How Would You Play Over These Changes?

(22 posts)
  1. bingefeller
    Member

    Firstly - Happy New Year!

    Well, I'm not much of a jazz player, I'm more of a rock guy who listens to jazz guitarists and tries to incorporate some jazz ideas into his playing.

    With this in mind I'm wondering how would you play over these changes to Summertime?

    I recently bought Band In A Box and it's a great program and there's a lot you can do with it. This lead sheet is from Band In A Box so I'm not 100% certain the layout is accurate.

    I can tell by looking the song is basically in D minor but there are some changes that need to be outlined. I'm wondering how you guys would approach the whole thing?

  2. bingefeller
    Member

    leunam12 - not sure if there was some mistake in your post, or a problem with the forum, but I can't see your post :(

  3. leunam12
    Member

    bingfeller--sorry---a mistake.

    I wouldnt play all these chords-they are just-lets say spice-use this band in a box version you have and think this over it: without intro

    dm7 / em7b5 a7 / dm7 / d7
    gm7/ gm7 / em7b5 / a7
    dm7/ em7b5 a7 / dm7 / gm7 c7
    fmaj7/ em7b5 a7 / dm7 / em7b5 a7

    Summertime Tip

  4. bingefeller
    Member

    Thanks, leunam.

    I hadn't seen that website before but I much prefer the version on it as it's better for novice players like me to practice over. I think keeping things simplier would be better. I suppose thinking simple would work over the more complex chords too..?

  5. leunam12
    Member

    http://www.manuelhobi.ch
    http://www.facebook.com/ManuelHobiQuartet
    Yes right..simpler its (for me) better..greets

  6. gleepglop
    Member

    Check out Kurt's version of Summertime on "Intuit" . . .

    Leunam12's changes are common 'street' changes, but I would make the Dm7's into Dm6 and the Gm7 into Gm6 for a more standard tonal sound (with m7s it sounds more "modal", which is cool too if that's what you're going for, in that case I might change some other chords too . . .).

  7. bingefeller
    Member

    Gleepglop can you please exclaim the difference between a modal and tonal sound?

  8. gleepglop
    Member

    'Tonal' refers to major or minor key-centered music that uses functional harmonic progressions derived primarily from the common practice . . . ii-V-I, cycle of fifths etc. 'Modal' traditionally refers to key-centered music that uses modes other than major or minor; if chords are used at all they are essentially color, contrast, or simple harmonization and do not follow the principles of functional harmony. "Modal" in a jazz context can also be used to refer to chromatic music that uses mode-based harmonies to create a sense of movement while (mostly) avoiding functional harmony and sometimes even the sense of a central key.

    Tonal: Autumn Leaves, All the things you are, etc.
    Traditional Modal: Greensleeves
    Jazz Modal: So What, Maiden Voyage, Flamenco Sketches

    Tunes don't have to fit neatly into these categories, lots of tunes will have modal sections and some tonal harmony here and there, or may blur the lines in other ways (rapidly changing non-functional harmonies that never clearly establish any mode).
    Blues melodically functions as a kind of modal sound, even though functional harmonies may be used . . . jazz blues tunes/improvisations tend to play off the tension between the modal blues side and the tonal side.

    m6 chords are the standard "I" chord in a minor key if the harmony is tonal. min(maj7) works too, if the tonic is not in the melody.
    m7 chords in tonal harmony mainly have a pre-dominant function (i.e., they function as ii7 chords)
    m7 chords used as a tonic chord suggest a Dorian modal sound, not a tonal sound (since minor keys in tonal music are mainly based on harmonic and melodic minor, and because the min7 is so strongly identified with the ii7 chord function.

    With a tune like "Summertime" that is so open, you could easily approach it different ways. Experienced players might switch between tonal, modal and blues approaches spontaneously, and just listen to each other for where it is going.

  9. jorgemg1984
    Member

    "m6 chords are the standard "I" chord in a minor key if the harmony is tonal" Not true at all, to me. This is the same as saying Lydian is the standard "I" chord in a major key if the harmony is tonal.

    m6 is the common use because a) Miles Davis always used it b) the common use of dorian on the IIm7 and modal tunes led people to overuse the dorian sound on the Im7 of a minor key c) minor chords ask for tension more then major chords.

    The "logical" aural sound for a Im7 is eolian. Harmonic and Melodic sounds are usually used over the V7 of the minor key in classical music. Of course jazzers like to use new sounds and hence the use of the m6 (as explained above) and the m(maj7) if the tonic is not on the melody.

    But saying you play the first four bars of "You d be so nice to come home to" or "Beautiful love"... would you hear a Im6 chord?

