Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 30 of 30
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    This is NOT a theory question. It's a question about the historical use of the term "two-five". When did this term/concept enter the Jazz lexicon?

    I ask because it always bugged me that Mickey Baker looked at, for example, Am7 > D9 (rootless with 5th in bass) as Am7 > Am6. Of course, the chord is an Am6 but it's clearly functioning as a D7 - the V chord in key of G. I'm thinking that maybe it wasn't common at the time to see this as a ii > V.

    Can anybody shed some light on this? Maybe Rob MacKillop with his collection of old guitar method books, or Christian Miller with his knowledge of the evolution of Jazz? Or someone else familiar with this kind of thing?

    Again, my question has nothing at all to do with theory. It's about when a specific term came into general usage.

    Since I'm asking a stupid question I think I'll ask another. When did Drop2 and Drop3 become common terms for certain voicings on the guitar? Jimmy Bruno was once asked to explain what a Drop 2 is on his YT channel. His answer was, "What the hell is a Drop 2 chord? I never even heard of that."

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Drop 2 -- I thought this term came from piano voicings, although it's also used for brass voicings in big bands.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    My "Mel Bay's Complete Orchestral Chord System" book dates to 1948 and has IIm to V7 resolution exercises. David Baker's "Jazz Improvisation" has a chapter titled "The II-V7 progression and Other Frequently Used Formulae." That one dates to the late '60's. Baker also had a book on II-V patterns for jazz from back then.

    Since the Great American Songbook is filled with songs that rely on this concept, I'm pretty sure it's "been a thing" for 100 years at least. Fun fact: a sax player who used to sub in my jazz group called me "Mr Two Minor Five" because of my predilection for calling tunes chock full of 'em.

    Danny W.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    It has been around since at least 1980 when I started studying jazz. But I am sure that it had been in use for decades before that.

    And to be a bit pedantic, I was always supposed to write it out as ii-V.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    I always heard it called the "Nashville Number System" that started in studios.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles View Post
    Drop 2 -- I thought this term came from piano voicings, although it's also used for brass voicings in big bands.
    Yeah, it makes perfect sense when applied to piano or a horn section. On a piano you lift a finger and play the note an octave lower with the other hand. The horn player playing the 2nd to highest note just plays that note an octave lower.

    I don't see the relevance to the guitar. We don't play many close voiced chords and you can't simply drop the 2nd to highest note down an octave without rearranging the whole friggin' chord. It's like somebody forced a piano/horn section concept onto the guitar. I've never heard any older guitarists refer to any chords as "Drop" chords.

    It's not a big deal. It's just one of those little things that bugs me. It's like forcing the English language to conform to the grammatical rules of Latin.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    I always heard it called the "Nashville Number System" that started in studios.
    Numbering chords by scale degree predates the Nashville System by hundreds of years.

    Danny W.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack E Blue View Post
    Yeah, it makes perfect sense when applied to piano or a horn section. On a piano you lift a finger and play the note an octave lower with the other hand. The horn player playing the 2nd to highest note just plays that note an octave lower.

    I don't see the relevance to the guitar. We don't play many close voiced chords and you can't simply drop the 2nd to highest note down an octave without rearranging the whole friggin' chord. It's like somebody forced a piano/horn section concept onto the guitar. I've never heard any older guitarists refer to any chords as "Drop" chords.

    It's not a big deal. It's just one of those little things that bugs me. It's like forcing the English language to conform to the grammatical rules of Latin.
    It makes sense to me on guitar, because it makes abstract sense.

    Take C major seventh. In my head a hear an ascending arpeggio:

    C E G B C E G B C E G B ...

    I take four consecutive notes starting on any note

    B C E G

    I take the second from the top

    B C E G

    And remove it

    B C G

    Then add it an octave lower

    E B C G

    As a grip on guitar, say xx2413.

    Works for me!

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    I don't claim to know the answer but I'll take a stab.

    Setting classical music aside, and in the context of popular songs, II-V (as opposed to IV-V?) has to go back to the early 20th century. I suppose one could check some ragtime songs to see if it predated jazz, but I'll say 1930s and maybe even 1920s...

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    "Music is movement; not two-five - two-five."

