Guide Tones

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lawnranger
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2012/10/04 23:07:26 (permalink)

Guide Tones

I have a question, I watched some videos on youtube about guide tones. Do guide tones change if you are playing major (use the 7th) and minor (use the flatted 7th)?

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    Jeff Evans
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    Re:Guide Tones 2012/10/04 23:59:38 (permalink)
    You can think of the guide tones as the third and the seventh notes of any seventh chord as being the two most important tones to spell that chord. 

    Suppose you had a progression of C Maj 7 to F Maj 7 to A Min 7 and then D Min 7. First two guide tones would be E and B then to F Maj 7 so guide tones there are A and E. (E stays the same there and the B note moves down to A only.) Next chord is A Min 7 so guide tones are C and G now. (both tones would have to move from A/E to C/G, A up to C and E up to G maybe or A down to G and E down to C depends which sounds better) Last chord is D Min 7 so guide tones are F and C. (In this case C stays the same E moves up to F)


    Guide tones need the bass note to complete the chord sound. The fifth adds a little colour. Horns are often playing guide tones in big bands.

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    mike_mccue
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    Re:Guide Tones 2012/10/05 00:04:37 (permalink)

    Thanks for explaining Jeff.

    I'm always amazed by the folks that really know music well enough to explain it so it makes sense to a guy like me.


    best regards,
    mike

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    lawnranger
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    Re:Guide Tones 2012/10/05 00:06:08 (permalink)
    Cool, but is it the flatted 7th of the minor scale or the 7th of the major? Or does it change depending on weather you are playing minor or major? Thanks, Wayne

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    Rus W
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    Re:Guide Tones 2012/10/05 00:23:22 (permalink)
    No. Guide tones for sevenths will still be the third and seventh. Of course, other chord tones lead and color (Fifth, Ninth, Eleventh, Thriteenth), but the third and seventh define the chord's character. The additional diatonic or color tones (2,4,6 + 9, 11, 13) and/or altered ones b/#5, b/#9 and #11 paint the chords with more color and intensity.

    When the term guide tone is used, it is such when finding, building the appropriate tritone sub (The Augmented Fourth/Diminished Fifth or three whole tones away in either direction) which often happens on dominant sevenths, but can also happen on altered dominant sevenths and/or ninths.

    F#7 for C7 = the guide tones are E and Bb. The distance between these two notes is a tritone. When such a sub is evoked, what were the guide tones in the original chord are flipped. The third becomes the seventh and the seventh becomes the third: C-E-G-Bb ---> F#-A#-C#-E or C-E-G-Bb ---> Gb-Bb-Db-Fb (E))

    1-3-5-7 ---> 1-3(7)-5-7(3); 1-3-5-7 ---> 1-3(7)-5-7(3) C7 ---> Gb/F#7

    7b9s consist of two tritones: C7b9: C-E-G-Bb-Db: E-Bb (3 and 7) G-Db (5 and b9)

    The tritone sub for this chord is also a 7b9: Either Gb or F#

    With ninths, the third and seventh still flip, but the fifth becomes the tritone sub's b9 while the tritone sub's b9 becomes the fifth: C-E-G-Bb-Db ---> F#-A#-C#-E-G and/or Gb-Bb-Db-Fb-Abb (and I know Abb is G)

    1-3-5-b7-b9 ---> 1-3(7)-5(b9)-7(3)-b9(5)

    Dom7s with altered fifths (b5 and #5):

    C7b5 = C-E-Gb-Bb - Tritone sub I = Gb-Bb-Dbb-Fb;  Tritone sub II - F#-A#-C-E (F#/Gb7b5)

    So, your guide tones are the third, fifth (altered) seventh and ninth (altered).

    Tritone substitution allows for half slides or approach chords from a halfstep above or below the target chord. This is useful for walking chromatic basslines and easier/smoother Authentic cadences (ie: V-I ---> V-bV/V-I) Here it is in a ii-V-I: Dm7-G7-CMaj7 ---> Dm7-Db7-CMaj7 (B and F are in G7 and Db7)

    If you hear those same two or three tones, you have substituted correctly. Here's a couple of YT video explaining them:

    Halfstep Slides (Piano): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9ji-WjVLjw&feature=g-user-u F(add9)-B9-BbMaj9 as opposed to F(add9)-BbMaj9

    Halfstep Slides/Tritone (b5) Subs: (Guitar): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moIf1x-79Zs (Tritone Substitution used in intro piece)
    You can have subs on m7s, but generally they're found on Dom7s (Major triads with the flatted 7th).

