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Thread: Seventh chord with a lowered lowered fifth

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    Junior Member camus's Avatar
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    Default Seventh chord with a lowered lowered fifth

    Hi I am a newbie to music theory. I recently came cross a chord D7b5, which stands for, if I am not mistaken, D F# Ab C, a seventh chord with a flat fifth.
    I wonder what is the function or purpose of a chord like this? How is it used compared to a diminished/half diminished 7? Thanks!

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    The two most common uses of it would be to move the Ab to A natural, resulting in a D7 (D F# A C) or move the two outer voices by half step to Db (Db F Ab Db) making your chord function as an augmented sixth.

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    Junior Member camus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    The two most common uses of it would be to move the Ab to A natural, resulting in a D7 (D F# A C) or move the two outer voices by half step to Db (Db F Ab Db) making your chord function as an augmented sixth.
    Thanks @Woodduck. So it's like a pivot

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    Senior Member SONNET CLV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by camus View Post
    … I recently came cross a chord D7b5, which stands for, if I am not mistaken, D F# Ab C, a seventh chord with a flat fifth.
    I wonder what is the function or purpose of a chord like this?...

    That's the chord for ahhh's and oohh's.

    I don't know much about music theory or even music fact for that matter, but I do find the D7b5 useful in getting me and my ol' guitar from verse one to verse two of the Antonio Carlos Jobim classic "Girl From Ipanema".

    Tall and tanned and young and lovely
    The girl from Ipanema goes walking
    And when she passes, each one she passes goes - ahhh!


    The chord works perfectly for that "ahhh!"

    When she walks she's like a samba
    That swings so cool and sways so gentle
    That when she passes, each one she passes goes - oohh!.


    And for that "oohh!", too.


    Now, if I could only get to verse 3.

    Got any other chords up your sleeve?

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    In what context did you encounter this chord? Does the designation D7b5 come from your analysis of a piece of notated music? Or was it a chord symbol in a fake book or lead sheet? In either case you need to show us what comes before and after if you want to know its function or purpose. Until you answer these questions and provide this information, nothing beyond vague speculation is possible.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

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    Junior Member camus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    In what context did you encounter this chord? Does the designation D7b5 come from your analysis of a piece of notated music? Or was it a chord symbol in a fake book or lead sheet? In either case you need to show us what comes before and after if you want to know its function or purpose. Until you answer these questions and provide this information, nothing beyond vague speculation is possible.
    It is from an example in a text book. The song is in F. The melody line has a A -> Ab -> G, and the bass line goes F6 -> D7b5/F# -> C/G. I think it sorta makes sense for the A -> Ab transition
    Last edited by camus; Apr-05-2020 at 17:04.

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    You seem to be describing something like this:

    D7b5.jpg

    If so, and without any further context, the chord sounds like a pre-dominant in the key of C major, or just a couple of chromatic passing tones between the ii6/5 and I6/4 chords in C major, depending on how one looks at it. There is nothing about what you described that suggests the key of F major.

    What text book is this in? Can you scan or notate the music so we know what you are actually talking about?

    Edit: I also wonder where the nomenclature "D7b5" comes from. Is that your analysis? Or is it from the book? The reason I ask is that if my example above reflects the basic progression, then the chord isn't a 7th chord on D, but a chord of the diminished 3rd (F#-Ab), which is the ungainly inversion of an Augmented 6th chord, in this case, an inversion of the French variety.

    All of the above is predicated on us talking about classical style harmony. If this is jazz theory, then different conventions apply — which is why I asked about the book.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Apr-06-2020 at 02:26.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    — Basil Valentine

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    What text book is this in? Can you scan or notate the music so we know what you are actually talking about?
    No, that would take too much work, to cut and paste something like that. Besides, it doesn't really matter what he thinks, or what we think; otherwise, some work would be put in to make it clear. Apparently, it doesn't. Stuff like that used to matter, to some people, but now we all have computers and the internet.

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    Junior Member camus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    You seem to be describing something like this:

    D7b5.jpg

    If so, and without any further context, the chord sounds like a pre-dominant in the key of C major, or just a couple of chromatic passing tones between the ii6/5 and I6/4 chords in C major, depending on how one looks at it. There is nothing about what you described that suggests the key of F major.

    What text book is this in? Can you scan or notate the music so we know what you are actually talking about?

