#1
Hi, I have a question about dominant chords in jazz standards.

I know the 2-5-1 and some variations and that the 5th is the dominant chord
But sometimes in progressions the 6th chord is also dominant instead of a minor
But I have learned that it would be a minor if it would be modal.

I've found some info on the internet and it says that the dominant on the 6, is because its a dominant from dominant of the original 5th dominant.
Is this true?

Can someone explain me why exactly or guide me to the info.(hard to find on google because I only get literal 6th chords info)

I would really like to know when i can use a minor or dominant and if there are rules for them.

Thanks in advance!


ps; this was the chord progression that made me question this.

Cmaj7 Am7 | Dm7 G7 | Em7 A7 | Dm7 G7 -
http://www.jazzguitar.be/jazz_chord_progressions.html#sthash.509t4T3i.dpuf
#2
In the progression you use as an example, the A7 would be the dominant chord in the key of D minor, so it resolves to the Dm7 chord very well. It's just a borrowed chord, I might not remember this in English but I believe the proper term is secondary dominant. You can take pretty much any chord in a progression, slap a dominant chord a fifth higher before it, and make a secondary dominant. So, it's not really the matter of only the 6th chord sometimes being dominant, you could also use E7 before Am7, or a B7 before Em7 for a similar effect. In a way, you're momentarily stepping out of the key with a V-I resolution, but instantly returning back to the original key.

You can also chain dominants together indefinitely. You could play B7-E7-A7-D7-G7-C7-F7 etc etc and while it might sound silly it's still functional. But usually in jazz and other styles the dominant chains are shorter, or just a single secondary dominant like your example.
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#3
Thanks for the fast reply!
Was exactly the answer I was looking for.
I try not to drown myself with chord substitutions and the like, but I saw the dom on the 6th alot of times so was curious.

Thanks again!
#4
There are really no rules. But the dominant chord most naturally resolves a fifth down. G7 naturally resolves to C or Cm, A7 naturally resolves to D or Dm, etc.

A lot of standard jazz harmony moves in fifths. If we take your progression as an example, There is a fifth between Am7 and Dm7. There's also a fifth between Dm7 and G7. Same with Em7 and A7, and A7 and Dm7, and of course the Dm7 and G7 again.

But yeah, there are no rules. There are just common practices. You can do whatever you want, and as long as it sounds good, it is good. You are not breaking the rules and there are no rules that you need to follow. But of course it's good to know the common practices and the explanation for weird "out of key" chord in the progression.

Moving in fifths just creates a really traditional sound. It sounds natural, but it can also sound a bit cliched because so many songs are based on it.

If you move down a fifth, you can usually replace the chord (moving down a fifth) with a dominant chord. So in your example most of the chords could be replaced with dominant 7th chords and it would still sound natural (because all of the dominant chords would resolve naturally a fifth down). If we try this, the progression would become Cmaj7 A7 D7 G7 E7 A7 D7 G7. A7 is the dominant of D. D7 is the dominant of G. E7 is the dominant of A. It sounds natural because the dominant chords resolve naturally.
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#5
Four things:
1/ Jazz may wander through many tonal centres over a short progression ... e.g. the ii V sets up the I (i), such as Am7 D7 G, but then the G is switched to be a m7, and itself becomes the ii of the next ii-V, and so on. There are many variations on this.

2/ Substitutions relocate the dom chord from where the V would be (e.g, tritone relocates it to bII), so ii V I becomes ii bII I (Am7, Ab7(b5)m G). Then, because of the diminished effect, you can place the 7 chord at any root (multiples of) 3 semitones away. The augmented effect givces 7 chord roots 4 semitones apart. There are other forms of this as well

3/ Borrowing from other modes. E.g. F7 G ... (FIn G mixolydian, F7 is present). now the dominant isn't doing its usual job, but it just sounds good

4/ Secondary dominants ... promoting a non-7 chord in a diatonic scale to a 7 (provided there is a target chord a 4th higher), for more weight to the change. Here, classical theorists will start labelling these as V7 of ... (e.g. V7/II, meaning the II chord of the scale is the target). Jazz players may or may not use this convention, or they may see this as V-I, where the I is the target. Names aside, these are transient, and not disturbing the key you're working with (assuming you have a mostly diatonic chord progression), If everything gets mucked up, you lose the sense of (e.g. being in major) but the tonal centre still stays apparent.

A really important point to bear in mind is that you DON'T have to chase the chords (unless you're being true to bebop) ... i.e you don;t need to keep finding the "right" scale per chord. Same way as you don't when playing purely diatonic music.
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Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Nov 23, 2016,
#6
Quote by Tiimmo19
Hi, I have a question about dominant chords in jazz standards.

I know the 2-5-1 and some variations and that the 5th is the dominant chord
But sometimes in progressions the 6th chord is also dominant instead of a minor
But I have learned that it would be a minor if it would be modal.

I've found some info on the internet and it says that the dominant on the 6, is because its a dominant from dominant of the original 5th dominant.
Is this true?

Can someone explain me why exactly or guide me to the info.(hard to find on google because I only get literal 6th chords info)

I would really like to know when i can use a minor or dominant and if there are rules for them.

Thanks in advance!


ps; this was the chord progression that made me question this.

Cmaj7 Am7 | Dm7 G7 | Em7 A7 | Dm7 G7 -
http://www.jazzguitar.be/jazz_chord_progressions.html#sthash.509t4T3i.dpuf
As Kevätuhri [em] says, "secondary dominant" is the term you're looking for. In that example the A7 wouldn't be written as "VI", but as "V/ii" = dominant of the ii chord (Dm).

A key can have 5 secondary dominants. In key of C major, you might well find any or all of these:

D, to lead to G (V/V)
A, to lead to Dm (V/ii)
E, to lead to Am (V/vi)
B, to lead to Em (V/iii)
C7, to lead to F (V/IV)

The first 4 don't need a 7th to have their dominant function. The major 3rd (chromatic to C major) is enough, along with the V relationship to the following chord. C is the tonic (I), of course, and its major 3rd is diatonic. So to become V/IV, it needs the chromatic b7 (Bb) to act as V of F. Naturally you can add 7ths to the others if you want: their 7ths are all diatonic to C major, but they will help give the chord extra tension. (And 7th chords are the standard form in jazz anyway.)

The vii chord (Bdim, or Bm7b5) can't have its own secondary dominant - - because it can't be a tonic in its own right, as the others could be. (Yeah life is cruel...)

The standard "ii-V-I" jazz cadence means that secondary V chords are usually (except in the oldest jazz) preceded by secondary ii chords ("secondary supertonics"). In your example, you could interpret Em7 as ii of Dm, as well as iii of C major (which would make it a "pivot chord"). But a normal secondary ii chord in that position would be Em7b5, because that comes from D minor, whereas Em7 doesn't.
So it's worth looking out for those too: ii-V pairs. "m7-7" pairs imply a major target chord (as in Em7-A7-D), while "m7b5-7b9" imply a minor target (Em7b5-A7b9-Dm) - but they are often switched around.
And its also common for ii-V pairs to appear without their implied target chord. So you'll often see Em7-A7 moving to Am7-D7 (ii-V in D to ii-V in G).

Just to complicate matters - - Jazz uses dom7 chords in other ways too, most commonly the "tritone substitute", where a dom7 a tritone away from the original dom7 is used. So in place of that A7 in C major (heading for Dm7) you might see Eb7.
Last edited by jongtr at Nov 23, 2016,
#7
jongtr Thanks for taking your time to write this!
I know where to go now and what to learn, thank you very much!