Replacing the IV with a m6 chord

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by To Need a Woman, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. To Need a Woman

    To Need a Woman Senior Member

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    Is this done often? It's done here in 'Tie a Yellow Ribbon...'. And what other chords are m6 chords typically used to replace?

    So with this song in F, the IV would be Bb, so we'd get a Bbm6. From the 0:30 mark, you can hear: G7-Bbm6-C7



    Thanks
     
  2. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    Minor iv6 chords are pretty common, although not usually following V/V (as here).
    In this case, I wouldn't say it's replacing IV, more like replacing ii - Bbm6 = Gm7b5, which would fit better between G7 and C7. It's borrowing the minor ii chord - and then repeats the Bbm6-C7 change, in order to make the following chorus F major sound brighter.

    IOW - while I hate this song! - it's quite clever songwriting, because he's singing "if you still want me", and accompanying that element of doubt or melancholy with the hint of the darker minor key that Bbm6 provides. And then brightening it up with the jolly F major of the chorus.
    It's little things like that that (subconsciously) make songs successful, because they communicate their expression through lyric and music together - the one backs up the other. If he'd just used G7 (or put Gm7 after it), that part of the song would have slipped by unnoticed and the whole thing would be just too cheesy and jolly. The minor iv chord catches you ear, with a little hint of mystery or depth (the break in the rhythm also helps of course).

    Anyway... Most of the time minor iv chords follow the major IV (not replace it) and go back to I. They then provide a descending chromatic line D-Db-C (in key of F).
    The Beatles used ivm6 chords in various ways - it was almost their signature.

    "She Loves You" - key G. Here it clearly does replace the major IV in the old doo-wop I-vi-IV-V sequence:
    Code:
                |G                                    |Em
    She said she loves you and you know that can't be bad
        |Cm6                                |D7
    She loves you and you know you should be glad
    "Nowhere Man" - key E
    Code:
    |A6            |Am6              |E
    |Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
    "I'll Follow the Sun" - key C
    Code:
                |Dm               |Fm6              |C
    And now the |time has come and so my love I must go
    "Ask Me Why"- key E. First time the minor iv goes to V/V:
    Code:
    |C#m      |C#m       |Am6                |F#9    |B7
    |I, I, I, |I, should |never ever ever be |blue___|__
    and 2nd time back to I (before an aug chord leads to the bridge):
    Code:
         |C#m             |C#m                 |Am6                      |E      (E+ > A)
    it's |not because I'm |sad, but you're the |only love that I've ever |had
    Notice the relevant emotional effect the chord has each time. Mostly it adds that distinctive melancholy element to match the lyric.
    In "She Loves You" it's a little different - it's a happy upbeat song, nothing melancholy at all. So the minor iv in that case seems to suggest a secret wink, a nudge, a knowing sexual element: "she's hot for you, man!" (They could have easily used the usual C major at that point, but they obviously knew that wasn't right, even if they didn't consciously think why.)

    You get much the same effect in a song the Beatles would have known well: Elvis's "It's Now or Never", where the minor iv comes between two tonics:
    Code:
    (E)  |Am                    |E
       To-morrow... will be too |late
    You know what that means (and it's supported by the backing vocals singing a rising arpeggio)! He's horny now!

    Radiohead also like the minor iv chord. In 'No Surprises' its "mysterious" effect subverts the prettiness of the music-box arpeggios, suggesting there is something dark and nasty beneath the bland scenario the sweet chord sequence implies. (Because of course there is.) It's a Bbm6 between two tonic F major chords.

    In "Creep" it occurs in its traditional place between major IV and I, helping to underline that he really doesn't "belong here" (like the chord doesn't "belong" either).
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
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  3. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

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    Happy New Year :)

    I'll basically echo what Jon has said - IVm is very common, IVm6 slightly less so, but functionally the same, and The Beatles used it almost to the point of cliche at times.

    In the progression that you mention - G7 > Bbm6 > C7 - I would tend to the alternate name : Gm7b5, as it seems to describe the phrase better.

    One other thing that's worth noting about IVm, in general terms, is that it's a "reflection" of the I chord. Staying in F, as per the example, the tonic chord contains the note F, the note up M3 (A), and the note up P5 (C).

    If you start from the tonic but reflect downwards, you get F, the note down M3 (Db), and the note down P5, Bb. That's Bbm : Bb, Db, F.

    So I & IVm have an internal symmetry that is quite satisfying. I > IVm > I feels "right", even if it contains an internal major/minor bounce.

    Cool stuff...

