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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Diminished Chord and Lick Substitution in Bluegrass...


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banjotom2 - Posted - 01/09/2012:  22:29:23



I posted this in the tab request section here on the BHO... but thought it may also make an interesting discussion piece for the theory section...



In Earl's original, he plays an A chord... I heard Bela Fleck do some diminished chord and lick substitutions on this Scruggs standard... and the diminished chords and riffs sounded like they belonged there... where the A chord normally is...



This arrangement also has a 2 measure diminished chord riff in the tag ending...



Sounds like it belongs there... what do YOU think?



*  *  *



All of the diminished chord and lick substitutions are visible on the second and lower staff... I left the A chord in the rhythm... it still sounds right...



Ballad of Jed Clampett with Diminished Chord Substitutions - Tabledit



Ballad of Jed Clampett with Diminished Chord Substitutions - MIDI



See attached PDF sample...



Tom



banjotom2.com



Edited by - banjotom2 on 01/09/2012 22:30:42



Diminished Ballad of Jed

   

banjotom2 - Posted - 01/09/2012:  22:49:11



It seems like using theory knowledge on tunes we already know is going to make that information applicable in a much easier way.



It just occurred to me that 'Jingle Bells', when played in the key of G, has an A major chord in it also...



I'm going to give that a try next and see if it works...



Can you think of any other tunes in G that have an A chord?



Bluegrass and/or folk tunes?



Tom



banjotom2.com


banjotom2 - Posted - 01/09/2012:  23:18:06



The diminished chord-riff idea did not sound right in Jingle Bells...



Tom


Deaf Lester Crawdad - Posted - 01/09/2012:  23:53:41



quote:


Originally posted by banjotom2



The diminished chord-riff idea did not sound right in Jingle Bells...




Diminished chords (actually they're nearly always diminished 7th chords) are most commonly used as passing chords, so substituting  a Dim.7th. for an A in the key of G  -where the A often functions as a passing chord on your way to D anyhow- often works.  But whether or not it will depends on both the melody and the "feel" of the song in question.



Diminished passing chords work well in a lot of Jazz and Country stuff, and in some Bluegrass as well, but if there's a rule which states exactly which tunes they will work in and which ones they won't, I've yet to discover it.



You just have to try using diminished 7th chords / licks everywhere you can think of, and eventually you'll develop a feel for what works and what doesn't.



At least I did.



~Pete


bjango53 - Posted - 01/10/2012:  06:36:01



Diminished 7th chords = 1-b3-b5-bb7   yes?


Rick McKeon - Posted - 01/10/2012:  07:28:12



Yes, that's right. But a lot of people don't like double flats so they call it minor 6th with a flat 5 = m6(b5). It's minor because of the b3. It's 6 because of the bb7 (which in standard notation would usually be written as the 6) and it has a b5.



If you find a song where it works well try playing it, moving it up 3 frets and then another 3 frets if there is time. You'll be playing a diminished walk up.



Rick


Jody Hughes - Posted - 01/10/2012:  07:42:25



Hey there,



What you have here can be broken down as follows:



Our ear tends to like to hear chord progressions in fifths. A7 is the V of D. It is VERY common to put the V of another chord in front of it.



In this case, what I'm hearing is a 7b9 chord and not a diminished.

A 7b9 chord and a diminished chord look the same without the root in them.



A7b9=AC#EGBb

Bb diminished= BbEGC#



Remove the A from A7b9 chord and you end up with C#EGBb, which is the same as Bb diminished. 



If you want to have some extra fun, try that diminished chord and instead of D major afterwards play an A minor.



Edited by - Jody Hughes on 01/10/2012 07:50:50

pearcemusic - Posted - 01/10/2012:  09:31:55



and every fully diminished chord/arpeggio equals 4 different dominant 7b9 chord/arpeggios.



i.e. the notes C Eb Gb A are C, Eb, Gb, and A fully diminished chords because the minor 3rds stacking is symmetrical.



Those 4 notes are also integral in Ab7b9, B7b9, D7b9, and F7b9 ... so if you see any of those dominant chords and want to color them as b9, the same diminished chord stacking will work.



The A chord in "Ballad" is an A7, which Bela "colored" as a b9 dominant chord.



It's an often used embellishment in anything jazzy with 7 chords.



there's a good explanation of symetrical scales here:



outsideshore.com/primer/primer...-4-4.html



 



try playing these 4 diminished triad/stacks on your 1st three strings:



1st string: 4 ---- 7 --- 10 --- 13 ----



2nd string: 4 ---- 7 --- 10 --- 13 ----



3rd string: 5 ---- 8 --- 11 --- 14 ----



then play an Ab7... then the stacks,



B7 then the stacks,



D7 then the stacks,



and F7 then the stacks



you get 4 dom7b9 chord sounds out of the same repetitive diminished chord.



diminished scales, chords and arpeggios are very useful, and easy to learn because the are so symmetrical and repetitive.


banjotom2 - Posted - 01/10/2012:  11:03:25



Wow!



I did the arrangement... and I think I'm learning a little more about the chord, myself!



Hoo Haa!



I was wondering about that bb7...



I'm still wondering a little...



There are plenty of mysteries in music... and the pursuit of them keeps it interesting!



What is a tune that you want to learn but a puzzle of notes, chords and sounds that make your sensibilities happy!



