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Thread: Frustrated.. dazed and confused..

  1. #1
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    Frustrated.. dazed and confused..

    Hey.. arright.. i TRIED finding this out myself but to no avail..

    Its prolly a basic theory question.. I saw an article in GP sometime.. and it said.. 'We're gonna be playin in the key of G etc etc' then right after.. the guy mentions a chord.. Cmaj7#5 or somethin similar.. somethin that is not built on the notes of a Gmaj scale..

    I simply DONT understand this.. What are the guidelines n all for this sorta thing..

    If i can play a Cmaj7#5 in the key of G and still have it sound fine.. or w/e its sposed to mean.. then wuts the point of keys at all? why not just play a Cdim..

    I'm just really frustrated.. if someone could offer me some insight on this.. I would REALLY appreciate it thanks..

  2. #2
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    the purpose of having keys is that they give us a harmonic foundation that we naturally hear in.

    One way to make music interesting is to take it away from what we are used to hearing. I'm sure you'd agree that CMaj7 is in the key of G. Now if you wanted to get a little "outside" then one way of going about it is to alter something and not make it in the key of G. A common way of doing this is to alter the 5th, in this case making it a #5. Making it flat would still be in the key of G. Different techniques like these kind of have to be learned as they come to you, as in what is used most often. Some of these kind of things are very common, others not so much. You mentioned Cdim. Well one not so common convention of pulling something out of the key is to take the chords function (Maj7) as just a suggestion. That way if you are improvising you could play over a multiple of different 'C ish' possibilities.

    have fun.

  3. #3
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    I rationalize it this way.
    C is a chord in the key of G -- OK no problem....
    Now if we take the C chord and start extending it with that maj7, or just 7 (C7) or perhaps Cadd9 it still is just a C chord that has some extensions hooked to it.

    Jazz is great about hooking things on to chords. I rationalize it by saying to myself, "OK, the song writer did not like the raw sound of the C chord, so he made it a dominant 7th (C7). But, did not like that so he made it a Cmaj7 chord and he liked that but, it still was not the sound he was looking for so he augmented the 5th. And that sounded just right". Now it's still a C chord in the key of G --- with a bunch of stuff hooked on it. So when we analize the progression to find what key everything fits into we have to discount (ignore) all the extensions that have been hooked on the chord. That is the first thing I do when analizing a jazz chord progression to find what key ---- cross out all the extensions and get everything back to the basic chords -- pay attention to the iii or III chord and the viidim or iidim chord but beyond that cross out all the extensions -- then see what key everything fits into.

    That's how I look at it.........
    Last edited by Malcolm; 10-07-2006 at 04:33 AM.

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    well.. i understand that youd have to learn them.. but.. how should i do that then?

    i mean.. there must be some sort of guideline or somethin.. cuz if i play a G#maj and play in the key of G.. it doesnt make any sense..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm
    I rationalize it this way.
    C is a chord in the key of G -- OK no problem....
    Now if we take the C chord and start extending it with that maj7, or just 7 (C7) or perhaps Cadd9 it still is just a C chord that has some extensions hooked to it.

    Jazz is great about hooking things on to chords. I rationalize it by saying to myself, "OK, the song writer did not like the raw sound of the C chord, so he made it a dominant 7th (C7). But, did not like that so he made it a Cmaj7 chord and he liked that but, it still was not the sound he was looking for so he augmented the 5th. And that sounded just right". Now it's still a C chord in the key of G --- with a bunch of stuff hooked on it. So when we analize the progression to find what key everything fits into we have to discount (ignore) all the extensions that have been hooked on the chord.

    That's how I look at it.........

    actually.. that makes sense in my head.. a lott..

    but besides that.. i mean.. are there guidelines?

    such as.. spose i wanted to solo in G.. can i play a Cmaj7#9#11 and itll sound.. right? or even a little sensible?

  6. #6
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    spose i wanted to solo in G.. can i play a Cmaj7#9#11 and itll sound.. right? or even a little sensible
    Yes you can, if you have enough fingers to accomplish that. And it will still be a C chord in the key of G. As to it sounding right... that depends...

    You need to have a handy dandy chart you can use as a reference. I'd suggest you make yourself a Major scale chart, a minor scale chart, a Major key chart and a minor key chart and frame them or put them in a three ring binder. Mine is framed and I refer to it all the time. It's right here by the computer.

    That way you know what is correct. That way you know that the writer has ventured out of scale ---- so look ahead and see if he comes back into scale -- I bet he will. Music is art and does not follow the "rules" all the time. If a chromatic run takes you out of scale but sounds great who is to say you can not do that? I know it's flustrating right now --- Check your E-Mail I just sent some charts to you.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 10-07-2006 at 05:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by battleguard
    well.. i understand that youd have to learn them.. but.. how should i do that then?

    i mean.. there must be some sort of guideline or somethin.. cuz if i play a G#maj and play in the key of G.. it doesnt make any sense..
    Well just start one step at a time. Are you comfortable adding any extension to any chord within a given key? Like if you were to take CMaj out of the key of G would you be comfortable adding a major 6, or 7th, or a 9th or a #11 or a 13 or any combination of those? I used this example because every extension works by just continuing to build in 3rds. It doesn't work with the I chord because a regular 11th will clash. The general rule is if it's a semi tone above a chord tone it's an avoid note. So you have your triad, then your 7th, then 9th etc etc. Now once you are able to do that on the spot with every chord in the key you can start looking for other notes to add. The first out of key note on any major chord regardless of function you would encounter is probably a #11. The #11 isn't found on a I chord in the major scale, but it is found on the I chord in the lydian scale. So if you want to be technical about it, you are borrowing that chord from the lydian scale. But that doesn't really matter all that much because it is so widely used. If you play music that uses it all the time (jazz) all you really have to know is that it's possible and play it enough that your ears get used to it. From that point on, for major chords the next one is the #5, borrowed from the 3rd mode of the melodic minor scale. but who cares where it's borrowed from. Just start using it and after a few hundred times your ears will get used to it and start hearing it as an acceptable sound.

