Example 3 Altered Chords and Further Extensions
Our third example is in A major and is based on the popular I-VI- II-V progression. Here, we are exploring some of the colours that you can create with altered chords, featuring altered extensions like the #9, #11 and b9. Notice how we continue altering the chords more and more, starting gently at the F#7(#9) – a chord type referred to as the ‘Hendrix chord’. Also, note how the E13(b9) in bar 4 actually has a G# (the 3rd) as the lowest note in this instance. In jazz, this is a common way of playing this chord, simply leaving out the root (E), but still not seeing it as an inversion, since the bass guitar is playing the ‘missing’ root. The two chords in bar 8 stem from the E symmetric diminished scale, which means those shapes can be moved around in minor 3rds and still sound great… try it out! Bar 10 features a classic jazz move, going from the #9 to the b9 of the VI chord, resolving on the II (m9). The final repetition of the sequence has the VI and V chords substituted, with chords that are a tritone (b5) away, so that becomes C and E becomes Bb. This is called tritone substitution because you are substituting the original chord with a chord that is found three (tri) whole steps (tones) away. More on this to come in example 5.