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Thread: Turnaround Construction

  1. #1
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Turnaround Construction

    Once again, from The Complete Guitarist...I have the following:

    The term turnaround applies to chordal movements [is that the same as a chord progression? BB] that start from one chord and turn around through a series of variations before returning to the beginning. These are normally based around the use of V-I movements at the end of a sequence. Develop a two-bar turnaround in stages. Play the chord sequence CM7, Am7, Dm7, G7 and CM7. Convert all the chords to dom 7ths or 9ths. Now link the four chords with a series of bass notes. This creates a bass line with a note on every beat, running C-Bb-A-Db-D-Ab-G-B. The last note B leads back to C at the beginning of the two-bar sequence. Try flat fifth substitution on the turnaround. Move from C9 to Eb9 (the flat fifth of A7), and from D9 to Db9 (the flat fifth of G7).
    1. Can you suggest why we want to convert the chords to dom 7ths or 9ths?

    2. Can you suggest why Dm7 was converted to D9 instead of D7? I couldn't find a problem with D7 (in terms of avoids, tritones, etc).

    3. Can you explain what he means in the last quoted sentence above? I understand that Eb would be the flatted 5th of A7--I DON"T understand what "Eb9 is the flat fifth of A7" means, nor why I'd choose Eb9 to sub for A7.

    I can't find anything else in the book that would answer these questions. If I should just read a few chapters on chord substitution, so be it--will that answer all these questions?

    Did I mention I hate this book?
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  2. #2
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Tritone substitution

    Tritone substitution is where you replace a Dom7 (9,11,13) chord with another Dom 7 (9,11,13) a tritone apart. The tritone is exactly half of an octave 6 half step or three whole steps. The dom7 chord contains a tritone interval between the 3rd and the 7th (B and F in G7) now by replacing it with another chord a tritone away, that same tritone interval remains (F and B in Db7). Because the tritone is the strong active interval in this chord the same musical context can be used over either of these chords.

    So in your example the Eb7 is a tritone sub for A7 which is the turnaround sub for Am7. Get it?
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  3. #3
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Yes I get it...but NOT the connection to b5 or the author's use of the terminology (i.e., one chord 'being the b5th' of another). But let me play with a few examples.

    I may be having trouble because the author is British--I love the British, of course, but it seems they have a lot of trouble with English.
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  4. #4
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    The tritone interval is a b5!
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  5. #5
    just some dude nateman's Avatar
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    Re: Turnaround Construction

    Originally posted by Bongo Boy
    1. Can you suggest why we want to convert the chords to dom 7ths or 9ths?
    dunno.

    2. Can you suggest why Dm7 was converted to D9 instead of D7? I couldn't find a problem with D7 (in terms of avoids, tritones, etc).
    because the author said you could use either, and D9 is probably the one that he likes. my guess is that there aren't any particular rules to choosing one over the other...just which ever one sounds right in context or is easier to play.

    3. Can you explain what he means in the last quoted sentence above? I understand that Eb would be the flatted 5th of A7--I DON"T understand what "Eb9 is the flat fifth of A7" means, nor why I'd choose Eb9 to sub for A7.
    to expand a bit on szulc's responses, the author is using "tritone" and "flat fifth" interchangeably. the statement in question is a shorthand way of saying "Eb9 is a chord whose root, Eb, is a tritone away from the root of A7." and again, i think either Eb7 or Eb9 would work, because they both contain the same tritone interval as A7, as szulc mentioned. the author just chose Eb9 for reasons unstated.

    Did I mention I hate this book?
    i've never looked at it, but i think i'd hate it, too. this is one of those "if you know what he's talking about, you know what he's talking about" things that makes me hate music so much. a lot of people have known music theory concepts for so long that they don't realize which fundamental concepts need to be spelled in order to get the big picture across.