    Learning the theory behind all this isn't all that hard if you really want to know it. It's just memorization. The hard part is playing it enough that you become comfortable with it and are able to put it into situations where you can tell it wont clash with everything. That's just experience and no amount of theory is going to help you there. The next extension used on a major chord after #5 is probably #9, but the further out you go the more careful you have to be. So before you start adding Major 3rds to minor chords and Major 7ths to dominants, I would suggest getting the diatonic stuff down cold. Then, if you are really interested in this stuff, start learning as many jazz tunes as possible and see what ones you come across. If you learn enough tunes things will start making sense on their own because you will see what the common conventions are. Common conventions are what leads to theory, not the other way around. Theory is what people write about after it's been done so many times that people need to find a way to justify what's going on. So, to give you a head start I'd say the most common conventions are alterations (b9, #9, b5, #5) on dominant chords, #11's on Major chords, Maj 9ths on m7b5 chords and #5's on major and minor chords.

    good luck
    Last edited by silent-storm; 10-07-2006 at 11:08 AM.

  8. #8
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    Why did no one mention that notes outside a scale can function as passing notes? I mean if you have that C7#5 and then an d7, the tension would be resolved or am I wrong?
    So I would like to know the chord that follows the C75#

  9. #9
    Ibreathe Follower Kinoble's Avatar
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    Perhaps it was Cmaj7#11, the 'lydian' chord that is built on the fourth degree of G major scale.

    Unless it was a lesson on chord 'substitution', it would probably just confuse alot of the readers.

    Ben
    Last edited by Kinoble; 10-07-2006 at 01:49 PM.

  10. #10
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by battleguard
    Hey.. arright.. i TRIED finding this out myself but to no avail..

    Its prolly a basic theory question.. I saw an article in GP sometime.. and it said.. 'We're gonna be playin in the key of G etc etc' then right after.. the guy mentions a chord.. Cmaj7#5 or somethin similar.. somethin that is not built on the notes of a Gmaj scale..

    I simply DONT understand this.. What are the guidelines n all for this sorta thing..

    If i can play a Cmaj7#5 in the key of G and still have it sound fine.. or w/e its sposed to mean.. then wuts the point of keys at all? why not just play a Cdim..

    I'm just really frustrated.. if someone could offer me some insight on this.. I would REALLY appreciate it thanks..
    As silent-storm says, the key is simply a foundation.
    The idea that we only use 7 notes in a key is a basic guideline: somewhere safe to start from. If we do that, we have a sense of tonal centre: in the key of G, a G note and a G chord will "sound like home". Whatever other chords we play, they'll all eventually "want" to come back to G. This is something we can hear. In the do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do sequence, if we end anywhere other than "do", it won't sound like we've finished.

    But this "pull" to the tonic is so strong that we can make things interesting by teasing our expectations. We can move out of key now and then, to add colour or drama. We can set up "progressions" that draw the ear away from the tonal centre, temporarily. But they'll likely come back eventually - because we want them to.
    Even when a song changes key completely in a middle section (which is extremely common), it usually reverts to the original key afterwards. But some songs don't even do this; they end in a different key from where they began. However, that new key will usually just be a transposition of the original key - IOW, the old chord sequence in a new key. Otherwise, it will sound like a different song.

    A Cmaj7#5 chord would be pretty unusual in key of G, but the question to ask is - where is it going? What's the next chord?
    Every chord has a job to do, that's the point. It doesn't just sit there and sound cool on its own. (Well, some do, but most don't.)
    A chord progression is like a machine with moving parts. Each part links to the previous one and the next one. The ultimate goal of a chord sequence is the tonic chord (G in key of G), but it can go on some interesting journeys on its way there.
    So that #5 note (G#) is probably on its way somewhere. A chromaticism like that is almost always a passing note to a diatonic note (a note within the key).
    I'd guess the next chord could be Am. Or if the previous chord was Am, perhaps the next chord is C. The G# would then be a transition between G and A, in either direction.

    The idea is that the key scale (G major) is still the main set of notes. They rule. But we can use other notes in passing between them, and we may (therefore) use passing chords that contain those other notes.

    The only real rule is "does it sound good?" Generally, sticking to a key scale "sounds good" (it's right, it fits together) - but it can also sound dull. Chromatic notes spice things up.
    Of course that's not always good in itself. This is why key rules exist. Key is primary. Chromatic notes are secondary.

  11. #11
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    SWEET.. now it all fits together in my head..

    so.. I can 'safely' play in G.. but theres other stuff out there.. extensions n all.. that i can explore..

    I get it..

    Thanks everyone

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