Dominant Motion

This topic contains 14 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Willie Willie 3 years ago.

  • Participant
    Frank Årre

    Hi,

    I’ve come across mentions of dominant motion more and more frequently lately.
    So i’ve been searching around trying to get a simple explanation for this.
    What my search told was this: You can precede any given chord with its related V7 chord (unless there is a mismatch with the melody).

    Is it really as simple as that?

    So then i looked at the music for ‘don’t know why’ lesson to try and explain the non-diatonic chords with this idea.
    the progression in the A section is:
    BbMaj7 – Bb7 – EbMaj7 – D+ – G-7 – C7 – F7sus4 – Bb

    if my conclusion was correct i’m seeing a lot of that dominant motion here, only chord that does not fit is the D+, if that were to be a V7/vi it should have been D7#5?
    trying to analyze the progression…
    I – V7/IV – IV – V+/vi – vi – V7/V – V – I

    Am I being stupid, or am I onto something here?

    Thanks,
    Frank.

    Keymaster
    Willie

    Frank, you’re right on. You can almost always precede a chord with its dominant. Check out Hang #11: Subdominants (Tritone Introduction) for some good dominant motion explanation.

    I’m also setting up http://jazzpianotheory.com/ very soon.

    Participant
    Frank Årre

    Thank you Willie,
    That was a pretty thorough explanation of exactly what i was looking for.

    I suspect i would have found what i was looking for easier, had i searced for subdominant insted.

    Seeing as how those subdominants are often refered to as dominant motion, how about adding some tags to that lesson to make it pop in a broader search?

    Frank

    Participant
    Frank Årre

    Hi Willie,

    I’ve gone through the Musictheoryonline course, while this course was very thorough in what it covered and certainly helped my understanding in a lot of ways, it is kinda basic.
    is this jazzpianotheory course a logical next step? or are there other resources/books that I should look into to get a deeper understanding?

    The theory course touches on the subject of chord scales and modes and such. And i think i understand whats presented.
    Like that for instance in the key of E, the chord scale for G#- would be the G# Phrygian scale, B would be Mixolydian, and so on.

    But what i’m not sure of is when there is a minor key, or on things like V7/ii?
    If we’re still in key of E, V7/ii = C#7, what’s the chord scale of that? Would you call it C# Mixolydian? Or would it be more correct to say that in this instance C#7 is derived from the F# Harmonic Minor Scale (building from the 5th degree)

    Thanks,
    Frank

    Member
    ChrisK

    Frank, I believe if you’re seeing a chord like C#/F#, the “F#” or what’s under the slash is referring to the bass note and typically you’d still consider the chord over the slash to think about for the chord scale. In E because the C# is the sixth note, the scale starting on that note is the Aeolian scale, for example.

    Not sure exactly what you’re referring to, but “polychord fractions” (I’ve seen different terms used) are a concept commonly seen in jazz and are notated with slashes, e.g., A/C7 is a way of suggesting to the pianist to play a C13(b9). If you play an A triad over a basic C7 voicing (often just the third and seventh), you get a big chord with the 13 & b9, i.e., E, Bb, A, C#, (E). Very typically these polychords are a way to think about and play commonly heard b9,#9, #11, and alt chords.

    Hope this helps, not confuses 🙂

    Participant
    Frank Årre

    Hi Chris,
    I was not talking about slash chords, but rather if you have a dominant motion, like going to the ii chord. In E major the V7/ii would be C#7. I understand that in the key of E a C#- chord would be Aeolian. But I’m wondering what you would call the chord scale of the chord that is dominant to the ii chord.To my mind it’s most logical to explain this C#7 as being derived from the F# Harmonic Minor Scale(building the chord from the 5th degree)
    Not sure if my explanation makes any sense, or if it really matters. I was just trying to take the material in the Theory Course a step further.
    Thanks,

    Frank

    Member
    ChrisK

    Ah, I see, Frank. Thanks for clarification. The subdominant concept. V of ii. I’m not an expert, but just glancing into a good theory book (Levine’s “Jazz Theory Book”) there’s no discussion of harmonic minor scalar theory being the harmonic basis for subdominants like V of ii. My hunch is that the Harmonic Minor Scale harmony as a grand theory for subdominants is a dead end. In a few good classes on theory I’ve taken, I’ve not heard that explanation. I may have dozed off, though 🙂

    Levine seems to suggest it just that subdominants resolve well and further by using a dominant chord it opens up the option for the many alterations available on that dominant chord. b9,#9, #11, b13, and combinations of those.

    Willie may have some definitive answer.

    Participant
    Frank Årre

    Thanks for your input Chris!
    I’ve been looking for a good music theory book.
    I’m not an intermediate player yet, and i have no idea what level my understanding of theory is.
    Would you( or anyone else) recommend this book to someone who has gone through willies musictheoryonline course?

    Keymaster
    Willie

    Hey Frank, the jazzpianotheory course is definitely the next logical step after musictheoryonline. MTO is pretty basic and is designed to “set the stage” for more complicated music theory topics.

    Jazzpianotheory will start at an intermediate level and go up from there. We will be doing some pretty cool stuff that is just too difficult to explain via text based responses. I’ll be using some new technology to help you visualize theory better. In addition, I’ll be doing a lot of live classes so you’ll get an assignment, have time to work on it then be able to join live to ask your questions.

    Participant
    Frank Årre

    Hi willie, that jazzpianotheory course sounds good. And don’t be surprised if you catch me on those live lessons.

    But a lot of times i like to just sit and read in one of those old fashioned books ?. Are there any that you would recommend?

    Also, any thoughts on what has been discussed in this thread?

    Thanks, Frank.

    Keymaster
    Willie

    The best book I could recommend for the type of theory you’re looking to learn is Mark Levine’s Jazz Theory Book

    Great book and Mark knows his stuff.

    Oh, and if you own it, go back and read it again! There is just a TON of stuff in there to learn.

    Member
    ChrisK

    Frank, I heartily second what Willie says on Levine’s Theory book but check out Mark Levine’s “Jazz Piano” book possibly first.

    The Jazz Piano book’s beauty is it’s piano-focused and a “lite” or perfect introductory version of his Theory book in a way. Reading it will answer a thousand piano playing questions and maybe give you more questions that the Theory book can fully address.

    Levine has his unique view of jazz. In line with your original question he mostly brushes aside harmonic minor use in contemporary jazz where others treat it as part of the jazz gospel. He likes the b13 notation and I’ve run into good theorists who scoff at that and prefer #5. He’s big on melodic minor theory and I think he does a great job explaining it when so many people I’ve seen around me get so puzzled when that topic comes up.

    Keymaster
    Willie

    And I heartily agree with Chris LOL. I was trying to remember that other book and meant to mention it. Thanks Chris for picking up the ball on that one. Both books are awesome for your library.

    Participant
    Thomas LaCroix

    If I wanted to sign up for Music Theory Online, do I go through PWW or sign up through the JazzEdge site? Will they work together in other words?

    Keymaster
    Willie

    @Tom LC To sign up for MusicTheoryOnline use this link: http://musictheoryonline.com/signup

    When you check out it will bring you to the PianoWithWillie site to purchase. You will need to sign into your PianoWithWillie account or create a customer account at time of checkout.

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