    Edit: I also wonder where the nomenclature "D7b5" comes from. Is that your analysis? Or is it from the book? The reason I ask is that if my example above reflects the basic progression, then the chord isn't a 7th chord on D, but a chord of the diminished 3rd (F#-Ab), which is the ungainly inversion of an Augmented 6th chord, in this case, an inversion of the French variety.

    All of the above is predicated on us talking about classical style harmony. If this is jazz theory, then different conventions apply — which is why I asked about the book.
    Screen Shot 2020-04-07 at 1.53.33 PM.jpg

    Here it is. It's from a book called Tonal Harmony. I typed the score with an online sheet music editor since the book has top and bottom lines separated.

    And there's supposed to be no rests in the first and last measure. I haven't figured out how to remove them since the online editor seemed to always want a full 4/4
    Last edited by camus; Apr-07-2020 at 18:59.

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    In this context the chord you called D7b5 doesn't really have an independent function. It's just the result of chromatic passing motions between members of the VI6/5 and V6/4 chords. The way you can tell it has no independent function is that if it were left out and the VI6/5 chord played as half notes, the progression still works perfectly well. The same is true of the chord on the last beat of m. 4, which connects the III6 chord and the VI chord on the first beat of m. 5. Here the C# and G are the passing tones and, once again, if the chord were left out, the progression would still work smoothly.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Apr-08-2020 at 15:31.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    — Basil Valentine

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    In this context the chord you called D7b5 doesn't really have an independent function. It's just the result of chromatic passing motions between members of the VI6/5 and V6/4 chords. The way you can tell it has no independent function is that if it were left out and the VI6/5 chord played as half notes, the progression still works perfectly well. The same is true of the chord on the last beat of m. 4, which connects the III6 chord and the VI chord on the first beat of m. 5. Here the C# and G are the passing tones and, once again, if the chord were left out, the progression would still work smoothly.
    ...and that's the difference between CP theory and jazz theory. In CP, any unexplainable "harmonic remnants" are tossed into the pile of "passing tones."

    If you really want to know about D7b5 chords, study jazz theory, because you have just been told by EdwardBast that D7b5 "doesn't exist."

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    Junior Member camus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    ...and that's the difference between CP theory and jazz theory. In CP, any unexplainable "harmonic remnants" are tossed into the pile of "passing tones."

    If you really want to know about D7b5 chords, study jazz theory, because you have just been told by EdwardBast that D7b5 "doesn't exist."
    @millionrainbows That example is indeed from a jazz piece. I am very interested in jazz and do plan on studying it. But I am focusing on classical for now. I feel jazz is more complex and I want to tackle that with some knowledge under my belt otherwise I think I'd be totally lost. Admittedly I know very little about jazz theory, history and repertoire, and don't even know where to start at the moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by camus View Post
    @millionrainbows That example is indeed from a jazz piece. I am very interested in jazz and do plan on studying it. But I am focusing on classical for now. I feel jazz is more complex and I want to tackle that with some knowledge under my belt otherwise I think I'd be totally lost. Admittedly I know very little about jazz theory, history and repertoire, and don't even know where to start at the moment.
    No, jazz is not "more complex" if you have a good ear. Cp is more complex because it is a mixture of melodic procedures and harmonic. These can really trip you up. Get a good DVD like Scott Henderson.



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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    ...and that's the difference between CP theory and jazz theory. In CP, any unexplainable "harmonic remnants" are tossed into the pile of "passing tones."
    In CP theory, which is what's under discussion here, one should be able to distinguish harmonic phenomena from linear ones. You have difficulty telling the difference. If you're going to insist on interjecting your commentary into every thread on CP theory, it might be nice if you made an effort to attain more competence in the field.

    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    If you really want to know about D7b5 chords, study jazz theory, because you have just been told by EdwardBast that D7b5 "doesn't exist."
    I said no such thing. That you made this error in comprehension just proves my point: You habitually comment on content you've failed to grasp. Has it not occurred to you that the time might be better spent actually learning theory?
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Apr-09-2020 at 18:50.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    — Basil Valentine

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    In CP theory, which is what's under discussion here, one should be able to distinguish harmonic phenomena from linear ones. You have difficulty telling the difference. If you're going to insist on interjecting your commentary into every thread on CP theory, it might be nice if you made an effort to attain more competence in the field.
    No, I'm here to stay. This is my life's mission, to expose CP theory.

    I said no such thing. That you made this error in comprehension just proves my point: You habitually comment on content you've failed to grasp. Has it not occurred to you that the time might be better spent actually learning theory?
    Edward, that's the net result of what you said. I just summed it up and told it simply.

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