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X6 chords (eg C6, etc) - spelling and supporting

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by wulf, Jun 5, 2003.


  1. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    My band, Lovesjones, has recently added the jazz standard All of Me to it's repetoire. We did it a couple of times last weekend, after minimal rehearsal (of that particular song) - Friday night swung but Saturday night's performance sucked so hard we used it to clean the dust off the floor....

    The first two measures are notated with a C6 chord, which I've always assumed is built of I, III, V and VI (eg. C E G A). If I'm comping along with the chords, I'll tend to voice it I III VI.

    However, doing a bit of work on my end of the tune last night, I tried looking it up in Mark Levine's Jazz Theory Workbook to get a solid idea of what kind of notes I could walk round underneath it. All I could find about X6 chords was:
    :eek: :confused:

    I couldn't quite figure that one out, so have come to ask at this fount of wisdom. How do you spell C6, how do you walk it on bass and, while you're at it, any suggestions for what to watch for in All of Me?

    Cheers,

    Wulf
     
  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    You are right, C6 is spelled C-E-G-A, but rarely played that way. Most piano and guitar players that I've ever worked with treat it as a I chord, and play maj7, unless that 6 sound is really called for (like Glenn Miller type stuff).
     
  3. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I agree, what Levine said is a little confusing.

    You're right in fact, C6 = C E G A.

    The thing is, that with Jazz, the chord symbols represent an indication of the harmony, rather than any particular voicing. Very much open to interpretation.

    When Levine said that Cmaj7, CM7, C6, C6/9 etc all mean the same thing, what he means is that they're all major triads with added notes from the major scale, and they're interchangeable. As Pac said, they're all I chords. From that point of view, they're all interchangeable, and when you see one, you can play any of the others. I'm not sure it's fair to say (like Levine did) that they're the same thing - I think it's more accurate to say they're interchangeable.
     
  4. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    So, in effect, the chord might be written as C6, perhaps because of the notes in the melody line, but most jazz players would tend to substitute a major 7th instead.

    Our keyboard player is very experienced, so I wonder if he's making these substitutions, maybe even without thinking about it too hard, and that's clashing with the 6ths that the rest of us are putting in.

    Food for thought - something I can listen for on the recordings and discuss at our next rehearsal.

    BTW, am I right about the melody being the first point of reference for how the basic chord (1, 3, 5) is extended with other notes (eg. 6, 7, 9, and various combinations)?

    Wulf
     
  5. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Do you mean from the point of view of the way the tune is harmonized (e.g. why the composer decided to put C7 instead of C13) - or from the point of view of adding extensions to the chord symbols written (e.g. playing C13 instead of C7)?
     
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well, that's all you've got to go on with "Standards" - but it might not always be the case. So - in Jazz workshops I've attended with Jazz pros as 'tutor', it's often been the case that they will bring along an original tune they have written and will talk about it and explain their thinking.

    So - it might be a particular sound they are going for in the chords - sometimes these are specified in particular inversions by the use of slash chords...but it may not be to do with the melody and the composer might specify certain chords or modes for the blowing changes...

    So a good example is Miles Davis' Modal period -e.g. "Kind of Blue" - where there might not be a melody and Miles has just specified improvising over certain modes.
     
  7. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Yup, Flamenco Sketches would be a good example.
     
  8. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Talkin' about disrespect...to the composer/arranger, who obviously wanted the 6-voice.:rolleyes: And NOT the maj7-voice!:mad:
     
  9. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    No, not necessarily, at all. Nothing to do with disrespect, it's to do with your interpretation of the harmony.

    The composer may have wanted the 6th chord, but that may well just reflect the harmonic fashion of the time. Dissonance creeps into music naturally, as great musicians like Trane come along and play what was previously thought of as dissonant, but they do it with conviction, they make it sound right, and it becomes part of the language.

    Naturally, old songs will be reinterpreted in the context of modern day harmony.

    It may well be that the 6 chord was written on the original because, at the time, it was much more common to play I chords as 6 chords. Perhaps maj7s weren't in the language to the extent they are now.

    When you're talking about standards, you're talking about songs that were written a long time ago.

    If it is a more arranged tune, like that of the afforementioned Glenn Miller, then you may want to play it in the style it would have been originally played - which means less dissonant harmony - 6 chords rather than maj7 chords perhaps.

    But when we play standards nowadays, we're not trying to give a "stylistically authentic" performace, by definition - because a lot of those standards originally came from shows, they weren't written as Jazz tunes.

    How about all the substitutions guys like Bird were doing on the rhythm changes? Were they being disrespectful to Gershwin by not using his voicings?
     
  10. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I haven't quite internalised the melody... I'll have to check my real book later today, but I'll take your word for it at the moment.

