Posted by Michael Hughes on Tuesday, July 19, 2011
G B D 0 0 0 GBD G major 2 1 2 ACE A minor 4 3 4 BDF# B minor 5 5 5 CEG C major 7 7 7 DF#A D major 9 8 9 EGB E minor 11 10 10 F#AC F# dim
The problem I have with it is that it just doesn't seem to belong. Have you EVER played a song in G where an F# diminished showed up? I haven't. But the other six chords are mainstays for G progressions.
I've fretted (no pun intended) over this for a while, and I think I've resolved it, at least for me. That seventh chord is a D7 without the root D. A seventh is the 1 3 5 b7 and in the case of D the 3, 5, and flatted 7 would be F#, A, C--exactly what we have. That would make more sense, except now I have the problem of where did the lost root go? That's the problem I have been pondering for the last year or so.
Then my tech writer background kicked in and solved it. Think of these seven chords as a seven-page document in a word processor. The first six are in Portrait and the page is three strings wide. That's plenty wide enough because major and minor chords are properly rendered with three notes. 1, 3, 5 or a 1, b3, 5.
But what if the last page is supposed to be in Landscape? That would make the page four strings wide and--lo and behold--look what we now see if we go into Landscape view: D, F#, A, C our D7. We were missing the root because it takes four notes to properly render a dominant 7th and we were looking at just the last three! Now it's as if that fiddler named Throckmorton winks at me and adds, "But my friends call me Buddy." The world makes sense again.
OK, one problem solved, but I now have two more: (1) Why doesn't F# get its own chord and (2) why does D get two chords?
Once again my tech writer perspective kicks in on the first one. In document design or screen layout, there is a well-known phenomenon that if two elements are too close they create a visual tension. For example, text too close to table borders are the visual equivalent of nails on a chalk board. Or put a button too close to the edge of the screen and the user begs for some padding to give it some breathing room. I think F# is just too close to G! Our ears don't like a chord that is only a half-step away from the root.
And as far as D getting two chords when everybody else gets just one? Well, maybe that's why it's called the dominant.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011 @9:04:52 AM
You have a knack for articulating music theory, Michael. Very well done.
Perhaps we should think of the the 7 diminished as the "relative diminished" to the dominant!
I sorry I missed you at Kaufman Kamp. I was there studying mandolin, but mostly jammed at night on dobro.
Michael Hughes Says:
Tuesday, July 19, 2011 @10:28:08 AM
Sorry we didn't connect in Maryville. Maybe next year (I'm going back for sure!) You might have seen me, though. I played on stage Friday night as part of the group that won the band scramble. My profile picture is from that performance.
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