These chords SING (and, who should have sung them?)

Rhymes with Music

Thread Starter
When I play these chords on the piano (*)
they strike me as "
singing" -- These chords sing. (They soar.)
A vocalist (like Lani Hall, for example) could sing the top line, or any number of lines, that weave through these rich harmonies:


This is taken (adapted) from the title track of an album by Soft Machine, c. 1974 or 1975.
Alan Holdsworth played guitar on this album. In fact, this was the only Softs album on which Alan played.

The Soft Machine (the way Karl Jenkins composed this) started on the 3rd chord (
measure #3) -- 'g' minor ; and with the 'E'_natural pitch (not "E-flat", which would be diatonic to --
whether the harmonic structure here is interpreted/analysed as being --

dorian mode or natural minor (aeolian mode) in 'C' (with 'C' as tonal centre / harmonic root) ).

The third line (measure #12, onwards) uses a slight variation on the chords (and voicings). That's just a sketch of how that would begin, using that approach.
In fact, there isn't much difference between 'g' min.7 (especially with "/F" in bass -- 3rd inversion) and "E-flat" Major 7 chords.

* with the harmonic contexts -- modes like 'c' aolian (minor key -- unless it's Dorian mode?), "A-flat" Lydian, and 'E' Lydian modes, as well as "E-flat" Ionian (Major) mode.

Rhymes with Music

Thread Starter
Let me break this down, examine it more closely, in-depth --
and later (see below), extrapolate on the ideas/content.


When I play (usually Modal harmonies), with my left hand, I tend to voice octaves (essentially the root --) but with a
P5th above, added -- thus making a '5' chord.

I am not certain about particular/specific rhythmic values, and note placement for the left hand accompaniment (bass) part/lines.
Brasilian Jazz is rhythmically complicated and has all of the harmonic complexity of American Jazz --
but in one area it is simple -- the bass lines (usually).
Bass lines often consist of only just roots (and in Polka, Country & Western / Bluegrass, and lots of Brasilian and other Latin music -- the '1' and the '5'.

But this isn't really a Brasilian rhythm here, so I didn't create this thread in the Sergio Brasil forum and instead I am putting it here, in this forum.

So, if the harmonic root (tonal centre) is identified --
I approach the left hand as voicing a '5' chord.

The syncopated rhythmic values can be notated two different ways for that simple
ostinato (repeating accompanying pattern):


That's a matter of music(al notation) editing.
The notes are the same (identical-sounding).

The first approach follows a rule
of beaming according to (in a way that outlines) each beat.

In other words, no notated rhythmic value for a note should exceed (span) anything beyond one beat.

In a compound time, the beat is more than a mere quarter note, but instead, a dotted quarter note.
Otherwise, the less-cluttered and visually-confusing approach is to simply notate all dotted-eighth notes.

Rhymes with Music

Thread Starter
As I had previously stated at the beginning of this thread (first post)
The original composition (and renditions by The Soft Machine band)
started on
'g' minor 7:

"D-flat" Maj.7 seems to fit.

But what if the 'D-flat' is raised to
'D'_natural -- making a 'd' min.7 chord?

And, should that 'B' be flatted ("B-flat"), or B_natural
(Which would be like Dorian mode in 'D')?

Often these (Jazz) chord( voicings) sound better an octave lower (in tenor, not alto range -- especially if a woman is singing on top):

I often use the little "8" beneath the treble clef (see other snippet examples).
That's (effectively) like the lower 8vb (
ottava) marking.
Or, of course, I would just notate that (particular chord there) using bass cleff.

Also, if 'd' min.7 is used --
should it be used in place of
"D-flat" Maj.7
or, in addition to it?
In other words, would it sound right if
"D-flat" Maj.7 was followed directly by 'd' min.7?

Rhymes with Music

Thread Starter
What follows next, harmonically (and compositionally)
can be identified as some sort of use of
"A-flat" Lydian mode. (At least, that's how I am interpreting that chord/harmony there, currently.)

A simple way of approaching and playing (voicing) "A-flat" Lydian on a piano keyboard is to play two Major triads, one in (with) each hand:
"A-flat Major", and above that (with right hand): "B-flat" Major.

