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Triads over unrelated roots

Triads over unrelated roots
This section is somewhat advanced so if this is your first time through you might view it, but not take too much note of it. In a way, the course is aimed at preparing you to play in jam sessions and in groups that play, at least in the first instance, standards. In preparation for this section, I had a look through my favourite fakebook to see if I could come across an example of a triad over unrelated roots and I couldn’t. They’re all over related roots. That’s the sense in which it’s advanced. Let me say something about triads, in fact something about chords over related roots.
If you have a chord of C7 and obviously you can have C as the root, and you can have G as the root. We’ve come across that a lot in the concept of dominant pedalling. Supposing we’re doing a turnaround in C over G
That’s over the root - that’s over the fifth. What about the third? Does that crop up? Yes, it does. You often find that you get chord sequences which have - for example C7 over E - and it’s usually because there’s a movement in the bass line. It’s going to move stepwise to some nearby note - for example F.
It’s really to do with the motion of the chord sequence that gives you that. Also, what about the seventh? Yes, there are examples of that. For example, we had a look in an earlier session on the tune “How Deep Is The Ocean?” which goes like this.
That third bar is C minor, C minor7 over B flat. What’s really happening - it’s C minor7, you could say, throughout the bar - and the bass line is moving down to an A.
If I was playing this on my own then I’d put the B flat in, but if I was improvising on it I’d probably either play C minor, or C minor7 - maybe, split bar - but I might just play C minor7 for the whole bar. It’s really using a note that’s in the chord as a means of getting to the next chord. We had an example in the last section with Jarrett’s changes to “Stella By Starlight”. If I look at the third line it goes.
So that’s D minor D minor7 over C because it’s going to B minor7 flat 5 B flat minor7. So that’s D minor, D minor over C, B minor7 - OK, so it’s really a motion within the chord rather than, in some sense, a different chord. When I was looking through my favourite fake book I came across this tune by the American trombonist J.J. Johnson called “Lament” - a lovely tune. It’s usually played as a ballad but, I must say, I like it as an up tempo Latin. Let me just play you the first 4 bars
So the third bar is
D flat major7 in the original. When Jarrett plays it, he replaces that bar with C triad over D flat. So it sounds like this
and he keeps that device throughout the improvisation as well. It’s not in the fake book, but it just reminded me that that was an example of C triad over D flat - that’s the sense in which it’s an unrelated root, or the other way round D flat triad over C. That has a special colour - a contemporary colour - and the people one associates it with in the States is Keith Jarrett, in this country John Taylor and Kenny Wheeler and on the continent, perhaps, Jan Garbarek, the Norwegian sax player. As an example of triads over unrelated roots in a chord - in a tune - I’m going to have a look at this tune by Jan Garbarek called “Entering”.
Let’s just go through the chords. You’ve got F major7 F major7 over E It’s not an unrelated root, but it’s an unusual root, nonetheless. Then we’ve got an F over B flat - and that is an unrelated root The we’v got G7 over B - that’s a related root, but it’s an unusual combination to have those 2 together, E minor7, A minor7, C major7, A7 over C sharp - that’s in the chord - F sharp minor, B minor7, C sus. This is a slightly unusual structure - this tune. It goes AAB where each section is - the A is 6 bars long, the (second) A is 6 bars long - and 2,4,6 - there’s 8 bars for the B section.
Let’s look at the B section. We have a B flat triad, but notice there’s C in the tune - but anyway - F over A, G over F sharp - that’s the case in point I wanted to point out. We’ve got a the tune is a D, and we’ve got a G as the basic chord, but it’s over an F sharp. And then and then F sharp triad over F. If there’s nothing after the letter, in this notation, it means triad. And then C sharp major7 but with a sharpened fifth. A sharpened fifth is an A.
Then D minor11, B flat major7, C7 sus. Now I didn’t really introduce properly to you the chord a minor eleventh and I should have done. So apologies for that, but it’s not too late to include it now. When we were talking about bitonality of minor sevenths I said if you take a minor seventh - like C minor7 - and you take triads from the Dorian mode - B flat major scale - if you like
Because the Dorian mode - the notes don’t have - they have a similar significance, in some sense, you don’t get anything that stands out. They all sound completely consistent. But I should have spent some time, at least, indicating there is one important one, namely B flat over C minor - the triad B flat - because it has in it the eleventh. This is called C minor 11. In fact, you can also include a G in it, so you put a G minor in and a B flat triad.
That’s a nice weighted chord because it’s got an open fifth at the bottom, then it goes tenth, and a third above that, a third above that, a third above that, a third above that. So that’s C minor 11 and that chord does crop up quite a bit. So in our case, D minor 11 with all the white notes - the Dorian mode.
This tune is unusual as well, in the sense that it has a coda and the coda has a different time signature to the tune. The tune’s in 4/4. The coda’s in 6/4 - quite unusual that. I think on the original it goes round and round for some time with some improvising - probably by Jan Garbarek over it. Maybe they just play the tune - I can’t remember now. Just looking at the chords, you’ve got 3 Fs and then you’ve got F over B flat - that’s unrelated G over B and then C sus
I’ll have a go at playing this tune in the next section. I’ll treat it like a ballad in the sense that I’ll probably use my thumb in the left hand to indicate the pulse, because it will be quite slow. I’ll probably play it twice. I can’t play it with a playalong because there isn’t a playalong for it. I’ll probably play it twice tune once, a little bit of improvisation - I’ll try and keep the chords rooted in the left hand - then perhaps the B section play the tune, and then a couple of times or so through the coda - to give you an idea of this beautiful tune by Jan Garbarek “Entering”.

We have a first look at the advanced topic of playing triads over unrelated roots.

You can download the charts for “How Deep Is The Ocean” and “Lament (first four bars)” in PDF format at the bottom of this step.

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