C6 chord over D and 3 C notes in right hand, then Am7. The chords contain the same notes. The proximity to the right hand doesn't allow for rearrangement of chord notes. Why does the author not just repeat C6? How is this intended to be played? What is the best transition?

  • This is in measure 7 of "What's New" song, from Real Jazz book. Apr 18, 2016 at 12:53

2 Answers 2


The bass part probably changes, maybe from a C to an A. I agree, the difference is subtle, and hardly worthwhile, especially if the rest of the chord voicing is static.A copy of the sample would give a better clue.

  • I am new here. How do I include a copy? Apr 18, 2016 at 12:50
  • Sorry, I'm too old to know... I'll have to dig out my fake books.
    – Tim
    Apr 18, 2016 at 12:54
  • That's fine. If you have the large Real Jazz book, my question refers to p. 402, "What's New?" Measure 7. Thank you - your comment above is helpful. However, I think it sounds better to just repeat C6. I personally don't like going lower, more bass, with the chord. Apr 18, 2016 at 13:01

That's just for root movement. So, measures 7 ad 8 are:

C6  Am7 Dm7  G7

The Am7 leads to the Dm7 much more naturally that C6 -> Dm7 would.

Also, right before the C6 in measure 7 is a G7 so that resolving to C6 instead of Am7 makes a lot of sense as well.

Remember, the strongest root movement in western music is V -> I. A good first place to start when figuring out why a certain progression is the way it is, is to look at root movements between chords.

  • Sorry, I did not specify, I needing piano chord arrangements. Apr 20, 2016 at 11:02
  • I should have, first said, thank you. Your answer is helping me to realize that I need to back off from specifics and study general chord progression concepts. My issue is that, I rarely play chords in root position, at the piano. I alter them for ease of fingering transitions from chord to chord. With the proximity of the right hand, in the above example, I am inclined to play both chords the same way. I am just learning how to interpret fake music notation. Are the chords meant to be played as written, I.e. root position? Or do I have the liberty to alter them as I see fit? Apr 20, 2016 at 11:31
  • The bass note matters, whether you or another instrument is playing it. The inversion or voicing of the upper notes doesn't (well it DOES, but the chord symbol doesn't define it). C, C/E, F is a quite different effect to C, C, F. Changing the bass note from C to A gives C6 a very different flavour and function.
    – Laurence
    Mar 3, 2017 at 13:02

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