#1
I learned this a few days ago and just want to verify that I remember correctly
and also where does the Dom7#11 chord come from.

So in the key of G maj
lets say my progression is A min,G#7(my tri tone sub for D7) and finally G maj.

I was told using Lydian Dominant would be good over the G#7 chord

question being, where does the #11 come from in the chord? I know it's a Melodic Minor mode, but still can't see the #11, maybe i'm over thinking it but hopefully someone can spell it out for me!
thanks guys.
#2
#11 from Ab is D. It is diatonic to the key of G major. Also, Ab7 is a tritone substitution for D7 so it's kind of logical.


Also, you could think the Ab7 in the key of G as a D7 that just has an Ab in the bass. Because that's how it actually functions. If you look at voice leading, the 7th of that chord functions as the leading tone, not really as the 7th of the chord. So it is actually a D7 chord with just a different bass note. Playing a Db instead of a D natural would be kind of strange.


Also, I would call it Ab7, not G#7 because it resolves down to G. If you move chromatically, Ab "wants" to go down, G# "wants" to go up.
Quote by AlanHB
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#3
What MaggaraMarine said ^

Quote by enloartworks
...G#7[Ab7](my tri tone sub for D7)...

[Ab7#11]...question being, where does the #11[D] come from in the chord?
Si
#4
Ok. That helped A lot. Kind if realizing that the answer was in the question lol. So thats where the use of the lydian dominant comes to play from substituting the Ab7 which creates a Ab7#11 chord (d becomimg the sharp 11)? Resolves down to G right?
#5
Quote by enloartworks
Ok. That helped A lot. Kind if realizing that the answer was in the question lol. So thats where the use of the lydian dominant comes to play from substituting the Ab7 (I think you meant D7 here) which creates a Ab7#11 chord (d becomimg the sharp 11)? Resolves down to G right?


Yeah, Lydian Dominant is mostly used on tritone subs. So if you take all the Secondary Dominants in a key (let's take C major as an example):

G7 A7 B7 C7 D7 E7.

And find all of their tri-tone subs.

Db7 Eb7 Gb7 Ab7 Bb7

All those Tri-tone subs use Lydian dominant. At least that is how the scale mostly work when dealing with functional harmony.
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#6
Quote by enloartworks
Ok. That helped A lot. Kind if realizing that the answer was in the question lol. So thats where the use of the lydian dominant comes to play from substituting the Ab7 which creates a Ab7#11 chord (d becomimg the sharp 11)? Resolves down to G right?
Yes.
It's a little more common to resolve down to Gm, because altered dominants are more common in minor keys.
Eg. "D7alt" (altered 5th and 9th) is really the same chord as Ab7#11, it just has a different bass note. In jazz, the chords are taken from the same group of notes. Some see it as a mode of Eb melodic minor, but in reality it's as MaggaraMarine implies: it's about creating a chord with a whole bunch of chromatic voice-leading, and you call that chord an "altered V7" or a "bII7", depending on which bass note you choose.
You don't get the chord by harmonising a mode of melodic minor. It's vice versa: you get the scale by adding up all the chord tones and alterations.

In the case of Ab7#11, you already have 5 chord tones: Ab C Eb Gb D. You only need a B and F of some kind. It's not hard to guess that the most obvious choices are Bb and F (9th and 13th of the chord).
But it's not about the scale - it's about the various resolutions on to the next chord.

Seeing the chord as Ab7 (rather than D7) obviously suggests how many half-step moves you can make on to a G chord (and you should be able see upward ones as well as downward ones). And you can regard the 6 and 9 of G as targets too.
Here's how they all work:
Ab > G or A
C > B (same as with D7 of course)
Eb > D or E
Gb (F#) > G (as with D7)
D > D (shared tone)
Bb > A or B
F > E (or just maybe the maj7, F#)

...

