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Thread: Submediant Chord (VI) question

  1. #1
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    Submediant Chord (VI) question

    I understand that if a VI chord is preceded by a V chord we should doubled the 3rd note of the VI chord or vice versa.

    What if the VI chord is not preceded by a V chord? For example, Chord II followed by VI and IV, should we double the root or the 3rd note of the VI chord? Some said we should always doubled the 3rd note of the VI chord irregardless where it reside while others said we should double the root of the VI chord because it is not an interrupted cadence.

    Which is correct? Can someone shed some lights on these?

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    I understand that if a VI chord is preceded by a V chord we should doubled the 3rd note of the VI chord or vice versa.
    I'm not sure if I ever heard about this "rule....but my level of expertise is not that high, so....I would also like to know.

    I've found this (taken from http://mailer.fsu.edu/~nrogers/Handouts/vi.pdf )

    "The submediant chord functions as a weak pre-dominant. Its most typical role is leading from the tonic to a strong
    pre-dominant (such as IV or ii). The common tones between the submediant and all of these chords allow for
    smooth and easy voice-leading; leaping is atypical, and repeated notes — even in the soprano — should not cause
    alarm.
    In order to convey a sense of forward motion, we prefer to move from weak to strong pre-dominants as we progress
    from the tonic to the dominant. The submediant therefore progresses well either to IV (iv) or to ii (ii°), but it does
    not ordinarily follow them. As a pre-dominant, vi can progress directly to V, but this is much less common and the
    voice-leading is unusually hazardous (especially in a minor key), necessitating contrary motion in the outer voices."


    Basically, what it says presupposes a progression on which the VIm preceedes a IV and not the way around, as you've mentioned (I-VIm-IV-V-I instead of I-V-VIm-I).
    Doubling the 3rd note of the VIm chord is to double the Tonic of the scale and, in my oppinion, it will create a strong tendency for the progression to move to the I chord, when preceeded by the V chord (it has two common tones with the I chord). Unless this is just a way to add variety to the V-I movement, V-VIm-I instead of V-I.
    Last edited by rbarata; 07-14-2012 at 03:01 PM.

  3. #3
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    I too have never heard this, however, I am self taught and probably have not gotten to this level.

    In my World the V and especially V7 would not be going to a vi as the V being dominant wants to move to the tonic. The V7, being the climax chord, wants to move to the I tonic RIGHT NOW anything else would be anti-climatic.

    In my World (Country) the ii and the vi are for color the I, IV and V are for movement. The iii is normally used as a lead some where chord and drags the vi with it. To help with that movement the vi then moves to a sub-dominant (ii or IV) and you continue from there.

    But, if it sounds good doing something else, it is good.

    In fact I'm not sure what doubling you are talking about. Sounding the note twice by having a duplicate in the pattern or what? If it is having a duplicate in the pattern, that's building "full" chords, which fit sometime and then at other times do not. For example:

    I play rhythm 6 string and normally leave the low notes for the bass and try and play "less is more chords" so I do not muddy up the other 6 strings.

    Interesting post. Talk a little more on this doubling - specific cases.....
    Last edited by Malcolm; 07-14-2012 at 02:30 PM.

  4. #4
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rscee View Post
    I understand that if a VI chord is preceded by a V chord we should doubled the 3rd note of the VI chord or vice versa.

    What if the VI chord is not preceded by a V chord? For example, Chord II followed by VI and IV, should we double the root or the 3rd note of the VI chord? Some said we should always doubled the 3rd note of the VI chord irregardless where it reside while others said we should double the root of the VI chord because it is not an interrupted cadence.

    Which is correct? Can someone shed some lights on these?
    I'm no expert here, but I notice rbarata's link (in the paragraph following the one he quoted) gives the reason for doubling the 3rd as follows:

    "...it is normal to double the third of the submediant when it follows V because it is important to resolve the leading-tone."

    That suggests that if the IV follows any other chord, doubling the 3rd is not necessary. (Although maybe if it follows iii, the rule still applies. However, avoiding parallel 5ths is then tricky .)

    It may be that the rule varies depending on the style of the period.

    If you want real classical experts on this, try asking here:
    http://forum.emusictheory.com/list.php?5

    guru stevel also posts sometimes on thegearpage:
    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/forumdisplay.php?f=30

  5. #5
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rscee View Post
    I understand that if a VI chord is preceded by a V chord we should doubled the 3rd note of the VI chord or vice versa.

    What if the VI chord is not preceded by a V chord? For example, Chord II followed by VI and IV, should we double the root or the 3rd note of the VI chord? Some said we should always doubled the 3rd note of the VI chord irregardless where it reside while others said we should double the root of the VI chord because it is not an interrupted cadence.

    Which is correct? Can someone shed some lights on these?
    I'll start with functional harmony first because this has to be understood to grasp voice-leading.

    In C:

    I-vi-V-IV-V7b9-I

    C (end of a phrase)

    vi-V-IV-V7b9-VI. (the new I)

    The piece ended on the A because due to the functionally of the V7 - which is a V7 in both keys.

