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  1. #1

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    Hello. In my practice etude, I have a vanilla Ami7 - D7- GMaj7, among other 2-5's. I want to keep incorporating altered tones on the D7 but I ran into a problem, wondering if I should not change the D7 chord in my band in the box progression, to a D7altered chord, such as D7#5b9.

    So my question is, do I need to alter the chord to effectively use altered lines over it? Or, can I just play D Altered Scale (also known as Super Locrian), for example, over the vanilla D7?

    As I was saying, I use Band-in- a- Box and I was not sure if how traditional Jazz guitarists approached using the Altered Scale over a resolving, non-altered dominant.

    Thanks in advance.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    By the way, this question was prompted by my observation in a few of my guitar instructions books. For example, in the Bebop Bible, lines that had altered notes were only used when the harmony had altered chords. I began to wonder if this is the way Jazz is traditionally done.

  4. #3

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    Technically you don't need to alter it but the altered notes might fit better if you did. I'd try both to see which works best for that tune.

    (For a perfect fit you might want to leave out the 5th (A) and put in, say, a b9 or #9, etc. Or play the chord as Ab7b5/#11).

  5. #4

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    Ever try Ab Lydian Dominant instead of D altered scale?

  6. #5

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    That would be the same pool of notes.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    Ever try Ab Lydian Dominant instead of D altered scale?
    I am going to have to write out those notes and see what you and rintincop are saying.

    By the way, I love that Lydian Dominant scale when I have fooled around with it in the past. But for now, I really want to use that Altered Scale, with all those altered notes to see if I can internalize it.

    Thanks.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Technically you don't need to alter it but the altered notes might fit better if you did. I'd try both to see which works best for that tune.

    (For a perfect fit you might want to leave out the 5th (A) and put in, say, a b9 or #9, etc. Or play the chord as Ab7b5/#11).
    Thanks for your thoughts. It is good to that in other's experience, I do not necessarily have to go altered chords. I guess that in these lick books, they just like to do it that way.

    I am going to have to write out that Ab7b5/11. I am thinking it is some kind of rootless version of another chord that I am considering.

    Thanks.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan
    I am going to have to write out those notes and see what you and rintincop are saying.

    By the way, I love that Lydian Dominant scale when I have fooled around with it in the past. But for now, I really want to use that Altered Scale, with all those altered notes to see if I can internalize it.

    Thanks.
    Here is the thing, I discovered and loved Lydian Dominant long before I had ever heard of the altered scale. To this day I have never intentionally played an altered scale thinking of it as such. My "internalized basis" for that sound is the Lydian Dominant. It made sense to me because in the example discussed above, the tri-tone of D is Ab; I think of the LD rooted from the tri-tone Ab instead of altering something rooted from D. I also think the LD may have more apparent direct connections to diminished and augmented figures, too.

  10. #9

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    Fun fact:

    The notes of any 7b5 a tritone apart are exactly the same -

    The notes of D7b5 are D F# Ab C.

    The notes of Ab7b5 are Ab C D F#.

    Same notes, different order.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan
    Thanks for your thoughts. It is good to that in other's experience, I do not necessarily have to go altered chords. I guess that in these lick books, they just like to do it that way.

    I am going to have to write out that Ab7b5/11. I am thinking it is some kind of rootless version of another chord that I am considering.

    Thanks.
    I just mean 4x453x. That would be Ab7b5 as a sub for D7alt. So you could play your 2-5-1 as Am11 - Ab7b5 - G69 or M7 (5x553x - 4x453x - 3x223x or 3x443). That's an old move that works very well.

    (I only wrote 7b5/#11 because many people think the Ab note ought to be called a #11, not b5. But personally I only call it a #11 if it's played above the octave).

    -----------------

    Re. the Lyd Dom and Altered scales, they're the same scale over different chords. D altered is the Eb melodic minor, right? But Ebm is also the ii of Ab7. So if you play Eb mel m over Ab7 that's the Ab Lyd Dom. And if you play it over D7, that's the D altered.