BTW, you also see lydian dominant chords used as bVII in major keys, resolving up to I - the so-called "backdoor progression".
The same rule MM mentions about scale choice applies: use the chord tones, and add other notes from the diatonic scale.
So if you see a Bb7 in key of C major (resolving to C), you have the 4 chord tones, Bb D F Ab. Add the other 3 notes from the C major scale: C E G. There's your scale (call it "Bb lydian dominant" if you like fancy names ).
In fact, although you'd think it moves up a whole step, this chord also has some neat half-step descents to the major tonic: think of an Fm triad (5-7-9 of Bb7) descending to an Em triad (rootless Cmaj7).
This is why it's often seen as a sub for the minor iv chord (Fm).
#7
Quote by jongtr
In fact, although you'd think it moves up a whole step, this chord also has some neat half-step descents to the major tonic: think of an Fm triad (5-7-9 of Bb7) descending to an Em triad (rootless Cmaj7).

I've always followed tradition and see it as the b7 of the Bb7 stepping down to the 5th of the resolution chord rather than the 3rd like that of the conventional resolution but that's a neat way to look at it. Thanks
#8
Quote by enloartworks
I learned this a few days ago and just want to verify that I remember correctly
and also where does the Dom7#11 chord come from.

So in the key of G maj
lets say my progression is A min,G#7(my tri tone sub for D7) and finally G maj.

I was told using Lydian Dominant would be good over the G#7 chord

question being, where does the #11 come from in the chord? I know it's a Melodic Minor mode, but still can't see the #11, maybe i'm over thinking it but hopefully someone can spell it out for me!
thanks guys.


Lydian dominant spelling: 1, 2, 3, #4, 5, 6, b7.

If you build a chord in thirds from this, you get

1, 3, 5, b7, 9 (2), #11 (#4), 13

Squidge that down in one octave, but keeping the names of the tensions:

1, 9, 3, #11, 5, 13, b7 (you're not literally required to play a #11 above the root, which would literally be 18 semitones away) ... these tensions can appear in any octave, including the same octave as the root.

It comes from 4th mode of melodic minor.

Great for resolving down a semitone. Even if just grooving over a chord (e.g Am7 or A7), then it sounds great to stick in licks from Bb Lydian b7 every now and again. Bit more out there ... instead of using Lydian b7 rooted off the b2 of the target chord, can also root if off the 3, b5 and 6 of the target (even if that doesn't exist in the target). Easy way to get going is just use the maj triad as a note source from the Lydian b7, and mix that with the 1, (b)3, 5 of the target chord.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Apr 1, 2016,
#9
In the case of Ab7#11, you already have 5 chord tones: Ab C Eb Gb D. You only need a B and F of some kind. It's not hard to guess that the most obvious choices are Bb and F (9th and 13th of the chord).


ok i'm getting it a bit more now.
so as you said the Ab7#11 you have 5 chord tones. how do you go about picking the other 2 the 9th and 13th. What makes you choose the natural 9th and 13th vs using the Flat ones?
#10
Quote by MaggaraMarine
#11 from Ab is D. It is diatonic to the key of G major. Also, Ab7 is a tritone substitution for D7 so it's kind of logical.


Also, you could think the Ab7 in the key of G as a D7 that just has an Ab in the bass. Because that's how it actually functions. If you look at voice leading, the 7th of that chord functions as the leading tone, not really as the 7th of the chord. So it is actually a D7 chord with just a different bass note. Playing a Db instead of a D natural would be kind of strange.


Also, I would call it Ab7, not G#7 because it resolves down to G. If you move chromatically, Ab "wants" to go down, G# "wants" to go up.



if you see it as a D7 with an Ab on the bass, the Ab would be the D7s #11 right?
would you play Ab lydian dom or D lydian dominant??
Last edited by enloartworks at Apr 1, 2016,
#11
Quote by enloartworks

ok i'm getting it a bit more now.
so as you said the Ab7#11 you have 5 chord tones. how do you go about picking the other 2 the 9th and 13th. What makes you choose the natural 9th and 13th vs using the Flat ones?

You could also choose flat ones. It's all up to you and the sound you are after. If you used a flat 9th and a flat 13th, it would become Ab alt scale.

There are no right or wrong choices. But there are more and less common choices. There are many different scales that you can play over dominant 7th chords.


^ Ab lydian dom, not D lydian dom. My point was that the Ab7 chord actually functions as a D7 with a different bass note. I wasn't really talking about chord scales. It was more about understanding functional harmony (that's actually where chord scales come from). I was just explaining where the D comes from. Ab lydian dominant is the same notes as D altered scale. Both are the same notes as Eb melodic minor.