  10. gleepglop
    Member

    "But saying you play the first four bars of "You d be so nice to come home to" or "Beautiful love"... would you hear a Im6 chord? "

    Yes. Same goes for "Softly", "How Deep is the Ocean", etc.

    It's not because of miles davis. Miles (and Bill Evans and Coltrane) actually helped popularize the use of Im7; Im6 is the more old-fashioned sound.

    It's also not like saying Lydian is the I chord. First of all, Lydian is a mode, not a chord. Second, a major key doesn't have a sharp 4 so you are introducing something non-tonal on the I chord. With Im6 you are using the most stable I chord made up of only notes in the key. Im7 is more tense than m6, because the min7 interval is inherently unstable in tonal situations.

    The association of Dorian with m7 is because m7 is normally a ii7 chord. If you start checking out recordings from 1940 through 1970 and you will find the chronological progression is the opposite of what you claim: the use of m7 chords and Dorian on Im7 chords is a later development than the use of m6 and melodic minor. The m6 is not used to get away from overuse of m7, but the other way around.

    Talking about the "logical" sound doesn't mean anything. Aeolian is not minor, it is the modal version of the natural minor scale; since we're talking about tonality, not modality, Aeolian is not relevant. In a key, of course, it is whatever fits in the key (iii7 is phyrgian, vi7 is aeolian), and in a modal/modern context you might have several choices. But several hundred years of 90% of m7 chords being ii7 have conditioned us to associate the minor chord with the unstable min 7 interval with the notes in Dorian. Logic is not applicable, when we talk about tonality, we are talking about something culturally constructed. Im7 is not a tonal chord, it is a modal chord.

    Of course, in "modern" tunes Im7 is used all the time, but this is because they're not looking for tonal harmony and using Im7 as a tonic helps break with tonal patterns.

    This is pretty clear historical stuff, I don't think it's really a matter of opinion. Careless use of Im7 in tonal situation tends to make someone sound like an amateur, because it messes up the tonal function.

  11. jorgemg1984
    Member

    It never made me any confusion hearing the natural minor scale over a Im chord.. maybe because I am in the Iberian Peninsula? To me a 6 on a Im, although sounding good is like a #4 on a major, it's a derivation from the tonality. A b6, like a 4 on a major chord, has to be treated like a passing tone / avoid note but it can (and it is) is used without any problem. A different thing is talking about a V7 on a minor key.

  12. smoke
    Member

    With this in mind I'm wondering how would you play over these changes to Summertime?

    Did anyone ever answer the question?

    I'd first make sure I could hear the harmony of the tune well, so play the chords and/or listen to them a lot. Start simple with just guide tone or shell voicings to hear the movement between chords. There is a lot of melodic potential in just the 3rds and 7ths of a chord moving to the 3rd and 7ths of the next chord, for example. Explore different areas of the neck when playing the chords, find new voicings, etc. You need to know the harmony really well and not have to think about it.

    Maybe learn the melody in a few places on the neck. You could expand and contract the melody and improvise around it to start.

    You could go crazy by doing arpeggio studies, running scales, etc but you might have some fun finding a few versions you like and listening to them a bunch and maybe transcribing a few lines. Then plug them in to the tune. You could write variations on lines you like - altering the rhythm, adding a note, subtracting, etc.

    Nothing really wrong with any way to approach it. You could easily skip all of that and just sing something and transcribe yourself.

    Whatever you play, play it well.

  13. gleepglop
    Member

    Jorge, the tonality of minor includes both b6, 6, b7 and 7. The weakest of these is the b7, which usually occurs melodically as a passing tone or are a temporary emphasis on the relative major. In TONAL contexts, 6 is not a deviation from the key, it is part of the key. Unlike Lydian, which in tonal contexts suggest a modulation to the key of V.

    The question of tonic minor isn't whether aeolian "fits" over a m7 chord—of course it does. It is whether Im7 "fits" as a tonic chord in a tonal minor key context. Which it doesn't, traditionally.

    The other consideration is the difference between harmonic and melodic considerations. You can play melodies from the natural minor scale over a m6 chord, no problem—as long as you approach it musically (something you acknowledge is necessary even over a m7). That doesn't mean that from a functional harmonic standpoint a m7 chord is a good choice. It has too much predominant baggage in tonal contexts. Just like you can't use I7 in tonal contexts as the tonic chord: when you hear it you either hear V/IV (tonal function) or "blues" (which is not tonal). Im7 in tonal contexts sounds like ii7/bVII, or it suggests a change toward a modal sound. That you bring up "aeolian" rather than "minor" suggests that on some level you actually agree that Im7 is a modal approach (aeolian) rather than tonal (minor).

