The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    I don't think Victor Suamarez is in contradiction with Christian's video. He is talking about the "pure sound of harmonic minor". A lot of Christian's video is about how to play the harmonic minor while avoiding making it sound like the "harmonic minor scale".

    I think the scale under the discussion in this thread is not the harmonic minor scale as the context is not tonic minor but dominant. It's the phrygian dominant scale which doesn't sound like the harmonic minor scale anyway. Not anymore than phrygian minor lines sound like major lines.
    Aha - but in trad harmony the harmonic minor’s only function when you think about it as a Phrygian dominant. The only reason the third is raised is to accommodate the dominant with a major 3rd. (And the VIIo7 which can be thought of as a V7b9 of course)

    Otherwise you simply use natural minor which parents IIm7b5, IVm6, bVI.

    The use of the scale over V is kind of implied by the name and construction.

    In jazz we often layer one over the other. The ‘#9’ emerges as a chromatic false relation when the natural minor (or blues) is played over the V7 chord. See Blue Bossa…
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 05-06-2022 at 07:15 PM.

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  3. #27

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    Good job on he video. My only complaint is I want to see the lava lamp in action.

  4. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    Good job on he video. My only complaint is I want to see the lava lamp in action.
    Thanks man! The lava lamp needs a new bulb… need to get into that :-)

  5. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    Thanks man! The lava lamp needs a new bulb… need to get into that :-)
    Ok. Ok. I’ll let it pass. For now. Lol.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  6. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    Didn't see the video but I always use the Harmonic Minor. It seems to not be the preferred way of dealing with iiø-V but that's what I use 99% of the time. No one hears the harmonic minor scale though when I do.
    Good man. I agree. I used to wonder what the harmonic minor was for, and then found out how useful it was in a minor ii-V. It's a useful fail-safe.

  7. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    eh?

    phrygian = 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
    Phrygian dominant = 1 b2 3 4 5 b6 b7

    That’s one note difference - b3 to 3

    Am I going mental?

    Time for bed.
    No, I am. You're quite right. I wrote out CHM and saw two flats. Then I looked at C Phrygian and saw 4 flats.

    But, G phrygian dominant has an F which is a b7. I missed that at first.

  8. #32

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    The only time it’s going to sound like the HM scale is if you just flat out play the HM scale. But if you use it musically in co text of a tune, minor ii V, then it’s going to not sound like HM scale. Christian goes in this in some detail.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  9. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    Aha - but in trad harmony the harmonic minor’s only function when you think about it as a Phrygian dominant. The only reason the third is raised is to accommodate the dominant with a major 3rd. (And the VIIo7 which can be thought of as a V7b9 of course)
    Yes, in traditional Western harmony, harmonic minor is used in dominant contexts. But in many non-Western musical styles, it can be used as a melodic source outside of the "tension" use. When people talk about potential stylistic clash when using harmonic minor (such as Victor's post), I think they are referring to this non-dominant use.

    As you sort of imply in the video when harmonic minor is used as Phyrigian dominant, that stylistic clash isn't really there. So whether one likes the exotic harmonic minor sound in jazz context or not is really a question of it's use in other contexts.

  10. #34

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    Personally, I think it's indispensable. Without it, what are you left with? Just major and melodic minor? If the harmonic minor didn't exist you'd have to invent it

  11. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller

    Am I going mental?

    Time for bed.

    Possibly. My advice: Roll with it! Keywords: mental, melody, harmonic


  12. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    Yes, in traditional Western harmony, harmonic minor is used in dominant contexts. But in many non-Western musical styles, it can be used as a melodic source outside of the "tension" use. When people talk about potential stylistic clash when using harmonic minor (such as Victor's post), I think they are referring to this non-dominant use.

