Welcome!
Just a few a ground rules first...

Promotion, advertising and link building is not permitted.

If you are keen to learn, get to grips with something with the willing help of one of the net's original musician forums
or possess a genuine willingness to contribute knowledge - you've come to the right place!

Register >

- Close -
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 33

Thread: Borrowed Chords

  1. #1
    Bedroom metalurgist LaughingSkull's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Slovenia
    Posts
    929

    Borrowed Chords

    Untill recently I haven't really knew what this expression means. I did encounter the concept before while studied pitch axis theory, where I had sequence of four chords in C major and four in C minor. It sounded cool, but it hadn't entered my mind to just try to mix them together.
    Now I am looking at the concept from borrowed perspective and this is the pool of chords that came up from both Cmaj and Cmin:

    Cmaj7 (Cm); Dm7 (Dm7b5); Ebmaj7; Em7; Fmaj7 (Fm7, F7); G7 (Gm7); Abmaj7; Am7; Bb7; Bm7b5 (Bdim7)

    I have taken into consideration chords from C HM and C MM as well, not just natural minor. I belive this should be correct. Please comment, if mistake has been made.

    My question is the following: is there another concept from which I can borrow chords? Is there something between Cmaj7 and Dm7 which is known to sound good? I dont mind experimenting, but I don't want to discover warm water again ....

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    252
    Certainly, you may borrow chords from each of the modes as well as from the neighboring keys.

    In C Major you may borrow from:
    C minor
    C Lydian
    C Mixolydian
    C Phrygian
    C Dorian
    C Locrian (iffy)
    G Major
    F Major
    A minor
    E minor
    D minor
    And many of their respective modes.

    You might want to look at the "Strictly Borrowed" thread in the strictly section. I and others made posts a bit more in-depth there, here is a link to the thread: http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/...=3&pp=&conly=1

    If you have other questions about borrowed chords feel free to ask, I am feeling a bit lazy and don't want to elaborate on that post without prodding at the moment

    [EDIT] I guess I will add one thing though. Instead of trying to "force" borrowed progressions, just think of them as extra options. For example, try playing both the IV and the iv in context and just go with whatever fits to you.

    Once you write out every possible option, which I'm sure you will now, and then add in possible neighboring keys you may find that you can play just about any chord. So just be free with it and play what sounds "right".
    Last edited by jessmanca; 09-21-2007 at 01:37 PM.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    252
    Quote Originally Posted by LaughingSkull
    Is there something between Cmaj7 and Dm7 which is known to sound good?
    You can use the Neopolitan chord, which is based on the b2 (borrowed from phrygian). This chord is typically played in first inversion, and it resolves to the V chord.

    Db F Ab

    It is almost always used in a minor key however. Basically the Neopolitan chord "fixes" the b5 on the iidim chord, so a VI - bII - V - i (Ab - Db - G - Cm) progression works nicely.

  4. #4
    Bedroom metalurgist LaughingSkull's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Slovenia
    Posts
    929
    Those are the chords I was searching for.
    So I can use C locrian and use inversion so Gb would be the root, harmonize and fill that space between F and G. I can't wait to fing out how this will sound.

  5. #5
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    1,409
    Quote Originally Posted by LaughingSkull
    My question is the following: is there another concept from which I can borrow chords? Is there something between Cmaj7 and Dm7 which is known to sound good? I dont mind experimenting, but I don't want to discover warm water again ....
    From my perspective borrowed chords are just alternate ways to harmonize a melody note. For instance in the key of C where there is a G in the melody over an Emin7 chord (framing the G with E B & D notes), I could use an Ebmaj7 (framing the G with Eb Bb & D notes).

    For borrowed chords to work the melody (typically unaltered) is the first consideration, then an interesting bass and/or inner line (preferable chromatic descending). Between Cmaj7 and Dmin7 is Dbmaj7 (amoung other potential choices).

    cheers,

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    252
    Quote Originally Posted by LaughingSkull
    Those are the chords I was searching for.
    So I can use C locrian and use inversion so Gb would be the root, harmonize and fill that space between F and G. I can't wait to fing out how this will sound.
    They say you often learn more from teaching than from being taught, and I think this is one of those cases. I had reckoned the b5 chord unusable, but I just realized that it can "resolve" to the Neopolitan chord for some pretty wicked harmony.

