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  1. #1

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    Hi everybody,

    in these days i'm reading the Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine but i can't understand very well the chapter on the suspended flat 9 chord...

    The suspended flat 9 chord could be indicate the phrygian mode or the dorian b2 mode, but how do we distinguish them and how can we use them?

    For example at page 46 he brings a II-V-I in G major, but the chord that resolves a perfect fifth on G major is Dsusb9 which he says that belongs to Bb major scale.
    But in this case, to resolve on a major chord could we also use the dorian b2 mode? or the dorian b2 should resolves only on minor chord in a minor II-V-I?

    I can't understand VERY WELL the use of this two mode !!!

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  3. #2

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    I would tend most often to use V7sus4b9 most often as a sub for IIm7b5

    So in the case G7sus4b9 for Dm7b5

    So if you want to look at it modally G Phrygian and D Locrian are the same pitch set, being modes of Eb major/Ionian (or as I prefer to look at it C natural minor/aeolian or Bb dominant/mixolydian)

    OTOH G dorianb2 and D locrian #2 are also parented by F melodic minor.

    (In fact, even though neither scales contain a B, you can find loads of examples of players using them over G7.)

    I would need to revisit Levine, I don’t tend to use his books much (I view and teach theory in a very different way) but I would surprised if it was much at variance with that.

    Rintincop is your man on this.

  4. #3

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    That reminds me, there’s a nice example of this chord at the very end of the first A of Afternoon in Paris (I think there was a thread on this tune). Here it’s an Ab+ triad against a held F in the melody (making an Fmin(maj7) in inversion) over a G bass, before moving to D. which Levine would interpret as a F melodic minor/G dorian b2 sound.

    This gives an overall G13b9sus4 tonality.

    EDIT: this detail is not in the Real Book chart, which misses it out; it’s a sort of ‘filler line’, and you need to listen to this recording.


    It couldn’t be a major mode because the major scale does not contain an augmented triad. The aug triad and major 7#5 sounds are common in jazz of this era as a way into creating more exotic harmonies, and IIRC Levine discusses their use.
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 06-18-2021 at 05:04 AM.

  5. #4

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    Sasha Distel is very quiet.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    I would tend most often to use V7sus4b9 most often as a sub for IIm7b5

    So in the case G7sus4b9 for Dm7b5

    So if you want to look at it modally G Phrygian and D Locrian are the same pitch set, being modes of Eb major/Ionian (or as I prefer to look at it C natural minor/aeolian or Bb dominant/mixolydian)

    OTOH G dorianb2 and D locrian #2 are also parented by F melodic minor.

    (In fact, even though neither scales contain a B, you can find loads of examples of players using them over G7.)

    I would need to revisit Levine, I don’t tend to use his books much (I view and teach theory in a very different way) but I would surprised if it was much at variance with that.

    Rintincop is your man on this.
    Thank you man! at the end of the day the difference between Gsusb9 phrygian and Gsusb9 dorian b2 is only the sixth that in the phrygian it's minor and in the dorian it's major!

    But for example since Gsusb9 doesn't have the third, it could resolve equally over D minor, D minor/major seventh and D major seventh?

  7. #6

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  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fra88
    Thank you man! at the end of the day the difference between Gsusb9 phrygian and Gsusb9 dorian b2 is only the sixth that in the phrygian it's minor and in the dorian it's major!

    But for example since Gsusb9 doesn't have the third, it could resolve equally over D minor, D minor/major seventh and D major seventh?
    Do you mean that the chord goes to C minor or C major? As in V7(sus)-I?

    I don't know for certain, but I would imagine the Phrygian version being more common in minor and the Dorianb9 being more common in major. But I know from experience it's not aways that neat haha.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    The sax line at the end of the first A here is a bit altered, so it doesn't have that Ab+ thing. It sounds to me like he is outlining F7 before going to the 3rd of G7. Or running the 3rd of Dm7 arp chromatically down to the b9 of G7 and leaping to the 3rd Pretty cool!

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    Do you mean that the chord goes to C minor or C major? As in V7(sus)-I?

    I don't know for certain, but I would imagine the Phrygian version being more common in minor and the Dorianb9 being more common in major. But I know from experience it's not aways that neat haha.
    yes sorry i meant C minor. But for example if we are in C Harmonic minor, can we use the progression Dm7b5-G7susb9-Cminor/major seventh? Because in the melodic and harmonic minor scale we have the major seventh that become the third of the dominant chord! or we can use the the susb9 chord regardless the scale?

