Showing posts from 2012

Secrets of the Sound: S1 used in Chord Progressions.

The Sound One (S1) in chord progressions, used exclusively to create that jazz piano (or guitar, or arpeggiated for horns) sound: I once ran a showcase band at MacEwan, and was getting into some arrangements that called for this S1 sound. I was working with a very interesting go-to-kind of guy on guitar in the band. He didn't know how to voice a G7(#9#5) chord per se, but he knew how to voice dominant 13 chords. So I asked him on the spot to play a Db13 chord / G bass and lo and behold we had the asked for G7(#9#5) chord voicing.  He was surprised but realized that basically, he already had voicings for altered dominant chords which were virtually the same as V13 chords a tritone away.  I was prompted to tell him this, because I had been working this "Sound" thing and that was an action that came out of that study.  So why do this and not stick exclusively to the "normal" extension replacement of seventh chord tones (9 for 1, 13 for 5 etc.)?   Because with t

Secrets of the Sound: Intro and Connections to the Bebop Cliché.

I'm putting together a series of blogs on " The Sound ," a voicing idea with some connected but divergent paths creating transformations of chord quality and chord progression.  In this introduction the concept of the Sound is introduced, as well as how it naturally interrelates with the  bebop cli ch é. The basic  Sound has been heard in jazz piano for over half a century now and we all know it so well it is often referred to as the " Stock 13 " chord. I first learned it from the guys I was playing with in the 1960's and heard more about it from a jazz piano book series by John Mehegan, who featured it in what he called A and B voicings which used  Fma7(b5) as an example of a G13 chord. The A version was this closed voiced chord in root position and the B  version was the second inversion of that.  This particular voicing was described by my friend Mike Nock, as " The Sound " ...heard all over the world where and when jazz was played.  

Playing in Keys: The Headache Is Worth It.

It's summer time (so they say). The piano goes more out of tune than at any other time of the year. I could do a quick unison tuning and that might help but I've been taking to putting in my ear inserts to tone down the sound in this small room I have with my lovely little 'Steigerman' grand piano. For some reason that helps to bear the out-of-phasing of the unison-piano-strings.  It would be nice to have it in tune because I've convinced myself that I need to play even complex songs in twelve keys. I've been using some precious time to do this. I'm finding it helps in many areas: It gives me a better understanding of the harmony because the new keys are harder to figure out without this understanding. It definitely helps with hearing intervals, especially leaps. It creates a better understanding of all keys. It helps to play in keys that don't always get played in and breaks the tactile memory and makes the player work harder to overc

Polarized Passing Chords with Extensions

Here’s a little exploration of the diminished seventh  chords and extensions found in the additive major scale (bebop-type scale), also referred to as a polarized passing tone scale.   Passing tone scales are additive scales with a strategically placed chromatic passing tone, placed in such a way as to create a repeating two-chord structure. The scale tone sevenths and extensions found in this scale are essentially two polar/opposing harmonic entities: tonic and dominant. C major bebop (Add b6): The chord extensions found on the tonic side are mostly from the major scale itself or the root lydian scale.   The chord extension examples of the dominant/diminished aspects of this scale are explored using the Symmetrical-Diminished  whole/half (Sym Dim) scale, for example the Ddim7 whole/half scale: D E F G Ab Bb B C (D). C major bebop (Add b6) with extended chords: The above with extended chords. Note the diminished chords are extended with notes from the remai

Diminished Seventh Chord Function

The diminished seventh chord is constructed of four minor third intervals dividing the octave symmetrically. Since there are only twelve chromatic tones, and each inversion will produce four diminished seventh chords, means that in essence there are only three actual diminished sevenths. They are found diatonically in harmonic minor and harmonic major scales on VII (the raised 7th), and, symmetrically in the "whole/half" diminished scale. This discussion is mainly about the symmetrical diminished “whole/half” scale/chord. The symmetrical diminished scale is also "invertable" by minor thirds. For example, C symmetrical diminished (referred to as "Sym Dim" ) scale “inverts” symmetrically to Eb Sym Dim, F# Sym Dim, and A Sym Dim. The remaining notes in this scale i.e. the 9, 11, b13, and Ma7 themselves form a diminished seventh chord (D dim) and inversions that are a whole tone away from the original. The second of the only two true modes of this symm