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Thread: B7b9

  1. #1
    Registered User TonyEarth's Avatar
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    Default B7b9

    I was following along with the Autumn Leaves from the Real Book and came upon the B7b9 chord.

    My understanding is:

    B: B D# F#
    B7: B D# F# A
    B7b9: B D# F# A C

    Is that right? I've been using https://www.scales-chords.com to double check and it's really quite nice for the most part, except the B7b9 chord shows the same page as Bmaj7b9, which is a different chord than I showed above.

    I need a sanity check, is this an error in the website, or am I constructing chords wrong?
    Diego

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: B7b9

    B: B D# F#

    B7: B D# F# A

    B7b9: B D# F# A C



    THs looks right to me. Of course, we are restricted to 4 notes (for the most part) in our chords, so for B7b9, I do:

    5-4-6-5, leaving the 5 (F#) out.

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  5. #3
    Registered User TonyEarth's Avatar
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    Default Re: B7b9

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    ... for B7b9, I do:

    5-4-6-5, leaving the 5 (F#) out.
    Isn't this C F# D# A, leaving the root B out?
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  6. #4

    Default Re: B7b9

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    B: B D# F#

    B7: B D# F# A

    B7b9: B D# F# A C



    THs looks right to me. Of course, we are restricted to 4 notes (for the most part) in our chords, so for B7b9, I do:

    5-4-6-5, leaving the 5 (F#) out.
    5-4-6-4 is C-F#-D#-A., which is a D#dim7. You left out the B (root), not the F#

  7. #5
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: B7b9

    Quote Originally Posted by TonyEarth View Post
    the B7b9 chord shows the same page as Bmaj7b9, which is a different chord than I showed above.
    Bmaj7b9 would be B D# F# A# C

    Steering clear of the other stuff, because of the sanity clause in my contract. And whaddaya mean, there ain't no sanity clause?
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    Paul Wheeler
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    Default Re: B7b9

    By dropping the root (B), you have left a diminished chord, nominally Cdim. So in general a diminished chord in the name of the tone one-half step up from the root your progression originally calls for, may be an acceptable substitute chord. Let your ear be the judge. It's sure easier to finger than trying to get both the root and b9 together, if you're tuned in fifths. -- Paul
    He joyously felt himself idling, an unreflective mood in which water was water, sky was sky, breeze was breeze. He knew it couldn't last. -- Thomas McGuane, "Nothing but Blue Skies"

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    Default Re: B7b9

    Yes, both of you are correct (actually, purposefully worded like I did to see if you were paying attention...)

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: B7b9

    B7b9 and BMaj7b9 are two different chords, Tony. The 7th has a flattened 7th tone, so in B7 this would be A, whereas in BMaj7 it would be A# (as Journeybear has noted in his posting). In playing this chord in the tune you mention you may try playing the b9 note as a passing note and not playing the chord itself.
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

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  13. #9
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    Default Re: B7b9

    Ah chords and mandolins ... what to drop and what to leave alone. Something of a personal choice, depending on what instruments you happen to be playing along side of. With the Bassman sticking near the 1/ I / one and 5 / V/ five either may be dropped successfully. I was taught to leave the 3rd / III / third alone. But then you have power chords . < sigh I always smile when 7th chords are cussed and discussed Major, Minor, Major minor and Dominant all have their uses. Though being a 'grasser" I'll stick with the dominants. But then my first love was guitar and those "extra " two strings make the expression of chords half again more complete . Thank you Joe Pass, Ted Greene and Mickey Baker, to name a few.
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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    Default Re: B7b9

    Quote Originally Posted by twaaang View Post
    By dropping the root (B), you have left a diminished chord, nominally Cdim. So in general a diminished chord in the name of the tone one-half step up from the root your progression originally calls for, may be an acceptable substitute chord. Let your ear be the judge. It's sure easier to finger than trying to get both the root and b9 together, if you're tuned in fifths. -- Paul
    Using the dim 7 chord a half-step above the root is a standard jazz player formula for the 7b9 chord.