  11. #10

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    Gsusb9 dorian b2 is the second chord in F Melodic Minor Ab Lydian Augment ............. Mr Miller you were on the right track but talked kind of talked yourself away from the point


    major scale does not contain an augmented triad..........................

    yes true but its not Major scale per se Lydian Augmented is indeed a Major Scale, but not "The Major Scale"

    John Lewis uses a fair bit of Melodic Minor, That i would call Classical, i cant remember the album.







  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fra88
    yes sorry i meant C minor. But for example if we are in C Harmonic minor, can we use the progression Dm7b5-G7susb9-Cminor/major seventh? Because in the melodic and harmonic minor scale we have the major seventh that become the third of the dominant chord! or we can use the the susb9 chord regardless the scale?

    Well, wearen't 'in C Harmonic Minor'; we might be in C minor, and C harmonic minor is one of the options we have available to us. We could use Ab melodic minor (G altered) on the G7 in C minor and still, be within the key of C minor in some sense.

    In this sense using the F dorianb2 (F melodic minor) seems more natural in C major and the F Phrygian (C aeolian) seems more natural in C minor, but I've transcribed enough actual jazz to know that what seems natural is not always the rule... For instance, Bill Evans uses Em9b5 as a II chord in Dm. That obviously has an F# in it.

    In real jazz melodic lines, people mix up somewhat (at leat they did when they played melodic lines and not just apreggiated chords). This is one reason why I find chord scale theory tiresome.

    There's no way to say for sure whether that little figure in Afternoon in Paris belongs to F melodic minor or F harmonic minor. I don't really care. The main thing is the use of that Fm(maj7) sound. The D afterwards belongs to the melodic minor though, so I'm tempted to say that's what it is as it fits easiest. Also Charlie Christian often plays like Fmin(maj7) and Fm6 over G7 for example, so it's clearly a bit of a thing.
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 06-18-2021 at 02:29 PM.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Durban
    Gsusb9 dorian b2 is the second chord in F Melodic Minor Ab Lydian Augment ............. Mr Miller you were on the right track but talked kind of talked yourself away from the point


    major scale does not contain an augmented triad..........................

    yes true but its not Major scale per se Lydian Augmented is indeed a Major Scale, but not "The Major Scale"

    John Lewis uses a fair bit of Melodic Minor, That i would call Classical, i cant remember the album.

    Argghhh Alright the Ionian mode if you must, FFS.

    I refuse to call the major scale the Ionian mode. Because then you have to say the Ionian mode is a mode of the Ionian mode, and that's as dumb af.

  14. #13

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    i am a conehead but not a dweeb,

    watch out or ill give Dom Cummings your email.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Durban
    i am a conehead but not a dweeb,

    watch out or ill give Dom Cummings your email.
    :-D

    Nonetheless I refuse to call the major scale the Ionian mode. Because then you have to say the Ionian mode is a mode of the Ionian mode, and that's as dumb af.

    It's bad enough that I have to use these ridiculous convoluted terms that do nothing than make perfectly simple harmony appear massively more complex than it actually is. Bah humbug.

  16. #15

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    Gsusb9 is also Ab lydian No #5 if you play it Ab C D G bottom note D string simple voicing gorgeous


    so EbMaj all interchangeable the b9 sounds great in the Bass


    Holdswoth funnily enough does not like the Major7th like that but uses this above a lot he dont like Eb 5th says it is ugly i was always surprised by that,

  17. #16

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    Yeah, Joe Pass was right there is only 3 chords Maj min & Dom,

  18. #17

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    not to get all technical again, the b9 sus is highly usable/flexible from that one shape comes a lot of other voicing from different angles

    Gsusb9 is Bb13 no root Ab C D G

    then you can Ab D C G


    etc and more,

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Durban
    Yeah, Joe Pass was right there is only 3 chords Maj min & Dom,
    Pretty much

    In this case, G13sus4b9 whatyoumacallit

    Is actually, Fm/G

    This is nice, because a regular sus chord is simple F/G

    Where you can extend that Fm or F chord if you want.