    I won't give away the progression I came up with, it's too good! thanks.

  7. #7
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Twickenham, UK
    Posts
    4,881
    Little I can add to the above, but anyway...
    Quote Originally Posted by LaughingSkull
    Untill recently I haven't really knew what this expression means. I did encounter the concept before while studied pitch axis theory, where I had sequence of four chords in C major and four in C minor. It sounded cool, but it hadn't entered my mind to just try to mix them together.
    Now I am looking at the concept from borrowed perspective and this is the pool of chords that came up from both Cmaj and Cmin:

    Cmaj7 (Cm); Dm7 (Dm7b5); Ebmaj7; Em7; Fmaj7 (Fm7, F7); G7 (Gm7); Abmaj7; Am7; Bb7; Bm7b5 (Bdim7)

    I have taken into consideration chords from C HM and C MM as well, not just natural minor. I belive this should be correct. Please comment, if mistake has been made.
    It's standard in rock music to use the borrowed majors from the parallel minor (Eb, Bb and Ab in this case) and also in some cases the minor iv (Fm). The dom7 IV is of course common in blues.
    IOW, it's more commonplace than you seem to be implying (way beyond the pitch axis concept). It goes back at least to the 1960s. (In fact, Carl Perkins's "Honey Don't", from the 1950s, used a C chord in key of E major. Stax soul tunes used bIIIs and bVIIs, and the Beatles liked bVIs and minor ivs.)
    In rock, parallel borrowing is almost always about making the major key darker, funkier or bluesier. (Using chords that emphasise the b3 and b7 in particular, the b6 slightly less often - and the b2 in more extreme cases, for those with phrygian tastes. The b5 note is common in blues of course, but rarely extends to building a chord on it.)

    But rock, of course, rarely uses 7ths of any kind (outside dom7s) , so I guess - with the above examples - you're talking jazz... - in which this kind of borrowing is not that common.
    Quote Originally Posted by LaughingSkull
    My question is the following: is there another concept from which I can borrow chords? Is there something between Cmaj7 and Dm7 which is known to sound good? I dont mind experimenting, but I don't want to discover warm water again ....
    The tritone sub is perhaps the most common. That means using a Db7 in place of G7 (to resolve to C). This is not strictly a "borrowing", however - unless you stretch the definition beyond reason. (As a lydian dominant chord, it's the IV chord of Ab melodic minor, which is the parallel minor of the bVI of C minor... )
    In fact, Db7 works because of its affinity with G7 (sharing the 3rd and 7th tritone). It does the same job - resolving to C or Cm.
    Dbmaj7 does occur in key of C (again to resolve to the tonic), which could be seen as borrowed from C phrygian, or even C locrian. But I'm not sure how helpful that is in understanding the way it's normally used. (It isn't normally used in combination with other borrowed chords.)

    As Jed says, the real guide here (to using non-diatonic chords, "borrowed" or not) is (a) harmonising the melody in new or interesting ways, and (b) forming chromatic voice-leading lines, either in the bass or inner voices. This practice is extremely common in jazz, but doesn't generally (IMO) represent borrowing from parallel tonalities.
    (Er, so maybe that's a little off topic... )

  8. #8
    Bedroom metalurgist LaughingSkull's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Slovenia
    Posts
    929
    Quote Originally Posted by jessmanca
    They say you often learn more from teaching than from being taught, and I think this is one of those cases. I had reckoned the b5 chord unusable, but I just realized that it can "resolve" to the Neopolitan chord for some pretty wicked harmony.

    I won't give away the progression I came up with, it's too good! thanks.
    Glad to be of service.
    So chord that comes of thih harmonization upon b5 is Gbm or GbmMaj7. Cool.

  9. #9
    Bedroom metalurgist LaughingSkull's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Slovenia
    Posts
    929
    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    Little I can add to the above, but anyway...
    . Quite an understatement, Jon. It's a great answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    But rock, of course, rarely uses 7ths of any kind (outside dom7s) , so I guess - with the above examples - you're talking jazz... - in which this kind of borrowing is not that common....
    My music has a heart of metal, sould of jazz and attitude of rock. ()
    I had learned theory from a jazz viewpoint, and it shows in my thinking, 80% of 7ths (and a alternations), 20% (or less in triads).