    V7 in C is G7; however, V7 in A is E7 (E-G#-B-D) Tack on a raised fifth and a flatten ninth (E-G#-B#-D-F [natural]). There's a stronger sense to move towards A (either major or minor)

    So, in A:

    i-VII (functions as the v)-VI (functioning as the iv)-V-(the V has the leading tone in the chord)-I

    Now, when it comes to voicings and movement, you want to mimic this with your fingers.

    A-G-F-F-E (soprano)

    E-D-C-D-C# (alto)

    C-B-A-B#-B (natural) (tenor)

    D-D#-E-E-A (bass)

    The actual chords in the voicings are Dm9-G/D#-Dm7/E-E7#5b9-AMaj9

    This progression sounds different due to substitutions; however, maintaining similar functionally)

    Bass and soprano see contrary motion; tenor and alto see some parallel motion, but then contrary motion.

    To elaborate:

    In this example, everybody is moving downward, but not from beginning to end. The soprano and bass are using "anticipation." The alto and tenor are using "turns." Both movements break the appearance of strict parallel motion.

    Here's the voicing movement for the simple triads: (Am-G-F-E-A)

    A-G-F-F-E (Keeping soprano on F ---> E7b9 despite the dropped seventh)

    E-D-C-B-C#

    C-B-A-G#-A

    A-G-F-E-A

    In this example, everybody is moving downward, but not from beginning to end. The soprano is using "anticipation." The alto and tenor are using "turns." The bass is moving downward, but sop's anticipation breaks parallel motion. His last two notes determines if he stays or detours. (E down to A; E up to A)

    So, in the first example, you may not need to double anything (leaving out notes, yes); however, you don't necessarily need to double for triads either because you want movement.

    Parallel motion is considered not "moving" which is why unisons, fifths and octaves are not advised. You can have parallel motion within all the other intervals though.

    Given the examples, one should remember that not everybody always has to move. The goal is to make smooth transitions from chord to chord. Watch anyone who plays piano or keyboard listening to the sound of the movements made or try figuring out yourself by playing. If it sounds connected, then it's a display of good voice-leading.

    For it to be such, there needs to be as little movement in the hands. This applies to looking at sheet music as well. Pretend the notes are your fingers. If your fingers can't/shouldn't do it nor can/should the voices.

    *Note: I'm not giving a piano lesson. I'm showing you how voice-leading is applied by using the instrument.

    RH:

    A-G-F-F-E (Fingers 4 or 3)

    E-D-C-B-C# (Finger 2)

    C-B-A-G#-A (Finger 1)

    A-G-F-E-A (Thumb)

    LH:

    A-G-F-F-E (Thumb)

    E-D-C-B-C# (Finger 1)

    C-B-A-G#-A (Finger 2)

    A-G-F-E-A (Fingers 4 or 3)

    With the chord substitution example, the lowest note is of the chord =/= what you play with your left hand (although you can)

    RH:

    E-F-G-F-E (Finger 4 or 3; Soprano)

    C-Db-E-D-C# (Finger 2; Alto)

    A-Bb-C-B#-B (Finger 1; Tenor)

    A-G-A-E-G# (Thumb; Bass)

    LH:


    E-F-G-F-E (Finger Thumb; Soprano)

    C-Db-E-D-C# (Finger 1; Alto)

    A-Bb-C-B#-B (Finger 2; Tenor)

    A-G-A-E-G# (Finger 4 or 3; Bass)

    Sometimes you double, but you don't have to.
    Last edited by Color of Music; 07-16-2012 at 06:41 AM.

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    In C:

    I-vi-V-IV-V7b9-I

    C (end of a phrase)

    vi-V-IV-V7b9-VI. (the new I)

    The piece ended on the A because due to the functionally of the V7 - which is a V7 in both keys.

    V7 in C is G7; however, V7 in A is E7 (E-G#-B-D) Tack on a raised fifth and a flatten ninth (E-G#-B#-D-F [natural]). There's a stronger sense to move towards A (either major or minor)

    So, in A:

    i-VII (functions as the v)-VI (functioning as the iv)-V-(the V has the leading tone in the chord)-I
    One question...why did you related Cmaj with, I suppose, Amin?
    Was it just for posting an example in both modes ir was there any other reason?

    Another thing... I am seeing, in major modes, the VI as a I (functionally speaking, of course). So, I can use it like that as a "starting point" for another progression (the same or any other different) without going to I.

    Am I thinking right?

  7. #7
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
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    Regarding Tonicization and Modulation:

    Yes, A (minor) is the sixth of C (the vi); however, notice the VI (Major six) ... this doesn't exist, so either it's a Neopolitan chord or a chord before it functioning differently. (More than likely, it's the latter.

