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Thread: Jazz Harmony - Extended Chords

  1. #1
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    Jazz Harmony - Extended Chords

    I've been reading a theory book and there is a part which explain extended chords in jazz harmony but i don't understand something which is;


    "In jazz, all major chord extensions take their notes from the major scale built off the root"

  2. #2
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zanshin777 View Post
    I've been reading a theory book and there is a part which explain extended chords in jazz harmony but i don't understand something which is;

    "In jazz, all major chord extensions take their notes from the major scale built off the root"
    See if this helps. Cm7b5 equals a generic pattern of R-b3-b5-b7. Cm7b5 is first a minor chord, thus the b3. If it was a major chord the 3rd interval would be a natural 3. But, this is a minor chord, so we still use major structure, but indicate it being minor with the use of the b3.

    It's a diminished chord, thus the b5 and it is a natural minor seven chord, thus the b7. The old guys decided a long time ago to write it this way. They had to do it some way and this is what they decided to use.

    If a natural minor scale it is R-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7-8. A natural minor scale will flat the 3, 6 & 7 major notes. Why? The old guys decided this would be less confusing..... Less confusing than what? IMO WHWWHWW.

    Major chord = R-3-5
    Minor chord = R-b3-5
    Dominant chord = R-3-5
    Major seven chord = R-3-5-7
    Dominant seven chord = R-3-5-b7
    Diminished seven chord = R-b3-b5-b7

    If its a major scale or chord it'll have a natural 3, however, if it is a minor scale or chord it'll have a flat 3 (b3). Why? The old guys decided this would be less confusing..... if we relate everything back to the major scale and then adjust from that.

    At least that is my take on why. I'm sure the other guys will have something to add.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 11-14-2013 at 11:07 PM.

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    CMajor7 chord - C,E,G,B the root is C

    CMajor scale built on the same root - C,D,E,F,G,A,B
    The chord notes you already know, the other notes (D,F,A) are the extensions (or tensions).
    Technically they're tensions when played above the chord notes, but that's rarely how they're used in Jazz. See "Voicing" in your theory book for details.

    That's a very, basic explanation.
    Last edited by nuffink; 11-14-2013 at 11:09 PM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by zanshin777 View Post
    I've been reading a theory book and there is a part which explain extended chords in jazz harmony but i don't understand something which is;


    "In jazz, all major chord extensions take their notes from the major scale built off the root"
    To me Jazz is all about using Symmetrics to resolve into Extensions. Now the label " Extension" is probably not what you think I'm saying I use it as. Some people say Polychords or Superimposing, but that still is caught up in that line of thinking that notes work because they "work" in "chords".

    I'm just saying that the ear can decide on a better measurement if it has the space to do so. A Cmaj7 has the notes C E G B. If high enough above C the ear could measure from G(1,3,6) or E(1,b3,5).

  5. #5
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zanshin777 View Post
    I've been reading a theory book and there is a part which explain extended chords in jazz harmony but i don't understand something which is;


    "In jazz, all major chord extensions take their notes from the major scale built off the root"
    The same is true for minor chord extensions, in fact.

    Just to express the above answers in different form, in case it helps...

    The 7th chord (1-3-5-7) is taken as the basic form. 9ths, 11ths and 13ths are notes added above that, known as "extensions".
    Depending on the starting chord, some of these extensions might be altered or not used at all, but the default set comes from the major scale of the root.

    Eg.
    C7 = C E G Bb. Extensions: D (9th), F (11th, not used), A (13th) - all from the C major scale. (Bb isn't of course, but that's not regarded as an extension.)
    Cmaj7 = C E G B (B is the "major 7th", or raised 7th). Extensions as above.
    Cm7 = C Eb G Bb. Extensions as above, but the F can be used. Again, D F and A are all from the C major scale (even though Eb and Bb obviously aren't).

    When extensions are added, the chord symbol just shows the highest one added, implying (in theory) all the lower ones are included, although in practice some lower ones may be omitted - either because they sound bad, or because they don't contribute much to the sound.
    C9 = C E G Bb D
    C11 = C (E) G Bb (D) F. The E would be omitted because of a clash with F, and the D is optional. (Alternative names for this chord would be C7sus4 or C9sus4, depending on whether the D is included or not.)
    C13 = C E G Bb (D) A. The F is omitted, and the D is optional.
    (In jazz, 5ths can also be omitted. So a C13 could be reduced to C E Bb A; and if the bass plays C, the chord instrument only needs to play E Bb A.)