Thanks for all of the input...



Tom



Edited by - banjotom2 on 01/10/2012 11:05:11

schwimbo - Posted - 01/10/2012:  23:35:50


In Earl's original version of the tune, he doesn't really play an A chord (with A, C#, and E notes) but rather moves the C position chord up 1 fret so there is a C#, F, and G on the 5th string, which could be looked at as an A7#5 without the root. There is no Bb on the 3rd string in Earl's version of the tune, not that it would sound bad if you played it. It might sound nice (or at least a little "jarring") to have both the Bb and the F in the chord, which would then be an A7#5b9 (still with no root). Or you might just call it a Bbm6 and decide that it was too weird to play. :-)

Mirek Patek - Posted - 01/11/2012:  05:56:41



I have always treated the chord progression in question as C major => C# major => D major.



Definitely not as C major => A something => D major.



The proposed substitution ( C major => C# dim7 => D major ) sound interesting.



Mirek



 


bjango53 - Posted - 01/11/2012:  10:14:56



Putting a name to a chord / shape just got a whole lot trickier, is there a secret or does it depend on the Key the tune is in or the chords surrounding the unknown shape ?


Deaf Lester Crawdad - Posted - 01/11/2012:  11:54:12



quote:


Originally posted by bjango53



Putting a name to a chord / shape just got a whole lot trickier, is there a secret or does it depend on the Key the tune is in or the chords surrounding the unknown shape ?




 It can depend on the context in which the chord is used, the names of the individual notes, the names of notes that are not included in the case of some extended chords, or simple convenience. 



Thus it's not uncommon for a chord to have more than one possible name, but that's not as confusing as it sounds because if one player is holding a minor 6th while another chooses to call it an augmented 5th it matters not because they will still be playing the same notes.



There are also some conventions that make reading this stuff a bit easier.    For instance; fretted instrument players commonly prefer to name chords in ways that follow a natural sequence, and if a chord progression were written as C, Db, D the banjo player would usually rewrite it (or rethink it) as being C, C#, D because on a fretted instrument it's obvious that C# just means sliding the C chord up one fret, and that mindset avoids the momentary confusion of locating a Db chord.



Of course from a fretboard point of view C# and Db are exactly the same chord, and if the chord progression had been D, C#, C it would have been easier to think of it as being D, Db, C because Db simply means "D one fret lower".



So choosing what you want to call certain chords is often a case of thinking your way through the changes and adopting the mindset that allows you to think about the changes in the way that requires the least number of neurons to fire. wink



~Pete



Edited by - Deaf Lester Crawdad on 01/11/2012 12:11:05

banjotom2 - Posted - 01/11/2012:  12:40:03



Diminished chords act as passing chords... they don't have a static place as the 1,4,5 chords do...



In my own opinion, because they can be used between ANY of the static chords, and they will always be acting as passing chords, it makes no difference whatsoever if they have a letter name or not... especially since the chord could take the name of ANY note within the chord. So, it's really just a matter of taste and choice... personal preference...



In the harmonized scale, the diminished chord falls naturally on the 7th tone of the major scale and can substitute for the dominant 7th chord, as well as acting as passing and color chords...



They're floating chords, able to be used between any of the static major and minor chords, again as passing chords...



So... is it REALLY neccesary to have an alphanumeric name?



In my book it is not...



The diminished chord alphanumeric name seemingly has no bearing except to make the player/user/writer of said chord more comfortable.



Knowing this, it makes me wonder why a number of the top arrangers on this site, don't even write the chord names in... that is, to the arrangements/transcriptions they post to the BHO archive... if the chord names were important... wouldn't the transcriptionist/arranger label each and every chord?



To each their own...



There will always be Monday night quarter backs telling the guys who do the actual work... what they should have done from the safety and comfort of their easy chairs.



Tom



banjotom2.com



Edited by - banjotom2 on 01/11/2012 12:45:16

Deaf Lester Crawdad - Posted - 01/11/2012:  16:17:40



quote:


Originally posted by banjotom2

 


The diminished chord alphanumeric name seemingly has no bearing except to make the player/user/writer of said chord more comfortable.


Knowing this, it makes me wonder why a number of the top arrangers on this site, don't even write the chord names in... that is, to the arrangements/transcriptions they post to the BHO archive... if the chord names were important... wouldn't the transcriptionist/arranger label each and every chord?






Depends on the tune they're transcribing.



The Roman Numeral system  ( I-IV-V) has it's advantages if you want your readers to be able to transpose your arrangements easily into any key, and that works just fine so long as you assume that you're only going to be transcribing tunes with simple chord progressions  -or that the reader is expert enough to insert his own passing chord variations as he / she sees fit.



But if you're writing down advanced chord progressions that use a lot of extended chords and / or different voicings  -as in the various "cheat books" that are primarily written for the use of professional musicians-  it's usually considered better to write down every last chord by name, and in some cases to show you exactly which inversion the arranger had in mind.



Of course a professional will be able to quickly transpose that arrangement to any key he needs it to be in, but specifically designating every single change saves a lot of time when it comes to sorting through all the possible variations that could apply to a given tune.



It's up to the individual musician to decide which of these systems (think "tools")  best fits his needs for a given job so that he doesn't end up using a socket wrench on a slot-headed machine screw.