    The precede chord in C, V7b9 (G7b9 - G-B-D-F-Ab) is also the V7b9 in A minor or major (E-G#-B-D-F = E7b9)

    Now, examine the notes of both chords:

    B-D-F-Ab is a Bdim7 or a rootless G7b9

    G#-B-D-F is a G#dim7 or a rootless E7b9

    Whats common about both chords other than having some of the same letters? (V7 = viio) There's an enharmonic equivalent in both and they're a step away from some kind of A.

    G#-B-D-F = A-C-E-E (Am) viio7-i

    G#-B-D-F = A-C#-E-E or A-C#-C#-E = (A) viio7-I

    G#-B-D-F = G#-A-C#-E [AMaj7) viio7-I

    If the E was attached, the vii ---> V; both the viio-i or I and V7 (b9)-i or I work properly here.

    Both are okay for cadences. The V is stronger than the vii, but most often the V is too strong - especially when a 7 or 7b9 is attached. However, one may want that kind of tension.

    The thing with progressions is that often times they move in fourths.

    In the I-vi-ii-V7-I progression, the movement of a fourth is present, but sometimes thirds or if there's a substitution made (in parenthesis)

    Look:

    No substitution: C-Am-Dm-G7-C (I-vi-ii-V-I; very common movement in jazz - ii-V-I. However, all music uses this to some degree)

    Substitution hides the ii-V-I, but it's still there due to the functionality.

    Substitution 1: C-C7-Dm7-G7b9-CMaj7 (I-I7-ii-V7b9-IMaj7)

    Substitution 2: C-C6(Am7)-F-Bdim7-CMaj7 (I-I6-IV-viio7-IMaj7)

    Substitution 3: CMaj7-Dbdim7-F6-Fm6-CMaj7 (IMaj7-biio7-IV6-iv6-IMaj7)

    Substitution 4: CMaj9-A7b9-Dm7-Ddim7-C (IMaj9-VI7b9-ii7-iio7-I)

    It looks confusing because there are subs for subs. The idea is the functionality which is pretty essential when grasping modulation wheter it be chomatic. diatonic or parallel. (Am to A Major or vice-versa)

    You don't have to land on I; however, the idea is once you leave I, get back to it. The composer may not do it nor does s/he have to but odds are the listener will. It's the implication.
    Last edited by Color of Music; 07-16-2012 at 08:01 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    Regarding Tonicization and Modulation:

    Yes, A (minor) is the sixth of C (the vi); however, notice the VI (Major six) ... this doesn't exist, so either it's a Neopolitan chord or a chord before it functioning differently. (More than likely, it's the latter.
    I think you need to explain this a bit better. Which chord is the neapolitan chord? Not A major...
    And in what way does A major "not exist"?
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    The precede chord in C, V7b9 (G7b9 - G-B-D-F-Ab) is also the V7b9 in A minor or major (E-G#-B-D-F = E7b9)
    No it isn't, not directly. But I know what you're getting at, of course, which is this:
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    Now, examine the notes of both chords:

    B-D-F-Ab is a Bdim7 or a rootless G7b9

    G#-B-D-F is a G#dim7 or a rootless E7b9
    Yes. To expand on that:
    Bdim7 is the vii in C minor, with the same dominant function (in that key) as G7b9.
    G#dim7 is the vii in A minor, with the same dominant function (in that key) as E7b9.

    But of course, sound-wise (disregarding enharmonic differences) the chords are inversions of each other, and can therefore perform the same function in each other's key.
    (And indeed in the keys of Eb minor and F# minor, or the parallel majors of each four keys. Ddim7 > Ebm. Fdim7 = E#dim7 > F#m.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    Whats common about both chords other than having some of the same letters? (V7 = viio) There's an enharmonic equivalent in both and they're a step away from some kind of A.

    G#-B-D-F = A-C-E-E (Am) viio7-i

    G#-B-D-F = A-C#-E-E or A-C#-C#-E = (A) viio7-I

    G#-B-D-F = G#-A-C#-E [AMaj7) viio7-I
    Yes, but not a great idea to have the maj7 on the bottom IMO. The major triad is enough, although a major 6th (F#) offers an alternative half-step resolution for the F.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post

    Both are okay for cadences. The V is stronger than the vii, but most often the V is too strong - especially when a 7 or 7b9 is attached.
    Debatable. IMO many would say the viio is a stronger (more dissonant) sound than the V; and that viio7 is more tense than V7; although V7b9 is more tense than any of them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    The thing with progressions is that often times they move in fourths.
    Yes, that's the basic functional move: roots up a 4th or down a 5th (you need to make the direction clear - roots down a 4th is a very different matter! )
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    In the I-vi-ii-V7-I progression, the movement of a fourth is present, but sometimes thirds or if there's a substitution made (in parenthesis)

    Look:

    No substitution: C-Am-Dm-G7-C (I-vi-ii-V-I; very common movement in jazz - ii-V-I. However, all music uses this to some degree)

    Substitution hides the ii-V-I, but it's still there due to the functionality.

