Slash Chords

Slash Chord
Common Progressions
1, 3, 5
Just a plain old C chord
b9, 4, b13
Cmin7 – Db/C or Cmin7 – D/C – Db/C – C
Phrygian tonality
9, #11, 13
C – D/C or Cmin7 – D/C
Lydian sounding, works fine as a replacement for any major chord
b3, 5, b7
Eb/C – D/C – Db/C – C
Plain old min7 chord
3, #5, 7
Maj7#5 chord, lydian augmented tonality
5, 1, 3
Major triad in 2nd inversion
b7, b9, #11
Gmin9 – F#/C – Fmaj9
Diminished half/whole tonality
5, 7, 9
Plain old maj9 chord
3, 5, 1
Db – Ab/C or Dbmin7 – Ab/C
Major triad in 1st inversion
3, b9, 13
Gmin9 – A/C – Fmaj9
Diminished half/whole tonality
4, b7, 9,
Plain old 9sus chord or min11 chord
B/C b3, b5, 7 Dmin7 – G(alt) – B/C Usually replaces a I chord. Diminished whole/half tonality
Try to experiment and have some fun. I’ve only described what can be done by superimposing major triads over bass notes. See what you can do with augmented and minor triads. Also see what happens when you superimpose 7th chords over various bass notes, Ex: Gmin7/C.

Slash chords and the diminished half/whole scale
Because of the symmetrical structure of the diminished half/whole scale, any chord that is derived from it can be moved up or down in minor third intervals and will still function as some kind of dominant chord. I know, if you are hearing this for the first time, you are scratching your head. I’ll give you an example using the slash chords from the last two examples: let’s say you want to use a slash chord to make a dominant sounding chord, the dominant chord you want to make is a some kind of B7 chord. You decide to use the Ex. 6 slash chord that you learned above: a triad placed a tritone (dim5) above the root and you will get a B7(b9,#11) chord. The triad a tritone above B is F so a F/B slash chord = B7(b9,#11). Here is the trick: you can move the F triad up a minor third and place it over our B bass note and it should make some kind of dominant chord also. Let’s see, hmm….. a minor third above F is Ab so our new slash chord is Ab/B. What does this chord analyze to? Well, a Ab triad is spelled: Ab – C – Eb, placed over our B bass note, the Ab note is a 13th, the C is a b9th and the Eb is a 3rd (really D#, but it’s the same note). Duh… this was our Ex. 5 slash chord! Remember? A triad placed a maj6th above the bass note renders a 13b9 chord. Ab is enharmonic with G# and G# is a maj 6rd from B. What about the other triads? A min3rd from Ab is Cb which is really B, and B/B is just plain old B and since B is inside a B7 chord, you can consider it a B7 chord. A minor third from B is D and D is spelled D – F# – A. Placed over a B bass note D = #9, F# = 5 and A = b7 so this chord can be analyzed as a B7#9 chord. This chord can also be analyzed as a Bmin7 chord but since the dominant tonality has already been determined, it is fine to analyze it this way. Check out how Chick Corea used this technique in “500 Miles High”:
Analysis: B – B7#9 – B7(b9,#11) – B13b9 – Emin9
Ex. 3: By placing the major triad a 3rd above the bass note we can make a maj7#5 chord. Ex: you want to make an Fmaj7#5 chord, simply place a A triad on a F bass note and you’ll get a maj7#5 chord. A is a 3rd above F: A/F = Fmaj7#5. Check the example below:
Rule: a major triad superimposed a major 3rd above the bass note will render a maj7#5 chord.
Try it yourself: Try putting together the following slash chords using the triad shapes we learned earlier: F/Db, C/Ab, G#/E, B/G, E/C.
Play the following chord progression, the slash chord in the third measure is our maj7#5 chord. The first and last chord are the slash chords from first example (maj9 functioning slash chords). This example is similar to what Wayne Shorter did in his classic tune: “Prince of Darkness”:
Analysis: Gmaj9 – Amaj7#5 – Bbmaj9

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