  6. #6
    just some dude nateman's Avatar
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    Re: Re: Turnaround Construction

    Originally posted by nateman

    dunno.
    just as i posted this, i had me a little thought. by converting everything to dom 7ths or 9th, you are making the chords uniform: all of them are now based on 1, 3, 5, b7(, 9)...no minor thirds or major sevenths. the chords are no longer strictly diatonic (converting Am7 to A7 pulls in C#, which is not in the C-major scale), but i'd guess this is what creates the distinctive sound of a turnaround and what frees you up to do the tritone substitutions...seems like it lets you do sort of a "chromatic run" with complete chords. or i could be full of it.

  7. #7
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    The next level of complexity would be to alter the 9th chords so you have even more improvisational choices. This is the reason for the 9ths. When you improvise over an Altered chord you have nearly unlimited possibilities (WT, Dimished Scale, Melodic minor in 3 or 4 places, Arpeggio cycles .........)
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Szulc's Site

  8. #8
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    You guys freak me out. If I didn't know in my heart that most of this has jack squat to do with making great music, I'd totally give up on music altogether.
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  9. #9
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    Hi Bongo Boy,

    Let me see if I can answer your questions:

    1. Can you suggest why we want to convert the chords to dom 7ths or 9ths?

    The Author is simply "Embellishing" the Dom 7th chord i.e. "adding an extension" you can do this as long as you don't cahnge the quality(type) of the chord.In other words the chord still functions as a dominant.

    2. Can you suggest why Dm7 was converted to D9 instead of D7? I couldn't find a problem with D7 (in terms of avoids, tritones, etc).

    Same answer as the previous question.

    3. Can you explain what he means in the last quoted sentence above? I understand that Eb would be the flatted 5th of A7--I DON"T understand what "Eb9 is the flat fifth of A7" means, nor why I'd choose Eb9 to sub for A7.

    Because they function the same way for the reasons szulc mentioned (see szulc's reply) and because it creates a chromatic bass line (szulc covered this as well,i believe ?)
    Some days I seem to do OK. Other days I feel like just shoving an M-80 right up my guitar's butt.

  10. #10
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    Check it out Bongo,

    a ii V I in the key of C would Dm G7 CM7 right ?

    Now substitute Db7 (Tritone sub a b5 away from G7) for your G7 and your ii V I now becomes Dm Db7 C (notice the descending chromatic bass line ?)

    This is just used for variation because it functions the same way as a regular V7 chord.It's an alternative to the normal way of playing a ii V I so you're not always playing the same thing.

    Make sense ?
    Some days I seem to do OK. Other days I feel like just shoving an M-80 right up my guitar's butt.

  11. #11
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    P.S. I should have named my last post Tritone Sub just to be clearer
    Some days I seem to do OK. Other days I feel like just shoving an M-80 right up my guitar's butt.

  12. #12
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    It is common to use the term 'B5th Substitution' to mean 'Tritone Sub'. They mean the same thing.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Szulc's Site

  13. #13
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    Also in my example above the I chord should have just been a regular C Maj. chord not a C Maj 7 (although it could be).But I should have been consistent as the rest of my post I refer to it as C Maj not C Maj 7 (it was late)

    so this :

    a ii V I in the key of C would Dm G7 CM7 right ?

    should be this:

    a ii V I in the key of C would be Dm G7 C

    Sorry for the confusion.
    Some days I seem to do OK. Other days I feel like just shoving an M-80 right up my guitar's butt.

  14. #14
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Originally posted by szulc
    It is common to use the term 'B5th Substitution' to mean 'Tritone Sub'. They mean the same thing.
    .as I have just learned in a most painful way!
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by Bongo Boy
    You guys freak me out. If I didn't know in my heart that most of this has jack squat to do with making great music, I'd totally give up on music altogether.
    Ok, I was left behind when you posted your first post in this thread.
    I read all these posts with great interest.
    Now I'm confused as to why you'd say this has jack squat to do with music.
    Can you explain what you mean? I'm not disagreeing, I just don't know.
    Is this not used all that much or just something to know and flaunt about?

    I usually copys some of the posts and then work out what was said later. Am I wasting my time on this thread?

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