How High the Moon (in G?)


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Just been playing the above from the Jazz Fake Book. The key signature has one sharp so I assume it's in G; indeed it starts with a Gmaj7 and end with a G. However, the version in the book shows five F notes but each one is a natural. Perhaps there are plenty of songs where this kind of thing happens but I can't recall seeing any. Does a clue lie in the fact that the bars where the F naturals occur show C7, FM7 and Bb7 above the stave?
Apologies for this basic question but I'm a self-taught pianist with very limited knowledge of musical theory.
M
 
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Rayblewit

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Good question. I am also self taught and I have seen this too.

Why is this song in the key of G but not one F note is played as a sharp?

Perhaps there are plenty of songs where this kind of thing happens but I can't recall seeing any.
I have seen quite a few.

I am glad you raised this topic Mike and hopefully some clever people here will explain the theory . .thanks;)
 

happyrat1

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I'm no music theorist but when I'm playing by ear an occasional off key note adds a bit of the blues to a song.

Take a look at the jazz and blues scales. They are full of accidentals generally played as slide or transition notes to add a little grit to the mix.

Gary ;)
 

Oriane Lima

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Hi there. I read your question with interest.

Music needs the sense of movement. To modulate is to “move” either inside the same key or to another key, otherwise music would be very boring. Modulation is how we call this movement; “to modulate” is to move the harmony (chords) and the melody to another key, simple as that.

The cycle of fifths is the main and most important tool to study and apply the art of modulation (among other tings). So, it is of paramount importance to learn “at exhaustion” the movement of the keys and notes in the cycle. Without this knowledge one can easily get lost and misunderstand the written music in a lead sheet, for example.

I downloaded How High the Moon lead sheet in GMj key and tried to understand its harmonic structure. One very important thing when studing a sheet of music, is to “MAP its harmony”. In occidental music, specially in jazz, the most important movement is from ii to V7 to I (2 5 1 the movement from the supertonic (2nd degree), to the dominant (5th degree) and than to the tonic (1st degree). This is called a perfect cadence, it can be used throughout the music, and generally the music ends like this, with a perfect cadence.

I Maped it as you can see in the figure. The music starts with a pickup in the GMj key. Than it modulates to FMj, to EbMj, to GMj again, and, by means of a “turn around’ (Am7 to D7) returns to its main key center of GMj. By doing this the composer could fit its moving melodic line in a consistent way and with a sense of an agreeable harmonic-melodic sound to the ear.

Mike, this is te secret: MAP ITfind the sequences of ii V I (2 5 1) to have a general idea of the harmony (doing this it makes easier to internalize the sounds and learn the music by heart (Obs.: learning the lyrics, helps the brain in this process). But than, suddenly appears some imprecise movements, in this music (Am7 to D7 without going to the I, the tonic). This is called a Deceptive Cadence, or half cadence on incomplete cadence. The composer uses it (as passages?) to be in accordance with its melodic line, for example, in the passage Am7 D7 and than to Gm7 (instead of GMj). Why he did this? Observe, he just used another musical concept by means of the use of the relative parallel minor Gm7 (of GMj). This parallel Gm7 has in its signature Bb and Eb. This allowed him to borrow from the harmonic minor Gm7, both Am7b5 and D7b9, giving an extra flavor to the sound to end in GMj, in a perfect cadence. Observe tat te dominant7 D7 is altered by the presence of the b9 (Eb), wich continues nicely with the previous Eb, the flat 5 alredy present in the Am7b5.

The other Am7 D7, is also a defective cadence. It continues with a Bm7 (that is the 3rd diatonic degree of GMj wich than goes to a Bb7 (just a passing note) to land a half step bellow Am7, than goes to D7, in a perfect turn around to GMj tonic key.

That is it Mike. I hope this helps.



A few ideas for you:

MODULATION:

MINOR MODES

CYCLE 5
 
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Rayblewit

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I can now understand the blues aspect apparent by playing a natural F rather than F# which adds some spice into the tune being in the key of G.
Thanks for the lessons.

However, if one was to play that tune in the key of C. No one would be any wiser or could pick the difference. Right? There is no difference. All of the notes are played in in the C scale except where indicated there are a couple of flat notes within . . One in the 4th bar and one in the 8th bar. . a couple more is all.

It intrigues me to know how the hell you professional musos know how to play these tunes without sheet music! I often hear the lead tell his band that this tune is in the key of G (for example) How do you know not to play the F as a sharp?

Sorry Mike, if I have cracked open an egg on your thread. :eek:
 
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Very many thanks indeed to Oriane Lima for taking the trouble to write such a comprehensive reply … that was very kind of you.

(As an aside, the internet often gets a bad press – trolling, abuse, profanity and so on – but this is an example of it at its helpful best. I remember those pre-internet days when it would have been impossible to get replies to such a question.)

Returning to the matter in hand, I'd come across the circle of fifths before but never seen such a clear illustration. This has prompted me to revisit the circle and try out the hints and exercises that are suggested.

Thank you again.

M
 
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(As an aside, the internet often gets a bad press – trolling, abuse, profanity and so on – but this is an example of it at its helpful best. I remember those pre-internet days when it would have been impossible to get replies to such a question.)
Don't worry, plenty of that goes on. Fortunately not here, though! This forum is very well moderated and idiots don't hang around long.
 