    The overall impression I'm picking up is that most of the harmonising is about making choices - as well as the main distinctions of major and minor, a whole range of other 'flavours' that can be added to the tune. There's not a rule about 'you must use a 6 chord here' - it's just one of the options, and one that is generally regarded as sounding a bit dated at present.

    I think my homework is firstly to listen more closely to the recordings of the successful run through on Friday and the more 'avant garde' harmonies that came out on Saturday and see if I can figure out what changed. One thing I do recall is that on Friday I had a clear view of the lead sheet, whereas on Saturday I was going on what I remembered but sometimes having to fall back on attempting to fit in with the keyboard. I wonder if he was taking his harmonic choices from 'outside the box' both nights, with the difference being that one night I was providing a foundation for him to play off whereas the next night I was ending up unbalancing things by playing even further out.

    With respect... ;)

    Wulf
     
  11. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Hold on, I typed that wrong... it's 1 5 3 1 2 1 not 1 3 5. D'oh!

    The 1 5 3 is descending. So, I guess you could say it's actually 8 5 3 8 9 8.
     
  12. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    That sounds a lot more familiar ;)

    Wulf
     
  13. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Don't play a lot of jazz, do you?
     
  14. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    :D
     
  15. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Okay, further adding to the confusion, I've done some research on the chords. Below are several renderings of the first section - I'm assuming all would fit the melody if played in a straightforward way, although I can only speak for the first one from experience:

    C6  | C6  | E7  | E7  |
    A7  | A7  | Dm7 | Dm7 |
    E7  | E7  | Am7 | Am7 |
    D13 | D13 | Dm7 | G7  ||


    According to The New Real Book (discounting a couple of suggested possible substitutions).

    C  | C  | E7    | E7 |
    A7 | A7 | A7 Dm | Dm |
    E7 | E7 | Am    | Am | 
    D7 | D7 | G7    | G7 ||


    According to this site.

    C6/9 | C6/9 | Bm7 | E9  |
    Em7  | A9   | Dm7 | Dm7 |
    Bm7  | E9   | Am7 | Am7 |
    Am7  | D7   | Dm7 | G13 ||


    According to this site.

    The first two are quite similar, although there are a few relatively minor alterations:
    - dropping the C6 in flavour of plain C
    - representing m7 chords as just m
    - holding over the A7 into the first couple of beats of bar 6 (melody note - a minim of G)
    - using 7 rather than 13 in bars 13 and 14
    - G7 rather than Dm7 in bar 15 (loosing the clear ii7-V7-I turnaround)

    The third one departs further. I can see the relationship but would characterise it as being more explicit about the suggested harmonisation. Working on the basis that these are all 'correct' I guess that's why jazz is [so much fun | so confusing] (delete as applicable :D )

    Wulf
     
  16. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    The first one you posted there is what I'd consider to be the basic changes to All Of Me (well, the first 16 bars of them, anyway).

    The other two have various substitutions. Mainly, they seem to have taken many of the dominant 7th chords and subbed ii-V for them. For example, E7 becomes Bm7 E9 etc. A common sub.

    The difference between Am and Am7 is minor (no pun intended!) - since they're functioning as ii chords you'd voice them as Am7. It's just that one makes the 7th explicit, and one leaves the player to add it. They don't have to add it, of course, but they pretty much would.

    Likewise, the difference between the D7 and the D13 is still relatively minor. A pianist or guitarist may very well extend the D7 chord to a D13 anyway. And likewise, sometimes you might even voice the 13 chord as a simple dominant 7th. You might do one thing on one chorus, and something different on the next.
     
  17. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Hokay... actually, I've just got news that our keyboard player can't make our next gig at the jazz club, so I can see us either withdrawing from that slot or a lot more of the harmonic function falling to the bass (the guitarist isn't an expert when it comes to jazz playing so I think I may end up comping along with the chords).

    Still, that means:

    a) I've got the wheel!

    b) At least we'll be able to fit both the trumpet and sax on stage!

    Wulf
     
  18. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    The C6 is a substitute for a Cmaj7. It is used when the root (C) is in the melody so you don't have the 1/2 step clash between the B of the Cmaj7 chord and the melody note C

    Mike
     
  19. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Shouldn't you be on a break? :D

    j/k Mike.

    That's a good point, that I hadn't really thought of. Personally, I don't consider a C melody note against Cmaj7 chord to be a clash in any kind of unpleasant way - but it makes sense.
     
  20. coupla questions on this stuff:
    What is the difference? The only way I could differentiate the two would be to say not to play a seventh on an Am chord.

    I know that C6 is not the same as C13 really, but when I see C13, I think C7/13 (dominant triad with the 13th). Not the same for C6? Should it acutally be notated Cmaj6?