    :)

    PS - by the same token, IVm6 is a reflection of I7 (the note M2 up from the tonic in IVm6 reflects the note M2 down in I7)
     
  4. To Need a Woman

    To Need a Woman Senior Member

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    Thanks Jon,
    What does V/V mean? You mean the iv6 isn't usually followed by a V7?

    I don't know why it's said to be its inversion (all of a sudden) just because it's used differently. Anyway, if I can hear chords well enough, it won't matter!
    Funny that just sounds like an A (not an Am6) chord to me!


    Question on that. Once the singing starts, the chords are:

    G - F7 - C


    Is that F7 a dumbed down Adim. I didn't hear it as F7 at all!
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
  5. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

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    "Five of five" ie the V chord's "virtual" V chord. We're in F, so C is the V. G is the "V of V" (if we were in C, G would be V). Usual move would be V/V > V > I - G > C > F. (Here something different happens)
     
  6. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    See huw... It's known as a "secondary dominant."
    No, that's quite common. The Beatles do it in She Loves You, for example. (Cm6-D7).
    But Tie a Yellow Ribbon goes G7-Bbm6-C7. Bbm7-C7 is a standard iv-V in F minor. But putting G7 before the Bbm6 is unusual, in my experience - although (as I said and huw agreed) it makes better sense as its inversion Gm7b5: altering the G7 before going to C7.
    You're talking about "Ask My Why" of course (your links were in the wrong order).

    I agree in that version the chord sounds like A. That is, I don't hear any kind of 3rd, but a C# would be assumed by the context (C#m one side, F#9 the other). (The 6th is the vocal, btw.)

    My sources - aside from memory - were a Beatles songbook (which has the minor chord both times), and Dominic Pedler's Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles.
    Interestingly, Alan Pollack hears an A major first time, and Am second time (on "only love that I've ever had") - which is when it goes back to E instead of to F#.
    http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DATABASES/AWP/amw.shtml
    (He uses lower case for minor chords, so "A" is A major and "a" is A minor.)

    I need to check the studio version!
    It's definitely F7. Bass is F on beat 1, C on beat 2. Adim with F bass is F7 ;).

    Incidentally, another example of the Beatles using minor iv twice; once in its classic position (after IV) and then in the Elvis "Now or Never" position (between two tonics):

    Code:
    F       F7       Bb        Bbm
    hold me tight, tonight, tonight
    
         F    Bbm         F
    It's you  ... you you you
    Again the 6th appears (on one beat) in the vocal: on "it's" first time, and the first "you" second time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  7. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

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    Typo ;)
     
  8. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    :doh:
    Damn, you got me... (again) Fixing it now....
     
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  9. To Need a Woman

    To Need a Woman Senior Member

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    Thanks
    Sorry about that!

    I think there's a m6 in the progression in this vid below. Could you confirm (just the first few seconds of the it) that it's:

    Am - Dm - Bm7b5 - E(Hendrix chord)

     
  10. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    In the first few seconds, no. The Am and Dm are plain triads. Bm7b5 is Dm6 with the 6th in the bass, if that's what you mean.

    However, he does accent the 6th on the Dm as he gets into his solo. At 0:28 he plays B-C-F on the Dm chord.
     
  11. To Need a Woman

    To Need a Woman Senior Member

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    I said "in the first few seconds" to give you the impression that it wouldn't take much of your time!

    But I think there's a Bm7b5 in the progression... it's the third chord? That was what I was asking.

    Thanks
     
  12. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

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    My crappy laptop speakers don't have much (if any) bass response, but I do hear the bass line as going to B for the third chord.

    Hang on...

    (runs about house, digs out pair of closed back headphones with decent bass)

    ...yes - I definitely call that as a B.

    Actually, once I had the 'phones on the bass, which was barely there trough the speakers, came right to the front of the mix.

    So (with apologies to Jon for calling it differently), I get Am > Dm7 > Bm7b5 > E alt

    :)
     
  13. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    Well, you were asking two questions - or at least asking one question in two forms. The first one about the m6 chord seemed to require a longer answer - it wasn't clear you meant the 3rd chord.
    If you'd just asked me to confirm the chord sequence you wrote, I'd have simply said "yes"! (it IS Bm7b5, which you could call Dm/B, or Dm6/B.)

    huw is not really calling it differently, btw. I don't hear a C in the Dm chord, but it's not too significant.
    You said "E(Hendrix chord)", huw said "Ealt", which is again essentially the same thing: E7#9 (no audible 5th), and he adds a b9 (F) on beat 3.
     
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