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Question:How do you play C/E chords?

turf3

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That and it's where I was exposed to the M7/m7 notation as a shorthand for MM7/mm7. And as PMason encountered, this notation system is still in use. That is unless you want to insist that FM7/A is Fmin7/A. But go to the keyboard and see how ugly that sounds. U-G-L-Y! :)
But that's the upper case versus lower case M issue. Which is why considerate arrangers and copyists don't rely on upper case vs. lower case M to distinguish between major and minor.
 

turf3

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OP, the actual answer to your question from the functional standpoint of what actual musicians do on the bandstand, is that Fmaj7/A indicates that the bass (typically) will be playing an A note under the Fmaj7 chord. Piano likely will too. This is typical of descending bass lines and stuff like that. Yes, it's an inversion. From the standpoint of the saxophonist, whether there's a special inversion probably means very little, but depending on the situation you might want to echo the bass notes in some way, possibly as a descant line or something like that. This is another case where your ears need to be your guide.
 

Colin the Bear

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Now that we've got that sorted, how about these lower and upper case Roman numerals. Just kidding. Please don't ;)
 

John Setchell

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The simple version is that /A tells the bass player what note (rather than chord) to play initially, so it's a FM7 chord with with A in the bass. The saxophone soloist would be playing to fit the FM7 but would expect to hear A instead of F from the bass player on the first beat.

Other people may have more insightful comments.

Rhys
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Having played bass for 40 years I can say that no mere woodwind player is going to tell them what note to play! The bass caries the chord progression, although they keyboard player thinks he does.
 

rhysonsax

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WHAT?
Having played bass for 40 years I can say that no mere woodwind player is going to tell them what note to play! The bass caries the chord progression, although they keyboard player thinks he does.

It would be interesting to hear a bass player's perspective of what you would expect the rhythm section to play for a FM7/A chord in an arrangement and how that differs from a FM7. Would you expect soloists to play differently over such a chord ?

Rhys
 

turf3

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It would be interesting to hear a bass player's perspective of what you would expect the rhythm section to play for a FM7/A chord in an arrangement and how that differs from a FM7. Would you expect soloists to play differently over such a chord ?

Rhys
Well, I too play bass and I'd have to say "it depends". Where I most often see that notation is in tunes where there's a very standard and stereotyped bass line (very commonly, descending line) that is part of standard performance practice. I would probably be listening to hear whether a big solid A over the Fmaj7/A would give the right sound. In some cases, where you have several chords in succession each one with the same slash note, it may indicate that pedaling is the right thing to do, depending on how it sounds.
 

lydian

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If my bass player consistently ignored the changes, I’d get a different bass player.
 

CliveMA

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In some cases, where you have several chords in succession each one with the same slash note, it may indicate that pedaling is the right thing to do
Forgive my Aussie/musical ignorance, but what is "pedaling"?
 

nigeld

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Forgive my Aussie/musical ignorance, but what is "pedaling"?
pennyfarthing.jpeg
 

Targa

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When my grandad was a lad him and his mate saw a toff standing by one of those.
Grandad asked 'What's that?'
Toff said 'It's penny farthing'.
Grandad said 'Fair enough' and chucked him the coins as his mate jumped on and pedalled off while grandad legged it.
 

Tenor Viol

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Forgive my Aussie/musical ignorance, but what is "pedaling"?
I would assume we're thinking of a tonic or dominant pedal... Or, was it a reference to our transatlantic cousins having problems doubling the consonant in constructing the present participle of various verbs?
 

turf3

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Playing a pedal tone in the bass, a single note repeated. Usually the root of the chord, but if you have F maj7/A you'd probably play the repeated low A in the bass. Often done on the offbeats for emphasis.
 

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