    Substitution 1: C-C7-Dm7-G7b9-CMaj7 (I-I7-ii-V7b9-IMaj7)
    What function is the C7? What type of cadence is C7-Dm7?
    (Just teasing here... I think you know, but it would be good to make the reason for that choice clearer.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    Substitution 3: CMaj7-Dbdim7-F6-Fm6-CMaj7 (IMaj7-biio7-IV6-iv6-IMaj7)
    Two points worth bringing out:
    1. "Dbdim7" is really either C#dim7 or Edim7;
    Edim7 is viio of F minor, but works resolving to F as a sub for C7, the secondary dominant);
    C#dim7 is viio of Dm, and sub for secondary dominant A7 - and of course F6 is an inverted Dm7, a sub for Dm.
    2. The Fm6 is not technically a sub for G7 or Bdim7. It does have 3 notes in common with Bdim7 (or G7b9), but the presence of C is critical (IMO), making it a minor iv and therefore more of a plagal cadence than a perfect one. Interestingly ambiguous though .
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    Substitution 4: CMaj9-A7b9-Dm7-Ddim7-C (IMaj9-VI7b9-ii7-iio7-I)
    Again, the correct functional interpretation (as I understand it) is "I - V/ii - ii - viio - I". "Ddim7" is simply Bdim7 inverted, in functional terms.

    Another observation is that the extensions of Cmaj9 form an Em7 chord, which you could see as a secondary supertonic chord. IOW, lose the C root, and the sequence could be ii/ii - V/ii - ii - viio - I .
    At least, the voice-leading from Cmaj9 to A7b9 could work in the same way.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    It looks confusing because there are subs for subs.
    Yes, kind of. C#dim7 is a sub for A7, but I'm not sure A7 is (strictly speaking) a sub for Am7; it's V of Dm (secondary dominant). A narrow pedantic point, maybe .

    I'm not quarrelling with any of your concepts or examples here, only the way you're describing them, which is not as clear as it could be.

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    So, basically you've used the VIm as a sub of I, with the particularity of not ending in the I but in the VIm. Right?

    In your examples there's some techniques which I tried before, i.e., instead of using usual progressions (kind of I-IV-V-I) I use subs for these chords. The idea is to create sub-progressions (progressions inside the main progression) to add variety. Replace on chord (and its associated function) by another (or more) chords that replace not only the original chord but also its function.
    This is a technique that deserves a serious study due to its possibilities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    Another thing... I am seeing, in major modes, the VI as a I (functionally speaking, of course). So, I can use it like that as a "starting point" for another progression (the same or any other different) without going to I.

    Am I thinking right?
    Yes, that's a possibility. The switch to A major from the expected Am is a change in tonality. Am is relative minor of C major, a very common key change (via E7 or Bdim7); A major is the parallel major of the relative minor. (A minor to A major is not a "key change", because the keynote stays the same. But of course C major to A minor or A major is a key change.)
    It's more common for an A major chord in key of C to be a secondary dominant (leading to Dm), but it can be made to sound like a new tonic by the preceding chords - much as we're saying above.

    George Harrison's "Something" is a great example of combining a major key with its relative minor and the relative minor's parallel major. (A bit of a mouthful, but a simple enough concept: keys of C major, A minor and A major.)
    In "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" he combined A minor with A major, which could be seen as a tentative first experiment with the concept.
    http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/...WP/wmggw.shtml
    http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/...ES/AWP/s.shtml

    As Pollack says, the Beatles had played with the concept of parallel keys before, notably in Fool On The Hill (D major/D minor), I'll Be Back (A major/A minor) and Michelle (F minor/F major) - mostly Paul's tunes of course.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    I think you need to explain this a bit better. Which chord is the neapolitan chord? Not A major...
    And in what way does A major "not exist"?

    No it isn't, not directly. But I know what you're getting at, of course, which is this:
    Okay, I think I see where I made my error. A is a borrowed chord, isn't it? Oops.

    Yes. To expand on that:
    Bdim7 is the vii in C minor, with the same dominant function (in that key) as G7b9.
    G#dim7 is the vii in A minor, with the same dominant function (in that key) as E7b9.

    But of course, sound-wise (disregarding enharmonic differences) the chords are inversions of each other, and can therefore perform the same function in each other's key.

    (And indeed in the keys of Eb minor and F# minor, or the parallel majors of each four keys. Ddim7 > Ebm. Fdim7 = E#dim7 > F#m.)

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Yes, but not a great idea to have the maj7 on the bottom IMO. The major triad is enough, although a major 6th (F#) offers an alternative half-step resolution for the F.
    In most cases, it isn't; however, there's more to inversions then just moving notes. You do know that they don't sound the same despite lookng the same.

