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!
     
  5. dogletnoir

    dogletnoir V----V

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    Is anyone around here still interested in me continuing with this?
     
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  6. Nick-O

    Nick-O Senior Stratmaster

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    Yep!

    Sometimes I get a little lost though!
     
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  7. dogletnoir

    dogletnoir V----V

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    Thanks!
    It's a pretty wide ranging topic, but if you have any specific things you want to discuss or have clarified,
    please feel free to ask either here or in a DM.
    As i've said before, if you're asking the question, it's not that you are the only one who didn't get it...
    it's just that you're the one who is brave enough to put the question forward.
     
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  8. of this world

    of this world Senior Stratmaster

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    i love reading this thread. its nice to see you around the joint too.
     
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  9. Tone Deaf

    Tone Deaf Stratosaurus Magnificus Platinum Supporting Member

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    I am in….thanks
     
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  10. Bowmap

    Bowmap I nose a thang or two. Platinum Supporting Member

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    I was just thinking about you the other day. Put a smile on my face that you showed up in my alerts. Glad to see you again. I may not always get it the first go round, but it eventually soaks in. If you are willing to post I am more than willing to read.
     
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  11. duzie

    duzie Senior Stratmaster

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    If I can bury the tiniest nugget in my brain from your posts it’s worth it for me to follow along :thumb:
    Thanks for sharing your insight Erika !
    Not sure if I spelled that correctly :D
     
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  12. fezz parka

    fezz parka fezz parka

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    This and David's theory Q&A are must reads.
     
  13. Bowmap

    Bowmap I nose a thang or two. Platinum Supporting Member

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  14. dogletnoir

    dogletnoir V----V

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    Picking up where we left off:
    G9 is G B F A, while G Maj9 is G B F# A.

    The 9th interval (A) is the same in both cases, but the F present in the G9 tells us that the chord belongs to the key of C.
    Speaking functionally, it's an extension of the V7 in diatonic harmony.
    On the other hand, the F# (coming from the G Major scale) makes the G Major 9 an extension of the diatonic I in the key of G major.
     
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  15. dogletnoir

    dogletnoir V----V

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    Extensions, Suspensions, and Alterations (Pt.1b)

    Before we close out our examination of the 9th interval extensions, we should also discuss the minor 9th chord.

    Following our rule of lowering a single note in the chord by a half step, so far our progression has been:

    Major 9th= 1 3 (5) 7 9

    (Dominant) 9th = 1 3 (5) b7 9.

    so for the minor 9th chord, it would simply take altering the 3rd from major to minor, which gives us

    minor 9th = 1 b3 (5) b7 9

    In the key of C, how would you then spell an A minor 9th chord, and what would be its function?

    A C (E) G B

    It is an extension of the vi chord, so the minor 9th chord can be used as a sub for the minor 7, but if we play the E, it also combines the elements of both a C Major 7 ( C E G B ) AND a C Major 6 ( C E G A ), the 1st inversion of which is actually A minor 7.

    In 4 voices, we will usually drop the 5th to form the chord, making the minor 9 a bit less ambiguous, but it is something that can certainly be used to good effect in forming melodic content.

    Continuing our look at chord extensions, let's examine the 13th chord now.

    In modern pop/jazz harmony, a 13th chord contains an implied flatted seventh interval. The melodic content over a 13th chord is usually based off of the Mixolydian mode (or sometimes Lydian dominant ). We can use the 13th chord as an upper extension sub for either the dominant 7th or the 9th chord.

    A dominant 13th chord is a 7th chord with three extra notes, the 9th, 11th, and the 13th.

    In this stack of tones, the interval 3-11 (E-F for C major) is considered as dissonant, so generally the 11 is omitted to avoid this dissonance. It is better not to skip the 3rd or the 7th, since those intervals are the ones which define the dominant nature of the chord.

    Now, some of you may have figured out that the 13th interval has the same pitch name as the 6th, just as the 9th shares the same name as the major 2nd.

    What makes these extensions is that they are placed in the 2nd octave above the root of the chord.



    You may have noticed that i skipped over the 11th chord extension there, but don't worry... we'll talk about that one next.

    Typically found in jazz, an 11th chord also usually includes the 7th and 9th, as well as elements of the basic triad structure.

    C minor 11 would be spelled C Eb G Bb D F. Omitting the 5th as per our standard practice would yield C Eb Bb D F, and if i were voicing this on the guitar, i would usually drop the D as well to emphasise the 11th interval over the 9th.

    C Dominant 11 would be C E G Bb D F, while C Major 11 would contain the notes C–E–G–B–D–F. In this case, it would often be not just the 5th interval omitted, but also the 3rd, since the E to F would create a rather dissonant sounding minor 9th interval (the Major 11 chord is rather rare, but we'll come back to it later on).

    If we omit the 3rd in C minor 11, what are we left with? C - G - Bb - D - F

    G Bb D F is actually a G minor 7th chord, so sometimes you will see this notated as Gmi7/C (a G minor 7 chord with C in the bass).

    What happens if we omit both the 3rd and the 9th in C minor 11, though?

    We get a chord with the notes C G Bb F, and if we take the F down into the first octave, it becomes not the 11th, but the 4th.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of suspended chords!

    (to be continued)
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
  16. Bowmap

    Bowmap I nose a thang or two. Platinum Supporting Member

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    I just came off a horrendous work week. I am not sure how many brain cells I have left, but I am definitely trying to kill off any remaining stragglers. So I will be circle back to this. I Know it's the good stuff.
     
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  17. Roger66

    Roger66 Senior Stratmaster Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    I made a clock like that!
     
  18. Roger66

    Roger66 Senior Stratmaster Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    Sometimes I don't resolve my 4th chords. Or raise the bass one fret.
     
  19. Roger66

    Roger66 Senior Stratmaster Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    Big difference between A flat and G #. No. REALLY.
     
  20. Roger66

    Roger66 Senior Stratmaster Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    I had an argument with my music teacher when I used the 'Hendrix chord' on the piano. She said it was wrong. First I tried calling it a Hendrix 3rd. "If Picardy can have one then WHY NOT Hendrix'" no dice. Then I explained to her that it was actually a Gmaj7 with a diminished 5th over a flat 6th. She was not amused. Then to bug her even more, I started playing diminished chords in first and second inversion and calling them that. Music theory was a fun class.
     
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