    As you sort of imply in the video when harmonic minor is used as Phyrigian dominant, that stylistic clash isn't really there. So whether one likes the exotic harmonic minor sound in jazz context or not is really a question of it's use in other contexts.
    I just don’t really agree with Victors post at all…

    So for example people thinking gypsy jazz is ‘exotic’ and has more to with ‘traditional gypsy culture’ than US jazz for example - in practice Django’s music is pretty close stylistically to US jazz of the era that some may be unfamiliar with… anyway Denis Chang talks about this
    Django Legacy – The birth of Gypsy Jazz – Denis Chang

    Post-modal it does seem like the scale drops off a bit in use and if that’s your main reference point for American jazz you might well say that HM doesn’t show up in jazz… and this is obviously Mark Levine’s area of interest in the Theory Book, he says so iirc

    Anyway - In the case of harmonic minor on I minor these are generally passing tones in bop lines etc - and it is most common to pick upper neighbours in minor from the harmonic minor and that’s the case for most ‘functional changes’ era jazz (c1920-1960ish) just as it was for Mozart, Bach etc. this is because the harmonic minor has that dynamic quality, and those dynamic notes all form a dim7 chord… which is why I say it’s inherently dominant… even when used on I!

    Leaning notes/extensions are most often selected from the melodic/jazz minor but they aren’t as ubiquitous in the bop era as they became later on. I’m always surprised at how triadic bop is. The 6th is most common as an added note and doesn’t belong to HM. Obviously Django did this as well.

    So I don’t hold with all this Phrygian Dominant stuff. It’s just the minor key bah humbug, why do people feel the need to multiply the scales by naming every scale after the bass note haha…. It’s just making up minor key melodies that sound good.
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 05-07-2022 at 04:21 PM.

  13. #37

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    The more I think about it, the more I'm drawn to the idea that the minor iim7b5 V7b9v13 im calls for a 6 note scale, the HM without the root. That is, G7b9b13 takes CHM, but without the C note.

    That makes it a G7b9b13 arpeggio rather than G phrygian dominant.

    G B D F Ab Eb

    It is the notes of a G7 combined with the notes of an Abm triad.

    That said, I never think about any of this when I'm playing. The sound of the b9 and b13 seems quite obvious and I adjust the underlying G7 accordingly. If I play a C, it's likely going to be a passing tone -- and I'm just as likely, I suppose, to play some other note that isn't in the arpeggio.

  14. #38

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    Here is another video on the topic

  15. #39

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    I never think of using “harmonic minor”, it’s a very awkward shape on piano and has that harsh melodic augmented 2nd. It also doesn’t work well for a 6th diminished block chord routine. I prefer the Barry Harris prescription. It enables me to play a ton of dominant vocabulary (5432, etc) in the family of four dominants.

    Bebop
    jazz pianist Barry Harris added a note to the scale and describes his use as "on C7, play down from the 7th of Eb7 to E the 3rd of C7” and especially over G-7b5 to C7b9 (the ii V in minor). He nicknamed this eight tone scale “the minor’s five”. Being eight tones it has the advantage of placing the chord tones on the beats which enables a melody to reinforce the underlying harmony. It also eliminates the harsh augmented 2nd melodic interval found in the seven tone 5th mode of harmonic minor scale. Another advantage is that gives improvisers an access to their often more familiar dominant scale vocabulary. Barry Harris further recognized that its descending form has an especially melodic quality rather than being played up from a root. He said he noticed this particular descending permutation being played by Charlie Parker several times on “What Is This Thing Called Love?”.

  16. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    I never think of using “harmonic minor”, it’s a very awkward shape on piano and has that harsh melodic augmented 2nd. It also doesn’t work well for a 6th diminished block chord routine. I prefer the Barry Harris prescription. It enables me to play a ton of dominant vocabulary (5432, etc) in the family of four dominants.

    Bebop
    jazz pianist Barry Harris added a note to the scale and describes his use as "on C7, play down from the 7th of Eb7 to E the 3rd of C7” and especially over G-7b5 to C7b9 (the ii V in minor). He nicknamed this eight tone scale “the minor’s five”. Being eight tones it has the advantage of placing the chord tones on the beats which enables a melody to reinforce the underlying harmony. It also eliminates the harsh augmented 2nd melodic interval found in the seven tone 5th mode of harmonic minor scale. Another advantage is that gives improvisers an access to their often more familiar dominant scale vocabulary. Barry Harris further recognized that its descending form has an especially melodic quality rather than being played up from a root. He said he noticed this particular descending permutation being played by Charlie Parker several times on “What Is This Thing Called Love?”.
    At least some of these points covered in the vid (I think by this point people aren’t responding to the OP anymore, but I would appreciate if you checked it out and added your thoughts.)

