1. #1

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    I debated whether or not to post in the Getting Started thread, since this is probably an advanced beginner's question.

    I've been reading Dizzy Gillespie's biography called
    To Be or Not to Bop by Al Fraser. In it, "Fats" Palmer talks about what made Dizzy so good. One of the things he emphasizes is how learning piano helped him understand inversions and how to use them to play through chord changes. I've heard of inversions and know how they work, but never really considered how to apply them.

    My question is: Am I wrong in thinking that inversions could be considered harmonized scales/chords relative to the chord being played? Could the phrygian or mixolydian scale/chord of the primary chord be considered an inversion? Or does the
    question itself show a total lack of understanding of what an inversion and/or a harmonized scale is? I have only though of this in a theoretical sense. I haven't actually sat down and tried to figure this out on guitar.

    Last edited by zigzag; 04-14-2020 at 09:44 PM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by zigzag
    Could the phrygian or mixolydian scale/chord of the primary chord be considered an inversion?
    Em7 is an inversion of C6.
    G6 is an inversion of CMaj9.
    G7 is not an inversion of C major.

  4. #3

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    Yeah, I just spent a little time working with this on my guitar, and the question really wasn't well thought out. Sorry to waste anyone's time.

  5. #4

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    if you start with the basic triad..it has two inversions..note how the voices move..read them.. horizontal and vertical

    C E G
    E G C
    G C E
    moving to each inversion on a given string set will produce harmonic movement within the same chord

    finding the inversions of all triad chords within the major scale on all string sets and in all keys will open up many "harmonic/melodic secrets"

    and of course doing this type of thing with four note chords (CMA7 Dmi7 Emi7 etc) you find the foundation of "jazz harmony" diatonic harmony

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by zigzag


    My question is: Am I wrong in thinking that inversions could be considered harmonized scales/chords relative to the chord being played? Could the phrygian or mixolydian scale/chord of the primary chord be considered an inversion? Or does the
    question itself show a total lack of understanding of what an inversion and/or a harmonized scale is? I have only though of this in a theoretical sense. I haven't actually sat down and tried to figure this out on guitar.

    Unfortunately, inversion suggests the idea of something being inverted (upside down or reversed), but in music that only happens dealing with two pitches. When you have three or more pitches, you may mechanically produce a change in the order, specifically a change in the rotation from end to end (for scales) or top to bottom (for chords).

    When this process is applied to scales, the result is mechanically that of inversion, but it is not called that, rather it may be considered generation of modes.

    jklmnop <-> klmnopj <-> lmnopjk <-> mnopjkl <-> nopjklm <-> opjklmn <-> pjklmno <-> jklmnop

    When this process is applied to chords, the resulting chords are considered inversions of that chord, but with attention to voicing and reducing the amount of pitches involved, the more likely this process will produce chords that may be interpreted as extensions (including altered extensions) or inversions of other chords. This is why smaller chords and especially triads are so popular... E G B might be Cmaj7 or Em or A9b5.

    What's a little confusing is that when you apply this to triads by shifting roots up the notes of the scale it is typically called harmonization of the scale (where the objects being manipulated are actually chords, and the reference to the scale indicates the method is to shift the roots of the chords by following the pitches of the scale). But when this process is applied to scales, one is still mechanically harmonizing the scale (where the objects being manipulated are the pitches, and the method is to shift the tonics of the subsequent scales by following the pitches of the original scale) but it isn't called harmonization - it is called generating the modes of the scale.

    Shifting the rotation order of pitches:
    Applied to chords, it's called inversion and the root assignment of the chord stays same
    Applied to scales, it's called modes and the tonic assignment of each scale changes

    Shifting the roots of triads (comprised only of scale pitches) through the scale degrees:
    Applied to triads, it's called harmonization of the scale.

    How to apply these ideas is really a subtractive process... a simplification, you come to know that a particular triad is not just one thing, but many possible things. Instead of conceiving triads as a bunch of specific ideas you conceive a specific triad as an idea that may satisfy a bunch of situations... So F B E could be Db(#9) or G13 or Abdim.

    More songs you learn, the more possibilities you discover for how to apply a particular triad, which benefits extend to both comping and soloing.

  7. #6

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    Well ....

    In terms of what sort of tunes there were back then.... it’s useful to know the following

    G7 —> Bm7b5 —>Dm6
    Gmaj9–>C6–>Am7

    So you can basically play everything with two sounds. Three if you include dim7.

  8. #7

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    I think Dizzy did not mean namely triad inversions (and definitely not classicla 4-notes triad inversions)....

    I think it is just that visually on piano you can easier see how 7th chords or chords with extensions can become the inverisions of other 7th chords or chords with extensions...

  9. #8

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    "Guitarwank' podcast episode with Jimmy Bruno.

    Scroll down to 23 September 2019.

    At about 43:00 he tells a story of when he was starting out & a lesson he learned about this subject
    from an older musician. Funny & useful, I think;

    Podcast — GuitarWank