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  1. #1

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    On the song My Romance (key of Bb) I stumbled upon playing a C#maj7 instead of Bbmaj7 on measure 4 of the A section (especially on the 2nd pass through...give it a try). It sounds good to my ears in a surprising sort of way.

    Is there some type of explanation for this?

    I know if it sounds good it is good...just curious.

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  3. #2

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    I don't think it's so much of a substitution as a reharmonisation. It works because the melody note, F, at that point is contained in the DbM7. It's also fairly pleasant next to the D7.

    That's probably about it. I'm sure a theorist could explain it as being a m3rd up or something but it wouldn't make much difference :-)

  4. #3

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    I guess you could look at it as 1. an inversion of Bbm7, and call it modal interchange between BbM and Bbm, or 2. maybe call it adding some blue-note color and chromaticism on the way to D7, or 3. even call it a Dalt7. TL;DR: as long as you keep moving, anything sounds OK.

    John
    Last edited by John A.; 11-04-2020 at 04:22 PM.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by alltunes
    On the song My Romance (key of Bb) I stumbled upon playing a C#maj7 instead of Bbmaj7 on measure 4 of the A section (especially on the 2nd pass through...give it a try). It sounds good to my ears in a surprising sort of way.

    Is there some type of explanation for this?

    I know if it sounds good it is good...just curious.
    it sticks out to me the most as a reharm borrowing from the parallel minor key.

    I'm procrastinating, here are a few reharms of the first 5 bars of the tune with some more borrowing from the parallel minor, as well as some other stuff.

    Help with chord substitution-my-romance-reharms-jpg

  6. #5

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    'Up a minor 3rd' implies subbing from the parallel minor. The 3-for-1 sub is commonplace:

    Dm7 for BbM7 --> DbM7 for Bbm --> DbM7 for BbM7

    But subs like this don't always work as a matter of course. This one is quite nice probably because of the D7 after it.

    Lucky stumble!

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by alltunes
    On the song My Romance (key of Bb) I stumbled upon playing a C#maj7 instead of Bbmaj7 on measure 4 of the A section (especially on the 2nd pass through...give it a try). It sounds good to my ears in a surprising sort of way.

    Is there some type of explanation for this?

    I know if it sounds good it is good...just curious.
    Provided the melody note is found in the new chord, you can use pretty much any chord you want. The trick is making choices that are both creative and colourful and don’t sound like one of those Big Ass Trucks reharm
    videos (not that I don’t love that meme.)

    One common spot for chord subs is the last chord of the tune where the melody note is typically the tonic (1) or less frequently a (5)

    In this case as neither note declares a major or minor tonality of itself, you are free to use a modal interchange to any mode with both of these notes (1 and 5). Parallel minor is most common.... Also Phrygian (bIImaj7#11)

    (I remember a classical harmony book that suggested we abandon the idea of major and minor being separate things, but rather a tonal centre as combining both. I kind of like that; makes a lot of sense for jazz.)

    If it’s a 3, you can use a mediant chord (III6)

    In terms of making these things sound natural I find it’s best if there is some sort of sustained or pedal tone in the bass or treble, or some sort of stepwise connection in the bass.

  8. #7

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    Remember Duke’s maxim - if it sounds good it is good.

    Trust your ears. Theory is your servant, not your master.

    I have to say My Romance is a slightly saccharine show tune type melody to me with very standard changes and no modulation.... I think it’s begging for a spot of reharmonisation.

  9. #8

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    (I remember a classical harmony book that suggested we abandon the idea of major and minor being separate things, but rather a tonal centre as combining both. I kind of like that; makes a lot of sense for jazz.)
    Major and minor are the most common systems of orbiting around a tonal center. Modes in a similar way, each present their own logic of moving towards and away from a home base. Collectively, they present a rich palette of possible progressions all functioning in behest of tonal centricity.

  10. #9
    Don't over explain it at this point. Remember what you did, work it out in voicings all over the fingerboard, get the sound in your ears, use that "device" in other tunes. In other words, before you have us explain what we think is going on, work it 'til you own it. THEN look for theoretical explanations.
    If you found a sound you like, learn to use it in other situations and use it. It's like the old well used IV- chord, the people who really use it well, from the Beatles to Cole Porter all knew it as a sound.
    Come to know it, come to use it and own it if it sounds good to you. Then if you get some explanation or justification, your ear will not be effected by it.
    Many good sounds have been lost to the heart by the inadequate rationalizations of the head.
    Schillinger, I think, said "Genius is the realization of a tendency". Listen to your ear. Only then ask what it is you're hearing.
    My humble opinion