    Typical alterations might be as follows:
    C7#9 = C E G Bb D#.
    C7b9 = C E G Bb Db
    Cmaj7#11 = C E G B F#
    Notice the alteration is always marked with # or b, to show the deviation from the default pitches.

    You could summarise the rules of chord symbol names as:
    "All chord tones and extensions are major or perfect, except the 7th (which is minor). Deviations are shown in various ways: m, maj, #, b, dim, aug."

    C7 = C E G Bb. Major triad (major 3rd, perfect 5th) assumed; 7th is minor (10 half-steps) by default.

    Cmaj7 = C E G B. Major triad assumed. "maj" means the standard minor 7th interval is raised by a half-step.

    Cm7 = C Eb G Bb. "m" means the default major 3rd is lowered by a half-step. The 7th is standard.

    Cm(maj7) = C Eb G B. Both 3rd and 7th are altered from the defaults.

    Cdim7 = C Eb Gb Bbb. Bbb is the "diminished 7th" above C, a half-step lower than the standard minor 7th. It's always assumed this chord also has a diminished 5th (half-step less than "perfect") and minor 3rd.

    Cm7b5 = C Eb Gb Bb. Standard 7th, but 3rd and 5th are lowered (shown by "m" and "b5"). This chord is sometimes known as "half-diminished", because - in comparison with Cdim7 - it only has the one diminished interval (b5).

    Caug, or C+ = C E G#. "aug" means the 5th is raised (augmented), and it's always assumed this includes a major 3rd.

    NB: these rules are "reverse engineered" - ie, derived from looking at chord symbols and working out the underlying logic. Nobody actually sat down and drew up this list before chord symbols were employed! They're a shorthand which has evolved through "common practice". Eg, the minor 7th interval (10 half-steps) happens to be the most common kind of 7th, so it makes economic sense to just call that "7", and reserve the longer "maj7" for the rarer major 7th. That also avoids confusion with the term "min" or "m" referring to the 3rd of the chord.
    Last edited by JonR; 11-17-2013 at 11:17 AM.

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    All notes are available as tensions unless they form a minor 9th with a chord note. Exception - the b9 above the root is available on a 7 and a 7sus4.*



    *Rule of thumb. As ever with music theory the list of caveats, exceptions, ifs buts and maybes is longer than the rule.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuffink View Post
    All notes are available as tensions unless they form a minor 9th with a chord note. Exception - the b9 above the root is available on a 7 and a 7sus4.*



    *Rule of thumb. As ever with music theory the list of caveats, exceptions, ifs buts and maybes is longer than the rule.
    Good summary!

    For the OP, some additional stuff from a William Russo book on jazz arranging...

    SIX basic 7th chord types, with extensions available in practice (for functional harmony):

    1. MAJ
    Basic 7th = maj7.
    Function: I or IV in major key, III or VI in minor key
    Extensions: 9, #11, 6/13

    2. DOM
    Basic 7th = 7
    Function = V in major or minor key
    Extensions: 9, 13.
    Alterations: b9, #9, b5, #5, #11, b13 (all more common in minor keys than major) *

    3. MS (minor seventh)
    Basic 7th = m7
    Function: ii, vi or iii in major key; iv in minor key
    Extensions: 9, 11. (9 not used on iii in major; 6/13 is possible on iv in minor, but not generally used on ii in major.)

    4. MIN
    Basic 7th = m(maj7)
    Function: I in minor key
    Extensions: 9, 6/13. (11 is possible, but not generally used.)

    5. LTS (leading tone seventh)
    Basic 7th = m7b5
    Function: ii in minor key; (less often) vii in major key
    Extensions: 9, 11 (9 means locrian natural 2)

    6 DIM
    Basic 7th = dim7
    Function: vii in minor key
    Extensions: maj7, 9, 11, b13 (ie anything a whole step above a chord tone). These extensions are not generally marked in chord symbols.

