All about 6ths


griphon2
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This is REAL simple. 6ths are fills. They are either; Is, IVs or V7s. There is no other analysis...,ESPECIALLY, in terms of function! I've never heard a tune in over 30 years of vast experience to prove me wrong. Someone, prove me wrong! Major and minor 6ths are simply subs or adhocks to the progression. It's that simple. A I, vi, ii, V, or a slight variation. Like it or not. A minor 6th is a V7 chord with i in the bass. Functionally, it's correct! You can write it any way you wish, and perpetuate the misnomer, but ultimately traditional and advanced theory analysis writing is CORRECT. There's nothing NEW here!

[Edited by griphon2 on 10-30-2003 at 09:48 PM]
A lie goes around the world before the truth gets it's shoes on. (Mark Twain)
# 1
chris mood
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Originally posted by griphon2
A minor 6th is a V7 chord with i in the bass.
[Edited by griphon2 on 10-30-2003 at 09:48 PM]


Please Explain, quite intrigued.
# 2
noticingthemistake
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Yes 6th chord's can and are mostly seen as sub's or mistaken inversions. Like the Cmaj6 chord is the same as an Am7 chord. For me, the thing that sets these two apart is the tonality. If it's minor it will be Am7, or if I happen to play a C root in a minor sounding key, Am7/C. If it's major it will only be a Cmaj6 (I or IV). I guess you can say I go by the context on which the chord is played, to me more musically correct.

Minor 6th's (ii) can be a sub for the viio chord in the same way the major 6 is. I agree griphon is right it can also sub for the V7 chord, but better in my opinion in second inversion rather than root. See if I got this right griphon, take an A minor 6th chord (A C E F#). Now D7/A which is A, D, A, C, F#. Pretty close to the same chord but what I think connects them better is the interval C to F# (dim5 or aug4) which is characteristic to the sound of both chords.
"My whole life is a dark room...ONE BIG DARK ROOM" - a.f.i.
# 3
griphon2
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Simply, m6ths are dominant 7ths (actually 9ths) with the dominant's 5th in the bass. It's called voice leading. An indirect form of back-cycling. 4th or 5th bass movement rules. It's the essence of jazz, rock, country, pop or American. Just throw out the m6, it's a publishing ruse to make music more complicated. A very common useage is "Stairway to Heaven." It's simply a writing preference.

Ma6 is a fill. It's a I variation or a I vi, with I (or i) in the bass. I just don't look at keys anymore. It's a means of notating. Which honestly, is how most music is written, nowadays. You have to know your stuff, before you can be hired, especially in lucrative studio session playing.

One can look at this in many ways. Be open. I steal from very innovative players. My knowledge didn't come without very, very hard work. You may see something new in just, simplicity.
A lie goes around the world before the truth gets it's shoes on. (Mark Twain)
# 4
noticingthemistake
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I think of the chord in Stairway to heaven as D/F#. An inversion, not a minor 6th. I think when chris said the minor 6th chord can be used as a tonic, he made the point why we have a minor 6th chord. Melodic minor sequences for one, and by the way that does make sense chris. Thanx. Also on a ii chord, especially when you don't want to sub a dominant or half diminished. I think of minor 6th chords as being a homebase for dorian melodies, take the chord progression ii-iii-IV-iii. The "ii" is nice as a minor 6th chord and I wouldn't second guess myself into thinking it was an inversion or sub.
"My whole life is a dark room...ONE BIG DARK ROOM" - a.f.i.
# 5
chris mood
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Thanks guys, I see now that the 6th added to the minor chord is the same as its preceding dominants 3rd.

As far as maj.6 chords, I hate them and never use them. Never gave them much thought cause they always sound so "cheesy" to me.

There was 1 time I discovered a maj.6 chord in a progression which I thought sounded really good, I believe it was the end vamp to the Chili Peppers "Under the Bridge".
# 6
griphon2
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These odd ball chord symbols come from idiot music editors from long ago. Gm6 in the 70's was an incultered joke. More complication. It's not changed.

Maj and m6ths, in essence, kill time. Lack of something better to do, especially when brain dead at improving, they become real handy. Gets one out of scrapes or bad improvising.
A lie goes around the world before the truth gets it's shoes on. (Mark Twain)
# 7
noticingthemistake
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Well maj 6th are ok is some context to me. I kinda like it on the IV chord in a I IV V chord progression in a major key. I guess you can say in a cheesy chord progression as such, a cheesy chord is suitable. ;) As for a tonic chord being a maj 6th, that's questionable. The hint of minor makes it an inconclusive tonic. And for a laugh in bad chord analysis, I always see this spelling on the first 2 chords. Cmaj6 - Am7. 'LOL' (later chords may justify this but it usually doesn't)

As for minor 6th, those are cool. And yes they can be seen as a possible sub for a dominant chord, but it's not wrong to not think of it as such. All personal choice here.
"My whole life is a dark room...ONE BIG DARK ROOM" - a.f.i.
# 8
chris mood
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Chili Peppers, Under the Bridge; (end Vamp)
|A.Amin.|G6.F.|| Very Cool.

Where's the 6th chord in Stairway? I always thought of this progression as:

|Amin...|Cmaj7#5...|Cmaj7...|C....|D/F#...|Fmaj7...|G.Amin.||
# 9
griphon2
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My bad pop example, no; not a flood of criticism. Most rock is pop to me. Rehash of old stuff.