    The ‘minors five’ is the best name for it - somewhat covers that sense of fluidity that the minor key has without locking it down to this or that specific scale. (One of the last things I learned from Barry is that it is often best to run the C7 against A7 and not even alter the C…. The natural minor against dominant sound that’s so prevalent once you start looking for it.)

    the harmonic minor requires a little musicality and care to use well but then isn’t that rather a requirement of music? Would we ever want to be unmusical or careless players?
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 05-26-2022 at 03:22 AM.

  17. #41

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    Jim Hall (Scofield and Frisell... ) use it all the time...

    Jim Hall’s Classical Chord Melodies - Premier Guitar

    On Jim Hall's Concierto
    it is used very efficiently even though it imparts a "Spanish" mood (Duh! it's a Spanish piece lol ).....listen to Chet's solo and his use of it ...

    The track "you'd be so nice to come home to"
    is just a wonderfully arranged Harmonic minor

    BTW the playing on that album is superb by all

    Ray
    Last edited by RayS; 05-27-2022 at 04:20 PM.

  18. #42

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    Has anyone mentioned the use of harmonic minor over diminished chords yet?

    Especially good with bossa tunes. For example, take How Insensitive:

    Dm - % - C#o - %

    The C#o is a sub for A7b9 so you can use D harm over it. It's easy and sounds just right. And there are other places in the tune where it applies. And in other bossa tunes too.

  19. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Has anyone mentioned the use of harmonic minor over diminished chords yet?

    Especially good with bossa tunes. For example, take How Insensitive:

    Dm - % - C#o - %

    The C#o is a sub for A7b9 so you can use D harm over it. It's easy and sounds just right. And there are other places in the tune where it applies. And in other bossa tunes too.
    it's interesting how many people don't notice that trick.... It's obvious when you realise C#o7 = A7b9 perhaps, but a lot of people don't clock it.

    It's a little less obvious in non V-I uses of the chord... The progression Dm C#o7 Cm doesn't resolve quite how you'd expect perhaps. But the Harmonic minor still sounds great there; much better in this song than whole-half actually IMO.

    It's also exactly the 'dominant scale down to the third' thing. In this case, we play a C7 scale down to the third of A7b9 (C#), which gives you D HM.

    Another way of looking at it - raise the root of a C7 and you have a diminished seventh chord. What works for chords works for scales too.

  20. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    Dm C#o7 Cm doesn't resolve quite how you'd expect.
    That's probably why some may not realise it, because the dim chord is seen only as a passing device and not really related to either the Dm or the Cm.

  21. #45

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    I think (play) the "minor's five" over my diminished chords.
    I play (think) the C7 scale down from the 7th to C# the root of C#dim7...
    Bb A G F E D C# (C) (play 5432 phrases from C7, and all the other C7 stuff such as Oscar Peterson "curl" arpeggios, so convenient on piano) ...same stuff on E-7b5 A7: C7 add C# (minor's five) and also on the chord pair G-6 A7b9

  22. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    That's probably why some may not realise it, because the dim chord is seen only as a passing device and not really related to either the Dm or the Cm.
    My theory is that dim chords kind of went out of fashion in the 1950s, so most jazz manuals/course that usually start with bebop, focus (not unreasonably) on the harmonic device de jour of that era - the ii V. Cut'n'paste vocabulary etc.

    As a result I think the subject of dim chords is often passed over. At least that's how I felt in my case.

    However, while this works fine for later versions of standards changes (that mostly rework dim chords as various 'non-functioning II-V's'), Jobim tunes are full of dim chords used in the old fashioned way.
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 05-30-2022 at 09:31 AM.

