7th chords in ITM

7th chords in ITM

At the risk of opening a hornet’s nest I’d like to start a discussion on seventh chords. I wasn’t able to find anything here by searching.

I personally dislike seventh chords, but lots of people use them. Backers, do you use them and if so when and where? Han Speek’s excellent site says the only place in ITM where seventh chord would fit is in the ii and V positions. So in the key of D that would mean Em7 and A7.

Thoughts?

Re: 7th chords in ITM

I used to play a lot of country blues/ragtime guitar [still do on occasions] so consequently used 7th chords all the time- but I don’t find they work well with ITM generally speaking, though its occasionally fun to put one in with some of the showier hornpipes or Scott Skinner tunes

Re: 7th chords in ITM

What do you have against the poor & simplest of extended triads? Of course there are implied sevenths in this (& prob all other) music. The piano/ strummyfing player does a plain Amajor (A, C#, E) and the melody instrument scans through an E, F# and G in the tune. You are not only getting a Dom 7th but a 6th as well (with the F#).
Do avoid K blunt demented seventeenth though. I’m sure Mr Speek would agree!!

Re: 7th chords in ITM

I mostly play melody, but when I’m backing on guitar I never use a 7th chord for Irish tunes. If there is an "implied" 7th in the melody line, then let the melody players continue implying it without forcing it with a 7th chord in the backing.

Just my opinion, but I think extended chords draw attention to the backing and away from the melody line. If anything, I think most of the better guitar players go in the other direction with "ambiguous" tunings and chords (dyads) that omit the third interval, so as not to make too strong a harmonic statement. It puts more emphasis on the rhythmic contribution of the guitar.

I think 7th chords may be more common in piano backing for Cape Breton tunes, but maybe that’s because piano players can’t seem to resist using extended chords. :)

Re: 7th chords in ITM

I would only use them in a band/performance setting if it happens to work well with the melody players and other backing players (piano, bass, CBOM). Of course this would be something that is rehearsed. For sessions, naw.

Re: 7th chords in ITM

I would only use a 7th chord very ocassionally, perhaps a bit more often in some of the more "challenging" hornpipes. The one clear example, at least to my ears, where a 7th should be used is the first bar of the second part of "Golden Eagle Hornpipe". If played in the key of G this would be a B7th.
In that tune I also use an A7 and a D7. My take on the chords can be found here:
https://thesession.org/tunes/974 .
High Level HP is another one where I use some B7 chords.

Re: 7th chords in ITM

I only play STM where the use of 7th chords (and diminished) chords is more common due, perhaps, to the stronger harmonic content in the tunes. However, I would have to say that I don’t use dominant sevenths that much. I’ll use minor sevenths more often, even on the root minor, but usually missing out the fifth. So instead of Am I might play a minor tenth interval made up of the three notes A, G and C (in that order). But it all depends on the tune and what suits.

Re: 7th chords in ITM

I use them on guitar, but when I’m backing on box, I use "normal" straight chords along with any arpeggios I feel won’t upset the melody line, which is what counts after all.

Re: 7th chords in ITM

No such thing in left hand on my button box, but I do use them on piano and guitar as the final chord before moving back to the keynote in a "finishing phrase", e.g A7 to D, G7 to C, A7 to E and so on.

Re: 7th chords in ITM

To me they work OK depending on the overall style the group is playing in.

I much prefer a straightforward traditional sound with ordinary chords. I like the open chords of guitars in open tunings even more.

To me 7th chords jump out as sounding odd or jazzy if used in a traditional format.

But I’ve heard Irish tunes accompanied using Texas Swing style chords, and there the 7th chords are a necessary part of the style.

Re: 7th chords in ITM

I think 6ths, 7ths, etc are best used as passing tones to create melodic lines within the chords rather than sustaining them as part of the chords structure.

Re: 7th chords in ITM

Interesting. I was just thinking about this.

A very typical pattern in American folk music is for the V-7 to strongly imply a resolution to the I, for example A7 resolving to D-major. But, that same pattern doesn’t feel right in ITM.

Maybe something to do with the melodic structure of the harmonies in ITM?

I don’t have the theory or the experience to understand why this might be so.

Re: 7th chords in ITM

Here’s an idea! I use it sometimes.

When extemporising a harmonic backdrop for a mixolydian tune (e.g. D), bung in a V of IV 7/ 9 (D9) instead of the more usual b VII (C) or v (Am).

Another idea with slight extensions:

Many tunes have these four bars of chords implied (in G major):
| G | G | D | G ||

Try substituting:
| G Am7 Bbdim G(B bass) | G Am7 Bbdim G(B bass) | Am7 D13 | G Am7 Bbdim G(B bass) ||

Re: 7th chords in ITM

As Colm Meaney said in ‘The Boys and Girl from County Clare’:
"We are not playing jazz! Leave that to the Beatles."

Re: 7th chords in ITM

Sorry for the delay but thanks for responding. A piano player that I play with uses 7th chords but she plays mostly Scottish though I don’t see what would be that different.

I really appreciate all of these comments, thanks.