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Old 11-11-2019, 10:21 AM
dwasifar's Avatar
dwasifar dwasifar is offline
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Default Changing the chords on purpose

Occasionally I'll find a song that just feels better to me if I change a chord, or add one.

For instance. Every chord sheet of Bad Moon Rising has this:

G..................................D
Don't go 'round tonight, well it's bound to take your life

A.........G...............D
There's a bad moon on the rise.


But for some reason it sounds better to me with a Bm in it:

G..................................Bm
Don't go 'round tonight, well it's bound to take your life


or:

G..................................D..................Bm
Don't go 'round tonight, well it's bound to take your life


Similarly, I want to plant an A chord near the end of the chorus of "City of New Orleans":

........G...................D...........Em.......A.........F.........C.......D
I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans,...I'll be gone five hundred miles...


Usually I feel like I can do what I want with a song, but I'm wondering if I'm in a small minority here. Anyone have any thoughts on the matter?
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:28 AM
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rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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No problem doing that IMO when playing on your own.
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:56 AM
frankmcr frankmcr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwasifar View Post
Occasionally I'll find a song that just feels better to me if I change a chord, or add one.

Usually I feel like I can do what I want with a song, but I'm wondering if I'm in a small minority here. Anyone have any thoughts on the matter?
On the one hand, every jazz guitarist who's ever lived does that kind of thing.

On the other hand, "every jazz guitarist who's ever lived" is still a "small minority" of guitarists.
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:02 AM
agfsteve agfsteve is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwasifar View Post
Occasionally I'll find a song that just feels better to me if I change a chord, or add one.

For instance. Every chord sheet of Bad Moon Rising has this:

G..................................D
Don't go 'round tonight, well it's bound to take your life

A.........G...............D
There's a bad moon on the rise.


But for some reason it sounds better to me with a Bm in it:

G..................................Bm
Don't go 'round tonight, well it's bound to take your life


or:

G..................................D..................Bm
Don't go 'round tonight, well it's bound to take your life


Similarly, I want to plant an A chord near the end of the chorus of "City of New Orleans":

........G...................D...........Em.......A.........F.........C.......D
I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans,...I'll be gone five hundred miles...


Usually I feel like I can do what I want with a song, but I'm wondering if I'm in a small minority here. Anyone have any thoughts on the matter?
Definitely!

I've never really played that song, but I just started messing around with the bit that you posted, and it sounds good. I actually used a Gm instead of a G on the "bad", and it sounds lovely--it kind of Beatle-ises it, LOL.
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:37 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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It's called Chord substitution apparently.
when I was (trying) to learn some "American song book" material from a guitar teacher, I changed some sort of D chord to an F.
I showed him and said that it sounded more like the melody line.
He looked at me, laughed and said - "Ah, chord substitution - move directly to lesson 16"

What you are probably doing there is following the melody line - apparently there is no law agin it and you won't be hauled before the House of Unamerican activities.
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Old 11-11-2019, 12:20 PM
RustyAxe RustyAxe is offline
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Lots of folks do it. I've had a few "discussions" with our band leader over these substitutions, mostly the 2-minor and 6-minor types. He'll insist we use the minors, and yeah, they work, but they weren't in the versions we were covering (usually the original recordings). No problem as long everyone is on the same page in the hymnal.
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Old 11-11-2019, 12:26 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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Okay, here's a question for y'all: What chord would you put under the first syllable of the last word?

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Old 11-11-2019, 12:58 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Okay, here's a question for y'all: What chord would you put under the first syllable of the last word?

Somewhere-West Side Story
What a classic melody, written by a master.

In the Bernstein arrangement, there is a 'false' ending so the chords will not follow the melody, but instead point to the next section.

I've heard another arrangement where the chord sounds like a Bb or Gm under the 'some' of somewhere. I think the chord is a G sus4 so that's close.
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Old 11-11-2019, 01:16 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon Currie View Post
What a classic melody, written by a master.

In the Bernstein arrangement, there is a 'false' ending so the chords will not follow the melody, but instead point to the next section.

I've heard another arrangement where the chord sounds like a Bb or Gm under the 'some' of somewhere. I think the chord is a G sus4 so that's close.
A classic melody indeed. And unlike so many songs from the old musicals, it's pretty much all cowboy chords. Which is probably a factor in why we hear it so often. And hearing it so often is a factor in why hear the ending played wrong so often.