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    This is not strictly a "borrowing", however - unless you stretch the definition beyond reason. (As a lydian dominant chord, it's the IV chord of Ab melodic minor, which is the parallel minor of the bVI of C minor... )....
    That is just great. Hillarious explanation.

    OK Jon, Jed, jessmanca, thank you. I feel enlightened. My playground has just expanded. As Always, I will try to strech the concept for what is worth and see whre would I land. I will internalize heaps of theory in the process and actually have fun.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    50
    Quote Originally Posted by LaughingSkull
    My question is the following: is there another concept from which I can borrow chords? Is there something between Cmaj7 and Dm7 which is known to sound good? I dont mind experimenting, but I don't want to discover warm water again ....

    I'm not a teacher, an don't know if this has aready been shown, and may not even be practical normally, but:
    Combine
    Cmaj7 + Dm7 is in C major
    Cmaj7 + Dm7b5 is in C harmonic major
    Dm7 + Dm7b5 is in A harmonic minor

    but there is no single 7 tone scale that I know of that has all three chords:
    Cmaj7 + Dm7 + Dm7b5
    although they sound good together

    This seems to be true for any chord that can be combined with both the Cmaj7 or the Dm7 to result in (or be part of) two different scales. But I don't remember where this came from, or if it belongs in the theory, so that's my question.

  11. #11
    Bedroom metalurgist LaughingSkull's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Slovenia
    Posts
    929
    Quote Originally Posted by dublshot
    Cmaj7 + Dm7 is in C major
    Cmaj7 + Dm7b5 is in C harmonic major
    Dm7 + Dm7b5 is in A harmonic minor

    but there is no single 7 tone scale that I know of that has all three chords:
    Cmaj7 + Dm7 + Dm7b5
    although they sound good together
    I think you missunderstod me (or I missuderstood you):
    Cmaj7 and Dm7 are native to Cmaj, Dm7b5 is borrowed from C harm.minor. I was curious what can I borrow to sound good between, and the pool which I am going to experiment from with is:

    Cmaj7 (Cm) Dbmaj7 (Db7) Dm7 (Dm7b5) Ebmaj7 Em7 Fmaj7 (Fm7, F7) GbmMaj7 G7 (Gm7) Abmaj7 Am7 Bb7 Bm7b5 (Bdim7)

    Naturally one may ask, why not borrowing from everyhwere indiscriminately?
    I did that and will more in the future, but this (borrowing) is another aspect of theory which helps understand things better ...

  12. #12
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Twickenham, UK
    Posts
    4,881
    Quote Originally Posted by LaughingSkull
    I think you missunderstod me (or I missuderstood you):
    Cmaj7 and Dm7 are native to Cmaj, Dm7b5 is borrowed from C harm.minor. I was curious what can I borrow to sound good between, and the pool which I am going to experiment from with is:

    Cmaj7 (Cm) Dbmaj7 (Db7) Dm7 (Dm7b5) Ebmaj7 Em7 Fmaj7 (Fm7, F7) GbmMaj7 G7 (Gm7) Abmaj7 Am7 Bb7 Bm7b5 (Bdim7)

    Naturally one may ask, why not borrowing from everyhwere indiscriminately?
    I did that and will more in the future, but this (borrowing) is another aspect of theory which helps understand things better ...
    That's all good, but to repeat what I said above (and what I think Jed said) don't lose sight of the voice-leading issue.
    It can be cool to use chords from a borrowed tonality to add an unusual flavour here and there (eg the minor iv chord is a good example of this) but, typically, "foreign" chords make the best sense if they offer a nice link between neighbouring pairs of chords.

    Eg here's a little sequence I often fool around with:
    Cmaj7 - C#m7b5 - Dm7 - Db7 (or Dbmaj7) - Cmaj7.

