THE AUGMENTED-DOMINANT CHORD:
With a C root this chord will be labeled C+7 or C7(#5)
Here are the 4 chord tones: C, E, G#, Bb
The construction is easy to remember: we have a C Augmented Triad with an added m7.
This Augmented-Dominant chord is considered the basic chord for an Altered-Dominant sound. It is usually associated with the following two scales:
1. C Altered-Dominant (C# Melodic Minor)
2. C Whole-Tone (of which each degree can generate its own +7 chord)
We will also find C+7 in three other Dominant scales:
1. in C Aeolian-Dominant (F Melodic Minor)
2. in C Phrygian-Dominant (F Harmonic Minor)
3. in C Phrygian b4 (Ab Harmonic Major)
Note though that those last 3 scales also happen to contain a Perfect 5th. The G# or Ab note being usually labeled as a b13 then. Nonetheless, the scales still include the 4 chord tones of our C+7.
(for additional discussion on Chords & Scales, click on this link: "Chords & Scales")
Now let's go back to something I mentioned regarding the construction of the chord: it contains an Augmented Triad. What is the main characteristic of the Augmented Triad ? It is symmetrical: all 3 notes are a Major 3rd apart, and all 3 notes could be called the root of that same Augmented Triad.
C+: C, E, G#
E+: E, G#, C
G#+: G#, C, E
By extension, we can move our C+7 chord in Major 3rds and derive the following substitutions:
E+7: E, G#, C, D which is the equivalent of C+(add 9)
G#+7: G#, C, E, F# which is the equivalent of C+(add #11)
Therefore, C+7 = E+7 = G#+7
We can then substitute +7 chords from any one of the 3 notes of the Augmented Triad found in an Augmented-Dominant chord.
Here's a practical application with "All The Things You Are": at the end of the "bridge" section most lead-sheets have a C+7 (measure 24) setting up the Fm7. Well, how about playing E+7 instead of that C+7 ? Not bad, considering that the new root movement from E+7 to Fm7 is of an ascending m2.
You can also find some interesting subs for a ii - V7 - I
instead of: Gm7 - C7 - FMaj7
We can now try: Gm7 - E+7 - FMaj7
or: Gm7 - G#+7 - FMaj7
Experiment with various inversions so that you get satisfying voice-leading and pleasing root movements.
For example: Gm7 - E+7/G# - FMaj7/A
or: Gm7/D - E+7 - FMaj7
or: Gm7/Bb - E+7/C - FMaj7/C
(see examples on 2 diagram pages below)
Download page 1 PDF
Download page 2 PDF
Click here for explanations on Reading The Chord Diagram Studies.
Remember that all of those possibilities may simply be used as upperstructures as opposed to actual chord substitutions. Make sure you learn all of your drop 2 and drop 3 inversions for the +7 chord (see below) so that you can take advantage of the many options:
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