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Table of Contents

The Defining Musical Characteristics of the American Standard Song.3
Variation in the Interpretation of Standards....................................................4
The Evolution of the Harmonic Materials of the Standard Song..............5
Memorizing Standards.................................................................................................8
Bass Function.................................................................................................................11
The Qualities of Emotion in Various Harmonies............................................14
The Mathematics Underlying the Scale Systems That Shape the
Harmony That Shapes the Bass Line..................................................................16
The Overtone Series..........................................................................................................17
Just Intonation.....................................................................................................................17
Pythagorean Tuning, Equal Temperament, Circle of Fifths, Chromatic Scale
Summary of factors involved in arranging and improvising jazz bass
The Harmonic Materials (and Their Terminology) in Detail....................21
The Seven Scale-tone Seventh Chords......................................................................22
Nature and Role of Each Modal Variant of Each Degree of the Scale in
The Five Non-Scale Tones of the Major Scale.........................................................30
Bass Line Paradigms From Simple to Complex..............................................35
The Main Modules...............................................................................................................36
One-Move Modules.............................................................................................................36
I, IV, V: The Ultimate Simplicity...................................................................................37
The II-V-I Cadence............................................................................................................41
I-VI-II-V: The Turnaround..............................................................................................43
Diatonic Scalar Modules:.................................................................................................44
Minor Progression Modules.............................................................................................46
Moves By Steps Other than Diatonic 5ths, Fourths, Minor 2nds, and
Downward Minor 3rds.......................................................................................................47
A Syllabus of Chord Substitutions and Alterations......................................57
Nuances in the Cycle of Fifth Progression Within a Key............................59
Putting Analysis to Work: Progressions, Modules, and Substitutions
in the Bass Lines of Specific Standard Songs.................................................60


Of all of the elements of music, melody is the most resistant to theoretical analysis. Great
melodies have been fashioned from sparse or unpromising materials, and great
performers have elevated trite tunes to the level of high art. No one can fully explain
these phenomena. In what is to follow, the melodic character of the bass lines
appropriated from the rich catalog of the American Standard Song for use by jazz
improvisers (as they evolved in the mid-20th century) is to be the focus of inquiry.
Unlike melodies which are designed to catch and hold the listener's attention through
establishing and playing with expectations, bass lines are characterized more by a rational
simplicity required for their functionality as tonal and rhythmic basis for the harmonic
colors, rhythmic complexity, and melodic intricacy which they support. Although this
very simplicity (and subservience to other musical priorities) makes them more amenable
to analysis, their success is still partially due to their melodic character. Their analysis
will, therefore, often take the path into that land of mystery and magic where the secrets
of melody reside.

The Defining Musical Characteristics of the American Standard Song

First, lets look at the big picture. The most important relevant large musical generalities
are: form, rhythm, harmony, and melody. Let's look at them in that order as they apply to
the American Standard Song and the J azz Classics which follow that model.

Standard songs are constructed of even multiples of bar lengths: individual melodic
phrase components usually fit within 2 bars; the second 2 bar phrase echoes or continues
the initial melodic phrase; the next 4 bars completes the momentum established by the
first 4 bars and these 8 bars together constitute the first section (designated the "A."
section) of the song. The following sectionsusually 3 in numberare constructed
similarly, but may be either a repeat of the A section or a new contrasting section. Most
song forms are: AABA, ABAB, ABAC, ABA, ABC. Some have 4 or 16 bar sections and
some have "tags" of 2 or 4 bars.

Rhythm is usually organized within a time signature of 4/4 or 3/4, or less often, cut time,
2/4, 6/8, or 6/4. Since the genre was introduced as dance music, Standards are generally
(and for our purposes, exclusively) meant to be played in strict tempo except when a
vocalist requires rubato for dramatic effect. Since our focus here is on bass lines, the
intricacies of the drum part will be neglected. The basic rhythmic function of the bass is
to play every beat or every other beat in duple signatures and the strong beats in triple

Standards (with very rare exceptions) begin and end in the same key. They are organized
around dominant seventh chord resolutions to either major or minor chords with
diminished chords and other non-key chords utilized as passing chords. Chord duration is
rarely less than 2 beats, most often 2 or 4 beats, quite often 2 bars, occasionally 4 bars,
but almost never more except in the case of "modal" songs in which they can be 8, or
even 16, bars.

Unlike the harmony, there is no requirement for the melody to begin and end on the same
tone. The harmony is required to be congruent with the melody so that the song may be
easily singable, so that in an important sense, the melody shapes the harmony. Standards
are not contrapuntal, so any other melodic material is the result either of voice-leading
from chord to chord or the invention of an arranger or accompanist. Bass lines, although
more crucial to the articulation of the harmony than inner lines, belong in this category.
As we will see later, bass lines and inner lines can sometimes be interchangeable.

Variation in the Interpretation of Standards

Since classical music performed from written music is expected to be performed exactly
as written, why aren't Standards and J azz Classics held to the same requirement? The
most important reason is that Standards are meant to be sung and meant to be learnable
by oral transmission. A second related reason is that they are meant to be realizable by
widely varying accompaniments. Often these accompaniments are re-arrangements or
improvisations by working musicians with the nuts-and-bolts understanding of musical
composition not required of instrumentalists and vocalists performing in the classical

But there are other characteristics of Standards requiring slight to extensive revision in
performance stemming from the very way Standards are produced. The first (and
universal) divide begins with the original sheet music. The original composer's
manuscripts vary greatly from illegible palimpsests or oral instructions to detailed
orchestral scores. Although many Standards were composed by Tin Pan Alley tune-
smiths specifically for the pop song market, the more sophisticated ones were often
conceived in a theatre orchestra, movie score, or big band context. Whatever their source,
all went through the homogenizing process of being reduced to commercial sheet music
that could be played by amateur or semi-professional musicians.

Pop song sheet music gives two versions of the harmony: the note-for-note solo piano
realization, and chord symbols. Chord symbols were originally intended as guides for
plectra (guitar or banjo) so that they could be strummed continuously as quarter notes so
as to do the least violence to the consonance of the rest of the ensemble, or if a solo
accompaniment, support a vocalized melody. These are often at odds with, or incomplete
representations of, the composer's intent which is usually more nearly realized in the
piano score. Even here (since the preparation of sheet music to fit market requirements
was left to others) the fine detail of the composer's original intent was often lost in

To add to the confusion, many songs of the era became big hits in conjunction with
particular arrangements, the details of which were picked up by commercial musicians, or
found their way into spin-off stock band arrangements. Thus, in general, it's a fool's
errand to agonize over what the "real" or "original" chords to standards are. Nevertheless,
over the years these songs have all evolved a few main lines of harmonic realization that
are in general use by improvising musicians who learn and interpret them in the oral
tradition of jazz according to the style they're working in. Each of these harmonic
patterns creates its own distinct bass line. For better or worse, the original sheet music
provides the standard against which all later revisions must be measured.

The needs of the jazz improviser add yet another layer to the evolution of standard's bass
lines. Perhaps this is a good point to make clear that what I mean by the bass line is not
the ubiquitous quarter-note walking bass characteristic of all jazz from the thirties until
the introduction of Latin and rock bass patterns. That is a subject unto itself much
explicated in bass methods. What I mean by the bass line is the more abstract succession
of bottom notes to harmonies that change seldom more often than 2 beats, and seldom
less often than 4 bars. If in improvising a walking bass line, the bassist fails to include
these notes at times that make clear the succession of harmonies, then bass function has
not been fulfilled.

The Evolution of the Harmonic Materials of the Standard Song

This is not the place for a detailed historical examination of the evolution of the harmonic
devices characteristic of Standards, but a few observations will be useful to give a context
to what follows. It must be understood that many exceptions can be found to the
generalities contained in these observations.

In the pre-WWI era, popular songs used essentially the same materials found in folk
songs. Those originating in guitar environments were limited to major and minor triads
except for dominant sevenths. Although major chords were most often positioned on the
I, IV, and V chords they were allowed to move freely by whole steps to follow the
melody. Also, V-I cadences were not a necessityin fact, major triads sometimes moved
several fifths in the opposite direction to cadential resolutions. If the song was conceived
as a pianistic vehicle, cadences were the usual engine of harmonic motion, and minor
seventh chords began to appear in II-V-I cadences, though often described as a IV Major
6th in the chord symbols. Songs in minor used a IV minor 6th for IV-V-I resolution.

The beginnings of the post-WWI J azz Age can be detected in some of these pre-war
songs with the increasing use of dominant 7th chords in the II, III, and VI positions that
became popular in barbershop quartet and "Irish" tunes. Also, melodically, fresh breezes
were stirring with the occasional use of chromatics. Borrowings from the Late Romantics
of the 19th century and the early French Impressionists introduced the augmented triad
and ninth chords as extra romantic juice to love songs.

The J azz Age of the 1920's not only furthered these borrowings from the European
Classical oeuvre, but added the indigenous devices of the Blues which turned the I-IV-V
chords all to dominant 7ths, even allowing the final I chord to remain a 7th. In polite
circles of the time, this was considered barbaric. In the course of the decade, the French
Impressionist harmonies gradually won out over the German and Italian operatic
influence, except for the increasing use of diminished chords as passing chords and
constituents of dominant seventh flat 9ths.

By the 30's the transition had mostly been made to a musical language that superceded
triads as the basic harmonic language and enriched them with tetrachordal 7th chord
formations. Whereas, pre-WWI pop song melodies clung to the tones of their supporting
triad, or if not, sought that position on their next move, by the 30's non-chordal scale
tones became target tones and became more frequently supported by upper-structure 9ths,
11ths, and 13ths. The extensive use of the dominant seventh, often with a melody on the
9th, became a hallmark of the 30's, and was heard then as an emblem of modernity.

The big bands that became popular in the Swing Era gave composers and arrangers a
platform for ever more sophisticated harmonic invention. A host of composers responded
to this challenge, with geniuses like Ellington, Gershwin, and Porter leading the way.
With Swing for a rhythmic basis, and newfound harmonic resources, the Bebop pioneers
of the 40'sParker, Gillespie, Monk, Powell, Pettiford, and otherscreated a new
melodic language that served as both a style of improvisation, and a resource for the
creation of new melodies grafted onto the chords of well-known Standards. Finally, jazz
made the leap into a self-referential style.

The flatted fifththe tone most distant from the tonicbecame the talisman of the
Bebop style. The newfound harmonic freedom was expressed in the bass line by
extensive use of the II-V-I cadence and the chromatic bII-I (tri-tone substitution)
cadence. Parallel chromatic minor 7th chord changes abounded. Although the use of
simple triads was almost entirely abandoned, the blues scale and other elements of the
blues were retained.

Before Bebop, the bassist doubled the pianist's left hand. Led by the example of the Basie
band, the bebop pianists adopted the sparser shell-style left hand which gave bassists
freedom to construct varied interpretations of the bass line. By the '50's, the re-worked
bass-lines which functioned best were recognized and became a language shared by
members of the rhythm section. Although the pianist and bassist didn't know exactly
what each other were going to play, they did have a limited range of related options
which enabled them to make intelligent guesses as they learned each other's stylistic
particularities. Within generally understood limits, bass lines became mutable.

It's my purpose here to make the unspoken criteria by which bass lines are shaped
through this interaction yield to theoretical analysis. Instruction materials in harmony for
pianists, and walking bass for bassists, abound. The interaction of the two is less often
dealt with, not only because opinions and practices vary, but because the strict
codification of the interaction would tend to rein in its improvisatory character. I don't
propose to create a rule-book, only to list and relate the underlying materials and
limitations which shape the jazz bass line.

Since the emergence of jazz education programs, student rhythm-section instrumentalists
are learning their craft in the context of big bands and vocal accompaniment. In that
context, the character of the bass line is pre-determined by the chart in use. In
improvising their accompaniment, the players are each required to interact with the
printed pagenot with each other. Even if they have developed an insight on how to
interact creatively (and get together to play as a combo), the crucible of nightly gigs
required to hone their craft no longer exists. If the present effort succeeds, bassists and
pianists should be able to hear and understand each other's musical statements better.


When I first became aware of them at the mid-point of the previous century, fakebooks
were little 5 by 8 pamphlets with a dozen or so pages with three or four standard tunes on
a page. The information contained in them was confined to song titles and chord changes
separated by bar lines. The original copies given to the print-shop were written out by
hand, or with a typewriter, by anonymous musicians seeking to make a buck by engaging
in an illegal activity.

They filled the need of pianists, guitarists, and bassists in bands where it was assumed
that a singer or horn-player knew the melody to the song. If it was a trio gig, the pianist
would usually bring along a briefcase of original sheet music to the songs that might be
requested that he didnt know. For bands featuring improvised jazz solos, fakebooks that
could be stuffed in horn cases served as guides for horn-players, as well.

With the proliferation of originals written as instrumentals by jazz musicians in the
1960s, the needs of local jazz musicians changed. Published sheet music of these songs
was usually not available. Their increased melodic and harmonic complexity made
transcription more difficult and unreliable. Also, the burgeoning jazz education
movement created a market for accurate complete transcriptions. Thus was born the first
Realbook wherein the melody and chord changes were displayed on a conventional
staff with one or two songs to an 8 X 11 page. Gone was the pamphlet, replaced by a
tome of such heft that wire music stands collapsed under its weight.

Although apparently produced by authors having a connection to an educational
institution, the first Realbook was not without its flaws. Some of the songs were not
transcribed, but were copied from the composers manuscripts to which the authors had
access. These were, by definition, authoritative. But many of those that were
transcribedalthough generally melodically accuratehad serious errors in the chord
changes. Due to widespread distribution, two of the most egregious examples, Herbie
Hancocks Maiden Voyage, and Miles Davis Four have caused confusion on the
bandstand that persists to this day.

In addition, versions of Standards taken from transcriptions of recordings sometimes
canonized a particular arrangement, either over-simplified or over-elaborated the
harmony, or were simply in error.

