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Thread: Those other chords?

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    Registered User OldMandoMan's Avatar
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    Default Those other chords?

    A student from many years ago recently told me "The most useful thing I ever learned from you was how to figure out those weird chords that often show up in a song."

    It was eye opening to me also when in my first college level theory class, after the chapters on Primary Chords & Secondary chords (all of which I'd been playing but not understanding why), there came this chapter nearly half way through the text titled Secondary Dominants They included many of those chords we all use beyond the only seven that can exist in any key. You know the chords that can in no way belong to the key in which one is playing?

    Way down the page explaining this concept of classical theory was this little phrase .... "Some theorists refer to these as Borrowed Chords" and the light bulb went on in my head! I thought, "That's something any player can understand!" I've expanded that idea to include the six most commonly occurring odd chords encountered in most genres, Jazz being a different animal altogether. I use the concept in all my beyond beginning instruction & books ever since. I'll discuss Jazz in an upcoming post.

    The attached chart might be a way to organize your thinking around all .... those other chords?Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by OldMandoMan; Oct-24-2019 at 4:56pm.

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    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Thanks for this, OMM.

    Like you, I used these before understanding.
    It's very important to be able to see the big picture and to catagorize the chords so that they can be addressed in any key or musical situation.

    I find it useful to "see" these chords as the ones I encounter when I jump from the I chord to the III chord and then follow the circle of fifths path.

    (An example is to play the old song "Five foot two": eg. G B E A D G, 1 3 6 2 5 1).
    Then I just have to remember to think of the 'flat 3' chord also.

    These may be played as seventh chords, major chords, and sometimes changed to the minor chord in some tunes.
    Phil

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    I've been reading a bit about modes lately. It seems like borrowed chords would fit into a discussion about modes (which may be where you are headed with Jazz). But I like the simplicity of the table of the common "weird" chords for the key!
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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    The attachment mentions secondary dominants; these are not "weird" chords but are the essential chords that connect key centers.

    Plus, jazz is not another special or unique case, it uses chords the same way as does classical music and other forms.

    Example - the bridge on "rhythm changes" in Bb is D7 G7 C7 F7.

    This is often incorrectly called 3-6-2-5; If you still use Bb as tonic, it really is V7/V7/V7/V7 to V7/V7/V7 to V7/V7 to V7 - all secondary dominants.

    They can be considered borrowed chords, in that they are borrowed from the tonal center that each chord is the V7 of.

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post

    (An example is to play the old song "Five foot two": eg. G B E A D G, 1 3 6 2 5 1).
    Then I just have to remember to think of the 'flat 3' chord also.


    In the key of C, the first chord is the tonic C.

    The E7 is the V7 of A; next chord is the A7, the V7 of D.

    Then we get D7, the V7 of G, the actual V7 of our original tonic, C.

    What do you mean by the "flat 3 chord"?

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobP View Post
    I've been reading a bit about modes lately. It seems like borrowed chords would fit into a discussion about modes (which may be where you are headed with Jazz). But I like the simplicity of the table of the common "weird" chords for the key!
    That depends on the modes. So far we are talking about basic major scales, or the Ionian mode. Secondary dominants are not as related to the various diatonic and synthetic modes as they are to functional harmony.

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    The attachment mentions secondary dominants; these are not "weird" chords but are the essential chords that connect key centers.

    Plus, jazz is not another special or unique case, it uses chords the same way as does classical music and other forms.

    Example - the bridge on "rhythm changes" in Bb is D7 G7 C7 F7.

    This is often incorrectly called 3-6-2-5; If you still use Bb as tonic, it really is V7/V7/V7/V7 to V7/V7/V7 to V7/V7 to V7 - all secondary dominants.

    They can be considered borrowed chords, in that they are borrowed from the tonal center that each chord is the V7 of.

    Your use of the term "tonal center" indicates that you are acquainted with Jazz. You are correct in that Jazz uses chords the same as any other genre BUT the often frequent movement between tonal centers is what makes the "non-theory-oriented" player's head spin! You are also correct in saying that the connection between these tonal center is most often through the V chord of the new tonal center (key) hence the Secondary Dominant link, i.e. the V of the V of the V of the dominant of the original tonic. Philphool mentions that chestnut "Five Foot Two" which every string player would be wise to have in their theory brain as the Classic example of Secondary Dominant chord use.