    (The important thing to understand is that true minor is not Fm7, but fm6 or Fm(maj7), which includes the melodic minor but is not limited to it)

    Abmaj7#5 is also, Fm

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Durban
    Gsusb9 is also Ab lydian No #5 if you play it Ab C D G bottom note D string simple voicing gorgeous


    so EbMaj all interchangeable the b9 sounds great in the Bass


    Holdswoth funnily enough does not like the Major7th like that but uses this above a lot he dont like Eb 5th says it is ugly i was always surprised by that,
    Major 7ths are peculiar.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fra88
    Hi everybody,

    in these days i'm reading the Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine but i can't understand very well the chapter on the suspended flat 9 chord...

    The suspended flat 9 chord could be indicate the phrygian mode or the dorian b2 mode, but how do we distinguish them and how can we use them?

    For example at page 46 he brings a II-V-I in G major, but the chord that resolves a perfect fifth on G major is Dsusb9 which he says that belongs to Bb major scale.


    But in this case, to resolve on a major chord could we also use the dorian b2 mode? or the dorian b2 should resolves only on minor chord in a minor II-V-I?

    I can't understand VERY WELL the use of this two mode !!!
    I'd strongly recommend getting a backing track and trying it every which way. See which ones sound good to you. There is no rule, just what other players have done, and how often.

    That said ...

    Levine points out that susb9 is within a major scale. So, for example, Esusb9 contains notes of Cmajor.

    He also points out that it is the second mode of melodic minor, so Esusb9 contains notes of D melodic minor.

    Levine makes the point that every chord in melodic minor harmony is interchangeable. So, Esusb9, if the situation makes it a melodic minor, is the same chord as Dminmaj, Fmaj7#5 and so forth up to C#alt. That's not true for major scales.

    Of course, the only difference between Dmelmin and Cmaj is that the former has a C#, not a C.

    If I was trying to resolve to Amaj, maybe I'd avoid the C# and A until I actually landed on the A chord, so Esusb9 might not be my first choice.

    If I was resolving to Am, either way you have no G# -- which is the note that leads there most easily, to my ear. Maybe.

    Frankly, I can't think this through to a conclusion. But, it's only one note different. How hard is it to figure out which one you like?

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fra88
    Hi everybody,

    in these days i'm reading the Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine but i can't understand very well the chapter on the suspended flat 9 chord...

    The suspended flat 9 chord could be indicate the phrygian mode or the dorian b2 mode, but how do we distinguish them and how can we use them?

    For example at page 46 he brings a II-V-I in G major, but the chord that resolves a perfect fifth on G major is Dsusb9 which he says that belongs to Bb major scale.

    But in this case, to resolve on a major chord could we also use the dorian b2 mode? or the dorian b2 should resolves only on minor chord in a minor II-V-I?
    A D7sus4b9 can take:


    • the phrygian mode of Bb major: D Eb F G A Bb C D
    • the dorian b2 of C melodic minor: D Eb F G A B C D
    • the locrian (natural) 6 of C harmonic minor: D Eb F G Ab B C D
    • the dominant b9 b13 of G harmonic minor: D Eb F# G A Bb C D
    • the dominant b9 of G harmonic major: D Eb F# G A B C D


    You use them where it fits the chords and melody in context. A dominant can resolve to its major or minor I, or be unresolved.

    If it sounds okay, it is. If it doesn't, forget it :-)

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    A D7sus4b9 can take:


    • the phrygian mode of Bb major: D Eb F G A Bb C D
    • the dorian b2 of C melodic minor: D Eb F G A B C D
    • the locrian (natural) 6 of C harmonic minor: D Eb F G Ab B C D
    • the dominant b9 b13 of G harmonic minor: D Eb F# G A Bb C D
    • the dominant b9 of G harmonic major: D Eb F# G A B C D

    :-)
    To boil it down even further ... D7susb9 has D Eb G A and C. Given that you want a sus sound, you have to be careful with F#. Since it has a b7, you probably don't want a natural 7. And, since it has a b9, you probably don't want a natural 9. Since the chord has a G and an A, you probably don't want G#.

    That covers 9 notes. What's left?

    F Bb and B. Maybe you would add F# back in as a possible. If that's the case then all of those scale names come down to picking F vs F# and Bb vs B. There's one left over which is Locrian of C HM, but it has the G#.

    Now, of course, you can use any note, whether it fits this model or not. In fact, a great player could probably construct a terrific line using only the notes I just rejected.

    To state it simply. Play the chord tones. Then add either F or F# plus Bb or B. Four combinations. It continues to strike me as bizarre that the names of the resulting scales have nothing obvious in common.

    Here are alternative names. Also unwieldy.