Maybe learn about chord functions before starting to experiment with CST. It makes you understand CST a lot better. I don't even play much jazz but I understand where CST comes from. I understand it as a concept.


As you can see, D7b5 and Ab7#11 are the same notes. They just have different bass notes.



When it comes to chord functions, in the key of G, an Ab7#11 functions as a D7b5 with Ab in bass. It's a tritone substitution for the dominant, meaning that it has the same function as the dominant chord.
Quote by AlanHB
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Apr 1, 2016,
#12
ok ok i THINK i got it. So lets say in the example i gave when I see it as Ab7 over D = Dalt which would give me the scale D Altered which is the same notes as the Ab lydian. If lets say the bass sticks to the D (no pun intended lol) and I played the Ab7 = Dalt?
if the bass played the Ab and I played the Ab7 = Ab lydian dom...

ultimately i'm seeing it as just playing D altered.
#14
Quote by enloartworks
ultimately i'm seeing it as just playing D altered.


Basically, yes.

In a dominant, the functional tones are the 3rd and 7th, which make the tritone. Since a tritone is symmetrical (it can resolve by step either inward or outward), any chord that contains that tritone can resolve to the tonic. D7 and Ab7 contain the same tritone, therefore, they can both resolve to G (or C#).

As far as the relevant scales go, it's easier to understand them as big arpeggios, just spelled in steps instead of thirds. Look at your Ab7#11 fully extended: Ab C Eb Gb Bb D F. Rearrange stepwise: Ab Bb C D Eb F Gb... which spells Ab lydian dominant. And if you re-spell on D, yes, it spells a D altered scale (aka "diminished/wholetone").
Last edited by cdgraves at Apr 1, 2016,
#15
Quote by enloartworks
ok ok i THINK i got it. So lets say in the example i gave when I see it as Ab7 over D = Dalt which would give me the scale D Altered which is the same notes as the Ab lydian. If lets say the bass sticks to the D (no pun intended lol) and I played the Ab7 = Dalt?
if the bass played the Ab and I played the Ab7 = Ab lydian dom...

ultimately i'm seeing it as just playing D altered.


This comes down to modes, and how to make related modes (i.e with identical notes) sound different ... and that comes to emphasis of the important notes in the mode.

e.g D alt to G-7

(descending) D C Bb F# (up to C and descend again) C Bb | A

e.g. Ab Lydian to G-7

(descending) Ab Gb Eb C (up to D and ascend) D Eb | E
#16
Quote by jerrykramskoy

It comes from 4th mode of melodic minor.
It doesn't, not really. That's a myth.
It just happens to match 4th mode of melodic minor.
#17
Quote by enloartworks
ok ok i THINK i got it. So lets say in the example i gave when I see it as Ab7 over D = Dalt which would give me the scale D Altered which is the same notes as the Ab lydian.
Lydian dominant. Ie lydian with a b7/ Or mixolydian with a #4 if you like.
Quote by enloartworks
If lets say the bass sticks to the D (no pun intended lol) and I played the Ab7 = Dalt?
More or less, yes.
Quote by enloartworks

if the bass played the Ab and I played the Ab7 = Ab lydian dom...
Yes - remembering it's the D note that would be make it "lydian", relative to the Ab.
Quote by enloartworks

ultimately i'm seeing it as just playing D altered.
Yes that's fine.
And don't forget the purpose of the alterations: not to make a funky sound on the chord itself, but for chromatic voice-leading between the chords either side.
#20
That's the question I always had. Did tritone subs exist in jazz before the lydian dominant became a thing or vice versa? Did Bird use the #11 in his tritone substitution?
#21
Quote by jerrykramskoy
??

Last time I looked, the 4th mode of MM is known as Lydian b7.
Yes. My point is that the similarity is merely coincidence. A useful memory aid. (If you know your melodic minor scales well enough, and if you find thinking in scales is useful ).

The scale employed on altered dominants and their tritone subs is derived from the chord tones and alterations, not from the melodic minor scale of another key. IOW, the diatonic scale is altered in various ways to provide some interesting chromatic voice-leading (typically on a V-I cadence). Those alterations - taken as a complete set - happen to end up resembling (with some enharmonic respelling) a mode of melodic minor. It's a meaningless resemblance, but some find it handy.