    My advice to students is to have a favorite song as your personal "signature tune" for using each of the common borrowed chords. The Eagles "Desperado" being a case in point for it's distinctive use of a minor four (iv) as the 4th chord in the intro.

    Thanks for your input.

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobP View Post
    I've been reading a bit about modes lately. It seems like borrowed chords would fit into a discussion about modes (which may be where you are headed with Jazz). But I like the simplicity of the table of the common "weird" chords for the key!

    I hope no one takes this the wrong way but,... my opinion is that concern with modes is way overrated until you become so good at improvising that pentatonics with a little chromaticism added is just too boring for you. Horn players (single note players in general) usually get into modal improv before we chord oriented players. Every mode will have the same key signature as it's related Ionian mode (Major Scale) thus the chords have to be the same just having different numerical designations. Here is the real mind bender though, the major pentatonic pattern is a subset of each major mode (Ionian-Lydian-Mixolydian) and the minor pentatonic is a subset of each minor mode (Dorian-Phrygian-Aolian) and since each major mode is identical to it's relative minor mode only using the 4th note of the major pattern to start the minor pattern. I just leave use of the vii degree mode (Locrian) to Thelonius Monk!

    I tried to prove my HS music teacher wrong when he told me that but .....

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post


    In the key of C, the first chord is the tonic C.

    The E7 is the V7 of A; next chord is the A7, the V7 of D.

    Then we get D7, the V7 of G, the actual V7 of our original tonic, C.

    What do you mean by the "flat 3 chord"?
    Oh, right, so it’s doing a circle of fourths back to C major?
    And the borrowed chords in a major scale are basically the relative minors turned into majors, along with the IV (major) turned into IVm.

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    ...and that's the distinctive difference between jazz and rock (which isn't analyzed nearly as much):
    Rock goes the other direction. Think "Hey Joe".

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post

    In the key of C, the first chord is the tonic C.The E7 is the V7 of A; next chord is the A7, the V7 of D.Then we get D7, the V7 of G, the actual V7 of our original tonic, C.

    What do you mean by the "flat 3 chord"?
    @David: I only meant that the flat-3 chord was not used in my "Five Foot Two" example, and that I just keep flat-3 in a different brain compartment than I do when thinking of Circle of Fifths chords in any setting. (Just a personal thing that has nothing to do with music theory.) Actually, I used poor spacing and that made my comment somewhat confusing. Sorry.

    To the explanation of the function of all the C. of Fifths chords: to say "3-6-2-5" is merely an easier way to 'see' these chord progressions (at least to me). It does not attempt to describe the function of these chords as they are being used. But chatting about using the "fifth of the fifth of the fifth of the fifth" just gets a bit tedious. Using shortcuts for easy communication does not imply that I recommend not understanding proper theory and function.
    Phil

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by OldMandoMan View Post
    Your use of the term "tonal center" indicates that you are acquainted with Jazz. You are correct in that Jazz uses chords the same as any other genre BUT the often frequent movement between tonal centers is what makes the "non-theory-oriented" player's head spin! You are also correct in saying that the connection between these tonal center is most often through the V chord of the new tonal center (key) hence the Secondary Dominant link, i.e. the V of the V of the V of the dominant of the original tonic. Philphool mentions that chestnut "Five Foot Two" which every string player would be wise to have in their theory brain as the Classic example of Secondary Dominant chord use.

    My advice to students is to have a favorite song as your personal "signature tune" for using each of the common borrowed chords. The Eagles "Desperado" being a case in point for it's distinctive use of a minor four (iv) as the 4th chord in the intro.

    Thanks for your input.
    Glad to share.

    BTW, classical music had those " frequent movement between tonal centers" before any popular music did, including jazz. As you point out, the majority of folk and much pop music doesn't shift keys so much nor as often.

