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How to approach m7b5 chords?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by MichelD, Apr 24, 2018.


  1. MichelD

    MichelD

    May 19, 2014
    My songwriter buddy is often using a Minor7 flat 5 chord leading to a major.

    Commonly it'll be Bm7b5 to E Major or

    C#m7b5 to F#

    I've got a few phrases I employ when we play those, primarily using the chord tones as that works but what else can I do?
     
  2. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Montreal
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    I think the major chord is an imply dominant chord which would make sense. ii-v in a minor key....

    So let say that your bmin7(b5)-E(7) goes to A min. You can play the A minor harmonic scale over those 3 chords by starting on roots of those chords or play C major scale over the B min (Locrian mode) and shift to A minor scale after...
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
    IamGroot likes this.
  3. IamGroot

    IamGroot

    Jan 18, 2018
    As Groove Master said.

    Bm7 Em7 Am is weak. Bm7b5, E7, Am is stronger. Very common latin cadence (i.e Santana)
     
  4. Whousedtoplay

    Whousedtoplay

    May 18, 2013
    TEXAS
    Around three years ago, we had a similar thread at TB about those min7b5 chords, and as an energetic beginner bass player, I concocted some chord progression based primarily on the min7b5 chords, but...
    I could not figure out the bass notes. :banghead: :crying:

    And still cannot figure out the bass rhythmic notes that could match my drum pattern, and the MOOD of that chord progression. Playing just the root notes did not sound good to me.

    F#min7b5.PNG

    Here is a sound clip of the drums, keyboard, rhythm guitar(played by me on my Jazz Bass :rage: :thumbsdown: :***:)

    https://www.talkbass.com/attachment...6/?temp_hash=4190a5c255fce58e1ae30c187b503ff1

    A few TB members said, "Hey, you need to have some kind of tune, then, it's going to be easy to determine that bass line".
    I've included some lame "tune" to go along with that weird chord progression, but no bass line.

    Here is that chord progression with some "tune" added.
    It's a long (very) "samo-samo" chord progression. I wanted to have enough time to try this or that bass line, this or that soloing :vomit: notes...

    But still no bass line in my head.
    https://www.talkbass.com/attachment...0/?temp_hash=4190a5c255fce58e1ae30c187b503ff1

    I am trying to figure out the mode of that chord progression.
    Few smart TB members said, “It’s atonal music” but somehow I hear some tonality”.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  5. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Ask your songwriter buddy for a playlist of songs that use this type of chord. Steal ideas from his musical influences. ;)
     
    saeroner likes this.
  6. Your songwriter buddy has laid down the chord progression for you and all you need do is follow what he has written. We do tend to make it complicated.

    A m7b5 chord is made of the R-b3-b5-b7 notes of the tonic scale of the chord in question. Only other thing to take into account is the walk to the next chord, if a walk is needed. I take the dirt simple road and target the next root, miss it by one, two or three frets and walk to it for the chord change. Hitting the chord change dead on.

    Since your buddy is writing the song, just follow his chord progression playing some of the notes of the chord he has chosen. The R-b3-b5-b7 notes should do what you need. And no, you do not have to use all of them or the order listed above.

    I know what notes was your question, but, lets keep this simple. Just follow the chord and play as many notes of the chord the song wants, or allows, within the frame work of the rhythm used in this song.

    I'd try root-b3 and see if that did it. Then R-b7 working up to a full bass line of R-b3-b5-b7.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  7. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I don't get why people are calling this a min7b5 chord. It's a half diminished7 chord. The only way I would call a chord a min7b5 is if the 9 is implied as major. It usually isn't, though. It would be a b9.
     
    carl h. likes this.
  8. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Not to contradict, but min7b5 was our preferred nomenclature when I worked for Alfred publishing. The reason being, the ø symbol ("half diminished") can be confusing/ambiguous when sight reading a chord chart, whereas "min7b5" is completely unambiguous and impossible to misread.

