#1
ive been wanting to get into smooth jazz for a very long time (its one of my favorite genres), but theres one part i dont really get: the chord progressions

i know a lot of theory and im very skilled with diatonic progressions, but one of the key elements of jazz (and in this case smooth jazz) is key changes

for example, one of the demo songs on my keyboard has this progression: FM7, E7, Am7, Gm7. this one isnt too bad, but the transition after it is pretty odd to me: FM7, AbM7, C#M7

i guess what im wondering is, what exactly is the mindset behind weird chord progressions like this? how do i get that odd yet smooth "jazzy" sound from my chord progressions, without sounding too "try-hard"?
#2
It sounds to me like a Key change to Ab at that point.
Its in C first, going 4,3D,6,5m. then 4 again but then changes key to Ab which becomes, 1 and 4 for the last two chords.

As far as how to get these progression? use your ears. Think about what exactly you love about smooth jazz and then Replicate that without thinking about whats right and wrong in diatonic.

And btw might also not be a key change that depends on the context of it all, but judging from just one guitar playing the chords im pretty certain it is on.e
#3
The bVI is actually a pretty common borrowed chord in diatonic music, especially with the M7. Off the top of my head I know John Mayer uses it in Gravity: EbM7 to D7 (in the key of G).
Last edited by billytalent77 at Jan 24, 2014,
#4
Quote by pAWNlol
ive been wanting to get into smooth jazz for a very long time (its one of my favorite genres), but theres one part i dont really get: the chord progressions

i know a lot of theory and im very skilled with diatonic progressions, but one of the key elements of jazz (and in this case smooth jazz) is key changes

for example, one of the demo songs on my keyboard has this progression: FM7, E7, Am7, Gm7. this one isnt too bad, but the transition after it is pretty odd to me: FM7, AbM7, C#M7

i guess what im wondering is, what exactly is the mindset behind weird chord progressions like this? how do i get that odd yet smooth "jazzy" sound from my chord progressions, without sounding too "try-hard"?


Fmaj7 = I
E7 Secondary Dominant of Am7 (the V/iii)
Gmi7 - ii

Abmaj7 sounds like a bIII . Key change making Ab the new key. It's common to see a jazz tune modulate up a minor 3rd. Blue Bossa does that from C to Eb, for instance.

My guess is your C#maj7 is actually Dbmaj7 (the IV) of the Key of Ab major. Both the IV and I chords in a key tend to be major 7ths when extended diatonic to the key.

You may want to begin to branch out from Diatonic Harmony if you have a handle on it.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Jan 24, 2014,
#5
@ignore: i wouldnt call it a key change because it goes right back to C major afterwards

@sean: the song is actually based in C major. and like i said to ignore, it wouldnt really be a full key change because it goes right back to C, but i do plan on branching from diatonic harmony

@billy: i had almost completely forgotten about borrowed chords. i really should mess with that more often because thats probably where a lot of jazz progressions come from
#6
All right.

Modified then, if it resolves on C

Fmaj7 = IV
E7 Secondary Dominant of Am7 (the V/vi)
Gm7 - v (borrowed from Parallel Minor)

Abmaj7 sounds like a bVI . Key change making Ab the new key momentarily.

My guess is your C#maj7 is actually Dbmaj7 (the IV) of the Key of Ab major. Both the IV and I chords in a key tend to be major 7ths when extended diatonic to the key.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Jan 24, 2014,
#7
Quote by Sean0913
All right.

Modified then, if it resolves on C

Fmaj7 = IV
E7 Secondary Dominant of Am7 (the V/vi)
Gm7 - v (borrowed from Parallel Minor)

Abmaj7 sounds like a bVI . Key change making Ab the new key momentarily.

My guess is your C#maj7 is actually Dbmaj7 (the IV) of the Key of Ab major. Both the IV and I chords in a key tend to be major 7ths when extended diatonic to the key.

Best,

Sean

you might be right about the Db thing. my keyboard (when listing the chords) doesnt show Db, only C#. oddly enough, they only black keys listed as sharps are F and C. all other black keys are some sort of flat

also, i really need to get back into secondary chords too
#8
okay, heres the whole progression of the song, with note value listed afterwards (w=whole h=half, q=quarter, .=dotted, r=rest etc.). this is partially so you can explain the reasoning behind some of the parts, also so you can get a taste of what it sounds like (for a demo song, its damn good)

Dm7 (w), Dm add6 (w), Dm7 (w) Dm add6 (h) Ab7 (q) G7 (q)
^ this part i love

FM7 (w), E7 (w), Am7 (w) Gm7 (h) C7 (h)
^not bad, i understand it

FM7 (w), AbM7 (w), C#/DbM7 (w) Dm7 (q) Ab7 (q), Gm7 (q) C#/Db7 (q)
this whole part is still a little odd to me (not so much on the part you guys explained). but the part with all the quarter note chords is just bizarre to me

CM7 (w), Bm7 (h) E7 (h), Am7 (h.) Ab7 (q) Gm7 (h), C7 (h)
^pretty normal. Ab is just a passing tone of some sort

FM7 (w), AbM7 (w)
^this again

then CM7 for two measures

qr Ab (h.), Bb7 sus4 (w), qr Ab (h.), Bb7 sus4 (w), B7 sus4, (w), C7 sus4 (w), C#/Db7 sus4 (w)
^chorus. the chords themselves arent so odd, but the shift to this key is what i dont get

Ebm7 (q), Gø7 (q), F#ø7 (q), Fø7 (q)
^another weird transition

then it just repeats previous parts at the end