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augmented chord



I know what an augmented chord is and it's degree's, however when do you use it in music? In what chord progressions do you apply the aug chord?
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Re: augmented chord

5/15/2003 7:21 PM

Paul Stelzmann (340) wrote:

My answer would be wherever it sounds good. When you create music, sometimes it is best to put aside the rules or framework..."what am I supposed to play?" Just trust your ears.

Think of a painter who has an assortment of colours on his palette. Your question is kind of like him asking, "Well, where do I use this funky yellow-green color."
Well, he can force it into the composition, but it may not look right. Or he can patiently wait for the right compostion where that color would blend in beautifully.
The only difference is he is using his eyes, you are using your ears.

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Re: augmented chord

5/15/2003 8:43 PM

Steve Scott (617) wrote:

The augmented chord (1,3,#5) is found in scale types like harmonic minor, melodic minor, lydian minor, lydian diminished, and a few others. The chord will generally sound fine played with other chords from the same scale, or key as some might call it. So one approach is to know the key you are in, and know what chords go with it. It can be used to briefly modulate away from the major key.

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Re: augmented chord

5/16/2003 7:10 AM

Jon Riley (9697) wrote:

It's usually used as a passing chord, in the following situations:

(a) Major key V - V+ - I, or I - I+ - IV (G - G+ - C)
(b) Major key I - I+ - vi (C - C+ - Am)
(c) Minor key i - III+ - III (reverse of (b), Am - C+ - C)

Because the augmented triad is symmetrical, making the root ambiguous, the C+ in (b) and (c) can also be seen as E+, the V of A minor. In (c) it commonly has a G# bass, dropping to a G bass on the C chord.

A nice use of (a) is in the intro to Stevie Wonder's "You Are The Sunshine of My Life". He doesn't use the unaltered V chord at all, but alternates the I chord (Cmaj7) with the augmented V7 (G7#5).
Over the G7#5 chord, he plays a riff on the wholetone scale (G-A-B-C#-D#-F). This is the classic jazz choice for dom7#5 chords. (In fact, Stevie lifted this wholetone riff from a McCoy Tyner phrase on the Wayne Shorter tune "Juju".)
In this case, it's not actually a passing chord, but a sustained dissonance, acting like an altered dom7 chord (but see below).

The other type of aug chord (maj7#5) is much rarer, and takes the lydian augmented or ionian augmented scale, or even the augmented scale.
Lydian augmented = 1-2-3-#4-#5-6-7 (3rd mode melodic minor)
Ionian augmented = 1-2-3-4-#5-6-7 (3rd mode harmonic minor)
Augmented = 1-#2-3-5-#5-7 (6 notes)

E.g., in example (b), you could have C - Cmaj7#5 - Am, and any of those 3 scales would fit the Cmaj7#5.
(Example (c), using Am-Cmaj7#5-C/G, is the Stairway to Heaven pattern.)

But, if the maj7#5 was played as a plain aug triad, the C wholetone scale might be better - this is the same as the E wholetone scale, and would reflect the chord's pivot role as the V of Am. It would give C+ (or E+) a Bb/A# note in place of the B natural.
A full-scale wholetone chord might be called a "9#5#11" - root-3rd-#5-b7-9-#11. Because the scale is symmetrical, the chords can be very ambiguous. Essentially G9#5 = B9#5 = Eb9#5 = A9#5 = Db9#5 = F9#5 (!)

BTW, don't confuse 7#5 chords with altered dom7s. These can have #5s, but would also have a #9 or b9.
"G7#5#9" = "G7alt" which means the G altered scale - G-Ab-A#-B-C#-D#-F
"G9#5" means the G wholetone scale, and "G7#5" probably does too (although G altered would also fit G7#5).
The scales are similar, except G wholetone has a major 9th, and G altered has both a b9 and #9.

JonR



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Re: augmented chord

5/16/2003 9:00 AM

Inactive Member wrote:

Hi Jon, nice explanation (as usual) But I noticed something that isn't quite right. I'm sure it's just an oversight, but should be adressed.

In your explanation, you said -

BTW, don't confuse 7#5 chords with altered dom7s. These can have #5s, but would also have a #9 or b9.

Not true. An altered dominant chord is any dominant chord that has either the 5, the 9 or combination of the two, raised or lowered by a half step.

Where the difference lies between the aug chord and altered dom when only the 5 is augmented is actually in the 7th.

