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Thread: Melody over Chord Progression Problems

  1. #1
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Melody over Chord Progression Problems

    For this thread I'm modeling Autumn Leaves as a 4-section tune as follows:

    Section 1: An 8-bar ii-V-I progression in C ma
    Section 2: A second nearly identical ii-V-I in C ma
    Section 3: An 8-bar ii-V-I in A mi (relative to C)
    Section 4: A 2nd, nearly identical ii-Vi-I in A mi

    I simply took an example of a 'standard' 32-bar jazz progression out of a book, then bounced it against my Autumn Leaves melody in C. It seems mostly okay, except for the following problems.

    1. Sect 1 bar 8 is an A7, but the melody contains a C natural
    2. Sect 2 bar 6 is an E7, but the melody contains a C natural
    3. Sect 2 bar 8 is an Am7, but melody has a G#
    4. Sect 3 bar 2 is an E7, but melody has A natural
    5. Sect 3 bar 4 is an A7, but melody has C natural (see 1. above)
    6. Sect 4 bar 2 is E7, but melody has F natural
    7. Sect 4 bar 3 has a G#7, melody has E natural
    8. Sect 4 bar 4 has an F#7, melody has an A natural

    Item 3 seems fixable by sub'ing an Amb7
    Item 4 seems fixable by sub'ing an E7sus.

    But I guess what I'd like to know is how to approach this methodically. It doesn't seem reasonable that I really want to eliminate all discordance, and I may be assuming that any two notes a half-step apart are going to sound horrible. I just cant find any way to stay within the progression and still resolve all the items above.

    Maybe my first and biggest problem is not understanding the logic behind tension and resolution from chord to chord when you have one chord per bar--in other words, in a tune structured this way, what is the likely overall pattern of resting, mildly active and very active throughout the piece?

    I now feel I'm rambling--do these questions make sense?
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 01-08-2003 at 12:51 AM.
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  2. #2
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    What is the actual progression you are using here?
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Szulc's Site

  3. #3
    i Breathe ... Admin Guni's Avatar
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    This is quite an interesting concept :-). Superimposing an existing melody of a Standard over an existing chord progression of another Standard. hehe, I wanna hear the result!

    So what's the second tune?

    One option to solve the problems might be chord tones.
    eg:
    1. A7 - change the C to C#
    2. E7 - change the C to B
    3. Am7 - change the G# to A
    etc....

    Ya can already see that by shifting a note up or down by a half step it will always work. This is also 'some kind of a rule' for improvisation:

    "Wen ya hit a wrong note, first play it again, then resolve it up or down by a half step"

    Guni

  4. #4
    Chicks dig me Danster's Avatar
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    Re: Melody over Chord Progression Problems

    Originally posted by Bongo Boy
    Autumn Leaves ...
    Personally, I think ya oughta enroll in graduate school, and do yer thesis on Autumn Leaves.
    Sheesh, I wish I had half the patience you have.
    Peace

  5. #5
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Section 1: An 8-bar ii-V-I progression in C ma
    1. Sect 1 bar 8 is an A7, but the melody contains a C natural
    How does A7 fit into a ii V I in C maj?
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Szulc's Site

  6. #6
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Originally posted by szulc
    How does A7 fit into a ii V I in C maj?
    That's really the essence of my question. My guitar book says, "Here is a standard 32-bar ii-V-I jazz progression in C maj." Since I've taken Autumn Leaves and transposed it to C maj, my first assumption is that the progression provided in the book would work well.

    Then, I inspected more carefully because it didn't sound so good. Now, it didn't sound too good for the reasons I've already cited (see the Infamous Autumn Leaves Thread) at:

    http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/...st5854post5854

    What is the actual progression you are using here?
    It's exactly what you'd expect a ii-Vi-I in C to be--with the 8 exceptions that I listed above.

    So...the question is, since A7 doesn't work, do I simply modify it so it does? Where the progression has a dom 7 chord that DOESN'T immediately resolve to a I, am I free to use another chord (a non-dominant)? Do I simply go thru all the chords that don't work (due to their have a note that's, say, a half-tone from the melody note) and change them?

    I don't know enough to go at this in a methodical way, other than in the case where I can substitute a dom7sus for a dom7, for example.
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 01-09-2003 at 05:56 PM.
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  7. #7
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Guni
    I wanna hear the result!
    See the link above...but if you go there, please see my own comments of despair that follow.

    Originally posted by Danster
    Sheesh, I wish I had half the patience you have.
    Hey, a simple frontal lobotomy did the trick for me, it can work for you, too!
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 01-09-2003 at 04:29 AM.
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  8. #8
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Re: Re: Melody over Chord Progression Problems

    Originally posted by Danster
    Personally, I think ya oughta enroll in graduate school, and do yer thesis on Autumn Leaves.
    Actually my plan is to a) win the Powerball jackpot and b) found The Autumn Leaves Conservatory. Its mission:
    "To raise public awareness of and personal appreciation for the holistic Autumn Leaves experience in an atmosphere of vintage improvisational musical arts."
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  9. #9
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    A ii V I in the key of C is Dm7 G7 CM7. What is the actual progression you are talking about?
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Szulc's Site

  10. #10
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    The whole enchilada is:


    | Dm7 | G7 | CM7 | FM7 |Bm7b5 | E7 | Am7 | A7 |
    | Dm7 | G7 | CM7 | FM7 |Bm7b5 | E7 | Am7 | Am7 |
    | Bm7b5 | E7 | Am7 | A7 | Dm7 | G7 | CM7 | FM7 |
    | Bm7b5 | E7 |Am7 G#7|GM7 F#7| FM7 | Bm7b5 | Am7 | Am7 |

    *
    I'll put up the PowerTab containing the melody and chord notations--but I'm away from home until later today.