~Pete


banjotom2 - Posted - 01/11/2012:  17:35:28



Deaf Lester Crawdad,



You make good points, partner!



I just figured in my own arrangement, the point of the arrangement (Ballad of Jed with Diminished Chord) and even the above exercise, the diminished chord is the only diminished chord in the whole song... I've found so often when playing, especially the banjo, I seem to use the same voicing/shape for 99 if not 100% of the diminished chords in everything I arrange... I arrange a lot, but don't use the diminished chords all that often... I grew tired of the old 1,4,5 about 1 year after I started taking lessons formally in 1980... I remember thinking, "There's got to be more than this"... I was bored with the same old, same old... and it really wasn't until I got further into the Mel Bay Guitar series (7 books) that I started hearing and understanding there were better chords out there... and it would be a long time before I knew what to do with those chords... I certainly don't know everything, and I consider myself a life long student of music theory, even though I taught  for many years and still teach... You never know it all... and there's always a new tune to learn, something out there that catches your ear and makes you strive to find the answers to that new puzzle...



I seek to show other folks through my own arrangements, that, even though we all love BG and old-time and all, there are a lot of great sounds out there.... and I always feel like a kid discovering a cool rock, fossil, geode or arrowhead in the local creek when I discover a new tune, a new chord tor series of chords that I use to expand my own vocabulary... and stretch my own ears...



It's always fun to share that stuff, especially here on the BHO... so often, in the teaching studio, the young folks and students are bored with anything beyond the simple... or they just don't understand or care...



The folks here on the BHO seem to grasp and appreciate... there's a lot more people looking at what is being presented... and someone out there will dig the new tune, exercise, chord progressions and so on...



I guess that's why we all keep coming back.



There's always something new to discuss or present...



I've been posting more and more guitar arrangements over on the Flatpickers Hangout... It's like a graveyard over there... it has potential, but the better players seem to prefer recording videos of themselves and no tab is offered for the masses... Nothing wrong with the videos, they are indeed inspiring... but so many people come to these sites to find something THEY can play as opposed to watching videos all day...



I find jam sessions for the most part frustrating... I'd rather pick with a set of friends that all know the same tune and strive for perfection to the degree I do...



The Hangouts give me the audience I need and like to interact with anyone interested in what I have to offer... so, hopefully everyone on both sides of the coin walk away happy.



Tom



 


Deaf Lester Crawdad - Posted - 01/11/2012:  23:47:37



quote:


Originally posted by banjotom2



>>  I certainly don't know everything, and I consider myself a life long student of music theory, even though I taught for many years and still teach.


I think that's probably true of most of us.   There's always more to learn and new ways to combine old tricks.


>>  I seek to show other folks through my own arrangements, that, even though we all love BG and old-time and all, there are a lot of great sounds out there.... and I always feel like a kid discovering a cool rock, fossil, geode or arrowhead in the local creek when I discover a new tune, a new chord tor series of chords that I use to expand my own vocabulary... and stretch my own ears...



Me too.    I just worked out the guitar chords for "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face" from "My Fair Lady" (stunningly lovely melody) last night, and this evening I'll be trying to see how (or if)  it works on banjo.



~Pete






 


Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 01/12/2012:  02:55:48



Is this the book that will unlock the mysteries of the chord language you're speaking:



amazon.com/Bays-Deluxe-Encyclo...mp;sr=8-3



Or is there another book you all might recommend?


banjotom2 - Posted - 01/13/2012:  07:38:26



quote:


Originally posted by Brooklynbanjoboy




Is this the book that will unlock the mysteries of the chord language you're speaking:



amazon.com/Bays-Deluxe-Encyclo...mp;sr=8-3



Or is there another book you all might recommend?






I've owned ALL of the Mel Bay chord encyclopedia's...



They are excellent reference tools, but have limitations...



What they are is a collection of chords in all keys and all types and styles...



A chord encyclopedia is good for quickly finding chords and chord positions that may work for a big tune you're working out...



What a chord encylopedia DOES NOT DO... is give you an understanding of how those chords work together and why...



It is often the thoeretician, or someone well studied not only chord theory, or how to build a given chord, that actually understands the chord progressions they're looking at...



Chords are like chemistry... different chord types will get different reactions from a listener... and you will not find such an explanation in an encyclopedia...



After learning the basic chords in all of the keys, and then going further and learning how to build ALL chords in all keys (based on the harmonized scale), I still had a lot to learn about progressions themselves... how to move from chord to chord through moving voices (which I've never seen in any chord book anywhere)...



Ultimately, once you've achieved chord building knowledge and know what notes are in the chords you're working with, it seem lik the next step is to derstand how to use higher chord forms and extensions... the best way to do this is to examine the song you like the best that have those types of chords and progressions in them.



Example, I learned about 6th chords, by studying tunes such as "Werewolves of London"... It's got 6th chords all through it, and it seems pretty obvious after playing through the tune, what it is they're doing and how they're doing it...



I use that particular song as an example of the use of 6th chords.



Personally, I have found "Edley's Music Theory for Practical People" to be the best chord and scale teaching book around.



You can't learn it all at once... and you can't read and understand this book in a short period of time...



It's a great book in that it has fun stories, explanations, cartoons and effetive charts and illustrations that will go a long way towards making generaal music theory, chord and scale construction palatable and understandable.



