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  1. #1
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    I need help with identifying some chords

    Hello Jazz Guitar community! I am Max from Germany and stumbled across a few chords, that i have a hard time with analyzing. Maybe someone could help me out.

    The first chord:

    6x567x

    Of course you can think of it as an A7/13 with the b9 in the bass. And I like to use it that way, for example resolving to DMaj7.

    But often I use it when making a turnaround progression (to G Major, in this case):

    7x578x (G/B)
    6x567x (?)
    5x555x (A-7)
    5x455x (A-6)

    It sounds to me like a secondary dominant resolving to the II-Chord, which is A-7.
    But I cannot analyze this chord in that way. With the bass movement going down a half step from Bb to A, that reminds me of a tritone sub, but the chord is obviously not a Bb7.
    I could think of it as an Bb dim7, with the top note being a #5 instead of a b5.
    But that still doesn't let me understand what is going on here.

    The second chord:

    x2225x

    I could think of it as a CMaj7/13 voiced 7,3,13,3
    or an B7sus4 voiced R,4,7,11
    or as an Esus4 voiced 5,R,11,R (especially nice with an open E string below that)

    That multiple interpration and inversion thing can drive me crazy at times...
    I hope that i am not overthinking things, but any advice is higly aprecciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Welcome to the forum!

    I use that first chord you mention a lot - usually I reverse it with the Dmaj7 played in front of it like this:

    Dmaj7 -> 6x567x -> Am7 -> D9 (or Ab 9b5 4x433x) -> G69 (3x223x)

    If you take that chord 6x567x and change it to 6x565x you could call it Bb diminished, so 6x567x might be considered Bb dim b6.

    The diminished flat sixth is Barry Harris, so you have found one of the best jazz guy's sounds... cool stuff about him discussed around here; you've heard the sound in things like this:

    G69 (3x223x) -> 4x345x -> Am7 -> 6x567x -> Bm7...

    That second chord I like the sound of over the E. It might be considered an "extended quartal chord" where the quartal chord would be x2221x. A lot of quartal moves are comprised of a series of quartal chords, often with connecting extensions.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    The first chord:

    6x567x
    I think this chord pops up on the forum from time to time... due to its ambiguity.

    I think it's common for swing and manouche styles?
    Actually passing diminished with suspended melodic note on top is good explanation for that style of music.. why don't you like it?
    If you think about voice-leading it is very logical..

    Bb is triton apart from E (which is secondary dominant to A) - yes the chord is not dom but it can explain how the bass moves...

    I understand what you mean but not everything that tends to resolve somehwere is a dominant... working with voice leading is interesting...

    After all if you analyse it just

    Bb is chromatic passing note
    G is suspended from previous chord (root) and anticipation of the next chor (7th)
    C# and F# are passing descending notes

    The whole chord here is Suspension to A-7

    The second chord:

    x2225x

    Context needed

  4. #4
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    By the way Pete Bernstein during masterclasses just calls it diminished...) -- he says .. ok play dim here and plays this chord with b6...
    It tells he is treating this b6 as decorative extention (or melodic line) that does not change the harmonic essence of the chord.

  5. #5
    django -

    6x567x
    What you said: A13b9/Bb - D6**

    Or Eb7#9/Bb (no root).

    7x578x (G/B)
    6x567x (?)
    5x555x (A-7)
    5x455x (A-6)
    Extended Bbo. That's commonplace, G/B-Bbo-Am7-D7.

    x2225x
    That could be any number of things depending on context. Superficially it's just A5/B.

    ** Joe Pass hated that chord, he said b9s should always go at the top. But a lot of people use it and it does sound pretty good.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all replies so far!

    @ pauln:


    These are some cool progressions, and I'll definitely check out Barry Harris.

    It might be considered an "extended quartal chord" where the quartal chord would be x2221x
    I guess you mean x2223x, the so called "So What" voicing? Otherwise I cant follow you. But it's undeniable that it sounds quartal.

    @ Jonah:

    Yes it's definitely common in Manouche rhythm playing.
    Thanks for your analysis, it actually makes sense.

    but not everything that tends to resolve somehwere is a dominant
    Good point, I guess that's something that I wasn't really aware of.
    I have to admit that I don't really know much about diminished chords, theory-wise.
    Most of the time I treat dimished chords as rootless Dom7b9 inversions.
    So as a rule of thumb I use the following formula: I can approach any chord with a Dim-chord from a half step below (thinking of it as a rootless Dom7b9 inversion). When it comes to approaching a chord from a half step above, the tritone sub comes to mind.
    So basically I was irritated by the Bbo going down a half step to the A-7.
    But, as you said, it's probably all about tension/release and voice leading, considering the whole progression.
    (Anyway, I should probably educate me a bit on dimished harmony.)

