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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Jeb, Dec 16, 2002.

  1. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    OK, so for major key chords (upper case major, lower case minor):

    I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii(diminished), VIII

    Does this sound about right?
    What about for MINOR key chords? Whats the story there?

    What else that may be useful might anyone offer?
  2. Jason Carota

    Jason Carota Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2002
    Lowell, MA
    The vii is half-diminished (b3, b5, b7.)
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    The "VIII" chord you have listed there is actually the octave or the same as the tonic chord or I chord. The chords you need to concern yourself with are the I, ii, ii, IV, V, iv and vii in the major scale.

    The relative minor of a given key begins with the iv chord. Thus if the major scale in question is C major, the relative minor scale would be A minor, because the iv chord in the C major scale is A minor.

    The relative minor scale is also the Aeolian mode of the major scale.
  4. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Nope. Jeb was right first time, vii is diminished - b3 b5.
  5. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I see your point Ed, but half diminished would imply it has an A - i.e. Bm7b5 in the key of C.

    I don't see diminished triad and half-diminished as the same thing.

    And I suppose this depends on your school of thought regarding diminished chords.

    Some would say that a diminished chord is the same as a dim7 chord - four notes - 1 b3 b5 bb7.

    Some would say a diminished chord is just 3 notes - 1 b3 b5, and the four note variety are called diminished 7th chords.
  6. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I thought we were talking triads here. Triads rooted on the degrees of the major scale.

    I see that you're calling B diminished B D F Ab. I assume therefore you're of the first school of thought I mentioned.

    You're right - of course, chord vii, would include the 6th of the scale (i.e. it would be B D F A) - if you were extending it beyond the triad. In that way it acts like chord ii7 in A minor. But I thought we were talking triads here - so I said diminished, meaning diminished triad, because, to me, half diminished includes the A.
  7. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    There are actually more than one kind of minor scale. The relative minor of the major key (also called the Aeolian mode), the melodic-minor and the harmonic minor, the minor pentatonic and the blues scale. The Dorian, Phrygian, and Aeolian modes are also minor scales.

    Here are the chords for three minor scales:

    Chords in the "pure minor, natural minor, Aeolian mode and descending traditional melodic-minor scale"--all names for the same scale:

    i, ii dim, flat lll, iv, v, flat Vl, flat Vll

    The intervals are Root, 2, flat 3, 4, 5, flat 6, flat 7
    This scale is used in pop, blues, rock, country, fusion and heavy metal.

    The harmonic minor scale:

    i, ii dim, flat lll+, iv, V, flat IV, VII dim

    The intervals are Root, 2, flat 3, 4, 5, flat 6, 7
    This scale is used in jazz, heavy metal and classical rock.

    The melodic-minor, also known as the jazz minor and jazz melodic minor.

    i, ii, flat lll+, IV, V, VI dim, VII dim

    The intervals are Root, 2, flat 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
    This scale is used in jazz.
  8. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I've always considered a dim7 chord to be 1 b3 b5 bb7. I'm sure I've seen others describe it this way on TB too. And I've often seen dim7 chords described as minor 3rds stacked on top of each other. F to G# isn't a minor 3rd.
  9. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Wouldn't that be vi, the 6th chord? :confused:

    So, let me see if I'm correct on this:

    Harmonization of the Major Scale:

    Harmonization of the Minor Scale:


    C Major Scale:

    A Minor Scale:
  10. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    Wow. Uhmm, lets see... copy (entire thread), paste, print document. Sit down, digest and learn. Come back later for more.
    Thanks for these replies. I figure I just saved a hundred bucks or so on lessons!
  11. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Yes, it is the vi chord. Thank you for catching the error. The Aeolian is the sixth mode. I goofed when I typed iv.
  12. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    No problem, Bop, I was pretty sure it was a typo. :)

    Anyway, I'm looking back on this thread, reading the whole diminished vs. half-diminished thing. And this is something I always get confused about.

    When I'm saying the harmonization I will say "Major-minor-minor-major-major-minor-diminished". Yet, if I'm playing it I will play a half-diminished chord. Now, looking at my lesson book under the section "Harmonization of the Major Scale" it is written out that way (diminished).

    If you play a Bº7 (diminished)(provided you are harmonizing using 7ths as most Jazz tunes do) in the C major scale you would go out of the key b/c Bº7 is B D F G#(Ab). Bm7b5 (half-diminished) is in the key however. Bm7b5=B D F A. If you weren't playing 7ths, of course, both would be in the key.

    :confused: :confused: :confused:
  13. It seems as if two things are getting mixed up here: harmonization in triads and harmonization in 7th chords.

    For the record, I'm one of those who believes that it is useful to distinguish between a diminished chord (which technically is just a triad) and a diminished 7th. Hey, I've been called old school (not that there's anything wrong with that), but that's just the way I wuz learned. One reason I think it's useful to make that distinction is that a diminished triad can be contained in either a true diminished 7th or a "half diminished" (m7b5).

    To me, a diminished chord is 1 b3 b5. Add a diminished 7 to that, and you get, naturally, a dim7 chord, or 1 b3 b5 bb7. Add a minor 7, and you get a m7b5 or half diminished: 1 b3 b5 b7.