    Barry Harris

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Danny W. View Post
    Baker also had a book on II-V patterns for jazz from back then.
    I searched the archives, and that seems to be the earliest use in print:

    Baker, David. 1968
    Developing improvisational facility: v. 1 : The II V7 progression : for all students and performers of music in any idiom.
    Libertyville, Ill: Today's Music.

    Jerry Cover recommended the II-V in 1975:

    'Therefore, the II-V progression should be practiced separately from the II-V-I, following some of the common II-V sequences as they appear in many tune progressions.'
    Coker, Jerry. 1975.
    The jazz idiom. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 34.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan View Post
    I don't claim to know the answer but I'll take a stab.

    Setting classical music aside, and in the context of popular songs, II-V (as opposed to IV-V?) has to go back to the early 20th century. I suppose one could check some ragtime songs to see if it predated jazz, but I'll say 1930s and maybe even 1920s...
    1920s for sure, the Jazz age. Just look at some of the songs and their changes. Bebop jacked it up (direct and frequent modulation that is) but II-V was there in the songs in the beginnings of The Jazz Age.

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan View Post
    1920s for sure, the Jazz age. Just look at some of the songs and their changes. Bebop jacked it up (direct and frequent modulation that is) but II-V was there in the songs in the beginnings of The Jazz Age.
    My original question wasn't about ii-Vs actually occurring in music. I was asking when people starting calling them ii-Vs. I used the Mickey Baker book, published in 1955, as an example because there are ii-Vs in every exercise, but he never calls them ii-Vs. He refers to them as minor 7ths to minor 6ths, e.g. Am7 5x5555 to Am6 5x6555.

    I was just wondering if this was a common way of looking at this cadence/progression back then or just Mickey Baker's way of looking at it.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack E Blue View Post
    My original question wasn't about ii-Vs actually occurring in music. I was asking when people starting calling them ii-Vs. I used the Mickey Baker book, published in 1955, as an example because there are ii-Vs in every exercise, but he never calls them ii-Vs. He refers to them as minor 7ths to minor 6ths, e.g. Am7 5x5555 to Am6 5x6555.

    I was just wondering if this was a common way of looking at this cadence/progression back then or just Mickey Baker's way of looking at it.
    Okie dokie, fair enough. But one could say - "same dif".

    In other words we call things what they are, and the OP title asked "when?". Also, Danny's posts above are spot on, as usual.

    The thing is, I realize that some people have a sentimental and historical affinity for Baker's books. BUT - he was neither a jazz guitarist of note, and his method is/was far from "complete" (as is everyone's). The title to his books were/are pure marketing. Pure.

    There are a lot of great, real, jazz guitarists who have published training and educational material. You might want to check them out.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick View Post
    I searched the archives, and that seems to be the earliest use in print:

    Baker, David. 1968
    Developing improvisational facility: v. 1 : The II V7 progression : for all students and performers of music in any idiom.
    Libertyville, Ill: Today's Music.

    Jerry Cover recommended the II-V in 1975:

    'Therefore, the II-V progression should be practiced separately from the II-V-I, following some of the common II-V sequences as they appear in many tune progressions.'
    Coker, Jerry. 1975.
    The jazz idiom. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 34.
    Baker was a prolific author but much of his work seems to be out of print. Despite not finding a reference to a book of his on II V7 I’m sure I had one—probably still do somewhere. It occurred to me that books often list the author’s other works. Sure enough, in the back of “Arranging and Composing...” was this page (sorry for the rotated image):


    Attachment 73980

    It was printed in 1970, so the II V7 book was from ‘69 or ‘70.

    Danny W.
    Attached Images Attached Images When did "two-five" become a thing?-a44caa62-ab2d-4b39-b3b0-d9a45a261c43-jpeg 

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Danny, my source for the citation was WorldCat. Today’s Music, the publisher, was a division of National Educational Services.

    A search on Google Books indicates that Baker and others were writing about the II V7 progression in the early 70s. He seems to have started a minor craze.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack E Blue
    This is NOT a theory question. It's a question about the historical use of the term "two-five". When did this term/concept enter the Jazz lexicon?

