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  1. #1

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    I noticed in a transcription (Ben Webster) that he plays an A dim over an Eb 7.

    This puzzled me, because the obvious one is E dim (dim 1 note up from root).

    It turns out the A dim relative to Eb is tritone, 6, root, sharp 9.

    Then I got curious -- there are only 3 dim arps, which we can call G, Ab and A. I played them all over Eb 7, and all worked, with varying degrees of consonance.

    This means you could play a chromatic series of dims.

    Someone probably already figured this out, but it was new to me.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I'll bite: the B diminished 7th arp over Eb7?

    B D F Ab --- #5, major 7th, 9th, perfect 4th.

    Meh.

  4. #3
    Well it's a matter of taste -- that one is pretty outside. I see the 4th as the 11th, but yeah, I can see your point.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzinNY
    I noticed in a transcription (Ben Webster) that he plays an A dim over an Eb 7.
    Barry Harris has something enlightening to say about the relationship of dominants and diminisheds.

  6. #5

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    The diminished scale is 2 diminished 7 chords next to each other. So if you were to play an Eb dim scale over an Eb 7, it would include the commonly used trick of b9,3,5,b7 but also the diminished chord of r,#9,#4,6 like you discovered.

  7. #6

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    Eight actually! The diminished scale being symmetric, it repeats itself four times (every three frets). So it contains eight diminished7 and four dominant7 chords.

    To be able to hear and play all that is quite an ordeal! I really enjoy how Wayne Krantz uses the diminished scale, he is very interesting to listen to for these types of sounds!

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzinNY
    I noticed in a transcription (Ben Webster) that he plays an A dim over an Eb 7.

    This puzzled me, because the obvious one is E dim (dim 1 note up from root).

    It turns out the A dim relative to Eb is tritone, 6, root, sharp 9.

    Then I got curious -- there are only 3 dim arps, which we can call G, Ab and A. I played them all over Eb 7, and all worked, with varying degrees of consonance.

    This means you could play a chromatic series of dims.

    Someone probably already figured this out, but it was new to me.
    So in this discussion you’ve not mentioned what I would think the most important thing. I don’t want to know about the Eb7; I want to know where it is headed.

    In changes playing dominant harmony is connecting tissue a lot of the time. The important thing is play movement; in this sense the function of the dominant chord is very often to be dissonant and push towards the next chord rather than a colour in its own right.

    (In fact really the transition between any two chords is an invitation to add dissonance and movement, or even a static chord.)

    You can do whatever you like provided it provides clear chromatic voiceleading into the target chord.

    Semitone connections sound most logical. The more of these, the better it will sound. The more ‘efficient’ the cadence. It’s the same logic as neighbour tones and enclosure, but applied to whole chords. (Of course, we might call these passing chords.)

    From this perspective I find Dbo7 into C to be the weakest. TBH I tend to avoid it.

    My favourite is F-F#o7 - C on Dm-G7-C. Sounds great. Django like that one too.
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-26-2020 at 05:25 AM.

  9. #8

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    Yeah it’s just basic line construction. Any line goes

    Thing #1 —> voice leading —> Thing #2

    Where Things #1 and #2 are some sort of nice static colour on the vanilla changes like what you find in Boomer jazz manuals. Or maybe just a triad or sommat.

    the thing being that if there’s not much time (for instance the chord lasts like 2-4 beats at a medium-up tempo) you can dispense with thing #1 and quite honestly a lot the time you don’t need much thing #2 either. Maybe just one note; a 3rd or a 5th is good to start, and both the dim7 chords I like (common tone and leading tone) give you a nice way into those tones via a semitone.

    So quite a lot of changes playing ends up being voice leading...

    Voiceleading is in this sense linear, like a dot to dot thing. It can be chromatic or involve what we might call ‘outside’ pitch choices. Or it might be diatonic and straightforward. Regardless of this, It doesn’t have anything do with the chord of the moment; it has everything to do with the chord that’ll be along in a moment, and you control the arrival of that chord by the timing of your resolution into Thing #2, not what it says on the lead sheet.