Click for Large Version


Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 01/13/2012:  08:14:49



Thanks for the guidance. 



I'll give the book a try.



Take care,



Lew


bjango53 - Posted - 01/14/2012:  06:20:33



I can't help it,  just mention a book and I've ordered it. big  


banjotom2 - Posted - 01/14/2012:  13:58:41



You won't be sorry Brian!



I've owned 2 of them and lent them out... neither one came back!



That's how good it is...



I'm planning on ordering the updated one shortly...



It's just a great book... not another theory book out there compares!



Tom



banjotom2.com


Dave Gregory - Posted - 01/15/2012:  18:00:12



Chord theory is handy, but not everyone can take advantage of the rich information it can impart. Someone with a jazz background or classical training will probably get the most practical use out of it. (music theory)



Anyone who has graduated from one of the many collages or universities with a music degree, will, or should, be able to make sense of those charts.



A lot of great points have been made here so far. Mostly, I think theory is important, but not the be all, & end all, of banjo picking. Many of the "great pickers" we all love and try to emulate probably knew, or know, very little of that fancy book learning. I don't know the extent of Mr. Scruggs knowledge of a flat 7th diminished minor 37th augmented chord, but I suspect he knows how to feel the song, and listen for the melody and timing.



As far as one of my favourite banjo songs, "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" I find that playing the bit were he's "shooting at some food" doesn't sound right to my ears, unless that one note picked on the (B) string, a (C) note, is moved up to the (#C) note, without moving the rest of the fingers of that chord.



I've seen various You Tube videos with Earl himself playing the song, I think with Ricky Skaggs or one of our other famous next generation pickers. What I saw was that Earl and the rest of the band simply slid the (C) chord up to a (#C) chord. I didn't like it. To my ears it doesn't have the sound of the recordings that inspired me to learn the song in the first place. I'm referring to the TV show the Beverly Hillbillies.



I'm not saying that I know the definitive way to play this song, but I trust my ears, and the recordings from the TV series. What I am left with, are questions as to why does, or did, Mr. Scruggs play the song with the (C), to (#C) cord movement, and not the way I think the song is played on the early recordings of the TV show?



I doubt if that fancy book learning stuff will help me on this song, or a cement pond full of theory, it will only hurt my brain. The best thing I did for myself, was to play the song. Tab. and seeing someone play the song, laid the groundwork for me.



I find now, as I have moved from beginner, to being able to play more from ear, that tab does not help me. I find the best results come from seeing someone play the song with my own eyes and ears.



Dave



 


Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 01/15/2012:  18:45:42



Another interesting point.  My own interest is in being able to figure out the chord formations -- beyond the standard forms (F shape, D shape, Barre) -- that would enable me to find different sounds up and down the neck.  Knowing some of the names might help me to be more communicative with this jazz community I've started trying to keep up with at informal jams.  And knowing some of the thinking behind chord variations might help me feel my way through alternatives as I look to move beyond I, IV, V progressions. 


banjotom2 - Posted - 01/15/2012:  19:54:15



I also agree with a lot of what is said above...



The only reason I ever even bothered with music reading OR theory was the fact that I just plain sucked at figuring anything out by ear BEFORE learning...



Years of playing experience, a desire to play that could not be put off by frustration, kept me trying... and theory has helped me teach myself all that was possible for me to play...



Even now, with 30 years of playing and studying under my belt, I find that I am little more than an advanced student... in my own opinion...



There's still plenty to learn and plenty to figure out...



We all get born with certain skills and abilities... where the skill and abilities stop, theory and note reading help my brain and ears, further their own interests...



Theory and music notation are just tools to help us when we get stuck...



And...



Theory and music notation can also be responsible for helping us get stuck!



smiley



Tom


Dave Gregory - Posted - 01/16/2012:  00:05:44



 



When I was in school, elementary, then junior high, art and music were among the few things I was any good at. The school offered symphony style of music, (not the stuff I was interested in). I would have so loved to have known anyone who could have enlightened me on "fiddling" by showing me just what old time or folk music was.



As it was, we ended up playing stuff like "Pomp & Circumstance", and other classical pieces, and to this day, I can still, sort of play it. The problem was we were supposed to read the music from the page. I found it very cumbersome to do so. As the years went on, it was harder to be what they wanted, My strategy was to play by ear, and not let the teacher know I was incompetent as a sight reader. Much shame and awkwardness later I quit the orchestra. So much for my violin career. 



When music started to make sense to me, was when a friend of mine and I started playing blues music, I on the harmonica, he on the guitar. Lots of records were listened to, beers were drank, cigarets were smoked, and then we formed a band. Eventually I wanted to play more than the harmonica, and the violin wasn't cool enough. I got a banjo. My buddy had a 45 of some bluegrass, probably with "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" on one side, and then there was "The World of Flat & Scruggs".



We listened to those records a lot, we slowed them down to half speed. I purchased a number of music books including the famous Earl Scruggs how to play the banjo book. I eventually acquired  a large collection of music books, including my favourite by Tony Trischka "a thousand and one hot licks for the banjo". (I think that is the name of it) I think I may have learned maybe four or five things from that book. I keep hoping to learn something else from any of the books I have, but I guess I'll have to face the fact that I'm not so good at absorbing it from the pages.



