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by jdub
(3 posts)
7 years ago

trying to get my ears around a

I have been trying to make the

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  1. by jazbo
    (1 post)

    7 years ago

    Re: trying to get my ears around altered 7ths

    im a guitarist and found that playing without the root of any V7alt chord allows for a more solid sound , the scale will sound sick by itself, need to resolve it to a non altered chord/scale a 4th higher, although im sure there are exceptions but thats my aproach.

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  2. by Tranesyadaddy
    (279 posts)

    7 years ago

    Re: trying to get my ears around altered 7ths

    It comes a little clearer if you build that scale off B natural. then you get B.C.D.Eb.F.G.A.B.C, basically an ascending C melodic minor scale, but starting on the seventh. That's why your ears want to take you to the second degree, ie the C you're used to hearing the scale end on. A 7alt does sound weird by itself, but in context it sounds perfectly natural. It often occurs as IIdim,V7alt,I(min)

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    1. by Tranesyadaddy
      (279 posts)

      7 years ago

      Re: trying to get my ears around altered 7ths

      There's a minor turnaround like that in 'Blue Bossa' which is on Joe Henderson's 'Page one' album.

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  3. by The Insomniac Saxman
    (141 posts)

    7 years ago

    Re: trying to get my ears around altered 7ths

    Jdub, your ears are actually hearing some good things . . . the theory works. Let’s look at your note choices . . . you say that you are hearing the notes of a Bbm7(b5) chord over a C+7ALT, being Bb, Db, E (enhmonically Fb if you are spelling the Bbm7(b5) correctly), and Ab (enharmonically G# in the context of the C+7ALT) . . . what you have here are the b7, b9, 3, and #5 of your C+7ALT, all important notes of your chord. The 3 and b7 are the tritone of the chord creating the basic tension, the #5 gives the chord the augmented quality, and the b9 (with your added Eb enh. D# being the #9) give you the added flavor of altered upper structure of the chord. So essentially your ears are gravitating to the right things. To answer your question about why you are hearing notes centered around a Db, allow me to expand upon something that Tranesyadaddy has already mentioned: the relation of the melodic minor scale to your altered chord. Let’s look at a melodic minor scale built a half step above the root of your altered chord, on Db: Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb C Now let’s respell some of these enharmonically: Db D# E F# G# Bb C Now let’s analyze how these notes relate to your altered chord: b9 #9 3 #11 #5 b7 R Every single note of the Db melodic minor scale happens to be a chord tone of your C+7ALT. What this means is that you can sustain any of those notes over that chord and any of those notes will sound “inside” the chord. On the grander scale, this also means that for any altered dominant, you can go up a half step and play melodic minor, and all the notes will work. This is the “superlocrian concept,” meaning that for the altered dominant, you can use the notes of the 7th mode of melodic minor, in this particular case: C Db D# E F# G# Bb C There are some theorists who refer to this scale as “diminished whole tone” due to the half step/whole step quality of the lower tetrachord (the first 4 notes) and the whole tone quality of the upper tetrachord (the last 4 notes), but in reality, it’s just the 7th mode of melodic minor. That’s the basic theory behind it, but that by itself won’t allow your ideas to flow; you need to know how to resolve the tones of your altered dominant effectively in an improvised line. The simplest way is as follows: Let’s say you are using this altered dominant in traditional fashion, being a V to I progression, in this case, C+7ALT resolving to F or one of its variations (FMA7, FMA9, etc.) . . . The root of the C+7ALT, C, can remain the same over the FMA7, or resolve down to A (3 of your I chord) or F (R of your I chord). The b9 of the C+7ALT, Db, should resolve down to C, the 5 of your FMA7. The #9 of the C+7ALT, D#, can resolve up to E, the 7 of your FMA7, down to C, the 5 of your FMA7, or down to D, the 13 of your I chord. The 3 of the C+7ALT, E, ideally should resolve up to F, the R of your I chord, but can remain the same as the 7 of a FMA7. The #11 of the C+7ALT, F#, can resolve up to G, the 9 of your FMA9, or down to F, the R of the I chord. The #5 of the C+7ALT, G#, ideally should resolve up to A, the 3 of your I chord, but can resolve down to G, the 9 of your FMA9 chord. The b7 of the C+7ALT, Bb should resolve down to A, the 3 of your I chord. My friend Bruce Eskovitz presented a treatise at IAJE a few years ago entitled “How to Unlock the Mystery of the Altered Dominant Chord” and has posted it on his website. Here is the link: www.bruceeskovitz.com/alt.htm Give it a read . . . there’s lots of good stuff in it . . . Best of luck to you, and happy practicing!