The Realbook achieved national distribution, but it was still illegal. However, that
didnt prevent others from trying to emulate its success. Finally, Chuck Sher decided to
embark on his series of legal fakebooks. He hired pianists with reputations for good ears
and good taste to make transcriptions and vetted these with the composers when possible.
Also, J amie Aeborsolds transcriptions of the compositions of major jazz artists are
authoritative. In addition, musicians with personal connections to two of the most
challenging geniuss of modern jazz, Thelonius Monk and Charles Mingus, have
produced compilations of their compositions taken from original sources.

Due to these efforts we now have a library of generally authoritative written music that
encompasses the Standards era and the so-called J azz Classics that is of great utility in
educating ourselves and our students. The question remains, what is the proper utilization
of this material on the bandstand? Total dependence on the Sher series, requires the
transportation and deployment of a library of Talmudic bulk. Sifting through these tomes
between tunes in search of the next one can take momentum-killing time and produce
discord. No thats not in Volume Three, its in All-J azz. Whatever source is used, there
must be several copies of it on the bandstand so that all musicians are on the same page.

My main concern is that exclusive dependence on written music in performance
discourages memorization, and that without memorization, discourages the
internalization that lofts the most inspired improvisations. Mental energy tracking the
printed page is mental energy thats unavailable to the imagination and group cohesion.

Memorizing Standards

During the era when Standards were the popular music of the day, working musicians
would learn tunes simply by hearing them a lot and then playing them on gigs. Many
musicians learned a wide repertoire without ever seeing the music to the songs they

Today, young musicians must make a conscious effort to memorize Standards. Unless, of
course, you are one of those very rare musicians like Charlie Parker, Mile Davis, Milt
J ackson, and Stan Getz (all of whom had photographic memory), in which case you can
safely ignore this section. Typically, there's little incentive to memorize tunes unless gigs
require it, and very few do. But the ones that do are the ones where the soul of
mainstream jazz has the best chance to survive. Here are some tips to make the effort
more productive and pleasurable.

First, be organized. Start by making a tune-list. Begin by listing the songs that you
recognize well enough to name when you hear them. Locate them by leafing through
your fake books and CDs. You will be surprised how many you can at least recognize.
Standards were originally written as popular songs. A song doesn't become popular
(except perhaps with jazz musicians) unless the melody is appealing and memorable.

Next listen to the song enough times over a great enough span of time that you are able to
sing or play the melody at will. If you have no recording of it, you will have to play it.
When you play it, take your eyes off the music as soon as you can.

As soon as you know the melody to a song by heart, you are entitled to pat yourself on the
back and say, "I know this song." Conversely, if you know only the "changes" to a song,
you don't truly know that song. At this point in your memorization process, you can
safely ignore the dictum often heard that you don't truly know a Standard until you know
the lyrics. Standard songs, like baseball statistics, make a perfect subject for an obsessive
personality. For those with this tendency, the composer, date of copyright, musical or
movie in which it was first performed, etc., etc. will all be of grave importance.
Although memorization of the lyrics is not a necessity for the instrumental musician, you
will find that in certain cases the lyrics will help you to more precisely remember the
melody in those phrases (of which there are many) where similarity to other songs
renders them undistinctive. In any case, you can now make a column to the right of your
list of song titles in which you can place check-marks to indicate which melodies you
have memorized.

But what about the changes? If you truly know the melody, a semi-conscious impression
of its harmonization and attendant bass-line comes with that knowledge. In other words,
even if you couldn't call out the changes, if someone were to play that song with a wildly
different harmonization, you would know instantly that something was amiss. At this
stage, you are like the guy who said, "I wish I understood everything I know." But if you
go about learning the chords one at a time from written music, not only is it tedious, but
the link to the melody can be lost and the chord pattern will degrade in your memory over
time. Unless the song is very simple (or you're one of that other rare breed with absolute
pitch) you will have to invest some time and effort to bring your first impression of the
harmonic structure to full consciousness. If you think you "hear" it, and have a recording
of it, try picking out the bass notes of each chord by ear as the recording plays. If you are
successful on the first pass (and secure in your ability to differentiate chord qualities),
chances are good that you have a workable beginning conception of the song that will
survive into long-term memory. If not, don't be discouraged; follow the advice below.
Each song you learn will make the next one easier.

To facilitate accurate and enduring chord-pattern memorization, analyze and generalize.
You will find that you will be able to adequately memorize a song with a half-dozen or so
key "facts" rather than the thirty-something separate chords found on the sheet music.

Fact #1: What is the form? It will be: AABA, ABAC, ABA, ABC, or ABCD. Each of
the sections will be 4, 8, or 16 bars. There will be variations, of course, particularly first
and second endings and tags; but your firm knowledge of the melody will remind you of
these as they occur.

Fact #2: What degree of the scale does the first chord of the A section fall on?

Fact #3: What degree of the scale does the first chord of the B section fall on?

Fact #4: What and where are the Out-Moves? (Out-Moves take the harmony away from
the tonic.) Associate them with the melodic target tone that they accompany.

Fact #5: Identify which Modules are in play at the 2 and 4 bar phrase level. Modules are
short chord patterns used over and over in Standards.

Facts #s 6 and higher: Identify important idiosyncrasies specific to the particular song.

If you're a bassist there's another, even quicker way to learn songslie. When the band
leader asks you if you know "I'll Never Forget What's-her-name", reply, "Sure, what
key?" Then turn to the pianist and ask, "Remind me of the first chord to the bridge."
Pleased, as always, to be regarded as an authority, he will share his knowledge with you
(even in the midst of the leaders count-off) including the revelation, if applicable, that the
tune lacks a bridge due to being constructed in two halvesinformation (though lacking
in specificity) which will eventually prove useful. With luck and a good ear, the probable
first chord can be divined from the pianist's intro. After that, the other musicians will be
so involved in their own roles that the extent of your guesswork will only be dimly
perceived. By the third chorus, unless you have the bad luck to have bitten on an obscure
Billy Strayhorn tune, you will have the matter pretty well in hand. As an added bonus, the
adrenaline rush attendant upon this method of song learning adds to the likelihood that it
will outlive the vagaries of your short-term memory. Of course, the same effect will be
achieved without prevarication if the band-leader's call is stimulated by the proffer of a
twenty dollar tip, in which case, whether the bassist is truly on board or not is the least of
anyone's concern (including the bassist's).

On a more serious note, the instructions given here are intended to give encouragement to
all musicians to develop as large a repertoire of Standards as possible. Like all musical
compositions of any depth, new levels of in-depth knowledge and understanding will be
gained with multiple performances with a variety of other musicians. Recourse to printed
music to answer questions about details glossed over (as well as to settle sometimes
heated arguments) will often be required.

Pianists and guitarists are perhaps well advised to take a less cavalier attitude than what I
have proposed here, for two reasons. One, they often play solo and tend to wander off
into intractable idiosyncrasy without others to bounce off of. Two, their orchestral
character tends to, whether for good or ill, dictate the harmonic progression to the rest of
the band.

Perhaps it would be fitting to conclude this plea for the internalization of the Standard-
based jazz repertoire with cautionary advice from someone who takes the loving care and
reinvigorating performance (and thus transmission) of the genre with utmost seriousness.
In the J une 2002 issue of J azz Times will be found a piece by Ed Berger on the pianist
Bill Charlap whom he praises for "walking the fine line between interpretation and
recomposition. ... he is always mindful of the composer's intentions and tries to consult
original sheet music when possible. 'I want to know what the lyric is. What are the song's
original harmonies? What's the original meter? What does the melody actually do and
how do the lyrics fit with that melody? What's the verse?' " One of the major purposes in
looking at the material presented herein is to give the musician who aspires to such a
deep connection with the musical tradition of song-form-based improvisation a secure
basis for navigating that fine line which separates interpretation from recomposition.

Bass Function

The definition of bass function in the jazz context varies from different viewpoints. In the
most clear-cutthe rhythmicpoint of view, the drummer and bassist co-create the
pulse. This requires (even in styles that allow the bassist a great freedom to depart from
walking quarter notes) the bass to state ones with clarity and authority. One (or three
same thing) almost always serves as a point where a chord change may take place. Thus
the bass functions as a prime delineator of the strong beats of the bar while providing
continuous markers of the progress of the harmonic rhythm.

From the melodic standpoint, the bass must play in a range low enough that the notes of
the bass line are not only less high than the melodist's, but enough lower that the bass
tones reside comfortably in the overtone series at a point that avoids creating beats with
not only the melody, but with the supporting harmonic accompaniment, the main tones of
which must usually also be lower than the melody. Although range is the most important
bass function consideration vis-a-vis melody, common practice dictates that the level of
complexity in the bass part should not challenge the melodist for the attention of the
listener's ear.

Before moving on to a detailed examination of the interaction between the chordal
accompaniment and the bass line (which is the real meat of the present inquiry), a few
general observations must be madeagain, outlining different views of bass function in
Standards from differing perspectives.

Most of jazz theory originates as a continuation of the analysis of the European classical
tradition of the last 300 years. But some of it starts afresh. J azz practice departs from
certain conventions of the European classical canon. These are: All music is pre-
composed in its entirety. Forms (in great length, variety, and complexity) are designed
around melodic motifs that are both repeated verbatim and developed. Historically,
harmonies evolved through the gradual addition of polyphonic voices, so that even with
the gradual development of vertical structures of simultaneously sounded tones, chords
are conceived as being epiphenomenal to linkages of simultaneous horizontal melodies.
Rhythm, at the discretion of the performers or their conductor, is at any moment
potentially elastic to allow for the expressive use of rubato. A lengthy description of other
characteristics would be needed to fully define the common practices of the European
classical tradition, but these are the important ones from which common jazz practice

In jazz, some of the music is usually, but not necessarily, pre-composed, while much of it
is improvised on the spot. Forms, rather than being a receptacle for melodic development,
are short, modular, and attain length through repetition. Harmonies no longer necessarily
result from pre-composed melodic lines obeying the laws of counterpoint. The jazz
rhythm section is charged with the task of laying down a carpet of quarter-notes of un-
varying tempo in combination with certain syncopations. Meanwhile, the improvising
melodist conceptualizes the accompanying rhythm/harmony as a field implying a scale
(or scales) to be mined for melodic raw material. Both functional needs conspire to
promote a more vertical conception of harmonyfirst a bar of something, then 2 beats of
this, followed by 2 beats of that, and so on.

The development and ad hoc employment of these alterations (not that the harmonic
content was altered so much as the distribution of roles in its articulation) gave rise to a
generally understood, democratically decided, spectrum of rhythm section practices. In
this model, everyone is required to improvise; no one is tied to a specific repeated part,
except for the first and last chorusesand these are kept simple enough to facilitate easy
memorization. Even here, vocalists and lead instruments are allowed latitude in departing
from the composers intent. Groups performing in this mode play without written music
as a norm.

The distribution of roles can best be described in terms of layers. On the top is the
improvising melodist. In the middle is the harmonistwhether keyboard, fretboard or
horn section. On the bottom, is the bassist, who provides a foundation that may include
anything from a drone, to a repeated figure, to an improvised half note line, to a walking
quarter note line (orin some more recent practiceimprovised rhythmically varied
patterns), to a doubling of the melody. The bass and drums combine to articulate the
pulse, and the drums articulate the language of subdivision and syncopation while
reinforcing the rhythmic accents of the melodist and harmonist. Our focus here will be on
the interaction between the harmonist and the bassist as they jointly and concurrently
improvise their parts. It's useful to note, however, that the "rhythm section" is not called
the "harmony section". Although it provides harmony, its rhythmic function is

Whereas the classical canon presupposes deviations from the underlying tonality to be
heard is if they were being played in just intonation, jazz practice accepts the chromatic
scale of equal temperament as the norm. In the former (in the key of C) there is a real
sensible difference between D#and Eb, whereas, in the latter, correct spelling is more of
a matter of consistent book-keeping. In the jazz approach to the example above, first,
there would be an environment of all white keys. Then comes an environment that has
shifted to either the scale of E major, say, or the scale of Eb major, say, and the note is
named accordingly, but with little or no thought given to any relation to the key of C
whichalthough no longer active at the momentremains the uber-tonality of the song-
form. The air-tightness of such a modularized harmonic conception is joined together in
continuity by the improvised melodic line, the melodic character of the walking bass line,
and to a lesser but important degree by the harmonist's voice-leading. Thus, in jazz, an
important aspect of bass function is to provide the same kind of melodic connectivity
between adjacent harmonic environments that one finds in the lower line of classical
counterpoint, without recourse to rigid rules.

In such an environment it becomes important for the bassist and harmonist to be able to
recognize by ear the sounds of commonly used chords, and their transmutation by bass
tones out of the chord. Due to an asymmetry in the physiological response of the ear to
sonic vibrations impinging on it, combinations of tones sounded together have a
distinctive "sound-print". Although we hear the constituent tones of a major third, we can
identify it by its distinctive sound-print without having to count intervals by singing up
the scale. Further, we hear differing degrees of consonance and dissonance in the various
intervals. The octave is most consonant. Then the perfect fifth followed by its inversion,
the perfect fourth. Then come the thirds and sixths whose position on the consonance
dissonance scale is dependent on context. Then come the minor seventh and its inversion
the major second. Most dissonant are the major seventh and the minor second. The flatted
fifth or sharp fourth is considered a dissonance, but is difficult to place in relation to
other intervals because it is perceived very differently in different circumstances. In any
case, quick and accurate interval recognition is a basic requirement for all artist-level
musicians. But for the jazz musician, interval recognition is essential in a way that it's not
for musicians who realize written music only.

Although the need for interval comprehension is universal, consideration of triads and
tetrachords brings forth another divide in the concept of bass function as it relates to
various styles of harmonic usage. First, the triad. Classical theory limits the use of the
term "triad" to those tonal combinations composed of three tones related to each other by
thirds. This restriction allows only four possibilities: two major thirdsthe augmented;
one major third on the bottom, and one minor third on topthe major; one minor third on
the bottom, and one major third on topthe minor; and two minor thirdsthe
diminished. Every triad has two inversions. It's a curious property of triads that inverting
them fails to cause the ear to hear them as something essentially different. If a C major
triad is played with the C on top rather than on the bottom (as it would be in root
position), the ear (at least the trained ear) hears the resulting sound as a C major triad, not
an E minor augmented. This has important ramifications for the bass line. In theory, the
bass line should be able to fulfill its bass function role by sounding any of the three notes
of the operative triad. To effectively do this, the tone which the bass has abandoned must
be sounded by others. Negotiating this interchange is one of the chief occupations of
classical counterpoint. Lacking the pre-composed certainty of classical counterpoint, bass
line improvisers in jazz tend to be root-bound as a default option. But then, they're not
working in a strictly triadic environment.

