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bVIIMaj7 and Modal Interchange

Moso

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In Basic Chord Substitution, we mentioned parallel substitution, also known as modal interchange. An example of modal interchange is using the bVIIMaj7 chord in a major/ionian key, a chord which could be considered borrowed from the dorian (b3, b7) or mixolydian (b7) scales, for example. 

 

bVIIMaj7 in use (BbMaj7-G-C) 

 

Take a look at this chart of the modes of C harmonized in 7ths: 

5a440ffa60ed0_ModesHarmonized.thumb.png.a95c7ab8eb2b0ab61a9196f3e104dd79.png

 

Basically, chords sharing a column are ripe for substitution via the modal interchange method. There are of course many more scales than this, and after a while quite frankly it starts to mean that just about anything can become just about anything. That's cool. But it's nice to have reference points, islands plotted along charts of the journey, if you will. 

 

Here are some popular modal interchanges not covered in the chart: 

IMaj7 to I-6 or I-Maj7 (IminMaj7)

IVMaj7 to IV-6

V7 to V7(b9)

 

Again, there's really no end to this kind of discussion, and it comes down to experimentation, to what feels/sounds right to you.

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Hey Moso, Now this is my kind of geeky, though I never really considered instances where the root is a half-step removed.  For instance, F#-7b5 can be derived from C Dorian, but it's a stretch for my ear to say that it's a substitute for FMaj7.  I get it though.  Nice chart!

 

Can you make one based on the harmonic minor scale?

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Yeah, I put this up because previously I had talked about parallel substitution, but to be honest, I normally don't really think about it. One just does what sounds good, right? But it is kind of nice to see it all charted out. I have you guys and the Muse to thank for that. 

3 hours ago, M57 said:

...though I never really considered instances where the root is a half-step removed.  For instance, F#-7b5 can be derived from C Dorian, but it's a stretch for my ear to say that it's a substitute for FMaj7. 

Do you mean the F#-7b5 from lydian? It's F# A C B, so everything's "intact" but the F#. The only thing that makes it different from one of the flat subs is that it's a half-diminished chord, so you'll have a ton of tension in it. Would of course totally depend on what you want to do. I wonder if an interesting cadence can be made out of it, variation on a typical plagal or something? 

 

Regarding the harmonic minor scale, I wrote about that briefly here. Scroll to the bottom where it says "lagniappe". I myself don't quite look at the harmonic minor as static, but blend it with natural minor, similar to how you might with the melodic minor. If you want to, you could actually map it all out with the natural 7 though, and I think you'll end up with a minMaj tonic, augmented 3rd chord, and diminished 7th on the, well, 7th... Then those chords would end up across the board in some fashion. Strange brew. 

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3 hours ago, Moso said:

Regarding the harmonic minor scale, I wrote about that briefly here. Scroll to the bottom where it says "lagniappe". I myself don't quite look at the harmonic minor as static, but blend it with natural minor, similar to how you might with the melodic minor. If you want to, you could actually map it all out with the natural 7 though, and I think you'll end up with a minMaj tonic, augmented 3rd chord, and diminished 7th on the, well, 7th... Then those chords would end up across the board in some fashion. Strange brew. 

Strange brew for you maybe, but the Min/Maj7, Lyd b7, and "Alt" (1, b9, #9, M3, #11, b13, dom 7) scales are a staple for me (and many jazz musicians). Dorian b2 comes up here and there.

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55 minutes ago, M57 said:

Strange brew for you maybe, but the Min/Maj7, Lyd b7, and "Alt" (1, b9, #9, M3, #11, b13, dom 7) scales are a staple for me (and many jazz musicians). Dorian b2 comes up here and there.

Strange brew would be mapping out the harmonic minor scale. As I mentioned, I don't really look at it that way. You asked for a mapping of the scale; it would be really easy to do on your own time if you wanted, I mentioned some of the chords you'd get out of it. 


So you mean that you play a lot of minMaj chords, and you like the Lydian b7 and "Alt" scales? Neato. 

 

There are innumerable scales out there. I was an ethnomusicology major for a while and would study world music. But often I generally don't concern myself much with a scale's name, or honestly even worry about whether it is its own scale -- with the exception of a few that really stand out, like major-minor pentatonic or the Okinawan scale, for examples. Degrees in any scale should be flexible, like music all in all. It should go without saying that whatever you do depends on the moment, or how you feel in the moment. 

 

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1 hour ago, Moso said:

So you mean that you play a lot of minMaj chords, and you like the Lydian b7 and "Alt" scales? Neato. 

Sorry, I believe I referenced the wrong scale. I'm talking about the modes of the melodic minor (ascending), which include the scales you mention above. Actually, I use them quite rarely in 'songs' that I write, because they are a little too hip for popular music and folk.  ..but yes, I play them all the time when improvising and I would say that mastery of those scales is as important to the jazz musician as the modes of the major scale.  Listen to Bill Evans, who used them ubiquitously (if a bit clinically), and the host of musicians who followed in his footsteps.  Licks and patterns derived from these scales are part of the basic vocabulary of jazz musicians.

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5 hours ago, M57 said:

Sorry, I believe I referenced the wrong scale. I'm talking about the modes of the melodic minor (ascending), which include the scales you mention above. Actually, I use them quite rarely in 'songs' that I write, because they are a little too hip for popular music and folk.  ..but yes, I play them all the time when improvising and I would say that mastery of those scales is as important to the jazz musician as the modes of the major scale.  Listen to Bill Evans, who used them ubiquitously (if a bit clinically), and the host of musicians who followed in his footsteps.  Licks and patterns derived from these scales are part of the basic vocabulary of jazz musicians.

Yes, melodic minor (and its modes) is another nice one. You've really gone on a tangent here, and seem to be misunderstanding some things along the way, but your tangent is a pretty nice one. Perhaps you'd like to begin a blog about jazz theory? 

EDIT: A blog about jazz theory would be very cool. Please start one!

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On 1/1/2018 at 15:49, Moso said:

Listen to Bill Evans

Good advice for everyone.

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1 hour ago, Lazz said:

Good advice for everyone.

Agreed.

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