  23. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    My theory is that dim chords kind of went out of fashion in the 1950s, so most jazz manuals/course that usually start with bebop, focus (not unreasonably) on the harmonic device de jour of that era - the ii V. Cut'n'paste vocabulary etc.
    I see your point. But are we sure that the dim chord is 'out of fashion'? It's certainly not in Bossa tunes (Jobim's stuff we was written in the 60 - 90's). But I admit I'm not sure what jazz is doing today, composition-wise.

    I think you're right about jazz books starting, apart from basics, with bebop vocabulary. I've still got a heap of them and they all have a dedicated chapter on dim chords, dim scales, etc.

    The best one (in my view)* starts by saying the book focusses on 'the style known as bebop' and has a chapter for all the main chord types, including the Diminished Seventh chord. There's no cut 'n pasting, it's all dim scales and exhaustive descriptions of the various functions of the dim chord and the applicable scale.

    Incidentally, he also advocates the use of harmonic minor over 7b9's and other chords derived from that scale, like the m7b5, M7#5, and dim chords.

    * An Approach To Jazz Improvisation by Dave Pozzi.

  24. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I see your point. But are we sure that the dim chord is 'out of fashion'?
    Well I don't know who this royal 'we' is, but FWIW I'm pretty certain. This is more in the comping and changes than in the soloing, where dim7 arpeggios are still pretty common (over 7b9 chords); but in tunes changes, dims frequently get swapped out for various related minor II-V's - so for example G/B Bbo7 Am7 D7 gets subbed for Bm7 Bbm7 Am7 D7 which I think you'll agree sounds a lot less old fashioned and more 'boppy' than the first.

    Great examples are the way tunes like Stella and Darn that Dream were played in the 40s and early 50s as opposed to the later 50s and 60s. The #IVo7 chord on blues and rhythm changes also becomes less common as the bass walks more freely and stops playing such fixed basslines which is where these dim chords often came from.

    The other thing is that dim7 chords are such a strong sound they reached burn out. Really common in romantic era music, then very much the sound of big band harmony in the sax section. It's obviously not so simple as no one played them at all - there's plenty of dim chords on Miles records, and Wes obviously used them in his block chord lines and so on, but they do become a lot less common in the actual changes. Compare the Real book versions of tunes to Gypsy Jazz chord grilles and so on, you'll see in general, more II-V's, less common tone dim7 chords.

    (Barry Harris was a big diminished chord guy, but he was focussed on first generation bop - Bud Powell and Parker to the exclusion of Stitt, Dexter etc.)

    So you can have a lot of playing experience in modern jazz and never really get to grips with them in the same way as you do with ii-V's, they just don't come up that much. This was true for me - and then I was forced to get comfortable with them when I started playing prewar swing stuff because they were everywhere. (Later on I realised I was taking the changes far too literally and actually, you can be a lot looser and more melodic in the early style.)

    It's certainly not in Bossa tunes (Jobim's stuff we was written in the 60 - 90's). But I admit I'm not sure what jazz is doing today, composition-wise.
    Well obviously, Jobim's and Brazilian song book harmony in general kind of its own thing, which is of course why its hard for ii-V guys to solo on (until they learn the trickz). Getz was very old school on those recordings too - soloing mostly by varying the melody rather than getting embroiled in spelling out the changes.

    While people emphasis the influence of bebop, Barney Kessel etc and that's definitely there, Jobim's harmonic progressions (to my ears) also owes a lot to earlier Brazilian composers like Nazareth, Pixinguinha and so on, who themselves were coming out of late 19th century European music, polka, Chopin, Bach, things like that, mixed up with Brazilian rhythms. Again looking at good Brazilian sources for Bossa changes (such as the Almir Chediak books) as opposed to jazz oriented American sources, you see fewer ii-V's and more bass oriented movement, and in the classic Bossa stuff especially more dim7's. In this it's not unlike pre war jazz in that the bass is more set and this obviously comes out of the guitar style too. (there's an overlap with chord shapes/vocings as well with pre-war swing/gypsy jazz.)

