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got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite

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JohnnyBGoode 23 Aug 02 - 01:30 AM
Genie 23 Aug 02 - 02:36 AM
Troll 23 Aug 02 - 04:39 AM
Venthony 23 Aug 02 - 09:27 AM
Alice 23 Aug 02 - 10:05 AM
Venthony 23 Aug 02 - 10:26 AM
JohnnyBGoode 23 Aug 02 - 11:10 AM
Clinton Hammond 23 Aug 02 - 11:15 AM
Troll 23 Aug 02 - 01:55 PM
Genie 23 Aug 02 - 02:41 PM
Genie 23 Aug 02 - 02:48 PM
dorareever 23 Aug 02 - 03:18 PM
Rick Fielding 23 Aug 02 - 03:48 PM
CraigS 23 Aug 02 - 04:40 PM
Uncle_DaveO 23 Aug 02 - 04:47 PM
Mark Clark 23 Aug 02 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,Chris 23 Aug 02 - 05:04 PM
JohnnyBGoode 23 Aug 02 - 05:09 PM
Don Firth 23 Aug 02 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,Finn Mann 24 Aug 02 - 12:56 PM
Don Firth 24 Aug 02 - 01:34 PM
khandu 24 Aug 02 - 01:46 PM
JohnnyBGoode 24 Aug 02 - 02:15 PM
Mark Clark 24 Aug 02 - 03:08 PM
Don Firth 24 Aug 02 - 03:15 PM
JohnnyBGoode 24 Aug 02 - 05:22 PM
JohnnyBGoode 26 Aug 02 - 07:24 PM
Mark Clark 27 Aug 02 - 10:25 AM
M.Ted 27 Aug 02 - 04:28 PM
M.Ted 27 Aug 02 - 04:30 PM
PHJim 07 Dec 11 - 11:45 PM
PHJim 08 Dec 11 - 12:14 AM
Don Firth 08 Dec 11 - 12:22 AM
Don Firth 08 Dec 11 - 12:35 AM
llareggyb 08 Dec 11 - 12:44 AM
JohnInKansas 08 Dec 11 - 01:51 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 08 Dec 11 - 10:01 AM
GUEST,leeneia 08 Dec 11 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 08 Dec 11 - 10:38 AM
GUEST 08 Dec 11 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 08 Dec 11 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,matt milton 08 Dec 11 - 01:32 PM
PHJim 08 Dec 11 - 02:18 PM
Artful Codger 08 Dec 11 - 02:25 PM
GUEST,leeneia 08 Dec 11 - 04:02 PM
Phil Cooper 08 Dec 11 - 04:20 PM
Joe_F 08 Dec 11 - 06:32 PM
Don Firth 08 Dec 11 - 07:09 PM
Taconicus 08 Dec 11 - 07:09 PM
Don Firth 08 Dec 11 - 07:15 PM
Genie 08 Dec 11 - 08:42 PM
GUEST,josepp 08 Dec 11 - 09:08 PM
Don Firth 08 Dec 11 - 10:22 PM
Don Firth 08 Dec 11 - 10:24 PM
GUEST 09 Dec 11 - 07:47 AM
PHJim 09 Dec 11 - 10:41 AM
GUEST 09 Dec 11 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Dec 11 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,matt milton 09 Dec 11 - 11:08 AM
Don Firth 09 Dec 11 - 12:56 PM
Don Firth 09 Dec 11 - 01:02 PM
GUEST,josepp 09 Dec 11 - 04:40 PM
Nobodys bard 09 Dec 11 - 07:31 PM
Don Firth 09 Dec 11 - 08:55 PM
GUEST,josepp 09 Dec 11 - 09:59 PM
Don Firth 10 Dec 11 - 12:39 AM
PHJim 10 Dec 11 - 04:58 AM
PHJim 10 Dec 11 - 05:01 AM
Joe_F 10 Dec 11 - 06:26 PM
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Subject: got killed by a maj 7th chord again tonight
From: JohnnyBGoode
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 01:30 AM

Again, passing my guitar around. A guy plays a pop/folki-sh song, fairly interesting lyrics, but during the break there's a maj 7th chord.

I left the room during the second go-round, despite the assertion that no more maj 7th chords would occur.

The song had already proven itself wimpy, almost decandent.

Anyway, there are a bunch of exceptions revealing wonderful placements of these chords, I'm sure. But perhaps only in the hands of a master.

Just my taste, rubs me the wrong way....

Can I get a witness?


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Genie
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 02:36 AM

Johnny, what's this "passing the guitar around" thing? Anything like the Beatles passing one cigarette around? I mean, can't you and your friends afford to each have your own instruments? Or is this a regional thing that we folkies on the west coast (of the US) don't know about?

Also, does someone's playing a major 7th chord screw up your chord or something?

