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Theory question - Cm to Faug change

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by sevenyearsdown, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I have a basic theory question for you guys - something I'm trying to work out for a song and am having no luck with. Let me say first that I am mostly an ear player - so forgive me if my theory & terminology are a bit off.

    Playing a swing/rockabilly upbeat number that has a C minor to F augmented chord change. I am walking up from C minor (C-Eb-E-F) to get to the Faug...that's where I'm not hearing it.

    I have a tendancy to want to walk the Faug back down (G-Bb-A-Ab-F) likes it's a minor chord. It feels good, but I don't know if it'll sound right with a guitar.

    It is my understanding that an Faug consists of F - A - C#, but I'm not finding anything that sounds good to me around these notes.

  2. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    First I would use C-D-Eb-E ascending so you land on F on the downbeat. Chromatic lines work good ascending. Now descending is another story scale-wise movement works better. Now is your chord a F Aug or F aug7 or F7 #5. I ask so you can find an appropriate scale movement to descend with. F, Eb, D, C#.
  3. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Yeah, hitting the F on beat four of the previous measure doesn't really set up the Faug chord you're after. Here's the goal in walking (not always done, but it's the basis of the form)- hit strong chord tones on beats 1 and 3, use beat 4 to set up the next chord, and beat 2 is whatever works to make the others flow naturally.

    So, Doc's suggestion of C D Eb E puts the root on 1 and the minor 3rd on beat 3. The E on beat 4 creates some tension which is resolved when you hit F on the downbeat of the next measure. So, D by default on beat 2.

    Then you've put F on beat 1 of the Faug chord, and as Doc says, we need to clarify the chord. If it's a straight Faug, it's indeed F, A, and C# (augmented chords are two major thirds stacked up, or 1, 3, #5.

    I don't know what F aug7 would be- "augmented" is moving a perfect interval up a half step and the terminology seems to be say "F with an augmented 7". That's not correct as a 7th is either minor or major, not augmented. And an "augmented 7" would be the root again. F7#5 would be F A C# Eb so maybe F aug7 is F A C# E, a major 7 with an augmented 5th.

    But the bottom line is you'll need to know exactly what the chord that the guitarist is playing so you can figure out your options. And, a critical part is where does it go AFTER the Faug? The whole idea of walking bass is to propel the song forward. That means leading the ear to the next chord (as the E on beat four of the 1st measure does).

  4. EADG mx

    EADG mx

    Jul 4, 2005
    In my experience playing #5 chords always sounds funny without a comping instrument. Use the #5 for now, then try it with someone chording and let your ears decide.

    For the record

    Cmin - C Eb G
    Faug - F A C#
    Faug7 - F A C# Eb (aka F7#5)
    FaugMaj7 - F A C# E (aka Fmaj7#5)
  5. JtheJazzMan


    Apr 10, 2006
    need some more context on the chords.

    just supplying those 2 chords, it looks like part of a II-V progression going back to a Bb major or minor?

    the "F aug" (awful as a chord description mind you) looks like part of a F7#5

    Maybe spanish phrygian/ harmonic minor sound or maybe its an altered chord

    can you tell us the melody notes on that chord
  6. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    The chart I was given has the chord in question listed as Faug.

    The song is in Bb.

    The chord following Faug is Bb.
  7. JtheJazzMan


    Apr 10, 2006
    youll have to double check with your harmony players, and check the melody notes, but its probably one of the two i mentioned.

    if its an altered chord, you could try a scalic passage. the scale uses the notes:

    F Gb Ab A B Db Eb F

    the other scales mixob9 b13 and spanish phrygian (extra note in brackets)

    F Gb (Ab) A Bb C Db Eb F

    In both cases, walking down the scale from the F leads you back to Bb neatly. Try some larger spread arpeggios though, it grabs the ear on these chords, which are supposed to be tense.

    try this descending arpeggio (the chords are above and the notes below are the walking line)


    Eb G Bb D | Db A F Eb | D F D C | Bb

    other than that, it may be whole tone, but probably not. the other two are the most likely

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