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Apr 26, 2020 - 4:46:49 PM

bsed

USA

4071 posts since 6/23/2007

I've become interested in learning about the II chord. So consider this an open discussion about it. When would you use it, and Why?

Apr 26, 2020 - 4:53:17 PM

1942 posts since 10/22/2007
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You mean the ii (minor 2nd) chord?

I.e., ii, V, I, motif. Lots of old popular tunes.

Apr 26, 2020 - 4:56:08 PM

DougD

USA

9609 posts since 12/2/2007

What do you mean by "the II chord?" The diatonic triad based on the second scale degree is a minor chord, and can be used in various ways (not often in "old time" music though). Some people refer to the major chord built on the second degree as a "II" chord, but its more properly the "V of V," the V chord of the key that's the fifth of the original key (D major in the key of C for example).

Apr 26, 2020 - 5:18:21 PM

1942 posts since 10/22/2007
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Nashville notation/numbering. Where a chord is replaced by a number so all players involved can readily change keys, but the progression remains the same. Twas my understanding, minors are expressed in small case roman numerals. Major in large case.

BTW, tunes with, ii, V, I:

1. Summertime 
2. Autumn Leaves
3. Blue Bossa
4. Tune Up
5. All The Things You Are
6. Stella by Starlight
7. Satin Doll
8. Take the A Train
9. Honeysuckle Rose
10. Misty

NFN- if we were jamming and you told me there was a 2 or a 6 chord in the progression, i would play a minor chord.  

Edited by - farmerjones on 04/26/2020 17:24:57

Apr 26, 2020 - 6:07:59 PM

DougD

USA

9609 posts since 12/2/2007

Steve, if you're responding to me - I was asking bsed what he meant, not you. We just happened to post at about the same time.
You are correct that minors are expressed in lower case. I've never understood why that numbering system is referred to as "Nashville notation," since its used by players of jazz and pop too. And classical music, even Bach. Guess it just depends on people's frame of reference.

Apr 26, 2020 - 6:29:45 PM
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1942 posts since 10/22/2007
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Yep. Sorry. I'll slip back into Neutral. smiley

Apr 27, 2020 - 7:11:22 AM

bsed

USA

4071 posts since 6/23/2007

Cool. This is getting to what I needed to know.

To answer Doug, all I can say is that over the last, say, couple years, I've heard people in OT circles refer to the "II chord" (or I guess more properly, the ii chord). Now, they might have said the ii minor chord, but that's not my memory).

Doug's comment that the "2" chord is in small case letters (Nashville) could have easily gotten misinterpreted by myself, because obviously in verbal conversation, I'm not going to know whether they're referring to small or large case. But now I think I've learned that those conversations were perhaps mainly about whether to use the minor in OT music.

Edited by - bsed on 04/27/2020 07:21:13

Apr 27, 2020 - 8:28:28 AM

1378 posts since 4/6/2014

i think it is most often used as a "pre dominant" chord ie: before the dominant (V7) chord in jazz/swing, or a sub for the IV chord. or a really bluesy sub for its parallel 1 chord because of the b3 and b7. The Mode that it comes from is the Dorian Mode. Used over the V7 or VII  chord it  maintains tension, and is considered to be a "Neutral" sounding Chord/Mode, i think because of the parent Mode's (Dorian) symmetry.

Apr 27, 2020 - 1:48:19 PM
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1696 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

What do you mean by "the II chord?" The diatonic triad based on the second scale degree is a minor chord, and can be used in various ways (not often in "old time" music though). Some people refer to the major chord built on the second degree as a "II" chord, but its more properly the "V of V," the V chord of the key that's the fifth of the original key (D major in the key of C for example).


That's technically true, and useful to discuss and understand. For passing on information in a jam however, I think it makes perfect sense to say 2 minor or two major, 6 minor or major, etc., the point being to understand quickly and get on with it. Calling out the V of the V is less likely to be understood by everyone and is another layer of information to translate.

Apr 27, 2020 - 2:19:50 PM
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247 posts since 12/2/2013

Think VI and II for the roaring twenties "happy" sound. Think vi and ii for the modern"1 Mode" sound.

