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I know how make minor and major 6th chords but I'm wondering, is the 6th chord considered just a different way to color the tonic chord or does it have some other harmonics implications relative to the chords that precede or follow it?

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It can be used to fill out the sound of a triad without committing to a 7th chord.

In jazz, it's not uncommon to substitute a 6th chord for a Maj7th chord if the melody (of the head) in that measure is the root of the chord, because the root and the Maj7 might clash.

Last edited by TheophilusCarter; 01/21/21 05:24 PM.

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The question seems focused on these 2 chords functioning only as tonics.

Bearing in mind the triton embedded in the minor 6 will help open other doors (not trying to be cryptic; there's just too much upon which to elaborate).

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Gotta have vi to play, I, vi, IV, V, I. That's crocodile rock, Piano Man, old rock & roll.


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A 6th chord can go several places. I've seen them go to and from the 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. There are many options.

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We see Elton here use a Bb6 (@ 2:25) to do some sort of key change or something. I'm not sure if that's the usual way it's used!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCnqLceH-AE&ab_channel=PhilipAnness

Last edited by Visalia; 01/22/21 07:38 AM.
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Hey please do not forget Calypso Music - Michelle by the Beatles - is is often used within a chord progression i.e. 7th - 6th etc often in minors


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From a jazz perspective:

Major 6th: Mostly another way to color the tonic, as it's a bit more "stable" than a major 7th. Rhythm Changes typically is played with a major 6 chord, rather than a major 7 at the start.

Minor 6th: A bit more complicated. If you are playing in a minor key, jazz normally uses the minor 6 chord as the tonic, not the minor 7th. It is generally played using a major 6th, not a minor 6th. For example, C-6 would be C Eb G A(natural). This has two consequences. It suggests the Dorian mode for the scale to improvise, but it also opens the door to using the melodic minor scale, as well.

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Originally Posted by Killomiter
Hey please do not forget Calypso Music - Michelle by the Beatles - is is often used within a chord progression i.e. 7th - 6th etc often in minors
The harmony vocal seems to hit G I think, and the lead vocal gets the 6th on the word "are". But is there an actual instrument making the chord an Eb6 as opposed to just a regular Eb chord?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoBLi5eE-wY&ab_channel=TheBeatles-Topic

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Let your ear answer the question for you play a cadene that ends on a I chord and play a Maj7 as your I. The I Ma7 doesn't sound at rest it sounds like a little kid pleading with it mom... I want to keep play my video game I don't want to go to bed. Now play the cadence again and this time end on I6 chord. This time it sounds at rest like the kid is already starting to nod off. Listen and let your ears teach you.

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Originally Posted by jjo
From a jazz perspective:

Major 6th: Mostly another way to color the tonic, as it's a bit more "stable" than a major 7th. Rhythm Changes typically is played with a major 6 chord, rather than a major 7 at the start.

From a jazz perspective the Maj6 chord is a vertically inverted major pentatonic scale of 1 (2) 356; and its full symbol Maj6\9. Such a chord corresponds to a melody built on the pentatonic scale, for example I Got Rhythm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYRtF3fNkGQ
In pop music, Maj 6/9 is not particularly used, but Maj add2 is common.

Last edited by Nahum; 01/22/21 01:04 PM.
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constipation.

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Originally Posted by Dfrankjazz
constipation.

Well, I mean. Minor 6th, sure. But not Major 6th ...

laugh


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On the 5th & 6th measure of 'I got Rhythm', in the version that uses fmi7, Bb7, Ebmaj7, ebmi6; the ebmi6 acts as a substitute of the chord a fifth below it, Ab7+4, the lowered dominant 7th of Bb and leads to the 3, 6, 2, 5 of Bb6.

Last edited by emenelton; 01/22/21 05:21 PM.
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Great for cowboy "Western" music (nothing wrong with that) and "California Girls" by The Beach Boys, plus some Boogie-Woogie.

In short, the fundamental spirit of American folk music.

Nothing is there for nothing.

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Pop has a fair sprinkling of 6th chords throughout the discography. Hard to find anything more brash than the Beatles vocal harmony in the opening of She Loves You, finishing as it does on the 6th. Having been conditioned to that sound over the years, a straight major triad now would sound positively weird.

I suspect the use of the 6th derives often (but not always) from the way guitarists write songs, e.g.Neil Young, Harvest Moon; repeated riff on E E6/9 Ema7 and generally the chord comes into its own when spicing up 2-bar stretches of a tonic major vis:- C C6 Cma7 C6 (implied top line: G,A,B,A).

Common guitar riff, C C6 C7 C6 (top line: G,A,Bb,A)...Captain and Tennille's Love Will Keep us Together uses this along with C C+ C6 C7 (rising chromatic top line) in the hook.

But, for those don't have an ear to hear it, the 6th chord is probably good for nothing at all.

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Thanks for the insights, folks.

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African sources of chords maj6 (9) - min6.

[Linked Image]

(From the article "African Matrix in Harmonic Jazz Practices " by Gerhard Kubik )

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Originally Posted by Nahum
African sources of chords maj6 (9) - min6.

[Linked Image]

(From the article "African Matrix in Harmonic Jazz Practices " by Gerhard Kubik )

Lovely stuff. Not to mention the major blues scale - and not just the minor blues scale that textbooks obsess over ...


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