    Again, the best way of understanding this is not to read Boomer jazz tomes or plonkers like us posting on the interwebz but of course to check out the music like the OP did, so well done that person .
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-26-2020 at 08:40 AM.

  10. #9

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    I think why I don’t like Dbo7 into Cmaj7 is because of the third and fifth being common tones?

    But given my continuing war on 3rds, maybe I might revisit it.

  11. #10

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    Some thoughts:

    On the voice leading front - Given a 4 part equal division of the octave, it is impossible for any note of any target chord to be more than a whole step away any o7 chord if not closer.

    Eb7 > Ab

    G Bb Db Fb = Eb7b9 (simple extension) 3,5,b7,b9

    F# A C Eb - root common tone + an F#o triad approach chord to
    Go (upper triad of Eb7) or as #9, #11, 13 plus the root in relation to Eb7

    D F Ab Cb - approach diminished to Eb7 or as a passing subdominant sound Db7b9/G7b9

    These are just rationalizations and as Christian suggests, what you contextually like and find useful is personal.

  12. #11

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    I've just been trying this out a lot. Theoretically it sounds fine. In practice, not so much.

    First, the b9 dim arps tend to land you on the right place for a melodic resolution. Having used them for ages, some of it is doubtless muscle memory, but nevertheless...

    When you start using the 'wrong ones' it might sound okay over the dominant if you're looking for outside sounds but even so it doesn't always by a long chalk. Not only does it sound forced, it sounds clunky when you resolve them.

    I don't think when I'm playing much, I'm too busy listening, so, unless it's been worked out previously, which I never do, it's pot luck. The obvious thing to do is go for the nearest chord tone on the resolution but that doesn't always work either. For some reason it tends to hit the 5th a lot which isn't the most tuneful.

    So, personally, I think I'll stick to dims/doms for 7b9 sounds and altered sounds for outside stuff. It do make life easier.

    And, just to put the boot in even worse, how do we know Ben Webster and/or Django didn't just play the wrong dim arp? It's been known, you know, they're only human. After all, Django isn't much known for his crazy outside modern bebop sounds

  13. #12

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    Bad quality, sorry. Only the first solo has the 'right' dim arps. It sounds like I was deliberately making it sound bad, but I wasn't :-)


  14. #13

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    Hard to imagine anything without context... is the dominant altered or not?... is the tonal center major or minor? Is the dominant resolving to tonic, or not? What is the mood, blue or bright? What are the original melody notes over that part of the progression? And so on...

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I've just been trying this out a lot. Theoretically it sounds fine. In practice, not so much.

    First, the b9 dim arps tend to land you on the right place for a melodic resolution. Having used them for ages, some of it is doubtless muscle memory, but nevertheless...

    When you start using the 'wrong ones' it might sound okay over the dominant if you're looking for outside sounds but even so it doesn't always by a long chalk. Not only does it sound forced, it sounds clunky when you resolve them.

    I don't think when I'm playing much, I'm too busy listening, so, unless it's been worked out previously, which I never do, it's pot luck. The obvious thing to do is go for the nearest chord tone on the resolution but that doesn't always work either. For some reason it tends to hit the 5th a lot which isn't the most tuneful.

    So, personally, I think I'll stick to dims/doms for 7b9 sounds and altered sounds for outside stuff. It do make life easier.

    And, just to put the boot in even worse, how do we know Ben Webster and/or Django didn't just play the wrong dim arp? It's been known, you know, they're only human. After all, Django isn't much known for his crazy outside modern bebop sounds
    You aren’t the first to suggest that.

    In his magnum opus Early Jazz, Gunther Schuller records many such instances of Louis Armstrong in the 1920s playing chords at variance with his rhythm section (such as F#o7 over Fm going back to C.) he describes such things as ‘mistakes.’

    i would agree with Ethan Iverson that we are in fact using the wrong model of harmony to talk about the music of the pre conservatoire era. These variances are so common in jazz from 1920s-1970s, to call them mistakes seems rather ... arrogant.

    A good book to check out is Paul Berliner’s ‘thinking in jazz.’ As with Schuller’s work it is serious musicology and very long, but very readable as it focuses on the accounts of the musicians themselves as opposed to imposing some high flown exterior ‘analysis’ on the music.