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    @David: I only meant that the flat-3 chord was not used in my "Five Foot Two" example, and that I just keep flat-3 in a different brain compartment than I do when thinking of Circle of Fifths chords in any setting.
    Thanks, I was not sure what you meant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    To the explanation of the function of all the C. of Fifths chords: to say "3-6-2-5" is merely an easier way to 'see' these chord progressions (at least to me). It does not attempt to describe the function of these chords as they are being used. But chatting about using the "fifth of the fifth of the fifth of the fifth" just gets a bit tedious. Using shortcuts for easy communication does not imply that I recommend not understanding proper theory and function.
    I get that - it is easier to say 3-6-2-5 in practical band situations rather than the correct-but-complex version.

    I make a point about this when I teach jazz teaching classes, though, so folks understand why and how those V7's (and ii-V's) are most often used.

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by atsunrise View Post
    Oh, right, so it’s doing a circle of fourths back to C major?
    And the borrowed chords in a major scale are basically the relative minors turned into majors, along with the IV (major) turned into IVm.
    The Circle of Fifths is often reversed in songs, as you point out. Thanks.

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    OK ….. You guyz …. I'm headed for the Tylenol ….. I do like the comment on leaving the vii to Monk..... I'll stick with my minimal understanding of the numericals … I, III and V or What …. Dorian, Lydian and Hypodorian …. Latin is all Greek to me or is that backwards …. as they relate to harmonizing melody lines. The unusual chords as I call them are at times hard to hear but thankfully on a mandolin can be alluded to with a double stop ….. Forth and back the circle goes Where it stops the theory shows So I practice scales and chords and forms To find those intervals not the norms ……. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    The Circle of Fifths is often reversed in songs, as you point out. Thanks.
    My point (about Hey Joe) was that no-one ever says (about rock progressions) that it's the "IV of the IV" (or the IV of the IV of the IV of the IV of the I).

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by UsuallyPickin View Post
    OK ….. You guyz …. I'm headed for the Tylenol ….. I do like the comment on leaving the vii to Monk..... I'll stick with my minimal understanding of the numericals … I, III and V or What …. Dorian, Lydian and Hypodorian …. Latin is all Greek to me or is that backwards …. as they relate to harmonizing melody lines. The unusual chords as I call them are at times hard to hear but thankfully on a mandolin can be alluded to with a double stop ….. Forth and back the circle goes Where it stops the theory shows So I practice scales and chords and forms To find those intervals not the norms ……. R/
    Sorry to be getting so "Nerdy" on the theory with Roman Numerals & Greek tribes but skimming the surface of what's called "Harmonic Analysis" can be truly eye (or ear) opening. It helps to have had one of those old clocks with Roman Numerals on the face of it when you were growing up but .. you can write a lower case IV but you can't write a lower case 4.

    -First simple rule is since minor chords sound a little lower, they are always indicated by a lower case Roman Numeral, majors always by upper case.

    -Simple rule #2 is that the Roman Numeral always means a three note chord (a triad) and those single notes are always labeled with Arabic Numerals (1-3-5) with an "-st, -rd, or -th" suffix added to their name. This eliminates a lot of confusion as a (iii) always means (1st-3rd-5th) built on the 3rd of any Do-Re-Me scale. As soon as Do is given a name, the key is established thus all the numbers (Roman & Arabic) then assume respective alphabetical names. Once you've done your analysis, transposing is as simple as pie as the numbers NEVER change and you can take that to the bank!

    -Final simple rule is that a Roman Numeral followed by an Arabic number just means another note, or notes, have been added to the triad. I prefer to call these Expanded chords ("varieties" of the mandatory "kind" i.e. major-minor-diminished-augmented) and they can always be ignored during your first analysis of a tune and then added only if YOU think they add to the "flavor" YOU desire.

    The "Nashville Numbering System" from the 1950's was just a dumbing down of Classical Harmonic Analysis dating back to around 1820 and as with many trends, it caused more confusion than it eliminated.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    Glad to share.

    BTW, classical music had those " frequent movement between tonal centers" before any popular music did, including jazz. As you point out, the majority of folk and much pop music doesn't shift keys so much nor as often.
    You're absolutely correct but since no orchestral players play chords and few classical guitar players think of the progression or key they are actually playing, that's probably why it's commonly said that theory wise, "Jazz is the musicians music!"

