In a recent question from a reader, I was asked why in many examples on this site do I denote the iii chord in a iii Vi ii V as half-diminished?
This is an excellent question. In many lead sheets you see the iii chord denoted as minor and many theory books claim that the iii chord should always be minor because that’s how you would derive it from the tonic key.
So, what’s correct? We’ll get there later…
The thing you have to remember for now is that chords are sounds. It almost seems dumb saying that, but we often forget that simple fact. Chords are not just symbols on paper. They are living, breathing, aural entities that work together to create a progression.
A progression “works” because one chord pushes to the next. That’s why it’s called a progression…it progresses. It’s this sense of forward motion within progressions that allow you to make many different decisions on what chords you specifically play at any given time.
Lead sheets are leading you astray
I remember years ago learning tunes from play-along recordings with the written music in front of me and no matter what, I couldn’t seem to sound “right.”
I finally took it upon myself to learn one of the tunes I was working on straight from the recording. At first, it took a lot longer and I was terribly frustrated, but it got much easier. And then, I realized, wait a minute, the piano is not playing … Read More