    To be honest, if aren’t good at linking chords together and playing lines in forward motion you are probably going to struggle making these options sound good... that’s a big weakness from a lot of students who are otherwise quite advanced. They tend to play on chords, not into them.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles
    I'll bite: the B diminished 7th arp over Eb7?

    B D F Ab --- #5, major 7th, 9th, perfect 4th.

    Meh.
    On second thought, if you are cycling and playing Bb7 -> Eb7 over what was originally just Eb7, then Bo7 is the Bb7b9 sound. As long as you resolve it, as per always.

  17. #16

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    Also, again, the Richie Hart interview



    All of it is great, but the specific relevant bit is at about 53 minutes

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    To be honest, if aren’t good at linking chords together and playing lines in forward motion you are probably going to struggle making these options sound good... that’s a big weakness from a lot of students who are otherwise quite advanced. They tend to play on chords, not into them.
    I always play into them, there's no such things as isolated chords, the progression is continuous. But one can't just play anything. If you're heading for, say, a M7 then a decent 'end phrase' will sound good over the preceding dom chord. And the same in other parts of the music. But the notes matter.

    Besides, in a good progression, not some amateur hotch-potch, the chords will bear a relationship to each other so a bit of over-lapping is fine. But, again, one can't just play a lot of nonsense, it has to have direction.

    Otherwise you could start every tune with notes from the one-to-last-chord and triumphantly end on the tonic. Whoopee! Perfect resolution! Except it doesn't work :-)

  19. #18
    Alright, to clarify context: it's a split measure, Eb7 to F7, ending an "A" section.

    "In a Mellow Tone," from See You at the Fair. The Eb carries from previous measure, then becomes F7. And phrase sounds good over those 2, or the Eb alone.

    I should mention I had trouble getting those notes exact, but I think it's A C d Eb
    (d being a chromatic).

    1:43 of the tune.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    So quite a lot of changes playing ends up being voice leading...

    Voiceleading is in this sense linear, like a dot to dot thing. It can be chromatic or involve what we might call ‘outside’ pitch choices. Or it might be diatonic and straightforward. Regardless of this, It doesn’t have anything do with the chord of the moment; it has everything to do with the chord that’ll be along in a moment, and you control the arrival of that chord by the timing of your resolution into Thing #2, not what it says on the lead sheet.
    Bravo !!

    I might print that out and stick it on my wall

  21. #20

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    Sorry, should have checked this out properly right from the start but I was in the throes of Xmas. So -

    The tune's in Ab and they're playing in Ab. The Real Book chords are definitely what they play on the recording.

    At the point he plays F# A C Eb, the chords are 2 beats of Eb7 and 2 beats of F7 for that bar. That's an F#o arp over the F7 (going to Bb7). BUT it's starting over the Eb7 so the F# will conflict with the G of Eb7 and the A's a tritone.

    So I suppose it just about passes depending how you look at it. Ultimately it's how it sounds and probably that's okay. Does anyone really notice?

    As for the idea of "playing the 'wrong' dim arps over dom chords" that's a lot of hooey. It doesn't work and that's not what's happening here. F#o over F7 is precisely right for the b9 sound (except he starts a bit early).

    So JazzinNY:

    I noticed in a transcription (Ben Webster) that he plays an A dim over an Eb 7.
    He does, but only partially, as above. The bar is Eb7/F7 - (Bb7). And the notes are F# A C Eb.

    (If you doubt any of this I've got a recording of it, nice and clear :-))

  22. #21

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    As one goes through all that, what happens if actually the ability to connect, voice lead and outline chords just improves. It's just different ways to get from here to there.

    Some of the diminished things I have enjoyed practicing:

    1. Just hearing and playing both diminished scales - half whole and whole half - (and the dim7 arpeggios) over a basic chord. The chord can be any quality, but dom7 ones are the most interesting to me. To really try to get the nuances and the character of the scale under the fingers, and around the chord shapes.

