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Thread: augmented chords, where to use?

  1. #1
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    Question augmented chords, where to use?

    I'm just tryin to up my chord capability, not sure I understand the theory of these types of chords and where to use them, could use some help. the way I understand it is like kinda out of place in a major chord? you would have the root, third, and raised fifth? am I looking at this correctly? kinda like 2 major thirds on top of one another? i think I understand it, but where to use it is my main question.

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    Aug chords work well as the 5 chord in a minor key (Cm-G+7-Cm) and also resolves nicely to a major chord (Dm7-G+7-C6/9 ).

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    They're found naturally in the Harmonic and Melodic minor scales at the 3rd mode. When using either of these scales it can be used a minor 3rd above the root.

  4. #4
    Jazzman Poparad's Avatar
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    An augmented chord will work well in place of a V chord anywhere that there is a V to I progression, either in a major or minor key.

  5. #5
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    They can be derived from the III step of harmonic or melodic minor, as KenParkerRules says. You can find one in "Stairway to Heaven" (key of A minor): the 2nd chord of the intro is a Cmaj7#5 (G#-C-E-B). This is an example of its use as a passing chord, suggesting a chromatic bass line, which occurs in a few jazz tunes too (eg "My Funny Valentine").

    But mostly they occur as altered V chords, in minor or major keys, as Spino and Poparad say. (In these cases, they have a b7, unlike the maj7 in the harmonic minor III chord.)
    You can hear one (G7+) in the intro to Stevie Wonder's "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life" (key C major), where he plays a lick over it using the wholetone scale. (The wholetone scale is rare, but it fits an augmented dom7 very well.)

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    If the V chord is wizzing by in just a few beats and it's clear that you are fairly harmonically free on the V chord is there really a need to always find the exact scale to match the altered chord that is chosen?

    Augmented chords are something my ear has trouble wrapping around. Guess I should throw a M7#5 in band in a box and start wrapping.

  7. #7
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenParkerRules
    If the V chord is wizzing by in just a few beats and it's clear that you are fairly harmonically free on the V chord is there really a need to always find the exact scale to match the altered chord that is chosen?
    No.
    But a V chord is there for a reason (and a "few beats" might be quite a noticeable chunk of time!). You should go for the significant chord tones (3rd and/or 7th), and/or maybe any indicated alterations.
    Generally, think about where the chord is headed: use one (or more) of its notes to resolve to a chord tone on the next chord.
    But no need for a full scale - even when you do have time.

    Quote Originally Posted by KenParkerRules
    Augmented chords are something my ear has trouble wrapping around. Guess I should throw a M7#5 in band in a box and start wrapping.
    Maj7#5 - suggested scales:
    (1) 3rd mode melodic minor = lydian augmented = 1-2-3-#4-#5-6-7
    (2) Augmented scale = 1-#2-3-5-#5-7 (aug triad arpeggio, plus aug triad arp a half-step below)
    (3) 3rd mode harmonic minor = ionian augmented = 1-2-3-4-#5-6-7

    7#5 - suggested scales:
    (1) wholetone = 1-2-3-#4-#5-b7 (also fits 9#5, 7b5, 9b5)
    (2) altered = 1-b2-#2-3-#4-#5-b7 (also fits many other altered dom7s)

  8. #8
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
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    applications

    Cherokee by Ray Noble

    | Bb / / F+7 | F-7 / Bb7 / |

    In this case the F+7 chord is bing used to harmonize the chromatic line from Bb's 3rd = D down through F+7's #5th = C# to F-7's 5th = C.

    To take this specific example and extrapolate to a generality - you can use the +7 to transition from the Imaj7 to (V+7) to V-7 - which sets up a (II-7 V7) to the IVmaj7 chord.

    Blues
    It's used alot as the V+7 chord to anticipate the b3rd of the tonic. If you lean on the V+7's #5th and resolve up a half step to the 3rd of I7 you'll get a common blues sound.

    Keep in mind that a dom7b13 features many of the same notes as an aug7 and in some guitar voicings (where the 5th os oftem omitted) the distinction may be unclear between the two.

    Minor
    Although Aug7 chords are commonly used as the V+7 of a minor target, I think in that application they are probably closer to a V7b13 is actuality. Since technically a V+7 isn't diatonic to any minor key that I know of.

    cheers,

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