EMC's Functional Harmony Thread (or, How i learned to love the circle of 5ths)

Discussion in 'Tab & Music Forum' started by dogletnoir, Mar 9, 2020.

  1. dogletnoir

    dogletnoir V----V

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    Happy New Year, folks!
    Ready to get back to work on this stuff?

    Since we ended up the year talking about modes, let's pick up again there.

    Awhile back, i was having a discussion about the modes with a bass player friend, and he mentioned that he never really understood them
    because he always heard them in the parent key.

    i explained that the issue was this: there are at least two distinct ways of thinking about and utilising modes.

    The first is what we have been doing here so far:

    We have been discussing the modes as they apply diatonically to a specific key, and in that system
    all of the modes will refer back to that same 'Ionian' tonal centre.

    However, i believe that in order to experience its true 'flavour', you really need to hear each mode as it relates
    to a common pedal tone or tonal centre.

    This is a different approach, and the one i consider truly 'modal', as opposed to diatonic.
    It is the approach that Joe Satriani talks about below:


    In order to really experience the 'modal' aspect, one needs to listen to each mode starting from the SAME pitch,
    and using that pitch as a pedal tone or drone...

    so play a C Ionian, then a C Dorian pattern, then a C Phrygian, etc. etc.

    Then try playing the 'minor' sounding modes (Aeolian, Dorian, and Phrygian) over a C minor chord, and the 'Major' sounding ones
    (Ionian, Lydian, and Mixolydian) over a C Major.

    Now we're not really playing diatonically at all, since each of those modes would actually refer back to a different diatonic tonal centre:
    C Dorian back to Bb Major, C Phrygian to Ab Major, and so on and so forth.
    Instead, in this context, each of the modes becomes an independent thing.

    i would consider playing F Lydian over an F Major used as the I chord as 'modal', and playing it over the IV chord in the key of C as 'diatonic'.

    It's all about our reference points in the end.

    And for the sake of reference (and reverence), here is that modal masterpiece from Miles Davis et al, 'Kind Of Blue':


    Enjoy!
     
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  2. dogletnoir

    dogletnoir V----V

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    Some food for thought:

     
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  3. dogletnoir

    dogletnoir V----V

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    ... more food for thought.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2021
  4. dogletnoir

    dogletnoir V----V

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    Extensions, Suspensions, and Alterations (Pt. 1)

    So far we've been discussing triad based harmony, but there's at least one common chord that you will come across
    that isn't based entirely on stacked 3rds.

    Before we talk about that specifically though, we'll need to discuss extended chords, and the best way to get a handle on that
    is to take our stacked 3rds and extend them further upwards.

    Once we move our 3rds into the second octave, you will see that the pattern changes from 1 3 5 7 to 9 11 13.

    In the key of C, that would be C E G B in the first octave, and then D F A in the second octave before we finally return to our tonic C.

    C E G B, then D F A C... does that look familiar to you?

    It should by now, because those notes spell out a C Major 7 and a D minor 7 respectively.

    In other words, the upper extensions of the first chord are simply the notes of the second chord in our diatonic harmonised major scale.

    One of the most common extensions you will see would be the 9th chord.
    In four voices, adding the 9 would mean having to drop one note, and the one we would omit most of the time would be the 5th,
    since a perfect fifth doesn't really define the character of the chord in the way that the 3rds and 7ths do.

    Since we're in the key of C again, the V7 chord would be G7 ( 1 3 5 b7, so in this case the notes would be G B D F ), and the 9th would be A.
    Leave out the 5th, and the G9 chord is spelled G B F A... play that on your guitar sliding into it from a half step below, and you'll get a funky James Brown vibe.

    (starting at 0:42 or so...)
    The 9th chord has a dominant function, the same as the dominant 7, so it can be used as a substitution for the 7th chord.

    This is different from the 'Major 9th' chord.

    Think about that name based on what we know about harmonised scales, and see if you can understand the difference between the two things.

    Then, spell out a G Major 9. Which note changes? How, and why?

    If you can answer those questions, you're coming along really well!
     
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