Genie


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Troll
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 04:39 AM

I guess that there are "purists" who can't abide the use of any chords other than the Major triad in any song.
I once played with a harmonica player who would have a fit if anyone played what he considered "extra" chords in a tune. The fewer the better was his philosophy. He really got off on songs with one or two chords. It's strange too because he played some mean Chicago Blues on both the harp AND, guitar.
So ya just never know.
I don't personally use Major 7th chords but thats probably because I'm too damn lazy to learn them. I certainly utilize the few dimimished chords I know when the conditions warrant and have even been known to play a 6th or 9th.
I haven't gotten to 13ths though. I guess theres some places I just don't want to go.
BTW, JohnnyBGoode, I take it from your handle that you are at least familiar with Chuck Berry? Check out some of his chording sometime.

troll


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Venthony
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 09:27 AM

What about all those jazzy augmenteds and 7ths Doc Watson uses?

THOUGH ... 30 years ago Paul Simon and George Harrison dueted on "Homeward Bound." It was on the old Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

George, who I think was playing that big J-200 he liked, stuck a maj. 7th into the second "homeward bound ..." during the chorus.

Obviously he was just trying to improv a little and vary things somewhat from the (nearly perfect) original. "Getting a bit of his own in," as you Brits might say.

But it was such a turkey from the hands of such a normally fine player that those of us ancient enough to recall the show still smile at the memory.

God bless you George. Wherever your heaven is, I know you're there. If misplaced 7ths were a cardinal sin, we'd all be in hell.

Best wishes, Tony


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Alice
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 10:05 AM

I've never heard of such a prejudice before. Hating major 7ths? Isn't there enough real strife in the world to be upset about instead of being annoyed by a chord?


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Venthony
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 10:26 AM

But Alice, that is the charm and glory of this site.

People are going to be passionate and prejudiced about something. How refreshing to beat each other's brains out (metaphorically) over chord colors rather than skin colors.

Mudcatters snipe and squabble and -- sometimes -- even flame. But we all do (or should) love each other, and you're all invited to pick around my kithen table anytime. Sevenths allowed -- and, oh, what the heck, even ninths and fifths.

Tony


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: JohnnyBGoode
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 11:10 AM

Thanks for the great example, Venthony...good you can smile about it and not cringe!

I do like the song Something quite a bit, BTW.

Genie, as for passing the guitar around, it's a situation where I'm the only one who brought a guitar. Because it's a pretty sweet sounding guitar, I suppose, folks start messing around with that chord right away.

But even my guitar doesn't like it. After my friend starting taunting me with that chord, the guitar "bit" him, he said.

I know I'm not the only one with this condition. I've heard from a couple here, though most show support for the decadence. I've been accused of going home late at night and staring at charts of the chord, being a closet maj 7ther...not true,not true.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 11:15 AM

I use 'em all the time, so ya might wanna make plans (for that reason if nothing else) to give my show a WIDE berth...

Well placed discord is WAY more interesting than simple melodic music, in my book...


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Troll
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 01:55 PM

I guess that, in large part, it depends on the taste of your audience. If you like, as Clinton says, "well placed discord" and your audience does not, then one of two conditions had better exist.
A) You had better have some form of income other than music or,B) you had better have deep enough pockets to keep you alive while you re-educate the audience.
I like some of the more complex chord schemes on some songs- whether I can play 'em or not is another matter- but I taylor my style to the job. If they want three-chord simplicity, that's what they'll get.
I may throw in one that's a bit more complex but thats all. There is a lot of stuff that never gets heard outside of a small circle of friends. It simply isn't saleable, given the present world economic and political situation. I mean, being hired to entertain at a political rally is one thing but I've never been hired to orchestrate a riot.
This has gotten rather far afield but the bottom line is, you have to play in a style that your audience will accept.
Otherwise, you won't be asked back.

troll***who is only in it for the money***


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Genie
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 02:41 PM

Johnny, when I said "...so, does someone's playing a major 7th chord screw up your chord or something?" it was a slip of the fingers. I meant to ask, "Does someone's playing a major 7th chord screw up your guitar or something?

Genie


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Genie
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 02:48 PM

Johnny B., glad you mentioned the George Harrison song "Something." That one came to mind when I thought of good songs that use major 7ths. The sheet music I have shows two different major 7ths and a minor 7th.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: dorareever
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 03:18 PM

Talking about chords...it's been awhile I play chords I don't even know the names of.I suppose they all are augmented chords...but the rest is haze...see I need more training because they sure sound good and I would like to tell people what I play..supposing I have to play with someone...


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 03:48 PM

Stick this b5 where it'll do the most good!

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: CraigS
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 04:40 PM

Just a few muses:

Muskrat Candlelight by Willis Allan Ramsay is one of my favourite songs, and is based on a D to Dmaj7 transition.

