On Ramp, Off Ramp - ii-V7 Fourth Cycle Vamp
Sill inspired by "A Study in Fourths" by Walter Bishop, jr.
I promise I'll give it, and the esteemed Mr. Bishop, a break after this.
Anyway, it occurred to me that measures #3 & 4 (D-7 / G7) of that exercise contained a complete, uninterrupted 12 tone cycle in perfect 4ths.
"So?!", you say.
"So" I say, "let me see if I can conjure up a few more lines like that one, over a ii-V7 cadence, which use the complete 4th cycle and which resolve to the tonic (I).
Of the 5 lines presented here, each starting on a different diatonic scale tone, 4 of them employ a complete 12 tone cycle in perfect 4ths; while the fifth (line 4) uses a number of shifts and rests, resulting in a series of 027 trichords.
The coolest thing about using a complete 4th cycle in these cases, is that the cycle, being a 12 tone row, contains all twelve notes of the chromatic scale; meaning that it also contains all of the eleven possible note choices, plus one, available for an altered dominant (V7alt) chord.
One of the most basic components of music, on planet earth, is that of tension and release.
In "Western Harmony", which is what we're dealing with here, one of the most fundamental movements, from tension to release is the well traveled road of the V-I cadence.
At some point, a ii chord was placed in front of the V7 to strengthen the root movement in 5ths /4ths. In fact if you inspect many of the early lead sheets of tunes of the 1920's & '30's, the ii chords preceding the V, in most cases are all but absent.
In the tension and release scheme of things, a rough but reasonable analogy might go something like:
A rush-hour drive home, where the
ii chord = the on ramp to the highway; the
V7 chord = the highway itself, with traffic and all of it's unpredictable behavior, requiring your full and constant awareness, and the
I chord = the exit ramp and home, where you can finally kick back and relax..
Since the ii chord acts like a preparatory extension of the V, ramping up to it if you will; why not then consider it to be part of the dominant V7 itself? Thus, one might view a D-7 (ii chord in C) as a D-7/G, or a G7sus.
What this means (in terms of using the complete 12 tone fourth cycle as a tension / release device) is that no matter which note you use to start the cycle over a V7 (which, including its ii chord, is in and of itself a tension creating device), the cycle, as previously mentioned, supplies eleven "legit" tonal choices (root-3rd-b7th; b9-#9-b5-b13; 5-9-11-13) plus one more (Maj7).
Try playing a complete cycle starting on a non diatonic tone; like F# (over a G7), for example, resolving it to C Maj7.
The idea is to eventually come off the exit ramp, resolving to a target note belonging to that "restful" tonic I chord.
And on that note, I rest my case.