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Harm.Analysis of Blue Bossa

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by CDweller, Oct 8, 2011.


  1. CDweller

    CDweller Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2009
    Clearwater, FL
    Stuck trying to decode the harmony of Blue Bossa for school. Chords (5th edition Real Book; 6th is unnecessarily complicated)

    C-7/C-7/F-7/F-7
    D-7(b5)/G7/C-7/C-7
    Eb-7/Ab7/DbMaj7/DbMaj7
    D-7(b5)/G7/C-7/D-7(b7)G7

    The key signature is written with 3 flats (Bb, Eb, and Ab), which is of course Eb Maj. I labeled C-7 as Vl-7, F-7 in turn as ll-7, and D-7(b5) is Vll-7(b5). The G7 is non-diatonic, and although I see it serving as a dominant for the C-7, I'm not sure what to call it, or what it subs for.

    Anybody up on this stuff and knows what to call that G7 in harmonic analysis terms?

    I see the Eb-7/Ab7/DbMaj7 as a ll/V7/IMaj7 that is simply an abrupt modulation before the song returns to its (mostly) diatonic chord progression.

    Anybody? Much obliged!
     
  2. robwren

    robwren

    Sep 22, 2006
    Anthem AZ
    It's in C minor, the relative minor of Eb maj.

    Cmi7 is the i chord
    Fmi7 is the iv chord
    D-7(b5) | G7 | C-7 is the ii-V- i in C mi
    Eb-7 | Ab7 | DbMaj7 is a ii-V-I in Db maj
    then back to the ii-V-i in Cmi (with another ii-V as a turnaround back to the top)
     
  3. CDweller

    CDweller Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2009
    Clearwater, FL
    Yup, got that, but the G7 is not a diatonic chord in C minor, unless I misunderstand things (not unlikely!:D). The chord built on the G should be a G-7.
     
  4. CDweller

    CDweller Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2009
    Clearwater, FL
    Think I got it now. The G7 is a secondary dominant of one of the diatonic chords in this key signature. Any diatonic chord except for the Vll-7(b5) may be proceeded by its dominant; that preceeding dominant doesn't have to be a diatonic chord, and usually isn't. So the G7 can be understood as the V7 of the Vl-7, or V7/Vl. I'm not clear on labeling the C-7 as a l-7 vs a Vl-7; haven't analyzed tunes in class with other than the I chord being a Major 7.

    Anybody have any insight as to why the abrupt, non-diatonic modulation to Db Major works?
     
  5. robwren

    robwren

    Sep 22, 2006
    Anthem AZ
    Usually, diatonic jazz progression will use the harmonic minor scale : 1 2 ♭3 4 5 ♭6 7 8 to build chord progressions, so G-B natural-D

    Of course, the ♭7 from the natural minor scale for the i is often used. Also, there are any number of chromatic alterations/substitutions, esp. to the V chord (♭9, ♭5, ♯9, etc.) that aren't in either scale.
     
  6. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    It was like that before the harmonic minor scale was conceived. The problem with the natural minor (Aeolian) scale is that it lacks a leading tone, which means a 7th degree separated by one semitone from the tonic. It has a "subtonic" 7th instead (a whole tone from the tonic), which doesn't create the necessary tension-need for release feel characteristic of the dominant-tonic chord progression. Because of that, the 7th grade of the Aeolian scale was raised for it to have a leading tone, thus creating the harmonic minor scale. C harmonic minor scale is spelled C - D - Eb - F - G - Ab - B natural - C. Using that scale you can create a dominant-tonic chord progression (G7 - Cm in this case).
     
  7. robwren

    robwren

    Sep 22, 2006
    Anthem AZ
    OP, you seem hung up on the misconception that the I chord needs to be based on the first degree of the major scale. Not true. The I chord can be any chord. Usually it's major or minor, but really it can be any chord that the overall tonality of the piece is centered around. In this case, the song is in C minor, so the "one" chord is indicated in lower case "i" but it is still the "one" chord, Fmi7 is the iv chord, etc.

    The G7 is not a secondary dominant, it is the primary dominant of Cmi. A secondary dominant would be a non-diatonic dominant chord of one of the other diatonic chords. For example, some will often play C7 in bar two of Blue Bossa, as it is the dominant of Fmi7 (the iv chord) in bar 3.

    Re: the Ebmi7|Ab7|Dbmaj7, the song "changes" to Dbmaj for those four keys. It doesn't really modulate, it just changes keys. This is very common in jazz songs. Many will go through several keys in quick succession.
     
  8. tstone

    tstone

    Nov 16, 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    CDWeller, robwren is definitely steering you in the right direction. To elaborate a little on what he has said:

    In major keys, there is no ambiguity as to what the notes of the scale, are or what the diatonic chords are. In minor keys, it is not so clear cut, especially as far as scale degrees 6 and 7 are concerned. They are often altered, which is where the three standard variations of the minor scale (natural, harmonic, melodic) come from. The different forms of the scale are often mixed within one piece.