    2. Using both diminished scales and arpeggios as a tonic sound (based on the tonic chord of the key), and as a dominant sound (so based on the dominant chord of the key).

    3. Derive dominant7 chords out of the diminished scale. On the half whole (which is the easier to use as a dominant sound) there are four, starting on the 1, b3, b5, 6.

    Now voice lead these four dominant chords as a tonic sound (say over a C vamp, voice lead C7, Eb7, Gb7, A7 into your playing)

    Also voice lead them as a dominant sound, meaning a sound that creates tension and needs to resolve to the tonic. So on a C vamp, think of the dominant (G7), use half whole diminished scale over the G7 so you get G7, Bb7, Db7, E7, now voice lead these four into the C. Work with only arpeggios at first, enhance with various scales later, adding the IIs of the Vs, etc..

    A big part of it is an exercise in out playing. What made all the difference for me was thinking chords (and later chord movements) and not scales or degrees. Chords carry the sound through.

  23. #22

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    Holy shit this forum lol.

  24. #23

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    @OP truth is none of these explanations matter. If you can really hear an Ao7 working over Eb7 going to Ab it’s going to work. If you can’t it won’t. (I don’t use it personally.)

    ’if it sounds good it is good’ Ellington
    ’i don’t play chords I play movement’ Coleman Hawkins

    I think a lot of these threads spring from a psychology of people feeling that this or that theory needs to encapsulate every note choice made by every musician. But this is unnecessary; even the Berklee Chord Scale Theory book points out not every chord is related to a scale all the time.

    I’d save time and energy one could spend here on this or that explanation involving the luminiferous ether or whatever just checking out more great music and drawing lessons from that. (You can also use theory resources like Alters diminished scales as a way of coming up with sounds.)

    You’ll work it out; you are doing the right stuff.
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-27-2020 at 06:22 AM.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    A good book to check out is Paul Berliner’s ‘thinking in jazz.’ As with Schuller’s work it is serious musicology and very long, but very readable as it focuses on the accounts of the musicians themselves as opposed to imposing some high flown exterior ‘analysis’ on the music.
    Thinking in Jazz is a marvelous read. Berliner was in the right place at the right time to interview and learn from some of the greats before they passed. He worked on it for over a decade, right after his first book, The Soul of Mbira, which also focused on practitioners.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzinNY
    I noticed in a transcription (Ben Webster) that he plays an A dim over an Eb 7.

    This puzzled me, because the obvious one is E dim (dim 1 note up from root).

    It turns out the A dim relative to Eb is tritone, 6, root, sharp 9.

    Then I got curious -- there are only 3 dim arps, which we can call G, Ab and A. I played them all over Eb 7, and all worked, with varying degrees of consonance.

    This means you could play a chromatic series of dims.

    Someone probably already figured this out, but it was new to me.
    This is very common. These notes (tritone, natural 6th, #9) all come from the SAME diminished scale that E dim 7 comes from: Eb half whole diminished scale.

    Every note of the E dim 7, has an upper neighbour a whole step above. It's a common arrangement technique that you can use the upper neighbor instead of the diminished note especially when creating a movement by using various diminished chords. Wes Montgomery played a lot of them. Horn sections in jazz bands play them. Chords come from scales (B.H.), not from preconceived grips.

    Of course you can use them in your lines as well. Chords and lines are the same things too.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 12-27-2020 at 04:31 PM.

  27. #26

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    ’if it sounds good it is good’ Ellington
    And its long-forgotten sister quotation:

    'If it sounds crap, it is crap' Me.


  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77


    Voiceleading is in this sense linear, like a dot to dot thing. It can be chromatic or involve what we might call ‘outside’ pitch choices. Or it might be diatonic and straightforward. Regardless of this, It doesn’t have anything do with the chord of the moment; it has everything to do with the chord that’ll be along in a moment, and you control the arrival of that chord by the timing of your resolution into Thing #2, not what it says on the lead sheet.
    .
    Very true! I started doing this intuitively when I figure out 'the chord tones' way of thinking. And basically anything works over dom chords as long as you resolve right, thats what matters. I dont read books, but I'm glad someone who does can confirm it lol.