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    1. by knorter
      (205 posts)

      7 years ago

      Re: trying to get my ears around altered 7ths

      Great advice everyone. I wanted to add a couple of comments for the home audience. First I would probably refer to this type of chord as an altered dominant not an altered 7th chord because the term 7th chord isn't specific enough. It could mean a major or minor seventh and any chord that includes a 7th is called a seventh chord. Secondly, Tranesyadaddy gave an easy way to figure out this scale but he did it in a different key (B) than the original post (C) so I wanted to make it more clear. T daddy was right, the easiest way to figure this scale (diminished whole tone or altered dominant scale) is to figure out the melodic minor scale that starts up a half step but start that scale on the root of the chord. In other words it's the seventh mode of a melodic minor scale. If you're working on C7 alt. Go up one half step to Db. Figure out the Db melodic minor scale but start the scale on it's seventh note (C) Db melodic minor: Db Eb E (Fb) Gb Ab Bb C Db C diminished whole tone C Db Eb E Gb Ab Bb C Imsom gave some great tips. I would add that over C7alt. beginners should think of playing a very simple minor idea up a half step from the root (in Db minor)and then resolve it using the guidelines Insom pointed out. Good luck. Kristy

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    2. by jdub
      (3 posts)

      7 years ago

      Follow-up on resolving V7#5#9 to I

      Thanks people! I'm digesting.... If I may ask a follow-up question to the point about resolving the V7#5#9 chord - to paraphrase my understanding I should hit on a chord tone (or 6 or 9) a half-step above or below, down a third if it lands me on a chord tone, or reslove down a fourth if I can swing it (R-R). So these rules apply to any quality chord that lies down a fourth in the cadence as long as I adjust accordingly, right? (min7, dominant 7, in addn. to your maj7 ex.) I appreciate your time everyone, j

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      1. by Tranesyadaddy
        (279 posts)

        7 years ago

        Re: Follow-up on resolving V7#5#9 to I

        If you land on any chordal tone in the I chord your phrase will sound resolved ( even the flat seven if it's in a blues ). play around with it as much as you can. The fact that you could hear your C7+ lines wanting to resolve to the Db means you're listening to what you're playing, which is a valuable asset. just have fun with it, and remember what Bird said... 'first learn your instrument, then forget all that and just play'.

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        1. by The Insomniac Saxman
          (141 posts)

          7 years ago

          Re: Follow-up on resolving V7#5#9 to I

          Here's a simpler way to look at resolution: you are going to be moving to a chord tone (be it primary tones or upper-structure) typically by a half or whole step either up or down . . . the note you have to watch is the 7th of the chord--to resolve it effectively, you must resolve it down, whether its relationship to the root is a M7, m7, or d7 . . . Another simple way is to look at how the 3rd and 7th of the chord function in a simple cycle of 5ths progression . . . construct diatonic tetrads in the key of C, then order them as follows: IMA7-IVMA7-VIIMI7(b5)-IIIMI7-VIMI7-IIMI7-V7-I Analyze how the 7th of one chord resolves down to the 3rd of the next chord, and how the 3rd of one chord becomes the 7th of the next chord . . . i.e. let's look at the end of this progression, the II-V-I: In the key of C, the 7th of the IIMI7 (DMI7) chord is C. In its move to the V7 (G7) chord, the C resolves down by step to B which is the 3rd of the V7 chord, and the 3rd of the IIMI7 chord, F, becomes the 7th of the V7 chord. If you are able to outline these resolutions in your improvisations, your lines will sound much more lyrical.

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      2. by viper
        (6 posts)

        7 years ago

        Re: trying to get my ears around altered 7ths

        also think of it as a Gb13 (my 2 cents)

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