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Roman Numerals

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by darrenmccarthy, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. darrenmccarthy


    Jun 1, 2011
    Hi Forum,

    Can anyone recommend a reference for learning tunes with the roman numeral system? More specifically, application when the tune modulates a lot. For example; the bridge of Have you met Mrs Jones?

    I must say I am blown away with how powerful a learning tool this forum is.

    As always , thanks in advance x
  2. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Roman numerals are a tool that can be helpful in some situations, but in the case of the release of Miss Jones, it's absurd. Just learn the changes and understand what you're hearing.
  3. If you understand chord degrees of a scale, harmonic progressions, and the naming system, it all still applies with a little fudging. For jazz and pop/rock tunes, I prefer what I call "prescriptive roman numerals" over "descriptive roman numerals". In classical theory we analyze and describe what has happened with the composed music, hearing 'back in time' when needed, using pivot chords etc. In what I call 'prescriptive roman numerals', I mainly care about using the method to get me to the next right chord on time, in any key. Use it in a way that makes sense to you, fudging along the way as needed.

    eg. ii- V of IV, ii-V of bII, ii-V of VI# , ii-V of bII, ii-V to tonic. to resolutions being IV, bII, VI#, bII.

    So in whatever key, spell out the I, IV, bII, VI# (to some, the # is redundant with the capitalization, but to me it adds extra clarity), and then figure out the rest from there.
  4. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Mark the "new key centers", apply ii-V-I.


    Have You Met Miss Jones - Key of F

    Eight measure bridge (B-Section) is in Bb - at least it starts there.

    || (Key of Bb) I | (Key of Gb) ii7 V7 | I | (Key of D) ii7 V7 | I | (Key of Gb) ii7 V7 | I | (Key Bb) ii7 V7 ||

    This is easier:

    || Bb | Abm7 Db7 | Gb | Em7 A7 | D | Abm7 Db7 | Gb | Cm7 F7 ||

    It's really not worth it. Use Jazz Notation.

    Roman Numeral Analysis is helpful in seeing harmonic patterns, though.

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