Be Still Book Announced.
I had a few questions for Dave as we proofed the Be Still Book. A brief discussion ensued. Warning: this gets really muso nerdy.
JT: Such a cool chord sequence on Be Still My Soul. Love reading through these charts with my axe.
DD: Thanks! Felt like I hit on something there. Originally there was no repeat around the bar of Ab7. Adding it made the whole chart come together.
JT: Yeah, a nice little breath. That bassline just sounds so weird on it’s own. Speaking of, first bar you note a Cmaj7#5 but the middle voice of that chord goes to an A natural. Typo? Or just over my head? Sounds cool on guitar anyway.
DD: Aha! Love it.
OK so the natural 6 on a maj7#5 chord creates a half step (between the raised fifth and the natural sixth). But it sounds ambiguous and bittersweet (in my opinion) because it can remind you of an Aminmaj7 chord. But yes, the natural sixth on that chord is kosher in my opinion.
Also the fact that the tonic chord of the tune is E major adds to the ambiguity, Cmaj toggling between the function of #5 and b6 in the key of E.
I like the movement from the G#7 — you think it’s going to go to C#min. But it goes to C#min with an E in the bass. So you get a triple confusion because of the tonal function: Not only are you deceived into a false resolution, you also tricked your ear into hearing the tonic note (E) as an inversion of the natural 6th degree minor chord. Also, you have been hearing up until now the flatted 6th degree of the scale (as in Cmaj7#5) so you’re basically hearing a triple deception by suddenly getting the natural sixth. Also that at the same moment the melody goes back towards E major, the bass finally hits an open low E, and the progression from that point moves back up to the b6. That’s why I cry right there. Don’t know about you. Dig?
Hey I wrote all that while Finley was trying to get me to play with her new toy squirrel. Anyway. Enjoy it. Thanks for asking.
While that wasn’t completely over my head, I had to reread that paragraph a few times in front of the piano. Pick up a copy of the digital or printed book and play the chart to find your own sequence to nerd out with.