    (I know, Jeff, but detailed explanations help, too and you beat me to it!)

    post edited by Rus W - 2012/10/05 00:48:52

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    Jeff Evans
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    Re:Guide Tones 2012/10/05 03:39:28 (permalink)
    The thirds and the sevenths simply adjust to fit the required chord. 

    A good and simple thing to do is to simply practice playing the guide tones to simple 7th chord progressions. No substitutions or anything. Just make up a chord progression or use an existing one. Then just play the two notes that represent the thirds and sevenths for each chord. Watch how often one of the notes stays put while the other only moves a short distance away. That is the cool thing about them. The way the tones move. Both tones sometimes have to make a bigger jump to accommodate different chords.

    Then it is nice to hear the same thing with the root bass notes under each pair of guide tones. The sense of the chord will emerge and feel stronger. The root and the two guide tones create a very open an uncluttered sound.

    There are only two main guide tones in a chord all the other notes have a different function. 

    The interval between the guide tones is interesting but there is no need to get distracted by it for a while. It is much more important to know them for any chord progression and easily be able to play them. It is a great way for a jazz pianist to be able to state a chord progression with only two notes. The bass player usually plays the root early in the bar hence completing or anchoring the chord down then they can wander from the tonic note as part of their bass line phrasing. 

    Other notes can be added to guide tones then we are into voicing chords using voicings. Guide tones are usually part of a chord voicing. 
     
    When the bass root note moves in fourths in fifths the guide tones will swap their roles eg the lower guide tone could be the 3rd the upper note the 7th but the next chord if a fourth or fifith away will put the lower note as the 7th instead and the higher note as the 3rd. Sort of using guide tone inversions as you go along.



    post edited by Jeff Evans - 2012/10/05 16:39:11

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    lawnranger
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    Re:Guide Tones 2012/10/05 12:19:21 (permalink)
    This is some great info., thanks again. Just because I am a beginner let me ask the question: If I am playing in the key of A, then are the guide tones C# and G#?

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    Jeff Evans
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    Re:Guide Tones 2012/10/05 16:58:49 (permalink)
    Well think of the key of A as creating 7 seventh chords. ie the I chord is A Maj 7. the II chord is B Min 7, the 3 chord is C# Min 7, the 4 chord is D Maj 7, the V Chord is E Dom 7, VI chord is F# Min 7 and the last chord is G# Dim

    The guide tones for each of those chords are:

    I       A  Maj 7                (C#/G#)
    II      B  Min 7                (D  / A  )     
    III    C#Min 7                (E  / B  )
    IV     D  Maj 7                (F#/C#)
    V      E  Dom7                (G#/D  )
    VI     F#Min 7                (A  / E  )
    VII    G# 1/2 Dim7         (B /F# )

    So if you played a I, IV and V progression you are using the chords A Maj 7, to D Maj 7 then to E Dom 7 then back to the 1 chord say A Maj 7.

    The guide tone sequence to able to play would be:

    C#/ G# to F#/C# then to G#/D then to C#/G#

    From chord 1 to second chord only one guide tone moves and it is G# down to F#. From chord 2 to 3 both move but not far. One of them a semitone from C# to D the other a tone from F# to G# then to the 1 chord. Here only one tone moves from D down to C#, the other remains the same. 

    You could use something like a synth pad to play through a sequence of 7 th chords and guide tones would be a great place to start. They do need to work in conjunction with the root note though to hear how the completed chord sounds.
    From a keyboard players perspective it is great to be able to play them quickly and correctly through any chord sequence with minimum amounts of movement with each guide tone and keep both of them around middle C too for the best possible and fattest sound.
    post edited by Jeff Evans - 2012/10/05 17:08:18

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    lawnranger
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    Re:Guide Tones 2012/10/05 19:02:32 (permalink)
    Thanks, food for thought and lots of practice. Sincere ly, Wayne

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    jsaras
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    Re:Guide Tones 2012/10/05 19:17:13 (permalink)
    Jeff Evans


    The thirds and the sevenths simply adjust to fit the required chord. 

    When the bass root note moves in fourths in fifths the guide tones will swap their roles eg the lower guide tone could be the 3rd the upper note the 7th but the next chord if a fourth or fifith away will put the lower note as the 7th instead and the higher note as the 3rd. Sort of using guide tone inversions as you go along. 

    The "swapping" of notes not only happens with the two guide tones (I call it "bracket" voice leading).  The same bracketing can be applied to the other two notes of the structure as well (assuming a 4-note chords).  Also, it need not be limited to root motions of fourths and fifths.  It is equally effective with major third root movements as well.  I'll leave it to you to analyze the bracket voice leading below, though I've labeled the tones to make it easy.


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