I'm probably a throw-back from another time, more suited to hanging out on the porch picking and sharing tunes with my pals  as we drink coffee and making it up as we go. I really do think that playing a banjo is relatively simple. I know lots of fun can be had with the good old (G), (C), & (D) chords.



Lots of fun can also be had with (G), (E), (A), & (D) chords, like from the song "Salty Dog Blues"



A more jazzy thing might be like from the song "All of Me" one of my favourite noodleing around tunes,



(C), (E), (A), (D7), (G), (E), (A), (D7), (G), (F), (C/ B/ Bflat/ A), (A), (D7), (G), (C).



If this looks confusing don't worry, it got me a bit confused too. These chords are only a crude approximation of what a real chord chart is, . . . . more or less this is the structure of All of Me. I think a very important thing with learning a song is to be able to hold the melody in your mind as you play the song. If you're able to hum the melody, and you know the song, eventually it will come out of your fingertips and whatever the style of banjo it is you play, the song will emerge.



I don't want to over simplify it, but for the most part a lot of banjo-ing really is using the basic (F) or (D) or bar chord shapes. Toss in some 7ths and a minor sound, and there you go. . . . . It's late where I'm writing this from, so I'll give it a break for now, Don't forget, it should be fun whatever one does.



Dave


bjango53 - Posted - 01/16/2012:  02:32:46



Why do people come to the Theory section and knock it ?  I thoroughly enjoy the theory and believe it or not  "have fun with it"  I don't find it easy and yet this last year I have spent much more time on it and my playing has become more interesting  ( note I didn't say better )  to me.  No one ever said it is compulsory, if your happy playing G C D just do it and enjoy but please don't preach about it on the theory section.  


Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 01/16/2012:  03:21:47



I don't see this as a dialogue between those defending theory and those "knocking" it.  Instead, I see it as another form of engagement between people attempting to negotiate the space between theory and practice.  There are banjo theorists and banjo practitioners, as well as banjoists who combine elements from both the theoretical and practical dimensions along the continuum of theory and practice.  At different stages, people who practice, and people who theorize, realize they need more of one aspect to help propel them to another level of understanding.  I learned to read music in elementary school, but never read music and the capability eroded.  I played music for decades, but now I'm asking things about musical possibilities that prompt me to look for theoretical tools.  That has led me to try to learn more about what chords and scales mean, and how I might make use of them in trying to extend my musical reach.  This venture might very well necessitate that I become literate in notation so that I can follow these leads.  But it might end up depositing me back on the practical side of the street quicker than imagined.  I don't know.  But I'm grateful to players who have joined this discussion from various points along that continuum, as I have called it, reminding me that sometimes theory is needed to provide structure and direction to practical skills, and sometimes practice is needed to test the ideas that emerge from theorizing.   They've underscored for me that I need to make adjustments to the ratio of music practice and music theory in my life.  And, given my very crude ability to understand theory, and remember notation, I suspect this might be a rough ride for me.



Apologies to Marx, Mao, Kant and Fleck and others who have tried to figure out this relationship.


pearcemusic - Posted - 01/16/2012:  06:38:01



yeah Brian (bjango), I understand your point about the theory "knockers". We've seen threads that would have otherwise been helpful turn into "knock down-drag out" shouting matches about a particular term, or even about the necessity for any discussion of theory at all.



With that said, Lew (brooklyn) has a great point.  I have been playing a long time, and I must admit that I have been at the same place as most people who post on these threads at some time or other in the past. SO ... that helps me accept others viewpoints easier.



I started out playing with a thumb and 3 Ernie Ball fingerpicks on my right hand, and was certain that that was the ONLY way to do it ... until Bob Gaddis (BeeGee) stopped me in a music store (when I was 15) and told me I was wrong. I learned something !!!...  that changed my playing forever.



I know I was at a point once, where I thought "if i can play it, why should I need to understand it?" I hit a point like you (Brian) where I found it fun and absolutely necessary for me to understand as much as I could about harmony, rhythm and melody, so that I could have as many options as possible available to me in my playing.



I tend to obsess about things I find important ... I have a hard time understanding why everyone else doesn't obsess with me at the same time .... smiley



I just looked at my clock, and it's 6:30am !!! I am an hour late for my scheduled practice time ... today it's modes of melodic minor applied to dom ALT 7 chords. I think I'll apply it to "All the Things You Are" .... I'm sure that everyone would agree how important this is .... evil


Banjophobic - Posted - 01/16/2012:  11:38:18



Theory is just using terms and definitions to try and explain the sounds we hear as 'music'.  You cannot get to be an accomplished musician without knowing how music works.This happens on a level that directly relates to what you are playing and how well you play it. These players like Earl, for instance, may not have known the theoretical jargon and concepts, but they knew how the music they played worked.



Earl maybe couldn't  talk in I,IV vi IV I jargon, be he could recognize that cadence and play it. So it odd sometimes for me to hear folks knock theory saying its 'not important' or a 'waste of time' when they themselves use it, if they are playing music and understanding what's going on. The danger could be that some folks just sit around and think about theory, but can't apply it to actually playing music on the instrument. This is only dangerous though, if your goal is to be a player first.



Some folks are happy just theorizing about music and that fine if it makes them happy. But it would be my guess that the majority of folks who visit a forum like this are interested in knowing more about theory and how it works. But they also want to know, how does this apply to me picking music on this banjo?.