    -----------------

    Both these subjects are the sort of thing that can have the purists frothing at the mouth but it's not that hard once you've got the basic idea.

  12. #11

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    Probably too much information now, but one last tip...

    There are two sorts of dom chord, resolving and non-resolving. A resolving dom7 goes to its I chord and the non-resolving doesn't. So if you had

    Em7 - Eb7 - Dm7 - G7 - CM7

    you'd play Bb mel m (Eb lyd dom) over the Eb7 because it doesn't resolve and Ab mel m (G altered) over the G7 because it does resolve to its I chord, CM7.

    Technically, anyway.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan
    Hello. In my practice etude, I have a vanilla Ami7 - D7- GMaj7, among other 2-5's. I want to keep incorporating altered tones on the D7 but I ran into a problem, wondering if I should not change the D7 chord in my band in the box progression, to a D7altered chord, such as D7#5b9.

    So my question is, do I need to alter the chord to effectively use altered lines over it? Or, can I just play D Altered Scale (also known as Super Locrian), for example, over the vanilla D7?

    As I was saying, I use Band-in- a- Box and I was not sure if how traditional Jazz guitarists approached using the Altered Scale over a resolving, non-altered dominant.

    Thanks in advance.
    Yeah, I could write several books about the altered scale so will try not to do so here lol.

    In terms of ‘how did traditional jazz guitarists do it’ I would say one of the unwieldy things about the chord scale method is how many notes it involved. In fact if you go and check out bop lines (which presumably is what you mean by ‘traditional’) you won’t find that many altered notes and what notes there are are used to connect one chord to the next; maybe just one or two. So a b9 or #9 here, a b13 there and less frequently, a b5. Get to know these notes in isolation and how they connect the chord tones of the vanilla dominant to the target chord. So learn how to run lines from G9 to Cmaj7. And always refer to the lines people actually played for reference.

    I don’t think they really had the concept of the altered scale in the 50s. In any case they were mostly interested in chromatic connections with target chords. Given that chord changes are often too quick to think about a seven note scale I’ve found this the most useful approach for bop playing (also diminished seventh arp is very useful for connection.)

    In terms of modern applications, how long have you got? One key element of the altered scale for me is how much it is ‘voice leading in a can’ I did a video about this aspect of it here:


    So long as you CONNECT to the target chord your lines will make sense. That’s the Number One thing I seem to have to teach students for example about changes playing; connect your chords.
    Last edited by christianm77; 04-26-2021 at 03:38 AM.

  14. #13

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    There’s a few melodic figures that can be understood to belong to the altered scale which are very common in bop lines. I’ll put them in C here. All these lines resolve to the C chord.

    Bb-Ab-G-(F-E)
    (Bb-)B-Bb-Ab-G

    I call 1-b9-#9-3 the ‘bebop tetrachord’

    theres also
    Db-B-C

    And
    F-Eb-D

    To be honest if I wanted to play bop I would take a very good look at the possibilities of the diminished chord on the third of G7 as well, and link this into the bebop tetrachord: look at Donna Lee.

    The dim 7 doesn’t include a b5 but this sound is less common than the other alterations, all of which belong to the parallel minor scales on the I incidentally.

    Another common technique is to use the tritone substitute triad (don’t sleep on triads) so Db triad on G7 for example.

    Or; the related minor (II V), so Abm triad in this case.

    If you connect these triads into the target chord you’ll be amazed at how effective they are. Later try Abm(maj7) and Abm9(maj7); this is more like viewing the G altered as a mode of Ab melodic minor I suppose.

    So, in terms of bop, i view the altered scale less as a panacea for playing altered dominants and more as a sort of theoretical umbrella for a bunch of seperate things that people were doing in the bop era such as those I’ve listed here. I’ve found value in working on them all separately.

    And then, as I say, there are the modern applications...
    Last edited by christianm77; 04-26-2021 at 03:50 AM.

  15. #14

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    In terms of your actual question, I think it’s a good one.

