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[Discussion] Jazz Theory

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As in, in the key of C, the 'tonic chord' would be Cmaj....

...I'm taking this from my AP theory class, we didn't touch jazz at all....

...If you've heard the tune 'Cut the Cake' by the Average White Band (same dudes whop wrote 'Pick up the Pieces', that's what I'm talking about with the flat 3rd thing.


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what I would love to see is a bit more detail into your last one. I liked where you were going with the whole "you can use the various forms of C major over the whole progression" and "here's what tones NOT to use where" ans such like that I would really like to hear more about what type of scale to play here, and there... you know? that would be great.

overall, really good so far, keep it up.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have a question about post-bop progressions. Take Black Narcissus. The changes are

||: Ab-7 | Bb-7 | Ab-7 | Bb-7 |

Ab-7 | Bb-7 | Ab-7 | Bmaj7b5 |

F#-7 | G#-7| F#-7 | G#-7 |

F#-7 | G#-7| F#-7 | Amaj7b5 |

Ebmaj7b5 | Fmaj7b5 | Bbmaj7b5 | Cmaj7b5

Ebmaj7b5 | Fmaj7b5 Bbmaj7b5 | Gmaj7b5 Abmaj7b5 | Bbmaj7b5 Cmaj7b5 :||

I analyzed the first 8 bars mostly as, ii-iii in the corresponding ionian mode, so I would typically play using dorian or phyrgian. Could the maj7b5 at the end of the first two 8 bar phrases be seen as some type of altered dominant leading to the overall "ionian" tonality of the next 8 bars? F#m and G#m appear in E major, so Bmaj7b5 is some kind of lydian altered scale for E major. Should I be thinking in ionian, or dorian, using Abm and F#m as the roots instead of viewing them as ii?

The Amaj7b5 going into the last 8 bars, which start with Ebmaj7b5 also confused me. Since you can just consider the Eb lydian its own tonality, Bb7 would still be its dominant, so I tried "putting" A lydian over Bb mixolydian to see what kind of altered scale it produced.

The two scales have only two enharmonically common tones, Eb/D# and Ab/G#. I sort of viewed A lydian as E ionian, and Bb mixolydian as Eb ionian for convenience. So since Eb and D# are enharmonic, it was basically putting Eb(D#) locrian over Eb ionian or the other way, Ab(G#) phrygian over Ab lydian. So over this initial Amaj7b5 you can theoretically play Eb locrian or Ab phyrgian?

I'm also stumped with the last 8 bars. I know there's nothing diatonic that could fit over that, but it seems like the root notes all belong to Ab major. But I have no clue what that indicates.

Basically, is this tune supposed to function within "traditional" harmonic practices, and if so, how? If not, then how am I supposed to approach it and why?

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Cool thread!

Nielda, you are thinking way to hard in your analysis. First of all, I'm not sure where you got that chord progression because the Black Narcissus by Joe Henderson in the real book is different. Those Bb-7's are Db7's with no Bmaj7(b5). It then alters between Gb-7 and Cb7 with no Amaj7(b5). Finally it repeats |Emaj7(#11)|Fmaj7(#11)|Bbmaj7(#11)|Cmaj7|. They are more or less the same chords but the root are different. You could say this tune is in C but it modulates too much to worry about that.

If you want to use the chord progression you have you really only need to use two modes. Use Dorian for all the minor chords and use Lydian Augmented for the maj(b5) chords (just a Lydian scale with a #5).

I hope this helps.

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There's always the approach where you just "play what you feel like playing..."

I really only use the chords as kind of guidelines, so if I was playing a piece in Cmin and came across an F7 chord, I wouldn't just run up my F Mixolydian scale- I would just play what came to my head, and try to eventually land on one of the major notes of chord (F, A, C, Eb).

Every other note can also be used, you just have to know how to use it, which, I suppose, takes practice. Also, try listening to everything. I found I really cool way to use the b2 note by listening to an Brittany Spears tune.:w00t:

Or, whenever you get stuck, just do some chromatic thing up to one of the chord tones....

....the end of the keyboard solo in Steely Dan's "Black Cow" is what I'm talking about....

...meh, I don't think I'm making much sense to myself....


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