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Help Me Understand the Chords of "Anthropology"

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by WillPlay4Food, Feb 1, 2005.

  1. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    I've always wanted to learn to really play jazz. In junior high I played jazz on alto & baritone sax but since I just played what was on the sheet music I never really understood what was going on with chords, theory, etc.

    So, a little while ago my buddy Josh sent me a copy of Anthropology. I stuck it in a drawer where it lay forgotten for some time. This morning I found this sheet music again so I started practicing it.

    I ran through the song, playing Root-5th for the chords listed on the chart just to try and get a feel for the song. After doing this a few times, I decided to break down the chords and try to figure out how everything fit together.

    Last Fall I took a few lessons with a jazzer and he taught me to figure out the context of the chords (I, ii, V, vi, etc.) then learn the modal scale associated with each song. His reasoning was once I learned the scales for each chord (within the context of the song), then I could construct a solid walking bass line that flowed between the chords, as opposed to R-5, R-5, R-5.

    Now I started associating modes to the chords, as instructed. But, some of the chords used don't fit the key of Bb Major. Instead of being minor, some chords were Major, and vice versa. I took the time to break down the chords and how they fit into the key of Bb Major as shown below.

    I've bolded the chords I have questions with. Would you folks kindly explain why/how these chords work? I understand theory is not like a set of brick walls, where deviations cause musical crashes, but I would like to understand how Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie fit these supposedly "wrong" chords into Anthropology and made it sound good.

    I know if I just play Root-5th I'll never have to worry about Maj/min qualities, but I don't want to be stuck just playing R-5 so if you guys could shed some light on this I'd be quite grateful.

    Key of Bb: Bb  C  D   Eb  F  G  A   Bb
               I   ii iii IV  V  vi vii Oct
    | Bb6 - G7 - | Cm7 - F7 - | Bb6 - Gm7 -  |
      I     [b]VI?[/b]    ii    V      I     vi
    | C7 - F7 -  | Bb7 - - -  | Eb6 - Ebm6 - |
      [b]II?[/b]  V       I            IV    [b]iv?[/b]
    | Dm7 - G7 - | Cm7 - F7   | Dm7 - G7 -   | Cm7 F7 Bb6 - |
      iii   [b]VI?[/b]    ii    V      iii   [b]VI?[/b]      ii  V  I
    | D7 - - -   | D7 - - -   | G7  -  -  -  | G7  -  -  -  |
      [b]III?         III?         VI?            VI?[/b]
    | C7 - - -   | C7 - - -   | F7  -  -  -  | F7  -  -  -  |
      [b]II?          II?[/b]          V              V
    | Bb6 - G7 - | Cm7 - F7 - | Bb6 - Gm7 -  | C7 -  F7  -  |
      I     [b]VI?[/b]    ii    V      I     vi       [b]II?[/b]   V
    | Bb7 - - -  | Eb6 - Ebm6 - | Dm7 - G7 - | Cm7 F7 Bb6 - |
      I            IV    [b]iv?[/b]      iii   [b]VI?[/b]    ii  V  I
  2. Well, the short answer is that those chords aren't really wrong at all. They just have different functions than you're considering.All of the ones you highlight can be considered as secondary dominants--that is, as chords that have a V7 function *in relation to a tone other than the I (the root)*. For example, that G7 can be thought of as the V7 of the ii.

    You can even stack up these secondary dominant functions sometimes. For example, you could think of the bridge as follows:

    D7 = III7 = V7 of V7 of V7 of V7 (of I)
    G7 = VI7 = V7 of V7 of V7 (of I)
    C7 = II7 = V7 of V7 (of I)
    F7 = V7 = V7 (of I)
  3. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    OK, I've done a little research and I'm thinking it's possible the C7 & D7 chords are constructed as Major chords because these are secondary dominant chords to the chords that immediately follow them. In other words, the C7 chord would be the V7 of the F Major chord. The D7 chord would be the V7 of the G Major chord.

    I still don't understand how the other chords I bolded work in this song's context though. Also, how do you determine when it's OK to use the secondary dominant chords? Why are these used?

    Bueller? Bueller?
  4. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Hey, this post wasn't here when I started typing my follow-up message. :)

    So, would this be an example of the circle of 5ths at work? Would the D7 jump the circle like D, G, C, F, Bb? The G7 would jump from G, C, F, Bb? C7 would be C, F, Bb & F7 would be F, Bb?

    I've only used the circle of 5ths/cycle of 4ths to help memorize key signatures and what sharps/flats are in a certain scale. How do you know how to use it as you described above to come up with these secondary chords?
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Coupla things.