    When the dominant chord occurs in a minor key, nine times out of ten the third of the chord will be raised, making it a major chord. This entails raising scale degree 7 in the minor scale. As has been pointed out, this introduces the leading tone into the chord, which makes for a much stronger resolution to the tonic.

    This is so common that in your analysis, you could probably get away with just calling the G7 chord a V7. But if your teacher is particularly nitpicky, you could call it V7(#3).

    I agree that there's a temporary change in key center in the bridge. Very common in jazz. If I were doing a Roman numeral analysis, given the chords you have provided, I woud write:

    c: i7 / i7 / iv7 / iv7 /
    ii7(b5) / V7(#3) / i7 / i7 /
    Db: ii7 / V7 / I7 / I7 /
    c: ii7(b5) / V7(#3) / i7 / ii7(b5) V7(#3) /
     
  9. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Here's the link for the tune, for all of us in the peanut gallery:
    Joe Henderson - Blue Bossa - YouTube

    I really like the bass ostinato off the top, and the whole Page One album is a classic!
     
  10. cire113

    cire113

    Apr 25, 2008
    this song rules.. one of my favorite jam songs
     
  11. CDweller

    CDweller Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2009
    Clearwater, FL
    Tstone- thank you for fleshing out the analysis. We've only looked at tunes that had the I chord as a IMaj7, and so I looked at the C-7 as a vi-7. Regardless, I can see that changing what is diatonically a G-7 into a G7 provides more momentum sonically back to the i-7.

    Would it be incorrect to label the G7 as a V7/l, read "five seven of one? If I understand it, any diatonic chord other than the vii-7(b5) can be preceded by its dominant, and is refered to as a subdominant. Thus diatonically a G-7 would be "correct" but perhaps not so compelling, whereas the G7 is also "correct" as a subdominant to the i-7, and creates more movement back to the one chord.

    c: i7 / i7 / iv7 / iv7 /
    ii7(b5) / V7(#3) / i7 / i7 /
    Db: ii7 / V7 / I7 / I7 /
    c: ii7(b5) / V7(#3) / i7 / ii7(b5) V7(#3) /

    The Db l chord indicates a dominant; should be a IM7, no?
     
  12. CDweller

    CDweller Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2009
    Clearwater, FL
    True- we've only looked at songs in major keys thus far in my harmony classes, with the one chord always being a IMaj7. I understand a song being in a minor key from actual playing, but we haven't analyzed songs of that nature yet.
     
  13. Snarf

    Snarf

    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    V7/I is correct, but unnecessary. V7 and V7/I are the exact same thing.

    A V7 chord in a minor key is NOT a sub dominant. In minor keys you just have to accept that the 7th gets raised so that you can have a dominant chord. Simple as that.

    edit: What is that i7 and #3 business in your analysis? None of that stuff makes any sense.
     
  14. CDweller

    CDweller Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2009
    Clearwater, FL
    The #3 for the V7 refers to the third being raised to a major third in the V7 chord. The key signature has a Bb and an Eb. If you made the v7 chord diatonically, it would be spelled G, Bb, D, and F, which of course is a G-7. You have to raise the Bb to a B to get the major third for the G7. Thus the 3rd is actually raised (#) above what occurs diatonically.

    I also don't see the 7th getting raised for this dominant chord. The seventh is an F in either the diatonic G-7 or non-diatonic G7, and this F occurs with no alteration from the key signature of Bb and Eb.
     
  15. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    You're correct, in that the V7 chord does NOT have a major seventh, but I don't think that's what Snarf was talking about. He meant you raise the leading tone in a minor key. The Bb becomes B natural. The seventh note of the scale, the third of the V7 chord.

    Major harmony: V7
    Minor harmony: V7

    The 7th note of the relative minor scale gets raised to create a leading tone. In C minor Bb becomes B natural. This gives you a harmonic minor scale in C. The v minor triad is now a major triad and the V7 is dominant just like in the major key.

    "#3" isn't part of jazz chord symbols.
    "i" would indicate a minor triad, but i7 is confusing (minor triad or minor seven or dominant 7?)

    All of this is so much easier if you have a piano in front of you and someone to play the chords with you.

    In Solfege, you sing "la" for the C note. Bb was "so" and becomes "si". It's really important to sing everything and solfege really helps you "hear" this stuff!
     
  16. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    The C note is called "Do" in solfège. "La" is the name for A.
     
  17. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Hi Alvaro, in Columbia you use "Fixed Do". Most of North America uses "Moveable Do" where "Do" is the tonic of any major key, and "La" is the tonic of any minor key. Much better system! (sorry) : ) One of my students comes from Venezuala and he calls it "Fix-able Do". . .

    Thus in C minor C is "La" and Eb is the relative major "do".
     
  18. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Interesting. Never heard about that notation system before. Thank you for the info! :)
     
  19. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Cool, hope you're doing great!
    Laurence
     
  20. Snarf

    Snarf

    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    LM Bass explained it a few posts above. #3 makes no sense for analysis, it's just V7. The V7 implies a dominant chord all by itself. Don't worry about the key signature, just worry about the function of the chord.

    And yeah, it's the 7th scale degree, not the 7th of the chord.