    If you don’t specify alterations I would think it quite rude for Band in a Box to play them. Does it sound like it is? If not why not leave it open so that you can alter the chord how you like in your lines?

    As a comper, it’s important to be sensitive. So, you want to complement the soloist. As a result I’ll often play simple shell voicings until I get to know a soloists style a bit. This gives soloists enough room to use whatever they want on a dominant. It’s similar with majors and minors - I think it’s often better not to include the seventh.

    But over time I am starting to care less and less about clashes. The important thing to my ears is not that both soloists play the same ninth on a dominant chord but that they know how they are resolving and have a clear melodic logic (for chords this is usually in the top voice). The point of jazz is not that everything lines up harmonically but that every layer has its own compelling musical logic and swing.

  16. #15

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    In another thread there is discussion of Mike Stern's recent book on Altered scales which just arrived in my mailbox. FWIW he strongly suggest viewing the altered scale or whatever you want to call it from the context of the root. And I think I like that approach. He further describes that scale as mixolydian but with every non chord tone altered.

  17. #16
    Don't miss the implications of harmonic rhythm. Anything works on the last beat /last measure before a change, depending on the duration etc. Learn to hear/play mixo-alt-Ionian.

    Also, I don't necessarily think it's as helpful to learn to "alter mixo" one note at a time. I agree with Paul that Lydian dominant (bII7#11) is the gateway to hearing/playing MM -- in being the most easily played/ heard. Basic dominant diatonic chord tone lines will work, once you learn to pay respect to #11. (Your "11 as upper neighbor tone to 3" lines from Mixo and Dorian will sound crap and mostly are in this context). Learn to hear #11 as lower neighbor there.

    The other departure point is the resolution. Dorian and mixolydian basically resolve to something which is "diatonic" to them. Melodic minor "as altered" mostly doesn't. You have to flip the last two notes , change direction , or learn to hear Chromatic enclosure resolutions etc. You have to do this regardless with MM, but again, I think Lydian dominant is the easiest to play and here. Symmetrical descending diatonic" lines for Dorian/Lydian dominant/Ionian still work fine and are good ear training.

    After Lydian Dominant, I would do the same kind of resolution work with "diatonic" -type chord tone lines for the I-maj7 [Imin(maj7)] from MM. Your Dorian vocabulary will mostly work, again accounting for the one note which is different. If you think of the notes of this chord (Eb-maj7) as "chord tones" of your D7 alt, you'll avoid 90% of the problems which most people starting out with melodic minor have with altered "not working" and sounding horrible etc. If you do an analysis viewing this chord in context of chord tones and passing tones this D7, you can see why it works pretty well.

    TLDR for the above paragraph: traditional diatonic chord tone vocabulary works well if you play as if targeting the I chord of mm.

    Again, you have to work on "resolving out" of MM at the cadence….

    Learn to do the same with the VI-7b5 chord of melodic minor. So, for D7 alt, your traditional diatonic C-7b5 vocabulary works (targeting C-7 b5 chord tones). Of course raise the 9th to nat-9.

    In my opinion, all of these are much easier to hear as D7 alt in the beginning (and using more typical diatonic chord tone vocabulary) than learning to hear D7 alt in place of your diatonic D7. THAT relationship has four notes difference – four points of departure from the original relationship, whereas the other examples have only 1. Again, all examples do require that you actually learn to "resolve out".

    The 4 degrees of separation problem is where I think most guitarists get the idea that "melodic minor doesn't work ".

  18. #17

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    Bet you're sorry you asked now lol

  19. #18

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    I mean it's kind of all bullshit really. The main thing is to work on lines.

    People who work on lines and vocabulary from day 1 always sound good. It's not necessary to understand everything you play, on the other hand it's not helpful to try to construct jazz language from scales and things until you know what you are doing. That usually means being able to intuit how jazz lines work.

    The theory is not enough to get you there.

  20. #19

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    Mute the chord instrument for greater flexibility.

  21. #20

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    Lots to take away from this. Thanks everyone.

