#1
What exactly is it? I understand how its constructed from the 7th degree of melodic minor, but I've seen it explained seemingly different ways in different places.

In my jazz theory book, it makes it sound like an individual breed of chord notated as "7alt," while a website I saw simply used altered dominant as the collective name for dom 7 chords with an altered 5th, 9th, or other changes. Finally, I have heard a simple dominant 7 chord being called altered dominant because of the position of the notes relative to the main key of the song, for example, playing an A7 in the key of C because it has a b9 tension, the 3rd being a Db

Clarification on this would be greatly appreciated
#2
Alt dom =

A dominant chord with an altered 5th or 9th (b5, #5, b9 #9)

b13 = #5
#11 = b5
shred is gaudy music
#3
you know, this is actually the one thing i've had some trouble with myself. while doing some extended chord construction exercises some time ago, i was told to construct a B13alt chord, and i was given absolutely no specification. quite honestly, i think this is ridiculous, because specification should be given since there are many possibilities of what might constitute an altered chord.

in my composition, i treat any chord that has a note that has been chromatically altered as an altered chord, so i use it very generally. maybe someone else here can help you better than i can on this matter.

Quote by GuitarMunky
Alt dom =

A dominant chord with an altered 5th or 9th (b5, #5, b9 #9)

b13 = #5
#11 = b5


...how did i not notice that before?
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
Last edited by AeolianWolf at Jul 9, 2010,
#4
Quote by GuitarMunky
Alt dom =

A dominant chord with an altered 5th or 9th (b5, #5, b9 #9)

b13 = #5
#11 = b5

So is an altered dominant just:

1 3 b5 7....
1 3 #5 7...
1 3 5 7 b9...
1 3 5 7 #9...
#5
Quote by DiminishedFifth
So is an altered dominant just:

1 3 b5 7....
1 3 #5 7...
1 3 5 7 b9...
1 3 5 7 #9...


yup. You could add various 11's and 13s in there as well. there are quite a few options....which is why you'll see (alt dominant) with no specifications. You can choose whatever alteration you want...... the chord retains it's function.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jul 9, 2010,
#6
Quote by GuitarMunky
yup. You could add various 11's and 13s in there as well.

I know That's what the ellipsis are there for.

But what makes an altered dominant chord so special that it deserves it's own title? I could have an altered tonic by #1 or b/#5.
#7
Thanks guys. So, to take it a step further, is there a case such as the A7 in the key of C example where you could treat the dominant 7 as altered and play an altered scale over it or something? That seems like it would make sense to me and I'm pretty sure I've seen it somewhere.
#8
Yea, like guitarmunky said. b5b9 is much more common than #5#9 in my experience, but both come up frequently enough
#9
Quote by Soadfan8
Thanks guys. So, to take it a step further, is there a case such as the A7 in the key of C example where you could treat the dominant 7 as altered and play an altered scale over it or something? That seems like it would make sense to me and I'm pretty sure I've seen it somewhere.


well you can treat pretty much any dominant 7th chord as altered. even if it has the natural 5th in it........ if you play a b5 over it = #11 play a #5 over it = b13

so yes anytime you see a dominant 7th chord, you could play an altered dominant scale over it. of course you should listen and decide whether or not you like it in the particular context.


Quote by DiminishedFifth
I know That's what the ellipsis are there for.

But what makes an altered dominant chord so special that it deserves it's own title? I could have an altered tonic by #1 or b/#5.


I don't know to be honest, I guess because it's a big category and commonly used.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jul 9, 2010,
#10
Quote by DiminishedFifth

But what makes an altered dominant chord so special that it deserves it's own title? I could have an altered tonic by #1 or b/#5.


Its own title, as in alt? It's just another name like secondary dominant or Neapolitan... The only difference is that you have more of a choice in how the voices interact.


Quote by AeolianWolf
i think this is ridiculous, because specification should be given since there are many possibilities of what might constitute an altered chord.


It's well known that the very infinite term 'alt' is more synonymous with jazz, where your ear, and improvisation, takes precedence over a stricter classical approach. If actually used in in an orchestral setting, I can only see things going wrong

And I've never seen the term used in a classical composition either, but I'm not overly versed in the contemporary and modern era...
#11
Thanks guitarmunky. Alright, so my last question (hopefully) is that I was looking through my fake book and actually did find a chord notated B7(alt). Does that leave me the room to choose which alterations I do, or is there a specific spelling for it?
#12
^Use your ear to see which one fits/sounds good.

They usually work best for creating chromatic motion, for example, if you played ii-Valt-I in E major, a common thing to do would be F#m7-B7(b9)-EM7, that way you have a C#-C-B walkdown to the tonic chord if voiced properly.
#13
Quote by Soadfan8
Thanks guys. So, to take it a step further, is there a case such as the A7 in the key of C example where you could treat the dominant 7 as altered and play an altered scale over it or something? That seems like it would make sense to me and I'm pretty sure I've seen it somewhere.
A7 in the key of C is simply a secondary dominant. VI7 = V7/iii. Now, if you altered this VI7, making it VI+7 or VI7#9 or something, then it would be an altered secondary dominant.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#14
I never use the name alt because of how vague it is. The difference between b5b9 and #5#9 is huge in terms of voiceleading.
i don't know why i feel so dry
#15
Quote by food1010
A7 in the key of C is simply a secondary dominant. VI7 = V7/iii. Now, if you altered this VI7, making it VI+7 or VI7#9 or something, then it would be an altered secondary dominant.


not quite. A7 could be viewed as a secondary dominant in the key of C major, but it's the V7/ii, not the V7/iii.

V7/iii in the key of C major would be B7.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#16
Quote by AeolianWolf
not quite. A7 could be viewed as a secondary dominant in the key of C major, but it's the V7/ii, not the V7/iii.

V7/iii in the key of C major would be B7.
Oh yeah

I even thought twice about that. I originally thought V7/iii then I was like "wait isn't it V7/ii? nah." I guess I didn't think hard enough haha.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#17
The A7 chord in Cmajor is what is known as a secondary dominant and is (usually) used to drag the harmony across to the Dm chord. Of course you could if you wish also make the Dm chord into a secondary dominant (D7) provided you (usually) then progress to the G7 chord which of course is the dominant of C Major, thus changing the chord sequence C Am Dm G7 to C- A7(sec dom)- D7(sec dom)- G7. Check out Robert Johnson Hot Tamales (they're red hot).

The altered dominant is easier than you think; just take a standard dominant 7th chord and throw in some "wrong" notes, usually at the top end of the chord. Each different combination of "wrong" notes will have a slightly different flavour so you will have to experiment with the different sounds 'til you find the one you want to use within the context of the piece of music in question, but as to the previous sequence you could try C (root 6 E type), A7#5#9 (root 6 E type), D9 (root 5), G7#5b9 (root 6 Etype), C69.
#18
Altered chords exist because when you alter a functioning V chord (going to a I in any key) it has a stronger resolution to the I chord then a normal V7 chord. and if I remember correctly, the altered scale is the b5 of the key's melodic minor. (could be wrong, but it is definitely a melodic minor scale).


of course i could be totally wrong and the jazz gods got bored and decided to make up new chords. who really knows?