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Yardbird Suite - bridge question

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by TonyD, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. Hi guys,

    the bridge in Yardbird Suite (Cmaj) has the following possible chord progression:

    Em7 - || F#dim7 B7b9 || Em7 - || A7 - ||
    Dm7- || Edim7 A7 || D7 - || G+7 ||

    Am I correct that the minor mode over the first 2 bars is E melodic minor? So that includes a C# and D#?

    The C# sounds strange in my ears when constructing bass lines over these chords. Perhaps it should be the harmonic minor mode (which include a C), instead of melodic minor.

    Thanks for your help.
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    It's just "e minor". The C# sounds funny because it clashes with the b5 of the F#mib5 chord and the b9 of the B7b9 chord, both of which indicate a C natural.

    A really simple way to think of E as a tonic minor is this:

    E, F#, G, A, B, CorC#, Dand/orD#, E

    The first five notes never change. Both versions of the seventh are valid over altered V chords (in this case the D would be the #9 and the D# would be the 3rd). The lower of the two sixths is indicated over the ii-7b5 to V7alt part of the progression, but over the tonic chord players may choose to play raised 6th and 7th (melodic minor), flatted 6th and 7th (pure minor), lowered 6th and raised 7th (harmonic minor), raised 6th and flatted 7th (dorian minor), or even lowered 6th, lowered 7th andraised 7th (I like to call this "bebop minor" although other people use this designation for another scale).

    I think of the 6th and 7th in the instance of tonic minor progression as "toggle tones", meaning they can either be raised or lowered like a light switch depending on what color is desired. Hope this helps.
    INTP likes this.
  3. JGoldberg


    Jul 10, 2011
    Westchester, NY
    You have to think of it in terms of a minor ii V7 i. Harmonic/Melodic minor are more relevant over the V chord (B7) which features a D#.

    Spend some time working on minor (ii V i)s to get a good sense of how those chords work together. Their relationship is a very big part of Jazz.

    As for melodic vrs harmonic, it's really just a matter of personal taste. Being comfortable with both sounds will give you a wider palate to work from.
  4. macdeezy


    Jan 17, 2010
    Reno, Nevada
    Start shedding those ii v's
  5. Have a look at the chord extensions.
    Em7 means a D, not a D#.
    And since Em is the tonic (for the following turnaround) it is E aeolian (or natural minor with C and D).

    It helps a lot to make a functional and tonal analysis of the chord changes to find out which kind of scale fits best.
  6. davidhilton

    davidhilton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 13, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    This really isn't the case most of the time midi. Most of the time we refer to the "tonic minor" like on Solar, or Alone together, softly, etc...mel min fits over the tonic minor very well. Now when u get to the harmonic min ii V - thats another story. but don't think just cuz the real book says E-7 that they are in concrete implying u play in E aeolian.
  7. I was refering to the complete example the OP has given, not to a single chord.
    It is true, that sometimes we cannot trust chord symbols, but if others play them as written, we need to refer to what they play.
    If we don't trust chord symbols, we need to analyze the chord progression, and hope that our assumption of the correct chords is right (the composite might have had a different idea in some rare cases).
  8. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    As always... refer to as many recordings, transcriptions and anything else you can get your hands on that is titled Yardbird Suite.

    Having said that... :cool:

    When one sees a progression like the above, and especially the || F#dim7 B7b9 || resolving to Em, use the notes from this collection of pitches: E, F#, G, A, B, C, CX (D), D#. Think of the whole measure as a V7(b9b13). That scale, except for the "E", are ALL the chord tones, plus the #9. Work in some interesting diminished arpeggios (D#, F#, A, C).

    Also, I suspect that last chord, that you have labeled as G+7, is really G7(b13). NO WHOLE TONE Scale-Bag!
  9. As it happens often in cadenza-oriented music, the dominant chord in minor is a major chord.
    Behause of the I7 there is not a single scale (maybe a chromatically enriched one where you select one or the other depending on the chord) that fits all there chords.
    I would play C and D on I and II (aeolian/locrian), and C and D# on V (5th mode of harmonic Minor).

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