    Also don't care if it sounds 'bebop' enough. Sometimes it's better if doesn't.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    Very true! I started doing this intuitively when I figure out 'the chord tones' way of thinking. And basically anything works over dom chords as long as you resolve right, thats what matters. I dont read books, but I'm glad someone who does can confirm it lol.

    Also don't care if it sounds 'bebop' enough. Sometimes it's better if doesn't.
    its totally bebop

  30. #29

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    It boils down to continuous patterns sound good

  31. #30

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    Chromatic diminished usage in blatant action at 13:20 :

    Monty Alexander Live 1976

  32. #31

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    I agree. Nice one!

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    Bravo !!

    I might print that out and stick it on my wall
    I agree. Nice one Christian

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzinNY
    Alright, to clarify context: it's a split measure, Eb7 to F7, ending an "A" section.

    "In a Mellow Tone," from See You at the Fair. The Eb carries from previous measure, then becomes F7. And phrase sounds good over those 2, or the Eb alone.

    I should mention I had trouble getting those notes exact, but I think it's A C d Eb
    (d being a chromatic).

    1:43 of the tune.
    Sounds F# - A - C - Eb to me... as you say it starts on Eb7 and ends in F7 ... F7 here is a secondary dominant going to Bb7 (II7 in the key of the piece)

    If I had to resolve it without this particular context it would have sounded most natural into Db (melodically I mean).. the chord would be Bb-7

    But Ben does not resolve it....


    I do not know his thinking... but sounds just like he played it thinking/hearing/anticipating movement through F7 (quite common b9 idea).

    I like thinking more about the character of the line - its expression... this is what i try to learn from.

    here it is powerful dominant lick without immidiate resolution - climbing up and interrupted at its highest point...

    of course we can hear this interruption because resolution to Bb7 (or Bbm7) is presumed and anticipated (our (and Ben's) culticated hearing works here)but it does not happen

    also note the rhythm it is played in -
    it is sort of half-note triplets... which increases that expression of climbing up the peak and ...

    I guess this is what we can learn from such things to add meanings intp our scope of artistic tools

  35. #34

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    I think he forgot about the Eb7. But I also think, listening to it, that it doesn't matter. It's not a great clash at all. Fuss about nothing, really.

    Actually, I think a lot of that solo isn't strictly on-chord. But there you are.

    Poor guy, every note he plays ripped apart and micro-analysed. Who'd be famous?

    By the way, no one's posted it yet.

    Last edited by ragman1; 12-28-2020 at 06:48 AM.

  36. #35
    I actually think it's pretty cool that, years after he's gone, people are giving so much attention to 4 notes he played one night in a studio.

    And Ragman, I think you misread my posts. I don't see his playing as any kind of mistake. I just found it interesting.

    (Thanks for posting the link)

  37. #36

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    JazzinNY -

    Any diminished arp works over a Dominant


    No, I didn't misread them, I thought your point was the in the thread title. But the discussion wandered a bit...

    But I'm tempted to post another Soundcloud thing where I'm deliberately playing the 'wrong' dims over dom chords. It sounds awful to my ears - well, it IS awful, no question about it - regardless of what the theorists say. Maybe if you popped one into a fast bebop tune it might sound out and cool but, as a rule, I'd say no. And I think you meant it as a sort of rule.

    Here we are, lots of dominants. The first time I turned all of them into 7b9's and it works. The second... well :-)

    C - % - E7 - %
    A7 - % - Dm - %
    E7 - % - Am - %
    D7 - % - Dm - G7



    To be fair, the very last one over the G7 before the tonic CM7 sounds okay because it'll take an altered sound there. But the others, not for me.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    It doesn’t have anything do with the chord of the moment; it has everything to do with the chord that’ll be along in a moment.
    Yes, that's the bee's knees right there!

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I think why I don’t like Dbo7 into Cmaj7 is because of the third and fifth being common tones?

    But given my continuing war on 3rds, maybe I might revisit it.
    Co-incidentally I watched this YT clip prior to reading your post. I posted a comment regarding a chord progression at 4.06 using the above chords. I'm glad I'm not the only one!