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Re: Multiple tensions in Chord Mode

From: Jeff Barnes
Subject: Re: Multiple tensions in Chord Mode
Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2012 15:16:55 -0700 (PDT)

> From: Louis Guillaume

>>  If I may start with a bit of humble philosophy, when I see a flat
>>  9 especially, I almost always conclude that the tonality will
>>  include a sharp 9 as well, simply because of the dissonance that
>>  would result from having the flat 9 competing against an
>>  unaltered 9.
> Not to mention the root, which is smunched up with those!

My turn to offer in humility.

I would almost never assume any other alteration or extension except what was 
explicitly in the chord symbol.

>>  Not to say that it could never happen, it just
>>  strikes me as being rare.  This doesn't necessarily work the
>>  other way around.  A sharp 9 chord to me would normally imply a
>>  normal 9 also, unless inspection of the melody or harmony
>>  suggests a flat 9 would be more appropriate, in which case I'll
>>  grumble that the arranger should have written a flat 9.
> But maybe [s]he doesn't want you anywhere near the flat nine :). At 
> least for your part. We are talking chord symbols so there's expected 
> interpretation. I think when tensions are explicitly described on a 
> part, they are not subject to as much interpretation as if you were 
> playing off a lead-sheet.
>>  In summary, IMHO:
>>  flat 9 = flat 9 and usually sharp 9 also
>>  sharp 9 = sharp 9 and usually natural 9 (or 2)
> I think that's accurate for the most part. Obviously there's a lot of 
> interpretation involved with this kind of thing.

Further alteration of the 9th is implicit in an -alt directive only (to me). 
But sharp 9 doesn't mean add2 (to me).

>>  If you want a flat 9 sharp 9 chord, consider using a flat 9 and
>>  leaving the sharp 9 implied.  This is especially appropriate if
>>  the key signature implies a sharp 9 (C7 b9 in key of Db, Bb or Ab
>>  for example)

To me you are making the case for an -alt chord.

>>  IMHO, this situation also arises around flat fifths -- a flat
>>  fifth would almost always cause me to assume a sharp fifth as
>>  well.

> I'm not so sure about that. Certainly there's no natural 5th (it's 
> been 
> explicitly flattened), but the 6th could certainly be natural. Consider 
> the mode "c d e f ges a bes".

To me, there is no such thing as a flat 6. It's flat 13, and almost always that 
means -alt. The definition of -alt to me is altered 9th and flat 13. 
Although... I usually omit the 11th in an alt chord. Hmmm I may need to 

>>  C7 b5 often implies a whole-tone scale (c d e ges aes bes
>>  c).  However, I don't make this assumption about sharp 11 chords.
>>  I assume that sharp 11 chords are chosen to make the fourth tone
>>  of the mode be only a half step away from the perfect fifth,
>>  Lydian-style.
> Yes 7,#11 chords are almost certainly Lydian-flat-seven.

Agreed, but most of the time, I would prefer to see the 13th with a #11.

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