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Music Theory Question

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Cloodie, Dec 19, 2020.

  1. brians356

    brians356 Tele-Meister

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    Sensible chap. ;)
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  2. JamesAM

    JamesAM Tele-Meister

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    The problem with this thread is everyone is a guitar player. we're conflating musical practice - how we voice chords with only 4 fingers on a guitar - with musical theory - which is is how a chord should be voiced in a perfect world.

    In a perfect world, a correct 9 chord is voiced 1-3-5-b7-9. Full stop; there is no debate here. This is extremely easy to play on something like a piano, where every pitch has its own key and can be accessed equally. the 9 is fundamentally not the same as a 2; it 14 semitones tones above the root and always will be.

    On guitar, we can't play that exact chord (1-3-5-b7-9), because of the temperament of the strings and the limits of our fingers. so we have to give the best approximation of a 9 chord with what we've got.

    In practice, how we voice the chord on the guitar does not change the theory behind why a chord is a 9, nor does it change a 9 chord to a sus chord, nor does it change a 9 chord to an add2 chord. The practical voicing of a chord within the constraints of a guitar may mean we have to make some compromises to meet the intent of the music: that is, play a 9 an octave lower and sound a 2, and it may mean that a 9 chord has the same practical shape as a sus chord. A chord's voicing does not fundamentally change the harmony of the song you're playing over top of, which is why it is a 9 chord in the first place.

    With regards to your question OP, scales don't have to end. It's OK to think of a note as a 2 or a 9 within a scale; the pitches just repeat ad infinitum as you go up the register. It's all about context, though.

    When you solo overtop of a G9 chord, and play an A, you are either playing one of two things in theory: the 9th note relative to the chord, which is consonant with the harmony, or a nonchordal passing tone on the 2nd note relative to the chord, which is technically dissonant with the harmony. In practice, they are the same note and will both likely sound perfectly fine depending on what notes came before or after it: an A.

    So don't sweat whether a tone in a scale is technically a 2 or a 9 - scales just repeat forever anyway. Also, if you're playing guitar, don't sweat whether the 9 in a 9 chord isn't 14 semitones above root - our fingers might make correct voicing impossible. If you're playing piano or writing a symphony, however, definitely sweat those things.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2020
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  3. brians356

    brians356 Tele-Meister

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    @JamesAM,

    Even if you could easily play 1 3 5 b7 9, voiced that way, that's in no sense the only "correct voicing" of a (dominant) 9 chord. Any inversion containing all the same 5 notes in a different order is just as much a full 9 chord.
     
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  4. JamesAM

    JamesAM Tele-Meister

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    You're 100% correct, I didn't want to throw inversions in there to confuse things even more.
     
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  5. Wrighty

    Wrighty Friend of Leo's

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    The 9th is ‘on top’ i.e., the 2nd an octave up. But, when it comes to x9 chords, whole different ball game. Same as most things in music, has yiu asking ‘why’ sometimes. Ask a guitarist to play a C7 chord and he’ll play an A#, not a B.
     
  6. brians356

    brians356 Tele-Meister

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    Cool. I'll go a step further and say that omitting one (or both) of the root or 5th does not obscure or invalidate a dominant 9. The 3rd, b7, and 9th tones are the harmonically strongest tones, the context of the progression and your mind fills out the missing tones.
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  7. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I would like to know where Naples gets off having a chord all to itself

    5FC179EE-BC97-4028-BD2A-A2959F79801A.jpeg
     
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  8. JamesAM

    JamesAM Tele-Meister

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    Right but the op didn’t ask how to invert and voice 9 chords, he asked why a 9 isn’t just called a 2.
     
  9. brians356

    brians356 Tele-Meister

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    He'll play a Bb, because "C7" is always interpreted as a dominant 7th chord with the flatted 7th. So the "A#" is improper even if it sounds the same.
     
  10. brians356

    brians356 Tele-Meister

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    Oh, we're all the way back to there? Now where's the fun in that? :confused:
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  11. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Exactly.
    Hence the term "suspended". That is the most traditional application of a sus chord; 4 to 3 - suspension to resolution.
    I think one of the confusing aspects of not just this thread but sus v. 11th chords in general is that a sus chord, any sus chord be it sus4 or sus2 doesn't necessarily resolve anymore. Maybe the nomenclature will eventually change but so far, no. Even in traditional college level harmony classes when you start to study post Romantic era music - where 11th chords start showing up - you're taught to generally avoid that (maj) 3rd. *They do start to appear in the Impressionistic period.
     
  12. brians356

    brians356 Tele-Meister

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    Thank you for the additional context. I enjoy these harmony exercises, even if the "answers" are sometimes less than satisfactory to all concerned. Next perhaps we can reminisce over the life and times of the Picardy Third? o_O
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  13. fretWalkr

    fretWalkr Tele-Meister

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    This topic about a 2nd vs 9th comes up frequently and I suppose there are different ways of thinking about it. In fact, music theory is just a way to think about and describe what real players are doing "in the wild." Theory evolves over time and there can be different terms and ways to think about it.

    I took an jazz arranging class in college many years ago and I learned these notes as tensions. These how these tensions are derived is also related to the overtone series. This is a screen shot from my notes so so can see it on the staff.
    upload_2020-12-23_17-14-0.png
     
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  14. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    And after that: French, German, Italian and Neapolitan 6th chords.
     
  15. brians356

    brians356 Tele-Meister

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    You're absolutely correct, my mistake, although you do see "+" for "add", unfortunately.

    The "+" always means "augmented", "+5", i.e. sharp 5th, unless it is followed by another numeral i.e. "+9" when it means "sharp 9".

    So how does one specify an augmented chord with a sharp 9. Several options, none of them pretty (example A augmented w/ #9):

    A+/+9
    A+#9
    A+/#9
    Aaug+9
    Aaug#9

    Another option is the hang the "augmented" on the end, but it's really ugly and confusing:

    A+9+
     
  16. jbmando

    jbmando Poster Extraordinaire

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    I would say A7#5#9. You could call it Aaug7#9. Either way is pretty clear what to play.
     
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  17. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    In my neck of the woods it's either #9#5 or +9+5.
     
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  18. brians356

    brians356 Tele-Meister

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    But my example is not a 7th chord, but a straight augmented w/ a sharp 9.
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  19. brians356

    brians356 Tele-Meister

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    Those are good. But I prefer just A+ for simple augmented triad, and reserve #5 for 7 chords where the #5 functions more like an extension, e.g. the ubiquitous A7#5b9 etc. Once you have a dominant 7th it no longer sounds or functions as a simple augmented chord. Just my way of thinking about it.
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  20. Wrighty

    Wrighty Friend of Leo's

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    Yep!
     
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