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Jazz Guitar Lessons

Linking Chords in Harmony

Chuck Anderson

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Chuck Anderson’s Jazz Guitar Improvisation Lesson Series continues with a look at ‘Linking Chords in Harmony’.

Partial Diatonic refers to a chord whose root is in the key but whose chord type is not Full Diatonic.  eg  In C, the Fmaj7 is FD and is the IV chord. If Fm6 shows up, the root F is in the key but the chord is not supposed to be the m6 chord. It’s supposed to be a maj7. This is the IVm6 chord and is Partial Diatonic. The typical function of a Partial Diatonic chord is to connect 2 Full Diatonic chords. eg  Cmaj7 Fm6 Em7. It is usually a single chord but can be 2 chords in a row. If it looks like it could be 3 chords in a row, it is usually explained by another principle.

Chromatic refers to a chord whose root is not in the key. The root will always be 1/2 step from a Diatonic chord root. It could be any type of chord. eg  In C, the Em7 is FD and is the III chord. If Eb7 shows up, the root Eb is not in the key but is 1/2 step from the root E. This is a bIII7 chord and is Chromatic. Like the Partial Diatonic chord, the function of a Chromatic chord is to connect 2 Full Diatonic chords. eg Cmaj7 Eb7 Dm7. It may or may not connect by 1/2 step. It is usually a single chord but can be 2 chords in a row. If it looks like it could be 3 chromatic chords in a row, it is usually explained by another principle.

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