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Playing a tune through the cycle

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by fmoore200, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. fmoore200


    Mar 22, 2011
    So I've been expanding my rep (the meager rep that it is ;) ) and was wondering how to play it through the cycle of 5ths.

    I think I get how to transpose the melody, but what about the chord progression? Specifically the non diatonic chords?

    For example, the tune "after you've gone" in the key of Bb. The first chord is Ebmaj7, but the second chord is Ebmin6... What do I do with that when going from Bb major to, say, F major?

  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    I recommend to learn the Roman Numeral system of harmonic analysis:


    For example, in the key of Bb, Eb is the IV chord and Ebmin is the iv chord.
    Sof you transpose the harmony to the key of F, then Bb is the IV chord and Bbmin is the iv chord.

  3. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    or to reprhase that:
    Bbmaj7 and Bbmi7 are the first two chords where they have been transposed up a 5th from the original key (Ebmaj7 and Ebmi7).

    If you transpose the melody, then all of the chords have to be transposed respectively as well. Then when you look at the relative relationships between the chords and the "key" the tune is in intervallicly, you get the Roman Numeral relationship. Ebmaj7 is the IVmaj7 of Bb.

    It's not hard. However, you should beware that tunes often move to different key centers, which can make Roman Numeral Analysis messy should you go that route. In doing so, you should look at what key centers a tune has and do the analysis that way to keep it simpler.
  4. fmoore200


    Mar 22, 2011
    Thanks for the quick responses guys!

    I get that Ebmaj is the IV of Bb... My question is more about the Ebmin.

    If I transposed the tune to F major the Ebmaj7 turns into Bbmaj7 (the IV of F) but the Ebmin is non diatonic to Bb, and by extension the key of the tune itself, so what does the Ebmin6 become?
  5. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Unfortunately I don't know that particular tune. You'd have to look at the chords that follow. For example if the Ebmin is followed by Bb7 and AbMaj, then it is a ii-V-I progression modulating to Ab. (Or it could simply be a minor iv chord, which is not uncommon.)
  6. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    When you transpose the intervallic relationships change - this has nothing to do with a diatonic scale.

    If it's Bbmaj7 | Bbmin6 then transposing up a 5th gives you Fmaj7 | Fmin6. Get it? It's simple.

    If I take a ii-V-i.... Cm7 F7 Bbmaj7 and transpose it up a 3rd
    I get Em7 A7 Dmaj7
    if I go up a 5th, it's Gm7 D7 Fmaj7

    This has nothing to do with diatonic anything. Every single chord needs to be transposed up the same amount.

    Ebmin6 up a 5th becomes Bbmin6

    Transpose it yourself and PLAY the example. Does it sound right to you?
  7. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    To answer your question with a question, if the chords are BbMaj/Bbmin in the original key, and EbMaj/____ in the transposed key, what possible chord other than Ebmin would you fill in the blank, and what is your thought process?
  8. fmoore200


    Mar 22, 2011

    Wow. Sometimes I get caught over thinking.. Thanks for simplifying it for me. .. :D
  9. Three elements define a chord:

    Position: The root note

    Quality: The guide tones (3rd and seventh) which tells you maj 7th, minor 7th, dominant etc...

    Colour: This is all the other tones that define the chord, your 9ths, 11ths, 13ths, b and #5ths etc...

    So an Eb7#11 has
    Position: Eb
    Quality: Dominant (G and Db)
    Colour: #11 (A natural)

    The point being that the roman numeral only represents the Position of the chord in relation to the key. I was always taught not to use lower case roman numerals in Jazz analysis. So the Ebmaj7 is IVmaj7 and Ebmin6 is IVmin6 (by the way a min6 chord is an inversion of a half-diminished chord off of the 6th of the chord, so the C)

    I think the roman numeral analysis is valuable for analyzing any tune as long as you point out when it modulates and write in relation to the new key.

    but if you have a II-V where the positions are both in the key, but the progression itself is not, I wouldn't call it a modulation but instead just a sub-progression within the key, using secondary dominants.

    i.e. If a tune in Eb has the II-V (Bb-7 Eb7) its better to analyze this as a secondary progression to IV (II/IV-V/IV) than to call it a II-V in the key of Ab.

    This stuff all helped me a lot with analysis, which in turn makes transposition a lot easier.
  10. zfunkman


    Dec 18, 2012
    A Bbmin6. In the key of Bb, the Ebmin is a key change, then it changes back. It could also just be an "alternate chord" alternating a minor for a major. Key changes and alternating chords are common in modern jazz. Wayne Shorter really does this a lot; he puts many chords in songs that are not in the key the song is written. When I was in music school I tried to anyalyze El Gaucho by Wayne Shorter only to discover it was not written in any key because of the constant key changes.
  11. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    What you wrote is good info and advice - if you understand it. What he was asking for was quite simple and IMO, better not to over-complicate things. It's just a simple key change - nothing more.

    Roman numeral analysis is great but can also be confusing if you haven't done it alot, and over more complicated tunes. For the OP, it's something he can discover later. Once he transposes a set of changes over several keys, he'll find that the Roman Numeral analysis comes a lot more naturally.
  12. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    Yeah, maybe it just seemed more complicated than it is!

    Here's another cut at it:

    Pick any tune, in the key of F--minor or major as the case may be. If you wanted to transpose it up a halfstep, to F# (minor or major), you wouldn't bat an eye, yeah? Up one fret on every chord; the quality of every chord would remain the same; the scale associated with the key center would just be up one fret.

    The same logic applies, no matter where you're transposing the song to.
  13. This. Not much theory is required to transpose something up a major 5th. (Or down a major 4th, depending on how you want to think about it.)
  14. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Here's a free resource that will help you:

  15. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    Search Composite minor and like function substitution .
  16. Ant_C


    Jul 25, 2012
    Tamarac, FL
    I don't want to sound like a pretentious jerk when I say this, but there is no such thing as a major 4th or major 5th. In Music Theory (or just music in general) they are referred to as Perfect 4th and a Perfect 5th.
  17. You are correct, but you do sound like a jerk. :rolleyes:
  18. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    No, if he didn't include the words "you ****ing moron" or suggest that you were only fit to be sold to wealthy Chinese as a pet, he does not sound like a jerk.
  19. fmoore200


    Mar 22, 2011
    Thanks for all the responses guys! I did play through the tune while "raising" the chords a 5th in my head and you guys were right.

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