I hated listening to Steve Hillage's lead guitar becacause he always played major sevenths where I would play flat sevenths

I love listening to Robert Johnson (the session man who played the wakawaka guitar on Shaft) because he can play major sevenths without sounding cheezy. I hate him because I can't copy his licks without sounding cheezy.

That guitar George Harrison played was a Grammer - he part-exchanged it in the early seventies because the finish checked badly, and I remember having a play on it in a music shop in Shaftesbury Avenue.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 04:47 PM

Please excuse what may be a dumb question by a music-theory ignoramus.

Are we talking about the 7ths in such constructs as C-F-G7? or C-G-D7? If so, I can't imagine what one could find to criticize.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Mark Clark
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 04:57 PM

No Dave, they're talking about a single chord spelled, for example, C-E-G-B. It's a major triad like, for instance, a regular C chord but instead of the Bb you'd normally add to make a C7 chord, they/we use a B natural, the seventh tone in the C major scale... ergo Cmaj7.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST,Chris
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 05:04 PM

I can't say that I've ever had a need for a maj 7th before, but I found a web site with the chords for Walk Right Back (Everly Bros.) - the lick is really cool - C Am Cmaj7 Am - it's easy, and it works to make a great song!! Now if I could only do the Bye,Bye Love lick I'd be ready for heaven. Have a good weekend.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: JohnnyBGoode
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 05:09 PM

>he can play major sevenths without sounding cheezy

yeah, that's what I'm talking about...

Jeez, at least someone acknowledged they can sound cheezy!

It's my guitar that doesn't like them. You see, I rescued the guitar and cleaned it up, brought it back to life after it was abandoned and somewhat abused for many years. It's previous owner played the chord exclusively...

BTW, I love the guitar. It's a Thompson from 1991. Nice and small and articulate and warm and well built!


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Aug 02 - 05:20 PM

Major 7th chords and other added note chords are like strong spices. Your have to use them sparingly and judiciously, otherwise, their flavor can be overpowering. It's characteristic that someone who learns a new type of chord (such as a three-chord folkie suddenly discovering major 7th chords and thinking they're real cool) tends to overuse it and/or use it injudiciously until they grow the brain cells necessary to handle it—if they ever do. If used as passing chords or to add a bit of emphasis at a particular point in a song, they can add just the right amount of salsa, and you hardly notice they're there—but you'd miss them if they weren't.

As I mentioned on another thread, I use an Fmaj7 as the second to last chord in each verse in a modal version of The Braes of Yarrow. I'm coming from an Am (the tonic), and I will be returning to an Am. The note I sing at that point is an E, and it's on the beat. I have my choice of staying on the Am (dull), playing C (really bad), or playing the expected Em (big yawn). I play the unexpected Fmaj7—hold it for a second—then resolve it to the final Am. And it sounds like it belongs there!

Out of a repertoire of several hundred songs, I use major 7th chords in maybe three of them. It's not folkie, it's not traditional, but musically, it works. And nobody, including folkies, gives me any grief about them, because they slide right in, nobody recognizes them as major 7th chords, and they sound right at that point. But—ya gotta know what yer doin'!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST,Finn Mann
Date: 24 Aug 02 - 12:56 PM

I hate to state the obvious, but if you're picking a tune on the guitar - and it doesn't really matter what kind of picking we're taling about - if you're picking in the key of, say, C it is practically impossible to avoid the occasional use of Fmaj7, or F6 for that matter.
Just get used to it.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Aug 02 - 01:34 PM

Something else you need to take into consideration (if things like this really worry you) is that in the overall harmonic picture, you have to consider not just the chords you're playing, but how those chords combine with the notes you're singing. You're not always singing chord notes, and even if you're playing only triads, the non-chord notes you're singing form all kinds of added-note chords. I could come up with thousands of examples, but I'll leave it to you as an exercise.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: khandu
Date: 24 Aug 02 - 01:46 PM

JohnnyB, I suppose you'd never play "Tighten Up" by Archie Bell and the Drells. It is entirely maj7.

But, what the hell, I wouldn't play that piece of crap either!

khandu


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: JohnnyBGoode
Date: 24 Aug 02 - 02:15 PM

Don,

Yeah, I'm aware of the chords formed by other instruments going on, like the voice. It's just the non-masterful maj 7th attempts that get me.

Guess I have no choice but to explore the maj 7th until I can find something that doesn't sound cheesy to me. Already, I know "Something" doesn't bother me...maybe I'll become a convert.

This kind of brings up a point -- Does melodic taste evolve with age? I'm not talking about sophistication here, just preferences.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Mark Clark
Date: 24 Aug 02 - 03:08 PM

I think one's taste changes over time. I'm sure mine has. But I tend to think of maj7 chords as jazz chords and I don't ever remember not liking jazz.

