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Home Alt Forums Music Theory Backing track: chord questions and meanings

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    Joseph Pizzoferrato

      Hello saxophone players, Greetings from Chicago Illinois. I Have some questions on this back track in Eminor. See link above. This would be put us bb tenor instruments in FMinor if I am correct.

      What does some of these chords mean? I am trying to learn what these chords mean. I understand basics of chords. Was not a music major in college.

      Am9 – A minor 9-> flat the 3 and 9th?
      C/D -> Why are there two chords at the same time? Either will suffice?
      Bm7+5 -> Bminor -> flat 3rd 7th and 5th? This is a diminished chord I believe.
      A#7+11 -> Unsure on this one.
      Em6 -> E minor 6th -> flat the 3rd and 6th?

      I will transpose this backing track for us bb instruments so that it will help me solo even better over the track. If i get good enough i’ll make a recording for us all.



        hello from spain can anyone help me, i have downloaded summertime for alto sax great backing track but what pentatonic scale do i use to improvise with and what is the formular i use for future downloads. thank you.


              Joe, no, we need to go up a whole step, not a half step when we transpose for Bb saxophones.
              don’t worry about the chord extensions, just play the E minor pentatonic scale over it. I have some lessons here:

              Power of the Major Pentatonic Scale

              this; C/D does not mean 2 chords at the same time, it means to play a C major chord with a D in the bass. So if you’re playing piano, you play a C major (C E G) with your right hand and play a D with your left. It does create a very different sound and is a very common thing that you’ll see a lot in all types of music.

              PETER RANKIN

                Hi johnny, i have download summertime for alto sax can you tell me what pentatonic scale i use to improvise over, and the formlar you use to for future downloads, just a bit confused as the song is in the key of G but finishes on E-6 D/f# so i am a bit confused..Peter


                  sure Peter…take some notes cause this is an important lesson…
                  Summertime (alto music) is in the key of E minor.
                  have a look at the key signature., you see one sharp (F#)
                  that tells us it’s either in G major or E minor. Every major key has a relative minor with the same key signature.
                  we need to figure out if that one sharp means that the song is in. G major or E minor…how can we tell? there are a few ways but the easiest is to look at the last chord(s) in this case you’ll see an Em followed by a B7 (which is the 5 chord in the key of E) so this tellsus right away it’s in E minor…if it was in G it would have a G chord in there most likely.

                  also, take a look at the chords through-out the tune… you see any G majors? probably not…../do you see any E minor’s?…..yes, tons!


                    so which pentatonic scale do you think we need to use? If you said G minor pentatonic you would be correct.

                    at this point don’t make things any more complicated than that.
                    Once you know and learn that scale, have a look at the melody…you’ll notice that about 99% of it is made up of the notes of this scale.
                    Very simple and easy stuff once we know and understand it

                    PETER RANKIN

                      Thats a great help Thanks for helping me johnny

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