Opps, sorry I got pulled off topic,haha. In regard to diminished chord substitutions and bluegrass, I think its all about context. If you want the banjo to have a more traditional bluegrass sound, then you'll choose chord voicings that fit. Too many Diminished chords in a traditional BG progression would change the mood. If the goal is to play around with the voicings on the progression or are attempting to blow on the changes, then do whatever you like. Thats the essence of improv and interpretation anyway,haha.smiley


Dave Gregory - Posted - 01/16/2012:  15:37:07



I hope yesterday evening while I wax waxing about playing "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" and blathering about how I find reading from a page helpful, but hard and slow, that I didn't inadvertently start a misunderstanding. I'm relatively new to this world of talking about banjo stuff, in a banjo enthusiasts forum. I was initially attracted to the discussion about diminished chord stuff, and am still hoping to contribute to the pool of thought on the topic.



Most of my experience with diminished cords and runs, came from playing rhythm guitar in a swing guitar band, mostly Django music. I eventually moved on to trying to play the lead stuff too, and am still trying.



One thing I recall, from one of the lessons I watched offered by "Romane" a Roma musician, removed a bit of mystery from using a diminished run for me. He was saying, from any major chord, lets say the (G) major chord, if one is to take the root of the chord, in this case a (G) note, you can begin a semi tone lower from the root and start the run from there. As you move up the neck with the diminished scale it will resolve on the (G) chord. I may, also suggest, Romane said the chord from which you might start from would be a 7th. So imagine starting some rhythm with a (G), then move to the (G7), then start your diminished run from there, resolving back at the (G), or (G7) chord further up the neck or back were you started from.



I feel I am not explaining it well enough, so if you will indulge me, I will attempt to put a link to the 4:09 min. video lesson he gave. 



youtube.com/watch?v=5Q1rBtbSAZ...lpp_video



The lesson is on a guitar, but for those of us interested in theory, that should not matter. I find that the melodic style of banjo playing is very well suited to these diminished runs. I hope this video link will help clear up some of the apparent mystery of the diminished chords and runs.



Some of the swing sounds seem to be found in western cowboy music, also in old time fiddle tunes, while the guitar/s backs up the fiddler in a band. 



I must be off soon to purchase some coffee, as the house is devoid of the magic beans.



Dave


schwimbo - Posted - 01/16/2012:  16:05:20


You would actually start the diminished arpeggio a whole step below the root of the chord if you want to hit the 3, 5 and b7 of the chord in question. So if you wanted to play a G7 sound using a diminished arpeggio, you could start on either an F, Ab, B, or D note. This diminished arpeggio is outlining a G7b9 chord (or E, Bb, Db chords, all of the 7b9 variety).

schwimbo - Posted - 01/16/2012:  16:25:44


Dave,

In the video example you have linked above, the guitarist modifies the diminished arpeggio so that instead of starting on the Ab note in the Ab diminished arpeggio, he starts a semitone lower than the Ab (a G note) so that the first interval in the arpeggio is a major 3rd instead of a minor 3rd. That way, he hits the root of the G7 chord, and afterwards lands on the B, D, and F notes, and when he continues into the next octave, he then plays the normal Ab diminished arpeggio (hitting the Ab instead of the G). When he comes back down the arpeggio, he landed back on the G at the bottom, so that his last interval was again a major 3rd. So he basically took a diminished arpeggio and just altered the first note of the arpeggio, but kept the rest of the arpeggio unaltered.

Dave Gregory - Posted - 01/16/2012:  21:32:42



Thanks for clearing that up for me.



You can see why I went to the source, instead of relying on my aging memory, to say what I'm trying to say. I for one, am glad that on the You Tube, some of the masters of their instruments, have been sharing their wisdom with all of us.



Dave


banjotom2 - Posted - 01/17/2012:  01:27:29



He was saying, from any major chord, lets say the (G) major chord, if one is to take the root of the chord, in this case a (G) note, you can begin a semi tone lower from the root and start the run from there.



*  *  *



Considering there is a diminished chord that occurs naturally in the harmonized scale, on the seventh scale degree (same as 1/2 step down from the root)... the harmonized scale ONLY contains notes from the scale in question... we're talking major scale here...



So, in a G major scale, F# is the note the diminished chord and diminished scale is built on.



G - Major



A - minor



B - minor



C - Major



D - Major (Dominant 7th)



E - minor (relative minor)



F# - diminished



G - Octave Major



This happens naturally in every major key.



Tom


schwimbo - Posted - 01/17/2012:  02:43:58


banjotom-

The chord built (using scale degrees 1. 3. 5. and 7) on the F# of a G major scale is not a diminished chord (or arpeggio) but a half-diminished chord (F#, A, C, E), which can also be expressed as F#m7b5. An arpeggio containing these notes doesn't outline a G7 chord (none of the notes fall on notes contained in the G7 chord). A locrian scale starting on an F# does hit all the notes of a G major scale (in fact it has the same scale notes) but that scale fails to hit the b7th of the G7 chord, so it wouldn't fit a G7 either. A fully diminished arpeggio starting on an F# note would hit F#, A, C, and Eb. Again, none of these notes fit particularly well against a G7 chord (none of them are contained in the chord). So while you are correct in that a sort of diminished chord (half diminished to be specific) does naturally occur on the note that is 1/2 step below the root of a harmonized major scale (the 7th note of the major scale), that chord does not work with the dominant 7th chord based on the root of the major scale. So an F#m7b5 would not substitute for a G7 chord. It does work very well with a D7 chord. In fact, it is the same chord as a D9.

banjotom2 - Posted - 01/17/2012:  03:13:18



Schwimbo...