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  16. #11

    Default Re: B7b9

    Quote Originally Posted by twaaang View Post
    By dropping the root (B), you have left a diminished chord, nominally Cdim. -- Paul
    D#-F#-A-C is "nominally" a D#dim7. Cdim ( it should be Cdim7) would be C-Eb-Gb-Bbb.

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  18. #12
    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: B7b9

    Just because a lead sheet gives a chord such as B7b9, there is no requirement for you to play all 5 notes of that chord simultaneously. You can play 3 notes if you want. Or you can break the notes up into 2 different voicings played in succession.

    Mandolin is so high in the overall ensemble chord stack that someone else (bass, guitar, etc) is going to play the root and/or the 5th. Unless you are playing solo chord melody or playing solo backing up a vocalist, quit tormenting yourself over it!

    Example of breaking a greater than 4 note chord into two chunks. Or throw in some missing notes with a hammer-on or pull-off. (Listen to Curtis Mayfield)

    =====5==|====================
    ==0==3==|=0=3=6=====0^3^0==6===
    ==1==4==|=1=4=7=====1=====4====
    ==4=====|=4=2=5=====4=========


    and all that "correct" enharmonic spelling....it's nice to know but don't obsess over that stuff like a "theory geek." Unless you are in some college music theory class.

    NH

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  20. #13
    Registered User TonyEarth's Avatar
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    Default Re: B7b9

    Not only is there not a requirement, it's physically impossible on mandolin, heh. I was more worried about being led astray by the weird redirect on the website, but I'm glad to hear my chord constructions are working as intended.
    Diego

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    Default Re: B7b9

    assuming the B7b9 leads to the Em as in Autumn Leaves, that voicing that is effectively a diminished chord is what you want. Alan's voicing puts the b9 pitch on the bottom. Remember that the diminished chord that looks like a baseball diamond revoices every minor third or 3 frets, and is a pile of minor 3rds, symmetrical if you will.I tend to use the one three frets higher D#-A-F#-C, (no B root), b9 on top. speaking of roots, in this voicing, from a diminished chord spelling standpoint, Any of the four notes can be considered a root (D#-A-F#-C). Just for fun look at it down on the second fret A-D#-C-F#...that sounds good too right?

    I have never heard of Bmaj7b9. I suppose there is one of those but in the application here, B7b9-Em as in Autumn Leaves it's the dominant chord you want,and should have a b7,essential to a dominant chord.

    You can use b9 chords as a way to isolate tonalities...when you see one in your chart, the greater likelihood is it is aiming at a minor chord, in this case Em. If it is preceded by a iim7b5 (a/k/a half diminished), you can be completely certain of the minor tonality, as iim7b5-V7b9 is a textbook minor two-five cadence(progression), even if the root minor chord is not sounded. Again, in Autumn Leaves in Em, F#m7b5-B7b9-Em is a complete minor cadence in the key of Em.

    How about one more tidbit of minor madness? The symbol for a m7b5 chord is a circle with a slash mark through it. you may also see V7b9 chords indicated as say B7-9. The minus means to lower, a plus means to raise. Em may be scratched out as E-. B7+would be B7#5,Baugmented. B7+9 would be B7#9

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  23. #15
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    Default Re: B7b9

    All these years, I've been playing Autumn Leaves with just the B7. No one ever said anything...
    "The paths of experimentation twist and turn through mountains of miscalculations, and often lose themselves in error and darkness!"
    --Leslie Daniel, "The Brain That Wouldn't Die."

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  24. #16
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    Default Re: B7b9

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Stiernberg View Post
    The symbol for a m7b5 chord is a circle with a slash mark through it.
    Also known as a half-diminished chord...although a few folks make the argument that they are derived differently and thus are not the "same" chord.

    https://www.musictheoryforguitar.com...d-Vs-m7b5.html

    Personally they are the same in functional use in pop music - not to mention the inversion that is a minor 6 chord.

