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Interesting chord question

16 Posts
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Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171

Jazz is root based music which means that chords are usually built from the root up: no inversions are implied and you will not find many slash chords in jazz for that reason.

True, and false . . .

True that jazz is root based music. But what that implies for a guitarist can vary greatly depending on context.

If you're playing guitar as part of an arranged rhythm section for a big band swing group, the root might well be being carried by another instrumnet entirely.

The same is true about brass/string groupings where you might have a trumbone or tuba or bari sax.

Even in a small trio/quartet group, the individual character of the group will go a long way to determine what will work and what wont.

To make the chords sound as full as they can with all their addes 9's, 11's, 13's and so on our ears need to identify the root first. If you start playing diferent bass notes the extensions simply will not work and start to sound "wrong" and muddy.

Again, it depends on context.
Just try to play D7b10b13 with a "F#" in the bass: the "jazzy" sound completely dissapears and you are left with an akward sounding chord with no real pratical use.

And here we do somewhat agree -- all of what I'm saying above requires a context where the members of the group know what to expect from each other. Your example chord does have a practical use, but if you try and whip it out in the context of a group of musicians who don't play together regularly and who are all just trying to comp over the changes, then yes, it's going to probably not work very well.

But in the context of a group with established expectations and understandings of what to expect from each other, and maybe some arranged heads, such a chord might have great musical currency.
Also and most importantly: I am not trying to offend anyone with my posts. I do not intend to come accross as someone "who knows everything", just sharing some things which I have learned in practice!

That's assumed. But I think it is also necessary to not stear people away from using inversions at all. They have their place and their use.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST

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