As a result of these threads, I'm becoming curious about how people hear maj7 chords. If you can make some time, please play these Emaj7 chords on your guitar and rank them for me in order of descending cheesiness. I'm anxious to know whether everyone hears these chords the same way.

Thanks,

      - Mark

  1. 0x110x
  2. 021100
  3. x22444
  4. 4x244x
  5. 7x785x
  6. 779897
  7. x7989x
  8. xx999(11)


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Aug 02 - 03:15 PM

JBG, it sounds to me like you ran into one of the types I was thinking of—someone who had just discovered major 7th chords and tried to cram them into everything, or use them as if they were primary chords. And that can sound very cheesy. In general, they're not really appropriate in most folk music contexts, and if used at all, should be used with extreme care.

Yes, I think tastes evolve and change with age. And preferences can certainly change. I think it's possible to outgrow some kinds of music and grow into others. Sometimes it's just a matter of exposure. I hated opera until I heard some. I particularly hated Wagnerian opera—until I actually went to a full-length production of a Wagnerian opera. My love for folk music has only grown over the years.

Actually, it may be a kind of sophistication in that the more music you hear and the more types of music you hear, the more you grasp what's possible. Also, you get a better sense of what's appropriate with the various types of music. This can sometimes result in some interesting cross-fertilization. Flamenco guitarists use a lot of partially fingered chords played against open strings, creating some interesting dissonances, all very appropriate to flamenco. The Soleares spends a lot of time moving back and forth between a first position E major and an F major 7th. When I was working out my accompaniment to Yarrow I was trying to find some chord that didn't sound so bland right before the final Am. Fiddling one day with a Soleares (I took a few month's lessons from a genuine flamenco guitarist back in 1962), I hit the F major 7th and something went "click!" I tried it in Yarrow and it worked! But it was pure serendipity rather than any musical brilliance on my part. It's definitely not a "folk" chord, and I wouldn't recommend major 7ths for general folk music use.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: JohnnyBGoode
Date: 24 Aug 02 - 05:22 PM

Don, you say it all very well.

Mark, I came up with this order until I had to stop. This list goes from most to least.

BTW, this isn't just my opinion, I actually plugged directly into a black box device that measures cheeziness, developed by a consortium of chorus-effect manufacturers.

x7989x 0x110x x22444 779897 021100 4x244x xx999(11) 7x785x


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: JohnnyBGoode
Date: 26 Aug 02 - 07:24 PM

Mark,

What is your order?


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Mark Clark
Date: 27 Aug 02 - 10:25 AM

JBG, I confess I never really thought about it. That's why I'm curious to know what others think. I don't normally use maj7 cords for bluegrass and traditional stuff, usually just for jazz tunes or the odd commercial &folk tune that needs one. When I use one, I tend to grab a fingering nearest my current hand position so the bass line doesn't sound disjointed.

I've never really thought of certain chords as being “cheesy.” They're just different sound colors to be used wherever they are appropriate and seem to enhance the total piece.

I guess if I were to apply the term “cheesy” to a chord change it would be the overused relative minor change the became so popular during the great folk scare. I came to regard that as musical hucksterism, especially when performers would throw one into a song that didn't originally have it just to seem contemporary.

I'll go back and listen to those Emaj7 chords and see what I can come up with for a sequence.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: M.Ted
Date: 27 Aug 02 - 04:28 PM

JBG, You probably wouldn't like my version of"Shady Grove" then-- (cool jazz shuffle) Dm7 /Cmaj7 /Dm7 /Dm7 /
Shady Grove My little love Shady Grove, My Darlin'
Fmaj7/A /Am7 /Cmaj7 /Dm7 |
Shady Grove My little love I'm goin'back to Harlen |

I usually play that lick from "Ride of the Valkyries" as an intro--works best over a "Dm7/Fmaj7 vamp--


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: M.Ted
Date: 27 Aug 02 - 04:30 PM

Well, here again, hopefully more readable-- (cool jazz shuffle)
Dm7 /Cmaj7 /Dm7 /Dm7 /
Shady Grove My little love Shady Grove, My Darlin'
Fmaj7/A /Am7 /Cmaj7 /Dm7 |
Shady Grove My little love I'm goin'back to Harlan |

I usually play that lick from "Ride of the Valkyries" as an intro--works best over a "Dm7/Fmaj7 vamp--


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: PHJim
Date: 07 Dec 11 - 11:45 PM

Some folky songs that would flop without the Ma7 chord:
-David Bradstreet's Rennaisance
-Fred Eaglesmith's High Heels In The Rain
-Mark Rust's Class Reunion
-Mike Smith's Hobo's Mandolin
-Jerry Jeff Walker's Mr. Bojangles
-Mari's Wedding P.D.
These tunes all use the C, C/b, Am, C/g progression. The second chord, C/b has the notes C,E,G and B, making it a CMa7 chord.
...or what about Jingle Bells (C)Jingle(CMa7)Bells(Am)Jingle(C/g)Bells

I'm not crazy about using a Ma7 chord in a song like Skip To My Lou, but I do use them in Hey Good Lookin' and Jack Of Diamonds for instance.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: PHJim
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 12:14 AM

Sorry, I didn't realise how old this thread was.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 12:22 AM

There's a version of "The Braes of Yarrow" that I sing in the key of Am, and at one point in each verse, I hit a Maj 7th (F-A-C-E, with the E on top) and linger on it for a second or two. Perfect at that point in the verse. Resolves back to the Am. A regular F major at that point sounds too major, but the F major 7th works if I hold it for a second, then end the verse on the Am.

