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Thread: Why does a II -> V sound jazzy even without the rhythm of Jazz?

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    Default Why does a II -> V sound jazzy even without the rhythm of Jazz?

    So as you know, I am composing a fugue and I have decided on the order of the primary modulations and 1 secondary modulation.

    But I notice, especially with a minor tonic, a jazzy feel from a II -> V. I know the II is acting as a secondary dominant but I have been told that with the II chord, it can go straight back to the tonic and act as a primary dominant.

    The II chord or supertonic of C minor though is D dim. This I think is where the jazzy feel comes from or at least part of it, not the diminished chord itself but the fact that it is altered to be minor which in turn alters the original I chord to be major. So a II -> V fits more within a major key but still, it feels jazzy

    So when I change to D minor, the obvious relation between it and C minor is lost because C minor is altered to C major as I do that key change. Similar thing would happen if I did the same thing to the IIV of a major key(change it from diminished to minor). But D minor has a direct relation to G minor which in turn has a direct relation to C minor so it should sound smooth and seamless. It doesn't though, it sounds sudden, it sounds like a key change with no reason but to change the key and going to F# major from C minor would sound just as sudden and strange and jazzy.

    But yet D minor is very closely related to C minor(as closely related in fact as Bb major is, 2 transformations in the circle of fifths).

    So here are the modulations I have so far:

    Primary modulations(1 subject entry to another):

    Cm -> Gm -> Eb -> Fm -> Bb -> Cm

    Tonic -> Dominant -> Relative major -> Subdominant -> Subtonic -> Tonic

    So Bb major is acting like a leading tone here even though it is a whole step away, it is bringing us back to Cm.

    First secondary modulation(others I haven't figured out yet)

    Cm -> Dm -> Gm

    I hope the entire fugue doesn't turn out sounding jazzy, because that is not at all what I was going for. I wasn't going for a jazzy sound, I just wanted to use a key with secondary function between the C minor section and the G minor section instead of going straight to G minor or using F minor in between the first and second subject entries(after all I have 9 measures of episode so far in between each subject entry).
    Last edited by caters; Sep-10-2018 at 04:36.

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    If you actually want answers to your questions, post some music. The answers mostly depend on how one is handling the harmonies.

    But …

    -Why does ii - v sound jazzy? It doesn't.
    -The tonic doesn't have to become major if you alter the ii chord. Nor does the ii chord need to be altered as a rule.
    -Bb is not a likely penultimate key.

    Deciding on a bunch of key relations before writing a viable subject and exposition makes no sense whatever. I suggest you actually do some writing before making elaborate plans.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Sep-10-2018 at 16:00.

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    But I have written a viable subject and exposition. Also, I am only using natural minor so Bb would be the penultimate key because it is the IIV of C minor. And no good Baroque-style fugue would use a diminished chord or really any tritone outside of a 7th chord, that is just too much dissonance. That and the restriction to natural minor means that yes, in D minor the tonic has to become major to satisfy not using harmonic or melodic minor or their modes.

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caters View Post
    (1) But I have written a viable subject and exposition. (2) Also, I am only using natural minor so Bb would be the penultimate key because it is the IIV of C minor. (3) And no good Baroque-style fugue would use a diminished chord or really any tritone outside of a 7th chord, that is just too much dissonance. (4) That and the restriction to natural minor means that yes, in D minor the tonic has to become major to satisfy not using harmonic or melodic minor or their modes.
    Taking this a sentence at a time:

    (1) You mean what you posted in Today's Composers? That is not an exposition. And, as a couple of members have written, there are major mistakes in counterpoint that no Baroque composer would make. What you have written is not viable as part of an exposition in Baroque style.

    (2) You should look up the word penultimate. It doesn't refer to a degree of a scale, it refers to the second to the last event of a sequence. Can you find a single Baroque fugue written in a natural minor scale? That is contrary to the style.

    (3) This is nonsense. Diminished and half diminished 7th chords happen all the time in Baroque music. Where did you get that idea?

    (4) See 2.

    Your fugue is as yet imaginary and the rules by which you are talking about writing it have no relation to the style you claim to be aiming for. I will respond again when and if you write some actual music.

    'Ere I am J.H., the ghost in the machine.

    Terry Gilliam, Brazil

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    What makes chords sound "jazzy" is upper extensions: sevenths, ninths, altered 13s. So start looking at these primary triads as incomplete chords, as upper extensions, without roots.

    A d minor is D-F-A; by putting B below it, it could be seen as a G9 without a root: G-B-D-F-A. E minor could be seen as a Cmaj7 without a root: E-G-B, or E-G-B-D, C9.

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    Senior Member philoctetes's Avatar
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    Curious about this discussion, maybe we need a Music Theory for idiots thread for morons like me...

    The ii-V-I comes up a lot in jazz, and extensions are also necessary for jazz, but the OP only refers to the ii-V, without extensions I assume. I'll try it when I can get hands on a keyboard, but I suspect it's not so jazzy without extensions...

    That's about all I can get out of this. Probably more info needed as EB says.
    Last edited by philoctetes; Sep-15-2018 at 16:52.

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