The Yellow book changes.

Published: Nov 19, 2018 Updated: Nov 19, 2018 • Visitors: 13 • Page Views: 1

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Line Cliches

Examples of songs with this a line cliche harmonic sequence or variations are: More, Michelle, Embraceable You, Stairway to Heaven. I even wrote a song based on this called Midnight at the Jazz Cafe on my 2002 Jazz CD of the same name.

This sequence shows up a few times in the yellow book, and like most cases it is indicated and named according to the "shapes" the chord made and not to what it's actually harmonic function is. It seems an "editor" deemed it TMI for ukulele players to handle. Well, there is no need to dumb down musical information and assume players don't what o know what is really going on - we can handle it. And it turns out this is a very common harmonic sequence that is easier to remember in its correct form.

A Line Cliche, as it's name implies creates a musical line there "something" is going on. Typically found in minor sequences or progressions creating harmonic movement in an otherwise static chord or progression. Typically moving chromatically and can move ascending or descending.

Here is an examples using Cm over four measures: | Cm | Cm | Cm | Cm |. The chromatic line would be Cm with C to root as the bass note. The descending B, Bb, A. Typically as a bass note, i.e. lowest of the chord. If we have a bass player present at a jam they would handle this and we would also address the line somewhere in the chord voicings. Cm (C Eb G), Cm/B (C Eb G B, Cm with a major 7), Cm/Bb ( Cm7, C Eb G Bb) and finally Cm/A (Cm6, C Eb G A).

The problem happens is the chords are listed as Cm CmL7*, Cm7, Cm6. Chances are most players will not know some of the chords and/or you won;t get the desired line the composer intended.

* This CmL7 is Cm with a large, major seventh (maj7). This is actually where the crazy naming starts with it topically indicated as some wort of augmented chord - clearly not an augmented chord when the harmonic still C minor. The song Bye Bye Blackbird, page 40 of the yellow book is written: Gm, Gb+ (augmented), Gm7 and C7. You get the right sound but is is actually easier to remember as Gm, Gm/F#, Gm/F, Gm/E. Just Gm and descend half steps (in fret) from G down to E.

Here is a couple of songs where I have made changes:

Bye By Blackbird (pg 40)

Line Cliche: Im ImL7 Im7 Im6

This is a very common minor sequence that I've never seen notated correctly outside of the jazz world.

Simple to remember as a single minor chord with a chromatically descending line.

A couple of other minor changes I make are right after the line cliche is at add a II V to the I F, for Gm7 C7 to F.

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A Road Map Through Song

Remembering songs is all about the form and harmonic content and movement with taking in the similarities between songs. And, just like a road map they're landmarks that will trigger memories of how to get through various sections, changes or parts of a song.

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Just browsing over both books, they look fantastic! I'm a guitarist and uke player for over 25 years and was thinking about writing a ukulele book but you've already written what I think are the best, most comprehensive and thorough books I've ever seen for the instrument. I just might end up buying every book you've written and I'll be giving my highest recommendation for your books to my friends and students. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great books!Peter Rhee

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