As observed before, jazz, as a harmonic style, is based on tetrachordsbasically, scale-
tone triads with the addition of the appropriate scale tone sevenths. Consider then, in the
key of C, the D minor 7th. In first inversion it becomes an F major 6th. Should the sound
of the D minor 7th be further thickened with the addition of a 9th, the first inversion will
then become an F major 7th, further reinforcing its evolution from minor to major.
However, if the bass resolutely sounds a D in the low register, the minor character
returns. But with the A in the bass (in the right context) it can easily be heard as an
Aeolian A minor. J ust as triadic harmony turned previous melody-over-drone or parallel-
melody styles into a whole new ballgame, so has quatradic harmony recast the rules in
the era of jazz.

Finally, the adoption of 7
chord-based harmony implies the inclusion of the 9
in a five-
tone formation. The reason for this will become apparent from the discussion of the
Overtone Series and the Cycle of Fifths to come.

The Qualities of Emotion in Various Harmonies

Before cataloging the technical details (which, unfortunately, will be an eventual
necessity) entailed by quatradic harmony, and showing how and what differences with
triadic harmony have evolved, let's take a look at these harmonic considerations from the
standpoint of the listener. Harmony in Western music has the unique and paradoxical
property of being at once structural and emotional. Melodies (though often crafted by
their composers with intellectual skills requiring post-graduate tuition) seem to the
listener to follow a path of pure feeling. Rhythmic expression has to do mainly with
feelings associated with action/rest. Each chord, though it has a structural function of
supporting a melody, of being the result of what has gone before, and the harbinger of
what is to come, also has its own distinct and particular mood-potential. Since emotions
are subjective, we can't pin down their association with particular sound-formations with
certainty, but we can point to a spectrum of common emotional responses generally
characteristic of our musical culture.

In triadic harmony the moods are fewer and more clearly differentiated from one triad to
another. Major triads are happy, settled, jubilant, sunny, serene, bright, exultant, or
merely comfortingly normal depending on musical context. A major triad out of the key
is either like an unexpected answer to a question, or an outright surprise, in either case, a
pleasant outcome.

Minor triads are sad, nocturnal, cool, muted (but sometimes alarming), grieving, pensive,
feminine, nostalgic and also sometimes normal-sounding, again, depending on musical
context. An unexpected minor chord is like a cloud passing over the sun.

The diminished triad is restless; it asks the question, "What next?" When occurring in the
context of the major scale in which it is the seventh degree, it can sound like a fragment
of a dominant seventh. The dominant seventh is the one tetrachord in universal use in
otherwise triadic harmonic environments. Through the conditioning of conventional use
it is heard as a powerful engine of motion striving for resolution to a chord on the fifth
below. To most ears it connotes power and motion.

The augmented triad is not found in the major scale, but is in the scale-tone triad of the
third degree of the harmonic minor scale. Heard from this perspective, it can sound
"minorey". Heard in the context of the whole-tone scale, where it stands on its own, it
sounds mystical, spectral. It was appropriated by early 20th century tune-smiths for use in
the dominant position because it sounded to them "bluesey", but to modern ears more
attuned to the ubiquitous use of the blues scale in jazz and rock, its use makes tunes of
that genre sound quaintly faux-sentimental. Of the four basic triads, the augmented is the
most emotionally mutable. Considering that it found prominent employment in styles as
various as those of Wagner, Debussy, and Monk, we should not be surprised.

Now let us turn to quatradic chords beginning with the scale-tone sevenths of the major

All of them can be usefully understood as interlocking triads. For example, a major
seventh has a major triad on the bottom with a minor triad from the third to the seventh.
The minor seventh reverses this with the minor on the bottom and the major on the top.
As previously noted, seventh chords can be perceived (and used) differently in different
inversions. That mutability or ambiguity is felt emotionally as well. All these chords have
a bittersweet quality that makes them ideal for connoting the emotions of romantic love.
It was only natural that they should find their way into the popular song. Let's sample
their ambience one by one.

The major seventh has an increased brightness in spite of (or perhaps because of) its
dissonance of a major seventh between the root and the seventh. This is exacerbated by
voicings which place the two tones at a minor second. Thus, when based on the third
degree it can easily transmute into an Aeolian minor sixtha suddenly darker sound than
any of the inversions of the minor seventh quatrad. The major seventh is overturned into
dark, unstable dissonance at the interval of a minor ninth. It's instructive that jazz pianists
often choose to favor the use of the softer major sixth (usually in conjunction with a
major ninth) when interpreting music which calls for a major seventh.

The pensive quality of the minor triad is considerably softened by the addition of the
minor seventh. Unlike the major seventh, the closest interval in any of its inversions is
the major second between the seventh and the octave of the root. The smoothness of the
minor seventh quatrad has made it the water in which the rest of jazz harmony swims.
Although its use typically conjures romantic love, inversion to the third degree can
transmute it to a major sixth which adds a certain sweetness which the major triad lacks
by itself.

The dominant seventh in a quatradic environment retains its power and motion
connotation, and adds others as well. It suddenly becomes usable as a passing chord in
motion a minor second down rather than down a fifth. In the conventions of the blues it
takes up residence as the normal occupant of the fourth degree and the tonic so that it
becomes heard as the chord of final resolution. The blues achieves its distinctive effect
through the juxtaposition of the power of seventh chords on the bottom with the plaintive
quality of melodic tones a half-step flat from the upper three tones of the seventh chord
underpinning. This works because of the unique way in which the dominant seventh nests
with the overtone series. More than any other of the scale-tone quatrads, the dominant
seventh can incorporate a variety of upper structure tones. The resultant emotional range
can vary from quite sweet with the addition of ninths and thirteenths to acerbic when
ninths elevenths and/or thirteenths are raised or lowered. In between these two extremes
lies a rich spectrum of sonic colors that can be lush, bittersweet, ethereal, crushing,
"blue", or tonally ambivalent. The dominant seventh is hardly less dissonant than the
tonic major seventh to which it "resolves". Through its rich sources of available added
colors it regains a dissonance which makes its progression to a major seventh quatrad
more credible as a resolution.

The minor seventh flat five (the scale-tone seventh of the VII degree) connotes more the
pain of love than the minor seventh, and hints at a tragic outcome. It is most typically
used as the II in a II-V-I where the I is minor. The inversion with the III degree on the
bottom transmutes it into a minor sixth. In a quadratic context, this inversion serves as a
more satisfactory chord of final destination in a composition in minor, as it lacks the
ambivalence of the minor seventh. The addition of a major seventh to the minor triad
adds a certain bleakness to the mood of nocturnal gloom.

The diminished seventh chord intensifies the restlessness of the diminished triad. Each of
the two interlocking diminished fifths (at an interval of a minor third) conspire to imply
allegiance to two dominant seventh chords at an interval of a diminished fifth, thus
creating the possibility of resolution to four different keys equidistant from each other at
the interval of a minor third. The four-way-switch capability of the diminished seventh
adds "Which way?" to the diminished triad's query, "What next?"

Without going into great detail about the remaining triad-based quatrads (augmented
major seventh and diminished major seventh) we can venture some comparisons between
an all-triad harmonic environment and its all-quatrad counterpart. The difference in
emotional affect between the various triads is sharper than between the various quatrads.
Clarity of function due to clearer contrast in sound-color from one triad to another, makes
quatradic harmony seem, by contrast, more homogenized. Quatradic resolutions are less
accompanied by relaxation of tension. Because of the two degrees (major and minor) of
added sevenths, there are twice as many types of quatradic formations as there are of
triads. This makes quatradic harmony more varied and complex. Transmutation of certain
inversions to sixth chords adds another layer of complexity. Three non-triad-based
quatrads in wide usethe "phrygian", the 7 sus4, and the 7 b5add even greater
complexity and range of affect to the dominant 7th chord.

The Mathematics Underlying the Scale Systems That Shape the Harmony That
Shapes the Bass Line.

So far, the stage has been set for a detailed examination of the harmonic context shaping
the jazz/standard bass line by concentrating on major scale-related considerations. Our
understanding of these relationships is shaped largely by the terminology inherited from
the European classical tradition, which is in turn shaped by the tunings of just intonation,
which in turn were shaped by a particular set of mathematical relationships.
Unquestionably, all tonal music has been subject to Occam's Razorthe simplest
explanation is the best. Just intonation exemplifies only one of the three most obvious
contenders for the mathematical simplicity prize. The other two are the overtone series
and even-tempered scale. In our culture, we go back and forth between these tonal sub-


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substitute dominant, a phenomenon which I prefer to call chromatic resolution.

In practice, realizing bass function in an overtone series context involves articulating the
root of the harmonic or intervallic superstructure at the lowest rung possible of the
overtone series ladder. Realizing bass function in terms of tonality involves creating the
feeling of forward, backward, or sideways motion in relation to a key center. Realizing
bass function in terms of the chromatic scale involves movement along the circle of
fifths/fourths, or, analogously, along the chromatic scale, and the transposition of key
center to any of the other chromatic tones.

Summary of factors involved in arranging and improvising jazz bass lines:

Oral transmissability.
Various interpretations forced by varying needs and capabilities of performers.
Mixed messages from chord symbols and piano score in the original sheet music.
Quirks in widely popular versions often become generally incorporated.
The need for jazz artists to have the song's harmony follow paths that facilitate their
Difference in harmonic underpinning because of the era of the original song and the
consequent need to alter harmonies to better fit the style of performance, such as
giving a particular standard more of a blues feel.
The division of labor between the harmonist, the bassist, and the arranger.
Creative bass line variations are less called for in big band and vocal accompaniment
Classical European harmonic theory, by itself, is insufficient to the needs of the jazz
Bass function is rhythmic and melodic, as well as harmonic and form articulating.
Normally, jazz musical materials are memorized or improvised, not sight-read.
Harmonically, jazz is a sandwich with melody and bass the bread and the harmony
the filling.
For clarity, jazz harmony is conceived as modular, and locally, rather than globally,
Training the ear to recognize, distinguish between, and employ various harmonic
sound-colors is essential to the jazz improviser.
Triadic and quatradic harmonic practices, though related, have significant differences.
Harmony is at once rational (structural), and emotional.
Major is happy, minor is sad, diminished is restless, and so on, all dependent upon the
context and sequence in which they occur.
Quatradic harmony mixes major and minor to achieve a much more homogenized
A culture exists (with many recorded examples) of improvising harmonies in jazz
performance that lie within limits appropriate to the particular style.
Harmony is grounded in mathematical relationships.
The overtone series shapes the way all tonal sound is perceived.
J ust intonation is the ancient system of whole-integer proportions between low prime
numbers and their multiples.
The modern system of equal temperament is a convenient approximation of the pure
whole-integer proportions in order to produce uniform intervals, and ease of key
The full utilization of the chromatic scale outruns the strictures of tonal harmony.


It becomes a somewhat less far-fetched notion to postulate that the shape of the bass line
can, and indeed has, become emancipated from the strictures of the European classical
norms. This freedom carries with it the implication that at most points in the harmonic
flow of Standard and J azz Classic songs, there are several viable options which, to
varying degrees, work with one another. In this environment opportunity jousts with
chaos. Musicians who have taken improvisational freedom to the outer limits have felt
compelled to return to the Standards as their primary platform for improvisation.

How is the opportunity/chaos nexus negotiated on the bandstand in mid-performance?
Obviously, if the musicians responsible for improvising a continuous harmonic
environment needed to run down the check-list above at every chord-change, tempos
would have to be very slow. In practice, nearly all the decisions necessary to avert chaos
are predetermined. For those that aren't, the choice must be made by instinct in a time-
frame that precludes thinking. Understandably, the safest choiceeven though less
exciting or creativeoften seems the most attractive. For the bass, grounding the group
often involves much stating of the obvious, thus serving as a launching pad for more
adventurous and surprising statements from others.

But the question remains, which of the instrumentalists charged with the various melodic,
rhythmic, and harmonic responsibilities calls the shots? In a jam session, what you hear is
what you get. Many people, including a sizable segment of the jazz audience, feel the jam
session to be the purest and most enjoyable jazz expression. However, even with the
highest level of jazz improviser involved, the jam session format ensures either an all-
safe-choice blandness or a certain raggedness around the edges. That said, some of the
classic un-paralleled moments in recorded jazz history have nevertheless been made in
that sort of a setting. If the rhythm section locks, it's because of a shared musical
vocabulary and syntax, great ears, and luck. And it doesn't hurt to have played together

But what about a band intent upon a dependable high-quality level of music-making
suitable for the concert hall or recording? Taking the leader, the band's charts, the choice
of material, and the soloist's accompaniment preferences out of the equation leaves two
or three people's interactions: bass, keyboard (piano, accordion, organ, synthesizer), and
guitar to produce the hoped-for harmonic synergy. (The drummer's contributions are
crucial to the music's success, but seldom to its harmonic component.) The keyboard-
player is the only one with instrumental power capable of dictating a particular path.
Deferring to the keyboardist is, therefore, the default option, or if guitar only, the guitar.
If guitar and keyboard play chordally at the same time, pre-rehearsed routines are almost
required, unless both have lightning ears and flexible chops. But as bass line is our focus
here, the interaction of bass with keyboard or guitar merits the closer attention.

The bass playing a walking quarter note line has an un-restricted choice of notes on the
weak beatsnearly always the ones on which a chord-change doesn't occur. This gives
ample opportunity for great elaboration of the underlying bass line. But what if the exact
progression of the underlying bass line is itself mutable? In practice, the variations in
underlying bass lines usually have enough similarities that some of the bassist's weak-
beat notes will seem relevant to the alternate harmonization. In the worst case (of two
really different paths in a two-bar or longer section), if both are played with conviction
and authority (and come back together at the end) the ear can be very forgiving of the bi-
tonal tension involved if the forward thrust of the music remains uncompromised.

