SYOS

Half diminished chords

paulhughes

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Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I have been looking at a transcription of Art Pepper's Autumn Leaves and see there is a B half-diminished chord, notated without a '7':
'Bø', seemingly a half-diminished triad. Would I be right in thinking this is just a shorthand version of 'Bø7'. I have looked at the Jazz symbols chart on this site and there is no 'Bø' chord symbol, only a Bø7 (in fact to be accurate a 'Cø7').

Thanks
 

Pete Thomas

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It has to be as there isn't really a half diminsished triad. If it's a triad then it's a diminished triad. Someone more pedantic than me (if there is such a person) might try to argue otherwise.

ie it's a triad, but if it did have a 7th, it would be a minor 7 not a dimished 7.

That is almost a bit of a zen concept though.

It's kind of lazy shorthand, like in the Omnibook you see B- E7 A and I'm pretty sure that B- is a Bm7 not a Bm triad.
 

paulhughes

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It has to be as there isn't really a half diminsished triad. If it's a triad then it's a diminished triad. Someone more pedantic than me (if there is such a person) might try to argue otherwise.

ie it's a triad, but if it did have a 7th, it would be a minor 7 not a dimished 7.

That is almost a bit of a zen concept though.

It's kind of lazy shorthand, like in the Omnibook you see B- E7 A and I'm pretty sure that B- is a Bm7 not a Bm triad.

Thanks very much Pete. Trying to follow his solo note choices through the chords changes. Slow going but very illuminating.
 
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Pete Thomas

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And just to clarify after having a word with Mr Pedantic, in a jazz chart if you see B dim you might also expect that to be dim7 - it would be rare to have a diminished triad in modern(ish) jazz (or any triad for that matter).
 

paulhughes

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But a Bdim would be possible as a triad; by flattening the 5th, whereas a Bhalf-dim cannot exist as a triad, because the half-dim is all about what happens (or doesn't happen) to the 7th? Or am I getting myself more confused?
 

randulo

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(or any triad for that matter).
Except the many instances of triads above different bass notes?
For example, McCoy Tyner rich dominant C13th : the tension of Eb/C F/C F#/C G#/C A/C resolves to F Maj7. Try it, you'll like it.
 

Pete Thomas

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But a Bdim would be possible as a triad; by flattening the 5th, whereas a Bhalf-dim cannot exist as a triad, because the half-dim is all about what happens (or doesn't happen) to the 7th? Or am I getting myself more confused?
No, you are completely right. All I meant was if you see a D dim written as a chord symbol in jazz, it is more often that not (or might as well be) a B dim7
 

Pete Effamy

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Much of jazz harmony is implied. Like the nature of jazz, chord symbols have evolved over time too.
Three-note chords in jazz are rare as the texture is thin. You’d have to be careful how you came to it and what you follow it with otherwise it will sound like a sudden trough in the harmony if surrounded by (typically) five-note chords or maybe more.
Shorthand is often used, hence the B-. A jazzer will likely ignore the triad and play it as a Bm7. Same with a major chord. This can be played as a 6, 6/9, maj7, maj7#4 (or #11) etc. It would more likely be a proper B minor if in the key of B minor and then acting as a 1 chord. But even then, a Bm6 or Bm(maj7) makes at least a 4-note texture.
m7b5 chords contain the interval of the tritone, like dominant 7 chords and are often used as a “secondary dominant” - ie the same function as the dominant 7th chord that incorporates the same tritone
G7 - the tritone is between the notes B and F (3rd and 7th)
Bm7b5 - same tritone
Fm7b5 - same tritone
 

Pete Effamy

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At college we were taught that you can add any notes so long as you don’t change the “quality “ of the chord - quality meaning major, minor, dominant
 

randulo

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And since so much of jazz (if we are talking about that music) is based on surprise, you'll want to shove some extra notes into the transitional chords. Like The Dude, Bill Evans abides. By the way, that's why a diminished chord usually sounds lame in jazz.
 

Pete Effamy

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Actually that came out wrong. You can add any note you like, but in order to not change the quality of the chord you need to be careful what you add.
 

paulhughes

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Knowing my limitations guys, and lacking the ear to hear the chords clearly from the recording, I think my best course would be to assume the most likely chord structure given the notation and then have a good look at what someone who knew what he was doing - Art Pepper in this instance - decided to play over them.

Grateful for the comments everyone.
 

randulo

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@paulhughes are you trying to hear the chords as played in this recording, that is to understand what Mr Pepper is playing over them, or trying to understand the chords of the tune in general?
 

paulhughes

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At the risk of sounding wooly I suppose a bit of both. I understood the chord progression of Autumn leaves to be a pretty straightforward selection of 251's and a good standard to start with. As an alto player I am an Art fan and have listened a lot to his version. I have a transcript and have started to look at what he chose to play across the chords in his solo, looking for how he uses the chord tones for example, though also noticing enclosures and rhythm changes. Really just attempting an in depth understanding of what he did with this song, in the hope that I can shamelessly steal from him!
 

randulo

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It's a beautiful solo, he's one of a kind. Typical YouTube-ism, one person gave it a thumbs down. The transcription I looked at on YT shows the chord symbol as B#7b5 which I've never seen. I usually see Bm7b5 which clearly describes the notes in the chord.
 

paulhughes

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Yes I agree there's something about his tone and technique that have a modest and understated feel, beautiful is a good word to choose to describe it I think. I can't now remember where I got the transcription I have, but at bar 6, 14, 18 etc I have this 'Bø', which was confusing me - easily done these days I'm afraid. It seems that B half-dim = Bø = Bø7, which also = Bm7b5.
 

paulhughes

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I'm lucky enough to have a full transcription including the head, but as you say it's the odd chord notation at bar7 of the solo that was the issue for me. His biography is an interesting read, though not very enlightening about his playing technique sadly. I also have a transcription of The Prisoner from Winter Moon, which was quite a solo!
 
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