default" dominant scale): 1 T9 3 S4 5 T13 b7

Lydian b7: 1 T9 3 T#11 5 T13 b7

Mixo. b9/#9 (not used very much - usually chords with these tensions use Symmetric Dominant): 1 Tb9 T#9 3 S4 5 T13 b7

Mixo. b9/#9, b13 ("Phrygian Dominant"): 1 Tb9 T#9 3 S4 5 Tb13 b7

Altered (notice there's no 4th degree!): 1 Tb9 T#9 3 b5 Tb13 b7

Symmetric Dominant (aka 1/2-W Diminished): 1 Tb9 T#9 3 T#11 5 T13 b7

Whole Tone (all whole steps, hence the name): 1 T9 3 T#11 Tb13 b7

Note that enharmonic spellings of tensions and chord tones are often used, and are sometimes misleading. For example, a chord that is intended to use Lydian b7 will sometimes be written as a 7b5 instead of 7#11. 7b5 implies that there is no natural 5 in the scale, but the 7#11 symbol tells us that we can play both the #11 and the natural 5. If you suspect that this is going on, the melody is a good place to look for hints.

You can also use these scales to create chord voicings.

Now, I'm sure that in time, someone who claims that "scales and modes don't exist" is going to come along and shit on everything I just said, (this always happens when I post in this forum) but I personally use this stuff all the time, and I like to share it. Some of the greatest musicians of all time (George Russell, Miles, Coltrane, Bill Evans, Art Farmer, and so many others) and the vast majority of modern contemporary (non-classical) music theorists just happen to agree with me. Sure, your playing will be boring if all you do is go up and down scales, but they're just a jumping off point. Enjoy!

Last edited by mattrusso : 11-05-2012 at 02:41 AM.
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattrusso
Now, I'm sure that in time, someone who claims that "scales and modes don't exist" is going to come along and shit on everything I just said, (this always happens when I post in this forum) but I personally use this stuff all the time, and I like to share it. Some of the greatest musicians of all time (George Russell, Miles, Coltrane, Bill Evans, Art Farmer, and so many others) and the vast majority of modern contemporary (non-classical) music theorists just happen to agree with me. Sure, your playing will be boring if all you do is go up and down scales, but they're just a jumping off point. Enjoy!

I'm not going to chew you out or anything, in fact I actually agree with what you're saying. There's nothing wrong with giving TS a framework of something he can play over those changes, but it is up to him to make it musical.
The problem with modes and scales are that too many beginners think that scales are magical, and if they know them, they can get certain sounds (well not exactly untrue, stuff like whole tone ect.) or be musical. Which of course isn't true.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenGuitar
I'm not going to chew you out or anything, in fact I actually agree with what you're saying. There's nothing wrong with giving TS a framework of something he can play over those changes, but it is up to him to make it musical.
The problem with modes and scales are that too many beginners think that scales are magical, and if they know them, they can get certain sounds (well not exactly untrue, stuff like whole tone ect.) or be musical. Which of course isn't true.


I totally agree with you. It is exceedingly important to think about making music as opposed to just running through scales and patterns. However, before anyone is able to really do this, he or she must have a clear understanding of the harmonies that are going on. These scales give us a complete picture: the chord tones, available tensions, and the notes that are technically part of the harmony but will potentially obscure the desired chord sound if not used with care. Playing the scales and deriving voicings from them is the instrumental application of this understanding. Singing them is also pretty much essential; it proves that you've internalized the intervallic content and not just memorized some fingerings. Only after having this clear of an idea will someone have the vocabulary to really make their own musical choices. You can't just expect someone to "hear" something that they're totally unfamiliar with and don't fully understand. Of course, you'll always have the Wes Montgomerys and Jimi Hendrixes (Hendrixes?) of the world who did learn to hear this stuff and apply it in a musical (and idiosyncratic) way without knowing it theoretically, but not everybody (in fact, pretty much nobody) is the next one of those guys.
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