If there is no chordal instrument in the rhythm section, the bass becomes the sole
articulator of the harmony through choice of bass line. Performing bass function in the
company only of a harmonically meticulous soloist leaves no doubt of the harmony
intended. This being the case, pianists have learned to play chords at times and places
that allow the bass the greatest latitude to imbue the bass line with a more melodic
character, while the pianist devotes more concern to underlining and filling in the holes in
the soloist's melody in concert with the drummer's punctuations. Guitarists and
keyboardists tone quality lack the overtones of the acoustic piano and sustain without
losing volume. In this environment (or one in which an acoustic pianist plays in lower
registers with the sustain pedal depressed) the bassist is well advised to avoid muddiness
in the bass by restriction to roots as much as possible.

Thus the answer would appear to be that where the bass is alone, the bass shapes the bass
line, and where the keyboard is charged with articulating the bass line in the absence of a
bassist, the keyboard takes complete control of all aspects of the harmonic progression.
In between these two extremes lies the situation of the normal rhythm section where the
shaping of the bass line is to a degree shared. Shared function will be facilitated by
shared understanding. That is what the analysis of the following examples hopes to
further. If successful, this should be helpful not only in resolving differences between
improvisers, but in guiding composers and arrangers to reap the full musical potential of
the bass line.

"In nature, as in art, the secret of conservation is not to disturb the wild things."

"In the lower registers, the half-step is not heard with the same clarity as in the higher
particularly, as the commonplace assessment would have it, by the practitioners assigned
to those nether regions."

The Harmonic Materials (and Their Terminology) in Detail

For a
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on as a cycle
II, may be
these chords
ource for bas
ds are the
ssonant five,
a Lydian

the 6t
a min

To ge
7th ch
). I


If, on
to as
dards, in prac
nished, Perfe
ible combina
r Has Gone,
th in a desce
nor triad. Th
nant seventh
ending to the
h phrases are
nished quatra
mented triad b
eneralize fro
hord. For ev
nished quat
bination with
ence in the ex
dard chord-sy
ee. In additio
ture tones f
dont oppose
ds, or for m
y take up less
ever, Ive ne
re and Role o
n first readin
ven. If, like
spects, you m
plex at this p
ening your u
ters here was
ctice, emplo
ect, or augm
ations on all
, covers muc
ending phras
e third phras
h chord. The
e 11th and th
e, respective
ad appears a
begins the fo
om above, fo
very tone the
trad, but exc
h major third
xamples to f
ymbol notati
on to the fou
for each such
e the use of
mi7b5 chord
s space on ch
eglected to u
of Each Mod
g, you find t
most readers
may want to
point. At a f
s necessitate
oy seventh ch
mented 5ths, a
degrees of th
ch of this terr
se over a Maj
se switches t
e fourth phra
hen to a 10th
ely, up a step
at the top of t
ourth phrase

or every tone
ere also exist
ds) that will b
follow will b
ion followin
ur tones of sc
h chord: the
the symbols
ds, or +for a
harts and are
use them here
dal Variant o
the next few
s of jazz theo
skip ahead t
future time, t
ng of the intri
ed in order to
hords compo
and 6ths, Mi
he scale. A s
ritory (ex. 5)
ajor Triad. Th
the melody t
ase switches
h over a dom
p and down a
the flat 9th c
on the top o
e of the scale
t 6 other seve
r nowthe d
be referred t
be indicated b
ng the Roman
cale tone 7
(, , )
s: for Ma7
augmented tr
e generally w
of Each Degr
chapters de
ory texts, yo
to Bass Line
this material
icacies of jaz
o fully explic
osed of eithe
inor 7ths, an
song publish
). The first p
he second ph
to natural an
the melody
minant 7th ch
a step from t
chord in the
of the augme
e, there exist
enth chords
diminished a
to as "modal
by my prefe
n numeral w
chords, ther
), 11ths, ( ,
and Ma69 c
riads, or fo
well understo
ree of the Sca
ensity forbid
ou are most i
e Paradigm
l may be mor
zz harmony.
cate the pote
er Major or M
nd Major 7th
hed in 1931,
phrase uses b
hrase does th
nd flatted 9th
to the augm
hord. The th
the tonic. Al
third phrase
ented 11th ch
ts a specific
(including th
and augment
l variants". T
erred variatio
which indicat
re exist three
, , ), and
chords, 7 fo
or diminished
ood by musi
ale in Detail
dding, you ar
interested in
ms From Sim
re useful to y
. The inclusi
ential and lim
Minor 3rds,
hs in all
When Your
both 7ths and
he same ove
hs over a
mented 11th
ird and
lso, the
e, and the
hord. (ex.6)
ted fifths in
on of
tes scale
e upper-
13s( , ,
or mi7th
d chords.
re to be
n their how
mple to
you in
ion of these
mits of the

The I
rest, i
The I
not n
The I
A cha
as in
The I
the ba
the 6
is wh
The I
the m
I chord (C M
rture and ult
n with a mod
it marks end
I 7 dominant
ecessarily, in
I minor-majo
ange to the I
ember April
How High t
I diminished
ass line on I
positions be
hat led the fir
II chord (Dm
metimes it is h
etimes the II-
nant to the t
minor 7th III
II opening o
Major 7th, CE
imate destin
al variant m
dings of phra

t modal varia
n the directio

or 7th (Cmi-
I minor 7th (
, can but also
the Moon. (e
d quatrad (Cd
, a passive, s
etter reflects
rst chord of
mi7, D,F,A,C
headed towa
-V progresse
tonic minor V
chord. The I
of Pennies Fr
EGB) is the t
nation (unles
major seventh
ases within s
ant (C 7, CE
on of the IV
Ma7, CEbG
(Cmi7, CEbG
o serve to si
dim, C,Eb,G
static result i
the multi-di
Stella By Sta
C) is most typ
ard the VII c
es to III-VI7
VI chord in a
II chord find
rom Heaven
tonic, which
s the song is
ong-forms. (
EGBb) sets th
V. (ex.8)
GB) temporar
GBb) can als
gnal a transp
Gb,A) is alwa
is ensured. P
irectional mo
arlight to mi

pically empl
chord as in th
, as in Satin
a scheme wh
ds use in para
. (ex.11)

h means it is
s in minor, in
the tonic mi
he I chord in
rily displace
so displace t
position to a
ays a passing
Placing the b
obility of the
igrate to the
loyed in II-V
he bridge to
Doll.] In Fa
here the dom
allel ascendi
the default
n which the
inor). Alway
n motionty
es the I as in
the tonic maj
a key a whole
g chord. If th
bass on the b
e diminished
bV. (ex.10)
V-I resolution
Along Came
avela, it serv
minant VI ch
ing bass line
point of
VI chord
ys a point of
ypically, but
I Love Paris
jor as in I'll
e step lower

he bass keep
b3, the b5, or
d chord. This
e Betty, and
ves as the sub
hord is also
es such as th

The e
in po
The I
as Ta
In ma
The o
as to
The I
The I
extensions o
no dissonan
VI, and VII c
ribute to cont
int. (ex.12)
II 7 (D7, D,F
ake the A Tra
any others, s
tion of the d
many uses i
h the minor
ht resolve to t
occurrence o
comes imm
make the ba
II minor 7 b5
r, although i
ical with a M
ed in the dire
e either to or
f the II chord
ce worse tha
chords, which
troversy. Th
F#,A,C) is a
ain, it follow
such as Rose
dominant V,
in the interio
7th lacks, an
the Tonic to
of the II Majo
mediately to m
asic tonality
5 (D,F,Ab,C
in the case o
D) chord find
Major 7,9 wi
ection of som
r from the ne
d9, 11, an
an a major 7t
h, while a fe
he first chord

very commo
ws an openin
e Room, it op
sometimes a
ors of song f
nd because it
o soon. (ex.
or 7 (D,F #,A
mind. The J a
of the song o

C) implies a I
of I Love You

ds most gener
ith the root le
me form of t
eighboring II

nd 13incor
th. For this r
ertile source
d of the secon
on usage in S
ng I chord as
pens the son
as a part of a
forms becaus
t's useful in

A,C#) in Sta
azz Standard
open to ques
II-V progress
u, the resolu
ral use as a s
eft out. In a
the VI chord
I and IV cho
rporate all to
reason it can
of bass line
nd 8 bars of
Standards. In
the first mo
ng. Typically
a VI (Ami7),
se it gives fo
stretching ou
andards is ra
d, Hi Fly, em
stion. (ex.14
sion headed
ution is to the
surrogate I c
Cycle of Fif
d. In a parall
ords. (ex.16)
ones of the p
n easily morp
variations, c
f Mack the K
n countless s
ove away fro
y, it will be h
, II7 (D7), V
ocus to the II
ut a form tha
are, although
mploys it to s
in the direct
e I Major. (e
chord becaus
fths context,
lel scalar con
parent scale
ph into the
can also
Knife is a cas
songs, such
om the Tonic
headed in the
V (G7). It
I position
at otherwise
h Ruby My
uch a degree
tion of I
se it is
it is usually
ntext, it can

The I
its us
The I
is fol
The e
The I
J ust F
half o
Or so
of the
III b5 (E,G,B
e a followin
se as a surrog
III 7 (E,G#,B
lowed by cy
ical, though
nant resolvin
psody. Occas
a. (ex.18)
existence of
posed to that
IV (F,A,C,E)
Friends, for e
of the phrase
n a bridge, as
lly been prec
ression can g
o one would
7)as a tur
e III surroga
ression culm
sthe VII ch
Bb,D) chord
g VI 7 woul
gate for the I
B,D) begins t
ycling 7th ch
slower mov
ng to a mino
sionally, it w
the III Majo
t key. (ex.19
) is usually f
e it's in, whet
s well). So fr
ceded by a I
go no further
think, but a
rn-back to th
te). The alte
minated by ar
hord. (ex.20
would most
d be headed
I 7 is plausib

the opening
hords. It also
ving, capacity
or, such as th
will head step

or 7 (E,G#,B

found in quit
tart on the IV
ther 4 bars, 8
from whence
7. Having ar
r in that dire
ubiquitous S
he Tonic (wh
ernate escape
rrival at the I
t likely find u
d for the II. A
ble. (ex.17)
phrase of N
begins the b
y. It's also ve
he III 7-VI p
p-wise towar
,D#) usually
te specific p
V chord. Aft
8 bars, or a b
e has it arrive
rrived at the
ction withou
Standard trop
hich is most s
e route climb
IV position w
use in a Cyc
Although no
Nice Work If
bridge to I G
ery importan
pickup to the
rd the IV cho
y means that
laces in Stan
ter that it ten
bridge (altho
ed, and wher
e bottom of th
ut changing k
pe allows th
smoothly ex
bs to #IV dim
will re-enter
cle of Fifths
examples co
f You Can G
Got Rhythm i
nt in its func
beginning o
ord as in Slo
t the song ha
ndards. Man
nds to be fou
ough it's ofte
re is it heade
he Circle of
key by addin
his moveIV
xecuted throu
minished. So
r at the top o
ome to mind
et It where i
in an
ction as a
of I Hear a
ow Boat to
as temporaril
ny songs
und in the las
en used to
ed? It's
f Fifths, the
ng one flat.
V-IVmi (or
ugh the use
ometimes the
f the cycle o

The I
The I
(see e
In a J
or sim
Not s
and A
to pro
The V
In mo
IV 7 (F,A,C,
dards are in a
IV mi 7 (F, A
ws a IV or IV
2), or heade
J azz context,
milarly, an a
since the Tw
Avalon, have
dance, but n
wich that its
ronment) tog
ompt its mor
nants. This i
V sus4 (G,C
olve" to the 3
ore recent tim
,Eb) chord is
all respect si
Ab,C,Eb) op
V 7 and is ei
d directly (o
, the IV mi 7
ltered V cho
wenties, whic
e Standards b
ot the V. Th
gether with it
rphing into t
is the one th
,D,F) is so n
3rd of the V
mes, the sus
s the default
imilar to the

pens For Hea
ither the II in
or penultimat
7 b5 (F,Ab,C
ord. (ex.23)
ch produced
begun with t
he V chord is
ting combine
ts capacity fo
the bII 7 (Db
ey're all sub

named in the
chord before
7 has becom
Blues optio
IV chord w
aven's Sake a
n a II-V-I tem
tely, if follow
Cb,Eb) is hea

songs like W
the V (G,B,D
s cast so excl
ed with its b
for accepting
b,F,Ab,Cb) c
bing for. (ex
e once again
me a mainsta
n. Otherwise
with a Major 7
and very few
mporary tran
wed by a bV
ard as an upp
Way Down Y
D,F) chord. T
lusively as t
blandness (in
g out-of-the-k
chord. Much
n that the "su
n returning to
ay of modal

e, its functio
7th. (ex.21)
w other song
nsposition to
VII 7) back to
per extension
Yonder in Ne
The II and th
the meat in th
n an all 7th c
key extensio
h is made of
uspended" 4t
o the root of
J azz Classic
ons in
s. Usually it
o the bIII
o the Tonic.
n of the bII 7
ew Orleans
he II-V in
he II-V-I
ons conspire
th will
f the I chord.
cs as the


The V
The V
For M
i.e., G
the V
In Tr
the V
of D
The V
or of prefere
rsions, and it
exts. (ex.25)
V Maj 7 (G,B
e a Book. On
dedly non-Bl
e form of V-I
V mi 7 (G,B
My Baby, bu
Gmi7, C7, FM
V mi 7 hints a
riadic harmon
radic harmon
ical (except
d at the 13th
7 -5)-III 7(E
n does (some
tones of the
ian mode. In
VI maj7(A,C
ear Old Stoc
c Minor. (ex
as we shall s
VI 7 (A,C#,E
d as in Swee
n a more blu
dic ideas. Ne
ence for the M
ts tonic ambi

