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Perfect 5th In Bass Changing The Original Root?


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Hello everyone, just a quick question about if chord inversions can change the root due to a perfect 5th in the bass.

 

I've read in quite a few books that a perfect 5th as the bottom two notes points so strongly towards the bass that it's undoubtedly the root. Does this apply to inverted tertian harmony or only ambiguous note collections? (the books only show examples where it isn't clearly an inversion of a obvious chord stacked in 3rds so I don't know if it applies or not) . For example does this Fmaj7 chord turn into a chord with A as the root if I change the notes like this or is it still an F chord?

 

http://i794.photobucket.com/albums/yy222/ansthenia/Fmaj7.png >>>>>> http://i794.photobucket.com/albums/yy222/ansthenia/Fmaj7%20Inversion.png

 

Thanks for your time

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Thanks for the reply.

 

What's the bass player doing? :)

 

The bass is holding an A, but my intention was a 1st inversion Fmaj7 6/3 harmony and I was concerned if I'd turned it into an A and needed to put a A chord symbol down. The E appears above the A as the bottom note when I harmonized the melody in drop-2 voicing:

 

http://i794.photobucket.com/albums/yy222/ansthenia/F%20or%20E_1.png

 

I'm trying to learn sectional harmony from jazz books and apply it to the symphonic orchestra but it seems to be a pain without a consistent rhythm section at the bottom of your melodies and chords because I often end up having 7th's, 9th's, 11th's and 13th's lower in the harmony than the 1st, 3rd's and 5th's, which I'm pretty sure would change the intended harmony.

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the minor 9th between the lower E and the higher F is not very beautiful. i would always avoid this dissonance in a tonal arranging style (with the exeption of dominant-7-chords).

in your case a G instead of E brings more beauty (as you want a 4-voice harmonisation with the F-melody note on the third chord). to keep the open voicing i also would drop the C an octave down (top to bottom: F A G C over the bass note A).

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the minor 9th between the lower E and the higher F is not very beautiful. i would always avoid this dissonance in a tonal arranging style (with the exeption of dominant-7-chords).

in your case a G instead of E brings more beauty (as you want a 4-voice harmonisation with the F-melody note on the third chord). to keep the open voicing i also would drop the C an octave down (top to bottom: F A G C over the bass note A).

 

Thanks for the advice. I just put it there because the current book I'm reading says to always include the guide tones i.e 3rd and 7th in 4-part harmonization, but replace the 7th with the 6th if it creates a minor 2nd in close voicing. I'd most likely change it though if I planned on making an actual song with it, like you said it doesn't sound too nice for a less jazzy more consonant context. But I'm still curious about if it would result in a change of harmony due to the A-E. The jazz books I'm reading all make a point that sectionized harmony can easily be misinterpreted if the root isn't in the bass, but nothing is said about chord inversions where the 3rd is in the bass.

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the minor 9th between the lower E and the higher F is not very beautiful. i would always avoid this dissonance in a tonal arranging style (with the exeption of dominant-7-chords).

in your case a G instead of E brings more beauty (as you want a 4-voice harmonisation with the F-melody note on the third chord). to keep the open voicing i also would drop the C an octave down (top to bottom: F A G C over the bass note A).

 

I remember being taught to avoid that minor 9th interval, especially in a Major 7th chord, in a jazz arranging course (taken a number of decades ago), because of its dissonant sound. However, as another person pointed out in a previous post, here, things need to be taken in context. I played this chord progression last night on my piano, and truth be told, it sounded nice; it sounded dissonant but nice, still carrying that F Major 7th "chordal flavor" because of the chords preceding the one containing that "dreaded" Minor 9th interval. At least, it sounded nice to my ears, and my ears enjoys rich sounding chords and chord progressions like what is found in that particular example. I would not be afraid to arrange this chord voicing in a similar arrangement because, at least to my ears, it sounds just fine in such a context.

 

 

Still don't want to use such a harmonic structure because of that "dreaded" Minor 9th interval in a Major 7th chord structure?!? Well, there are other options that can be used. (I LOVE options!) When arranging, substitute a G note for that "offending" E note, as what was mentioned above. This will continue the richness found in that particular chord progression. If you have enough horns to create a 5 note chord structure, keep everything as is and add an F note to just above that "offending" E note which can help lessen that dissonant sound. Of course, then you would be arranging for 5 part horn arrangement rather than a 4 part horn arrangement. Arranging for 5 horns offers much more possibilities and options in chord structures. (Actually, it would be a 6 horn arrangement if you included that A note found in the F-Cleff.)

 

In the end, though, write what sounds good. Knowing the "rules" is important. Those "rules" are meant as guides only, and can and should be "broken" when the proper musical context presents itself. And, to my ears, knowing when to use or break those "rules" takes much experimentation and, of course, experience.

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