    I ask because it always bugged me that Mickey Baker looked at, for example, Am7 > D9 (rootless with 5th in bass) as Am7 > Am6. Of course, the chord is an Am6 but it's clearly functioning as a D7 - the V chord in key of G. I'm thinking that maybe it wasn't common at the time to see this as a ii > V.

    Can anybody shed some light on this? Maybe Rob MacKillop with his collection of old guitar method books, or Christian Miller with his knowledge of the evolution of Jazz? Or someone else familiar with this kind of thing?

    Again, my question has nothing at all to do with theory. It's about when a specific term came into general usage.

    Since I'm asking a stupid question I think I'll ask another. When did Drop2 and Drop3 become common terms for certain voicings on the guitar? Jimmy Bruno was once asked to explain what a Drop 2 is on his YT channel. His answer was, "What the hell is a Drop 2 chord? I never even heard of that."
    Good question! Nope, not sure.

    Obviously ii V comes from classical theory functional notation as in a ii V I, common cadential progression with a long history stretching back into the Baroque era.

    However - in jazz ii V means basically any pairing of a m7 chord with a dominant a fourth higher, and to call that a II V would be meaningless to most classical players. So by this I mean

    Fm7 Bb7 Cmaj7

    We might think functionally IVm7 bVII7 Imaj7
    But jazzers could think of it as a "II V" resolving up a tone, or a "backdoor II V" (which would be word salad to a classical harmony professor.)

    The main use of the II V in jazz education is to take transcribed lines etc that can be played on these two chords and then transpose them to all keys and cut'n'paste appropriately, practicing how to resolve them to a variety of target chords.

    This cutting and pasting of Parker lines became an observable thing during the 50s and 60s - the second generation bebop players. Did they use this specific terminology? Don't know.

    I'd hazard a guess that this terminology in common to most of what we use now in jazz was formalised in the 1960s and 70s, when jazz education was starting to become a thing.

    If someone has more info to offer, would be interested.

    (Incidentally Peter Bernstein told me off for playing Am7 Am6 G and not Am7 D7 G or Am7 Ab7 G haha.)
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-14-2020 at 08:02 AM.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    I searched the archives, and that seems to be the earliest use in print:

    Baker, David. 1968
    Developing improvisational facility: v. 1 : The II V7 progression : for all students and performers of music in any idiom.
    Libertyville, Ill: Today's Music.

    Jerry Cover recommended the II-V in 1975:

    'Therefore, the II-V progression should be practiced separately from the II-V-I, following some of the common II-V sequences as they appear in many tune progressions.'
    Coker, Jerry. 1975.
    The jazz idiom. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 34.
    David Baker makes sense to me. In many ways his teaching runs in parallel to Barry Harris's, but uses more mainstream jazz edu terminology such as 'bebop scale' and so on. (Barry would just get rid of the ii and think about the dominant chord/scale of course)

    The earliest jazz book I have is 'Improvising Jazz' Jerry Coker, which I think is 1964. It doesn't discuss II V's in that way, but obviously talks about II V I's.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Danny W.
    My "Mel Bay's Complete Orchestral Chord System" book dates to 1948 and has IIm to V7 resolution exercises. David Baker's "Jazz Improvisation" has a chapter titled "The II-V7 progression and Other Frequently Used Formulae." That one dates to the late '60's. Baker also had a book on II-V patterns for jazz from back then.

    Since the Great American Songbook is filled with songs that rely on this concept, I'm pretty sure it's "been a thing" for 100 years at least. Fun fact: a sax player who used to sub in my jazz group called me "Mr Two Minor Five" because of my predilection for calling tunes chock full of 'em.

    Danny W.
    I'm gonna presume you meant "Mr Minor Two Five", right? I hope so, because I'd love to know which songs you dig that are chock full of them. I feel that I'm acquiring a taste for them myself!

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    ...
    (Incidentally Peter Bernstein told me off for playing Am7 Am6 G and not Am7 D7 G or Am7 Ab7 G haha.)
    I'm really curious to know what PB has against the Am6 here... ?

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    I'm really curious to know what PB has against the Am6 here... ?
    He likes players to use inversions only when appropriate and think about the bass movement. As D7 -> G is a cadence, the A - A - G bass movement is weaker than A-Ab-G or A-D-G

    With a bass player this wouldn't obviously be so important.

