Confused - apparent key sig and chords

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by Steve Krum, Jan 23, 2023.

  1. Steve Krum

    Steve Krum

    Jul 29, 2019
    Phoenix, AZ
    OK, I am not highly proficient in music theory, so let’s start there.

    I am reviewing/learning a chart for a small B3-driven combo I will be playing with… Brown Sugar by Freddie Roach. The sheet that I was given seem to have a key signature of Eb… e.g. the score has three flats. But the accompanying chords suggest the I is C, the IV is F, V is G, etc. Also, my ear is having trouble focusing on the correct notes, which are strewn with accidentals that, if I am reading them right, just don’t sound right.

    What am I looking at?
     
  2. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Can you post the chart? I listened to it just now, and it goes to some interesting places.

    If what you have is a chord chart, don't worry about the key signature and play the changes. C7 is C7 whatever key the tune is in.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2023
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  3. Dlew919

    Dlew919

    Dec 7, 2020
    Sydney
    Just out of curiosity, we’re you given a guitar chart that asks for a capo?
     
  4. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Eb major, C minor
     
  5. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Gold Supporting Member

    "3 flats" (Bb,Eb,Ab) is also the key signature of the Relative Minor key of "C Minor".
    Let's start the convo....
     
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  6. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Gold Supporting Member

    Jazzdogg beat me to it.
     
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  7. Steve Krum

    Steve Krum

    Jul 29, 2019
    Phoenix, AZ
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Steve Krum

    Steve Krum

    Jul 29, 2019
    Phoenix, AZ
    nope, full set of charts for all instruments, with specific side for upright bass. i just uploaded the charts (I think)
     
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  9. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Gold Supporting Member

    Just listened to it - Lots of C7#5,#9, (first chord), so the chart-maker may have used 3 flats to indicate some sort of "C......" tonality, Not C Minor, Not Eb Major.
    Key Signatures are so 19th century.
    Play the Changes/Chords/Harmony, NOT the Key Signature.
    IMFO, of course.
     
  10. Steve Krum

    Steve Krum

    Jul 29, 2019
    Phoenix, AZ
    Yes, has some strange sounding (to me) runs. I understand the tune’s structure, but there are a couple of places where it feels like it is in freefall.
     
  11. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Play good phrases, don't regurgitate mode exercises. ;)

    One of my favorite t-shirts:

    Play the music, not the instrument.
     
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  12. Steve Krum

    Steve Krum

    Jul 29, 2019
    Phoenix, AZ
    LOL, thanks… I am thinking of a quote I read from somebody… “just play to the the big letters.”
     
  13. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    This is when "knowing The Cycle" (aka circle of fifths) really pays off.
     
  14. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Gold Supporting Member

    Most everybody here at TB is SICK of my Rants regarding accurate names of chords, but here we go....
    Calling the first chord (for example), "C7" is not an accurate description of what is actually being played - the first chord is "C7, #9". Calling is "C7" is woefully incomplete, and misleading.
    This happens throughout the chart for Vibes, Piano, and Bass.
    Yuck.
    IMFO, of course.
    Good Luck.
    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2023
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  15. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Gold Supporting Member

    Also, Too - Just listened to the complete track, and there is a lot of Harmonic DNA to sort through/hear, and understand. Without some (jazz) Theory, it can be mysterious, esp., when the chart is so incomplete.
    Get with the Pianist or Vibes player to get some help?
    Thanks.
     
    Jazzdogg likes this.
  16. The C7 uses a Bb, the #9 is enharmonic to Eb, and the #5 is enharmonic to Ab. There are many notated Bbs, Ebs, and Abs (moving to G in the G7) in the written bass part. Putting the chart in the key of C-minor seems like a pretty reasonable choice overall.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2023
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  17. This also brings up the valid question from new comers about key signatures and the blues. (which already has a long thread in here somewhere from a few years ago)
    C blues..
    C minor blues
    key signatures are based on 19th c practice...

    Anyways..

    Your chart seems off... it's missing natural signs on the E in the first 4 m. (Ditto for the piano chart)

    Horns and vibes play Concert Eb, but you play E natural. The crunch gives the sound.

    Take the piano part, Left hand should be E natural (pencil it in), right hand has Eb. Listen to that crunch. It's good.

    Have your pencil ready and bring this up with your combo supervisor next rehearsal.

    Make it sound like this, as best you can, and you'll be doing well.

     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2023
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  18. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    The tonality is a rather ambiguous thanks to the liberal use of chromatic notes and colour in the harmony, but overall I would say it is closest to Cm, which does (can) take F as IV and G as V and is relative minor of Eb major, hence 3b. YMMV
     
    AGCurry likes this.
  19. That chart is badly written from the beginning.
    It is a kind of blues, but after the written music it is in C minor, because even in the chord instruments and the lower bass notes there is an Eb. For a C7#9 there should be the major third (E natural) below the minor third (Eb) for the #9, but it shouldn't be missing totally.
    So either the chords over the written music are wrong or the written music. And it depends on what of it is wrong how you (and also any soloist and chord instrument) can proceed to play.

    Give the chart back to your ensemble leader, tell him that there are some things totally wrong in there and that he should check written notes against the chord symbols. Only proceed with that chart when your leader gets these things sorted out.

    I'm very sorry for you that you got such a mess of a chart. You may share that with your piano and vibes player.

    After listening to the music, it is obviously a major blues with a lot of #9 in it.
    So Don is right. But the arrangement doesn't reflect the chords that should have been notated.
    So ignore the chords symbols above the written music, play the chord symbols in the notated part and add a #9 for most or all of the 7-chords (mostly interesting for the chordal instruments which should play the major third too).
    For the beginning you can shorten the half note to a dotted quarter, play the minor third at the rest of the time of the half note and replace the third quarter by the major third. That way you have the major third present and if you glide from the minor to the major also a bit of the ambiguity of the blues third. But that should have been notated correctly. Specially in such a beginner arrangement.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2023
    SteveCS likes this.
  20. Steve Krum

    Steve Krum

    Jul 29, 2019
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanks ALL for your comments. This is all very helpful, and I have a clearer understanding of why what I was looking at did ‘t seem right, although I lacked the theory. This is a community college level combo, and I am guessing the arranger was doing their best to get it down. I am not a professional by any stretch, just an enthusiastic thumper for the most part and was invited to sit in with this group for some mutual development and woodshedding. Leader is (as noted at start of thread) a hammond b3 guy, I have no idea about his background.

    All in all, will still be fun to play, and I am learning as I go. But this clearly ain’t no I - V - I - V Ll. all night long gig!

    Again, many thanks. And of course a humbling reminder to learn the circle of 5ths. Cheers!