    * There are two basic types of altered dominant chords: those which function as V7s, and those which don't:
    2a: functioning V7s: 7b9, 7#9, 7b5, 7#5, 9b5, 9#5, 7#5#9, 7b5b9, 7b5#9, 7#5b9. (Scales: altered, HW dim, wholetone.)
    2b: non-functioning dom7s (usually bII in minor keys, or bVII in major): 7#11, 9#11, 13#11 (lydian dominant)

    The above ignores sus chords and quartal harmony (modal chords).
    Eg, a functioning dom7 chord might often appear as a 7sus4 or 9sus4 ("11" for short), or 13sus4, or 7sus4b9.
    Sus4s are possible on any other chord apart from IV in major (VI in minor).
    Last edited by JonR; 11-19-2013 at 12:45 PM.

  8. #8
    Good posts guys! Thought I'd add some ways that these could be multiple measurements.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    1. MAJ
    Basic 7th = maj7.
    Function: I or IV in major key, III or VI in minor key
    Extensions: 9, #11, 6/13
    The #11 is really only a Tritone to the key so the only reason it would be a bright sound is if an additional measurement was happening. It could be the 7 of the 5 or the 3 of the 2, both of those numbers would account for why it's named #.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    2. DOM
    Basic 7th = 7
    Function = V in major or minor key
    Extensions: 9, 13.
    Alterations: b9, #9, b5, #5, #11, b13 (all more common in minor keys than major) *
    If extending on 5 then the b7 would also be a b3, the 9 would also be a 5 and the 13 would also be a 2.
    If extending on 2 then the 9 would also be a 1 and the 13 would also be a 5.

    As far as alterations you can see there's multiple names for the same note. So a b5 implies that the additional measurement is a negative number vs #11 implying that the additional measurement is a positive number.

    A cool practice is to alternate between extending on the b3 and extending on the 2. If extending on the b3 the Tritone of the key is also a b3, which is why it was named b5. If extending on the 2 the tritone of the key also becomes a 3, which is why it was named #11.

    Soloing over the same chord we can get two opposite sounds out of the same note by changing who our 1 is!

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    3. MS (minor seventh)
    Basic 7th = m7
    Function: ii, vi or iii in major key; iv in minor key
    Extensions: 9, 11. (9 not used on iii in major; 6/13 is possible on iv in minor, but not generally used on ii in major.)
    The 11 is not as risky on min7(as opposed to maj7)because now it could be the 5 of b7 or the 2 of b3.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    4. MIN
    Basic 7th = m(maj7)
    Function: I in minor key
    Extensions: 9, 6/13. (11 is possible, but not generally used.)
    The 11 is risky now because the 7(its tritone) came back.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    5. LTS (leading tone seventh)
    Basic 7th = m7b5
    Function: ii in minor key; (less often) vii in major key
    Extensions: 9, 11 (9 means locrian natural 2)
    The b3 is a great place to extend from.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    6 DIM
    Basic 7th = dim7
    Function: vii in minor key
    Extensions: maj7, 9, 11, b13 (ie anything a whole step above a chord tone). These extensions are not generally marked in chord symbols.
    This really is about making it as symmetric as we can and keeping things ambiguous. It can be more accurate to measure from the key or to think more in intervals instead. Which is why the whole step trick works.



    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    * There are two basic types of altered dominant chords: those which function as V7s, and those which don't:
    2a: functioning V7s: 7b9, 7#9, 7b5, 7#5, 9b5, 9#5, 7#5#9, 7b5b9, 7b5#9, 7#5b9. (Scales: altered, HW dim, wholetone.)
    2b: non-functioning dom7s (usually bII in minor keys, or bVII in major): 7#11, 9#11, 13#11 (lydian dominant)
    If bII that #11 is just 5 to the key.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Valentino View Post
    Good posts guys! Thought I'd add some ways that these could be multiple measurements.