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    Don't over explain it at this point. Remember what you did, work it out in voicings all over the fingerboard, get the sound in your ears, use that "device" in other tunes. In other words, before you have us explain what we think is going on, work it 'til you own it. THEN look for theoretical explanations.
    If you found a sound you like, learn to use it in other situations and use it. It's like the old well used IV- chord, the people who really use it well, from the Beatles to Cole Porter all knew it as a sound.
    Come to know it, come to use it and own it if it sounds good to you. Then if you get some explanation or justification, your ear will not be effected by it.
    Many good sounds have been lost to the heart by the inadequate rationalizations of the head.
    Schillinger, I think, said "Genius is the realization of a tendency". Listen to your ear. Only then ask what it is you're hearing.
    My humble opinion
    Yup I'm the OP. I did finish my opening post with the statement "if it sounds good it is good". Sometimes a little explanation may help in applying it elsewhere.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    Don't over explain it at this point. Remember what you did, work it out in voicings all over the fingerboard, get the sound in your ears, use that "device" in other tunes. In other words, before you have us explain what we think is going on, work it 'til you own it. THEN look for theoretical explanations.
    If you found a sound you like, learn to use it in other situations and use it. It's like the old well used IV- chord, the people who really use it well, from the Beatles to Cole Porter all knew it as a sound.
    Come to know it, come to use it and own it if it sounds good to you. Then if you get some explanation or justification, your ear will not be effected by it.
    Many good sounds have been lost to the heart by the inadequate rationalizations of the head.
    Schillinger, I think, said "Genius is the realization of a tendency". Listen to your ear. Only then ask what it is you're hearing.
    My humble opinion
    Great quote

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by alltunes
    Sometimes a little explanation may help in applying it elsewhere.
    There are lots of sites on chord substitution.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    Don't over explain it at this point. Remember what you did, work it out in voicings all over the fingerboard, get the sound in your ears, use that "device" in other tunes. In other words, before you have us explain what we think is going on, work it 'til you own it. THEN look for theoretical explanations.
    If you found a sound you like, learn to use it in other situations and use it. It's like the old well used IV- chord, the people who really use it well, from the Beatles to Cole Porter all knew it as a sound.
    Come to know it, come to use it and own it if it sounds good to you. Then if you get some explanation or justification, your ear will not be effected by it.
    Many good sounds have been lost to the heart by the inadequate rationalizations of the head.
    Schillinger, I think, said "Genius is the realization of a tendency". Listen to your ear. Only then ask what it is you're hearing.
    My humble opinion
    Quote Originally Posted by alltunes
    Yup I'm the OP. I did finish my opening post with the statement "if it sounds good it is good". Sometimes a little explanation may help in applying it elsewhere.
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Great quote


    As with all things, there's a balance. We're all certainly guilty of overanalyzing at some point or another, but that doesn't mean that "under-analyzing” isn't a real possibility.

    Practical examples of 'under-analysis':
    "The C#ma7 sounded good right there. I liked it. Maybe C#ma7 sounds good in a lot of places?" Then you try reharmonizing a random selection of things with C#ma7 regardless of key, context, or melody note. "Darn it, it doesn't work in these other places. Why did it work at that spot in My Romance? Maybe it's magic?" And ending the journey there is a real missed opportunity.

    Obviously most of us know that we're talking about a bIIIma7 chord; the relationship to the key is more useful than the exact chord. So the slightly more productive thing to explore is 'where else can I reharmonize something with a bIIIma7? But to get to a point of understanding the roman numeral stuff we had to do some technical learning of common systems and ways of organizing, and if we didn’t do that, the “bIIIma7” wouldn’t make any sense, or we’d have to reinvent the wheel to get there.

    I think sometimes the ‘over explain’ or ‘over analyze’ warnings come from folks who have some of those analytical tools so internalized that they forget where someone’s head and ears might be before they even know about those tools.

    Similarly, for some people it might be obvious that that Dbma7 as a reharm will be more palatable if the melody notes aren’t particular dissonant against it (eg, it sounds better on bar 4 then at the start of bar 5) but relationships of melody to harmony isn’t always obvious to everybody, either because of the point someone is at in their studies, the current ‘status’ of their ears, or some combination.

    So back to the OP, re something like “work it til you own it” I think within the question is that the OP may not have a strong sense of what “it” is, so it would be really unclear how to internalize and explore something without knowing anything about it besides the fact that it’s a C#ma7 chord.

