Modal Chord Grips: Part 2

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There's a Couple of common terms, "chord on chord", "chord super-imposing", etc... and they are VERY relevant in Modal playing, or when changing keys during a tune or progression.

Take the progression below from Stanley Clarke's tune, Song for John.

It's Diatonically in one Key until the Bb7 chord of the progression, where it changes Keys. At this point, the Dominant chord is considered the V7 of a Major Key...Bb7 is the V7 of Eb Major.

Now, because it's only one chord for a short time, this opens up a lot of Diatonic possibilities.

You can play almost ANY Diatonic Substitution, or play a relative Diatonic chord with the written original Root in the bass.

IOW...this is the progressions:




||: Cmaj7 | Cmaj7 | Am9 | Am9 | Bb7 | Bb7 | Cmaj7 | Cmaj7 :||


For that Bb7 chord, you can easily say that chord is the V7 from the Key of Eb Major, since a Dominant chord only happens once in a Diatonic Key.

Since the chord is only there shortly, you can actually use any chord from the Key of Eb Major as it's replacement, which means the tonal-center could be directly from anywhere in the Key of Eb Major, not just Bb.

And, they all fall into the "chord on chord" idea based from Bb7.

Look at these chords based around the Bb7 in the Key of Eb Major:


Bb7

E--6--
B--6--
G--7--
D--6--
A--8--
E--6--

Or, a great Diatonic/Dominant substitution for a V7 chord:


Bb7sus11

E--6--
B--6--
G--8--
D--6--
A--8--
E--6--

Once you do this you can see a number of chords stacked on top of each other, without adding ANY other notes:

Fm7

E--x--
B--6--
G--8--
D--6--
A--8--
E--x--

Fm11

E--6--
B--6--
G--8--
D--6--
A--8--
E--x--

Ab6/9

E--6--
B--6--
G--8--
D--6--
A--x--
E--x--

Now here's another common Diatonic/Dominant substitution for V7 chord:

Bb13sus11

E--8--
B--8--
G--8--
D--6--
A--8-- (this note can be omitted to make it easier to play)
E--6--

Now you start really pulling out some nice coloration, again with out changing ANY notes:

Fm9

E--8--
B--8--
G--8--
D--6--
A--8--
E--x--


Abmaj7

E--8--
B--8--
G--8--
D--6--
A--x--
E--x--



So you could say...for the Bb7 chord in the progression, you can play Bb7, Bb7sus11, Fm7, Fm11, Ab6/9, Bb13sus11, Fm9, or Abmaj7.

Wow!

What it boils down to is...since the the progression changes Keys for ONE chord, and more so that that chord happens to be a Dominant chord, you've opened up EVERY chord from the new Key as a possibility!

Of course this is basic Diatonic Theory stuff, but the Dominant chord gives it even more "free-will" so to speak.

I call this nothing more than Modal Chord Grips for guitarists. Here's some common ones from Part 1 that could ALL be used for that Bb7 chord, individually or stacked on each other, or played as a line of chords, a chord solo, etc... And, they are EASY to grab on the fly, plus they are nice full-figured chord harmonies:




E---3---4---6---8---10---11---13---15--
B---3---4---6---8---9----11---13---15--
G---1---3---5---7---8----10---12---13--
D---1---3---5---6---8----10---12---13--
A--------------------------------------
E--------------------------------------



Remember, ANY of these can be played in place of the Bb7 chord!

Of course you can spend time learning the names of all of them from which ever modal Root in the Key you desire. But, it's easier just to say, "these are harmonies of the Key of Eb Major". And, they work for pretty much every chord over the Key of Eb Major.

So, now that little three chord progression can be spiced up to an endless amount of possibilities over the Bb7 chord, without losing any of it harmonies/tension/modal flare.

And, you can use those chord grips above (amongst any Diatonic substitution) as part of your comp'ing...like so...



Some basic Diatonic Gripping for all of the chords...

     Cmaj9   Cmaj7    Am9      Am   Abmaj7   Bb13    Cmaj7   Cmaj7

E-||-------|-------|---7---|---5---|---8---|---8---|---7---|-------||
B-||---3---|---5---|---5---|---8---|---8---|---8---|---5---|---5---||
G-||---4---|---4---|---5---|---5---|---8---|---7---|---5---|---4---||
D-||---2---|---5---|---5---|---7---|---6---|---6---|---5---|---5---||
A-||---3---|---3---|-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|---3---|| repeat...
E-||-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|-------||


Here's one that uses the grips for even more movement...


     Cmaj9   Cmaj7    Am9     Am     Abmaj7     Bb7               Cmaj7   Cmaj7

E-||-------|-------|---7---|---8---|---10--|-----8------4---6---|---7---|-------||
B-||---3---|---5---|---5---|---5---|---9---|-----8------4---6---|---5---|---5---||
G-||---4---|---4---|---5---|---5---|---8---|-----7------3---5---|---5---|---4---||
D-||---2---|---5---|---5---|---5---|---8---|-----6------3---5---|---5---|---5---||
A-||---3---|---3---|-------|-------|-------|--------------------|-------|---3---|| repeat...
E-||-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|--------------------|-------|-------||
                                           beats 1   2  3   4 



Personally how I wrote the Abmaj7 in both of those, and Bb13 in the first, I would really just call it Bb7, regardless of the Grips I'm grabbing. It really is just Bb7 and the harmonies within the Eb Major Key.

You can see all kinds of Diatonic Substitutions throughout it all. There is one particular chord in there I called both a Camj7 AND an Am9.

No reason to get to complicated, especially when the possibilities are pretty much endless.

 

Just start using groups of notes from your scales as chords instead of single notes. I'll open up a whole other level of understanding.

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