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In Don't Get Around Much Anymore, the opening chord progression is CM7 Dm7 D#dim7 Em7. Is that #2 a substitution or inversion or something? How does it fit in the C major chord progression?

Is it similar to the walkdown in Sting's It's Probably Me that goes: Em7 Dadd4 C#m7b5 CM7 B7sus4 B7 EmM7add9

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    You can look at the D# as a "blue note" in the C scale. – Your Uncle Bob Aug 9 at 21:50
  • I would call that a b3 not a #2. – Todd Wilcox Aug 9 at 23:05
  • @ToddWilcox - Duke wrote it as #2. The original chart shows it as such. Although other transcriptions do say b3. – Tim Aug 10 at 3:57
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    That D#o could also be called Co. It's just a chromatic passing note/chord. – Tim Aug 10 at 4:03
  • The D#dim7 chord functions as a dominant of Em7. That's a very common progression in jazz. – Matt L. Aug 11 at 9:56
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The D#dim7 works in a C major context because it is the secondary dominant of the Em7 chord immediately following it. It's basically vii°7/iii (followed by iii7) there.

I don't think that chord progression is similar to the walkdown in Sting's It's Probably Me; I'd analyze that Sting chord progression as having common-tone chords, not secondary dominants.

  • But the riff doesn't end on Em7. It's very definitely a tonic, C chord. It could conceivably be decorated as a Cmaj7 (though it generally isn't in this song) or a C(add9) or C(6/9). But there's no question of there being a V - i to E minor. – Laurence Payne Aug 11 at 21:39
  • I'm not so familiar with much theory yet. I would have thought that B7 would be the secondary dominant of Em7. Did you mean that D#dim7 is the secondary diminished of Em7? – Kermit Brown Oct 4 at 0:04
  • @KermitBrown - You can put it that way. However, diminished 7ths are another type of dominant-function chord. – Dekkadeci Oct 4 at 0:09
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This 'diminished run' is one of the most prevalent cliches in popular music, from Ellington to Sondheim. It's all about the voice leading. Sometimes we label the intermediary notes with chord names, sometimes we don't bother and just write the notes. It only really works with the one specific voicing - a run in parallel thirds. Filling in 'full chords' isn't necessary and is probably sabotage.

Here it is with chord symbols and as notation. Recognise the pattern - as I said you'll come across it a LOT. And see what you're required to play when you find that chord sequence. Just that simple run of thirds.

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It's related to this other cliche, the 'Basie ending'. Again, you COULD confuse it with chord symbols... But you probaby shouldn't. Some things just need to be specific. Symbols don't cut it.

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