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Oriane Lima

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I'm glad to cooperate with you, Mike.

" ____ but this is an example of it at its helpful best. I remember those pre-internet days when it would have been impossible to get replies to such a question." Hi, Mike. I got the sense of contrast you meant. I'm thankful for that. :)

Previously, before-web, learning was only possible with a teacher (looking over his shoulders). The web is a bottomless pit of knowledge ... you're right there's a lot of rubbish, you have to separate the chaff from the wheat to find good meaningful content. Cowboy emphasized this point, regarding this site, a well protected place, thank you Cowboy.
 

Oriane Lima

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... if I have cracked open an egg on your thread. :eek:
Ray, I'm going to enjoy the egg, and make an omelet with merguez... a major/minor musical gourmet recipe, full of bemols, sharps, pentatonic runs, blue notes, diminished arpeggios and sequences of weird altered scales.

I would invent from the top of my head , and throw the sounds I'm listening (from inside of my soul) and create a new melodic line, playing out of the changes, in a frenzy bacanal of notes; I would then try to imitate Art Tatum's endless scales, playing without a single "avoid note", even though, certainly, I would have touched them all, and funny, they w'd not seem dissonant or wrong, why is it so? I would try and play the amazing and gigantic, beautiful diatonic block chords solos, played by Dave Brubeck; I would try to bend the notes, creating fantastic ghostly microtones in a awesome blues solo (Les Pauls genius style) and so on, and then I would go home ( to the tonic) and rest for awhile, watching in front of my eyes, the tiny original score of "How high the moon" which I quickly read it's essential "résumé" of bars, in this sacred "Fake Book" bible. My "Fake Book", companion of bars, restaurants, nightclubs, where I can impresse the beautiful women, and leave the "machones" open-mouthed and jaw-dropping.

Meanwhile the other musicians kept playing, and signals me to play again, a second passage. "J", I think, I will not be able to repeat anything at all, from what I've played before (all those cool improvised sounds). But still everything I play "de novo", reinventing all over again, sounds all very cool, allowing me, to return safely and happy to the initial original tone of the song (or then ending it).

Playing from a Fake Book is for professionals. They know how to do it, and they do it well. I, practice, in a sort of incessant and tiring, trial and error, but fortunately this kind of exercise always gives me the impression that I am learning... just crawling, like a toddler.

Just to ilustrate this recipe:



 
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I think just about every one of us piano players comes up with this same question at a certain point in our learning. Early on we get a slightly mistaken understanding of the meaning of the key signature on the printed music, feeling like it's meant as a convenient helpful hint reminding us or instructing us to (in this example) play all the F's we see as F# - almost as if the transcriber charted out the music sharping each F individually, then realized retroactively that they were all sharp and decided, "hey I'll just put the F# at the beginning and then they'll know to sharp them all without having to be told each time." (And therefore, it seems annoying and counter-intuitive that in a case like this they give the sharping "rule" at the top, and then every incidence of the note is an exception to that rule! Why have the key signature at all? Why indicate at the top that the F's will be sharped, and then tell me not to do it each time?)

In actuality though, the key signature simply tells us what key the piece is in, what tonic note it is based around; and its being (e.g.) in G does not in any way imply that there won't be any F naturals or even that there will be any F#'s at all in the melody (or elsewhere). The key is not a "result" or indicator of what notes are or aren't used, any notes can appear in any key (the way some of them are notated/named will vary between keys, but they can still appear). Rather the key signature at the beginning of the piece derives from and indicates what key the song is in, what the tonic center is. (Here, as again, you noticed yourself, it is definitely G!) Now, in simpler compositions, and many are, it will work out this way - the entire melody and all the chords may exclusively consist of notes from the I Major scale. But there's no rule about it, as you found out!
 
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Excellent explanation of the circle of fifths above from Adriane. I've been playing professionally off and on for more than a half a century and I didn't really understand keys until I went to other instruments. In hopes of minimum obfustication here let me throw this in. Generally the first, fourth, and fifth chords (the chords built on the first fourth and fifth note of a scale) are the major chords and the most used. Then the 6th, 2nd and 3rd are the minors that are most commonly used. Notice that these are the chords that fit wholly inside the scale. Now the seventh is seldom used because it is a diminished. (try it and see) So why is that important? Suppose we are doing a recording session backing a vocalist and he's in G. He decides that feels too high and wants to drop it to F. Do we re-write our music? Of course not we simply play the same numbered chords from F. That gave rise to what is called Nashville Notation. It simply means the music is supplied with numbers instead of chord names. There are several conventions but commonly roman numerals are used for major chords and lower case roman numerals for minors although it isn't uncommon to see 1, 6m, 4 for a root, 6 minor and 4th major sequence. I'm going to stop before adding any unnecessary confusion.
 
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The bars/notes with the F-natural (chords FM7 and Bb7) represent a temporary key change, not enduring enough to change the key signature. The C7 chord has no F in it, but in the key of F, it is the root of the 5-chord, which leads back to an F-chord. Does that help?
 
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Thanks again for all the help.
I'm about to launch another query in a separate post.
Hoping for more enlightenment.
M
 
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Fred Coulter

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Don't get tied down to the key. Accidentals exist in almost all music, and chords are whatever the composer likes.

Quick question. What key do the following two chords appear: A major, C major? What piece am I thinking of? Gates of Delirium by Yes (off of Relayer).
 

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