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36251 in Minor?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Tom Lane, Mar 7, 2019.

  1. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    I was playing through a tune in Major that's 1-3-6-2-5-3-6-2-5-1 and thought it might be interesting if it were Minor instead of Major, which made me realize that 36251 in Minor is nothing like 36251 in Major.
    I Godgled 36251 in Minor - no help, and I can't think of a tune that uses a Natural Minor 36251 progression. Have I missed it? Does it not exist? Really uncommon?

    For those of you I confused: 1 3 6 2 5 1 in C Major is: C Em Am Dm G7 C
    In Natural Minor, I'd expect that to be: Cm Eb Ab Dm7b5 G7alt Cm

    So, great knowledge bass - see what I did there? - what's the equivalent 36251 in Minor? or not?
  2. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    In the vast majority of cases, minor key harmony is derived from the harmonic minor scale, not the natural minor. Harmonic minor - B not Bb - gives G7 at V (without alteration) and makes the III augmented.

    Of course in the minor key, both Minor and Major 6ths and 7ths are considered diatonic, so you can legitimately sub that Dm7b5 for Dm7 (Ab > A) without losing a wink of sleep.

    Happy Hunting...
    Tom Lane likes this.
  3. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    I'll bite...
    S. Turrentine's "Sugar" comes close - 1st 2 bars can be harmonized this way : //Cmi7 A7alt.//Dmi7b5 G7alt.// (1 - natural 6 - 2 - 5...but not strictly C natural minor!)
    You could also use : //Cmi7 Eb7//Dmi7b5 G7alt.// - again, key signature be damned - the Eb7 needs a Db for the Dominant 7th.
    Don't think of C natural minor for the 1st 2 bars - that's where ancient & obsolete Key Signatures will limit the possibilities and may keep you from hearing deeper into the Harmonic possibilities.
    Also - going from Abma7 to Dmi7b5 is redundant (if you're thinking C natural minor and the 6th degree is Abma7.) This is not cool for the first 2 bars IMFO : //Cmin7 Abma7//Dmi7b5 G7alt.//
    In "Sugar", when the b6 (Abxxx) makes an appearance, it always appears as an Ab7....(not Abma7) - key signature be damned.
    IMFO, of course.
    Let the Wild Ruckus begin!
    Sam Sherry and Tom Lane like this.
  4. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    Well, if you are playing country or trad jazz tunes, the 1-3-6-2-5-1 progression often looks like

    I - III7 - VI7 - II7 - V7 - I rather than what you've posted. Minors and minor 7s sneak in at different points depending on the tune. So I don't think you can say that the "major" 1-3-6-2-5-1 is one particular way (yes, yes, I know all about the standard ii7-V7-I progression, but there's a big difference between the way that works (all same note groups across that group of chords) and the way a 1-3-6-2-5-1 as I've described it works. To me the ii7-V7-I is more kind of like a "micro-progression" whcih basically adds harmonic interest to an otherwise static-sounding area, whereas the ones I've described are more of a "macro-progression" that lays out the overall form of the tune. If you are searching for a 1-3-6-2-5-1 progression that would function as a "micro-progression" where almost all the note choices are the same over the entire group of chords, and then you want to do this in a generally minor tonality, I think there probably aren't a lot of them out there in the wild.

    And here we come to why it's so often recommended to have some basic keyboard skills. Sitting at the computer I really have no idea where to go from here, but I could surely sit down at the piano and understand it a whole lot better. I would recommend you do the same.
  5. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    "...and it was good."
    Tom Lane likes this.
  6. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apparently, the devil got into Google's details and deleted all meaningful links in this case. ;)
    Don Kasper likes this.
  7. As the VI in C minor, you can also use a Am7b5, imo. Makes 1625 look more familiar in minor.
  8. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Yes, certainly that's true. I suppose the most interesting thing to me is that there really isn't an analogue to the Major. In Major, it's completely diatonic to the key and has that ii V ii V I movement. In Minor, it can't be done, and it's harmonically more interesting because if you, in the key of C Minor, do Eb Ab Dm G7, it almost looks as though the Eb and Ab are going to Db - if the Eb were a Minor chord it'd be perfect - but it slides into Dm instead. And then the fact that the VI chord is so flexible, provides even more interest. But even the Major 3625 has some distinct chord tones from chord to chord which makes those pitches important if you're trying to outline the changes.
  9. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    What's not diatonic. The major and minor 6th and 7ths, ie Ab, A, Bb and B, are all diatonic...
    Mushroo likes this.
  10. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    I didn't say that 3625 isn't diatonic in Minor, only that 3625 is completely diatonic in Major. I think you inferred something I didn't write.
  11. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    That sounds like "Sunny" to me.
    Nashrakh and Tom Lane like this.
  12. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    OK then, what's incomplete about it?
    In A minor,
    3 can be C^7 (CEGB) or C+ (CEG#B),
    6 can be F^7 (FACE) or F#m7b5 (F#ACE),
    2 can be Bm7b5 (BDFA) or Bm7 (BDF#A), and
    5 can be Em7 (EGBD) or E7 (EG#BD).

    All of these are 100% diatonic. Not trying to start anything, but I'm not clear on the distinction between complete and incomplete. Is it the fact that there are options?

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