    I got my answer and then some. I am starting to view the "altered scale" and its use a little differently now, especially with regards to other scales that have similar notes, and also in how I use the altered tones (#5, b5, #9, b9). Just because they are all in their does not necessarily mean I need to tap into them all so regularly.

    For now, I will leave my chords non-altered, and I will take it from there. My goal is to have two progressions, one with unaltered chords, while the other will have altered chords of my choosing. I hope to be really acquainted with the sound each altered note brings.

    Again, thanks. That is what makes the forum so valuable.

  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I mean it's kind of all bullshit really. The main thing is to work on lines.

    People who work on lines and vocabulary from day 1 always sound good. It's not necessary to understand everything you play, on the other hand it's not helpful to try to construct jazz language from scales and things until you know what you are doing. That usually means being able to intuit how jazz lines work.

    The theory is not enough to get you there.
    Ha. I guess you're talking about my post? To be fair, I was actually discussing how one might more easily apply familiar VOCABULARY.

    Do you not get the feeling, from others' posts, that there is a basic disconnect - for many -with applying familiar diatonic -type vocabulary over altered? My basic sense from others in multiple threads is something like: "When I play my dominant -type vocabulary and change the notes to altered, it sounds crap". I personally think the assumed methodology in statements like that *is* the actual problem, but I'd be interested to hear whether you think I am misunderstanding something in hearing that over multiple threads?

    My claim, maybe not clearly stated, is that you'll get much farther in exploring D7 altered, as a beginner, if you approach it "as if" you're playing Ab7, Eb-maj7, Cm7b5, F#maj7#5 (enharmonic) etc. Even though all altered scale pitches are somewhat "chord tones", melodic playing is more easily heard and played in the context of chord tones and passing tones, even if arbitrarily implied in the moment.

    All of these examples sound great as D7. They convey altered very well and allow a beginner to use familiar chord tone/passing tone vocabulary, including arps, in learning to hear and play altered.

    Anyway, that's my supposition, and I would be interested to hear others' thoughts related to my possible misunderstanding of other players' stated issues /problems.... or related to flaws in my thinking regarding methodology… beyond dismissive one-liners. :-)

    PS: it's a forum. Hence, words... I'd except criticism about my being long-winded from posters, such as Mr. B, who are actually quite often pithy and concise. :-) Just saying.

    All said with best intentions.

    Thanks.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher

    All of these examples sound great as D7.
    let's hear it then

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    let's hear it then
    You're the pro. Have it your way. They all sound bad...

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    You're the pro. Have it your way. They all sound bad...
    you think i'm being facetious but i'm not. they do not sound good or bad. it ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it (jimmie lounceford).

    if you use your examples like "Ab7, Eb-maj7, Cm7b5, F#maj7#5" to organize, understand, generalize, and reproduce language they will sound good. if you expect language if you just permutate your examples you'll fail. chords/scales do not produce language.

    chris has put it much simpler: if you study language from day 1 you'll always sound good. the reverse is true as well.

  26. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    you think i'm being facetious but i'm not. they do not sound good or bad. it ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it (jimmie lounceford).

    if you use your examples like "Ab7, Eb-maj7, Cm7b5, F#maj7#5" to organize, understand, generalize, and reproduce language they will sound good. if you expect language if you just permutate your examples you'll fail. chords/scales do not produce language.

    chris has put it much simpler: if you study language from day 1 you'll always sound good. the reverse is true as well.
    Everything I said was based on the presumption that one can actually play some basic vocabulary over diatonic in the first place.

    But how do you approach adapting similar language to D7 alt? D7#5 doesn't have stackable tertian context... from melodic minor. However, when you apply standard arp/scale, "diatonic" lines to actual stacked chords which are "diatonic to MM", you can pull from vocabulary which is mostly standard diatonic.

    Honestly, i never assumed that this was for people who could already play altered lines, nor would I assume that they CAN'T otherwise play over diatonic - if they're asking. Is that really what we're talking about?

    To be fair, I DID actually talk about why straight permutation doesn't work.