But I'm not using a particular picking or strumming pattern. I'm playing the chords "freely," with occasional arpeggios and runs.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 12:35 AM

Hell's bells! I should have read through the whole thread before posting this time. I checked back and found that I had posted much the same information 9 years ago!! Plus a whole sockful of other stuff.

Sorry!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: llareggyb
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 12:44 AM

My guitar thrives on Dmaj7 chords but if I tune it right it hates C major. Maybe it needs a bridge transplant???

BTW, a friend showed me a Dmaj7 lick (very easy!) that sounds merely OK on a 6-string but is luscious on a 12. Fretting just the top 3 strings:
Dmaj7, Gmin/D, F#min/D, Gmin/D...


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 01:51 AM

In quite a lot of music as written, especially in "fake books" and the like as used in "pop" music and to some extent in "big band" stuff from the not too distant past, the convention has been that a "bare 7" means the minor 7th note rather than the major 7th note is added to the triad.

This is something I've found a bit irritating since it's simply "wrong notation," (according to the text books) and some publishers1 have made an effort to write the scores more accurately - or at least to indicate when what's really written is what is really meant; but the practice of omitting the "m" (m7) for the minor note persists - according to what appears to be prevailing opinion.

For those who believe in this particular mythology, it's usual to assume a major 7th only if it's notated as maj7, and a "bare" 7 means m7; but especially when "academic musicians" try to mix in with working stiffs rather heated arguments can result.

The only reliable way of settling such disagreements is "whichever sounds best" to the one who plays it. If it actually does fit the music the argument that it's "hard to play" doesn't hold much 'possum grease, much less any water at all.

1 Mel Bay isn't one of these, unless habits have changed since I looked at much of his stuff.

John


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 10:01 AM

John-
It's my understanding (often flawed I admit) that the "bare" seventh chord (talking about the full four note chord) R7 is properly described as a "dominant" seventh chord: root + major third + perfect fifth + minor seventh; the "minor seventh" notated as rm7 describes a minor triad plus the minor seventh: root + minor third + perfect fifth + minor seventh; the "major seventh" Rmaj7 or RM7 is a major triad plus the major seventh.
These conventions derive mostly from the classical contexts of scales and keys, and don't always make sense if we're just throwing around disembodied chords.
Cheers
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 10:17 AM

Yep. From my unabridged dictionary:

"a dominant 7th chord is the most important of the 7th chords, a major triad and a minor 7th."

For example, D A F# C, the familiar D7, rather than D A F# C#, all of which would be notes from the D major scale.

To me, a maj 7th chord is usually unpleasant. It sounds the way stale booze smells. The maj 7th chord is one reason why jazz is a not-for-profit activity.
===================================
Tony P, you wrote "My guitar thrives on Dmaj7 chords but if I tune it right it hates C major. Maybe it needs a bridge transplant???"

I've had one guitar lesson in my life. The teacher is most talented. When I told him I had a hard time playing the C chord, he said "You're not supposed to play C on the guitar."

I think he meant that the guitar is not intended to resonate with C. Whatever he meant, I decided he is right, and I don't worry about C anymore. Whatever you do, don't ruin a good instrument by trying to make it do something it was never intended to do.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 10:38 AM

"You're not supposed to play C on the guitar."
LOL so true on so many levels, yet so rarely appreciated!!
-G


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 10:44 AM

I don't think anyone's mentioned a minor/Major seventh (mM7 or miMa7) yet. This is a Ma7 note added to a minor chord. 3X433X would be a GmM7. Although I don't find a lot of use for it, it does work well going from a Gmi(3X533X)to a Gmi7(3X333X) followed by a Gdim(3X232X)


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 10:47 AM

The cheesiness factor of a M7 depends on many things, not the least of which is the style of music involved.
In general, if it's formed by a passing note in the melody or harmony, it's no big deal (and often I won't duplicate it in the guitar accompaniment, just let it happen in the voices or melodic instrument lines). I tend toward spareness in my guitar accompaniment anyway.
If it's an extra note stuffed into the chord (especially when voiced for fingerly convenience and not for sound, to make it worse) for the purposes of adding chunkiness to the chord, which is probably its most common purpose in jazz, especially latin-derived jazz, it sounds cheesy. The more so the more removed from its natural stylistic habitat.
Try playing "The Girl From Ipanema" without those M7 and 6+9 chords! But don't you dare put them into "Barbry Allen."
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 01:32 PM

I used to share an aversion towards major 7th chords.