    I understand why we like a V7 resolving to the Ima. In those cases changing the V7 to something else would, I'd think, destroy the guts of the progression. BUT, when a dom 7 appears at the end of the first 8-bar section (above), what is it doing? Setting up an unresloved lead-in to the next section?

    If I change THAT V7 to an Ami7 (because the melody contains a C natural vs C#), I lose the M3b7 and get a m3b7--but I don't know if this will even be noticeable in the feel of the music. i'd say no, not knowing any better.
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 01-10-2003 at 01:01 AM.
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  11. #11
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Guni
    One option to solve the problems might be chord tones.
    eg:
    1. A7 - change the C to C#
    2. E7 - change the C to B
    3. Am7 - change the G# to A
    Okay..that's the approach i began with...except changing the chord tones, NOT the melody (which seems kinda off-limits).

    So in 1. above, instead of changing C to C# in the melody, i change A7 to Ami7.

    In 2. above, is this even a problem since the 'conflict' appears with the 'vi' of the E7 (melody has a C, the E mixo vi is C#) which isn't part of the chord?

    In 3. above melody is G#...i don't know what to do because I don't know what the objective is at this point in the music, where the key is about to change to the relative minor. My point is, I'm not going to find an A chord so I have to make a stronger departure from what's been provided. Too strong a departure, and I feel I risk a big mistake (an E7 would 'work', is it the wrong thing to do at this point in the melody?).

    What should I be thinking about?
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 01-09-2003 at 06:31 PM.
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  12. #12
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    ii V I IV (viio) iio V i (Am) I7 (V of ii)
    | Dm7 | G7 | CM7 | FM7 |Bm7b5 | E7 | Am7 | A7 |
    ii V I IV (viio) iio V i (Am)
    | Dm7 | G7 | CM7 | FM7 |Bm7b5 | E7 | Am7 | Am7 |
    iio V i (Am) I7 (V of ii) ii V I IV (viio)
    | Bm7b5 | E7 | Am7 | A7 | Dm7 | G7 | CM7 | FM7 |
    iio V (Am) ii V I(b5 sub for D7) (Key of G)V I(b5 sub for C7)(Key of F) ii i (Am)
    | Bm7b5 | E7 |Am7 G#7|GM7 F#7| FM7 | Bm7b5 | Am7 | Am7 |


    (V of ii ) This is a secondary dominant, prentending to be the V of Dm.
    It is common to use secondary dominant chords to lead into any chord in the jazz context. Basically precede any chord with a Dom7 up a fifth or down a fourth.
    The last section is a turnaround with b5 substitutiions for V7 chords.
    Bm7b5 | E7 ii V in Am
    Am7 G#7|GM7 ii V I in G Major (G#7 is b5 sub for D7)
    F#7| FM7 V I in Fmajor ( F#7 is b5 sub for C7)
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Szulc's Site

  13. #13
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Thanks James. I'll have to study your post a little bit. What I did on the plane ride home today was look at what was happening to the chord tones in one of the problem areas of the song, then try to emulate the same transitions (or close) with tones that weren't problems.

    Here's the original section with chord stacks, and then what I think may be suitable (on paper) for resolution of the problem areas (in yellow). Below each column of the original chords are the melody notes that need to be re-harmonized (in my mind).

    While I will study you post and bounce what I've done against it, your comments on the following 'solution' are, as always, strongly solicited. Did you listen to recording? Did you survive it?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 01-10-2003 at 01:08 AM.
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  14. #14
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    The recording is close to fitting.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Szulc's Site

  15. #15
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    Hi Bongo,
    It's helpful that you displayed the Chord Progression!

    As you've discovered Jazz music can be challenging.
    (& I may be wrong so please anyone gladly correct me if I'm leading anyone astray w/ Musical Theory as I understand it.)

    To answer one of your initial questions,
    "Maybe my first and biggest problem is not understanding the logic behind tension and resolution from chord to chord when you have one chord per bar--"

    One way to create Tension that eventually resolves is for the Composer &/or Arranger to use Secondary Dominants. This can create tension by temporarily Changing the key of the song!

    Based on Analysis of the Chord Progression, I Agree w/ Szulc,(as he picked up on this immediately)

    How does A7 fit into a ii V I in C maj?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    the Theory of Music states it can't, the A7 chord is not a chord in the key of C maj.

    each A7 chord in this progression namely in the 8th bar, & the 20th bar are secondary Dominant chords.

    This means that each time you have this chord A7(a Secondary Dominant) you are Changing to a different key.

    How can the composer &/or arranger change key according to Musical Theory?

    One way is to use a Secondary Dominant.

    "Basically precede any chord with a Dom7 up a fifth or down a fourth."

    The composer &/or arranger in this example chose to CHANGE KEY by using the A7 as a Secondary Dominant meaning that the A7 is the V7 chord for Dm7.

    Hope this is helpful!!

    FYI: You can change any chord in this progession into a Dominant 7th chord(a Secondary Dominant) EXCEPT the actual V chord(Dominant) of the particular key your in
    Last edited by Schooligo; 01-10-2003 at 01:05 PM.
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