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Once I've memorized a song fairly well I will only refer to the chords listed above the measure when playing (like using a Fake book).

But I run into this sort of thing all the time where...

Elton John uses a lot of octaves in left hand. So in "Your Song" the 2nd chord of the verse is listed as an Abmaj7. LH = octave Ab, RH = G, C, Eb, G
And that's accurate.

However for the sake of remembering what to play in each hand I changed this to a Cm/Ab (same notes). This way I know exactly what's being played in RH (Cm) and the LH (Ab octaves). If I don't do this I tend to get confused and start looking for the Ab somewhere in the right hand.

Anyone else do this as a way to memorize the music easier? The slash chord system.

Last edited by DeadPoets; 07/01/15 09:43 PM.
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Yes it can be helpful to think of chords in this way not only to help memory but also it can help show how chords relate to each other - in your example you describe how a Cm7 chord is completely contained in an Abmaj9 chord.
Chords that seem complicated can be expressed in a simpler way - e.g. Ebmaj7 sharp 5 is the same thing as G/Eb. Also there are many chords that can be expressed using this format that have no other easy way of describing them - Eb/A for example. It can be an easy way to create new sounds.
Also in terms of voicings it can make it easy to find interesting chord extensions - try playing a C7 shell (C,E, Bb) in the LH and in the right experiment with A , D, Fsharp and Ab major triads. A lot of jazz harmonies can be found in this way.

Last edited by beeboss; 07/02/15 04:38 AM.
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Thank you for response.

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=DeadPoets , what you do is practical and correct. Every seventh chord can be presented in several forms: as itself (Cm7); as a major triad under melodic pitch (Cm under Bb); as a triad over bass (Eb / C); as compound 2 triads (Eb maj over Cm).
So, when you play with both hands the slash chords, you should watch out for voice leading of triads in the right hand.

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Hi

If this system works for you then stick to it. I do invert and change chords around also to make things easier when I need too.
When teaching I always say to my students we can adapt music and always find a solution to make the music easier so they can still achieve their goals of playing their favourite music.

Have fun!

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Originally Posted by Nahum
=DeadPoets , what you do is practical and correct. Every seventh chord can be presented in several forms: as itself (Cm7); as a major triad under melodic pitch (Cm under Bb); as a triad over bass (Eb / C); as compound 2 triads (Eb maj over Cm).
So, when you play with both hands the slash chords, you should watch out for voice leading of triads in the right hand.


Yes. Thanks.

Last edited by DeadPoets; 07/02/15 06:41 AM.
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Mark Levine's The Jazz Piano Book has a chapter on what he calls "upper structure chords" which is pretty much what you're describing. The only thing is he uses it primarily for adding 9ths, 11ths and 13ths and altered notes to chords, rather than, in your example, using it for a standard seventh chord.

I use the Levine upper structure chords ALL the time. My most common one is when you need to play an altered dominant chord where you need to sharp the 3rd and the 5th. It's hard for me to remember how to voice that in all 12 keys. But if you play the 3rd and seventh in the left hand, and play a triad a minor 6th up from the root in the right hand, you've got it. May sound complicated, but if you want to play C altered, you play E and Bb in the left and Ab major trial in the right. At least for me, that's much easier.

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In Berklee taught this: take for example the first chord in "Tenderly" - Eb maj7, in the melody D. http://www.guitarcats.com/realbook-jazz-standards/tenderly

Eb maj7 it actually Gm / Eb; we remove the triad Gm and put in place any one of the three majeure triads, containing melodic sound D - D maj or G maj, or Bb maj. This works when melody does not doubles the bass note.

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Originally Posted by Nahum
In Berklee taught this: take for example the first chord in "Tenderly" - Eb maj7, in the melody D. http://www.guitarcats.com/realbook-jazz-standards/tenderly

Eb maj7 it actually Gm / Eb; we remove the triad Gm and put in place any one of the three majeure triads, containing melodic sound D - D maj or G maj, or Bb maj. This works when melody does not doubles the bass note.


Very cool. Opens up a door to lots of options and experimentation.