Having harmonically painted himself into a corner, Lenny's cheat was to have the orchestra, on the "Some..." begin a single-note reprise of the melody. It's kept pretty quiet, and it gets the job done. Other popular strategies are to have a single instrumental note, same as the sung one, under that syllable, or to play nothing. But I'm pretty sure there's no such thing as a "right" chord.
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Old 11-11-2019, 01:57 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Back to the original question (not that there is anything wrong with the West Side Story question) you can often substitute the relative minor for many major chords. Relative minors are based on the same scale as the related major chord, just starting on a different step along the scale. Examples include: D/Bm, C/Am, G/Em, E/C#m, A/F#m, etc.
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:06 PM
Mr. Jelly Mr. Jelly is offline
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No problem. I do it all the time. If I change keys I may change the substitutions also. It depends on how I sing a song in a particular key.

Having gone through the chord structures of a boat load of traditional jazz songs it appears to me the written chords are derived from the notes that are played around a certain area of the song. The results may be different depending on who does the job. To a persons ear they may hear a note within the harmony that makes the most sense. Regardless of the combined notes being played around the particular area. Often it's picked up from a passing bass note.

Back before tab the chords written for Beatle sheet music didn't have much correlation to the songs. At least to guitar players. The work was done by music geeks, that did a good job no doubt, and didn't have much to do with playing the songs with a guitar.
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:10 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
... you can often substitute the relative minor for many major chords.
A classical example is the 4th bar of the last verse of the Eagles' version of Take It Easy -- they go to an Am instead of the C in the other verses.
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Old 11-11-2019, 04:22 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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In the study of formal music theory, one studies "harmony", defined as the movement of chords. What chord one uses depends heavily upon what came before and what comes after a given chord: where have you been and where are you going.

For example, if you are going to play a C major chord followed by a D minor chord, you might want to add "interest" to get from the C to the D. One way of doing that is to play C#dim7 between the C major and the D minor. It doesn't belong in the key of C, but it does belong in the key of D and is used as a "passing chord" getting from C to D.

Another factor that influences chord choice is the sound you want. If you want something to sound "sad", you can use a "related" minor chord. C major is comprised of the notes C, E and G. It's relative minor, A minor, contains two of those three notes, C and E. It is "close" to the C major, but provides a different "flavour". It is an example of chord substitution.

In your example, you have substituted a D major chord, D, F# and A for a B minor chord, B, D, F#. The B minor chord has two notes in common with the D major, sounding similar but with a different "flavour". Using a chord built on the sixth of a key - a minor chord - is a common substitution for a major chord.

There are many other ways of substituting one chord for another.
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:28 PM
Riverwolf Riverwolf is offline
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For years I substituted Fm7 for the F chord (until I finally mastered the dreaded F)
Only another guitarist would hear the difference anyway.
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Old 11-11-2019, 07:20 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
In the study of formal music theory, one studies "harmony", defined as the movement of chords. What chord one uses depends heavily upon what came before and what comes after a given chord: where have you been and where are you going.

For example, if you are going to play a C major chord followed by a D minor chord, you might want to add "interest" to get from the C to the D. One way of doing that is to play C#dim7 between the C major and the D minor. It doesn't belong in the key of C, but it does belong in the key of D and is used as a "passing chord" getting from C to D.

Another factor that influences chord choice is the sound you want. If you want something to sound "sad", you can use a "related" minor chord. C major is comprised of the notes C, E and G. It's relative minor, A minor, contains two of those three notes, C and E. It is "close" to the C major, but provides a different "flavour". It is an example of chord substitution.

In your example, you have substituted a D major chord, D, F# and A for a B minor chord, B, D, F#. The B minor chord has two notes in common with the D major, sounding similar but with a different "flavour". Using a chord built on the sixth of a key - a minor chord - is a common substitution for a major chord.

There are many other ways of substituting one chord for another.
I knew that if I read ALL the posts in this thread, I would be repeating somebody, and in this case, it would have been Charles Tauber. But, then, I guess I did by quoting his post. Oh well.

Anyway, that is the explanation most useful here if you want to expand and experiment with other musical situations.

Tony
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