B,D,F#) occ
nly in the bri
lues cast. It's
I resolution.
b,D,F) finds
ut more typic
Ma7. The sa
at a IV mino
ny, the VI ch
ny, the situa
for inversion
. Therefore,
E 7)) can sou
times in con
e ascending m
n that case, th
,E,G#). How
ckholm), the
x.28) These
see when ana
E,G) modal v
t Georgia Br
uesey effect,
ever, of cour
Mixolydian m
ivalence, it w
curs in the in
idge of Aint
s most often
s occasional
cally serves a
ame progress
or destination
hord is invar
ation is less c
n) to the I 6
the minor 7t
und unresolv
ntradiction to
he modal va
wever, if voi
e scale-tone V
6ths and 7th
alyzing indiv
variant is qu
rown. Some
increase the
rse, out of si
mode. Due t
will merit fu
nteriors of ce
preceded by

use as a sub
as a II chord
sion with a V
n. (ex.27)
riably referre
clear. The sc
chord, and o
th on the VI
vedas if it
o the compos
nor often rep
ariants introd
iced properly
VI b6 (A,C,E
hs can have i
vidual songs

uite common
jazz pianist
e sense of fo
imple ignora
to its radical
uller discussi
ertain Standa
n' does it avo
y a II 7 chord
bstitute domi
d in II-V-I ar
V mi 7 b5 (G
ed to as the R
cale-tone VI
only differen
degree (eve
t might go on
ser's origina
place the VI
duced are the
y (as in the M
E,F) can qui
important ram
n in Standard
ts substitute i
orward motio
ance. (ex.29)
l transformat
ion later in sp
ards such as
oid giving th
d, and is foll
inant V chor
round the sub
G,Bb,Db,F) i
Relative Min
(A,C,E,G) c
ntly patterne
en if precede
n to a II 7(D
al intent). As
e VI 6 (A,C,
Miles Davis
ite effectivel
mifications f
dseven as
it for a mino
on, or to ratio
tions in its
If I Could
he song a
lowed by
rd as in One
in place of
nor. In
chord is
ed from the I
ed by a VII
7), which it
a result, the
E,F#) and/or
ly act as a
for the bass
the opening
or 7th to
onalize their


The V
The V
The V
A, alt
this e
The V
the C
and B
The p
VI Ma 7 (A,C
bars of the J
itory transpo
VI dim 7 (A,
h is the same
where and he
lated back to
dards, a more
ns. The VII m
though its us
VII 7 (B,D#,
Cycle of Fifth
bar opening
Back in many
presence of t
e, as in the fi

C#,E,G#) is
J azz Classic
ositions. (ex.

,C,Eb,Gb) is
e as the bV d
ading almos

A) chord is u
o the parent k
e prominent
min 7(B,D,F
se (also as an
,F#,A) chord
hs. That faile
role in The B
y songsYo

the VII Ma 7
rst chord of
strangely un
Along Cam
s the same as
dim. All hav
st anywhere.
usually empl
one would b
F#,A) tends t
n opening ch
d is the most
ed to prevent
Best Thing f
ou Do Some
7 (B,D#,F#,A
the bridge o

ncommon in
me Betty whe
s the I dim, w
ve the capabi
oyed as the
as VII-III 7-
be I Didn't K
o signal a tra
hord) in The
t remote scal
t Irving Berl
for You Is M
ething To Me
A#) chord in
of Sophistica
n Standards.
ere it is one i
which is the
ility of havin
II in a Tonic
-VI 6. Of ma
Know What
ansitory tran
e Shadow of
le-tone 7th c
lin from givi
Me. It is used
e, for examp
ndicates that
ated Lady. (e
It appears in
in a sequenc
same as the
ng come from
c Minor II-V
any example
Time It Was
nsposition to
Your Smile

chord from th
ing it a very
d to go chrom
ple. (ex.33)
a transposit
n the first
ce of
e bIII dim,
m almost
V-I, which
es of its use i
s, which it
o the key of
he Tonic on
matically Ou
ion has take


The V
the T
The F

#I an

The #
one. (
One w
so. It
the m
The b
b5 M
big, a
'40s i
VII dim 7 (B
Tonic and the
oyment. (ex
Five Non-Sca
nd b2
e chords base
ibility of bein
E,G,Bb). Par
ting bass lin
e descending
#1 mi7 b5 (C
or of the II M
ed in this str
would think
begins the o
melody links
bII 7 (Db,F,A
Ma7, but if so
and unpleasa
nguished from
is rare, from
titution in a j
B,D,F,Ab) is
e Relative M

ale Tones of t
ed on this ca
ng scale-ton
rticularly if i
Bb). which m
e (I-#I-II) is
g fifths and c
C#,E,G,B) w
Ma 7, which w
range land. I

the #1 mi7 (
opening sequ
it to a II-V-I
Ab,B) is mos
aded immedi
o at the end o
ant, surprise.
m the V-I di
then on it be
jazz context)
usually a co
Minor respect
the Major Sc
ategory (and
ne sevenths, l
it follows the
means that it
an ascendin
hromatics, a
would seem to
would lead o
If an exampl
uence of Mo
I progression
stly used as
iately to the
of a phrase (o
. I refer to th
iatonic resolu
ecame comm
), particularl
onstituent of
tively, and th
the remaini
let's begin by
e I chord, it i
t's headed in
ng chromatic
and occurs fa

o be headed
one to wond
le exists in th
) would be s
oment's Notic
n. (ex.38)
an altered do
Tonic. Of co
or worse, the
he bII 7-I pro
ution. Altho
monplace (pa
ly if the I is a
f a V b9 or II
herefore rece
ing ones to fo
y looking fir
is almost cer
the direction
c scalea re
airly frequen
for the VII m
der by what r
he Standard
similarly arca
ce where the
ourse, it cou
e end of the
ogression as
ough its use i
articularly a
a Tonic Min
II 7,b9 which
eives extensi
follow) have
rst at the #1
rtain to func
n of the II ch
efreshing cha
ntly in Stand
minor, the R
route the com
literature, it
ane, but that
e common to

he so-called
uld also be g
song) it wou
a chromatic
in Standards
s an improvi
nor as in A N
h resolve to
ction as a VI
hord. The
ange from al
dards. (ex.36
t's an obscur
t's not quite
one on III in
oing to the
uld come as
c resolution a
s prior to the
Night in

You N
The b
Out o
#II o

The #
#IV d
of ful
bass l
is chr

The #
The b
sia. bII 7s fu
Needn't and
bII Ma7 (Db
ression (as in
of a Dream a
r bIII
#II diminishe
diminished (
tion as the 7
lfilling this f
line, it can b
romatically d
k of the #II in
ever, not inf
d out as such
r 7th voiced
ioned above
#II mi7 b5 (D
or of the III M
ure one. (ex.
bIII mi7 (Eb
d between th
I progressio
unction as On
b,F,Ab,C) is u
n Solar), but
as a chromat
ed 7 (D#,F#
b9 of the II(
function whe
be usefully th
descending (
n stand-alone
frequently, a
h on sheet m
in the bass i
e. (ex.41)
Ma 7. Again
he III(Emi7)
n to the bII k
usually arriv
t not always.
ic BackMov
,A,C) has th
, and the VI
(D), the IV(F
ere the #II di
hought of as
(making an I
e terms, in w
melody not
music) of a di
instead of th
) would seem
n, if an examp

finds most u
and the II(D
key (Db), as
ve Modules

ved at by a b
It confers g
ve on the sec

he same tone
F), the #V(G
im is a part o
InMove) fro
which case a
e will fall on
he melody, th

m to be head
ple exists in
use as the sm
Dmi7). It also
s in Solar (ex
(see pg. 28 f
bIII mi7 (Ebm
great individu
cond chord.
s as the I dim
7 (A,C,D#,F
G#), and the V
of an upward
the VII 7b9
m the III to
bIII designa
n II position
major 7th (Eb
he chord bec
ded for the #
the Standar
moothest InM
o, predictabl
for definition
uality to You
minished 7 (
F#). As such
VII(B). In m
d-moving (B
9 function. If
the II , it is b
ation might b
creating the
comes the II7
#I minor, the
rd literature,
Move chrom
ly, functions
ns) in Well
u Stepped
(Cdim), the
h, it can
most instance
f the bass lin
better to
be better.
e effect (ofte
D). With the
it's an
matic passing
s as a II in a

The b

The t
#IV o

The #
is the
F#). T
to a f

The m
the IV
bIII 7 (Eb,G,
's That Rainy
een the III an
titution for a
tonal constitu
nd chord (wh
onstrates. In
I temporary
ression is fou
e. As an In M
Ma7-bII Ma7
or bV
#IV is one of
wn later in Ba
eir position o
The most fre
following VI
most frequen
V(FMa7) or
thm changes
,Bb,Db) in a
y Day), serv
nd II chords
bIII diminis
uents of the
hich places t
the second e
und in the br
Move it finds
f only two N
ass-line Para
one bass-lin
on either end
equent chord
II 7. (ex.46)
nt use of the
IV 7(F7) to
s are obvious
addition to it
ves like the o
. Not immed
shed 7(Ebdim
bIII Ma7 (E
the III Ma7 o
eight bars th
on to the bIII
ridges of sev
s use in an a
adigms. The
e constituen
d of the majo
d-types in thi
#IV diminis
the I chord w
s examples o

s obvious at
other bIII cho
diately obvio
m) if played

Eb,G,Bb,D) a
over a I peda
e bIII Ma7 i
I Ma7 appear
veral Standar
alternate 4-m

Scale-tones to
other is the b
nts in what is
or scale laid
is usage are

shed 7 (F#,A
with the V in
of this usage
ttraction to th
ords as an In
ously, it serv
das a 7, b5, #
are nearly id
al) of On Gre
s visited aga
ring now as
rd songs, wh
move InMove
o figure in th
b7. The reas
s otherwise a
out in fifths
the #4 mi7 o
A,C,Eb) is as
n the bass (C
. (ex.47)
he bVI(Ab)
nMove passi
ves credibly
#9, 13. (ex.4
dentical to th
een Dolphin
ain, this time
a I chord (e
here it follow
e module: III
he progressi
son for the in
an all-scale-t
(Bb, F, C, G
or the #4 mi
s a passing ch
CMa7/G). B
chord (as in
ing chord
as a
e I mi7, as
n Street
e by way of a
x.45). This
ws a I7-IV
I-bIII Ma7-
on patterns
nclusion of
tone context
G, D, A, E, B
7 b5 joined
hord from
lues and

The #
or III
The b
#V or

The #
and th
The u
path t
#IV mi7 b5 (
a By Starligh
ns a 4-move
changeable w
IMa7. (ex.48
b5 Ma7 (Gb,
ns the bridge
r bVI
#V diminish
Ami7) and V
he IV(F Ma7
nt to the VI c
ause the G#d
ove. (ex.50)
tion as a root
unlikely app
to a #4 mi7(
larly, the #V
ule destined
(F#,A,C,E) f
ht, and as the
InMove mo
with #IV mi7
,Bb,Db,F), th
e of Warm V
ed 7 (G#,B,D
7). Also, star
chord, i.e., I/
dim is a surro
t is, by this t
earance of a
F#mi7). (ex
V minor7 (G#
to resolve, f
finds use as t
e opening ch
dule progres
7 (F#,A,C#,E
he most dist
Valley after a
D,F) finds oc
in the 6-mov
rting from V
/V(C Ma 7/G
ogate III7(E7
a reminder t
time, superfl
a #V mi7 b5
#,B,D#,F#) b
finally, to the
the substitut
hord in the fi
ssing to the T
E) when foll
ant possible
a very brief I
ccasional us
ve InMove m
V(G) in the b
G) or V(G7)-
7) chord) ma
that all tones


begins the 8-
e Tonic via t
tion of choic
irst phrase o
Tonic. It is m
lowed by VI

chord from
II-V prepara

se as a passin
module betw
bass, it can a
akes the last
s of a dimini
#) would sug
-move Cycle
this path: #5
ce for the firs
f Woody'n Y
more or less
II 7 resolving
the Tonic m
atory progres
ng chord bet
ween the I(C
accomplish a
t chord chang
ished 7th qua
ggest a way-s
e of Fifths In
st chord of
You where it
g to either II
major 7th,
ssion. (ex.49
tween the
Ma7) chord
a chromatic
Ami7), whic
ge an
atrad can
station on th

II in a
or dia
the fa
The b
The b
the pr
#VI o

The #
The b
the se
the bV
VI7-II-V-(I). W
a II-V resolu
atonically to
amiliar II-V-
bVI 7 (Ab,C
ediately desc
an initial I c
ression. (ex.5
bVI Ma7 (Ab
rogression: I
ule, III-bIII M
or bVII
#VI diminish
d. Its use wo
d, or a moda
C#,E,G#) ex
bVII mi7 (Bb
t's New. It al
y complicate
eventh bar o
VI Ma7 (Ab
With approp
ution either c
the bV(Gb
-(I). (ex.52)
,Eb,Gb) cho
cends to the
chord. It figu
as well as th
b,C,Eb,G) ch
Ma7, bVI M
hed 7 (A#,C#
uld in all lik
l variant ther
xcept that the
lso appears i
d sequence o
f Ladybird.
bMa7). (ex.5
priate respell
Ma7). Put m
ord begins Bl
V chord. In
ures in the I (
he chromatic
hord is arriv
Ma7, bII Ma7
#,E,G) is an
kelihood be l
reof. The sam
e modal varia
has already
in the ninth b
of chromatic
There, as in
ling, the bVI
ly through th
more simply,

lue Lou (and
several song
(or I mi7)-bV
cally descend

ved at in the
a7. It also fig
-(I). (ex.54)

unusual nam
limited to go
me would be
ant would al

been identif
bar of Along
c II-V's. Its a
What's New
I mi7 (Ab,B
he bII 7(Db7
this is the "
d a few other
gs it appears
VII 7-bVI 7-
ding bVII 7-
opening phr
gures in the
me and spell
oing to, or co
e true of the
lmost certain
fied above in
g Came Betty
appearance i
w it serves to
,Eb,Gb) fun
7) to the Ton
tri-tone subs
r Standards)
s as the secon
-V 7 descend
-VI 7-bVI 7-
rase of Wha
alternate tur
ling for this d
oming from,
#VI mi7 b5
nly be the VI
n the opening
y as an elem
is more straig
o link the I (C
ctions as the
nic (C Ma7)
stitution" for
) and
nd chord
ding step-
at's New by
the VII
II ma7 chord
g phrase of
ment in a
ghtforward i
C Ma7) with