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I get a lot of stuff from chordie.com. It's mostly guitar centric, so most of the time I have to start with what they offer, then tweak it to my preference. I use slash chords where they are suggested/indicated in some songs. It's a handy device to add texture to a song. I'd compare it to a passing chord. Or maybe it is a type of passing chord itself? So if I were composing something, I would think of incorporating them.
The mention of E.J.'s Your Song; That was my introduction to slash chords too.


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Originally Posted by samasap
Hi

If this system works for you then stick to it. I do invert and change chords around also to make things easier when I need too.
When teaching I always say to my students we can adapt music and always find a solution to make the music easier so they can still achieve their goals of playing their favourite music.

Have fun!


^^
This.

If you've found a way which works for you e.g. thinking of Abmaj7 as Cm/Ab that's ok, but I would practice playing different inversions and voicings, so you can smoothly change between chords.

e.g. Abmaj7 LH = octave Ab, RH = C, Eb, G, C
LH = Ab and Eb, RH = G, C, Eb, G
LH = Ab and middle C, RH = Eb, G, C


When you get a little more comfortable with seventh chords, I would advise starting to learn them in their normal state e.g. Abmaj7 = Ab, C, Eb, G. Purely because most music will use this sort of notation, and eventually you will find it quicker to play a lead sheet this way.

This is even more important if you play in a group, or need to sight read a piece of music.

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Thanks

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Originally Posted by mc9320
Originally Posted by samasap
Hi

If this system works for you then stick to it. I do invert and change chords around also to make things easier when I need too.
When teaching I always say to my students we can adapt music and always find a solution to make the music easier so they can still achieve their goals of playing their favourite music.

Have fun!


^^
This.

If you've found a way which works for you e.g. thinking of Abmaj7 as Cm/Ab that's ok, but I would practice playing different inversions and voicings, so you can smoothly change between chords.

e.g. Abmaj7 LH = octave Ab, RH = C, Eb, G, C
LH = Ab and Eb, RH = G, C, Eb, G
LH = Ab and middle C, RH = Eb, G, C


When you get a little more comfortable with seventh chords, I would advise starting to learn them in their normal state e.g. Abmaj7 = Ab, C, Eb, G. Purely because most music will use this sort of notation, and eventually you will find it quicker to play a lead sheet this way.

This is even more important if you play in a group, or need to sight read a piece of music.


Looks like the same can be done with 9th chords

So with 7th chords I could play the root octave in LH and take the 3rd (Em) and play it in any inversion in RH. Such as you mentioned above.

E.g. Cmaj7 LH = C-C RH = E-G-B

Same with maj9th chords but instead of 3rd in RH take the 5th.
C9 LH = C-C RH = G-B-D

Or 9ths (use minor chord of 5th scale degree)
E.g. LH = C RH = G-Bb-D

Last edited by DeadPoets; 07/16/15 03:52 PM.
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Originally Posted by DeadPoets

Looks like the same can be done with 9th chords

So with 7th chords I could play the root octave in LH and take the 3rd (Em) and play it in any inversion in RH. Such as you mentioned above.



Yes
C9 contains a Gm triad and a Em7b5 chord
Cmaj9 contains a Gmaj triad an Em triad and a Em7 chord
Cm9 contains an Ebmaj triad a Gm triad and an Ebmaj7 chord
Cm9b5 contains a Gb+ triad a Ebm triad and a Ebm (maj7) chord
etc

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I guess it all depends whether one hears the root first or the upper structure triad first. Ebmaj7#5 could be heard as G/Eb by a lot of people for example. Lots of different people hear the right hand first while others hear the left hand first.

For the Elton John chord I would hear the Ab first as I feel like I need to hear all the notes of a chord at once. If I saw Cm/Ab, I might think "C root" first by accident or mix up the two sides of the slash chord.

Of course, if you're showing your written music to other people, you should write the root (Ebmaj7#5 for example).


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I've never thought to do this! This would definitely make reading chords less of a mental workout. I'm going to have to give it a try. smile


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