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  1. #1

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    I have played block chords for many years but I can't recall if Barry Harris remembered to tell students that not only can you block chord the "Bb6 dim" block chord group over G-7 (ii in F) , but that you can also use the the "F6 dim" block chord group over G-7 (ii).
    Last edited by rintincop; 07-02-2020 at 02:59 PM.

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  3. #2
    My example, I needed to continue using the F6 diminished scale block chord harmony on the G-7 to avoid the ugly (imo) diminished sound under the 9th in the melody of G-7. The Bb6 dim scale harmony, the default for G-7, would have created a diminished chord on beat one of measure two, but I wanted the beauty of the pristine 9th over G-7.
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    Last edited by rintincop; 07-02-2020 at 02:59 PM.

  4. #3
    Note the use of the "C7b13 diminished" block chord scale for the C7 chord. That b13 diminished scale harmony is often overlooked in favor of C#-6 diminished block chord scale harmony (alt) over C7.

    "C7b13 diminished scale" is per both Barry Harris and Mark Levine.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    My example, I needed to continue using the F6 diminished scale block chord harmony on the G-7 to avoid the ugly (imo) diminished sound under the 9th in the melody of G-7. The Bb6 dim scale harmony, the default for G-7, would have created a diminished chord on beat one of measure two, but I wanted the beauty of the pristine 9th over G-7.
    In Berkman's example here he resolves F# Bb Eb A to F Bb D A, but couldn't you just use this second chord as Adim with borrowed F and D, still within the Bb6dim scale harmony if you want to avoid the dim sound here?

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    Note the use of the "C7b13 diminished" block chord scale for the C7 chord. That b13 diminished scale harmony is often overlooked in favor of C#-6 diminished block chord scale harmony (alt) over C7.

    "C7b13 diminished scale" is per both Barry Harris and Mark Levine.
    What exactly is the 7b13 dim scale? Don't C7dim or C7b5dim scales already have the b13 in the Bdim chord?

  7. #6
    C7b13dim scale is:
    C D E F G Ab Bb B
    This enables alternating diminished chords with an unaltered C7 chord . That's important. Barry Harris said he noticed it later in his career and Levine also covers it in his Drop 2 (block chord) book.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by bleakanddivine
    In Berkman's example here he resolves F# Bb Eb A to F Bb D A, but couldn't you just use this second chord as A dim with borrowed F and D, still within the Bb6dim scale harmony if you want to avoid the dim sound here?
    You could say it that way, borrowing two notes.
    But in real time playing, carrying over the F6 is a simpler action or thought process.
    F6 dim scale harmony can conveniently work on G-7, because we know that F6 dim scale harmony works on Bb6... thus also G-7.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    C7b13dim scale is:
    C D E F G Ab Bb B
    This enables alternating diminished chords with an unaltered C7 chord . That's important. Barry Harris said he noticed it later in his career and Levine also covers it in his Drop 2 (block chord) book.
    OK. I think that's usually just called the C7 dim scale. C E G Bb and B D F Ab. I thought you were referring to a completely new dim scale I had missed !
    But the b9 in your example can't be borrowed from the diminished chord because it doesn't appear in it?

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    C7b13dim scale is:
    C D E F G Ab Bb B
    This enables alternating diminished chords with an unaltered C7 chord . That's important. Barry Harris said he noticed it later in his career and Levine also covers it in his Drop 2 (block chord) book.
    This is what Barry calls the C7dim scale—chord tones of C7 + chord tones of Bdim7.

  11. #10
    Yes, in Howard Reses's book he calls called the C7dim scale. But I have heard Barry also call it the C7b13 scale, which makes the name more descriptive. He even it calls such in one of the videos on YouTube.

  12. #11

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    Ok I think the C7-dim scale is the one that gets used the least? I seem to remember Barry saying he doesn’t like it that much, but maybe that’s a false recollection. He seemed much more into C7b5-dim, which TBH I have yet to explore in any depth at all.

    Re. dim on a m9th. Yeah I’m not a huge fan of this sound either. It works well to play the dim chord and then borrow the note on a m7 chord, makes for very nice voiceleading where that note sticks around for long enough like in Autumn in New York, or the first note of the second bar of Polkadots, or something.

    Oblique motion sounds good with the Barry harris scales.

    (There’s some nice tricks to smooth out that old school parallel block motion.)

    TBH in most cases I’ll use major 6th dim with borrrowed notes as you say in the OP. There’s an awful lot of options just in the key centres maj6-dim before you even start factoring in the other scales.

    I like the borrowing notes from the 6-dim scale into the diminished.
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-02-2020 at 06:33 PM.

  13. #12

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    I just tried the polkadots phrase your way (with drop 2’s) - sounded great. Did it the simpler way (just F6-dim) and that sounds good too.

    I also like going from the dim with the A in the soprano to the Gm9 too (Bbmaj-6 dim)

    I often find 11ths and 9ths (which are of course common in standards over II chords) to be a bit tricky. Sometimes it sounds great to have a dim. But as you say the F6-dim is a solid option here.

    i think the pivoting between a dim and the F6 with the A held in the soprano in bar two sounds nice too and is a classic Barry sort of thing.

  14. #13

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    So I suppose my preferred option is to use that A note as a junction between the F and Bb scales

    I go F6 to Gm9 with the A in the soprano.

  15. #14

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    Then borrow the D in the soprano of the dim chord of the F6-dim scale to take us back to I?

    lots of ways to do it though

  16. #15

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    Ohhh, you mean the C7Bdim7 scale.

  17. #16
    Good name too.
    Looking at the Howard Reese book and not seeing much of play "G-6 dim scale" harmony block chords over C7 (+4)

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    Good name too.
    Looking at the Howard Reese book and not seeing much of play "G-6 dim scale" harmony block chords over C7 (+4)
    Does Howard Rees have a book out? Or is this the video workbook?

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    My example, I needed to continue using the F6 diminished scale block chord harmony on the G-7 to avoid the ugly (imo) diminished sound under the 9th in the melody of G-7. The Bb6 dim scale harmony, the default for G-7, would have created a diminished chord on beat one of measure two, but I wanted the beauty of the pristine 9th over G-7.
    I'm very very new to BH so please be kind. I've watched some stuff on youtube including one particular and pretty mind boggling clip by billgrahammusic where he covers the two options for the min7 chord. As a beginner and naive I would have considered using Bb6 (rather than the associated dim chord) for the first beat of Gm7 with the melody note (a) thought of as being borrowed from the diminished. Shoot me down in flames if required! ps I haven't tried playing it though. Cheers.

  20. #19
    That's a perfectly fine analysis too. I just want chord tones for G-7 with the A in the melody, perhaps more to the point than a borrowing idea. I think a player using Barry's rules needs to be able to negotiate in and out of the rules. He also teaches diatonic block chording (deluxe version uses chromatic approaches instead of diminished) which would also cover this exact situation: G-7 with A in the melody with Bb D F A voiced from the bottom up (not a diminished voicing) . There is a new video that covers the diatonic block chords with chromatic approach