But then I heard Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys. Best use of maj7s in recorded history, in my humble opinion.

Duke Ellington does em well too.

And Thelonious Monk even manages to make them sound quite violent on occasion, blurring the line between a major 7th and a discord.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: PHJim
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 02:18 PM

The post From: GUEST
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 10:44 AM
was from me. I was at the library and forgot to sign in.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Artful Codger
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 02:25 PM

Yup, Glenn has it right: in standard guitar notation, the "bare 7" is always a dominant 7th: a major triad with a minor seventh. Why? Because the dominant (V) chord is the chord most frequently qualified by 7ths--or 9ths, 11ths or 13ths. So if you consider the major dominant (V) chord rather than the major tonic (I) chord to be the default model for extended chords, you'll see why the 7ths are minor by default while the other intervals are major/perfect by default.

This model results in a concise notation for chords which is independent of surrounding context (key, mode, or role in progression), with the most common chords having the shortest, most directly understandable names. It is the convention I've seen followed in virtually every tutorial, song or tune book I've encountered--I can't recall a single exception. So I don't know why this should be considered "wrong". Those who think it's wrong are applying a faulty "consistency" rule that ignores the frequency of interval occurrence--and they defy a long-established, highly rational convention to little purpose.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 04:02 PM

I agree that they are okay in Girl from Ipanema, Duke Ellington, T. Monk, etc.

I'm gonna go see if Pet Sounds is on YouTube.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 04:20 PM

Major sevenths are sometimes a necessary evil, but I don't play many of them myself.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Joe_F
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 06:32 PM

Just out of curiosity, what does "major 7th" mean to guitarists? It must be something different from what I learned in school, where a dominant major 7th chord (say, GBDF) followed by a tonic major chord (say, CEG) was called a perfect cadence, and was considered perfectly normal.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 07:09 PM

A "major 7th" isn't related to the Dominant of a key, in which the "7th" in question is an interval of a minor 7th above the root, and is within the scale of the key. A "major 7th" in the context of this discussion refers to an interval of a major 7th above the root, and is not necessarily within the key, although it can be.

Clear as mud?

This kind of chord is not indigenous to folk music, but if used judiciously and sparingly, in certain instances, it can be very effective. I know a few hundred songs, and I use it in only two of them.

As I say, sparingly and judiciously.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Taconicus
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 07:09 PM

I don't really know music theory, but… You know how a G7 chord is like a G major except you play the first string on the first fret instead of the third fret? Correct me if I'm wrong, guys, but I believe a G major 7th chord is like that, except you play the first string on the second fret, so it would be GBDF#. I don't think I've ever used it.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 07:15 PM

Right, Taconicus. That's the correct "spelling" of a major 7th. "Major" in this case refers to the interval above the root, not the nature of the basic triad.

By the way, this is music theory, and doesn't relate only to the guitar.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: got killed by a maj7th chord again tonite
From: Genie
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 08:42 PM

I use major 7ths often, but mostly for jazz or pop (e.g., "The Christmas Song" or the final chord in "Wonderful World"), show tunes (e.g., "My Favorite Things" -- the second line of which really needs the maj7), contemporary folk songs (e.g., Bill Staines's "River"-where going to Dmaj7 from Dmaj on the second syllable of "river" at the beginning of the chorus really makes the harmony work).   Never tried them in bluegrass or classic country or Child ballads (though some of the suggestions above sound intriguing), but I did work out what I jokingly called an "Irish jazz" arrangement of Wild Mountain Thyme that used both a minor 7th and a major 7th and sounded good to me and was appreciated by my audiences too.

Anyhoo, there are a lot more than 2% of the songs in my repertoire that call for or at least work well with at least one major 7th and or 9th or minor 6th.    I don't throw them in just to be cute or artsy-fartsy. I just like the 'textures' that chords like that, plus the "demented" chords, can add to a lot of songs.    OTOH, there are some songs that just plain don't need more than your basic 1-4-5 or maybe even just 1-5.   I've seen piano arrangements of "O Tannenbaum" that call for at least 7 or 8 chords, but unless you're throwing in some funky harmony parts, I cannot see (hear) how that song calls for anything but 1-4-5.    (shrug)


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST,josepp
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 09:08 PM

I play major 7th chords when one needs to be there. When it doesn't, I play something else. What's so hard about this??


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 10:22 PM

The vast majority of the songs I sing are traditional folk songs and ballads. I don't know of ANY in which a major 7th chord "needs" to be there. It is a "color chord," and like ALL color chords, they should be used with judgement and discretion. If at all.