    I'm not sure I understand your point about the 9th. There is no 9th (minor or major) in a min7b5 chord. It is a 4-note chord spelled 1-b3-b5-b7. It's a minor 7th chord with a flat 5th so why not call it "minor 7 flat 5"? :)
     
  9. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    When I mentioned the 9, or the 2, I mean the implied quality of that extension based on where this chord appears. In my experience, the ø symbol is much easier for me to see and read quickly compared to writing it out as min7b5. As a bass player, I want and need to know the real function of the chord. One way of writing it tells me that in full, while the other does not. It's like in the Real Book when they write a chord as A+, when it's really most likely an A add b13. Functionally, there's a big difference.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  10. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    I get that. Makes sense to me. Although I would point out, it's only "easier" to you because of your preexisting familiarity with the ø symbol. If you haven't played this type of chord before, then the "min7b5" notation gives you the information you need to figure out the chord tones (by taking a min7 chord and flatting the 5th).

    My other minor issue with the "half diminished" nomenclature is that it implies these chords are somehow related to, or derived from, full diminished chords. When in fact min7b5 chords are naturally-occurring, diatonic within the major scale.

    How would you say the chords are functioning in the OP's example?
     
    Whousedtoplay and Lownote38 like this.
  11. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    iiø7 - V7#9 - i7. Like Blue Bossa. A modified ii - V - I if you will. It works in a minor key. The ø tells me that the 2 is flat as well, while min7b5 does not. It's all about context.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  12. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    I'm not totally sure whether a major or minor 9th (C# or C) would sound best in the OP's example of Bm7b5 to E Major.

    My initial/gut instinct is to play the minor 9th, C natural. I say this because Bmin7b5 is, as you point out, the diatonic ii chord in A Minor, commonly encountered as part of a minor ii-V progression.

    However the target chord in this example is E Major. If the E Major tonality is strong enough, then it might sound okay to play the major 9th, C#.

    The safest choice is probably to omit the 9th and play the 4-note chord as written (B D F A).
     
    Lownote38 likes this.
  13. MichelD

    MichelD

    May 19, 2014

    You're quite right.

    He has a song in which there is a half bar of F and half a bar of F minor.

    What do I do?

    I play the root F note for 2 bars and Ab (flat third) for the next two beats.

    Sometimes he asks me to solo which can be challenging.
     
  14. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    The target, or "home" chord can be and is often of a dominant quality (b7, or implied b7). That definitely happens a lot in commercial music, and even in jazz as you cycle through a bunch of ii - V progressions before you get to a maj7 chord. I would imagine the flat 9 would be the way to go. I don't like to avoid the 9, because it's a strong note that helps color a good bass line, or chord. Not to mention soloing. Gotta know which 9 to play if you're soloing.
     
  15. If you are talking of F for two beats and then F minor for two beats..... or both chords in the same measure - I'd probably just go with the root F for both chords. Let the guitar guys carry the minor sound of the Fm.

    He may be asking you to solo, but, are you ready? If not decline.
     
  16. Whousedtoplay

    Whousedtoplay

    May 18, 2013
    TEXAS
    How did you post that ø symbol?
     
  17. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    On a Mac, I hold down the 'o' key for a few seconds, and it pops up a selection of o-like symbols. The ø is number 6.
     
  18. MichelD

    MichelD

    May 19, 2014
    It is usually just the singer and me so I often play the colour notes once we figure out what they are.
     
  19. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    From the rear. Always approach them from the rear. In essence, you have to sneak up on them. If they see you coming, your whole chord structure could be diminished in a major way.








    :wacky:
     
    basmansam, JTE, joebar and 2 others like this.
  20. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Montreal
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    It is good to know that very often a min7(b5) chord like that Bmin7(b5) is actually very similar to a G9/B. Both are modes from the C major scale.

    As for the major 9th in a min7(b5) it should be specified like this: Bmin9(b5). This is actually the 6th mode of the D minor melodic scale.
     
    Bassist4Eris, joebar, LeeNunn and 2 others like this.

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