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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Sunday, January 4, 2015


So you would basically never play a C major triad chord. CEG. You would normally play a 7th, and maybe some other chord extensions, like the 9th, the 11th, and the 13th. You can leave out the C itself, for a rootless voicing, and the G, which is the fifth. So a C major & chord might be E, B, D, F#, and A, in other words, only one of the notes of the C major triad. You can play 4ths and 6ths too. A fifth can be flatted, an 11th augmented.

You can strip down the voicing, only playing the root and the 3rd or 7th. You can spread it out, playing the root and the 7th at the bottom, and color notes on the top.

But still, you would never play a simplistic triad.

If I could hear this as simply as I hear an iambic pentameter, that would be great.


Vance Maverick said...

It's true that in this style you do not name, one wouldn't have played the chord plain very often. But that's not to say one would always use so many extended notes, or that there wouldn't be a big auditory hint from the bass.

Vance Maverick said...

Or, take 2, it's hard to imagine your chord sounding like C without help. Which puts it more likely in the realm of substitution -- a flavor of E minor.

Jonathan said...

So the two tendencies are obliqueness (hiding the chord) and economy (stripping it down). The extra information, or the missing information, might not allow the basic chord to be so obvious, so it might morph into full-blown substitution. A third tendency is to move smoothly from one chord to the next, so exploiting notes that are common to two successive chords, or close together at the top.

So ambiguity can occur--the listener might not know it's supposed to be C. Generally, I'm talking about modern piano jazz styles. My keyboard proficiency is low, so this is more exploratory so far.