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With a performance career spanning five decades, Charlie Austin has played on The Tommy Banks Show on CBC and the 1970's and 80's ITV Concert series, where he accompanied singers such as Mel Torme, Henry Mancini, Viki Carr, Connie Stevens, Carol Lawrence, and others. Charlie was the house band pianist and arranger for Second City Television (SCTV), produced in Edmonton. For over thirty years, Charlie taught in Grant MacEwan University’s Jazz Program, where he influenced a generation of Canadian jazz musicians. His comprehensive jazz piano text An Approach to Jazz Piano, and 450 Contemporary Piano Studies in 15 Keys, his groundbreaking collection of studies in popular styles, have been sold around the world. Now retired, Charlie continues to perform, teach, record, and inspire. Recent recordings include solo piano If I Should Lose You (2012) and trio recording Homage (2014).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

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 remaining notes found in the Sym Dim scale. Sometimes the numerator of the slash components will be partial major or minor triad or sevenths rather than a whole diminished seventh. This can be pretty harsh with some melody notes. 

Different melody:
Here's the same thing but with different numerators and melody notes—- all diminished based chords are from D Sym Dim (whole/half)—this might work in some situations. Try other numerators on the diminished chord forms: Fdim+5Ma7/—Abdim+5Ma7—Bdim+5Ma7... all over the diminished sevenths shown in the left hand. Of course the rhythm aspect comes in to play with some of the "screechier" diminished sevenths and extensions.


Awkward! chord symbol but it's in there!!

A little different flavor with a diminished source dominant in the polarized passing tone chord:

This time the Auxiliary Diminished is used:

The final example of a passing tone/chord with "polarized components" uses the tonic major chord with extensions and the Auxiliary Diminished with extensions: i.e. Cdim7 whole/half scale: C D Eb F F# G# A B (C). It should give those who want to work with this a point of departure for their own voicing explorations of this topic.

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