If it has a flat 3rd, and a flat 5th... the addition of the flatted 7th is just a color note added to a diminished chord...



No?



I have to drink a Red Bull before reading all this stuff...



I'm listening, though...



How is a chord 'half' - diminished? Emphasizing the 'half'...



Tom



Edited by - banjotom2 on 01/17/2012 03:15:45

banjotom2 - Posted - 01/17/2012:  03:20:26



An afterthought...



Does a half-diminished chord FUNCTION as a diminished chord?



i.e., as a passing chord?



I understand there may be some differences based on notes in the chord, but if it functions as a passing chord as a diminished chord does... how does it become a different chord?



Seems like it's just a color difference... but I'm not claiming to be an expert... this gets in the fuzzy areas for me...



I'm a student for life... always looking to add to the knowledge arsenal...



Tom



Edited by - banjotom2 on 01/17/2012 03:22:08

Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 01/17/2012:  04:00:09



I love it when they talk like this…



I’m priced out of the market in this thread.  It exceeded my capacity long ago.  I consider myself a lifelong beginner, and I define a beginner as anyone who can successfully remove the banjo from its case without putting out their eye. 



But the thread has suggested a lot of good material, useful books, and revealed great BHO expertise (to be nagged with questions in the future).



At the same time it has demonstrated that in some ways the answer to the question is that there is no answer to the question.   One persons D#dim7bBmin6aug chord is another person’s one finger G chord. 



I want to take note of Tom “BanjoTom2” Arri’s special efforts to help BHO’ers such as myself to push the envelop with his tune tabs, his chord exercise tabs, his scale exercises and his willingness to compensate for deficient computer drivers (such as myself) by including PDFs (for those hobbled by MACs, -- again such as myself).    



The level of civil discourse over complex issues in this thread is admirable.



Keep it up.



V/R,



Lew


schwimbo - Posted - 01/17/2012:  04:01:32


banjotom,

A full diminished chord actually has 4 notes in it, not just 3. The 4 notes are a minor 3rd apart (3 frets), so that if you played a note, and then followed with another note 3 frets higher, and repeated this process as long as you like, you would hit those 4 notes and that is all you would hit. That is because after the 4th note, you would be back on the first note again, but an octave higher. That is why diminished chords, when moved up 3 frets (or any multiple of 3 frets), contain the exact same notes (as far as the letter goes, not necessarily the same octave) as the previous chord. This doesn't work if you try to shift a half-diminished chord up 3 frets. The half-diminished term means that the 7th degree is only a full step below the root of the scale, as opposed to the step and a half that the 7th from a fully diminished chord is below the root. The half diminished chord is used a lot in jazz context when you are moving up a 4th to a dominant 7th type chord (like from F#m7b5 to a B7). The voices in the half diminished F# move nicely to the B7, which is why this type of chord progression is used. The half diminished is not used as a passing chord as a fully diminished chord is. For instance, a Bm7 would transition nicely to an Am7 with a Bb fully diminished chord between, but the Bm7 to Am7 would sound a little strange with a Bb half diminished chord between (not terrible, but not the sound that most are accustomed to hearing when they think of a diminished passing chord). I guess the best way to hear the difference is to just play a progression using a half diminished chord and then compare it to the fully diminished chord. Each has a place in music, but those places are a bit different.

Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 01/17/2012:  04:12:15



Peter,



Any chance of posting a Youtube video to illustrate some of these points?



V/R,



Lew


schwimbo - Posted - 01/17/2012:  04:23:53


I don't have a video camera (though maybe I'll buy one sometime and be able to do such things). The best alternative is to just try using the 2 kinds of diminished chords: fully diminished with 1,b3,b5, and 6 (the same note as a diminished 7th), and a half diminished chord with 1,b3,b5, and b7 and just try to place the chords in the same place in a chord progression and see how they do sound different. Also try moving the chords up the fingerboard in intervals of 3 frets and see how the fully diminished chord sounds the same each time you move it, but the half diminished chord has one of the notes in the chord change every time you move it up 3 frets.

pearcemusic - Posted - 01/17/2012:  06:35:15



just a little side note to what Peter is describing:



A tritone is a beautiful interval. It is the distance of 6 1/2 steps, 3 whole steps, a flatted 5th interval ... however you like to think of it ... and every tritone has a strong leading tension to resolve.



Try playing the 4th string 4th fret and the 3rd string 5th fret together (a tritone) and then play the 4th string 5th fret and 3rd string 4th fret together. That movement is the essense of a D7 chord resolving to a G major chord.



The beauty of that 4 note diminished stack (chord) is that it contains 2 tritones.(i.e. C full dim is C Eb Gb A ... C to Gb is a tritone, Eb to A is a tritione.



They have such a strong need to resolve that they work as those passing chords Peter is talking about. When you play diminished scales, those tensions exists with other color tones .... pretty cool.


bjango53 - Posted - 01/17/2012:  08:22:12



just to clarify ;  what is being called a (4 note) full diminished chord- 1-b3-b5-bb7  can also be called a Diminished seventh.



