The Next To The Last Chord

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by OlRedNeckHippy, Mar 12, 2016.

  1. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    Since we're still talking about it. If I'm writing a chart with numerals, I'm calling that a #1/#I, not a b2/bII, which is why in this case I prefer A# to Bb. Like boneyguy said.
     
  2. Mrbob135

    Mrbob135 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I would have called it sub V of I...and I try to think as little as possible :)
     
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  3. jbmando

    jbmando Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    What Tim said in post #21 is how I look at it. A lot of blues songs end with this movement, and to me it makes more sense to call it #1 to 1 than b2 to 1. By calling it #1, there's no question that it is a half step higher than the 1.
     
  4. OlRedNeckHippy

    OlRedNeckHippy Friend of Leo's

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    That's exactly how I was thinking about it when I started this thread.
     
  5. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

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    I guess it's just what one's used to.
    Below is why I prefer b2 ...

    b2 for me, 99% of the time, equals "we're going to 1" or going back to 1. Other than in Arabian and Indian music, I don't encounter too many examples of a b2 or #1 going anywhere else.
    In jazz it's common movement to go from ii (or II) down a 1/2 step to bii (or bII) then to I. Dm7 Db7 C. In fact it's the most common sub for a V. You never see or hear anyone say Dm - C#7 - C.
    In the case of the Skynyrd version, it's coming from the V (the walk up with the horns ends on V), then sub for V (b2 - Bb9) to 1. The progression is E9 - Bb9 - A9 or, In 'my' mind - Bm7 to Bb9 to A9 (ii - bII - I). QED

    So again, whatever you're used to, whatever works, whatever's easiest. I can't see anyone making a mistake or not being able to decipher a #1.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
  6. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

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    To avoid spelling A#7 is a good enough reason to call it Bb7
     
  7. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm not Nostradamus, but this thread ended up pretty much exactly where I predicted it would within my own head, back when I submitted my first post.

    We often attribute discrepancies in various chart writing approaches to 'regional differences'. There's no disputing Ken's academic logic here, really. However, regardless of what is or is not 'correct' per se, while I remain 'over here', I will notate as #1 - because that's the way I've seen it around here.

    I have a few theories as to why this might be the case, which amounts to pure speculation on my part and nothing more :

    - Use of #1 seems to imply exact voicing moved up a half step more readily than does b2 to the eye. In other words, the assumed applied logic is that of more guarantee of predictable outcome.

    - And to really talk out the backside and throw accepted academia out the window entirely: the question of functionality. The use of #1 perhaps more readily connotes chromatic suspension* of a particular voicing to be resolved - in the minds of some folks. *I'm using the word suspension here in a conversational sense, not in the technical sense of being jargon of the academic language of music , such as with sus2 or sus4.

    In other words, a very quick - if perhaps regionally esoteric - way of noting the 'half step from the target' move with nothing whatsoever left to the imagination. For what it's worth, I've seen the same thing around here with the stock application of moving the V chord up a half step before resolving, as in minor blues such as "The Thrill is Gone" (i.e., calling it a #5/#V).

    Again, nothing I've typed here holds up in the court of academia and I wouldn't expect it to.
     
  8. Special Tom

    Special Tom Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    On my guitar the only sharps I have are F# and C#. All the others are Flats. Is there something wrong with my guitar?
     
  9. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

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    OK, I'll buy that.
     
  10. LeeVegas

    LeeVegas Tele-Meister

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    The 2 is a minor chord, right? So, in A, wouldn't the b2 be Bbmin and the #1 be A#maj?
     
  11. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    In the strictest sense of the foundation of Western harmony - i.e. diatonically stacking thirds to build chords from each degree of the major scale/ionian mode - then yes.

    However, secondary dominants and other harmonic devices are often used within various styles of music to create movement beyond the constraints of strict diatonic harmony. ii, iii, & vi chords could be II7, III7, & VI7 chords. Or straight major for that matter, which is fairly common in bluegrass music. For instance, many arrangements of "Blackberry Blossom" contain a II/2 chord instead of a ii/2- chord (or in the key of G, an A chord as opposed to Am).

    The commonly accepted 'correct' notation would be bII/b2, with consideration of strict diatonic harmony notwithstanding. It's just that - as a means of indicating a very particular use, as detailed in preceding posts, which may or may not be somewhat regional to a degree - some of us like the use of #1 as a way of conveying that specific message quickly and clearly; i.e. "Don't get fancy, no substitutions. Take the voicing that the song is to be ended upon, move it up a half step (often with a fermata in place between "#I" & I) and then move the same voicing to the target and end it".
     
  12. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Although my initial response to the OP was to call the chord a '#1' (mainly because at the time I was interested in keeping continuity with the previous answers)... I've thought about this a little bit and here's the result of that thinking...fwiw.... Since, in the Skynrd recording, we're moving from the '5' to the '1', I think it makes the most logical sense to call the penultimate chord (love using that term Larry!!) a b2....there is a 'directional logic' in that to me. If, however, we had already landed on the '1' and then we went up a half-step and then back to '1' (which is a very common movement in blues) then I would be inclined, by the same 'directional logic', to think of it as a '#1'....which of course, despite the supposed logic I've implied, makes things even more complicated.

    So I guess the thing is it's not so much about terminology but how I conceive it (actually, 'feel it' might even be closer) .....I just naturally think/hear/feel it as a 'b2' when going in one direction and as a '#1' when travelling in the other direction...
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
  13. LeeVegas

    LeeVegas Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, Tim. I understand most of that.
     
  14. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    You're welcome, Lee.
     
  15. LeeVegas

    LeeVegas Tele-Meister

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    This is how the Beatles' "Oh, Darling" ends (among other songs.) Is there a name for this cadence?
     
  16. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Thanks for bringing up conceiving or feeling it. I was going to write a post about how theory is not about terminology (fundamentals or rudiments are, though) but about how you hear. Saying a chord is bII means that I feel it moving to I.

    I also hear I to bII I in terms of movement. The I moves away to bII, then moves back home to I. Longtime members here know that I am a big devotee of Schenker, a Viennese theorist during the 1890s-1930s. His analytical methodology stems from his concept of prolongation. If you have a I for 4 bars, then V for 2 bars, and back to I, the function of the V chord is not to move away I, but to keep I alive and active. It is the long-range harmonic equivalent of a turn or trill.

    The blues move of sliding up/down a half-step from a I7 or V7 chord is a perfect example of prolonging a chord via elaboration at the harmonic level. An elaboration, I should add, can be thought of as a spur-of-moment "goosing" of a note or chord. That's mostly how I think when I use that blues figure. Most of the time, I don't know that I am going to do it until the moment presents itself. For example, if I am backing a soloist, if he decides to use more space and silence at some point in a solo, then that gives me a little room to step forward in the listener's attention and do my little semitone up-down chord shift. That pattern becomes an elaboration when I have the option of using it or not.
     
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