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"Jazz" chords

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by yawnsie, Mar 23, 2001.

  1. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    I know that this doesn't relate to the bass particularly, but I think this is still a good place to ask this question. Recently, I've been trying to write songs with more elaborate chords - utilising what I'd call, for the want of anything better, Jazz chords - chords with 9ths, 11ths, 13ths, and so on. My question is, do these notes make any difference on the overall chord structure?

    For example, if I started off a sequence with, say, D7b13, would the flattented thirteenth influence my choice of the next chord - would it have to resolve in any way in the next chord, at some other point in the piece, or not at all?

    I know that it's all subjective, and that this may seem like I'm asking people to help me write sequences, but I would appreciate some guidlines to bear in mind.

    Thanks in advance,
  2. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Oh, so things like flattened 13ths are generally used to support a melody? Instead of just using jazz chords for the sake of it, I know now what sort of applications they have. Obviously, I know that there are exceptions to the rule, but I can use that little snippet of information to help with writing. Thanks Ed! :)
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Ed also mentions that it might be to do with "voicings" - I think that quite often, when people say "Jazzy" chords, it is down to a difference in the way that chordal instruments have different voicings in Jazz and Rock. Like a Jazz guitarist will play rootless chords or just triads high up, to give a more "open" feel - Jazz pianists do this as well and may just play the 3rd and 7th of the chord. Whereas Rock guitarists go for "thicker" chords with lots of lower register notes that get in the way of chromatic basslines.

    I think that in a lot of Jazz standards, the chords are chosen to fit the melody and this is why the chords are written that way. But I have talked to a few people over here who write originals now in a Jazz vein and they quite often will specify a chord becuse they want it voiced in a specific way - so they might specify a slash chord for this purpose.

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