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bevan View Post
    My point (about Hey Joe) was that no-one ever says (about rock progressions) that it's the "IV of the IV" (or the IV of the IV of the IV of the IV of the I).
    My "bias doth show" whenever I discuss the subject of Rock Progressions (other than Classic Rock, circa '60s & some '70ish tunes) because I use the term "Dark Guitar"! They're all about "Power Chords", i.e. I5-IV5-V5 which are nothing more than triads sans any 3rds. Power doesn't mean distortion set to the max. Power simply means that there is no difference between any Major & it's parallel Minor. This creates nothing but parallel 5ths, and that will get you nothing but horrible red marks in any Theory & Composition class,... but it can earn you millions if you can land your Dark Guitar tune in Billboard's Hot 100!

    But .... the Roman Numerals still hold!
    -Dylan's "All Along The Watch Tower" is only (i5-bVII5-VI5)
    -"Smoke On The Water" which is in Dorian/Harmonic Minor, is only (i5-III5-IV5-i5-III5-VI5-V5)

    From the "Wooden Rock Era", Neil Young's first chord in "Old Man" is a classic use of a bIII chord! Was Neil that much of a theory buff?.. or just screwing around with chords?.. or smoking' some local weed? There's nothing new under the sun since Bach & Beethoven! Why do people love "Rocky Top"? it's that's bVII chord in the refrain!! Check it out.

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by OldMandoMan View Post
    ....the Roman Numerals still hold!
    -Dylan's "All Along The Watch Tower" is only (i5-bVII5-VI5)
    -"Smoke On The Water" which is in Dorian/Harmonic Minor, is only (i5-III5-IV5-i5-III5-VI5-V5)

    ....Neil Young's first chord in "Old Man" is a classic use of a bIII chord!

    ....Why do people love "Rocky Top"? it's that's bVII chord in the refrain!!
    I apologize for sounding like I don't think these are all great songs because they surely are, for several reasons. I was just pointing out that it's those borrowed chords in the progressions that provide great musical hooks that are powerful influences on peoples reactions to those songs.

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    The Circle of Fifths is often reversed in songs, as you point out. Thanks.
    It's not really reversed. Each chord is the fifth (dominant) of the next chord. The "fifth" in the circle of fifths is the scale degree and function, not the interval.

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    It's not really reversed. Each chord is the fifth (dominant) of the next chord. The "fifth" in the circle of fifths is the scale degree and function, not the interval.
    Indeed.

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    The attachment mentions secondary dominants; these are not "weird" chords but are the essential chords that connect key centers.

    Plus, jazz is not another special or unique case, it uses chords the same way as does classical music and other forms.

    Example - the bridge on "rhythm changes" in Bb is D7 G7 C7 F7.

    This is often incorrectly called 3-6-2-5; If you still use Bb as tonic, it really is V7/V7/V7/V7 to V7/V7/V7 to V7/V7 to V7 - all secondary dominants.

    They can be considered borrowed chords, in that they are borrowed from the tonal center that each chord is the V7 of.
    Not sure that's what I hear. At least it's easier to think in structural chunks.

    I Got Rhythm: 16 bars strongly rooted in Bb, break out: Bb to D7, circle in: D7 G7 C7 F7 Bb ...

    Topsy; 16 bars strongly rooted in bbm, circle out: Bb7, Eb7, Ab7, Db7, break in:Db7 to F7, then bbm etc.


    Now let's analyze the bridge of Jordu ...

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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph johansson View Post
    Now let's analyze the bridge of Jordu ...

    My analysis of the bridge of Jordu => WOA NELLIE!!!
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    Default Re: Those other chords?

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph johansson View Post


    Now let's analyze the bridge of Jordu ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Martin View Post
    My analysis of the bridge of Jordu => WOA NELLIE!!!
    Jordu's bridge is just another string of V/V's

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Jordu.pdf 
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    In Cm from the Real Book

    G7 C7 / F7 Bb7 / Eb7 Ab7 / Db7

    F7 Bb7 / Eb7 Ab7 / Db7 Gb7 / G7

    Nothing odd or difficult about the chords

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