I've just transcribed the trumpet solo in the following recording: http://www.sierramusicmp3.com/mp3/newmp3s/Heat%20of%20the%20Day,%20The%20(UNT).mp3 At around 5:20 the soloist plays an E major triad over the Gmaj7 chord in the changes. What is the rationale/theory behind this? I believe the song is in B minor. The preceding chord is F#min7 and so is the chord after.

  • 1
    After listening to that excerpt, I have to agree with John Belzaguy and his answer: I honestly cannot hear a Gmaj7 on the bottom at 5:20 to a few seconds later - the closest I hear is a G with no B or F#.
    – Dekkadeci
    Oct 13, 2022 at 19:30
  • Are you by any chance reading an already written Bb trumpet part for this tune? The Bb trumpet is a transposing instrument, so things are written a whole-tone higher than they sound. If you want your sound in A minor, you'd write it in B minor. It is flamenco in A minor. Play the chords Am - G - F - E and you're in the ballpark. Add some F notes and an occasional G to go with the G# note over the E major chord, and you're even more closely there. No Gmaj7 anywhere. Or I'd like to hear you perform that transcription, I assume it would sound nothing like the mp3. Oct 14, 2022 at 10:13

3 Answers 3


The trumpet solo at that point generally revolves around an E Phrygian and A minor tonality, the bass plays a sustained A with E and G passing notes. There’s no Gmaj7, the M7 note is F# and there are a lot of F’s, not F#’s in both the solo and harmony. At 5:20 the trumpet plays an ascending line of E F G G# B… which can be interpreted as an E Phrygian with an added M3 or A minor with an added G# leading tone. The notes of a E major triad are within that line as you can see so I would say the explanation is that it is the leading tone of A minor or it is the Spanish flamenco flavor of playing both m3 and M3 over an E tonality and including F for a Phrygian flavor.


Wild guess.

You're transcribing the sounding trumpet notes from the mp3, but taking the backing chords that you call "the changes" from someone's already written music sheet for Bb instruments such as trumpet. That's wrong. You should be transcribing the backing chords from the mp3 as well, and not taking them pre-written, let alone for a transposing instrument. That music sheet is not even in the same key, and it might be - or it probably is - different than what's on the mp3 or simply plain wrong. Most of what you find freely on the internet is Wrong (tm). And even if it's "right", it could be describing a simpler stereotypical version of the tune. Or a different arrangement. Very likely it is not a description of this particular passage of this particular recording of the tune. Trust your ears, not your eyes, and most important of all, definitely do not trust random stuff you find on the internet.

The Bb trumpet is a transposing instrument that sounds one whole-tone lower than written. A tune that's written in Bm for a Bb transposing instrument, sounds in Am "concert pitch", which is where you have your pianos and keyboards etc.

For the key of A minor, the chords you mention, Gmaj7 and F#m7 do not make any sense and do not really resemble what is actually heard on the mp3. But on a music sheet written for Bb transposing instruments, Gmaj7 and F#m7 would make sense, and they would mean a sounding Fmaj7 and Em7 in concert pitch.


You can justify the E major triad's usage over the Gmaj7 as a way to create tension in the melodic line. While the E and B work well in the Gmaj7 Chord and in the Key of B minor. The G# is an outlier as it doesn't appear naturally in a B minor scale (unless its harmonic minor) and was probably used to create dissonance and therefore tension in the melodic line.

Playing an E major triad also helps with making the dissonance of the G# more subtle as you are playing the E, which is consonant/familiar within the chord. Then the G#, which is Dissonant. And then going to B which is consonant/familiar again. Basically, sandwiching two consonant tones between a dissonant tone rather than playing complete dissonant tones which may have sounded too out for the soloist.


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