The b
in Ba
to the
The b
and a

It can
the ha
folk m

tone (

In W
the L
of ha

bVII 7 (Bb,D
ass-line Para
e I. (ex.57) T
sKiller J oe
e In-Move M
bVII Ma7 (B
h bar of End
c minor. It a
ascends from
Line Parad
nnot be overe
ersal need fo
alf-century o
music to the
ive geniuses
monically, th
(or drone) th
c of the Indi
ting to chang
nuous fifth a
h to the melo
estern music
an accepted
Late Romanti
rmonic devi
in a single c
monic motion
D,F,Ab) is th
digms. In th
The bVII 7 c
e and That O
Module: bVII
Bb,D,F,A) ch
d of a Love A
lso appears i
m, the VI cho
digms From
or simple, co
of jazz's blue
highest leve
s along the w
e very simpl
hat establishe
an subcontin
ge in bass to
and octave o
ody as a harm
c, triadic har
d norm for th
ics at the end
ices that mig
ns. We must
he other non-
his context it
chord serves
Old Devil M
I 7(Bb7)-VI
hord appears
Affair, in bot
in the fourth
ord. (ex.59)
m Simple to C
that the root
el of artistic
way often we
lest foundati
es a tonic th
nent achieve
one or introd
of the tambou
rmony incorp
hree centurie
d of the 19th
ght have bass
, they kept to
ask, then, w
-scale-tone c
is preceded
s as a repeate
oon come to
s in the fifth
th cases the r
h and sixth b

ts of the Stan
le accompan
ere breakthro
ion is an unv
at grounds a
es great varie
duction of a t
ura drone se
porating cha
s at the begi
h century had
s lines that v
onality focu
what are the s

chord to be i
by IV mi 7
ed One-Mov
o mind at onc
bar of How
result of a II
ar of Beatric
ndard song l
niment to son
meteoric cli
nt, the innova
oughs into ne
varying repet
all tones of th
ety and soph
rve to center
anges from o
inning of the
d developed
visited every
sed by resor
simplest poss
included in t
and moves d
ve Module in
ce. Also, it b
). (ex.58)
High the M
I-V-I beginn
ce where it d
lie in the peo
ng and dance
imb from ne
ations of the
ew simplicit
tition of a si
he melody. T
histication wi
ing third ton
r the drone r
one chord to
e modern era
a wide-rang
tone of the
rting to the s
sible harmon
the examples
directly back
n many
begins the 4-
oon and the
ning with the
descends to,
e. Indeed, in
e seminally
ngle bass
The classica
ne. The
rather than to
another had
a. Although
ging palette
implest of
nic moves?

It is worth noting that the harmonic moves compiled below can function either as "stand-
alone" repeated cyclical repetitions, or as modules in combination with other harmonic
patterns. Moves generally unsuited to cyclical repetition will be covered in a following

The Main Modules

The bass lines of standards are cyclicalthat is, they go out from a center and return in to
the center. They are required to be cyclical only over the whole song-form. In jazz, the
song-form (or chorus) constitutes the mega-module whose number of repetitions is
undetermined. Two halves of a song-form may be the next cyclical level (usually with
first and last endings). The quarters of the song-form (usually eight bars) are cycles.
Cycles can occur at four bar intervals, two bar intervals, less frequently at one bar
intervals, and rarely at two beat intervals.

Chord progression Modules typically occur within rhythmic and formal envelopes that
are limited to 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 time signatures and melodic and harmonic phrase-lengths
limited to multiples of two (, 1, 2, 4, 8). Further, no more than three repetitions of a
melodic or harmonic phrase in a row are permitted. The compositions of Thelonious
Monk were the first and most consistent in pushing against these constrictions while
clearly remaining within the realm of the Standard Song. Dave Brubeck broke the time
signature limitation with Take Five. From the 60s on, the works of jazz composers
cannot be depended upon to obey any of these rules.

Here, then, are the chord progression Moves that constitute the inner workings of the
Main Modules.

Moves (or chord changes) are defined herein as either In-Moves, Back Moves, Out-
Moves, Jumps, Tilts, Swings, or Home Runs.
In-Moves move either down a fifth on the Cycle of Fifths, or down a minor-second
on the Chromatic Scale.
Back-Moves move either up a fifth on the Cycle of Fifths, or up a minor-second if
the Move substitutes for an up-a-fifth Move.
All other Moves are Out-Moves, except for Jumps, Tilts, and Home Runs..
Jumps areflat-five substitutions
In a Tilt, the bass remains stationary while the chord changes.
In a Swing, the chord remains stationary while the bass changes.
In a Home Run, a 7
chord based on tones other than the V or bII resolves
directly to a I Ma7, a I Ma6, or in some cases, a mi7. (Parenthetically, its useful to
realize that a dominant 7
chord on any degree of the chromatic scale may be made to
resolve to a I Ma7 or I Ma6 with voice movements no larger than a whole-step.)

One-Move Modules

The typical kinds of harmonic paths followed by Standards cause One-Move Modules to
be more commonly employed as sub-units of longer modules. Although repeated One-

that a

I, IV,

to I) i
into t
is bas
as an
A key

is the
to the
An es
be the

e Modules s
are included
kets signify
V: The Ultim
m the standpo
a pedal I. (ex
is the [I-V] o
wing the bas
the I-IV and
ressions. (ex
sed on these
ultimate go
herwoman w
y element in
guity on the
d but they ar
reflect for a
lopment of a
and forth be
rning. Also,
e combinatio
lack is at the
gled Banner
s (or betwee
e tonal matri
h or a fifth a
ssential qual
rlying abstra
rical styles. N
selves entire
e underlying
sometimes o
below excep
a module en
mate Simplic
oint of the ba
x.60). Equa
over the ped
s to move fr
I-V progres
x.62). A grea
od in its own
which alterna
n the simplici
Cycle of Fif
re all relative
a moment on
a melodic co
etween two t
fourths and
on of more si
e heart of the
r. But since t
n the second
ix, like it or n
are the quinte
lification is t
act nature of
Neither poly
ely to explica
g harmonic m
ccur betwee
pt for the act
nvelope and i
ass line, the
ally simple (e
dal V. You ca
rom root to r
sions. (ex.61
at deal of mu
simple bass
n right, one n
ates between
ity rating to
fths. Four o
ely remote on
n the signific
ncept for the
tones barely
fifths are lea
ingable step-
e complaint
the naturalne
d, third, and
not, the moti
essential me
the reminder
f the bass line
yphonic coun
ating root m
en scale-tone
tivity around
imply repeat
simplest pos
except for th
an't get simp

root introduc
1). Equally s
usic, some (b
motions. If
need look no
n I and V onl
the ear of th
other Major t
n the Cycle
ance of thes
e bass line. I
qualifies as
aps, not step
-wise motion
about the la
ess of harmo
fourth partia
ions proceed
lodic materi
r that we are
e, not necess
nterpoint nor
motion by fou
es other than
d the minor I
ssibility is th
he necessity
pler than no m
ces no furthe
simple are th
but not most)
one values s
o further tha
he I,IV,V con
triads share c
of Fifths. W
e protean pr
In the first pl
melody. Th
ps. The essen
ns with strat
ck of "music
onies moving
als of the Ov
ding either u
ials of the ba
sarily it's rea
r jazz walkin
urths or fifths
n the root, no
II,VI, and II
he alternation
of an eventu
motion at al
er harmonic
he reverse IV
) of it very s
simplicity of
an The Irish
njunction is
common ton
We shall retu
rogressions t
lace, a simpl
here isn't eno
nce of melod
tegically plac
cality" of the
g along the C
vertone Serie
up or down b
ass line in to
(at this poin
alization in t
ng bass lines
s even thoug
o examples o
I chords.
n of [I-IV]
ual resolution
V-I and V-I
f bass motion

nes with the
urn to them
to the
le alternation
dic patternin
ced leaps.
e Star
Cycle of
es) is built in
by either a
nal music.
nt) the
he various
s restrict
gh that may

Is it m
has a

If thi
our h

An im
the lo
or mo
I-V, I

all cy
merely its fu
hetically satis
lot to do wi
ous implacab
fit of escape
This charact
nced by its c
uently than th
s analysis is
hetic for bass
ugh variety, d
nning and a f
porting a pas
cted destinat
hypothesis, le
ons to see if
mportant obs
ther polkas o
nates betwee
owest two an
h lower (ex.6
es are not req
itate to it. If t
ore, drumisti
V-... Perhap
their express
bas. In any ca
petitive simp
hetically plea
I-IV (I & IV
use it moves
ycles is the o
licity it's usu
a-nova intro
d. (ex.64)
unctional nec
sfying in bas
ith it. Howev
ble rationalit
from total s
teristic of rat
changes at ha
he supported
correct, at le
s lines differs
detail, expre
feeling of ine
ssenger, safe
tion, with err
et's start by l
they match t
servation at t
or waltzes),
en articulatin
nd one-half o
63). The rea
says, "Left,
quired to pro
the harmony
ic continuity
s one of the
sion above th
ase, the poin
plicity of ton
asing through
V chords can
s either up or
on-off [I-V](a
ually confine
vamps. The
cessity which
ss lines but o
ver, it would
ty such bass
stasis withou
tional, predic
alf-note, who
d melody.
east for Stan
s from lead l
ssion of emo
evitability at
e and predict
ratic maneuv
looking next
the paradigm
this point is
if the I chord
ng the root of
octaves of th
ason? The ba
right, left rig
oduce this ef
y alternates b
y is best pres
reasons "bo
he root rathe
nt is undersco
nally simple d
h an almost
n have either
r down only
a Back-Mov
ed to one bar
[I-IV7] ope
h makes mot
only occasion
d seem that th
lines posses
ut competing
ctable, suppo
ole-note, and
ndards, the c
lines. Upper
otion, surpri
t the end. Ba
table in stead
vers only at
t at the melo
that in tradit
d occupies o
f the I chord
he piano, and
ass and the fe
ght,..." at an
ffect; the low
between I an
served by the
ssas" are "no
er than the p
ored that the
duple alterna

added sixth
y one unit of
ve) or [I-IV](
r and two ba
ens Willow W
tion by fourt
nal in upper
he utter abso
ss give the m
g for attentio
ortive, non-c
d two bar int
onclusion ca
r melody line
se, and unpr
ass lines sho
dy motion fr
the service o
dic aspect o
tional Europ
one bar or m
d on the first
d articulating
eet have an i
n almost atav
wer voices of
nd V at a freq
e bass articu
ova" is that a
position below
e predictable
ation in bass
us functional
s, minor sev
the Cycle of
(an In-Move
ar modules. T
Weep for Me
ths and fifth
r melodies? S
olute simplic
music they su
n with the u
an be drawn
es should dra
ould be like a
rom known o
of its rider. W
f the simple
pean dances
more, the bass
beat somew
g the fifth of
in-built affin
vistic level. T
f drum choir
quency of on
ulating I-V-(I
alternating f
w more typi
e, supportive
s lines becom
venths, or ma
f Fifths, the
e). Because o
The [I-V] is
e and God B
Surely that
city and
upport the
upper melodi
simplicity is
dom more
that the
aw attention
at the
a vehicle
origin to
With this as
st bass
and marches
s typically
where within
f the I chord
nity, so that I
Tuned bass
rs routinely
ne bar apiece
fifths tend to
ical of
e, non-
simplest of
of its ultimat
used a lot fo
Bless the


The r
less c

far le
The r

I-V, a
reverse [V-I]
in the first tw
common, but
k's Bye-ya.
, VI-II (and
e are the min
p. It also beg
ess common
t the World N
reverse, V-II
flat to sharp
rse of VI-II (
ectively, the
V-I: The Tw
eeding onwa
elves for the
the I, IV, an
and so on. T
](In-Move) ,
wo bars of I
t occurs in th
nor analogs o
gins a commo
as a repeated
Needs Now
I(Back), is un
p on the Cyc
(and III-VI),
first six bars
wo-Move Lin
ard from the
moment to p
nd V chords w
here exist a
, finds occas
Got the Sun
he first eight
of I-V and I-
on interpreta
d module, bu
Is Love.
n-used as a r
le of Fifths)
the III-VI(B
s and the brid
ne Followed
ultimate sim
patterns easi
we have the
dozen possib

ional use ou
n in the Morn
t bars of Lov

-IV. The II-V
ation of Sum
ut does find

repeated elem
without ben
Back) and the
dge of Favel

d By Its Mir
mplicity of tw
ily realized w
widely used
ble variation
utside the [I-V
ning. The [IV
ve for Sale, a
V(In) lives i
mmertime. (e
expression i
ment becaus
nefit of domi
e II-VI(Back
la. (ex.67)
rror Image
wo-move pat
within two b
d I-V-V-I, I-I
ns of combin
VI-II-V] mo
and the first
in ubiquity a
ex.66) The V
in the first fo
se it back-cy
inance on th
k) are both f
tterns, but co
barsand relyi
nations of I-I
odule. It's
Move) is eve
four bars of
as a Latin
VI-II(In) is
our bars of
yles (moves
he II. The
found in,
ing still on
IV and I-V,

