F# notes in what is presumably the key of G minor

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I've been playing 'La Chanson d'Orphée' ('A day in the life of a Fool') and 'Petite Fleur' from the excellent book, 'Un siècle de chansons françaises'.

As an aside, I like this series of French standards because, unlike many French and Italian songbooks that print the chords using their system (C = do; D = re; E = mi etc), this series uses the (for me) familiar American/British system. I've spoken to French pianists who tell me that it's easy to switch between the two but I have enough trouble playing with our good old CDEFGAB chord notation. I also remember the first time I looked at a German songbook and was confronted with a chord that was designated as 'H'! For what it's worth, there's an interesting article about all this at:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_signature_names_and_translations

Anyway, returning to the title of this post: both the above songs have the key signature of two flats. Judging by how they sound, I assume they are in Gm rather than Bb major. But what is it with the F sharps that occur from time to time in both songs? Are these just passing notes? Or is there something more fundamental going on? Are they perhaps part of a scale? Or is it just (as explained in the replies about How High the Moon) a temporary key change?

In 'Petite fleur', the first of these F# notes occurs in bar 4; in 'La Chanson d'Orphée', the first one also occurs in bar 4.

And finally, a footnote: someone once told me that Sidney Bechet composed 'Petite Fleur' while sitting (squatting?) on a loo in Paris in the 1950s. Has anyone else heard this story?

Thanks in advance for comments.

M
 
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SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
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I'm not familiar with that piece, nor with Sidney Bechet (I lived a depraved childhood.. er, I mean deprived!), but the internet says it's jazz. The sheet music I'm looking at online shows the guitar chords as D7, Gm, Gm/F, Am7b5/Eb, D7#5, Eb7, etc. Yep, it's written in the key of jazz, all right!

As you say, two flats suggests either Bb major or G minor. Both of those chords appear in the guitar tabs, so I guess it's either six of one or half a dozen of the other.

The notes of the major triad in Bb major are Bb, D, and F; or, the notes of the minor triad in G minor are G, Bb, and D. The D major scale/chord has F# in it. So it's either in the key of Bb major with a D major thrown in now and again, or the key of G minor with a D major thrown in.

But the preceding explanation is just hogwash, because it's jazz, and jazz has only one rule:

1. There are no rules.

Of course, jazz breaks that rule, too, because if you break all the rules, and the only rule is that there are no rules, then you have to break that rule, too.

Wait, that's not it. Let's see... The rule is that there are no rules. So that can't be a rule, because if it were a rule then there would be a rule, in which case there couldn't be no rules. So it can't be a rule that there are no rules, otherwise the rule would have to say something like "This is the only rule." But it doesn't say that, so it isn't a rule, just a suggestion.

No, wait, that's not right.

Ah, now I have a headache! :confused:
 
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I've been playing 'La Chanson d'Orphée'
I assume they are in Gm rather than Bb major. But what is it with the F sharps that occur from time to time
I'm not familiar with this song, but I had a quick look at it and it's definitely in Gm. The F# you refer to is the third of the D7 chord that sits under that part of the melody, that's why it sounds nice.
 

Oriane Lima

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The music "Manhã de Carnaval" ("Black Orpheus" or "A day in the life of a fool") was composed by the brazilian musician Luiz Bonfa. It is the main theme of the famous movie "Black Orpheus". It has a quite simple harmonic structure underneath a fabulous melody.

The potential "range" for improvisation in its spacious harmony, called the atention of great jazz musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Canonball Alderly, and many others. I like very much how Doug Mackenzie (a great australian jazz teacher) improvises over it.


Mike, observe, "g minor" consists of the pitches: G, A, Bb, C, D, Eb and F.

For the g harmonic minor scale, the 7th degree, F is raised to F#.
For the g melodic minor scale, the 6th degree, Eb is raised to E, and the 7th, F is raised to F#.

So, the D7 is borrowed, hence the F#.

I don't know which score do you have. In the one I have, the first 16 measures are:

Gm, Cm (iv), D7 (borrowed 5th degree from g minor harmonic), Gm, Cm, D7, Gm,

Cm (ii) F7 (V) Bb (I) (a modulation), Fm (a passage only as Fm6, the 6 being the melody note ) G7 Cm F7 Bb (modulation) and Eb (just a passing to maintain the Bb as the melody note).

The second music Petite Fleur, is a bit more complicated because in the score I have, there are lots of slash chords. It w'd be nice if you could post a photo, for us all to know if we are talking the same subject, OK?
 

Fred Coulter

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A raised seven is very common in minor keys. Basically, even thought the key is minor and the V chord would normally be minor, too, much of the time the V is major. (Thus the raised seventh note.) Among other things, it leads directly (half step) to the tonic.
 
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Just revisited this thread.
Did I really not reply with a note of thanks for the help?
Very sorry ... the replies are most helpful.
M
 
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Cheers Ray, much appreciated.

I’ll get on it once my hand has healed up, two months into not being able to play right handed.
 
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