    Dm6 = D F A B

    B half-dim (m7b5) = B D F A

    Thanks for the post.

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    Default Re: B7b9

    Good intel here.

    Technically, since we're talking dim shapes and chords (flatting the 3rd, 5th, etc.), shouldn't this:

    D#-A-F#-C

    be more correctly referred to as

    Eb-A-Gb-C

    just sayin'...

  26. #18
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: B7b9

    Ummm ... no. Don't think so. I had to sift through the preceding alphabet soup to find your reference, and I see it concerns Don's suggestion regarding playing the title chord without the root tone. But since this is still titularly a B chord, and B is generally considered a "sharp key," this partial chord's fingering should follow suit, even without that tone. IMO, of course - YMMV.

    PS:
    Quote Originally Posted by jaycat View Post
    All these years, I've been playing Autumn Leaves with just the B7. No one ever said anything...
    So that was you? Thought I heard something a bit off ...
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: B7b9

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    Also known as a half-diminished chord...although a few folks make the argument that they are derived differently and thus are not the "same" chord.

    https://www.musictheoryforguitar.com...d-Vs-m7b5.html

    Personally they are the same in functional use in pop music - not to mention the inversion that is a minor 6 chord.

    Dm6 = D F A B

    B half-dim (m7b5) = B D F A

    Thanks for the post.
    On the guitar, I've noticed that a Dm6 is basically the same fingering as a G9 (ok without the G):

    Dm6 - D F A B
    G9 - G B D F A

    So maybe G9 is a substitute of B half Dim?

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  29. #20
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    Default Re: B7b9

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Cowham View Post
    On the guitar, I've noticed that a Dm6 is basically the same fingering as a G9 (ok without the G):

    Dm6 - D F A B
    G9 - G B D F A

    So maybe G9 is a substitute of B half Dim?
    Only if you leave out the G!

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  31. #21
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    Default Re: B7b9

    All this palaver and parsing of particulars concerning substitute chord names and fingerings brings to mind my personal journey of discovery on the subject. Bear with me; I'll be briefer than usual.

    Back in the late 70s -early 80s, when my first real band was compelled to change its repertoire and we gravitated toward swing, I noticed a commonly occurring chord pattern - I - I#dim - II7 - V7 - which I'm sure many of you have encountered as a basic element of crcle-of-fifths progressions. It was new to me at the time, though not entirely. I recalled having encountered something similar in my early days of sorting out the instrument through the use of Mel Bay's "Book of Mandolin Chords" and several songbooks of bands whose music I knew - these two information streams helped me a lot. The song in question was "Daydream" by Lovin' Spoonful, fitting due to the time and timing of all that. In the book the progression went C - A7 - D7 - G7. I learned it by rote, my musical mind at the time being a tabula rasa. Encountering something similar over a decade later made a little lightbulb go on in my brain.

    But it wasn't until I started working on a song with that progression in the key of G that that lightbulb became a Klieg light. That G - G#dim fingering looked just like G - E7, if I were using Mel Bay's diagram, 4657, or E7 without the E. It dawned on me this is exactly the same collection of notes one would achieve if one were to arrive at this chord in the progression via the "usual" way - raise the root note a half step but leave the other two tones where they were. (I've got this in G because it's so easy to see that dynamic in the 4557 (G) => 4657 (G#dim) fingering.) I have to wonder whether John Sebastian (or whoever actually compiled the songbook) was aware of this. In any case, either chord (G#dim or E7 without the E) works just fine in that context, and whatever works, works, as I usually say.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  33. #22
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: B7b9

    Anytime I see a 7b9 chord I'm thinking dominant chord of a minor 2/5, and pretty much just play it as a diminished chord and ignore the root. Unless I'm playing bass. I'm sure it's used in other contexts, but can't think of any.

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