    ------------------------------------------------
    --5----5----6----6---------5----------------------
    --4----4----5----4(or 5?)--4----------------------
    --5----5----7----6---------5----------------------
    --3----4----5----4---------3----------------------
    ------------------------------------------------

    You can interpret Dbmaj7 as borrowed from C phrygian, but C#m7b5 is not an obvious borrowing.
    In fact, both chords are there as chromatic passing chords, offering nice transitions between the 2 diatonic ones. But crucially they don't work as well the other way round. (You need to play it to appreciate this.)
    How much does it help us to say Dbmaj7 is "borrowed from C phrygian"? Not at all, IMO. Whether I choose that chord or Db7 depends on how I feel about the inner voice movement, or whether I prefer the "funky" Db7 to the more "mellow" Dbmaj7.

    I'm not saying that the borrowing concept can't open up other ways of thinking. At least it can give a supposed theoretical basis to changes one might otherwise think of as "wrong" .

    The point is that there are TWO things going on here:
    (1) Key centre, and variations in the implied tonality around that centre. This is the modal (or parallel) borrowing aspect, as exemplified by the pitch axis concept. Borrowed chords don't need to lead to one another, they just need to cast a different light on the tonality. (Eg try alternating a Cmaj7 and Fm chord.)
    (2) Chord progression and voice-leading. Because diatonic sequences often sound a bit bland, it's common to use chromatic chords to spice things up, provide more urgent forward movement, or more surprising transitions.

    Sometimes, it's hard to discern which of these applies. Suppose we alternate Cmaj7 with Cm7b5. Is Cm7b5 "borrowed from C locrian"? Or is just a chromatic alteration of Cmaj7, to provide an unusual tension?

    Or suppose we alternate Cmaj7 with Dmaj7 or Ebmaj7? We can say Dmaj7 is "borrowed from C lydian", or Ebmaj7 is "borrowed from C aeolian". But soundwise, the effect is of a switch of key centre, or a disturbance of the key centre. Certainly we can't be sure the keynote is still C.

    As always, the point of the theory is to help us make sense of what's happening. At least, to give names to the sounds. But the sounds are often ambiguous, or far more complicated than a single theoretical concept.

    Maybe a theoretical concept (as here) helps us find new sounds, that we might not consider otherwise. But then those new sounds may lead us into other territory, where that initial concept is of little use.
    IMO, when it comes to chords - chord sequences in particular - it always comes back to the transitions from chord to chord: the simultaneous melodies formed by the individual chord tones.
    A chord sequence is rarely just a set of pretty colours, of isolated sonorities - even if that's the way we intend it in the first place. It's more like a machine, where each chord is a cog, with a linking job to do - or perhaps a circuit board of matched components. Any chord can be replaced, but we will expect the new one to work in context; perhaps in a different way, but at least it mustn't jam the machine, or blow a fuse!


    BTW, which parallel tonality does Gbm(maj7) come from? I can only think of 7th mode of Db harmonic major....(? = C locrian dim7 ).
    (Not that it isn't a cool chord, mind you... )
    Last edited by JonR; 09-25-2007 at 07:14 PM.

  13. #13
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Twickenham, UK
    Posts
    4,881
    Quote Originally Posted by dublshot
    I'm not a teacher, an don't know if this has aready been shown, and may not even be practical normally, but:
    Combine
    Cmaj7 + Dm7 is in C major
    Cmaj7 + Dm7b5 is in C harmonic major
    Dm7 + Dm7b5 is in A harmonic minor

    but there is no single 7 tone scale that I know of that has all three chords:
    Cmaj7 + Dm7 + Dm7b5
    although they sound good together

    This seems to be true for any chord that can be combined with both the Cmaj7 or the Dm7 to result in (or be part of) two different scales. But I don't remember where this came from, or if it belongs in the theory, so that's my question.
    Strictly speaking Dm7b5 doesn't come from A harmonic minor - that has a G#, not an Ab. Enharmonics make little difference in practice in this kind of thing, but it's truer (and simpler) to say Dm7b5 comes from C minor, if you want to think in borrowing terms. No need to pair chords (see below *).

    And in fact, that's the clue. Dm7b5 works in the key of C major because it comes from C minor - the most natural parallel tonality, where we borrow most of our chords from.
    But there are other ways of looking at it.