    E-G-C sounds different than C-E-G while G-C-E sound different than both. When it comes to sevenths - major sevenths (m9 and other extensions), it may not be good in sonority term to have anything on the bottom other than the root. Yet, that may be the sound you want. A root position Maj7 is still tense anyway due to being only a semitone away from the root - even if not in that position (All positions, but 4/3 and 4/2 really push it)

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Debatable. IMO many would say the viio is a stronger (more dissonant) sound than the V; and that viio7 is more tense than V7; although V7b9 is more tense than any of them.
    No sweat, however, when the V (V7) is stronger argument is made, it's more about a sense of urgency. Both want to move to the I, but the viio does seem to "takes it's time," while the V (V7) rushes to "get home." And yes, adding appropriate colorings make the sense of urgency stronger. However, you can lessen it.

    Em9-Em6-A7#5#9/A13b9b11 (Both chords are way too tense)-A7b9 (alot less tense)-D (resolution)

    That's the same with progressions that walk down.

    CMaj9-A7#5b9-FMaj7-Fm7b5-CMaj9

    Melody: D-Db-E-Eb-D: The F was the tense note and we walk down to the resolved note - D

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Yes, that's the basic functional move: roots up a 4th or down a 5th (you need to make the direction clear - roots down a 4th is a very different matter! )
    What function is the C7? What type of cadence is C7-Dm7?
    (Just teasing here... I think you know, but it would be good to make the reason for that choice clearer.)
    My apologies! I do tend be more unclear in my attempts to be clear. It's a quirk I have.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Two points worth bringing out:
    1. "Dbdim7" is really either C#dim7 or Edim7;
    Edim7 is viio of F minor, but works resolving to F as a sub for C7, the secondary dominant);

    C#dim7 is viio of Dm, and sub for secondary dominant A7 - and of course F6 is an inverted Dm7, a sub for Dm.
    Yeah. I guess I called it Db because I looked at the proceeding chord (D - I forget what it was). Obviously, a letter was going to be used twice and I just decided on the Db.

    Thanks for the SD clarification. I'm still not good with that which is why I avoid analyzing that way. Not totally, but certainlt not very often.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    2. The Fm6 is not technically a sub for G7 or Bdim7. It does have 3 notes in common with Bdim7 (or G7b9), but the presence of C is critical (IMO), making it a minor iv and therefore more of a plagal cadence than a perfect one. Interestingly ambiguous though .
    I didn't mean it for to be as a sub in the concrete sense as you see it's not just the sub technique that is being used. It's intertwined with some hidden prolongation. Perhaps that's why this substring look interesting ambiguous. Each has five chords total, but you can hear others within those five to which makes the progressions longer or just simply swaps chord for chord.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Again, the correct functional interpretation (as I understand it) is "I - V/ii - ii - viio - I". "Ddim7" is simply Bdim7 inverted, in functional terms.

    Another observation is that the extensions of Cmaj9 form an Em7 chord, which you could see as a secondary supertonic chord. IOW, lose the C root, and the sequence could be ii/ii - V/ii - ii - viio - I .
    Often times, besides liking extensions, for me at least - it denotes the obvious progression, but in a more efficient manner.

    CMaj9-A7b9-Dm9-DbMaj9-CMaj9 = I-VI-ii-bII-I

    Rather than:

    Em7/C-Ebm7b5/A-FMaj7/D-Fm7b5/Db-Em7/C = iii-ii-IV-iv-iii

    Progression one, has a cadential aura (bII tritone sub for V), whereas the second "looks" unfinished even if the roots are heard or mentally attached.

    You know how in jazz, it's advised for the pianist to let the bassist take care of the root? Of course, s/he can imply the root (especially when solo playing), but again, it's clearer to me (by preference) to use extensions. (When transcribing or arranging)

    I may use X/Y if I have trouble naming a certain chord:

    Example: G-Bb-Db-F# = GdimMaj7? I don't even think I've seen such a name - although I wouldn't say it's wrong and it's not because it is a diminished Major 7th But, most don't call such chords by that unless it's this: CmMaj7, but it's clear what that is and looks like.

    Back to the GdimMaj7 though. Attach an A = A + G-Bb-Db-F# = A13b9b11. IOW, it's not so much about knowing the "fancy name," but more about naming it. Yeah, I chose the latter, but I do know what that chord consists of and I think it's a better name than the former.

    Yet, I will clearly use slash chords (simpler names) to comply to a performer who may not be well-versed with extensions; however, Em7/C makes me visualize two players as opposed to one (CMaj9) - whether it be single chords or a long behind progression and "I know where this is headed" - even if it doesn't go there.

    My thing is, extensions (diatonic and altered) aren't as cringe-worthy as they're made out to be. And I wouldn't call them "sophisticated" since you're just stacking notes. They may sound as such, but they aren't.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    At least, the voice-leading from Cmaj9 to A7b9 could work in the same way.
    Yes, kind of. C#dim7 is a sub for A7, but I'm not sure A7 is (strictly speaking) a sub for Am7; it's V of Dm (secondary dominant). A narrow pedantic point, maybe .
    No, A7 would be the sub for an Eb7 (tritone sub which I don't think I used in those bolded examples, I'll have to look). You're probably thinking C#dim7 because that's in an A7b9. (A + Edim7 which the C# would actually be a Db. See how much trouble dim7s are? lol)

    Seriously: A, C#, E, G, Bb = in that case, C#dim7 is correct; however, with A + E, G, Bb Db ( = A + Edim7) - looks like this: A, C#, E, G, Bb, Db; that would be an A7b9b11; yet, drop the third (being the enharmonic of the b11). This means I essentially moved it to the top, but I must adhere the "Musical Alphabet Rule" - "Only one of each letter."

    C# and Db are the same, but they are not. Notice if I kept the C# and moved it instead: E, G, Bb, C#. The intervallic relationship is not a minor third, but an augmented second and generally chords are tertiary (built in thirds). So, not only do I think about the functional relationships, but the intervallic relationships as well.

    Now, you may get this chord: A7#5#9, but you still have to adhere to the guideline when spelling it out: A, C#, E#, G, B#. Again, if I were to move the C# up top, it would be named Db due to the B#. Yes, it's an inversion, but try to name it correctly.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    I'm not quarrelling with any of your concepts or examples here, only the way you're describing them, which is not as clear as it could be.
    Not at all. Usually, when I think things are clear, I find out they aren't. It's the "Well, it sounded good in my head," deals. Thanks for defogging things somewhat.

    I do have a question: If this is used, what's the figured bass for inverted 9ths, 11ths and 13ths? I do know it'd be boggling to figure it out, but I just always wondered.

    For starters, I do know that there just a second, fourth and six away from the root and course the obvious clashing, but could such figures be applied? I also know that they're referred to as the appropriate sus chords (sus2, 4, 7, 9 + 13sus4)
    Last edited by Color of Music; 07-16-2012 at 01:14 PM.

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    Let me just add something about the "clearness" of things...

    Most people who come here are people learning theory, and as far as I've seen, apart a few members, most of them are just starting or don't have an advanced knowledge.
    So, it would be great, at least for me, to use a more "step by step" approach, with simple examples. Part of our job as students is to pick up those simple examples and extend them to other more complex cases and, eventually, compose something using the concepts.

    Please consider this a constructive critique.

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    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    Let me just add something about the "clarity" of things...

    Most people who come here are people learning theory, and as far as I've seen, apart a few members, most of them are just starting or don't have an advanced knowledge.
    So, it would be great, at least for me, to use a more "step by step" approach, with simple examples. Part of our job as students is to pick up those simple examples and extend them to other more complex cases and, eventually, compose something using the concepts.

    Please consider this a constructive critique.
    I'll do better next time. And I'm learning, too - so, don't feel bad.

  14. #14
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    Okay, I think I see where I made my error. A is a borrowed chord, isn't it? Oops.
    Well, not from any C-root scale or mode, because it contains a C#.

    To go back to the relevant sequence:

    vi-V-IV-V7b9-VI

    (which you numbered relative to the previous C tonic.)

    It's definitely interesting, because the b9 of the G7 does act as a G# leading tone to the A, making the last chord sound like a modulation, albeit a slightly surprising one.
    I'm guessing it would be classed as a deceptive cadence, but I'm not sure.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    there's more to inversions then just moving notes.
    In most chords, yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    You do know that they don't sound the same despite looking the same.
    Well, it depends what you mean by "looking" the same .
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    E-G-C sounds different than C-E-G while G-C-E sound different than both.
    Sure.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    When it comes to sevenths - major sevenths (m9 and other extensions), it may not be good in sonority term to have anything on the bottom other than the root. Yet, that may be the sound you want.
    True.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    A root position Maj7 is still tense anyway due to being only a semitone away from the root
    You mean from a higher octave of the root? A root position maj7 may just be 1-3-5-7.
    It's not exactly "resolved" in classical terms of course, but is secure enough to jazz and pop ears.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    - even if not in that position (All positions, but 4/3 and 4/2 really push it)
    Well, if there's only one of each note, then - in close voicing - all inversions other than root position feature the minor 2nd between 7 and 1.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    No sweat, however, when the V (V7) is stronger argument is made, it's more about a sense of urgency. Both want to move to the I, but the viio does seem to "takes it's time," while the V (V7) rushes to "get home."
    Well, that's a subjective interpretation. Firstly, there's a significant difference between V and V7. The V triad is not tense in itself, unlike the viio triad (which is what I meant).
    The V7 chord is arguably more tense or urgent than the viio triad, because it includes the viio triad (with its tense tritone), and adds the V root forming another (mild) tension of a min7th.
    The viio7 chord (as a dim7 rather than m7b5) is a further tension, because its two overlapping tritones. Again, adding a V root bumps it up even more, with the addition of the 1-b9 interval.
    Same applies to a major key viim7b5 and V9 chord, although they are less tense.
    Even so, context might contribute to how tense these chords sound.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    Em9-Em6-A7#5#9/A13b9b11 (Both chords are way too tense)-A7b9 (alot less tense)-D (resolution)
    Not quite following you there. You mean the 3 A7 chords as alternatives? If so, yes of course, the fewer alterations the less tension.
    (BTW: "A13b9b11"? You mean #11? )
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    That's the same with progressions that walk down.

    CMaj9-A7#5b9-FMaj7-Fm7b5-CMaj9

    Melody: D-Db-E-Eb-D: The F was the tense note and we walk down to the resolved note - D
    I know I'm being pedantic again, but if the chord is A7 then "Db" should be C#.
    I know as a notated melody alone, Db is correct because it means fewer accidentals; but in this harmonic context it ought to be C#.
    I'm also having to read between the lines to understand what you mean by F being the tense note, when it's not in your melody. (It's there in the middle 3 chords.) Maybe the Db was a typo for F?
    And in fact - as I'm sure you're aware - you have a full chromatic descent in one other voice: B-Bb-A-Ab-G, and a partial one in D-C#-C-Cb-B.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    I didn't mean it for to be as a sub in the concrete sense as you see it's not just the sub technique that is being used. It's intertwined with some hidden prolongation. Perhaps that's why this substring look interesting ambiguous. Each has five chords total, but you can hear others within those five to which makes the progressions longer or just simply swaps chord for chord.

    Often times, besides liking extensions, for me at least - it denotes the obvious progression, but in a more efficient manner.

    CMaj9-A7b9-Dm9-DbMaj9-CMaj9 = I-VI-ii-bII-I

    Rather than:

    Em7/C-Ebm7b5/A-FMaj7/D-Fm7b5/Db-Em7/C = iii-ii-IV-iv-iii

    Progression one, has a cadential aura (bII tritone sub for V), whereas the second "looks" unfinished even if the roots are heard or mentally attached.
    Dbmaj9 is not a tritone sub for V. That would be Db7 or Db9; but judging from the second sequence (Fm7b5/Db), you do actually mean Db9.
    But then "Ebm7b5/A" is not the same thing as A7b9, so I'm not really sure what you mean.
    Of course, as you say, the slash chords obscure the functional role of the chords in the first sequence, although they can serve the purpose of clarifying voicings for a player.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    You know how in jazz, it's advised for the pianist to let the bassist take care of the root?
    Sure.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    Of course, s/he can imply the root (especially when solo playing), but again, it's clearer to me (by preference) to use extensions. (When transcribing or arranging)
    I agree (if I understand you right). I would always write "Cmaj9" in preference to "Em7/C", unless I thought the person reading would understand the latter better.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    I may use X/Y if I have trouble naming a certain chord:

    Example: G-Bb-Db-F# = GdimMaj7? I don't even think I've seen such a name - although I wouldn't say it's wrong and it's not because it is a diminished Major 7th But, most don't call such chords by that unless it's this: CmMaj7, but it's clear what that is and looks like.

    Back to the GdimMaj7 though. Attach an A = A + G-Bb-Db-F# = A13b9b11.
    "b11"?? Db = C# = 3rd of the chord. No need to mention it. Those 5 notes are simply A13b9.
    Meanwhile, the chord G-Bb-Db-F# could be simply written as "F#/G", given that a likely context for those 4 notes would feature A# and C# rather than Bb and Db.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    IOW, it's not so much about knowing the "fancy name," but more about naming it. Yeah, I chose the latter, but I do know what that chord consists of and I think it's a better name than the former.
    If you still mean the "A13b9b11", I think you're mistaken, as I explained.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    Yet, I will clearly use slash chords (simpler names) to comply to a performer who may not be well-versed with extensions; however, Em7/C makes me visualize two players as opposed to one (CMaj9)
    Yes. It might be useful where you don't actually want the chord player to play the C root (where you can't trust his/her jazz instincts to leave it out ).
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    No, A7 would be the sub for an Eb7 (tritone sub which I don't think I used in those bolded examples, I'll have to look). You're probably thinking C#dim7 because that's in an A7b9. (A + Edim7 which the C# would actually be a Db. See how much trouble dim7s are? lol)
    Hold on - sorry if I wasn't clear this time - I was referring to your sequence:

    CMaj7-Dbdim7-F6-Fm6-CMaj7

    You're right Edim7 (as natural vii chord in F minor) would have a Db; so I see what you did there in inverting it.
    I saw it as C#dim7 because I was seeing F6 as an inverted Dm7.

    I agree dim7s are trouble! It's a toss-up whether we name them according to function, or according to simply what the bass note is. IMO most people would prefer the latter. "Edim7/Db?? why not just call it Dbdim7??"
    Another consideration (classically) is voice-leading. As a chromaticism, Db would be expected to lead downwards from D to C. As you're starting with Cmaj7, I'd therefore expect a semitone up in the bass to be C#.
    In any case (and it may be just me), either C#dim7 or Edim7 is preferable in this context to Dbdim7.
    One more consideration is that "Dbdim7", in its own right, can only exist in the key of Ebb minor - which I think we'd both agree is non-existent.
    C#dim7 belongs to D minor, and Edim7 (with a Db note) belongs to F minor. In this sense - at least in an F-key context - "Edim7/Db" is quite correct, in a way that "Dbdim7" is not.
    I guess it's a matter of how theoretically concerned one is . "Dbdim7" makes me wince for 2 or 3 reasons. No one else has to care .