Another, to me, simpler analysis, or a very common line, especially in the bass:
Am, Am/G# (AmMaj7), Am7, Am6 (or D or D7/F#) and so forth.
(Sets up the improvisational line, legitimately and succinctly)
A lie goes around the world before the truth gets it's shoes on. (Mark Twain)
# 10
chris mood
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Yeah, I totally agree with your analysis of Stairway, that's how I think of it as a player(except the min.6 chord). I usually use the the above analysis in my previous post as a way of showing the contrary motion that exists between the bass and melody.

*For some reason, becuase of that D/F# voicing, I never consider that a min.6 chord. If i was playing My Funny Valentine though, it would be another story.

[Edited by chris mood on 11-03-2003 at 09:35 PM]
# 11
noticingthemistake
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Amusing! I have to ask you where your coming up with this. You got chord names without the right notes in them. Here's what the chord progression is:

C6/A (xx7555), Cmaj7/G# (xx6557), C/G (xx5558), D/F# (xx4232), Fmaj7 (xx3210)..etc.

The first chord could be taken as Am, but since the climbing harmony on the high e I think of it as C6/A. Just me I guess. :)

[Edited by noticingthemistake on 11-03-2003 at 10:47 PM]
"My whole life is a dark room...ONE BIG DARK ROOM" - a.f.i.
# 12
Christoph
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Bollocks!!!


# 13
chris mood
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Woops, I added an extra measure into my analysis, that Cmaj.7 chord shouldn't be written there. I think when you listen to Stairway the emphasis is definetly within the relative minor key. Basically, the 1st 4 chords is nothing more then a Aminor chord w/a descending chromatic bass line. The contrary motion really makes the progression. This progression is really common among jazz standards and latin music (In A Sentimental Mood, My Funny Valentine, etc..).
# 14
noticingthemistake
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Counterpoint is what makes the chord progression in my opinion. To me there is two things going on, the melody which is the finger picking of the e, b, and g strings. The other is the bass line. The sound to me is clearly going minor to major to major. The first chord is an A minor chord, but saying it's C6 shows how the melody moves. It's an ascending harmony on a C major chord from C6 (a, e, c) to Cmaj7 (b, e, c) to Cmaj (c, e, c). The bass is minor, starts with the relative minor and descends. Together, you can call the first chord Am or C6/A (C6/A is there to show the contrast between the bass and the melody), the second is Cmaj7/G# (i don't see how you could call that anything else. Am/maj7 ??? I see where the thought comes from, but what do you make of the B? It would have to be Am/maj7add9/G#. ;) I wouldn't think of it as such, it's clearly Cmaj7/G#. The third chord can't be minor either, it sounds major and it's doesn't even have A in it. Analytically that's a bad call, together the chord makes up g, c, e, c. How could you not call that Cmaj/G?? The next chord as A minor sounds like calling the second chord A m/maj7. The tones in that chord are (f#, a, d, f#), and as an A minor the spelling is Am6sus4/F#. Hmm. No, it's D/F#.
"My whole life is a dark room...ONE BIG DARK ROOM" - a.f.i.
# 15
chris mood
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Like I stated before, A-, A-maj7, A-7, A-6, is actually a really popular progression. Stairway is actually nothing more then a highly decorated version of that. Here's a couple things to consider.

- there's like 5 different sections to the song, every section begins on Aminor.

-Do you really think Page was thinking that when he wrote it. It's actually just an A minor tonality with a descending bass line and ascending melody line. If you do think of this as being in the key of C maj how do you explain the D/F# chord?
# 16
noticingthemistake
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If you actually wanted to get technical about it I would say it's in A dorian. I'm pretty sure thats the tonal center. I never said it was in C major, I only said I wrote the first chord as C6 to show the ascending melody which is in the harmony (6-7-root on C). Thats how I would show the way the melody moves against the bass. Especially since the next 2 chords are C major chords. It's alot clearer to me that way, rather than Am, Am/maj7/G#, Am7/G, Am6/F#, whatever. :confused: The second question, I could say the same. How would you explain a Dmaj chord (IV) in A minor? That's an equal accidental in both C major and A minor. It's not in A dorian.
"My whole life is a dark room...ONE BIG DARK ROOM" - a.f.i.
# 17
Christoph
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Originally posted by chris mood
Do you really think Page was thinking that when he wrote it.


I seriously doubt that Page was thinking about any of this fancy theory mumbo-jumbo when he came up with the progression. He just wrote what sounded good to the ear.


# 18
chris mood
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Page actually did some really great stuff, harmonically. Especially in the later years when they got away from all the blues based riffs that dominated their music. Kashmire (sp?) was great, plus songs like the Rain Song, Song Remains the Same, etc...I believe Page wrote the intro to Stairway with an A minor tonality in mind utlizing ascending and descending motion to enhance the progression.

A dorian is a good call, although there is some elements of A natural minor in there too. I just think it's misleading to label that 1st chord C6/A when the tonality is definetely minor. D maj. could be explained w/Melodic minor, but that's a long shot, and I'm not going to go there.
# 19
noticingthemistake
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Yeah there is alittle melodic minor in there, because anytime I see a root-7-b7-6-b6 sequence on a minor key somewhere I think of borrowing from the melodic minor. It's easily seen in the first to second chord progression, the first chord Am and the next Cmaj7/G#. I think of Cmaj7/G# as a borrowed III+ chord from the A melodic minor. Also dorian is very closely related to the melodic minor scale, just raise the seventh to a leading tone. A good sub for the dorian scale.
"My whole life is a dark room...ONE BIG DARK ROOM" - a.f.i.
# 20