    Thus, if you harmonize the major scale diatonically in triads, you get major-minor-minor-major-major-minor-diminished. If you harmonize it in 7th chords, you get major 7-minor 7-minor 7-major 7-dominant 7-minor 7-minor 7 flat 5 (half diminished).
  14. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I tend to agree. Maybe it would avoid confusion altogether if chord vii of a major scale were just referred to as m(b5)? E.g. in C, chord vii is Bm(b5) or Bmb5. Personally, if I were writing a chart, I probably wouldn't use half-diminished, I'd call it m7b5. Perhaps it's just what I'm used to - but to me the name makes more sense - and calling it a diminished chord of any kind sorta doesn't tell you anything about functionality.

    I remember the first time I saw that half diminished symbol in a chart, and I thought what the hell is that? I think it happened to be a score that had a piano part written out as well as chords, so I just looked at the piano voicing and thought - "ahh it's the same as m7b5"
  15. Technically, you are absolutely right. B dim7 should be B D F Ab.

    In practice, however, these chords often get notated in technically incorrect ways, either because it's easier, or because a different notation gives a better idea of what the harmonic function is.

    For example, take the simple progression C-Bdim7-Am. You could say that here, Bdim7 is actually a kind of substitute for E7b9, which contains most of the same notes. Thus it acts as kind of a secondary dominant for the Am (E being the dominant of A). Hence it might clarify the voice leading in this progression to write the Bdim7 as B D F G#, because the G# will sound like it wants to resolve to the A. Technically, of course, B D F G# would be the first inversion of a G#dim7 chord, and you could always say G#dim7/B. But I think for many of us it would be easier just to say Bdim7 and to write it B D F G#.

    On the other hand, take the progression C-Bdim7-C. Here I personally would write it B D F Ab, because to me the voices "pull" differently. I would tend to hear it *in this progression* as a variant of a G7b9 chord, which means that the Ab would want to pull down to G rather than up to A, and writing Ab instead of G# is not only more "correct" but also clarifies the voice movement.

    Am I making sense or muddying the waters?
  16. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Perfect sense. A good point actually. I suppose I was looking at a dim7 in isolation, and saying it should be 1 b3 b5 bb7. But, you're right of course, when it is acting as a substitution for E7b9, G# makes more sense. And, you're right that when it's substituting for G7b9, an Ab makes more sense. Still, does it make sense to consistently think of a dim7 as 1 b3 b5 6 rather than 1 b3 b5 bb7? I don't know...

    I don't find myself reading from (or writing) music much nowadays so I don't tend to think of whether I'm playing 1 b3 b5 bb7 or 1 b3 b5 6. But, I suppose if I was playing that Bdim7 chord resolving to Am, and you stopped me and asked me what notes they were, I would say B D F G#, because I would be thinking of it as a substition for E7b9 - and ditto for the G7b9, I'd say Ab.

    I suppose we are working with a flawed system.

    One thing I've never really understood, is why yer classic maj-min-7 chord (known to some simply as the Purple Haze chord ;)) - always seems to be called E7#9, for example. Why #9 not b10? I think of that chord as a dom7 with the minor 3rd added, not an augmented 2nd added. And that's how I would expect to see it written. For example - E G# B D G, would be more likey than E G# B D Fx. And likewise, G B D F Bb would be more likely than G B D F A#. Of course, it depends on the context, but in the context I would usually see that chord, b10 would make more sense. So, why why why why why #9?
  17. For me the answer would be that it makes more sense harmonically and that it more accurately reflects what the chord sounds like and acts like. For example, in most settings where I encounter the "Hendrix chord," I don't hear it as something that sounds simultaneously major and minor, which is what b10 would suggest to me; I hear it as a dominant chord with a particular "flavor" in its upper extension. Try this: play an E7#9, then an E9, then an E7b9, keeping all the notes the same except for the moving 9th. You'll hear that these are all the same type of chord--dominant 7--just with different flavors of gravy on top.
  18. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Well, as I said it depends on context. In the example you described - yes, #9 would make sense - where the extension is part of a descending chromatic line. But I often see this chord used as a dominant. E.g. E7#9 in A minor, or E7#5#9 which is a good one (which is essentially an augmented chord - why not E7b10+? ;)). In this case, I think G makes much more sense than F double sharp. I would also use this chord (probably without the #5 :)) in funk comping - in a situation where you're essentially playing in, say, G (mixolydian), but with Bbs for a bluesy sound. (I'm talking about piano/keyboard now really) but I'd play voicing like B F Bb - which I think makes more sense than B F A# - because it is a minor third.
  19. Well, for ease of notation, maybe; for analytical purposes and pedantic correctness, maybe not. For one thing, having a G# and a G in the same chord can be a bit tricky to make theoretical sense of. The way that chord is usually voiced on guitar at least--which I know better than piano--that would be a diminished octave, which though theoretically possible is IMO pretty hard to hear as such. If you play that interval, I think most folks would hear a major 7th, which would be most correctly notated G#-Fx.

    That said, few people really like double sharps, and most I've seen would notate that chord with a G.

    I guess the situation is similar with #11 chords.
  20. Also, as I understand it, the point to upper extensions of a chord is that by following the trail of seconds and thirds upward *you get to tones that were not in the basic chord to begin with.* Now, the 10th is just the 3rd by another name. It's already in the chord, and so it would not normally be referred to again if it's encountered a 2nd time. Its presence is already assumed.