    [to be continued...]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    Seriously: A, C#, E, G, Bb = in that case, C#dim7 is correct; however, with A + E, G, Bb Db ( = A + Edim7) - looks like this: A, C#, E, G, Bb, Db; that would be an A7b9b11; yet, drop the third (being the enharmonic of the b11). This means I essentially moved it to the top, but I must adhere the "Musical Alphabet Rule" - "Only one of each letter."
    But that's a totally hypothetical scenario. If you drop the C#, then the Db is going to act as C# in its place. Even with the C# there, the Db is only a higher octave of the same note.
    IOW, you actually don't have an "Edim7" chord there; you have a C#dim7 misspelled.
    If there was a C natural lower down, then you'd have a point. (Still a vanishingly rare scenario in practice, but a theoretically valid one.)
    What would we name a chord built A C E G Bb Db?? IMO, it would have to be "C7b9/A". And god bless her and all who sail in her...
    You could just about argue that it's A7#9b9 (C=B#), in a very odd inversion (as if the chord wasn't odd enough to start with).
    The other possibility is a polychord, Gdim over an Am triad, written thus:

    Gdim
    Am
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    C# and Db are the same, but they are not. Notice if I kept the C# and moved it instead: E, G, Bb, C#. The intervallic relationship is not a minor third, but an augmented second and generally chords are tertiary (built in thirds). So, not only do I think about the functional relationships, but the intervallic relationships as well.
    Right. I totally agree. But you can take the tertian interval rule too far .
    There are times when it's important to acknowledge an augmented 2nd rather than a minor 3rd. But with dim7s, that's all dependent on context. Derivation is one thing (7th degree of harmonic minor). But if you take an Edim7 and put it in another tonal context, then its Db may well be heard (and function) as a C#. It makes no sense then to preserve the "Db" label.
    I mean, if we get down to what theory is all about, it's supposed to make music simpler and easier to understand. The sounds are what rule. The theory comes in to explain the sounds, to give them a context, a category, a framework.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    Now, you may get this chord: A7#5#9, but you still have to adhere to the guideline when spelling it out: A, C#, E#, G, B#. Again, if I were to move the C# up top, it would be named Db due to the B#.
    Not at all. You still only have one of each note, so there is no need to rename anything. The C# is still C#, the 3rd of the chord. Db would make it a diminished 4th (or diminished 11th) and this is an extended dominant chord built from a major triad, not some bizarre quartal assembly.
    If anything, it's that B# that's the oddity, so-called because of the rule you mention of "one-of-each-note". In most contexts where that chord is used, it would make a lot more sense to call it C. (And I have seen such a chord labelled "A7b10" before, although not for many years )
    But anyway, moving the notes around makes no difference.

    That's not to say enharmonic equivalents might not make sense in other situations. The tritone sub for A7#5#9 is Eb13#11 (both resolve to Dm or D). From the "Eb" perspective, C#=Db, E#=F, B#=C. And yet the chords are really the same (give or take 1 or 2 extensions).
    And of course, the A altered scale (= Eb lydian dominant) is enharmonic with Bb melodic minor, which has Db (and C), not C#. But that's coincidence. The A altered scale doesn't derive from Bb melodic minor; it just happens to resemble it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    I do have a question: If this is used, what's the figured bass for inverted 9ths, 11ths and 13ths? I do know it'd be boggling to figure it out, but I just always wondered.
    Now that I can't answer!
    If you mean what happens when 9ths 11ths or 13ths occur in the bass, then my view is they tend to become different chords. Those extensions tend to take over the root role, because of stronger intervals formed with other chord tones. (Either that, or they form an unusably dissonant chord, ie, one with no functional use.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    For starters, I do know that there just a second, fourth and six away from the root and course the obvious clashing, but could such figures be applied? I also know that they're referred to as the appropriate sus chords (sus2, 4, 7, 9 + 13sus4)
    Well, some schools of thought say that only sus4 chords exist. A sus2 is just an inverted sus4 (in that view). And no other chord tone can be suspended in the same way. (A 6th is just an extension, not a suspension.)
    Putting the 9th of a chord on the bottom does turn it into a sus chord, in certain situations.
    Eg, Cadd9/D = D9sus4 (more or less) - although "C9/D" is some kind of unholy "D9sus4b13"
    11ths on the bottom cause all kinds of issues, although if it's a #11 on a dom7 chord, then it becomes its tritone sub. "C7#11/F#" = F#7b5b9 (more or less).
    (I'll let you work out what happens in other cases...)

    As I said earlier in the post, the theory gurus live over on emusictheory, and IMO this question would be a good one to ask over there: "is figured bass used for anything bigger than 7th chords, and if so, how - esp with inversions?"

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