Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsSo let’s have a go at doing the same thing with a seventh - that is, sticking a major or minor triad over the top and seeing if we come up with something acceptable. In the key of C our basic chord underneath is C7 - C, E, G, B flat - and, not surprisingly, the most used again is the sharpened eleventh - F sharp - which, when put in the context of a triad, then I use D triad. So it’s D triad over C7. If we’re talking about a final chord - than we have a final chord which is C7, and then we put D triad over the top.

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 secondsIf we think about improvising over this chord then the scale we use is, first of all, the seventh scale, C7

Skip to 1 minute and 4 secondsC major with a flattened seventh, and then we sharpen the eleventh - sharpen the fourth.

Skip to 1 minute and 14 secondsIn other words, it’s a mode of G melodic minor ascending. A mode rooted on C. It’s got the name Lydian dominant - C Lydian dominant. It’s Lydian again because we’re sharpening the eleventh. It’s dominant, unfortunately, because most people call a seventh a dominant seventh. We don’t, but that’s where the name comes from. This is the most important of the chords we are going to look at. I use it quite a bit, again, for variation if there are lots of sevenths around, then you can sharpen the eleventh. As an example, think of the middle 8 of Sony Rollin’s tune “Oleo”. Although there isn’t a tune there, there’s a bunch of sevenths.

Skip to 2 minutes and 5 secondsIf we use the cycle of fifth sevenths that goes D7, G7, C7, F7 - each for 2 bars - then we play over the D7, go up a tone for D to E - E triad; over G7, up a tone - A triad; over C7, up a tone - D triad; over F7, up a tone - G triad. Let me give you a little example. What I’m going to do is, kind of, run the triads when I get to the middle 8. Just to set it up, I’ll improvise over, say, the second A of “Oleo” just so you know where we are. 1,2,1,2,3,4.

Skip to 3 minutes and 15 secondsWhat I did there was over D7 play some arpeggiation of E, over G7 some arpeggiation of A, over C7 some arpeggiation of D and over F7 some arpeggiation of G. Or, if we use what Sony Rollins originally intended, namely

Skip to 3 minutes and 36 secondsto down chromatically: then we go down E triad over D7, E flat triad over D flat7, D triad over C7, D flat triad over B7.

Skip to 3 minutes and 54 secondsAnother one is the flat 9. That’s obtained if you put A triad over it. If we put A triad in its, sort of, root position it doesn’t sound very good. Let’s go to the first inversion then that’s the chord that I’ve written down for you. The parent scale is C sharp diminished

Skip to 4 minutes and 18 secondsrooted on C, which you notice all the notes in the chord belong to. So there’s that A (triad sound) Third example is A flat major triad over C7 then if we take the first inversion, maybe the second inversion sounds best.

Skip to 4 minutes and 55 secondsThen the parent scale is C sharp melodic minor ascending in other words, the altered scale. It will be signalled by A flat triad over C7 or C7 alt. So those are some example of bitonality with major triads. Now a couple of examples of bitonality with minor triads. Another altered version - the previous one has sharp 9 in it and A flat which is the sharpened fifth. This one, which is C sharp minor triad over C7 has a sharpened fifth in it but a flattened nine. Remember the altered can either have a sharp fifth, a flat fifth, a sharp nine, a flat nine. So this is a combination

Skip to 6 minutes and 3 secondsthis time, though, because of the notes that are in here, we have C sharp melodic minor ascending

Skip to 6 minutes and 13 secondsrooted on C. So that’s a minor triad here over C7.

Skip to 6 minutes and 21 secondsOne more: F sharp minor triad, which is the flat 9 and the sharp 11, if you think about it, because the flat 9 again is the C sharp, and the sharpened eleventh is the F sharp. The parent scale this time again, C sharp diminished, rooted on C. Well, I probably don’t make great use of this apart from Lydianising major sevenths and sevenths and, maybe, using some triads with altered scales as well - altered chords and using some triads over the top of that.

Bitonality with sevenths

We investigate putting major or minor triads over our basic seventh chords.

You can download the chart for “Bitonality with sevenths” in PDF format at the bottom of this step.

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This video is from the free online course:

Learn Jazz Piano: III. Solo Piano and Advanced Topics

Goldsmiths, University of London