    Eg, it's quite common in jazz to see this sequence: Dm7b5-G7b9-Cmaj7. That's a ii-V from the C minor key resolving to a C major tonic. The idea of borrowing makes sense there, and applies to both preceding chords.

    But you might also use Dm7b5 as a transition chord between Dm7 and G7 (the usual C major key ii-V). In that case, it works because you are just introducing a passing chromatic note (Ab) to link A and G. No need to mention borrowing, which doesn't really explain why the chord is there.


    * IOW, in relation to Dm7, Dm7b5 represents an alteration, not a chord that shares the same scale.
    When improvising over Dm7b5, you wouldn't use the A harmonic minor scale. (Because Dm7b5 is not used in the key of A minor, at least I've never seen it there.) You'd use C minor (Eb major), C harmonic minor, or - if you were an advanced jazzer - F melodic minor (D locrian natural 2).

  14. #14
    Bedroom metalurgist LaughingSkull's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Slovenia
    Posts
    929
    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    That's all good, but to repeat what I said above (and what I think Jed said) don't lose sight of the voice-leading issue.
    Repeating is good for memorizing . Considering that I hadn't had time yet to try those concepts in my evening session with guitar in my hand, I think I understood it

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    Sometimes, it's hard to discern which of these applies. Suppose we alternate Cmaj7 with Cm7b5. Is Cm7b5 "borrowed from C locrian"? Or is just a chromatic alteration of Cmaj7, to provide an unusual tension?
    I know it doesn't matter how it is called, as long as it serves music as you wanted it to. What I had in mind to do with "borrowing" you said here:

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    Maybe a theoretical concept (as here) helps us find new sounds, that we might not consider otherwise. But then those new sounds may lead us into other territory, where that initial concept is of little use.
    I experimented with modal sequences, with chords for which I haven't recognized that they were related (which doesn't mean the weren't ). I think that borrowing from parallel modes will give me more focus (playing from the lesser pool of options) and perhaps glue together experience, which I got from pitch axis and combining seemingly unrelated chords. I believe I am getting a new, better perspective on things. So when I start another round of reviewing of music theory, things will fall even deeper into place (or I might lose it altogether). I hope that this made some sense.


    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    BTW, which parallel tonality does Gbm(maj7) come from? I can only think of 7th mode of Db harmonic major....(? = C locrian dim7 ).
    (Not that it isn't a cool chord, mind you... )
    That was a blunder. I thought like this: I need chord with Gb as a root. Gb is b5 to C, So I try C locrian: C Db EB F Gb Ab Bb.
    I harmonize it from Gb : Gb Bb Db F which makes is Gbmaj7. Sorry for the mistake. Should have seen that I cannot get minMaj7 chord from a mode of a major scale.

  15. #15
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    1,409
    That's all good, but to repeat what I said above (and what I think Jed said) don't lose sight of the voice-leading issue.
    Quite right, and exactly what I meant but presented more clearly by you.

    Knowing the particular mode / scale / key from which something is borrowed is not nearly as useful as knowing various ways to transition from one chord to another. For some the theory can open the door to various possibilities and used this way I don't see a problem. But more often than not people see a specific case and attempt to use theory to draw general conclusions that are often less useful and / or less accurate.

    I love the sound of borrowed chords / reharm's but their effective use requires care and a measure of restraint to be effective. It is as you said, it's the music that matters. There is centainly no compose-by-the-numbers solution.

    cheers,

Similar Threads

  1. The Topic is...Chords
    By Bongo Boy in forum Getting Started
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 12-25-2007, 07:12 PM
  2. Why does so much acoustic music use open chords?
    By marrkus in forum Music Theory
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 01-30-2007, 11:03 PM
  3. How many key changes (modulating) during a song is too much? (Breaking out of 1 key)
    By stikygum in forum Composition, Arranging & Analysis
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 01-10-2007, 04:26 AM
  4. Tonicization not secondary dominant chord
    By brent in forum Music Theory
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 10-31-2006, 05:48 PM
  5. Barre Chords
    By swebber-SG in forum Getting Started
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-21-2004, 11:51 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •