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Thread: Subdominant Minor and Modal Interchange

  1. #1
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    Subdominant Minor and Modal Interchange

    Ok, this is killing me.

    First, If I'm en C major, and there's a an G-7, why does the book says it comes from a parallel minor scale? I mean, G-7 would get a Dorian Scale, so, it comes from Parallel C Mixolydian right? the same with Dbmaj7, it would come from C phrygian right?

    now, I don't understand very well the thing about Subdominant Minor. I can clearly see that bIImaj7 is a subdominant minor since its a subdominant degree and comes from a minor scale? or is it because it has the Ab from F minor chord which makes it minor, so any modal interchange chord containing the Ab (b3 of Fm) is a Subdominant minor chord? and what about altered subdominant minor? I just can't get it...

    anybody,.. thanks!!

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    Wowsers!

    Your question is damned confusing. The first paragraph, yes. That is correct.

    What is bIImaj7 and b3?

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    Piano/Compose/Arrange engelbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nekha View Post
    Ok, this is killing me.

    First, If I'm en C major, and there's a an G-7, why does the book says it comes from a parallel minor scale? I mean, G-7 would get a Dorian Scale, so, it comes from Parallel C Mixolydian right? the same with Dbmaj7, it would come from C phrygian right?

    now, I don't understand very well the thing about Subdominant Minor. I can clearly see that bIImaj7 is a subdominant minor since its a subdominant degree and comes from a minor scale? or is it because it has the Ab from F minor chord which makes it minor, so any modal interchange chord containing the Ab (b3 of Fm) is a Subdominant minor chord? and what about altered subdominant minor? I just can't get it...

    anybody,.. thanks!!
    What book?

    How can a maj7 be a "subdominant minor"?
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    Quote Originally Posted by engelbach View Post
    What book?

    How can a maj7 be a "subdominant minor"?
    Well it's Study Supplement for Harmony 1 & 2 by Barbara London. The exercise says I should analyse he progression which contain examples of subdominant minor chords (II-7b5, IV-7, bVImaj7, bVII7) and altered subdominat minor chords (bIImaj7, bVI7). Yes I can analyze the progressions, but I just didn't get the subdominant minor thing, why they are consider subdominant minors or altered subdominant minor.

    In the next exercise it tells me I should analyze the progression which contain modal interchange chords borrowed from parallel minor keys, and identify the scale/mode from which each chord is borrowed. Well there's Bbmaj7 and Fm7, so how? the Fm7 to me isn't borrowed from minor scale, I mean yeah, Bb minor scale has a Fm7 chord, but this Fm7 in this situation uses a Dorian Mode, F Dorian Mode, which would mean that the chord is borrowed from C Mixolydian, so why the author says, chords from parallel minor.

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    http://forums.allaboutjazz.com/showthread.php?t=42944
    - see post #9, which quotes from Nettles and Graf.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nekha View Post
    In the next exercise it tells me I should analyze the progression which contain modal interchange chords borrowed from parallel minor keys, and identify the scale/mode from which each chord is borrowed. Well there's Bbmaj7 and Fm7, so how? the Fm7 to me isn't borrowed from minor scale, I mean yeah, Bb minor scale has a Fm7 chord, but this Fm7 in this situation uses a Dorian Mode, F Dorian Mode, which would mean that the chord is borrowed from C Mixolydian, so why the author says, chords from parallel minor.
    Hold on, are the Bbmaj7 and Fm7 in key of Bb or C?
    In key of C, both would (arguably) come from C minor, but only Fm7 would be a subdominant minor - and F dorian would be the likely scale option.

    For other readers, here's the other link I posted in answer to nekha on ibreathemusic:
    http://personal.inet.fi/private/toma...lesson102.html

  7. #7
    Registered User jazzman1945's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by engelbach View Post
    What book?

    How can a maj7 be a "subdominant minor"?
    Now everything is clear- there is no keyword : Chords with the subdominant minor sound
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  8. #8
    Piano/Compose/Arrange engelbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzman1945 View Post
    Now everything is clear- there is no keyword : Chords with the subdominant minor sound
    That's what I thought the OP probably meant.

    I have to say that if the book in question has confused him so much, maybe he should find a better book.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nekha View Post
    First, If I'm en C major, and there's a an G-7, why does the book says it comes from a parallel minor scale? I mean, G-7 would get a Dorian Scale, so, it comes from Parallel C Mixolydian right? the same with Dbmaj7, it would come from C phrygian right?
    Within the natural minor scale, the chord built on the fifth degree is minor: Vm7. That's why Gm7 could be considered borrowed from the parallel C natural minor scale.

    Quote Originally Posted by nekha View Post
    now, I don't understand very well the thing about Subdominant Minor. I can clearly see that bIImaj7 is a subdominant minor since its a subdominant degree and comes from a minor scale? or is it because it has the Ab from F minor chord which makes it minor, so any modal interchange chord containing the Ab (b3 of Fm) is a Subdominant minor chord? and what about altered subdominant minor?
    Chords that can have subdominant minor function include IIm7b5, bVImaj7, bVII7, IVm7, IVm6, IVm(ma7), bIImaj7. They have in common the b6 (Ab in C), which is the "character note" of parallel natural minor (and also is, of course, the m3 in the actual subdominant minor chord, IVm7, Fm7 in C).

    As I understand it.

  10. #10
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    this is a topic i am interested in and would normally try to help, but i am unsure of the question being asked. the original post included at least two questions and the second one seems a bit hazy in terms of the example...

    OP: please, one question at a time and include for each example what are the chords, what is the key, and what is the function or perhaps more simply, what exactly is being asked of you?

    and by the way, including "C major" and "Parallel C Mixolydian" in the same question may get you in trouble with the Mode Cops. i know what you're saying here but there are educated folks who may say that there is no such thing - you must clarify if the example is simply for chord analysis (harmonic function) or for choosing melodic material for composing and/or improvising, as there is a difference; in other words, what is the purpose of the analysis.

    also, the term "altered subdominant minor" is at best unclear and are you sure you don't mean "subdominant IN minor"...

    ???
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  11. #11
    Guitarist/Oudist/Composer jazz oud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nekha View Post
    Ok, this is killing me.

    First, If I'm en C major, and there's a an G-7, why does the book says it comes from a parallel minor scale? I mean, G-7 would get a Dorian Scale, so, it comes from Parallel C Mixolydian right?
    I wouldn't say that Gm7 comes from the parallel minor.
    C minor has a G7, not a Gm7. "Minor" refers to the minor key in the major/minor tonal system, and for all practical purposes, it always has a V7 unless it is tonicizing a new key.

    C aeolian has a Gm7, but that's different.

    I would be inclined to agree with your analysis that it is borrowed from C Mixolydian, if there is no other information.

    Depending on the context, it might make more sense to regard it as preparing a modulation to/tonicization of the IV chord, or simply as an instance of borrowing from the blues.

  12. #12
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    The Nettles & Graf text (pp. 74-77) offers four possibilities for Vm7:

    - from parallel natural minor
    - from parallel mixolydian
    - related IIm7 of V7/IV
    - upper structure of I7sus4

  13. #13
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    bII has subdominant min function

    Of course, bII major has a subdominant minor function - even in classical music: The Neapolitan chord, or as us jazzers would say, substitution. and bIImaj7 has an even closer relationship to iv - it contains the chord. It can be used in major or minor tonality. It can also serve as a sub for ii m7b5, but of course that's also just another subdominant min function.

    Chords which share the same tones may have the same function.

    Substitution by thirds or by common chord tones is a fairly common thing in jazz (or classical):

    iii m7 = I
    vi m7 = I
    ii m7 = IV (and is usually preferred in jazz)
    bVII maj7 = IV
    ii m7b5 = iv
    bVII7 = iv
    bII = iv
    bVI = iv
    bII7 = V7
    viio7 = V7(b9)
    vii m7b5 = V7(9)
    VII+ = V+

    and so forth.

    The subdominant minor function comes into play in major nearly as often in as it does in minor. As the book says, borrowed chords from the parallel minor.

    I do agree with the posts that Gm7 in the key of C is probably just a transition to IV, but of course, we have to see the whole chain of chords.

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