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Theory behind this progression please,

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by ASATKat, Mar 7, 2021.

  1. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    The neighbor subforum Twanger Central has a great backing going on.

    This an unusual progression, easily played over with Gm pent and ear. But the chord choices But it sounds great, and I've heard it many times. It has a decending chromatic line running through it on the bottom voice.

    1st 4 bars
    lI: Gm7 l Em7b5 l Ebmaj7 l Cm D7#9 :ll
    -------------------------------------------------------
    -----8-----------8-------------8----------8------6
    -----7-----------7-------------7----------7------5
    -----8-----------8-------------8----------8------4
    ----10----------7-------------6------------------5
    ---------------------------------------------8--------

    My biggest question is,, where did the Em7b5 come from? Was it some sort of tritone sub of Bb, being the relative major of Gm?

    Interesting
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2021
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  2. gtroates

    gtroates Tele-Holic

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    The first two chords are a 2 and 7 in the key of F major, so the G Dorian mode works there, the G minor pentatonic notes are within the G Dorian mode. The Ebmaj7 is the chord on the root of the key of E flat major which contains a G minor chord on it’s third degree, so the G minor pentatonic is covered there. The Cm and D7#9 are the 4 and 5 chord in G harmonic minor scale (technically it should be a D7b9 to fit the scale), so the G minor pentatonic works there too, the #9 on the D7 is found in the G minor pentatonic. So the theory answer about your progression is that the progression may be in three keys but each of those keys has the notes that form a a G minor triad. Playing pentatonic instead of seven note scales allows you to use the same pentatonic whereas you would have to change between Dorian mode, Phrygian mode and G harmonic minor, which all contain different notes when you expand them to seven notes.
     
  3. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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  4. Mexitele Blues

    Mexitele Blues Tele-Afflicted

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    The Em7b5 is a C9 that has dropped the root in favor of the chromatic movement.
     
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  5. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sounds like tasty chord substitution to me.
     
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  6. dkmw

    dkmw Poster Extraordinaire

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    Pardon me while my head explodes:eek::lol:
     
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  7. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, of course,,, duh,,, the brain fog wisped away. Thank you, Gm7 going to C7 is one of the most poar moved, the iim7 V7.
    This hints at F as key center but it's not. I'm feeling strong it's Gm the relative minor of Bb. This allows the Ebmaj7 the IV of Bb, and more importantly, the bVI of G minor, the tonal center of the progression.

    Now I see the progression as

    Gm C9 Ebmaj7 Cm

    It's interesting to note that Ebmaj7 is also a Cm9/omit root chord. So,,,

    ll Gm7 l C9 l Cm9 l Cm-D7#9 ll
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2021
  8. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    Your one exploded? My one froze... :eek:

    Pax/
    Dean
     
  9. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I started playing with this and my head didn’t explode. I moved it up a step and made a substitution for the fourth chord that lets me resolve back to the first chord. This works for simple minds like mine.

    Am7 | D9 | Fmaj7 | G7

    These simplifications let me solo off the chords finger style moving from G7 to G9 to G7add13 and back to G7 in the last measure. I can work in a bridge starting on a Dm7. Not bad for 5 minutes of noodling. I think I’ll run with this. It’ll be fun. Thanks for a good starting point I’d never have found on my own.
     
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  10. kbold

    kbold Friend of Leo's

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    Couldn't find the track on Twanger Central ... Which one is it??
    Anyway I twiddled with this ... (I may be wrong, as I haven't listened to the recording), but as I play it:

    The Em7b5 (as well as a C9, as mentioned), could also be a Gm6
    The EbM7 could be a Cm9/no root (as mentioned)
    The Cm could be C9/no 3rd
    With the D7#9: the #9 (F) sounds like a passing note, wanting to resolve to F#. (F >> F# >> return to Gm) i.e. Dm7 >> D7 >> Gm

    In other words, this could be a i-iv-V7 progression

    Gm | Gm6 | Cm9 | C9 - Dm7 (wanting to resolve to D7).
    This has a nice chromatic bass line in the 2nd half: Eb E F F# G
     
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  11. gtroates

    gtroates Tele-Holic

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    Before you edited your post I replied to what you originally wrote. In your edit the answer is easier, in all the chords except the D7#9 in your tab the top three notes are Gm triads. Your tabbed chords are Gm, Gm6/E, Gm/Eb, Gm/C, and the 5 of Gm D7#9. It fits well with Gm pent because it never leaves G minor. G Dorian, G Phrygian, then G minor as a tonic. Unlike major based harmony, minor harmony is often combined between minor modes and the pentatonic doesn’t contain the two notes that clarify the differences between the modes.

    Gminor pentatonic is G, Bb, C, D, and F. G Dorian is G, A, Bb, C, D, E, and F. G Phrygian is G, Ab, Bb, C, D, Eb, and F. G aeolian is G, A, Bb, C, D, Eb, and F. The difference between those three modes is what kind of A and what kind of E notes are in them. Gm pentatonic doesn’t contain an A or an E note so it fits within all three modalities. The D7#9 is the only chord that requires a change from the Gm pent, if you want to nail that chord you should slip in an F# too, it cements it as a dominant chord by including the major third in your licks on it.
     