And that voicing can work (later on).

But what the recordings sound like is closer to (as best as I can make out), something like:
Skip to
Measure #9 (fourth measure on the line directly below) :


Actually, there is a monophonic line that follows the "A-flat" Lydian (whilst still in A-flat Lydian?)
G, F#, F, F#, (16th notes) etc.
And that actually occupies a measure of 4 over 4 (common time).

Rhymes with Music

Thread Starter
I recently discovered that the "A-flat" Lydian can be voiced using
root(s) in left hand
some sort of pentatonic with the right-hand:


And, one of the pitches can vary (chromatically?).
The right hand voicing can be thought of as

'g' minor (blues) pentatonic -- or ,
'D', or "E-flat"
The dichotomy isn't between 'D' and 'C', really.

Also, in the 2nd voicing, I included an 'F' in the bottom (of the right hand - in treble clef staff).


Three years ago I played all black keys on the keyboard --
essentially a pentatonic --
"e-flat" minor blues pentatonic.

with 'E' in the bass (left-hand). What a combination.

Recently, I realised, that is identified as:
'E' Lydian mode!

In a way, that could be seen as
'E' Major, and "F#" Major triads, combined.
Lydian in 'E' is relative to 'B' Major (Ionian mode).

And, I liked the sound of exchanging the
"A#" and B_natural pitches.

Pentatonic tone clusters?


Maybe I should instead spell the 'E' Lydian pitches in terms of sharps, not flats (since that mode is a relative of "g#" minor, 'B' Major, "c#" dorian, etc. -- same 7 pitches in any given octave register)


In the 2nd voicing (measure #4) --
I include a "C#" at the bottom of that voicing, +
I do not include the top "C#" -- right! -- In place of what was the "C#" at the top of the 1st voicing in 'E' Lydian .

The difference between those two pentatonic tone clusters are the neighboring pitches of, either
"A#", or 'B'_natural.

Combine those into a single phrase:
A#, B, D#

Or, if in "A-flat" Lydian, those three pitches are:
'D', "E-flat", and 'G'


The harmonic movement between
Lydian mode, based on "A-flat", to 'E' is wonderful and rich -sounding.

"A-flat" Lydian, to 'E' Lydian. There is a lot of juice to be squeezed out of that.

The roots of each (bass pitches)
alternate over a harmonic interval/span of a

Try voicing these chords (left-hand root + right-hand chord):

A-flat + E-flat Maj.7
'E' + 'B' Maj.7

Or :

"A-flat" Maj.7 + "B-flat" Maj.7 = "A-flat" Lydian mode.
'E' Maj.7 + "F#" Maj. 7 = 'E' Lydian mode

Rhymes with Music

Thread Starter
The relative Major key (or Ionian mode) of
"A-flat" Lydian is ---
"E-flat" Major.

Play diatonic Major and minor 7th chords,
with "E-flat" in bass as pedal point (harmonic center).


What a nice harmonic shift that is!

Maybe it will remind of the bridge of John Coltrane's modal rendition of "My Favorite Things" (That is in 'E' Ionian/Major-key, by the way).

Notice, in measure #3, that the 'E' is flatted this time. 'E'_natural doesn't sound right here, in this harmonic context (of "E-flat" Major/Ionian mode).

The Softs (Karl Jenkins) should have done this, instead.
I don't like the harmonic movement that they used after the 'c' minor -based passage that opens this composition.

As I had explained above,
I am not certain about what the left hand / bass should play, exactly.


Notice how the chords (played by right hand) are nearly the same as what is at the top of this thread (with 'C' in bass -- but this time, "E-flat" is in the bass , as the pedal point pitch) --

The fifth chord (
measure #5) is a definite departure -- with "b-flat" minor 7, (as opposed to "B-flat" Maj. 7).

With "E-flat" in bass,
"D-flat" Maj. 7 , and 'c' min.7, and "b-flat" min.7 chords sound like -- "Naima" by Coltrane, right?
And the fourth chord would be:
"G-flat" Maj.7
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