    There’s a time to stop asking questions and just play - and the music has a high risk of over analysis - but there’s absolutely a danger of the opposite extreme.

    Just my 0.02. The listening and absorbing is #1, for sure.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci
    So back to the OP, re something like “work it til you own it” I think within the question is that the OP may not have a strong sense of what “it” is, so it would be really unclear how to internalize and explore something without knowing anything about it besides the fact that it’s a C#ma7 chord.

    There’s a time to stop asking questions and just play - and the music has a high risk of over analysis - but there’s absolutely a danger of the opposite extreme.

    Just my 0.02. The listening and absorbing is #1, for sure.
    Thanks Jake and thanks for your reharm examples above.I did print the sheet and ran through them this morning. I am the OP; I'm a jazz guitar hobbyist at best. I enjoy attempting to play solo jazz guitar. Mostly I "just play" but I enjoy the theory behind it. I posted to this website and hang around here because I generally find good information and responses though sometimes a little snarky.

    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    There are lots of sites on chord substitution.
    Didn't you say it was a reharmonization? I have checked elsewhere....probably have spun my wheels on too many site and books. There is a lot of noise out there to get to an answer sometimes. Perfect user name by the way

  16. #15

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    Alltunes -

    I posted this before:

    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    'Up a minor 3rd' implies subbing from the parallel minor. The 3-for-1 sub is commonplace:

    Dm7 for BbM7 --> DbM7 for Bbm --> DbM7 for BbM7

    But subs like this don't always work as a matter of course. This one is quite nice probably because of the D7 after it.

    Lucky stumble!
    I don't know if you understood it. The chords in Bb major are

    BbM7 Cm7 Dm7 EbM7 F7 Gm7 Am7b5

    It's common to sub the third chord in a scale for the root chord. So, in Bb major, Dm7 can be subbed for BbM7. You can see why, the notes are very similar. If you play 'My Romance' with a Dm7 instead of the BbM7 it'll fit.


    The same can be done in the minor scale with the same root name (this is the parallel minor scale).

    In Bb minor the chords are

    Bbm7 Cm7b5 DbM7 Ebm7 Fm7 GbM7 Ab7

    So, in the minor scale, the third chord DbM7 can be subbed for the root chord Bbm7. Again because of the similarity of notes and sound.

    But it's also possible to swap the two substitutions. This is called borrowing.

    So in the major scale we can swap the root chord BbM7 for the third chord, which would be Dm7.

    But then we can swap, or borrow, the Dm7 with its counterpart in the minor scale, which would be DbM7. And that fits in 'My Romance' too because of the F in the melody. Get it?

    That's what you stumbled on by accident. Like I said, lucky stumble
    Last edited by ragman1; 11-05-2020 at 04:49 PM.

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Alltunes -

    I posted this before:



    I don't know if you understood it. The chords in Bb major are

    BbM7 Cm7 Dm7 EbM7 F7 Gm7 Am7b5

    It's common to sub the third chord in a scale for the root chord. So, in Bb major, Dm7 can be subbed for BbM7. You can see why, the notes are very similar. If you play 'My Romance' with a Dm7 instead of the BbM7 it'll fit.


    The same can be done in the minor scale with the same root name (this is the parallel minor scale).

    In Bb minor the chords are

    Bbm7 Cm7b5 DbM7 Gm7 Am7 GbM7 Ab7

    So, in the minor scale, the third chord DbM7 can be subbed for the root chord Bbm7. Again because of the similarity of notes and sound.

    But it's also possible to swap the two substitutions. This is called borrowing.
    Okay gotcha up to here and I do appreciate the reply.


    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    So in the major scale we can swap the root chord BbM7 for the third chord, which would be Cm7.
    I believe you meant to type "So in the major scale we can swap the root chord BbM7 for the third chord, which would be Dm7.


    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    That's what you stumbled on by accident. Like I said, lucky stumble
    I was probably shooting for a iii sub but was off a half step and a chord family!

  18. #17

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    I believe you meant to type "So in the major scale we can swap the root chord BbM7 for the third chord, which would be Dm7.

    Indeed. Glad someone's on the ball! I've edited it. Twice :-)

    I was probably shooting for a iii sub bur was off a half step and a chord family!
    Nice to know I'm not alone and we're all singing from the same hymn sheet. Or whatever

    Thanks!

  19. #18

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    Gm7 in Bbminor? Typo? Or do I need to learn something?

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Gm7 in Bbminor? Typo? Or do I need to learn something?
    Should be Ebm and Fm, not what I wrote. Now you know why I don't like this stuff! But I got the 3-for-1 right anyway :-)

    Thanks for your vigilance. We get there in the end.