It's useful for jazz theorists (and maybe for players too) to notice that melodic minor can be harmonised in various ways that match a few common chromatic chord types in functional harmony. But that's reverse engineering. The chords in question weren't derived from melodic minor in the first place.

The only chord (in jazz) that can reasonably (but still debatably) be said to derive from melodic minor is the tonic chord in a minor key, where the melodic minor scale provides the most suitable set of extensions (6, maj7, 9).
#22
Quote by donfully
That's the question I always had. Did tritone subs exist in jazz before the lydian dominant became a thing or vice versa? Did Bird use the #11 in his tritone substitution?
Good question.
My guess is that tritone subs came first. Something similar exists in classical music after all (one type of augmented 6th chord resembles what jazz calls a tritone sub).
The composers who wrote the standards that Bird's generation improvised on would have written such chords into their tunes (unconcerned about how jazz musicians might treat them).
I suspect Bird would have negotiated chromatic harmonies via the chord tones, adding any upper extensions he thought sounded good. The Bird solos I've studied seem to be based mostly on arpeggios (including b9s), with chromatic approaches more evident than the "upper structures" he's often described as reaching for.
I'd need to check through my omnibook more thoroughly to see how he treated bII7 or bVII7 chords. (Those I've spotted on a quick look don't feature #11s in his phrasing.)

There's always this tension in jazz theory between "what the masters actually did", and "what we think they could have done" .
Or between "what they actually did" and "what we guess (with hindsight) they were thinking when they did it".
#23
Quote by jongtr
It's useful for jazz theorists (and maybe for players too) to notice that melodic minor can be harmonised in various ways that match a few common chromatic chord types in functional harmony. But that's reverse engineering. The chords in question weren't derived from melodic minor in the first place.


THis is worth emphasizing. Like all theoretical concepts, it's a means of description, and in the case of the melodic minor modes, it was a genius observation to see that the common practice of improv lined up with those scales. If you're like a jazz student at college or something and have a ton of practice time, you can work on applying the modal concept, but I would prioritize if you're anything less than immersed in jazz.

As I pointed out earlier, jazz "modes" are just arpeggios. They are re-spelled into a scale, but they are literally just the chord tones you'd use if you used fully extended chords (not that you ever would).

For the player, this means that the approach still needs to be chord-based as long as you are playing traditional jazz. Modal jazz is its own thing, harmonically. With every chord you should be looking at the voice leading lines before anything else. Stepwise resolutions make for nice melodies, as a rule of thumb.

Since rhythm is really the meat of the melody, it's easy to practice solos by playing just one chord tone per measure while doing interesting rhythmic things with that single note. Once you can voice lead various chord tones all the way through the chart, slowly add in other melodic notes (diatonic or chromatic), while keeping the chord tone on the downbeat.
Last edited by cdgraves at Apr 3, 2016,
#24
All my +1 to Jon.

A helpful analogy is if you think of MM and its various modes, when applied, as jacking up /colorizing the harmony.

Cmaj7 + MM mode (Lydian+ in this case) = Cmaj7#5.

D7 + Lydian Dominant = D9 (#11 13)

Melodic minor sounds are not Tonal by themselves. But we use the colors provided to increase color and tension in tonal progressions. You can strip the MM out of a complex chord sequence until you are left with regular functional harmony, which is exactly what is going on in jazz and related genres.

P.S.

You guys are on the right track about the origin of Tritone subs and how they relate to extended chords. Allow me to point out this:

G7 fully altered = 1 3 #11(spelled b5)* b7 b9 #9(spelled b3) b13 = G B Db F Ab Bb Eb

Swap the order of a few notes, change spelling and we get:

Db9 (#11 13) = 1 3 5 b7 9 #11 13 = Db F Ab Cb Eb G Bb

Notice how the order of the pitches is preserved? The Db Lydian Dominant arpeggio is the SAME pitch collection and order as a G7alt arpeggio starting on the b5. There's your tritone relationship.