Don Firth

P. S. GUEST,josepp, that sort of language is totally uncalled for.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 10:24 PM

I see the mud-elves are on the ball. Would one of them please remove the P. S. from my post just above? Thanks.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Dec 11 - 07:47 AM

"I agree that they are okay in Girl from Ipanema, Duke Ellington, T. Monk, etc.

I'm gonna go see if Pet Sounds is on YouTube."

Pet Sounds is the name of the album. Try the songs "God Only Knows" or "Caroline No" or "I just wasn't made for these times". In that last one, major 7th chords start to sound kind of spooky...


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: PHJim
Date: 09 Dec 11 - 10:41 AM

There are certain styles, like the much of the music of Bob Wills where a Ma7 doesn't sound out of place. Doc Watson uses them effectively in the bridge of All I Have To Do Is Dream. The second chord of the verse is actually a Ma7 as well, though it might be written C/b or C/B.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Dec 11 - 10:44 AM

"I play major 7th chords when one needs to be there. When it doesn't, I play something else. What's so hard about this??"

I think the point of much of this thread is that some people wish to discuss how to *tell* when the chord needs to be there. There are objective and subjective reasons. Some folks are trying to come to grips with the factors that go into the choice.

My judgment of course is always flawless in this matter.

(Oh, Lord, did I just respond to a post by josepp?)

Having said that, I've seriously been thinking about *why* it seems that M7 usually seems uncalled-for in folk accompaniment. One theory that comes to mind is that, if you go back into the British/Celtic provenance of the majority of the music we are talking about, you find melodies emphasizing the pentatonic or hexatonic scales. The leading tone (the basis of the M7 chord I would say) is not used much (not at all in some melodies) except in final cadences where the dominant (V) chord is called for anyway. Opinions from the theorists?

Cheers
-Glenn

-Glenn


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Dec 11 - 10:51 AM

This thread has caused me to wonder something.

Though the historical record is far from clear, it seems that the major scale was all figured out by the 1200's. The sixth and the seventh notes were the last to be 'defined.'

Now, the 'seventh' chord we usually use (e.g., D A F# C) doesn't actually use the seventh note of the scale. It uses the 6th-and-a-half.

But maybe in those earlier centuries, people couldn't say 'six and a half.' When were fractions invented? who first thought of expressions such as 'one-half' or '15/16'? It occurs to me that I have never seen an early representation of a fraction.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 09 Dec 11 - 11:08 AM

There are a fair few instances of English folk melodies where you could posit a major 7th. Towards the end of The False Bride melody (as printed in the Penguin Book of English folksongs). Or in The Brisk Young Widow. (If I can ever manage to play it properly, I've got a sort of Western Swing version of Brisk Young Widow, with a fair few major 7ths in it, which I'm quite proud of.)

A lot of Northumbrian clog and hornpipe music from the late 19th century has, it could be argued, implied major 7ths at times. Which makes some kind of sense, as we're not far off the influences of American ragtime.

I use the words "implied" and "posit" very deliberately here: we're talking essentially monophonic music. It could be argued, if you wanted to, that any chordal accompaniment that's too assertive (major, minor, dominant, diminished) is squashing the modal nature of most of the songs we're talking about here.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Dec 11 - 12:56 PM

It all goes back to Pythagoras, the old Greek who is the bane of high school geometry classes. Without going into detail about how he went about it (experimenting with harmonics on a stretched string and tuning other strings to those harmonics), he came up with the modern 12-tone chromatic scale. That is, twelve distinct notes before he started repeating himself.

If you use all twelve notes in a piece of music, you have no center, or "home plate." So various people "selected" notes from the available twelve, and the modes developed.

This is really an overly simplistic explanation, but in the interests of brevity. . . .

The major scale is actually the Ionian mode, which, along with other modes, had been used for centuries. The natural minor scale is the old Aeolian mode. Same notes as the Ionian mode, but starting and ending at a different point, hence the "relative minor." These two modes, used separately or in combination, proved to be the most musically versatile, so they are the ones used primarily in classical and popular music from, say, the Renaissance on (give or take a century or two).

It's hard to make these things clear without writing a book—and, indeed, there have been many books written on the subject.

The "seventh chord," as in "dominant 7th," of, say, the key of C, is G7, where the 7th in question is the interval between the G (root of the chord) and the F natural. F natural rather than F#, because we're dealing with the key of C, not the key of G.