    The #11 is really only a Tritone to the key so the only reason it would be a bright sound is if an additional measurement was happening. It could be the 7 of the 5 or the 3 of the 2, both of those numbers would account for why it's named #.
    It's named "#" simply in comparison with the standard perfect 11th, which would be assumed by a plain "11".
    As a #4, it's a tritone to the root of course (to the keynote only if it's the tonic chord ).
    (I'm only talking chord symbol language here.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Valentino View Post
    If extending on 5 then the b7 would also be a b3, the 9 would also be a 5 and the 13 would also be a 2.
    If extending on 2 then the 9 would also be a 1 and the 13 would also be a 5.
    Yes, but I'm not sure what point you're making. Extensions are based on (measured from) the chord root, although they do of course make relevant intervals with other chord tones.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Valentino View Post
    As far as alterations you can see there's multiple names for the same note. So a b5 implies that the additional measurement is a negative number vs #11 implying that the additional measurement is a positive number.
    Kind of. In practice, "#11" implies there is also a perfect 5th in the scale (and perhaps in the chord), while "b5" says there isn't.
    Hence "7b5" indicates a very different scale from "7#11".
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Valentino View Post
    A cool practice is to alternate between extending on the b3 and extending on the 2. If extending on the b3 the Tritone of the key is also a b3, which is why it was named b5. If extending on the 2 the tritone of the key also becomes a 3, which is why it was named #11.
    Don't follow. The reason it's named #11 is nothing to with any interval other than the chord root. And nothing to do with the key either.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Valentino View Post
    Soloing over the same chord we can get two opposite sounds out of the same note by changing who our 1 is!
    How so? One note sounds the same relative to the chord regardless of how we play it.
    Of course we can choose to emphasise its harmony with another chord tone. Eg, a #11 is dissonant relative to the root, but more consonant relative to the other chord tones.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Valentino View Post
    The 11 is not as risky on min7(as opposed to maj7)because now it could be the 5 of b7 or the 2 of b3.
    It's to do with the 3rd. The perfect 11th is a major 9th above a minor 3rd, which is a lot more consonant than the minor 9th it makes with a major 3rd.
    It's nothing to do with the 5th or b7; both P11 and #11 make (fairly) consonant intervals with those two. (The maj7 between 5 and #11 is the most dissonant of those 4, but still a whole lot better than a b9.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Valentino View Post
    The 11 is risky now because the 7(its tritone) came back.
    Yes, good point! I forgot that a P11 on a m(maj7) chord will make a tritone with the maj7. Good reason to avoid it, IMO.
    (Russo does allow the P11 as a possible extension on a tonic minor, and I should bow to his authority, but I think I'd avoid it myself.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Valentino View Post
    The b3 is a great place to extend from.
    Again, I think you're talking about improvisation and/or superimposed chords. I was talking simply about the theory of extensions from a root, as shown in chord symbols.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Valentino View Post
    This really is about making it as symmetric as we can and keeping things ambiguous. It can be more accurate to measure from the key or to think more in intervals instead. Which is why the whole step trick works.
    But chord extensions are not measured or assessed relative to a key, only to the chord root.
    The "whole step trick" works - with this as with other chords - because it avoids the risk of the b9 "avoid note" above any chord tone: the one essential rule nuffink laid out above (with the exceptions he mentioned).
    With a dim7 chord, it happens to underline the usefully ambiguous symmetry of the chord. (So the WH dim scale is the given chord tones plus another dim7 chord a whole step up - or half-step below.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Valentino View Post
    If bII that #11 is just 5 to the key.
    Precisely. And that's the tritone sub relationship .
    The altered scale on V is the same as the lydian dominant scale on bII; and the chords are therefore (potentially) identical except for which note is nominated as root.
    E7alt = Bb13#11. Actual chord tone choices may vary, of course, but are drawn from the same pool of notes. Both resolve to Am (most naturally), but also to Amaj.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Don't follow. The reason it's named #11 is nothing to with any interval other than the chord root. And nothing to do with the key either.
    How so? One note sounds the same relative to the chord regardless of how we play it.
    Of course we can choose to emphasise its harmony with another chord tone. Eg, a #11 is dissonant relative to the root, but more consonant relative to the other chord tones.

    Again, I think you're talking about improvisation and/or superimposed chords. I was talking simply about the theory of extensions from a root, as shown in chord symbols.
    I understand what you were talking about. It's fine to think of what I'm saying as superimposed chords. I wasn't trying say anything wrong about how the chords were labeled.

    I was only adding how I interpret those names. If I say that a A7 superimposed with a C minor arpeggio has a Darker Eb, or a A7 superimposed with a B major arpeggio you won't get mad at me right? Well I'm just putting that in numbers. I use the word extension to mean my "superimposed root".

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Valentino View Post
    I understand what you were talking about. It's fine to think of what I'm saying as superimposed chords. I wasn't trying say anything wrong about how the chords were labeled.

