#1
Hey guys! I haven't dropped by on this forum in quite awhile. It makes me feel a bit nostalgic considering I first began studying here when I was 13 and I'm 17 now. I'm glad to see that things are still up and lively. This forum has always been intensely helpful when it came to any music theory related questions I've had so I decided to drop by again. This time with my question being related to extended harmony.

I feel like I'm at a point where I understand 7th harmony fairly well and have an adequate idea of its applications. The only chords that I'm fairly ignorant with in regards to its applications in modern music are those with extensions. All I really know is that the fifth is often omitted and that these types of chords are mostly commonly used in jazz.

I just recently bought a midi keyboard with 88 keys so I'm really interested in finishing my knowledge of harmony which I never really felt like I completed. I want to take it one step at a time and finish up extended harmony before I move into things like chromatic harmony and borrowing chords from parallel keys.
#2
For extended chords I would check out Herbie Hancock and Jaco Pastorius. That's all I can think of in this moment. Also, as for as extended chords go, see them as something with more opportunities to play something over as opposed to something you have to play one certain thing over. They are like a chord being played over another chord. If you look at the notes in an extended chord you will see multiple chords inside of it. Major, minor, dominant, diminished, augmented. When it comes to extended chords it's all about context. Look at what's being played around it and what notes are in each chord. What notes are being stressed as the the harmonic rhythm moves? Is the C7 that's inside the Amb9 going to give you something juicy for the movement to the next chord? It's all context.
#3
The omission of a 5th is as much a playbility issue (at least on guitar), as well as thinning out the sound. In terms of application, use of extensions are genre-specific. Some are used purely for their own sounds, without any necessity for the chord to move anywhere (i.e. don't have to be functional), e.g. maj9, m9, maj9#11. Some are too unstable sounding for protracted use ... in particular, those with a b9 (b2). So, they're more likely to either be avoided, or to be used functionally.

Pragmatically, if you look at any scale member of the major scale, and look at the number of semitones from that member to its next higher member, it's easy to see which scale chords have the b9. For example, in C major, E->F and B->C are both semitones, so the E chord will have a b9 (Em7 plus b9 = Em7b9), as does the B chord (Bm7b5 plus b9 = Bm7b5b9), so aren much more likely to be used functionally, or just for sonic effect. The remaining scale members all have 9, not b9.

Any ninth chord can be thought of in various ways

a triad, with anothe triad stacked off the fifth of the flower triad.
a seventh chord with the 9th added
a seventh chord starting off the 3rd of the ninth.

These will all give you different flavours for improvisation/writing (assuming someone is still playing the root of the 9th chord).

The same logic applies to 11ths, and 13ths. Just a bigger stack is getting formed.

Where you need to careful is omitting the 5th everywhere (across all instruments) ... this can change the actual chord root unintentionally.

Frank Gambale's books are good.

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Oct 17, 2014,
#4
Good stuff Jerry, although I would add two things:

It is extremely rare to see a IIIm7 (b9) outside of a modal context, so it may be more accurate to call that an incomplete voicing of what is most likely an Fmaj7 ( 1 9 7 #11) or G7 (1 3 7 13) type sound. Chords only function in a context after all. But I digress.

The other thing is OP should be aware when working out voicings, that putting a 9th(sometimes) or 11th/13th (always) in the bass actually changes the root of the chord. The chord tends to function and behave as if that tension was the root.

My actual advice to OP: All you have to do is stack 3rds. For now, stick to diatonic extensions, and move into altered sounds after you have a good command on the harmony.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#5
while the above info from jerry & jet is good..if your new to extended/altered chords it would be good to study some jazz harmony..now saying that opens a flood of information..many methods and ways to get to the same place..some easy-some complicated..if you can find a good jazz teacher..keyboard or guitar..to show you some harmonic ways to use chords..it is quite an interesting study..with lots of tricks that you have heard before but may not have realized it..example...the E7#9 chord..many call the "Hendrix chord" that's one way of seeing it..it could also be a Bb13b5 (E in the bass)..and this type of thing opens the topic of voice leading and or chord substitution..which takes a bit of work to get under your fingers .. but if you have the desire to study jazz .. this type of stuff will keep you busy for quite a while..

play well

wolf
Last edited by wolflen at Oct 26, 2014,
#6
Quote by wolflen
example...the E7#9 chord..many call the "Hendrix chord" that's one way of seeing it..it could also be a Bb13b5 (E in the bass)..and this type of thing opens the topic of voice leading and or chord substitution..which takes a bit of work to get under your fingers .. but if you have the desire to study jazz .. this type of stuff will keep you busy for quite a while..

play well

wolf


Amen to that! But should come with a health warning. This stuff is totally addictive once your hear the sounds created. I've been hooked for many years, and still learning new ways of doing business on the guitar, through substitutions etc.

Jet: good points, especially the ninth in the bass.