The altered dominant will (usually) have the minor 7, where as the aug chord when viewed in function, would have the maj7. (whether your playing a triad or extension, function and intent of all intervals is the same IMO)

So therefor, a 1 3 #5 triad could actually function as an altered dom in a lot of situations and even be refered to as so, although most players do elect to use the min7 as it is a primary chord tone.





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Re: augmented chord

5/18/2003 9:06 AM

Jon Riley (9697) wrote:

Sorry, yes, by "altered dom7" I meant the chord usually indicated as "7alt", which takes the altered scale.
A "7alt" chord doesn't have a major 9 - it has a b9 and #9 - although this is the only difference from the wholetone-scale 7#5 or 9#5 chord.
In my understanding, an altered dom7 has both the 5th and 9th altered, in either direction. (Although it's possible to view the 5th as perfect, in the bass at least, and give the chord a #11 and/or b13 higher up.)

Chords with an augmented 5th (and a potential major 9) could have either a b7 or maj7, true.
The maj7#5 obviously has a quite different function from the 7#5.
You're right that an aug triad could be expanded into either a 7#5 (wholetone), maj7#5 (lydian or ionian augmented) or 7alt (altered).
But which works best will depend on how the chord is being used. I'd guess in most situations, one method will work better than the others.

I agree I shouldn't have made such a strong distinction between "7alt" and 7#5s - they use different scales, but tend to function in similar ways (as dom7s). It's the maj7#5 that's the odd one out.

JonR



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Re: augmented chord

5/16/2003 5:14 PM

Charles Gacsi (42523) wrote:

Dear Jon,
You lost me in the use of your equal signs as the chords do not appear to me to be equal or the same ... Some thing I am missing or perhaps out of context. This is what I read.

G9#5 = B9#5 = Eb9#5 = A9#5 = Db9#5 = F9#5

FG9#5 = notes G, B, D#, F, A
B9#5 = notes B, D#, Fx, A, C#,
Eb9#5 = notes Eb, G, B, Db, F
A9#5 = notes A, C#, Ex, G, B
Db9#5 = notes Db, F, A, Cb, Eb
F9#5 = F, A, C#, Eb, G.

Using the equal sign, from my view, indicates that the notes in one chord are identical to another chord and from the example I posted here, the notes are not identical from chord to chord. True some of the notes are identical, but not all. Please clarify in simple terms the differences as they either are identical or not identical and if not then the equal sign should be dropped. Some are enharmonic tones, and if some tones are eliminated, then those remaining parts would be the same, but not the same chord symbols.???? Charlie



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Re: augmented chord

5/18/2003 8:51 AM

Jon Riley (9697) wrote:

Sorry Charles, I should have guessed someone would pick me up on that! :-)

I carefully used the word "essentially", meaning the "=" sign was qualified: the identity was not 100%. But I realise this wasn't as clear as it might have been.

Each chord contains 5 notes from the same 6-note wholetone scale: A-B-C#/Db-D#/Eb-F-G.
(If you add the #11 to each of those chords, then they are identical, because they each contain the complete wholetone scale.)

It is therefore quite possible for any of those chords to be substituted for any other.
Each one of those chords will sound very similar to the others, because they are all expressing the same scale - you could say, although they are not absolutely identical, that they have a kind of "functional identity".
The wholetone scale is totally symmetrical, has either no root note, or 6 possible roots, depending on how you look at it.

It has a similar ambiguity to the diminished scale. It can resolve in different directions, and the chords based on it can have the same notes, but different names, simply according to which root we choose.

It's rather like pointing out the close similarity of, say A7#5#9 and Eb9#11. They look different at first, but are tritone subs of each other, can stand for each other, and each use the same scale: A altered = Eb lydian dominant = Bb melodic minor.
This scale is not symmetrical, of course, but it resolves the same way, regardless of the chord root. A7#5#9 and Eb9#11 both resolve to Dm (or D maj7).
In fact, Eb9#11 can also resolve to Fmaj7...(but this is going off at a tangent now :-))

JonR



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Re: augmented chord

5/19/2003 2:10 AM

Charles Gacsi (42523) wrote:

Dear Jon,
It was just the equal sign that got my attention. I had wondered. The close proximity of the other tones make changes that could fit many situations. Thanks for clearing that up. You gave a lot of information in that post. Charlie

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Re: augmented chord

5/17/2003 10:02 AM

Joshua Barnett (86) wrote:

Thanks for all your help, I will keep this info in mind, all the info. Thanks guys