    Tonal function and the jazz tradition are pretty clearly established for anyone who takes the time to examine them thoroughly, so I don't think there is any point in discussing opinions here.
    I think we're arguing at cross purposes: I'm not saying you can't use Im7, just that doing so is modal and not tonal. This is really a history question, not one of personal tastes or preferences.

  14. gleepglop
    Member

    Since "Summertime" is clearly very blues-influenced and almost qualifies as a blues, there is a lot of liberty to take with the harmony . . . maybe we got away from that point a bit. It is basically tonal harmony, but any blues-based tune has lots of room for approaches that wouldn't typically be tonal. The normal I chord here is m6, but the blues nature makes Im7 work better than it would in something like "Beautiful Love" or "I hear a Rhapsody", etc. It just moves us in a different direction.

  15. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Gleepglop hope I am not souding harsh or argumentative, just genuinely interested in the subject we're talking about. I am not doing it just to be right or for the sake of it.

    Thinking more about the actual chords and less about the key (which is common in jazzers) I don't think you're making a fair point comparing major to minor... I7 and Im7 have nothing in common. Bb is not part of the key of C major but it's part of the key of C minor. Vertically a dominant chord is much harder to accept as a tonic (except on a blues) than a Im7 - the 3 b7 tritone being the main reason.

    In your voicings you absolutely never use Im7? If you hear Im7 on any of the tunes we've talked you're ears go modal and loose the key? You hear Cm7 on softly as a IIm7 of Bbmaj7? And what about tunes that use the b6 on the I chord like "How Insensitive" or "Retrato em branco e preto"?

  16. bingefeller
    Member

    Great thread guys, thanks for all the replies. This makes for great reading and, more importantly for me, learning.

  17. gleepglop
    Member

    Jorge, it's cool, but honestly trying to explain this on a message board discussion is just inadequate. Maybe there is a language barrier or perhaps I just haven't been clear.

    "Thinking more about the actual chords and less about the key (which is common in jazzers)"
    A common mistake, if you are talking about functional harmony. Regardless of your opinion on this, tonality considers the key paramount, by definition.

    "I don't think you're making a fair point comparing major to minor... I7 and Im7 have nothing in common. "
    Not true. Both m7 and 7 have clearly defined functional roles.

    "Bb is not part of the key of C major but it's part of the key of C minor".
    Harmonically speaking, this is not true in tonal harmony. When discussing harmony, B is the note expected in C minor, not Bb. When you consider the practical universe of each tonal key, there is less difference here than you think.

    "Vertically a dominant chord is much harder to accept as a tonic (except on a blues) than a Im7 - the 3 b7 tritone being the main reason."
    The tritone is problematic because of its conventional use in the dominant function. The min7 has a conventional function of predominant, so while the 7 chord may be slightly harder to accept, it is not "much" harder . . . and we do accept it, it just takes us into a modal territory rather than a tonal one. The existence of a min7 interval on a chord in functional harmony tells us that this chord is going to take us somewhere else and is not a point of resolution.

    "In your voicings you absolutely never use Im7?"
    If I want to push the harmony in a modal direction, I do.

    " If you hear Im7 on any of the tunes we've talked you're ears go modal and loose the key?"
    No, I don't lose the key, I hear the harmony shift to a modal, rather than tonal, focus.

    "You hear Cm7 on softly as a IIm7 of Bbmaj7?"
    No. I hear it as pushing the tune in a modal direction rather than tonal, Cm7 being the tonic of an aeolian, dorian, or blues sound rather than a minor-key sound. Which can be totally cool, but in that case I would probably downplay some of the other tonal elements (use just V7#9 or V7b9sus instead of iiø7 - V7, or create a modal sequence of some kind).

    "And what about tunes that use the b6 on the I chord like "How Insensitive" or "Retrato em branco e preto"?
    This is an interesting question, these tunes are a little different in that Jobim was both very interested in incorporating blues sounds and was working in a harmonic universe that was at the edge of tonal function in many ways. His harmonies tend to use a mix of chromatic elements and traditional tonal function. Also, he was composing his music very specifically . . . the extensions etc are a thought-out part of his composition, not embellishments added by jazzers.
    For "How Insensitive", he wrote the first chord to be m7, but think about how tonally ambiguous that opening phrase is . . . it's not until the end of the last phrase that you can really say that the first chord was "I". It's just chromatically descending harmony and could have ended up somewhere else. The final chord I would play as m6, mainly because it voices better with the tonic in the melody.
    For "Retrato", he wrote the chords as triads, but it's a similar situation . . . at the beginning, the Gm is not functioning as a tonic, so a m7 is appropriate (a m6 would work, but it would be kind of a "spoiler", as at that point in the tune it's not a resolution and we're not supposed to feel it as "I" yet). The final resolution I would play as m6.

