What is a flat six chord?

Discussion in 'Theory Zone - Guitar Theory Made Useful' started by BoogieMan, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. BoogieMan

    BoogieMan Blues Junior

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    I ran into this while doing a TF course called Blues Soloing Strategies (great course by the way!). The instructor made the comment "Any time a flatted 6 chord comes your way, target the blue note, the flatted 5th."

    I can't seem to find a simple answer that I can understand...

    "The flat-six, which we’ll discuss now, is a major chord from a parallel scale. So if you’re playing in C major, it will be an Ab major. If you’re playing in A major, the sixth-chord will be an F major".

    Can anyone help me understand this?
     
  2. Paleo

    Paleo I Been Discombobulated

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    This used to confuse me when I first heard it.

    It's a bVI chord, even though it sounds like they are saying b6 chord, as if you were adding a b6 to a triad.


    C Major has a vi chord, Am.

    C minor has a bVI chord, Ab Major. It's built on a root a half-step lower and is Major, thus bVI.


    Ab isn't a chord in C Major. It could be considered "borrowed" from C minor, it's parallel minor.

    Hitting the b5 in C (Gb) over the Ab Major (bVI) chord would create an Ab7 (Ab C Eb Gb), so target it.

    That's my best guess as to what he's saying.


    Likewise, the vi in A is F#m. A bVI would be F Major.

    Eb would would be the b5 in A and would create an F7 chord when played over an F Major chord.
     
    #2 Paleo, Apr 11, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
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  3. Paleo

    Paleo I Been Discombobulated

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  4. BoogieMan

    BoogieMan Blues Junior

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    It confused me for the same reason. Thanks Paleo.
     
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  5. david moon

    david moon Attempting the Blues

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    From memory, Thrill is gone Bm Em Gmaj7 F# #9. I guess the Gmaj7 is a flatted 6. In the key of B, the 6 would be G#

    How that translates to soloing, I have no idea.
     
    #5 david moon, Apr 11, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
  6. Paleo

    Paleo I Been Discombobulated

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    Note to self:

    In BGU Lesson 11 "Minor Blues", Griff briefly discusses the bVI in the first 2 minutes.

    In Lesson 20 (Solo #2) he refers back to it, but he doesn't go into detail about his note choices for the solo.

    However, I see in LIck 12 he "targets" the F#, which is the 7 of the Gmaj7 (bVI) and the root of the following F#7#9 chord.
     
  7. Randy S

    Randy S Blues Newbie

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    My take on it for what it's worth.

    You can look at/number chords in one of two ways. The first would be that the chord that goes with with the key signature is always the 1 chord and all the other chords follow. The other way to number them would be to name the tonic chord as 1 and number the other chords from there. Same chords but looking at them it from a different perspective. This is a minor key (Aeolian) so if you look at it the 2nd way then the flat six chord would be the chord built off the flat sixth of the minor scale- which would be a Major or Major 7 chord.

    I made myself a cheat sheet on this that I have attached. Please note that the Harmonic Minor on this sheet is not really a Harmonic Minor progression- it is for when the composer uses a Major or Dom7 V chord in a minor key rather than a minor v. On that chord and that chord only you would use a harmonic minor scale- Griff covers this in his some of his courses but I can't remember where.

    As far as soloing- it is an Aeolian/minor progression so you could use the Aeolian/minor scale or minor pentatonic over the entire progression and try to target chord tones as you would normally.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Paleo

    Paleo I Been Discombobulated

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    This got me thinking that there's no way in speech to differentiate between 6, vi or VI.

    Just for fun (or to add to the confusion):

    If I was discussing the chords in a Major key, like I ii iii, etc. and said to someone, "You have a major one, a minor two, a minor 3...." they may be hearing "Major1, min2, min3". What the heck are those?

    And if I was thinking vi and said "that's a minor six chord" they may say "Did you say Am6 chord?".

    One more example: We're told we'll most likely never see a vii chord (meaning dim triad) and then in a Blues all the chords are 7 chords.


    Point being that instructors and students alike need to be on top of whether they are talking about scale degrees (arabic) or chord function (roman).
     
    #8 Paleo, Apr 12, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019