  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I have to say My Romance is a slightly saccharine show tune type melody to me with very standard changes and no modulation.... I think it’s begging for a spot of reharmonisation.
    I wonder if Richard Rodgers set himself a personal challenge when writing My Romance to come up with a completely diatonic melody that remains in the home key. A surprisingly rare thing with Broadway tunes! Yes, the changes are standard but there is still a fair bit of harmonic movement going on: cadences to the regular tonic substitutes, vi and iii as well as a lift to the IV in the 'B' (the 'backdoor' b7 was added later). From memory, the original also moved to II7 via a cycle of dominants in bar 28 - D7-G7-C7 rather than Am7b5-D7b9-Gm7.
    Last edited by PMB; 11-05-2020 at 07:20 PM.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB
    I wonder if Richard Rogers set himself a personal challenge when writing My Romance to come up with a completely diatonic melody that remains in the home key. A surprisingly rare thing with Broadway tunes! Yes, the changes are standard but there is still a fair bit of harmonic movement going on: cadences to the regular tonic substitutes, vi and iii as well as a lift to the IV in the 'B' (the 'backdoor' b7 was added later). From memory, the original also moved to II7 via a cycle of dominants in bar 28 - D7-G7-C7 rather than Am7b5-D7b9-Gm7.
    I wonder?

    Don't know this tune deeply, I should probably check out the original changes, sound more interesting in some ways.

  23. #22

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    Thanks to this thread, I decided to check out some versions of this tune, thought I’d try Bill Evans, and pulled out an old Verve double-LP I got dirt cheap 30 years ago. I thought it was just some mid-60s trio stuff and in fact I had hardly ever played it.

    Then I noticed a mention of Jim Hall in the small print, turns out the second LP is actually Intermodulations (the second duo LP by Evans and Hall). It doesn’t say this on the cover, only somewhere buried deep in the sleeve notes.

    Which is a record I have been meaning to get for some time, I had no idea I’d actually owned it for the last 30 years. So spent a very pleasant half hour or so enjoying this record for the first time!

    (Also listened to 2 versions of My Romance by Bill Evans, a solo one on New Jazz Conceptions and the one on the great Live at the Village Vanguard trio sessions).

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci

    So back to the OP, re something like “work it til you own it” I think within the question is that the OP may not have a strong sense of what “it” is, so it would be really unclear how to internalize and explore something without knowing anything about it besides the fact that it’s a C#ma7 chord.

    There’s a time to stop asking questions and just play - and the music has a high risk of over analysis - but there’s absolutely a danger of the opposite extreme.

    Just my 0.02. The listening and absorbing is #1, for sure.
    Yeah, have to admit that I like this thinking.

    Internalizing is such a large factor with improvisational music that "inspection" might be exciting at first but then practical application rears its' ugly head.

    To the PO:

    I'd be first concerned with where I ( the first listener ) was in the progression as a result in using this chord and then consider would other listeners be there too.
    If that works then you're onto something thats transferable; if not then maybe a misspelling of a chord or completely unique situation to the tune.

  25. #24

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    Nice version by Eddie Diehl at 40.32.


  26. #25

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    Oh, also, for about 1,000 reharm/sub ideas for My Romance, here's Peter Mazza:


  27. #26

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    Well, it's beautifully played, lots of skill, but I can't help thinking he's swamped the tune, if not destroyed it, with all those chord subs, etc. Shame, it's a nice tune. Personal point of view, of course.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Well, it's beautifully played, lots of skill, but I can't help thinking he's swamped the tune, if not destroyed it, with all those chord subs, etc. Shame, it's a nice tune. Personal point of view, of course.
    Sure. I was posting it as a good example of possibilities - especially in response to folks who were saying the tune itself is kind of boring.
    I'd say I'm in that camp - to my ears, this song isn't one that just plays itself and sounds great just out of the real book or something. It needs some interest. Mazza is masterful at adding interest.

    Of course, there's no arguing about taste. Most grocery stores don't just carry one kind of salsa.

  29. #28

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    Actually, I agree with you. I guess it can be a bit boring, I suppose. It's slow, pretty, but not a lot more. A lot of these show tunes can be like that, of course, so we need interest, absolutely. Harder on guitar, probably, than, say, a piano. A few players just up the tempo with a band and bang it out. Oscar Peterson did that. Not very nice, to be honest.

    It would make a good discussion as to what creates interest without making it too extreme or way out.