Apr 27, 2020 - 2:20:20 PM

1557 posts since 12/11/2008

To me, almost every tune in the Old Time Universe is based on two chords that act as the tune's pillars -- the One (aka Tonic or I), which starts the tune off, and the Five (aka the V or Dominant), which happens just before the tune gets back to home base.  Because we're fiddlers, think of this as starting with a D chord and then going to an A.  As for the Minor Second Chord (or ii), it is an intermediate chord that instinctively points the way toward the Five.  Again, using the key of D, it's an E minor.

In any case, it's interesting to note that a good number of jazz tunes use a ii, V, I chord progression. Get out your guitar.  Start with a B min.  Then go to E7 and finish with an Amaj7. Give it a bit of swing.  Don't forget to don dark glasses & beret.

Hey, I just noticed that musie callie has beaten me to the punch!

Edited by - Lonesome Fiddler on 04/27/2020 14:22:47

Apr 28, 2020 - 5:44:46 PM
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129 posts since 6/11/2019

Sorry I'm late, so bumping this.

By II chord, I assume V of the V. So, it's like a fancy walkup, or a sort of reverse backcycle along the circle of fifths from I to V. In case of key of G (maj), when you transition to D7, you take a stop at A7 for a couple beats. 40s-50s gospel like Albert Brumley does this a lot. I think it sounds good while seconding on guitar.

An ii chord shows up in old time mostly in Dorian mode, where the chord progression goes ii-I-ii-I, as in Shady Grove, Cluck Old Hen, Pretty Little Dog, etc. A Dorian, key signature that looks like Gmaj, which I would call the I in this case just based on Nashville: Am, G, Am, G. G Dorian, which looks like Fmaj: Gm, F, Gm, F. Folk music can be confusing.

But somebody calls a tune in A modal, I'm going to assume the chord progression is Am-G(maj).

Maybe another use of ii is while sustaining V for several beats, like Tequila Sunrise--"(V) Staring slowly cross the SKY (ii)

Apr 29, 2020 - 12:19:36 PM
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bsed

USA

4071 posts since 6/23/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

To me, almost every tune in the Old Time Universe is based on two chords that act as the tune's pillars -- the One (aka Tonic or I), which starts the tune off, and the Five (aka the V or Dominant), which happens just before the tune gets back to home base.  Because we're fiddlers, think of this as starting with a D chord and then going to an A.  As for the Minor Second Chord (or ii), it is an intermediate chord that instinctively points the way toward the Five.  Again, using the key of D, it's an E minor.

In any case, it's interesting to note that a good number of jazz tunes use a ii, V, I chord progression. Get out your guitar.  Start with a B min.  Then go to E7 and finish with an Amaj7. Give it a bit of swing.  Don't forget to don dark glasses & beret.

Hey, I just noticed that musie callie has beaten me to the punch!


Ed, that has to be just about the best explaination I have heard on the topic. Makes sense to me.

Thanks!

Apr 29, 2020 - 2:16:35 PM

4653 posts since 9/26/2008

If someone called a tune in A modal and we're playing old time, I'm going to assume mixolydian Amaj-Gmaj because, well, Am? Every OT tune I know, except that minor version of "Shady Grove" (Henry Reed?) can be played with A major as the chord. The only Am I can think of is, again, Henry Reed, "Kitchen Girl" that goes to the minor in the coarse part. This does not include bluegrass.

But of course, I don't know all of the tunes.... 

Edited by - ChickenMan on 04/29/2020 14:17:47

Apr 29, 2020 - 2:26:46 PM
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8257 posts since 3/19/2009

As a Hangout member who knows virtually NOTHING about music theory, I just want to throw in the comment that it always impresses me that you guys know what you are talking about.. It is away over my head.. I'm humbled..!

Apr 29, 2020 - 2:38:10 PM
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bsed

USA

4071 posts since 6/23/2007

Thanks Lee. I really just started this thread to impress you. wink

Apr 29, 2020 - 2:55:47 PM

115 posts since 4/15/2019

I have played guitar and french harp for 60+ yrs. When I started reading all this tech stuff a blank look came over me and I said "HUH?"