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  12. kbold

    kbold Friend of Leo's

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    Scale wise: I would think the of first 2 bars as G Melodic Minor; the 3rd & 4th as G Natural Minor.
    The D7#9 I see as a tension chord: a transition from Natural Minor back to Melodic Minor.

    ..... based on the the posts to date (haven't heard the arrangement).
     
  13. gtroates

    gtroates Tele-Holic

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    In his pre edited original post he concentrated on using the G min pent on all chords and asked what the theory behind why it sounded good across the progression. With that in mind I wouldn’t think of the G melodic minor because it doesn’t fit the G minor pent notes as it has the F# while G minor pent has an F natural. I tried to analyze the scale which included all of the pentatonic notes. The D7#9 doesn’t completely fit the G minor pent’s notes so it would be more complete to add an F# to emphasize the major 3rd to #9th dissonance which pinpoints that chord, I hear a Ebm6/diminished scale there: Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, B, C, D, but that’s a different feel than rock based pentatonic soloing which suits the pentatonic scale nicely.
     
  14. notroHnhoJ

    notroHnhoJ Tele-Meister

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    If you are trying to "function" inside of these chord changes, the best place to start is that this is the key of G minor. So its i/i minor6/VI/iv/V7
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
  15. kbold

    kbold Friend of Leo's

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    I can't comment on the pre-edited post, as I didn't read it. I can only respond to the 'post-edited' post (the one that currently stands as post#1)
    In that post, his main question was "where did the Em7b5 come from?"

    The Em7b5 (or the C9) comes from G Melodic Minor.
    The EbM7 (or Cm9) comes from G Natural Minor.

    The bass note run goes: "G - E - Eb - C - D"
    Since G Minor Pentatonic contains neither E or Eb, it's missing 2 of these primary notes.

    The D7#9 ... diminished scale. I didn't think of that. Good thought. Adds to that need to resolve, and contains both F and F#.
     
  16. gtroates

    gtroates Tele-Holic

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    Yep, he asked two questions with two versions of his first post, it confused me too.

    I don’t tend to use the Berklee music school style chord scale rules anymore, I’ve come to prefer the Barry Harris method, I find it easier to boil down progressions the way he does, so this is not me correcting you, both our takes will work creating different results. It’s just my take on it: the first two chords are basically C dominant sounds (Barry uses an added 1/2 steps system with the mixolydian mode, which he just calls the dominant scale, where the amount of half steps and which scale tones they fall between depend on the scale tone that starts the line and its placement on the beat or off), the next 6 beats are C minor sounds and the D7#9 can be addressed with the notes found in Ebm6 and the notes of a D diminished chord combined into an eight note scale, Barry calls this scale an Ebm6/dim. scale. This is pretty far afield from rock guitar theory though because it is a theory built on bebop horn players and pianists soloing traditions and could sound a little out of context with a rock groove.

    I also think G minor pentatonic for the entire progression until the D7#9 where I would add an F# note to the G minor pent. is a good simple solution for people used to pentatonic riffing, which is a majority of self taught guitar players on electric guitar.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
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  17. Piotr

    Piotr Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I would definitely go in a simpler direction here. Em7b5 can actually be interpreted as Gm6 - common in Gypsy Jazz. And then you have a nice (generally) diatonic progression in Gm, with some colour notes thrown in for fun. How does that work for you?
     
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  18. gtroates

    gtroates Tele-Holic

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    I played on it in my iReal Pro app, it’s fun to find slow melodies over. The Michel LeGrand song “Theme from Summer of ‘42 (the summer knows)” opening statement (D, A, Bb, G, D, A, Bb, C) works perfectly over this progression. It has the feel of Santana around Abraxis era but I can also faintly hear some Tom Petty song influence somehow in it too. It is definitely a progression that can be done by ear, it feels good and has a natural gravity to it.
     
  19. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I'm a little late to theory party here ...
    No, I don't hear the chord in question as a Gm6.
    It's the IV chord (C9) masquerading as an E⏀ due to the bass motion. You'll find that exact movement in Jazz frequently. Stanley Turrentine's "Sugar" comes to mind immediately. Also Gigi Gryce's "Minority".
    As for playing over the progression ... You've got options.
    It's really all G minor utilizing both the lowered and natural 6th at different times.
    You can hit a C dom arpeggio when you get to the E⏀ (or think G Dorian - same thing).
    When you get the Eb△7 trade the E for an Eb (G nat min or Aeolian).
    D7#9 = G Harm Min (not mel min). You want to potentially use either or both the Eb and F# over that V chord.

    * Honestly, G min penta or G Blues nails it all just fine IMO and IME.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
  20. rough eye

    rough eye Tele-Meister

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    usually whenever you see a half diminished it's the 2 chord of a minor 2 5 1. in the case of Em7 flat 5 it would be

    Em7 flat 5 - A7 - Dm

    E flat is the tritone sub of A7 so that's one way of looking at it.

    but looking at it as an extension of C9 is a good way too :)
     
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