As to the use of major 7th chords (or 6ths, 9ths, and other notes added to the basic triad), these are "color chords" and are never actually necessary, beyond stylistic conventions.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Dec 11 - 01:02 PM

By the way, the "seventh" (or "sixth" or "ninth" or "eleventh") in this context is not a fraction. It is the number of scale steps above the root of the chord (basic triad) in question.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST,josepp
Date: 09 Dec 11 - 04:40 PM

////I think the point of much of this thread is that some people wish to discuss how to *tell* when the chord needs to be there.////

They need to be there when I feel they need to be there. Every song I play--whether my own or a cover--has as many major 7ths as it needs, no more no less. If it doesn't need any, it doesn't have any.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Nobodys bard
Date: 09 Dec 11 - 07:31 PM

"They need to be there when I feel they need to be there. Every song I play--whether my own or a cover--has as many major 7ths as it needs, no more no less. If it doesn't need any, it doesn't have any."

That's a pretty sound definition in my book - couldn't have put it better myself!


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Dec 11 - 08:55 PM

Okay, fair enough. If YOU feel it needs to be there, then put it there. Then let the audience judge whether you have musical taste or not. Simple as that.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST,josepp
Date: 09 Dec 11 - 09:59 PM

Exactly. Isn't that how it always is?


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Dec 11 - 12:39 AM

Did I say anything different, josepp? If so, where's the beef?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: PHJim
Date: 10 Dec 11 - 04:58 AM

Don Firth said,"As to the use of major 7th chords (or 6ths, 9ths, and other notes added to the basic triad), these are "color chords" and are never actually necessary, beyond stylistic conventions."
Exactly. A Major chord may always be played in place of a Ma7 or 6 chord or a dominant seventh, ninth...

In the key of C, if we take every other note for 3 consecutive notes and move up the scale, we get: CEG(CMa), DFA(Dm), EGB(Em), FAC(FMa), GBD(GMa), ACE(Am), BDF(Bdim), back to CMa.
These chords work well in most folk tunes and, as Don said, are all that are actually necessary.

If we do the same thing with every other four notes, we get: CEGB(CMa7), DFAC(Dmi7), EGBD(Emi7), FACE(FMa7), GBDF(G7), ACEG(Ami7), BDFA(Bmi7b5 or B half diminished), back to CMa7.

These extended chords are not necessary, but sometimes add colour to songs.

A folk version of Hey Good Lookin' would be played:
|G |   |   |   |C |D7 |G   |   |

A western swing version might be played:
|GMa,GMa7|G6,GMa7|GMa,GMa7|G6,G#dim|Ami7,Ami6|Ami7,D7|
GMa,G#dim|Ami7,D7|


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: PHJim
Date: 10 Dec 11 - 05:01 AM

I guess even the D7 chord in the folk version of HGL could be a D chord.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Joe_F
Date: 10 Dec 11 - 06:26 PM

Thank you for the example, Taconicus. I agree with some others here that that sort of thing is O.K. for an occasional frisson, but as a cliche it is tiresome.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 04:42 AM

I'm with you, Joe. I live in Kansas City, where the more sophisticated restaurants think jazz is de rigeur. It's really made me aware that jazz today is riddled with gimmicks, the maj7th being one.

The trouble with gimmicks is that they get tiresome really fast.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: Genie
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 05:20 AM

Don Firth [[ ... a major 7th chord ... is a "color chord," and like ALL color chords, they should be used with judgement and discretion. If at all.

As to the use of major 7th chords (or 6ths, 9ths, and other notes added to the basic triad), these are "color chords" and are never actually necessary, beyond stylistic conventions.]]

PHJim: [[Exactly. A Major chord may always be played in place of a Ma7 or 6 chord or a dominant seventh, ninth.]]

I guess it all comes down to what one considers "necessary." Where would graphic art be if painters used only primary colors?   "Coloration" is a key ingredient in painting, music, dance, etc.   Some styles of music (e.g., bluegrass) not only don't "need" chord coloration but maybe even lose their identity when chords/harmonies with too much subtle "coloration" are added, but others, including some folk, can be enhanced greatly by not sticking to just "primary colors."

Close harmonies, distinctive harmonies, etc., on the part of vocalists tend to call for things like maj7ths, 9ths, diminished, or augmented chords. And these can be what makes an arrangement of a song really striking and distinctive.

I'm certainly not calling for "color chords" to be tossed about randomly -- I gave the example earlier of "O Tannenbaum," which I still don't think benefits from more than the 1-4-5 set -- but I would definitely not say that such chords should be used with "discretion - IF AT ALL."   That is like telling a landscape or portrait painter to use subtle shadings and color mixtures sparingly - if at all.


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Subject: RE: got killed by a ma7th chord again tonite
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 05:41 AM

O Tannenbaum implies a dominant 7th chord at the end of the third measure.

I too rather raise an eyebrow when I read the word "necessary" used in this context. Nothing in music is "necessary".
(Or, from the other point of view, everything in music is necessary).

And as far as "color chords"... well, don't forget that black, white and grey are colours. For me, modal-sounding fourths and fifths (harmonies) are just as colourful as 7ths. They're just a different colour.


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