    For the second chord:
    I came up with this voicing thinking of it as CMaj7.
    While it is common to play those basic 2 note voicings with 3/7 or 7/3 on the middle two strings, I experimented with it on A and D string. Because that would give me 3 strings for melody work on top.
    I believe I heard about Ed Bickert using this approach, correct me if I'm wrong.
    So from that standpoint its voiced: 7,3,6,3.
    A possible progression would be

    x5355x (D-79)
    3x345x (G713)
    x3545x (CMaj7)
    x2225x

    I'm pretty sure that I am overthinking things on this one :P

    @ragman1:

    ** Joe Pass hated that chord, he said b9s should always go at the top. But a lot of people use it and it does sound pretty good.
    That's nice to know.
    Well, i think it shouldn't be overused, but it's a great way to create tension.
    Another thing to consider is that it could get you into trouble with a bass player (when not played as a passing chord), but in a solo guitar context I really like it!
    - Max

  7. #7
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    When it comes to approaching a chord from a half step above, the tritone sub comes to mind.
    In this progression you can relate it through tritone sub too.. tritone relation is not necessarily expressed in dominant chords...

    thinking of it as a rootless Dom7b9 inversion
    It is... the diminished chord on the VII of the key is lead chord to I.. it works as dom ... it was in classical music.
    In jazz harmony they are superimposed one on another and make Dom7b9
    Probably it is important also to understand that Dominant is function not just one chord.. and dom7 is just the most representive one.

    Anyway, I should probably educate me a bit on dimished harmony.)
    You know one of the ideas of diminished is such a context that everything is.. well deiminished)))

    Look at this

    b-d-f-ab
    It is B7th with lowered 3rd, 5th and 7th)))
    It is kind of where it comes from

    But it is also

    Bb7 raise 1 (b goes own to Bb)

    it is also

    Db7 raise 1 (d goes dow to db)

    it is also

    E7 (f goes down to E)

    it is also
    G7 (ab goes down to G)

    and consider that diminished inversions are enharmonic.

    Every chord that is not stable is going somewhere.. and chords have many routes.. these routes depend more on music they belong to...

    Even dominant chord came into music as triad on V of the key that wants to go to triad on I of the key.
    Originally it was triad in 4 voices like g-b-d-g and then upper got more and more diminished to to come closer to reslove e (3rs of the I).

    the coception of diminished is deelopment of this...

    It is a real pivot chord

  8. #8
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    For the second chord:
    I came up with this voicing thinking of it as CMaj7.
    While it is common to play those basic 2 note voicings with 3/7 or 7/3 on the middle two strings, I experimented with it on A and D string. Because that would give me 3 strings for melody work on top.
    I believe I heard about Ed Bickert using this approach, correct me if I'm wrong.
    So from that standpoint its voiced: 7,3,6,3.
    A possible progression would be

    x5355x (D-79)
    3x345x (G713)
    x3545x (CMaj7)
    x2225x
    hard to say...

    in this progression I hear as Bmb511.... it is like II of A minor.

    But I dig waht you say it is possible to make it sound more like I... also doubled E makes it sound stronger (3rd of Cmaj7)

    Beside you have 4th-4th-5th in this chord.. there are not 3rs of 6th... so your ear will either try to resolve it in tonal context.. or you can make it like modal or quratal harmony - like it is stable... but then it makes no sense to explaine it with trad harmony

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by django View Post
    Another thing to consider is that it could get you into trouble with a bass player
    Absolutely right.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by django View Post
    Thanks for all replies so far!

    @ pauln:


    These are some cool progressions, and I'll definitely check out Barry Harris.


    I guess you mean x2223x, the so called "So What" voicing? Otherwise I cant follow you. But it's undeniable that it sounds quartal.
    I meant x2221x

    The thing about quartal chords is their nice diffuse sound. The effect of this:

    - the chord may not contain the "root" of the harmony

    - because of the stacked fourths, using diatonic, pentatonic, and chromatic movements cause interesting changes in harmony

    - functionally, they may play multiple roles with multiple names

    An example of not containing the root is an Eb quartal chord played x 10 10 10 10 11 x

    An example of diatonic movement... This is something that could be played when encountering the second Ebmaj7 of Tenderly, right before going into Abm7...
    Play this:

    x 10 10 10 10 11 x

    x 8 8 8 8 9 x

    x 6 8 7 8 x Ebmaj7

    x 5 5 5 6 x

    x 3 3 3 4 x

    An example of pentatonic movement:

    a progression cycle like this...

    x 8 7 5 5 x (Fmaj7)
    6 x 6 7 8 x (Bb 13)
    5 x 4 4 5 x (A69)
    (QPV over A69)

    ... where QPV is the quartal pent vamp:

    x 2 2 2 3 x
    x 4 4 4 5 x
    x 7 7 7 8 x
    x 9 9 9 10 x
    x 12 12 12 13 x
    x 14 14 14 15 x

    ... so you can use just the first two, but next time use four (faster), etc. and you can go as high as you want. They all have a "family resemblance" of sound, so it is common to push them into a different version of the return sound of Fmaj7. In this example, it sounds nice to push those last two high ones into some kind of F13 like this:

    x x 13 14 15 15 or x 12 13 12 15

    An example of chromatic quartals might be like Green Dolphin Street, using quartals instead of maj7 chords...

    x 10 10 10 11 x
    x 13 13 13 14 x
    x 12 12 12 13 x
    x 11 11 11 12 x
    x 10 10 10 11 x
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

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