the ba
the IV

out, I
first 4
if the
Yes S
In Lo
Vie E
first s
of Se


If the
To di
the re
of which are
alance point
d is the end p
d along the C
V chord has
e two form t
, the I-V-V-I
I think I'll go
4 bars of Hap
rn takes up t
e composer's
ws no stylisti
Sir, That's M
mposed, 1965
ove With Lov
En Rose, Cie
section with
refrain with
The Beer B
ecret Love. (e
Move Mod
-V: The Blu
e I-V-V-I arc
d of contemp
sremains a
s progression
mum stay on
as the most
igress mome
emarkable as
e unused by
t between the
point in the n
Circle of Fift
gone beyond
the basis for
I pattern. It t
o in". The fir
ppy Birthday
the whole of
score paper
c, national, o
My Baby, She
5), Around th
ve, O Solo M
elito Lindo, a
alternating I
an extended
Barrel Polka
chetype seem
porary jazz,
a vital source
n is: I (4 bars
n any one ch
basic one: (e
entarily into
spects of, on
Standards. T
e other two m
natural move
ths, the V ch
d the center
scores of so
tells a little s
rst 4 bars of
y. Mack the
f the first 8 b
r came with i
or temporal b
eik of Araby
he World, Al
Mio, Mexica
and Rudolph
I and V, a se
d [I-I-I-V]-[V
follows muc
ms of only hi
its rival for o
ebook for cr
s), IV (2 bar
hord is neces
the thicket o
n the one han
The reason?
major triads
ement of sca
hord represen
and can go n
ongs and we
story. "First I
Muskrat Ram
Knife stretc
bars. Waltzes
it imprinted
bounds. A p
y, I Want To
lways, I Cou
an Hat Dance
h the Red-No
econd section
V-V-V-I] pa
ch the same
istorical, nos
origin in hoa
eative inven
s), I (2 bars)
sary to accom

of the quarte
nd, a kind of
On the Circ
ale tone triad
nts the last li
no further w
will look at
I am in, then
mble are a p
ches each ch
s and polkas
along with s
partial list of
Be Happy,
uld Have Da
e, Hokey Po
osed Reinde
n with altern
attern, 2 bars
pattern, as d
stalgic, or co
ary antiquity
ntion. The sim
), V (2 bars),
mmodate bo
r-note bass l
f mathematic
cle of Fifths
a major scal
ds beginning
ink in that ch
without chang
those next.
n I go out, no
pure example
ord to 2 bars
depend on i
staves. In fac
f its beneficia
anced All Ni
okey, Chicke
er. Tiger Ra
nating V and
s per chord, r
does the 16 b
ommercial in
ythe I-IV-V
mplest form
, I (2 bars).
line, the boo
cally perfect
the I chord i
le. Since the
g with the VI
hain, wherea
ging key.
ow that I'm
e. So are the
s so that the
it heavily, as
ct, its usage
aries include
My Love
ght, Falling
en Dance, La
ag, after a
d I, begins th
running to 1
bar A. sectio
nterest to the
V of the
of the 12 ba
The 2 bar
e ostinatos
ogie bass has
serial analo



to the
leap o
to com
the si
of the
an oc
a con
For o
The 2
note l
one a
The b
the ba

The I

add th
e overtone se
ation of the r
of a major th
tone series, a
mplete a maj
ixth, and fina
by a path id
ee it bumps
e seventh pa
tly which wo
the pattern's
ctave higher
hasis of this i
nth chord is t
nsequence, th
our purposes
n more to fo
mmetry of lyr
2 bar unit as
ture of the b
7-IV 7- I 7-
line undergir
ses are identi
and the V ch
, though opt
ps featureles
blues has ma
asic harmon
licity of the
lopment of q
-structure pr
II-V-I Caden
e still stayin
p direction al
he II. But d
eries in its pr
rhythmic dri
hird, then (co
and the Circl
ajor triad, and
ally by a hal
dentical to its
against the l
rtial of the o
ould elimina
s ascent at th
on the stron
important po
the parent, f
he rules of cl
, the notion t
orms of almo
rical melodie
the basis of
onic design o
lues as comm
I 7 (or I7,V7
rd this forma
ical to the fir
ord on the fi
tional, is the
ss formal sym
any faces. La
nic building b
basic blues s
ng within the
long the Circ
o we entirely
rogression o
ive of the blu
onstrained by
le of Fifths)
d then (like
lf-step to the
s ascent, thus
limit of the e
overtone seri
te the sixth (
he octave. Th
ng first beat o
osition. The
fallback, defa
lassical Euro
that the shap
ost geometric
es gains adde
f blues is not
of the blues.
monly playe
7)]. (ex.70)
at. It's intere
rst one excep
irst bar of th
usual choice
ater we'll loo
blocks and th
structure tog
d popular m
e bounds of 3
cle of Fifths
y leave the I
of intervals, b
ues. Looked
y the combin
ascends by a
a projectile l
e minor-seve
s describing
ies rather tha
(or the seven
he result is th
of the second
message sen
ault, typical
opean harmo
ping of the m
c purity in co
ed support.
, however, th
With the si
ed becomes:
Ostinatos 1
esting to note
pt for the IV
e final one. T
e; putting a p
ok at some o
he bass lines
gether with it
music drew us
3-move prog
. Doing so, w
IV behind? W
but on the ot
dat as melod
ned gravitati
another sma
losing energ
enth, where
a perfect mu
ed chromatic
an following
nth, which it
hat rather th
d bar, the sev
nt loud and c
chord of thi
ony have bee
melodic char
ontrast to th
he onlyor
ingle bar as t
[I 7-IV 7-I 7
bar in length
e that each o
V chord on th
The final V
period at the
of these after
s which conn
ts seminal ro
s into the ex
gressions, let
we leave the
We're in Qua
ther, an emo
dy, it ascends
ional pulls o
aller leap of a
gy to gravity)
usical parab
c scale's app
g the overton
t sometimes
an the root b
venth gains
clear is that t
is genre of m
en bent to ot
racter of bass
e greater var
r even the mo
the unit, the
7-I 7][IV 7-I
h or a walkin
of the three f
he first bar o
chord on the
e end of the s
r we have ex
nect them. T
ole in the 20
xamination o
t's move one
e IV behind i
atrad Countr
s with the
of the
a minor third
) by a step to
it falls
ola. At its
ne series
does) and
being restate
the added
the dominan
music and, as
ther purpose
s lines is
riety and
IV 7-I 7-I
ng quarter
four bar
of the second
e last two
xamined all
The very
0th century
of a particula
e notch in the
in order to
ry now, and



can im

If the

to the
fifth t
The n
It is i
V com

The I

The s
II 7 (
quickly real
,C,D). We w
ion in a chor
mpart to eac
al to making
e dominant-s
nth II chord i
dard songboo
und upon it.
can we expl
ably, is the lo
ent of that is
ution of the
e consonance
too far, then
near equivale
fect cadence"
s by passing
the I chord,
ides front ste
ney. (ex.71)
important to
h as the I pa
d will fill the
t some of the
e songs, alth
mponents in
II 7-V Moda
scale-tone m
D,F#,A,C) (
d role in Stan
d minor-seve
ize that the s
would be mis
rd progressio
ch quite disti
g both of the
seventh V ch
is the autom
ok. Its very u
One would
lain the adop
ong history i
s the ancient
flat-five diss
e of the majo
n to the fifth
ence of the I
" to be expre
g through the
the opened
eps to walk u

note that the
art. In other w
e next bar, an
e songs liste
hough playab
n typical cont
al Variant
(as if we mig
ndards. Pian
enth provide
scale-tone se
led, howeve
on and the w
nct II-ness o
se distinctio
hord is the en
matic self-star
ubiquity mak
d be hard-pre
ption of such
in Western m
scale of J ust
sonance betw
or third of th
on the other
II and IV cho
essed more a
e II rather tha
door says, "
up thereby ex
e II-V part o
words, if the
nd so on for
d previously
ble with simp
temporary p
h isn't the on
ght possibly
nists will sub
es. (ex.72)
eventh II cho
er, to say tha
way they use
or IV-ness. T
ngine of harm
rter. The II-V
kes it seem p
essed to find
h a universal
music of the
t Intonation
ween the thir
he tonic, and
side, and fin
ords in Quat
as going stra
an the IV. T
Honey, I'm
xtending the

of the equatio
II and the V
all duple mu
y as example
ple V chords
nly II chord o
be headed fo
stitute it wh
ord (D,F,A,C
at they're "the
the overtone
The path whi
monic motio
V-I progress
pointlessly, p
d a Standard
l practice? M
IV-V-I cade
that is less d
rd and seven
d more depen
nally coming
tradic harmo
aight to the ta
The V chord
home!" The
e forward mo
on is general
V are allotted
ultiples. If y
es of I-V-V-I
s, are genera
option, howe
or G Maj 7)
en they desi
C) inverts to
e same chord
e series by th
ich the bass
on, then the m
sion is every
without it.
Most importa
ence. But the
dependant on
nth of the do
ndant on goi
g to rest at th
ony allows th
arget along t
puts the key
e preparatory
otion of the h
lly metricall
d two beats a
ou had reser
I, you were c
ally broken d
ever. The mo
is often cast
ire more grit
the IV6
d". Their
heir voicing
line takes is
ywhere in the
y redundant t
e basic
n the
ominant chor
ing first one
he center.
he so-called
the Cycle of
y in the door
y II chord
ly of the sam
apiece, the I
down into II-
odal variant
t in the II
than the


The I

The o
the I
in the
as the

The R

As in
as to
by its


The T
to the
V can
as the
all to
bass l
II b5 Modal
other II chor
chord might
e present cas
om original t
, it transform
are these va
ice, the quar
nths of chord
ey have a cle
t where that b
ling an inner
Reverse II-V
n the II-V-I, t
the I. Rather
self, it ends b
ult answer is
ee or More M
II-V: The Tu
Turnaround t
pattern conv
ert it to such
e harmonic l
n be very ne
,E,G) both c
e modal vari
gether in on
line patterns
l Variant
rd option in t
t turn out to
se, where the
o the song (u
ms the resolu
ariants of thir
rter note wal
ds on the stro
ear melodic p
becomes cru
r line with co
the I-II-V ge
r than comin
by asking the
, "Right back
Move Modu
takes us one
verts the stat
h a satisfying
anguage of S
arly sub-lim
contain the sa
iant II chord
e place when
d, I (C,E,G,B
s that are occ
the II-V-I is
be minor. W
e final resolu
unless by Po
ution into sou
rds and fifth
lking bass lin
ong beats wi
purpose in d
ucial. Of cou
onsequent w
enerally allot
ng home, thi
e question, "
k home."
e step further
ic I half of th
g short and lo
Standards. T
minal because
ame tones. T
s just mentio
n we introdu
B)-VI (A,C,E
casionally as

the II b5 (D
We will exam
ution is to ma
orter or some
unding like a

hs significant
ne can pass t
ithout losing
doing so that
urse, in group
weakness or a
ts the same l
s path starts
"I think I'll g
r in the sharp
he I-II-V pro
ong form cy
The differenc
e the I 6 chor
The Turnarou
oned) with su
uce chromati
E,G)-II (D,F
sked to move
,F,Ab,C) wh
mine II-V-I m
ajor, the II b
eone of his s
a ray of suns
t to the bass
through the t
g the thread o
t lands the lin
p improvisat
length of tim
at home and
go out, but w
p direction a
ogression int
ycle that its u
ce between t
rd (C,E,G,A
und accepts
uch ease tha
ic and flat-fi
,A,C)-V (G,
e at the rate
hich sends a
minors mome
b5 is deceptiv
sensibility). W
shine on a cl
line? Becau
thirds, fifths
of the harmo
ne on the roo
tion, this pat
me to the com
d goes out. C
where do I sto
along the Cir
to two equal
use is almost
the I-II-V an
A) and the VI
myriad vari
at we shall co
ive substituti
,B,D,F) is on
of one beat a
message tha
entarily, but
ve, and is
When it's
oudy day.
use, in actual
s, and
ony so long
ot at the
th risks
mbined II-V
op?" The
rcle of Fifths
l parts that
t definitional
nd the I-VI-II
I chord
ations (such
onsider these
ions. The
ne of the few
apiece. The

the ra

The I
III 7-

III 7-

that t
go on

typical use a
ate of one ba
ting the root
nding that to
y move in th
s. (ex.75)
-VI-II 7-V
al variant 7th
ression. (ex.
-VI 7-II 7-V
ng all domin
he location o
d have origin
n indefinitely
onic Scalar M
III-II (ex.78
assigns two
ar per chord.
goes one mor
of the I chor
a minor-sev
his progressio
hs give more
nant 7th vari
of the tonal c
nated at any
y in the flat d
beats to each
re fifth in th
rd which lea
venth scale to
on is an In-M
e energy to t
ants pours so
center is obs
point in the
direction. (ex
h chord. Th

he sharp direc
aves a III sca
one by the ad
Move in the

the flat-direc
o much ener
scured. It is
sharp directi
he Way You
ction along t
ale-tone triad
ddition of th
flat direction
ction momen

rgy into the I
as if the Cy
ion on the C

Look Tonig
the Circle of
d (E,G,B) an
he 9th (D) of
n along the C
ntum of the I
cling domin
Circle of Fifth
ght moves at
f Fifths by
nd then
f the I chord
Circle of
nant 7ths
hs, and coul







I-I 7-
I-I 7-

I-I 7-

I-I 7-

I 7-IV

I-VI-V (ex. 7
V Progressio
V-II 7-V (ex
on Modules
or-I (or III)
or-bIIV 7-I
x. 82)
(ex. 80)
V (ex. 81)
II-bII7-I (ex

x. 83)



III 7-






It is i

or Progressio
III 7-VI-#4
V-IV 7-III 7
VI mi(ma7)-V
important to
mined so far e
common. T
nic scalar m
ly" a linear v
larly, the I-I/
on Modules
7 (ex. 84)
VI-IV 6 (ex
7) (ex. 86)
note at this
employ a lim
he leap of a
motions of wh
version of th
point that th
mited range o
minor 3rd d
hole and half
he 4ths and m
-IVmi/bVI i
he individual
of intervals.
down to the V
f-steps comp
minor third in
is "really" I-I

l bass line m
Leaps of 4th
VI chord, an
plete the list.
nvolved in I

moves in the p
hs or 5ths ar
nd upward or
. The I-III-IV

e by far the
r downward
V-#IVdim is
I 7/#IV.