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Kingstone
    "Music is movement; not two-five - two-five."

    Barry Harris
    I thought that's what Coleman Hawkins told Barry.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    With regards to Jazz texts the following cover II-V and II-V-I

    Tonal and Rhythmic Principles, John Mehegan, 1959
    Improvising Jazz, Jerry Coker, 1964
    A Modern Method For Guitar, Volume 1, William Leavitt, 1966 (covered via applied studies, that is)
    the II V7 progression, David Baker, 1968 (first printing)

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    Danny, my source for the citation was WorldCat. Today’s Music, the publisher, was a division of National Educational Services.

    A search on Google Books indicates that Baker and others were writing about the II V7 progression in the early 70s. He seems to have started a minor craze.
    Baker was definitely on top of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    I'm gonna presume you meant "Mr Minor Two Five", right? I hope so, because I'd love to know which songs you dig that are chock full of them. I feel that I'm acquiring a taste for them myself!
    Why would I have meant that? The scale degree comes first--we don't write m7F, although I've had some big band charts where that wouldn't have surprised me.

    As for tunes, flip through a good fake book and pick them out. If they don't have enough II-Vs just add them in the appropriate places.

    Danny W.

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    I don't know if this helps, but I recall reading parts of Rameau's theory book in an arranging class at uni, and he called the progression ii V. That was mid 1700s. I'm pretty sure that it was commonly used in the French and German schools, so it would have been incorporated into the English school. I have some film scoring books that I believe are from the 40's that I'm pretty confident refer to the progression as a ii V, so yeah, probably anyone playing popular music in the 19th century would probably have understood and used the expression. Was it jazz? No idea. Certainly Ragtime players must have used the expression as it goes way back into music history/theory.

    Just what I recall from college composition and arranging courses 40+ years ago.

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    I don't think they would refer to this

    Fm7 Bb7 Cmaj7

    as a ii-V, but perhaps I'm wrong? Classical musicians get confused when you talk about dominant sevenths that aren't functioning as such, so ...

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I don't think they would refer to this

    Fm7 Bb7 Cmaj7

    as a ii-V, but perhaps I'm wrong? Classical musicians get confused when you talk about dominant sevenths that aren't functioning as such, so ...
    Like I said, it was 40+ years ago, and I don't really recall what it would be referred to in classical terms, or if it was referred to at all. That's what is called a "backdoor cadence", correct? I've only heard it discussed in jazz writing/arranging. I'm trying to recall any use in classical music, but I'm having trouble recalling all the various cadence names and functions, let alone any harmonic analysis I had to do. I'd be curious to hear from a theorist about this, but I'm not interested enough to spend much time researching it. I was just recalling that a ii V was described as such as early as the 1750s or so, not suggesting that I was a theory expert. I was just happy to get through the classes!

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ah.clem View Post
    Like I said, it was 40+ years ago, and I don't really recall what it would be referred to in classical terms, or if it was referred to at all. That's what is called a "backdoor cadence", correct? I've only heard it discussed in jazz writing/arranging. I'm trying to recall any use in classical music, but I'm having trouble recalling all the various cadence names and functions, let alone any harmonic analysis I had to do. I'd be curious to hear from a theorist about this, but I'm not interested enough to spend much time researching it. I was just recalling that a ii V was described as such as early as the 1750s or so, not suggesting that I was a theory expert. I was just happy to get through the classes!
    I think they'd call Bb7 CMaj7 a minor plagal cadence, which is usually iv I, but in C, the key notes of the iv chord are F and Ab, so other chords with those notes function as the minor subdominant chord: Bb7, AbMaj7 or DbMaj7 instead of Fm.

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles View Post
    I think they'd call Bb7 CMaj7 a minor plagal cadence, which is usually iv I, but in C, the key notes of the iv chord are F and Ab, so other chords with those notes function as the minor subdominant chord: Bb7, AbMaj7 or DbMaj7 instead of Fm.
    Thanks, BigDaddy. You are reminding me why I enjoyed my performance classes more than theory or history!

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ah.clem View Post
    Thanks, BigDaddy. You are reminding me why I enjoyed my performance classes more than theory or history!