                          what is being called a 1/2 diminished chord  - 1-b3-b5-b7  can also be called a  Minor 7th, flat 5th.



                           Now I thought a diminished (3 note) chord is     1-b3-b5   but now I'm not sure ? 


Jody Hughes - Posted - 01/17/2012:  08:45:43



quote:


Originally posted by banjotom2

Does a half-diminished chord FUNCTION as a diminished chord?


i.e., as a passing chord?






Some more about half-diminished chords (half diminished = min7b5)



Let's say you are in the key of G.



Bminor7b5/E7b9 will get you back to A minor, this is what is known as ii-v of the ii chord (complicated I know).  You could also look at it as altering the iii-vi.



Jazz Players will sometimes even add the b5 onto to the ii chord.  So once again if you are in the key of G, you can try Amin7b5/D7b9 to Gmajor.  Dizzy Gillespie and other bebop players did this a lot.  Note that the b5 of Aminor is Eb and not in the Key of G :) 



Another example-In the key of G, If the song is going to Eminor, they will sometimes put



F#minor7b5/B7b9 in front of it...playing the minor ii-v of the vi chord.



These are some examples of how these chords FUNCTION.  I learned this by studying jazz standards/tin pan alley songs.  I think it is MUCH easier to understand the THEORY of this stuff by learning actual tunes that use them.  



These are concepts found throughout jazz and some classical music, not for use in "Blueridge Cabin Home."



Autumn Leaves has a minor ii-V in it, if you are interested in other music besides bluegrass.    



Edited by - Jody Hughes on 01/17/2012 08:47:21

schwimbo - Posted - 01/17/2012:  09:24:54


I made an error when I stated above "So an F#m7b5 would not substitute for a G7 chord. It does work very well with a D7 chord. In fact, it is the same chord as a D9."

The error is the last sentence's assertion. The error is that the while F#m7b5 has 4 notes in it, the D9 has 5 notes in it. The F#m7b5 is lacking the D that is usually present in a D9 chord (duh!!). It will substitute for a D9 chord, but will be missing that D note (from the D9) that hopefully the bass player or guitarist will provide.

However, lots of times, players will omit the root from a chord in an actual playing situation, so that while the chord is incomplete, it is still thought of as being that chord that contains all the notes. The usual notes that are omitted are often the lower extensions of the chord like the root, or the 5th. The 3rd is an important color note, so if a chord is major or minor, it needs this note to determine which one it is. The root and 5th are often supplied by other instruments (like the bass), so can be omitted when necessary. However, you won't get any good "power chords" if you omit the root and 5th, so the above mainly applies to jazz chords (non rock stuff).

Dave Gregory - Posted - 01/17/2012:  10:30:29



I think I just put my eye out trying to get my banjo out of it's case. OUCH! I feel diminished. 


banjotom2 - Posted - 01/17/2012:  17:24:24



quote:


Originally posted by schwimbo




banjotom,



A full diminished chord actually has 4 notes in it, not just 3. The 4 notes are a minor 3rd apart (3 frets), so that if you played a note, and then followed with another note 3 frets higher, and repeated this process as long as you like, you would hit those 4 notes and that is all you would hit. That is because after the 4th note, you would be back on the first note again, but an octave higher. That is why diminished chords, when moved up 3 frets (or any multiple of 3 frets), contain the exact same notes (as far as the letter goes, not necessarily the same octave) as the previous chord. This doesn't work if you try to shift a half-diminished chord up 3 frets. The half-diminished term means that the 7th degree is only a full step below the root of the scale, as opposed to the step and a half that the 7th from a fully diminished chord is below the root. The half diminished chord is used a lot in jazz context when you are moving up a 4th to a dominant 7th type chord (like from F#m7b5 to a B7). The voices in the half diminished F# move nicely to the B7, which is why this type of chord progression is used. The half diminished is not used as a passing chord as a fully diminished chord is. For instance, a Bm7 would transition nicely to an Am7 with a Bb fully diminished chord between, but the Bm7 to Am7 would sound a little strange with a Bb half diminished chord between (not terrible, but not the sound that most are accustomed to hearing when they think of a diminished passing chord). I guess the best way to hear the difference is to just play a progression using a half diminished chord and then compare it to the fully diminished chord. Each has a place in music, but those places are a bit different.






This makes more sense to me... and this is right about where my chord knowledge stops...



I never was much of a jazz guy... not hard core... but these types of chords get used in pop and even some rock music... higher levels of...



I'm always trying to expand my own chord knowledge... mostly by experimenting... 



I'll mess around with these half diminished chords and see what happens...



I appreciate the information...



Tom


John Steele - Posted - 01/22/2012:  12:34:17



Piercemusic knows what he's talking about.   Read that twice.  :)



- John


banjotom2 - Posted - 01/22/2012:  19:51:19



I read it more than twice...



Reading about chords... like reading about playing a banjo...



I took his advice, however, and found a useable example of both chords... the minor7b5, indeed, does not re-cur in inversions as the straight diminished chord does...



When my brain doesn't understand the english used to explain such, my ears quickly tell me what's going on...



"A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words"...



His explanation made just enough sense that I wanted to experiment, I did... and now have a greater understanding... a 'useable' understanding...



Definitely...



Tom


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