out o
the be

the w
use in
to occ
or the
for th


any o
bass w

Flat 5

es By Steps O
we start to e
f the parent
ticulated but
es where the
tion on the C
edrock of th
-Move Tonic
whole point o
on in a voice
triad based
n Standards
casional Tin
-Move I to A
is simple pa
e move up a
-Move I to D
is the move
he next move
r-Move I to
category of
ponent gives
her key.
-Move I to t
e may functi
of the dimini
will convert
5 Substituti
Other than D
examine for
key. These m
generally fo
e bass line ei
Circle of Fift
e Standard r
c to Triad/P
he Tiltten
of the pedal d
e other than t
7th chords. C
began with B
n Pan Alley t
Any Other M
arallelism as
Minor 3rd t
most prone
e to be either
a strong ind
ion as compo
ished chord's
to a major 7
ions, and Ch
Diatonic 5ths,
the first tim
moves deser
ollowed rule
ther descend
ths. Later, w
repertoire) th
Pedal Progr
nds to be imm
device is to p
the bass. No
Coltrane use
Broadway sh
Major 7th P
in the first c
to the bridge
to the one-m
r a 5th in the
is similar to
dication of an
onents of b9
s four tones.
hromatic Re
Fourths, Mi
e progressio
rve a categor
that only on
ds chromatic
we will analy
hat flout this
mune from th
place the bur
ote that the re
es this device
hows, typica
Parallel Prog
change of Yo
in Night an

e flat directio
Key Progres
o the previou
n impending
Chords Pro
9th chords ba
The same to
esolutions a
inor 2nds, an
ons which ten
ry of their ow
ne Out-Move
cally or mov
yze some son
he one-move
rden of carry
esulting tetra
e exclusively
ally in verses
ou Stepped O
nd Day.
e Progressio
ion rule. The
on or a half-
us one, excep
g, if perhaps
ased on the t
one in the m
and Progres
nd Downwar
nd to take th
wn because o
e is allowed
ves one fifth
ngs (some of
ying the harm
a-chords ma
y in Naima.
s, and spread
Out of a Dre
e default exp
step down.
pt that the II
brief, modu
tones a half-
melody rather
rd Minor
he bass line
of the
between In-
in the flat
f which form
rule because
ay or may no
(ex.87) Its
d from there
eam (ex.88)
pectation is

ulation to
step below
r than the

As mentioned earlier, by the forties, jazz had incorporated the b5 substitution for the
dominant chord as a common harmonic device. Used mainly to add tension to the
harmonies accompanying soloists, these substitutions must be a good fit with the melody.
For that reason, this substitution requires careful attention to context.











A Syllabus of Chord Substitutions and Alterations
In the matrix below, chords are assumed to be moving in a continuum that extends from
the VII chord to the IV chord in this order: VII(Bmin7b5) to III(Emin7) to VI(Amin7) to
II(Dmin7) to V(G7) to I(Cmaj7) to IV(Fmaj7). The I chord acts as the beginning and/or
end of the typical harmonic progression and therefore is limited in the substitutions that
can be applied to it without destroying its function as the Tonic. The same is true of the
VI chord when it has origin/destination function as the relative minor. Therefore, in the
usual case, substitutions listed below can only be safely used for the I and VI chords
when these chords occur in the middle of a progression.

TONE CHORD diatonic single note b5 diminished
limited variation substitution substitution
I. Cmaj7 Emin7 Amin7 C7,C+maj7,Emin7b5 F#min7b5 N.A.

II. Dmin7 Fmaj6 G7sus4 Dmin7b5 Fmin6 Ab7 Ddim

III Emin7 Cmaj7 A7sus4 Emin7b5 Gmin6 Bb7 Edim

IV Fmaj7 Dmin7 F7 F#min7b5 B7 or B7alt N.A.

V G7 G7sus4 Dmin7 G7b5 G7#5 Db7 N.A.
VI Amin7 Cmaj7 D7sus4 A7 Amin7b5 Eb7 Adim

VII Bmin7b5 G7 Bmin7 Bdim

The 5 non-diatonic tones (each with two names depending on context) complete the

TONE CHORD diminished-scale 7ths minor 7ths

#I C#dim A, Eb, C, F#, 7b9 Db7 Dbmin7
bII Dbdim

#II D#dim B, D, F, Ab, 7b9 Eb7 Ebmin7
bIII Ebdim

#IV F#dim D, Ab, 7b9 Gb7 F#min7
bV Gbdim

#V G#dim E, Bb, G, Db, 7b9 Ab7 G#min7
bVI Abdim

#VI A#dim F#7b9 Bb7 Bbmin7

Chord Substitution Along the Ladder of Thirds.

The diagram below is offered as a broad generalization for the functionality of chords in
diatonic progressions, or progressions along the circle of fifths, within a particular major
scale. An important caveat to this construction relates to the VIth degree or Amin7 in the
example. Injudicious use of an A on a strong beat in the bass in a C major context can
produce the effect of the relative minor (A minor).

Dominant Related Tonic Related
G7 Bm7b5 Dm7 FM7 Am7 CM7 Em7


In other words, the effect of being in the Tonic (in this case, C) will still be maintained by
the context of the progression even if an Emin7 or Amin7 is the chord actually played
with certainty if the bass plays a C. Conversely, the bass can play an E or an A on a
strong beat without conflicting with the Tonic functionagain, with certainty if the piano
plays a Cmaj7. However, if any of the Dominant Related chords are played in what is
intended to be a Tonic context, they will conflict with the Toniceven if not actually
dissonant. This division is a bit more ambiguous for the bass. An F on a strong beat
clearly subverts C as the Tonic while a G is more likely to be weak or slightly mis-
leading. In the 7
chord environment of most modern jazz, a D is actually not that
dissonant in a Cmaj7 environment, but its stepwise relationship to the tonic can produce
the misleading effect of a D7sus4. A B in the bass not only misleads but is dissonant.
The addition of the tri-tone substitution (and its close relations), in this case Db7, to the
list of Dominant Related chords completes the picture, as no such chromatic addition is
functional in the Tonic environment.

The row of single tones at the bottom of the diagram also depicts the upper-structure 9ths,
11ths, and 13ths as one moves left from their 7
chord basis.

A similar overlapping of chords along the ladder of thirds occurs in the Minor Ma7 scale.

Dominant Related Tonic Related
G7 Bm7b5 Dm7 F7 Am7b5 CmiMa7 EMa7+5

G B D F A C Eb G B D

Nuances in the Cycle of Fifth Progression Within a Key

The major scale scale-tone 7th chords cycle through their part of the Cycle of Fifths in
the following order: I (CMaj7), IV(FMaj7), VII(Bmi7b5), III(Emi7), VI(Ami7),
II(Dmi7), V(G7), I. Modal variants at every station can alter, refine, and qualify exactly
how far along the Cycle the harmony has progressed. Beginning with the I chord:

C7sus4 or Gmi7(11)
C7b5 or Gb7b5
Gb7 or Dbmi7-Gb7
FMaj7 (note: from the IV chord, going on to IVmi (Fmi) and on to bVII7 and on to I by
the "back door" is usual but follows the Cycle out of the key.)
Fmaj7b5(13) or Bmi7b5(11)
E7b5 or Bb7b5
Bb7 or Fmi7-Bb7
Emi7 or Emi7(11) or A7sus4
A7b5 or Eb7b5
Amin7 or Ami7(11) or D7sus4
D7b5 or Ab7b5
Ab7 or Ebmi7-Ab7
Dmin7 or Dmi7(11) or G7sus4
G7b5 or Db7b5
Db7 or Abmi7-Db7

There also exists a very fine gradation within 7th chords deriving from the choice and
combination of upper-structure tones. For the most part, this gradation doesn't impact the
bass line. However, playing one of the variants on the list, followed by one further down,
followed by a I chord with appropriate upper structure (all connected by appropriate
voice-leadings), can sound like a II-V-I progression even though the bass remains fixed
on the root of the dominant.


Putting Analysis to Work: Progressions, Modules, and Substitutions in the Bass
Lines of Specific Standard Songs.

So far we have looked at those harmonic elements characteristic of the Standard song and
joined most of them into progressions using anywhere from 2 to 8 elements, but mostly
two to four elements. We are ready to look at particular songs that exemplify a variety of
ways in which these elements are joined together. Taken as a whole, the thousands of
songs comprising the American Standard Songbook, have in common many patterns of
harmonic motion which the particular song exemplifies. For instance, the bridgeI 7-
IV-II 7-Vwas used in so many tunes that it was known in my youth as the "Sears &
Roebuck bridge".

Two song-forms to be examinedrhythm changes", and the blueswill receive the
most detailed examination. These particular forms have demonstrated a seemingly never-
ending capacity for absorbing alterations and updating. The devices that constitute their
essence, together with the ones added over the years, form the basis of the harmonic
language that is then applied to other songs in the interest of stylistic coherence.

Gunther Schuller notes in the first book of his musicological study of jazz history, "Early
J azz", that "no one discovered how the African was capable of sustaining his interest and
his audience's for a single dance that may last an hour or more. J ones (A. M. J ones,
Studies in African Music, 2 vols.) has found the answer. It is nothing more than the
chorus pattern we accept so casually in jazz as the basic improvisational procedure...
Actually, three structural levels govern these dance forms. They reflect the fundamental
cellular structuring of nature itself: the overall form breaks down into still relatively long
"master patterns," which in turn consist of repetitions of smaller phrase fragments, which
in themselves may contain tiny cell-patterns." Schuller then proceeds to diagram this
form thusly:

Overall form ___________________________________________________________

Master patterns______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

Phrases _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______

Motives ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

Analyses of Various Standard and Jazz Classic Songs

The fifty picks, selected from the thousands of possibilities, were chosen to present a
comprehensive overview historically (the teens through the seventies), to range from
simple to complex, to illustrate the variety of opening harmonies, and to favor songs that
are likely to be called in mainstream jam sessions.

I have purposefully refrained from displaying melodies or giving composer credit. These
analyses are designed to focus exclusively on the harmonic patterns of the songs,
harmonic patterns that are common to most of the songs examined here, and are seldom
the invention of one composer.

These analyses are not intended as performance aids or even as definitive harmonic
progressions. They are intended to be studied as memorization aids and a jumping-off
place for more detailed study of the songs shown and the other songs they resemble. For
the serious student, many sources for such study exist in published sheet music or
authorized transcriptions. For the songs with lyrics, one can find examples of
performances of all of them on YouTube from which one can make ones own
transcriptions. For the instrumentals, recordings afford the same opportunity.

In any case, playing standards or jazz classics as a rhythm section player requires that one
must try to develop ones ear so as to detect the small differences between musicians
conceptions and thereby contribute to a musically synergetic outcome.

The notation is in bass clef and is intended to be read as the 8ba register employed for
bass instruments. When whole notes or repeat signs are shown, the intention is to indicate
that the scale implied by the chord symbol is operative in that bar. In practice, that may
mean that that chord will be the only one played, or it may mean that a turnaround in that
key will be called for depending on context.

The display of notes from the upper structure triad has been avoided except where they
are essential to the harmony. In actual practice, these are the ones most subject to
alteration by the harmonist, again, depending on context.

In the analyses, the term II-V is used in two senses. Its basic use is to relate the two
chords to the tonic. Its also used as a generic term independent of its relation to the tonic
for the most basic progression to be found in standards and jazz classics.

Here, then, are the analyses of fifty songs.

50 Songs for Analysis: 1
chord Ist move Key(s)

Songs that proceed from the I chord to an out or back-move in the sharp direction:

I Want to Be Happy I II-V I
J oy Spring I II I
Exactly Like You I II7 I
Take the A Train I II7 I
Pennies from Heaven I II I
I Got Rhythm I VI I
Good Bait I VI I
Im Old Fashioned I VI I
Have You Met Miss J ones I VI I
Indiana I VI7 I
Aint Misbehavin I bIIdim I
Like Someone in Love I VII I
Confirmation I VII I
Lover I VII7 I

Songs that proceed from a chord other than the I chord to a move in the sharp

Perdido II V I
Honeysuckle Rose II V I
Body and Soul II bI dim I
Sophisticated lady II III7 I
All the Things You Are VI II I
Fly Me To the Moon VI II I
Sweet Georgia Brown VI 7 II7 I
YoudBeSoNiceToComeHomeTo VI VII VI, I
Guess Ill Hang My Tears Out III bIII7 I
Hi Fly III mi7 VI7 II Ma7, I
Nice Work If You Can Get It III 7 VI7 I
Best Thing for You Is Me VII7 III I
Stella by Starlight #IVmi7b5 II I
Blue Lou bVI 7 V I
Social Call bVII 7 VI 7 I



Songs that proceed from the I chord to an out-move in a flat direction:

Blues I7 IV7 I
On Green Dolphin Street I bIII tilt I
Giant Steps I bIII 7 #V, III, I
Dolphin dance I I7sus4 tilt III, b IIsus4
Ill Remember April I I mi b tilt I mi
How High the Moon I I mi b tilt VII
Ladybird I IVmi7 I
Very Early I bVII7
You Stepped Out of a Dream I bII Ma7 bVI Ma7, I



Songs that proceed from a chord other than a I chord to an out-move in a flat direction:

Whisper Not I mi VImi7b5 ?
Solar I mi Vmi7 IV,I
Invitation I mi IV7 b III mi
So What I mi7 bIImi7 bII mi7
Silvers Serenade I mi7 bVmi7 ?
Moments Notice bII mi7 bV7 I
Bolivia II-V bIII Ma7 bIII,II,V,IV
Along Came Betty II bIIImi7 bII Ma7, I
Naima Vsus4 V mi7 tilt I
What Is This Thing Called Love Vmi7b5 I7 IVmi7, I
Miyako VI sus4 bV sus4 I,VI,



Songs that proceed from degrees of the scale other than the fifty already examined:
Spring Is Here I dimMa7
Duke Ellingtons Sound of Love bII 7(#9)
Ugly Beauty bII mi7b5
April in Paris II mi7b5
? bIII 7
? bIII mi7
Bye-Ya IV7
Monks Dream IV mi7
? bV7
Humph bVI7
? bVI mi7
East Coasting VI Ma7
Eclipse bVII7 (#9)
Introspection (if in D) bVII mi7
? bVII mi7b5
Introspection (if in Db) VII mi7


Improvising jazz on established harmonic and formal frameworks is both more simple and more
complex than first perceived. My hope is that you will find internalizing these musical structures
as rewarding an addition to your mental landscape as I have.