    Re modern jazz - when I started studying jazz, I was told by a jazz guitar teacher (great modern player, currently active in NY) that dim chords were 'cheesy' and that I might want to use dim(maj7) instead which pushes the harmony towards the whole-half thing. Kenny Wheeler liked this chord for instance. Modern 'non functional' charts tend to avoid obvious dominant sounds in general as well, let alone dim7's.

    I can't think of a single example of a dim7 in modern writing, maybe someone else can?

    I think you're right about jazz books starting, apart from basics, with bebop vocabulary. I've still got a heap of them and they all have a dedicated chapter on dim chords, dim scales, etc.

    The best one (in my view)* starts by saying the book focusses on 'the style known as bebop' and has a chapter for all the main chord types, including the Diminished Seventh chord. There's no cut 'n pasting, it's all dim scales and exhaustive descriptions of the various functions of the dim chord and the applicable scale.
    Yeah but here's the thing - jazz students don't actually learn to play bebop by mastering scales, they learn by mastering vocabulary*. 'Cut and paste' is a tried and tested way to do that and there's a reason they still teach it at all the colleges. As dismissive as 'cut n paste' might sound (and students of Barry Harris will point out its not etc only way), it's literally how Wes played (just listen to how he handles things like Four on Six) so I can't think it's all bad lol.

    So common tone dim 7's don't obviously fit into that paradigm which is why bop-oriented players often sub it out for some sort of ii-V even they are happy playing dim amps on dominant chords. Reg said he does this for instance, Pat Martino did it, loads of people.

    Incidentally, he also advocates the use of harmonic minor over 7b9's and other chords derived from that scale, like the m7b5, M7#5, and dim chords.

    * An Approach To Jazz Improvisation by Dave Pozzi.
    My favourite is the 7#9#11

    * Barry Harris had a way of turning scales into vocabulary, but it was still taught listen-play.
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 05-31-2022 at 05:35 AM.

  25. #49

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    I think you're probably right that in later years they became less common and they were swapped for m7's, and so on. I'd noticed that change myself in some versions.

    Also, that those sort of changes do produce a boppier sound, if you like.

    there's plenty of dim chords on Miles records, and Wes obviously used them in his block chord lines and so on, but they do become a lot less common in the actual changes.
    I'm not sure what that means.

    I'm also not sure that the RB changes are comparable to Gypsy jazz changes, they're not quite the same style.

    Jobim, I read recently, only started writing his bossa numbers after years of playing standards in clubs. But he certainly had his roots in both Brazilian and Western classical music. To what extent this influenced the use of dim chords in later years I don't know.

    The dom/M7 chord is not something I've seen notated in any chart I've used unless it's written as a slash chord, like B/C. I think it's pretty extreme although quite fun in the right places.

    jazz students don't actually learn to play bebop by mastering scales, they learn by mastering vocabulary
    Absolutely, I'm not much of a 'scales' person either. FWIW, the book I was referring to had a CD with tracks played by an obviously skilled band who played heads and solos in genuine bop style. Streaks ahead of the usual sub-standard stuff you find in tutorial books.

    Also, FWIW, I tend to avoid dim chords myself. I find the scales irksome. I quite like using melodic minor over them unless it's the sort of standard that really needs the dim sound.

    7#9#11
    Agreed, lovely sound.

    So basically, as I said, I see your point. The dim sound is really a quite lyrical/romantic sound and probably the modern ear has moved on from that. On the hand, the older tunes haven't really gone out of fashion, they're still being played all over the world. I have a feeling we might be mixing, or trying to mix, two things that aren't really comparable. I don't think the dim sound has gone out of fashion so much as it's simply not applicable to more modern, perhaps harsher, musical trends.

  26. #50

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    Incidentally, the use of melodic minor over dim chords is something I invented myself (at least I think so, I haven't seen it anywhere else).

    Here's C#, Bb, G and E melodic minor over a Co chord. Excuse bad quality.