    1. SHIFTING KEY CENTERS - most jazz tunes or standards played by jazz musicians aren't just in one key. Even though somebody calls "rhythm changes in Bb" (which is the harmony that ANTHROPOLOGY and about a gazillion other tunes are based on, right?) it doesn't mean that every chord in the tune functions in the key of Bb. So the Berklee thing to do is go through the harmony and see where the chords are pointing.
    Bb = tonic, the I chord
    G7 = okay, what key(s) will have this? Either Cmajor or C (tonic) minor, right? Because a dominant chord is going to resolve to a tonic chord, right? So G7 is the V7 of ii. All of these secondary dominants are setting up false resolutions but don't actually modulate to a new key. But that's what happens in the bridge, you are NOT in Bb anymore.
    The bridge is the CYCLE (not CIRCLE) of fifths you've heard so much about. You are implying (because you never resolve until you modulate back to Bb, right?) different key centers. D7 is the V chord of G, but uinstead of resolving to Gmajor, you move to G7 which is the V chord etc etc etc.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "determine", the composer uses/chooses whatever harmony best supports the melodic note choice and pushes the progression forward in the manner they want it. Bop players were great at creating more harmonic movement in standards that had more static harmony originally by just such a method - implying moving key centers.

    ROOT FIFTH - try to search through and read some of the threads about building a walking bass line. It's not that root/fifth is against the rules, but the whole idea is to build a line that propels the harmony forward, not nail it down. Think "quarter note melody".
  6. I'm not quite sure what you're asking, I guess. As for when it's "OK," well, if that's the way the song is written, that's what you play. If you mean, when can you do this in composing (or reharmonizing), well, whenever it yields the sound you want to hear.I'm also not sure what you mean by using the circle of 5ths to come up with these secondary dominants. To me, you don't really "use" the circle of 5ths, it just describes relationships that *are*. A 5th is just a 5th; so if you want a secondary dominant for the ii, there's only one thing it can be. If you think of the ii as a temporary i, then the VI7 is your temporary V7. Or really, it's simpler than that: pick a chord you want a secondary dominant for, say d, take that up a perfect 5th, and make a V7 chord from it (A7).
  7. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    I asked the question from the standpoint of when you can use this in composing. I want to understand how jazz is composed as opposed to just playing what's on the sheet.

    As far as using the circle of 5ths, that was the only way I could follow your post of "D7 = III7 = V7 of V7 of V7 of V7 (of I)". If you follow from D to G to C to F to Bb you come up with the same amount of jumps as your "D7 = V7 of V7 of...". I mean, how did you know that a D7 was V7 of V7 of...?

    Thank you for posting.
  8. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ

    The composer must use some kind of criteria to 'determine' what fits with the melody. I just wanted some insight on how Charlie/Dizzy did this. If it's 'years of practice' and 'playing with your ears', that's great. But I figure that using theory there must be some way of explaining how they came up with their choices.

    I definitely have some way to go before I understand shifting key centers so I won't touch that, but thank you for the explanation.

    Root-5th: what I was trying to say is, yes, R-5 technically works, but it doesn't as you say propel the line forward. This is why I was trying to identify the modal scales associated with each chord in this song. That way I could understand what notes are available to me. Once I know this, then I could build a walking line that does move the song forward.

    Thanks for replying to my post.

    Since was my first serious attempt to dig into jazz, I was building my lines using a two-feel. I'm not practiced enough yet to attack this using a quarter note melody.
  9. I'm still not quite sure I know what you mean, and I don't want to misunderstand you. But let me put it like this: I didn't use the circle of 5ths to get the chords. I already know what all the 5ths are (as you do). The circle of 5ths is just a mnemonic device that helps you remember them. You don't need it to know what a 5th is or how to derive one from any given starting point. Given a C, your 5th is G; given a Db, your 5th is Ab, and so on.

    To the more general point about why you would use, say, a G7 in the key of Bb, the most fundamental reason is, because it gives you the sound you want to hear. But one technical reason is that using the B natural can give you a stronger "pull" in a particular direction. For instance, Gm to Cm is a reasonably strong chordal movement, but G7 to Cm "pulls" harder in a certain way, because the G7 takes on a dominant function with respect to Cm, by virtue of containing the leading tone for C (namely, B). IOW, when you hear a Gm, your ear may or may not expect to hear some kind of C next, but if you play a G7, it most likely does. Of course you don't always have to follow a dominant with its tonic, but you see what I mean.