    I was only adding how I interpret those names. If I say that a A7 superimposed with a C minor arpeggio has a Darker Eb, or a A7 superimposed with a B major arpeggio you won't get mad at me right?
    Me? I'm just an old softie...

    I might well think in similar terms, but I'd know how that "Cm arp" was working in context. It happens to look like Cm (which is useful) but actually it's the #9, b7 and b5 of the A7 chord, which are going to resolve on to chord tones or extensions on the following D or Dm chord. That would be the reason for the Cm arp in the first place.
    Likewise, the B arp on A7 is A lydian dominant, and I would be expecting it to resolve to G#m, or maybe B major itself.
    IOW, I think of alterations in terms of where they're going, as well as extension numbers relative to the root. The appearance of some of them as superimposed chords is an additional observation that can be a useful memory aid.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Me? I'm just an old softie...

    I might well think in similar terms, but I'd know how that "Cm arp" was working in context. It happens to look like Cm (which is useful) but actually it's the #9, b7 and b5 of the A7 chord, which are going to resolve on to chord tones or extensions on the following D or Dm chord. That would be the reason for the Cm arp in the first place.
    Likewise, the B arp on A7 is A lydian dominant, and I would be expecting it to resolve to G#m, or maybe B major itself.
    IOW, I think of alterations in terms of where they're going, as well as extension numbers relative to the root. The appearance of some of them as superimposed chords is an additional observation that can be a useful memory aid.
    To me it's both measurements. Up high it's easier to hear a 3 than a tritone. Thats whay a #11 can be a Tritone to the key and a 3 to my "superimposed root". If it was just 3 and a 5( with no other strong tendencies), I'd only have a key as my measurement.

    The ear just looks for ways to find it's location. Expecting it to resolve on G#m might mean your 1 is really G#. If thats what I was hearing I'd think of that measurement also, which I think is what you're saying. Another measurement at another place in time(root) is fine, but octaves are unbreakable and always the real 1? I haven't found that to be the case.

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    Thank you very much guys, you are super cool.

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    1) Which is meant here as extensions;

    a) Cm7b5; 7b5 as an extension

    or

    b) 2nd and 4th notes of the major scale as extentions


    if b then;


    2)

    a) Extension notes are from the major scale in jazz.

    or

    b) Extension notes are not from the major scale in jazz.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by zanshin777 View Post
    1) Which is meant here as extensions;

    a) Cm7b5; 7b5 as an extension

    or

    b) 2nd and 4th notes of the major scale as extentions
    Neither is correct.

    Firstly, Cm7b5 is not technically an "extended" chord. Chord extensions are 9, 11 and 13.
    The 7th and b5 are both chord tones, although "b5" could be considered an "alteration".
    Quote Originally Posted by zanshin777 View Post

    if b then;


    2)

    a) Extension notes are from the major scale in jazz.

    or

    b) Extension notes are not from the major scale in jazz.
    Chord tones and extensions are not built from any reference scale. Chord symbol language is an economical shorthand based on the commonest chord types and extensions - so that the chords encountered most often can have the shortest symbols.
    This system happens to result in an apparent source scale resembling mixolydian mode of the root. IOW, all standard (default) chord tones and extensions form major or perfect intervals with the root, except for the 7th, which is minor.
    Eg:

    "C" = C + major 3rd + perfect 5th. Major triad tones taken for granted.
    "Cm" = C + minor 3rd + perfect 5th. "m" means lower the normal 3rd.
    "C7" = C + major 3rd + perfect 5th + minor 7th. All default intervals. Commonest type of 7th chord.
    "Cm7" = C + minor 3rd + perfect 5th + minor 7th. "m" means lower the normal 3rd; the others are all standard intervals.
    "Cmaj7" = C + major 3rd + perfect 5th + major 7th. "maj" means raise the normal (minor) 7th; all others standard.
    "Cm(maj7) = C + minor 3rd + perfect 5th + major 7th. "m" and "maj" indicate that both 3rd and 7th are altered from standard. Rarest type of 7th chord.
    "Cm7b5 = C + minor 3rd + diminished 5th + minor 7th. "m" and "b5" indicate those two intervals are lowered from standard. The 7th is normal.

    "9" = add a major 9th (to a 7th chord)
    "11" = add a perfect 11th (to a 7th chord)
    "13" = add a major 13th (to a 7th chord)

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