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padlin
05-14-2016, 06:02 AM
Got a couple Willie Nelson songs that call for a couple, strange to me, chords.

Dm7-5 and a G7+5

Dm7 and G7 I understand, What's the - or + 5 mean?

I have the tab for them so I can play them, just never seen a - or + come up before and have no idea what the symbols mean.

Bob

pointpergame
05-14-2016, 07:31 AM
Got a couple Willie Nelson songs that call for a couple, strange to me, chords.

Dm7-5 and a G7+5

Dm7 and G7 I understand, What's the - or + 5 mean?

I have the tab for them so I can play them, just never seen a - or + come up before and have no idea what the symbols mean.

Bob

Bob,
I'm not the pro musician some members here are, but I'll give you my take on that notation and what it WANTS to be saying but probably isn't.

dm7-5 is another way of saying d minor seventh with a flat five.
Thus:
Root --- minor 3rd --- minor 5th --- minor 7th. Notes:
D F Ab C

I've never been crazy about the ambiguity ( is it d minor with a 7th or d with a minor 7th )...and this notation breaks down a little and has to rely on convention.

Conceptionally it's makes way more sense to see this as...a diminished chord with a minor 7th.

If you have a piano(etc) keyboard, here's a cute way to grasp the diminished: Play a C (major) chord. Now, simply raise the root finger one half step ( to C# ), Leave the other two fingers where they are ( E and G ). Now you have moved from a C major chord to a C# diminished. Lo and Behold, this is a very common chord progression. If you can blur your thinking for a second, it can also be seen as simply "moving" the root note up a half step, almost always on the way to yet another upward step of the root note.

So, as I see it, the -5 is a bit of a misleading notation. Rather than being a downward half step of the 5th, it is more an upward half step of the root. But such is chord notation.

It is hard to talk about music. A guy on the MandolinCafe has a signature that says something like, "talking about music is like dancing about architecture." No matter what one says about the meaning of a set of chords or a line of music, someone will see it differently. There are many ways to notate chords and some musicians can be very opinionated about them.


G7+5 is simply a G7 chord with a sharp 5 ( that is, augmented )
The notes would be: 1 , 3, 5#, 7b ( since the plain 7 here signifies the flatted 7th ). If I saw this notation in, say, a Carol King song, I'd guess the melody is the 5 note and it's moving upward half a step on the way to some other note. In that case I like the notation, G7#5, rather than the +5 because it signifies what the music is doing.

BTW, I posted a response to a "how to notate chord melody" topic a couple days ago then got swept up by SW Ohio weather and couldn't respond. Some UU-ers wanted to know what I meant by using extended chord notation to notate chord melody. Well...this is what I meant.



If I'm in error somewhere here, please let me know.

padlin
05-14-2016, 11:38 AM
Thanks for the detailed explanation, I've got it now.