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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hear that 4th's shouldn't be played with emphasis while improvising. I mean, like in bebop. There's alot of emphasis on the bebop scale and chromatic approach to chord tones. Do 4th's change the tonality or something? I have two versions of a lick in G (in 16th notes), one with a fourth, and one without:

4th:
G,F#,F,A,E,D,C,Bb,G

No 4th:
G,F#,F,A,E,D,Bb,B,G.

Is it the C that makes the lick resolve to something along the lines of a (minor) blues lick? Or am I just exceedingly dim?
 

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Both licks are fine. You can lay a 4th over a G. The problem with the 4th is that it is a half step from the 3rd of B. There's a lot of tension there when you just hold it or end a phrase on it. When you play it you just have to resolve it some how and then it sounds great. If you look at bebop solos there are 4ths all over the place but you'll almost always find them resolving them to the 3rd or 5th in some cool way.
 

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That's usually a thing they tell newbies to watch out for.

But as your ears get bigger and phrasing deeper, you'll hear guy's on record breaking all kinds of *rules* in a very ordered and logical manner. Warne Marsh started a phrase on C on a G blues *Blues For Lester - Cafe Montmarte Vol 1*

Those licks can resolve wherever you hear them to resolve.
 

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I don't think that totally matters especially when its resolved into minor. The only thing about 4ths being played is having them held out. Long note on the 4th can make it sound like the chord that is played is wrong or your note is trying to change the chord around...Complicated Theory. C,E,G,Bb = C Major Dom. 7th. But add the 4th makes it seem like this C,E,F,G,Bb = F Major 11. It really messes up the chords and the progression of them. I say, Just no long tones on 4ths...RESOLVING IS THE KEY TO JAZZ. use 4ths to resolve into the next progression
 

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That's usually a thing they tell newbies to watch out for.

But as your ears get bigger and phrasing deeper, you'll hear guy's on record breaking all kinds of *rules* in a very ordered and logical manner. Warne Marsh started a phrase on C on a G blues *Blues For Lester - Cafe Montmarte Vol 1*

Those licks can resolve wherever you hear them to resolve.
I agree 100% with this.

When you're first fumbling about with improvisation the 4th can sound like a clanger, particularly if it's surrounded by some lame phrasing. The easiest advice to give is to avoid the fourth. I think newcomers tend to see the advice, which is soundly based, as a rule.

But there are good phrasing and stylistic reasons to play the 4th with conviction. It's often a startling and highly appropriate note and a pointer towards your level of comfort with improv.
 

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You can play 4ths while improvising, but you need to show your listeners that you actually heard what it sounded like when you play the notes that follow it.
 

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'Mi against Fa is the devil in Musica'.

Fa can make it sound funky. That can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the context.

Fa (held out) typically has a role in predominant or dominant phases of a melody. To sound it over a tonic part of a musical phrase creates a clash with the melody as well as a dissonance against Mi and Sol.

You can do it, just know how to resolve the line to tonic.
 

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There's nothing wrong with 4ths. You just can't hang on one without resolving it. And it really applies more to major (and dominant) chords than minor chords. They're perfecting fine if used as a passing note between the 3rd and 5th (which is what your example is) or as a neighbor tone or as an approach note. Just don't end your phrase on one or hang on one without resolving it in some way to either the 3rd or 5th.
 

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I said before that the 4th is OK but there are times when it's clearly not.

Once I was playing with a New Orleans style marching band and we were doing the obligatory "funeral" demo at a festival. For the dirge we were playing "Flee As A Bird" which has a 2 bar turnaround at the end so the last 4 bars goes:

I / V7 / .......I / IV / .........I / V7 / ........ I / / /

I could hear the trumpets (who weren't all that familiar with the tune I guess) not going for that IV. But the clarinet playing leader, a stickler for doing everything authentically, was oblivious to the reality of the situation and soared on the 4th (the melody note) above the whole band that was resolutley finishing on the tonic chord. He was not a happy chap being left to hang out to dry on an unforgiveable note that somehow even the tone deaf can hear is wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I also have another question. What's with the b5ths in bebop. Do they fit well with the tritone substitution? My ear just wont accept that the substitute chord is fine, except when I hear a melody that I can follow. Alot of the bossa novas Stan Getz did with Jobim have those reharmonized chords in them.
 

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'Mi against Fa is the devil in Musica'.

Fa can make it sound funky. That can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the context.

Fa (held out) typically has a role in predominant or dominant phases of a melody. To sound it over a tonic part of a musical phrase creates a clash with the melody as well as a dissonance against Mi and Sol.

You can do it, just know how to resolve the line to tonic.
Isn't it ti against fa? Because that's a dimished 5th which is the devils interval.
 

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I also have another question. What's with the b5ths in bebop. Do they fit well with the tritone substitution? My ear just wont accept that the substitute chord is fine, except when I hear a melody that I can follow. Alot of the bossa novas Stan Getz did with Jobim have those reharmonized chords in them.
Tritone substitution are for a chromatic bass line. With the flat 5 don't they just mean things liken D-7 b5, G7. C-7?
 

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What's with the b5ths in bebop. Do they fit well with the tritone substitution?.
These are two different things. The b5 is a 'blue note' that wants to resolve up or down a half step. Play a blues scale (1 b3 4 b5 5 b7) and you'll get the idea.

Tritone substitution is substituting a dom chord a tritone away. For example, Db7 will substitute for G7. It's most commonly used to smooth out the chord line, resulting in a chromatic line for the chord roots. So for example, iii-VI7-ii-V7 becomes iii-bIII7-ii-bII7. The bIII7 and bII7 are tritone substitutes for VI7 and V7, respectively.

So, in the key of C: Emin-A7-Dmin-G7 becomes Emin-Eb7-Dmin-Db7. This all sounds pretty esoteric, but go play those two progressions on the piano and you'll see immediately why the be-boppers (and everyone really) liked the second one best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So, in the key of C: Emin-A7-Dmin-G7 becomes Emin-Eb7-Dmin-Db7. This all sounds pretty esoteric, but go play those two progressions on the piano and you'll see immediately why the be-boppers (and everyone really) liked the second one best.
It allows for a more interesting approach to the harmony?
 

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Isn't it ti against fa? Because that's a dimished 5th which is the devils interval.
I wondered the same thing...Ti against Fa makes more sense, but I think it's actually 'mi against fa...'
 

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It allows for a more interesting approach to the harmony?
Yes, that might be one way to put it. But it also smooths out the line, whether you're playing the roots (bass player) or a single-note line on the sax, or the full chords themselves. It's true that with good voice leading, the pianist can smooth out the chord line with either progression (with or without the tritone subs), but a chromatic line is just smoother than jumping around from the iii to the VI chord, etc. It's all a matter of sound and your own taste. One way is not necessarily right or wrong.
 

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I also have another question. What's with the b5ths in bebop. Do they fit well with the tritone substitution? My ear just wont accept that the substitute chord is fine, except when I hear a melody that I can follow. Alot of the bossa novas Stan Getz did with Jobim have those reharmonized chords in them.
When I see a dominant 7th flat 5 chord many times I will think whole tone. It sounds great on that chord. Are those the chords you are talking about?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
When I see a dominant 7th flat 5 chord many times I will think whole tone. It sounds great on that chord. Are those the chords you are talking about?
I mean if I play a blues bridge on a piano in Bb:

F7, Eb7, E7, F7 instead of the usual F7, Eb7, Bb7, F7. Maybe I'm placing the substitute wrong?
 
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