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Thread: "IV7" question

  1. #16
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walternewton View Post
    Hmmm...well I'm curious now so I've been searching through my Beatles scores book for more examples of Maj7 chords to see how he handles them, here's one:

    The CMaj7 played on the organ that opens "Only a Northern Song" is a bIII in the key of A major, (so a non-diatonic, non-functional chord, no?) - he notates it as "C7".
    OK - his principle seems to be: "7" means a note from the relevant scale: B natural in this case (diatonic to A major).

    The same principle extends to the "C7" in Something, because the relevant scale is then F major, because the chord is V of F.

    IOW, we need to know the chord function before we can determine what "C7" means. If it's I in C, IV in G, III in A minor, bIII in A major, bVI in E minor or E major, bVII in D (and maybe some other options) - then it means Cmaj7. If it's V in F or F minor, then (and only then) it means C(dom)7.

    So he is consistent - he just doesn't explain the system (for us poor non-qualified jazz/rock/pop folk).
    (And I guess he has to spell out the maj7 in Something to highlight the voice move.)

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    So he is consistent - he just doesn't explain the system (for us poor non-qualified jazz/rock/pop folk).
    Given the nature of the material, the likely target audience, and the compromises/clarifications he had to make (e.g. "Birthday", "Something", etc.) perhaps he'd had have been better off using "our" system - I can't be the first to have been confused!

  3. #18
    Registered User jimc8p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walternewton View Post
    Given the nature of the material, the likely target audience, and the compromises/clarifications he had to make (e.g. "Birthday", "Something", etc.) perhaps he'd had have been better off using "our" system - I can't be the first to have been confused!
    Yes, it seems really illogical to have chord labeling completely dependent on such unobvious presumptions about context. And as well as being unclear he's also left unable to label blue seventh chords. I can think of at least one classical type of context where there could be a IV7 which has a functional but not dominant role. Eg. In C, a cliche tonicisation of Am would go F7>E7>Am. The F dom7 is quite fundamental to that move because it contains an Eb as part of the tritone which can raise a semitone to the tonic of E. He couldn't really label that F7, (unless he could presuppose using A Hungarian minor in resolving to A minor!)

  4. #19
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimc8p View Post
    Yes, it seems really illogical to have chord labeling completely dependent on such unobvious presumptions about context. And as well as being unclear he's also left unable to label blue seventh chords. I can think of at least one classical type of context where there could be a IV7 which has a functional but not dominant role. Eg. In C, a cliche tonicisation of Am would go F7>E7>Am. The F dom7 is quite fundamental to that move because it contains an Eb as part of the tritone which can raise a semitone to the tonic of E. He couldn't really label that F7, (unless he could presuppose using A Hungarian minor in resolving to A minor!)
    I think a classical interpretation of that would be an augmented 6th - a German 6th to be precise. The Eb would be spelled D# (which is theoretically necessary if it is to resolve up a half-step), and the F-D# interval is the augmented 6th. (The German 6th is the only type of aug6 chord to exactly match a bVI dom7-type - others resemble dom7s with altered 5ths.)
    Its functional role is "pre-dominant" - i.e., similar to a ii or IV chord.
    Augmented 6th chords do have abbreviation conventions in figured bass, but I don't know how Pollack would notate one. (And I don't know if he's found one anywhere in the Beatles oeuvre either.)
    Maybe "bVI#6"??

  5. #20
    Registered User jimc8p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    I think a classical interpretation of that would be an augmented 6th - a German 6th to be precise. The Eb would be spelled D# (which is theoretically necessary if it is to resolve up a half-step), and the F-D# interval is the augmented 6th. (The German 6th is the only type of aug6 chord to exactly match a bVI dom7-type - others resemble dom7s with altered 5ths.)
    Its functional role is "pre-dominant" - i.e., similar to a ii or IV chord.
    Augmented 6th chords do have abbreviation conventions in figured bass, but I don't know how Pollack would notate one. (And I don't know if he's found one anywhere in the Beatles oeuvre either.)
    Maybe "bVI#6"??
    Interesting, I've never really looked into augmented 6th functions.

    Back to the labeling thing - he couldn't write "F#6"...I guess he could write "F(#6)". But then why not write "F(b7)"? More to the point, why give major seventh chords so much credit? - they're hardly important. Qualifying with "maj"7 is a very logical way of labeling major sevenths, since they are less common and far less significant than minor sevenths in functional harmony. A simple "7" then covers everything else from dominant/secondary dominant sevenths to minor sevenths/m7b5s, bluesy 7th chords... I wonder how he would label a mM7...for example in a tune like Nature Boy where the context is obviously harmonic/melodic minor. Would he just say "x7" assuming the raised 7th?

  6. #21
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimc8p View Post
    Interesting, I've never really looked into augmented 6th functions.

    Back to the labeling thing - he couldn't write "F#6"...I guess he could write "F(#6)". But then why not write "F(b7)"?
    Because the #6 is the point. Classically (as I understand it) a b7 would need to resolve down (Eb>D in this case). To resolve up, you need to call it a #6 (D#>E). I think it may just be because the note name needs to change.
    Of course, in jazz, the note could go both ways, as F7 (in this example) is likely to go to E7. But classically that's irrational (again as I understand it) - they don't like that kind of parallel move anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by jimc8p View Post
    More to the point, why give major seventh chords so much credit? - they're hardly important. Qualifying with "maj"7 is a very logical way of labeling major sevenths, since they are less common and far less significant than minor sevenths in functional harmony. A simple "7" then covers everything else from dominant/secondary dominant sevenths to minor sevenths/m7b5s, bluesy 7th chords... I wonder how he would label a mM7...for example in a tune like Nature Boy where the context is obviously harmonic/melodic minor. Would he just say "x7" assuming the raised 7th?
    Good question.
    The significance of the maj7 (where he mentions it) is - IMO - as part of a voice-leading line.
    It makes no difference to the chord function, of course. But then, technically, nor does any 7th extension. In jazz, we're used to seeing "7" and "maj7" as ways of differentiating tonic (or subdominant) from dominant function (in major chords). But in classical - and it would work in jazz too - the chord's triad type and scale degree is sufficient.
    IOW, in jazz, 7ths aid the voice-leading from chord to chord, but they don't determine chord function.
    The problem in jazz (where "7" names come to the rescue) is that there is so much chromaticism, so many secondary dominants and temporary modulations - not to mention non-functional blues usage of dom7-type chords. If we were to just see a major triad, it's not always easy to judge what scale degree it's on, because the local key centre may not be obvious.
    Eg, if we saw an A major chord in the key of C, could we always reliably identify it as "V/ii" (secondary dominant of Dm)? - and therefore assign it a b7? If it was preceded by an E major, maybe not - maybe we've changed key to A major? - meaning it needs a maj7.
    Jazz is so loose with chord theory that it makes sense to always identify the type of 7th on any chord - because we can't always rely on context like we can in classical.

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