May 9, 2019 at 8:59 am #132935
in the lesson 014 (rhythm) and 015 (lead) Brian says that the ragtime piece consists of two parts. The first one is “in the key of E” and then starts the second half that would be a sort of “A part” of the songs (as Brian himself claims).
By analyzing what he plays and/or says through the 014 and 015 episodes, the chords involved are:
1st half → key of E (major)
Chords used: E / C#7 / F#7 / B
Accordin to the harmonization of the E MAJOR SCALE (see attachment), that scale generates the folowing chords (depending on the 7 degrees of the E major scale):
I) E major ←
II) F# minor ←
III) G# minor
IV) A major
V) B major ←
VI) C# minor ←
VII) D# diminished
The questios are: how in the world can Brian play those C#7 and F#7 chords, that are MAJOR instead of MINOR? Despite they sound “good”, aren’t they “theoretically wrong”?
Second question: C#7 chord is formed by C# – F – G# – B notes… So how can Brian improvise using the E major/minor scales if those two scales don’t contain any “F” note at all?
Let’s focus now on the 2nd half of the piece. Brian says we switch to a kind of “A part”. If it means that we’re playing through an “A major scale”, we should have (same process we did with the previous E major scale – see again the chart in the attachment):
I) A major ←
II) B minor ←
III) C# minor ←
IV) D major
V) E major ←
VI) F# minor ←
VII) G# diminished
Where then Brian picks the chords he uses in this portion? He uses, if I remember correctly:
A / Bb°7 (or Bb dim7) – according with his fingering / C#7 / F#7 and B
Again: where do those chords pop up from?? Once again the rules of the harmonization of the major scale are broken: the diminished chord should be a G#, not a Bb! The C# should be minor instead of major! The B chord should be minor instead of major…
I’m completely disoriented. Explanations, suggestions and even external links could help.
Thank you for helping!
I hope I’ve made myself clear, unfortunately I’m not a native speaker.
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May 9, 2019 at 11:22 am #132939
I am not familiar with this lesson and can’t address all of your questions. You are correct that some of these chords are not diatonic. But think about a simple I-IV-V blues progression. The only diatonic chord in the blues is the five chord. So in this lesson I believe (since harmony is not noted on tab) that the chord progression is E7-C#7-F#7-B7. In music any chord can be made into a dominant seventh chord. So what would normally be C#m7 and F#m7 chords are now dominant sevenths. The way I would think of these two chords is that they now are what are called secondary dominants (or five of). The C#7 is a five chord to the F#7, and the F#7 is the five of the B7. By doing this you get a much strong pull from one chord to the other.
Hope that helps.
May 9, 2019 at 9:35 pm #132970
Welcome to the world of chord substitutions. I agree with Bob that the C#7 and F#7 are what are called “secondary dominants” and are the V chord of the “key” of the subsequent chord in the progression. The resolution from a V chord (especially a dominant) to it’s tonic is supposed to be the strongest resolution in music.
I haven’t checked the lesson but I suspect by “the A part” Brian is starting a similar progression on A or the IV chord. You can insert a diminished7 in any fret where there’s a gap between two chords in a key. This is a common jazz technique. As for trying to fit a lead over these things I think you just have to be aware of where a dissonant note might arise over a given chord, most notes of the pentatonic will fit.
May 9, 2019 at 10:06 pm #132973
I agree with John (Charjo). I listened to the track and I don’t hear a key change. The second part starts on the four chord (A) but still is in E.
May 9, 2019 at 10:32 pm #132974
I may be wrong on this but the C#7 / F#7 / B part of the progression is moving along the Circle of Fifths. Would seem that he played E to establish the key of the song, played C# as a major dom. 7th instead of minor and then moved the progression around the Circle of Fifths
Where’s Gordo when we need him??? LOL
May 9, 2019 at 11:17 pm #132978
No that’s it. Dominant to subdominant around the circle of fifths. Common in ragtime.
May 10, 2019 at 5:15 am #132995
Thank you all for the answers!
I’ve just received an answer from a friend who’s been studying music at high professional level and his answer (as well as your here in the topic) are helping me: is a matter of chord substitutions and armonic rules. It takes time, patience and study to fully understand what happens in certains armonic choices and variations.
Thank you again and have a nice day,
May 10, 2019 at 10:02 pm #133049
Any chord can be preceded by its dominant chord. The C# is dominant of the F#; F# is dominant of B, and the B is dominant of E. This kind of progression is called backcycling. It’s very common, and is the bridge of Rhythm changes for example. It’s also how the tune Sweet Georgia Brown goes, and Rose Room, and a bunch of other standards. (Bridge to Cherokee as well).
A Bb diminished is a straight substitution for an A7 chord. A7b9 is spelled. A C# E G Bb. Take out the A and you have Bb diminished. Play Bb diminished on the top strings 5 6 5 6 from bottom to top. Now lower any string one fret and you have a dominant seventh chord. Try it and see.
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