Tip #195 – Dorian Vamp

This will be a short tip.

Say that you want a jazz or funk groove but don’t know where to start when it comes to harmonic progressions.

Well, a typical progression used in these styles is the Dorian vamp, which is a repetition of the progression:

i – IV7

Of course, these chords can be altered with upper extensions and sus4, but the root motion is the same.

Both of these chords are naturally found in the Dorian mode (in the example above it would be E Dorian), so it fits right with the tonality you want to be in.

Try it out and feel free to experiment.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Tip #184 – Unique Use of Dominant 13 (b9 #11) Chord

Some jazz performers, arrangers, and composers have the inclination to add tension tones and various extensions on top of simple triad chord harmonies. Not that it is a bad thing, but it can become mundane if used too often or too frivolously.

With that out of the way, one chord that I have noticed some people using is the dominant 13 chord with alterations of a b9 and #11. Usually, this is recognized as a V 13(b9 #11) in the jazz tune – but here is another use of it:

Let’s first start by separating the dominant 7 from the upper extensions. That gives us the V7 chord and the (b9 #11 13) above.

If we reharmonize the (b9 #11 13) be their enharmonic, we get a minor triad a tritone above the root of the chord.

Typically, there is no major or natural minor key that has both a V7 and bii. However, who said that the dominant chord has to function as a V7 chord? Instead, we can think of it as a tritone substation making it a bII7 in a minor key with the minor triad acting as a v. In which case, both the bII7 and v chords resolve to the minor tonic triad of i.

Try it out for yourself!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Tip #183 – Why the iv o7 Chord Works

A diminished seventh chord built on the fourth scale degree of the key. Think about it for a second.

Now, do you think this chord can resolve to the tonic in a iv o7 – I progression?

Let’s see in comparison to a regular ii 7 – V 7 – I progression:

If you play these chords, you will hear that both of them sound like complete resolutions to the I chord. But why?

Well, first start off by looking at the enharmonics of the iv o7 chord. Notice how there are 3 shared common tones. What’s more, the one note that is different is the b9 of the V chord. So basically, the iv o7 acts as a V 7(b9) chord with the seventh in the bass.

Try it out and see what else you can use it with.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Tip #180 – Using the Principle of the I 6/4 Chord

This post is NOT a debate on if the I 6/4 chord acts more of a tonic or dominant chord. Instead, we will be talking about the principle behind the chord and how to apply it to other practices.

While the analysis of the I 6/4 chord is up to debate, the function is not – the chord comes before the V chord, and then it usually resolves to the I chord from there. Why so? Well, looking at the shape as well as the voice movement of the I 6/4 chord to the V chord, it is a suspension of higher tones over the shared root resolving to the dominant chord.

Basically, we can learn from this is that by suspending voices over the dominant root, we create a delayed resolution to the V chord and then to I.

Not only can this be done with a I 6/4 chord, but it can also be done with a V sus4 chord, a V chord with upper tension tones, and variations:

Try them out – that by keeping the root the same, but changing the upper structure or voicing, you create a delay in the harmonic movement resolving back to I.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Tip #177 – The Backdoor Progression

This is going to be a short post – but nonetheless, an interesting one.

For those that already know this chord progression, feel free to skip this, but here is something new I learned from a while ago.

In a lot of jazz, Broadway, and some rock/pop music, we have the classic ii – V7 – I progression. It is a simple way to set-up a return back to the tonic.

Now, imagine the tonic as the house and we walked the usual path to the front door with the ii – V7. Sounds, good, but what if we wanted a little surprise that still reaches the same destination? We use the backdoor progression:

iv – bVII7 – I

This is constructed in the same way as the ii – V7 – I, as you can see by shared common tones and interval distances.

Try it out and see how you think of it. Maybe it can work well in one of your next compositions.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.