chord extensions

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by clouddead, Jun 6, 2005.

Jan 15, 2003
orlando
I have been learning theory and my teacher tought me chord stuff (he called them chord extensions, for what reason i dont know... i know for sure the guy is on the ball with his theory, maybe a brain fart.).. i.e: I- Major II-Minor III-Minor IV-Major V- Dominant VI-Minor VII-Diminished. He had me playing arpeggios, triads and double stops through them all. During the lesson i thought i had a clue what was going on, but im a bit confused as to how this all is put to use. I dont want to just run through finger exercises, id like to try to construct progressions and the like. Anyone want to break it down for me in simple terms? I feel 45mins. of showing me these and trying to explain it all was a bit a heavy.

Jan 15, 2003
orlando
I have a feeling these arent chord extensions... but for some reason my teacher called them this. Chord extensions are just add ons to scales i think? Anyways, what i was inquiring about above is the meat of the matter.

3. burntgorilla

Jan 24, 2005
Belfast
Right, I'm no expert, but I think I can give you the basics.

By minor III that means if you were playing in the third of whatever scale, you would play a major chord, if you were playing the VII you would play a diminished chord (or scale?). So as far as I can tell, it makes lines more interesting. It's called harmonising, so I'm sure it links up with other things in an incredibly complex and irritating way.

Wouldn't chord extensions be 9ths, 11ths, etc?

Edit: sorry, didn't see your second post there.

Jan 15, 2003
orlando
Irritating, yes. I have been learning mostly theory and a few songs since i started about 4 or so months ago(started over from a two or so year hiatus). I was thinking that youd play the appropriate scale over whatever chord it was to create a line and then create progessions with the chords. Also, the double stop for a major and dominant are the same correct? Dominant is just a flatted 7th in a major scale.. AHH i need to go back to practicing some more now.

5. Ed Fuqua

Dec 13, 1999
NYC
Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
Well, this is all a little suspect.
First, it sounds like what your teacher is having you look at is triad harmony based on the major scale. Let's look at C major
C D E F G A B C, right? and the way you build a triad is to take diatonic (which just means from the key or from the scale) thirds and stack them. In other words, start on a note and go up to the 3rd note away, then do it again. You count the note you are starting on as 1. So starting on the tonic
C1 D2 E3
so you have C and E, with me so far? Now E is 1
E1 F2 G3

So now you have C E G, clear? And since C is the tonic and CEG are MAJOR the tonic or I chord/triad is major. Clear?
So next is D, the II. So, same thing. D1 E2 F3, you got D F.
Then F is 1, so you got F1 G2 A3. So your II triad is D F A, which is minor. Clear so far?

Now there are only 4 kinds of triads -major minor augmented and diminished. As you can see from working on the major scale harmony, augmented doesn't show up. That's one reason why approaching learning about harmony and function based on teh major scale may not be the best way.

The next chord tone is the 7th and you get to it the same way, counting up to the third note away.
C E G1 A2 B3, so C E G B = C major 7. The other chords from the major scale can be derived in the same way.

Which makes the chord based on the 7th degree a HALF DIMINISHED chord B D F A, not diminished B D F Ab ( a dimished chord is stacked minor thirds).

Now there are 7 kinds of 7th chords - maj7, min7, dominant7, augmented 7, minor/major7 (tonic minor), half diminished and mediant and, as you can see, there are even more 7th chords that are not in the major scale. The way my teacher has had me work on these is by arpeggiating them based on the same root and going 1st through all roots, all 1st inversion, all 2nd inversion and all 3rd inversion and then taking the root and going root, 1st, 2nd and 3rd inversion and then changing roots.

EXTENSIONS - are notes added to CHORDS (which is why they are called chord extensions, ya?) not scales. And you can tell what they are cause they are pretty much spelled out. You see a C7b9b13 and you have a C E G Bb and then Db Ab.

CONSTRUCTING PROGRESSIONS - OK. You go, girl. Building a progression isn't a function of learnning arpeggios, it's a function of what you want to hear. certainly learning as much as you can about functional harmony is going to help you understand how to get that sound out of your head and onto the paper or out of your instrument.

But basically your teacher is trying to start the process that gets the SOUND of these in your ear AND in your head AND under your fingers. Yes, I know you want to fly the plane to Philadelphia, first you got to know how the rudders and sticks and pedals work and we don't take off until you do.

6. geoffkhan

Those are just diatonic triads, not really chord extensions. I.E.:

V = Major triad (dominant if you take the 7th into account)
vii = Diminished triad (half-diminished if you take the 7th into account)

Jan 15, 2003
orlando
forget the extension part of my thread, i just couldnt figure out how to change the title of my thread after i made it. Yes, i am learning the tools to get the sound out of my head. It can be quite frustrating at times, but i love those "AHA!" moments. Ed, thank you for going into such detail and it cleared some stuff up. Hopefully ill be flying that plane soon haha.

8. Ed Fuqua

Dec 13, 1999
NYC
Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
Be sure to check out this and that, too.