Apr 29, 2020 - 3:09:33 PM

129 posts since 6/11/2019

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

If someone called a tune in A modal and we're playing old time, I'm going to assume mixolydian Amaj-Gmaj because, well, Am? Every OT tune I know, except that minor version of "Shady Grove" (Henry Reed?) can be played with A major as the chord. The only Am I can think of is, again, Henry Reed, "Kitchen Girl" that goes to the minor in the coarse part. This does not include bluegrass.

But of course, I don't know all of the tunes.... 


I think I've seen you express this elsewhere, thanks.

In my circle (or around here), mix mode tunes like Red Haired Boy, Salt River, Old Joe Clark, etc is just called "A", or whatever.  When I was new here, I tried to convey that the G (or 7th) is flatted in a mix tune (mostly for the guitars) and I called A modal--confusion ensued.  It's mostly the banjers that do this and save the label 'X modal' for X Dorian mode.  Cold Frosty Morn, Rain and Snow, Darlin Cory.  They call their current banjo tuning out as a 'key'.  Not correct, but when in Rome and all that.

Like I said, folk music gets confusing when you put it on paper and/or travel around

Edited by - Flat_the_3rd_n7th on 04/29/2020 15:11:58

Apr 30, 2020 - 12:44:58 AM

2497 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by bsed

I've become interested in learning about the II chord. So consider this an open discussion about it. When would you use it, and Why?


Essentially you would use it when the melody calls for it. cheeky

For old-time backup; or if someone calls out "two" - it depends on the type of tune; but find it is often II (major).

As mentioned by Doug, the II(7) is often as a way to "lead into" the V (the sharpened  fourth leading tone to the fifth). In OT common to find it in phrase turn, to go IV-I-II-V; in Rags, Cakewalks and tunes from pop/Tin Pan Alley; examples like Colored Aristocracy, Redwing, Honeysuckle.  A lot of Classic Country or BG songs might also employ that turn in bridges.

The ii is just a different concept, different type of tunes; it doesn't seem as particularly common in OT tunes. It doesn't have the leading tone quality, and retains strong connection to the fourth note and/or IV chord. Often can be a substitute; esp as ii7. (for example key of G;  Am7 is similar to C or C6).

Apr 30, 2020 - 5:47:17 AM

Beardog

USA

130 posts since 8/12/2012

Many, many gospel songs use the II, V, I progression. In fact, some folks in my circles will say, "now this tune is gonna have the 'Gospel Progression' in it". The first one that comes to my mind is "Life is like a Mountain Railroad".

May 14, 2020 - 7:54:29 AM

4259 posts since 6/23/2007

It seems like chord theory information either "skims" the surface, or quickly becomes very complex. I understand things better when the publication contains actual examples of what is being described. By actual examples I mean the key and real chord names.

I am O.K. with commonly used chords and right now I am trying acquire the ability to identify more chords when I hear them. In music publications, a musical phrase is often identified as a major chord but really ends with a few notes that are augmented, diminished, etc.. And since there are so few notes, it is difficult for me to actually identify what chord/chord fragment is being used. I wasn't aware of this until I read Bill Knopf's "Banjo Workshop Book 2" **. That book aroused my interest and got me reading and experimenting with chords. In my case, learning more about chords means having to learn lots of other things. I already had taught myself the fundamentals for scales and chords, but I have to learn a lot more.

I sometimes feel educational material I am reading was written for individuals who already know the answers.

** That was the first and only banjo book I read that discussed chord transitioning techniques, using chord fragments to give a chord a different "flavor", etc..  There were only a couple of short chapters dedicated to this.  I would have appreciated having an easy to read and understand publication on chord usage and chord subsitution.

Edited by - Dick Hauser on 05/14/2020 08:05:12

May 14, 2020 - 2:44:49 PM

1942 posts since 10/22/2007
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by old cowboy

I have played guitar and french harp for 60+ yrs. When I started reading all this tech stuff a blank look came over me and I said "HUH?"


I didn't know what a chord inversion was until i started learning piano at age 55. Come to find out, i been using crazy stuff like rootless chords on the fiddle and didn't even know it. All i knew was if everybody was playing, say a D chord, there was chunks of D chord all over the place. Same goes for G and A. Aw, it's great fun! 

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