    You can think of it as asking "does this chord take us somewhere else, or is it the point of resolution?" The former makes mores sense as m7, the latter as m6.

    I think that you are misunderstanding the limitations of what qualifies as "tonal" harmony vs. "modal". I am not at all saying that a m7 chord can't be a Im chord. I am saying it can't be a tonal tonic chord, that by definition a m7 chord is not at rest in tonal harmony.

  18. jorgemg1984
    Member

    You're right, this is not the appropriate place to do this. There's no language barrier, I am just not agreeing with you, which is fine of course. I hear Im7 as tonal chord not a modal one and hear Im6 as a small departure from the key although an acceptable one.

    On those Jobim tunes those are Im chords at the beggining... very clearly. The fact that they progress in curious ways does not prevent that.

    Anyway let's keep the thread on it's right track.

  19. gleepglop
    Member

    Bingfeller, considering that you describe yourself as more of a Rock player, I'd suggest you use the simplest possible changes, at least for improvising:

    || Dm | % | % | Dm / D7+9 |
    | Gm | % | Eø7 | A7+9 |
    | Dm | % | % | Gm7 C7 |
    | Fmaj7 | Eø7 A7 | Dm6 | (A7) ||

    Whenever "m" is written like this without any other indication, jazz players mostly will play m6 or m6/9. Since this tune is based on the blues, m7 works too if that is the sound you want. If you plan to use more blues-oriented solo ideas, m7 will make it easier.

    These are the street changes used commonly at jam sessions etc., with some variations (measures 2 and 10 could have Eø7 A7 instead of staying on Dm, etc.). Some folks consider them a bit bland compared to the original changes, but they would work well for what you are doing.

    On "Intuit", Kurt uses changes somewhat similar to yours (though still somewhat less convoluted), so check that out for ideas on a jazzier, more changes-oriented approach. For ideas about mixing jazz and blues ideas together, a good place to start is stuff like "Moanin'" (Art Blakey) or "Work Song" (Cannonball Adderly), or pretty much any blues by Lee Morgan, Cannonball, Booker Ervin, Eddie Harris.

    As far as playing/outlining changes, it's the same on this tune as every tune . . . it's a pretty broad topic with a lot written already. A few tips: Make sure you know what/where the chord tones are. Work on emphasizing the chord tones that are changing from one chord to the next. Know your arpeggios all over the neck, in all inversions, and the related scales in each position.

  20. bingefeller
    Member

    Thanks Gleepop for your helpful post.

    I'm looking at those changes and also thinking about ,as well as arpeggios, pentatonics as an option too.

  21. gggomez
    Member

    Hello bingefeller. I am in the same boat and came to this website searching for an analysis of Kurt's version of Summertime. I am hoping concentrating on one song for a period and examining different versions will kick start me into this art form that has fascinated me, beyond my ability, for too long.

    Firstly can I suggest Chet Baker's version as an easier version to transcribe and it is fantastic for quality and simplicity. Its in D minor and a lot of - from what I can hear - D minor Pentatonic/Blues. Stanley Turrentine's is another that I have been working on and Louis Armstrong's is fun to jam with.

    Kurt's version clearly has a moodal (not a spelling error that is my word) difference, why I came here. To the gurus is it because the bass, including that fantastic dark piano intro is D minor but the melody is played in a different minor key, can't recall what it was - C minor? I am typing this out at work so excuse me if this is wrong, do not have the guitar in front of me. Kurts version just played on my ipod and it has quite a unique mood. Jonathan Kreisberg also has something different moodally going on compared to the older blues versions per above.

    Cheers

  22. gggomez
    Member

    bingefeller I actually had some time to practice last night.

    I am very much focusing on this song so very interested in others comments. Unfortunately some of the posts above are too technical for me.

    Kurts version is in C minor (not the typical D minor), I mucked around using C minor, D minor Bflat minor, G minor pentatonics but adding the 9 and the flat 5 (a slide from the flat 5 to the 5 on the B string is very Benson), each over the 1 chord. Sometimes linking them.

    On the dim ii I try to do a run (sometimes fast sometimes slow) that brings out that chords flat 5 and continue through the iv chord, any notes will do just sing something, and end on #5 of the IV chord (which I believe is the minor 3rd of the I). Is that voice leading to the I?.

    I have tried the old move a pentatonic up half a step and back again but cannot get it to sound right. Enough people suggest it so I guess I just need to keep trying variations until it sounds good.

    When it goes to the minor 3rd I am at a loss, it says to me do something cool but I always just end up doing something bland to keep up with the changes eg an arpeggio (this is a good reason to play along with the Turrentine version as it is played very slowly.

    I have not yet worked out what is behind Kurt's moody feel in this song, but I will.


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