    D7sus13b9add3
    D7sus13b9#9
    D7susb9b13add3
    D7susb9#9b13.

    But really. After you've got 5 notes, can't you pick two more by ear?

  24. #23

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    Thanks Polyn St Holy crap I hate threads like this. Almost inevitably they descend into impenetrable strings of letters and numbers and multi syllabic terms that make my eyes bleed, despite the best intentions. It just reminds me of how broken our terminology and notation is.

    A mistake (to me) is to analyse everything from the bass. By doing this you miss larger unifying aspects. Levine gave good advice when he said it all reduces down to a handful of scales. Maybe it’s my physics background but I want to simplify and unify phenomena (without losing structure.) theoretical understanding to me is worthless if it doesn’t do this.

    I’ll try to make it a bit less symbol heavy.

    So, back to the chord and it’s one note, in conventional setting this is basically a variation of something really very simple, which is to say the family of chords built on IVm.

    These include,
    IIm7b5, IVm (natch), bVII7 and bIVmaj7 as well as our favourite V7b9sus4.

    all of those chords above belong to the I Aeolian/natural minor pitch set or for comparison purposes the IV dorian, and so are a natural choice for a minor key.

    If we have
    II9b5, IVm(maj)7, bVII7#11, bVImaj#5 and V13b9sus4

    Now, that extra note is really the ‘melodic minor note’; that extra note is the third of the the prevailing key I; so it’s common to see these chords when the melody is on the major third. They all belong to the IV melodic minor pitch set. There’s only one note of course in it between IV dorian and IV melodic minor.

    This makes it a better fit for the major key; but there are loads of examples in jazz of these chords also being used in minor. Charlie Christian, Parker, Cannonball, McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans, you name it.

    Understanding that those IV melodic minor chords are all unified by one scale and further more that they are distinguished by a single note from their diatonic minor equivalents is pretty useful.

    This allows you to focus your ear training on that one note, and when improvising you can make a beeline for it rather than floundering around with all seven notes. The augmented triad is a great, if very traditional way to express these sounds with zero mucking around. You can hear Parker doing it for instance. You can even use the whole tone scale based on the aug triad like Wes.

    What Levine certainly doesn’t mention is that this IVmelodic minor is a very common sub for V7; so improvisers in the 1930s on often used it as a more colourful way to play V. I think it’s missing from modern theory books because it doesn’t quite match up with modern Chord Scale ideas (chord/scale equivalence); Tristano taught it.

    (In Levine’s language perhaps you could look at it as treating the dominant as a sus chord, although he says some fairly absurd things about the use of sus chords in pre war jazz

    I know this is restating what people have said above to some degree. I just wanted to make it nice and clear. Probably failed lol.
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 06-19-2021 at 05:04 AM.

  25. #24

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    I’ll just add I found that all of this stuff is super obvious on the piano, not so much on guitar where we tend to work from the bass of grips for navigation. (See also rootless voicings.)

    (Also tbf the F is a massive clanger on the Abmaj7#5 too.)
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 06-19-2021 at 05:21 AM.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fra88
    Hi everybody,


    For example at page 46 he brings a II-V-I in G major, but the chord that resolves a perfect fifth on G major is Dsusb9 which he says that belongs to Bb major scale.
    But in this case, to resolve on a major chord could we also use the dorian b2 mode? or the dorian b2 should resolves only on minor chord in a minor II-V-I?

    I can't understand VERY WELL the use of this two mode !!!
    I'm going to take another shot at simplifying this.

    The chord progression is Dsusb9 to Gmaj. What do you play?

    Dsusb9 is D G A C Eb. So, you can certainly play those.

    There are several notes that don't work easily. F# might conflict with the sus sound. E will conflict with the b9. C# will conflict with the b7. G# is right in the middle of G and A, so it will put three half steps in a row. That is, those four notes risk changing the quality of the chord or making mud.

    That leaves three notes. F Bb B. Let's assume that you include the F. Not injudicious. Where there is a b9, the #9 will often work.

    Then you get to pick a Bb or a B, both or neither. If you pick Bb, you now have the seven notes of Bbmajor. If you pick B, you have the seven notes of Cmelmin (aka dorianb2).

    So that's it. B or Bb. Pick by ear. If the chord progression is different, which may mean that the susb9 has a different function, the same logic applies. Your resulting note choice may differ.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 06-19-2021 at 07:01 PM.