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Why two G7s?

RedBottom

Member
Messages
191
I'm just starting to have a bash at improvisation from the beginning. I'm going to have to take it really slow and steady, such is my ability to confuse myself. I've been given a chart with chords on it and told to write in the basic triad/7 for each chord and start to play around that.

I've never been very good at chord theory and always get confused as to whether I should use the scale of the chord or of the key that the piece is written in, and that's before I get to learning any progressions (and that can certainly wait until I've got a grip on this bit).

But what's really puzzling me is the difference between, say, G7 and Gmaj7. I know the former involves F natural and the latter uses F#, and I know the G major scale uses F#. But when would a G scale/key involve F natural, and how do I work it out? I know how to build a major scale (T,T,S/T,T,T,T,S/T), and if you do that with G major then you get F# as the 7th anyway. I just don't understand. :crying:
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,419
Not easy at first, but the normal 7th, ie G7 in major key , denotes a flatted 7th, so in that case it is F natural. Another way to think about it is as a G major triad plus a minor third. Gmaj7 goes with key so the 7th is F#. Again, you can look at it as a G major triad plus a major 3rd.
There's a useful chart at http://www.telacommunications.com/nutshell/music/index.htm - for keyboard but shows it well visually.
YC
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
The important concept here is that of Modes - Gmajor7 derives from the major scale (Ionian Mode) notes 1, 3, 5, 7 (G B D Fsharp). G7 derives from the Mixolydian mode (GABCDEFG) which has a flattened seventh note - hence G B D F. Also Gm7, which derives from the natural minor scale (Aeolian mode - flattened 3rd, 6th and 7th, hence GABbCDEbFG) hence G Bb D F.

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 

stefank

Member
Messages
366
Also, if you are in the key of C, the F will be natural anyway (and G being the dominant of C this gives rise for the "classical" name of this chord type, dominant 7th).
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
RB, chords can be/are a b..ger. Multiple symbols for the same chord, lots of arcane terminology and some other confusions. Suggest you get something like Jazzology, which goes though the chords, how they're constructed (it's quite siimple really) their different symbols AND has lots of exercises to help you work though them. But... It starts simple and ramps up to difficult very quickly. Then you need to sit and learn - just like you did with your multiplication tables in school. :w00t:

If it's any consolation, there seem to be people for whom it's easy/self evident, and those who really stuggle (like me).
 

RedBottom

Member
Messages
191
Thanks ever so much guys. Col, that's a brillianst site - I'll bookmark that one.

Stefan, I thought that might be the case - the dominant 7th thing. That'll help me remember.

Tom, remember what I said about being easily confused ... I know I've got to 'do' modes at some point, but when I say really slow, what I mean is really, really slow. :confused:

Kev, I'll try to look out the book. For the time being, though, I've reserved a copy of Music Theory for Dummies. It seemed relevant, and they didn't have one for super-dummies, so it'll have to do.;}
 

Pete C

Member
Messages
344
I advise learning the common chord types in 12 keys using the formula:
maj7 = 1 3 5 7
7 = 1 3 5 b7
min7 = 1 b3 5 7
m7b5 = 1 b3 b5 b7 where the numbers are based on the major scale with the same root as the chord.

Also learn all the chords in each major key e.g. Imaj7 IImin7 IIImin7 IVmaj7 V7 VImin7 VIIm7b5 where the roman numerals denote the degrees of the scale. So in C major the chords would be Cmaj7 Dmin7 Emin7 etc etc

Pete
www.petecanter.com
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,949
You're just starting improvisation and you've been given a chord chart to work your way around? Is your teacher some kind of sadist?

If you're a beginner at this you should really be starting with just one scale for a piece of music - preferably an easy major scale or pentatonic. There's plenty of playalong stuff out there to help you with this. Try Creative Saxophone Improvising. It's pretty useful and the backing tracks are good.

Of course, at some point, you're going to want to learn all the other chords and scale stuff that the others have mentioned - but slowly. If you restrict your note choices for now then you might come up with some decent rhythms and melodic lines. If you're forever worrying about what notes you can use with the next chord then the result is hardly likely to be terribly musical.
 

RedBottom

Member
Messages
191
Don't panic, Nick - it's not quite as dramatic as that. Our sax choir has been given 4-a-4's arrangement of Moon River. There's a middle section that's open for improvisation for anyone to have a go if they want. It's quite a safe environment and I guess it won't matter if I make a right pig's ear of it in practice. They'll just name competent improvisers for the actual gigs. The general advice was, for this piece, just to pencil in the chord notes and noodle around them, which I have been doing, and trying to put in a bit of a melody around that. It's going to take a long time, not the least because the tadpoles are such a crutch to me, but I like to think I've made a start.

I will probably be working on this single exercise in the privacy of my front room for some months to come, but I really don't mind. I'm a d****ed good sight-reader, which can be a real strength when we're learning new pieces. :cool:

I wish I had a good singing voice because, in my very poor one, I can improvise around a heard melody really well and usually come in on key. Just that I can't make the sax play what I hear in my head. I did a masterclass once with Dennis Baptiste, who said one of the tricks is to find a single 'reference' note and work from that. Easier said than done, but I guess we all have to start somewhere.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
If you're a beginner at this you should really be starting with just one scale for a piece of music - preferably an easy major scale or pentatonic. There's plenty of playalong stuff out there to help you with this. Try Creative Saxophone Improvising. It's pretty useful and the backing tracks are good.

Of course, at some point, you're going to want to learn all the other chords and scale stuff that the others have mentioned - but slowly. If you restrict your note choices for now then you might come up with some decent rhythms and melodic lines. If you're forever worrying about what notes you can use with the next chord then the result is hardly likely to be terribly musical.
Good advice, I think. I'm just going through the "how the **** do you get started on this stuff?" phase myself. Went back to he first few improv examples in O'Neill's book, picked some two or three note motifs out of the written tunes, and tried messing with rhythms, extending by a note, inversions, changes of register, dynamic etc. For the first time ever, it actually sounded like something intentional. Felt great.

Cheers,

Martin
 
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