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Who plays a G over a C7 alt Chord? (Pete's Chord Symbol Section)

Hi Everyone,
Just looking at the chord symbol section on 'Taming the saxophone'.

I thought 'C7 alt' was typically: C E Ab Bb Db Eb
The two examples of alt chords given on the page both contain G
I thought that the whole idea of the name 'alt' was that it was the most altered possible chord but still a Dominant Chord..
I know the symbol tends to refer to the scale or 'pool of available notes' but I would have thought that the above was a fairly common voicing of C7alt (probably in some kind of inversion or without the root note or whatever piano players do). If I see a C7alt chord in a tune I'm gonna think "C E Ab Db.." or "C Bb Ab Gb E etc.."
Who plays a G on C7 alt Chord? I know in the aebersold "Minor Blues" book he goes into the chord theory and then tells you to start off playing the normal Fifth over the alt chords until you get used to the whole thing as it can sound a bit wrong..

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Cafe Moderator
The Blue Ridge Mountains
I think this has changed over time. When I developed that chart, I never heard the term "alt" used by anyone. I subsequently heard it to mean altering notes of the chord such as the 9th, but it's current meaning is relatively new (along with the "alt" scale). I never bothered to change it that's all. Partly because I don't really like its use as a chord symbol as it is so ambiguous, I prefer people to say what they mean, e.g. C7+ b9 or C7 b13 b9 etc.

Pete C

I think ALT has now come to have quite a specific meaning - a dominant chord with an altered 9th and an altered 5th (usually #5) in contrast to either a dominant chord with a #9 or b9 (implies #11 but unaltered 5th and 13th) or a dominant chord with a #11 (implies unaltered 5th 9th & 13th) or a dominant chord with a #5 (implies #11 but unaltered 9th).
In terms of "pools of available notes":
7alt - altered scale
7b9 or 7#9 - half-tone/whole tone scale
7#11 - lydian dominant
7#5 whole tone scale

That's how I make sense of it anyway
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I've always felt that the "alt" designation was lazy, and perhaps indicative of an unsure-of-himself composer (which we all are, at one time or another!).

So, I'm with Pete T on this one: be as specific as you need to be with notating chord alterations.

THAT SAID, I did a copywork project for Toshiko Akiyoshi in 2008. If you're at all familiar with her music, you'll know that her harmonic language is dense and colorful, and the orchestration and voicings in this chart were no exception.

What was revealing to me, though, was her trust in her rhythm players. In this tune, which was a Bb blues with a rhythm bridge, the chords were notated as Bb7, Eb7... D7, G7, etc... There wasn't a dang extension or alteration marked beyond that.

When I asked her about this, she said that her piano player will know what to do.

We should all be so hip, eh?

~ Rick
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