3

Here is a progression in a song I am playing

Excerpt from "Feelin' My Way" by Lang and Kress

On the 3rd beat of the second measure there is a Dm6 or G9/D chord (or B half diminished first inversion): at least that's what Carl Kress is playing there. I usually hear the 3rd inversion V chord there (E7/D here) in this type of progression, at least in more classical style pieces, but I have often seen this substitution or other substitutions when the bass note reaches the 4th of the scale.

I guess other options would be D diminished or D major.

Here are my questions:

  1. Is this a common enough thing that there is a standard analysis of this chord?

  2. What is the best name for this chord?

  3. What would be other common substitutions when you have this basic baseline and pattern.

As I understand it, this progression is a substitution for simply play 4 bars of A, and the soloist in this song is certainly treating these bars that way.

I'm thinking that I could look at this as an E7 with upper extensions, so this chord being

E plus D-B-F-A

this could be a E11b9 or something as well.

Here is a version of the score with my playing my version: Bart on Musescore

2
  • Is the E7/D in parentheses on your sheet added by you? That chord has different notes and sound in this passage than a Dm6 and IMO makes the progression less interesting than the Dm6, just I V I V etc. with a moving bass line. Oct 17 at 15:48
  • I am using a transcription, there is no sheet music. It sounds like Kress was playing the Dm6, but as I mentioned, I think fundamentally the chord is just 4 Bars of A. I added the E7/B because George M Smith has a lot of exercises that go like that, so it helps me remember what is happening there. Oct 18 at 16:55
2

The observation that the entire passage is, in effect, a prolonged A chord, is accurate, and that would be the broad "classical" interpretation. The E chords and D (or B) are functioning as prolongational chords rather serving dominant or pre-dominant functions, respectively.

At that level, one could substitute any chord that can serve a "prolonging" function: A tritone sub for A (Eb); any chord rooted by B, D, or E; even a C# minor or F# minor chord could work, since they share two notes in common with the A chord; a bII chord (Bb) might be a possibility.

Appropriate substitutions — perhaps with extensions or alterations to accommodate the overall A major sound — would depend on context and, when improvising, sufficient understanding (explicit or implicit) between the ensemble members.

See also Tritone substitution to a major chord?

4

Although you already accepted an answer I have thoughts on this. I listened to the original recording. The E7/B chords are not that but actually Bm chords thus this is a progression and not all A. It is a partially diatonic walk up and back down from A to Dm6. In answer to your numbered questions:

  1. iv (or IVm6) is a common non-diatonic chord used in major keys and comes from borrowing the iv chord from Am, the parallel minor.

  2. It’s simply a Dm6.

  3. The E7/B you mentioned would work as a substitution for the Bm since there is no clash with the F# E’s in the melody there.

You’re right on as far as melodically it is a simple melody in A major. Since they don’t play an F# melody note against the Dm6 it works great.

It’s a fantastic recording, thanks for asking and sharing.

1
  • 1
    Thanks for this answer. Knowing Kress's playing style somewhat from "Master's of the Plectrum Guitar" and listening to him a lot, there is a good chance that the E7/B is E9/B voiced as B-G#-D-F#, which is very close to a Bminor chord. Kress also probably played something hipper than A/C#, but A-E7/B-A/C#/E/D was very common at the time, and you can hear Kress play something similar in Gb on "Pickin' My Way" at the "Trio" part. I wish I could accept both answer! Oct 19 at 15:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.