View Full Version : An Interesting chord progression

04-07-2005, 01:06 AM
On the piano, there's a nice progression that I favor. With your right hand play (from the bottom up) Bb, E, A. With your left hand play the C below middle C. Now chromatically lower all the notes in the right hand by a half step and change the C in the left hand up to the F below middle C. Continue the progression with the left hand playing C->F->Bb->Eb while you continually lower the right hand chord elements by half steps:



The song it works with is "Spinning Wheels".

04-07-2005, 07:39 AM
Hey cool :)

Could this be applied to a turnaround sorta thing? I'm guessing it could :)

Neatly following the circle of fourth:



Haven't tried this out with and instrument yet, but it looks and sounds sweet. Thanks for the clip!

BTW this is quite easy on the guitar as well (I picture it in my mind)!

04-07-2005, 08:42 AM
It's actually just a chain of dominants: C13, F7(#5#9), Bb13, Eb7(#5#9). If you'd let the bass descend chromatically also you'd get C13, B13, Bb13, A13.
This is a nice spot to notice tritone substitution, showing that e.g. A13 and Eb7(#5#9) are actually the same chord.

04-07-2005, 08:45 AM
Also, try this variation in the right hand: (Bb E A) (A E G) (Ab D G) (G D F)

04-07-2005, 12:31 PM
Glad you all found this interesting too. I was going to provide the analysis and forgot, sorry. Yeah, it's just basically secondary dominants V of V of V of ... I see the first chord as a C13 no11 no9 no5 (or C7 add6 no5), but I suppose those elements (5,9,11) could be added, but the bite the chord has without them is important. The second chord I analyze to be an F+9 no5 (even though I've spelled it enharmonically in the example, should have been a G#, not an Ab). Isn't that what some people have also called the Hendrix chord?

04-07-2005, 01:20 PM
Here's a slightly different voicing:



C9add6 F9add6 Bb9add6 Eb9add6

I know they are all basically 13th chords, but I use the "add6" to indicate no 11 here. Could have been notated as C13 no11, but that takes up more space.

04-07-2005, 01:26 PM
I would write that C9(13). The notes within the parenthesis are added. I prefer that over the 'noX' or 'addX' system.

04-07-2005, 01:48 PM
I would write that C9(13). The notes within the parenthesis are added. I prefer that over the 'noX' or 'addX' system.
Yup, that's a very good way to notate it. I'll do it that way next time...

04-07-2005, 09:34 PM
Saying that an 13 chord needs to have an 9 and 11 in it is in my experience purely classical theory. In real life (don't mean to sound patronising) it's more common that a 13 chord is just an 7th chord with an added 13. It also suggests that an natural 9 can be added, but you can also choose to make it an 13b9 sound. Hardly ever would you encounter an 13 chord with an 11 in it (it's highly dissonant), a #11 would be more likely, or 13sus (which means 11 instead of 3).

BTW I see that I made a mistake in naming the chords, there is no #5 in the 2nd and 4th chord. There would have been one if you added a 9 to the first chord and let that one descend chromatically too.

04-07-2005, 09:42 PM
Actually, a very common construction when using a 13th is to omit the 3rd and 5th. Using slash chord notation: BbM7/C contains 7,9,11 and 13, but has no 3rd and no 5th. It's a very pleasing chord.

04-07-2005, 10:31 PM
I'd call that a 13sus chord. It's a variation of a 7sus. The difference between a 13 and a 13sus is (in my opinion) greater that the difference between a 13 (voiced with 3,7, 9, 13) and a 13 (voiced with 3, 7 and 13, so no 9th).
The 13sus belongs to the dom7sus family, the 13 to the dom7. The difference is the leading tone being there or already having resolved, to my ears it makes a lot of difference. It's also a lot more dissonant to alter extensions of a dom7sus than altering extensions of a dom7 since the latter is already more dissonant (containing a b5 interval that needs to resolve).
Omitting the 5 is common practise with both chords. By definintion a 13 chord has a 3rd, 7th and 13 voiced (plus the root).

04-07-2005, 10:52 PM
"By definintion a 13 chord has a 3rd, 7th and 13 voiced (plus the root)."--Maarten

I don't find any support for that statement in any of my books, nor online. Can you provide a source? Just curious. I mean, I uppose you can spell them as you wish, but charts I've seen would assume the full expression of a 13th, unless otherwise noted. Not that I doubt you, my modern theory knowledge is limited.

04-08-2005, 08:38 AM
I don't have a book title ready (though I guess a comprehensive jazz theory book would state what I said), but this is what I learned in the theory lessons at the conservatory I study at.

I can explain a bit more why I see things this way. Most of the time the 13 or 9 on a chord come from the melody that is played over a chord:

If you look at realbook charts, most of the time they will
(A) say a chord is a 13 chord if the melody strongly states the 13, so you get the dom7 chord plus the melody note = 13 chord. It might also be that the 9 is in the melody, so the sound suggested is a dom7 chord with unaltered extensions. To me the 9 and 13 are in the same soundscape, so they can be added to eachother most times. The same goes in a lesser degree for the #11. It also depends on the function of the chord: A secondary dominant for the V often has an #11 added for example (Take the a train chord).
(B) The other bunch of charts I encounter only displays changes as minor, major, dominant, sus, altered, diminished and augmented without filling in the extensions. The player is supposed to color the chords to their own taste.

I guess this is more common practise for me as a guitar player, because opposed to you piano guys I only have a very limited amount of notes I can play at the same time, so I often have to choose between the 9 and 13. Also playing sparse voicings is giving more room for the other players. Like I said, the full version of the 13 chord is classical theory but the sparse version is the way it is played very often (by guitar players and hammond players at least).

As for the difference between the dom7 and dom7sus, playing one of the two has some essential consequences for anybody improvising over them. Let's say the progression in question is Dm7 G7 C. If I play the G7 as G9, or G13 (with or without the 9) the avoid note would be the c (11), but I can play b (3) . If I play the G7 as G7sus, G9sus or G13sus this would be reversed.
For the difference in sound try playing a blues in C starting with this voicing in the chord (Bb E A) = C13. Easy voice leading will lead to the F7 chord being voice (A Eb G) = F9, then back to the C13 and so forth.
Now play this blues starting with (Bb F A) = C13sus and (Bb Eb G) F9sus. To my ears this is a big difference in sound. The first one is more in the bebop idiom, the second is more modern sounding (Check Eighty-One by Miles and Ron Carter, or Steely Dan).

04-08-2005, 03:39 PM
Thanks Maarten. I think it's good to understand alot of chord notation methods. You never know what's going to be placed on your music stand next!

04-08-2005, 04:56 PM
You're welcome. It's too bad there isn't a standard for chord notation because too many times charts can be very confusing. The latest weird symbol I encountered was a triangle with a - below it, meaning major-minor 7, which I always write down as mtriangle or -triangle. Who knows what more is out there.

04-08-2005, 05:11 PM
I think the problem comes down to the fact that there's just too many styles trying to be represented. From classical period to 21st century. As long as it's not a total departure from the norm, we can all deal with it. I get accustomed to another's notation pretty quickly. But I'm with you, it would be nice to have some standardized notation. I just doubt that any standardization is going to make 100% of the players happy. But it's worth the try.