Both sets of notes are the 7 pitches in Ab MM, just swapped around. The upper structure of an altered chord is a lydian dominant chord, and vice versa.
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#25
Quote by Jet Penguin

G7 fully altered = 1 3 #11(spelled b5)* b7 b9 #9(spelled b3) b13 = G B Db F Ab Bb Eb

Swap the order of a few notes, change spelling and we get:

Db9 (#11 13) = 1 3 5 b7 9 #11 13 = Db F Ab Cb Eb G Bb

Notice how the order of the pitches is preserved? The Db Lydian Dominant arpeggio is the SAME pitch collection and order as a G7alt arpeggio starting on the b5. There's your tritone relationship.

Both sets of notes are the 7 pitches in Ab MM, just swapped around. The upper structure of an altered chord is a lydian dominant chord, and vice versa.
Precisely. But can we leave melodic minor out of it now?

My view is that the whole altered dominant idea derived from the bII idea, not vice versa. Or rather, it started from looking for chromatic transitions from V7 to I, more half-step options to go with the 7-1 and 4-3.

I.e., - hypothetically - the first thing you do with a plain V7 is flatten the 5th to get a chromatic line down to the tonic.
Then you notice that when you do that, the chord looks like a V7b5 a tritone away. G7b5 = Db7b5.
Then you also think: if we have the 9th of the G7, that can also flatten for an additional chromatic descent, meaning we now have a complete Db7 with a #11 (G).
One more step, and the 13th of G7 can go down to the 9th of Db7.
We can now dispense with the G7 entirely (save for its root, like the smile of the Cheshire cat ), because all those voices will connect direct from the ii chord (and its diatonic extensions) to the I chord (and its diatonic extensions).

All the time, we're creating half-step voice-leading - beginning with the b5 on the V7, seeing the tritone sub, and using that to get all the other possible voice moves.
Then if we keep the original V bass note, what we're left with is an altered dominant (with either kind of altered 5th and either kind of altered 9th).

Then some jazz theorist comes along and ruins it all by talking about "scales", and - worse - spotting the resemblance to a melodic minor scale. As if that is some kind of "explanation".

I'm not saying, of course, that this is actually what happened. But I do know that the melodic minor idea is a huge distraction from how the music actually works, and is therefore of no good use to an improviser. What the altered dominant (and its inversion, the lydian dominant bII) does is enshrine all kinds of melodic voice-leading between the chords - between the ii and I, essentially, preserving just the 1-3-7 of V. That's how improvisers need to think: melodically from chord to chord. Scale thinking is a distraction, because the notes you need are all there in the chords (and in the "chromatic approach" principle).
Last edited by jongtr at Apr 4, 2016,
#26
Quote by jongtr
Yes. My point is that the similarity is merely coincidence. A useful memory aid. (If you know your melodic minor scales well enough, and if you find thinking in scales is useful ).

The scale employed on altered dominants and their tritone subs is derived from the chord tones and alterations, not from the melodic minor scale of another key. IOW, the diatonic scale is altered in various ways to provide some interesting chromatic voice-leading (typically on a V-I cadence). Those alterations - taken as a complete set - happen to end up resembling (with some enharmonic respelling) a mode of melodic minor. It's a meaningless resemblance, but some find it handy.

It's useful for jazz theorists (and maybe for players too) to notice that melodic minor can be harmonised in various ways that match a few common chromatic chord types in functional harmony. But that's reverse engineering. The chords in question weren't derived from melodic minor in the first place.

The only chord (in jazz) that can reasonably (but still debatably) be said to derive from melodic minor is the tonic chord in a minor key, where the melodic minor scale provides the most suitable set of extensions (6, maj7, 9).


We'll have to disagree on your first point. CST is a recent concept.

Lydian b7 has been used since 1959 at least as an approach, and there wasn't CST then. I know a few seriously good jazz players that use it consciously. You may know others (and yourself) that purely use chord tones and approaches ...

Each to their own. Both approaches do a great job.
#27
Agreed.

Just because the origin and description of these harmonic devices does not match the "Melodic Minor coincidence" does not mean that this organization and similarity is an invalid improvisational, theoretical, and compositional strategy.

Like every other thing we talk about on here, a knowledge of the concepts themselves needs to be combined with an understanding of how harmony works in order to fully inform our playing and theorizing.

Neither MM-organization nor chromatic voice leading exist in a vacuum.
"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