Talk:Upper structure triad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Major edit[edit]

I'm not vandalizing the article. I removed a lot of content after reading it carefully. It's clear that the author doesn't really understand the topic very well. A good portion of the information was inaccurate, and none of it was related to upper structure triads. What's left still isn't exactly right, but I'll work on it a little more. Atpal 05:12, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

I've replaced the examples and removed other poorly-written text. There is more to talk about in the article, but the concept should much clearer than it was. Further improvements are of course welcome. Atpal 01:42, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Confusing paragraph[edit]

  • For example, suppose you wanted to voice a C7 chord on the piano with an upper structure. In the octave just below middle C, play E-Bb with your left hand. You now have several options for your right hand. If you play a root position Eb triad with your right hand, you have added the #9 (Eb), along with the 5 (G) and the 7 (Bb). Similarly, if you play an F#m triad in second inversion, you have added the b9 (C#), the #11 (F#), and the 13 (A).

I don't understand why this is F#m over C7, does it not need the actual note of C in there somewhere?!

Not necessarily, since your bass player would probably be playing the C.24.3.229.31 03:44, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

I don't understand this at all. It seems like it was written without the reader in mind. 24.110.21.111 03:51, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

The previous comment is referring to the standard way you play ("voice") chords on a piano or guitar in jazz. Typically, you don't actually play all the notes in the chord. For example, on a C7 chord (C E G Bb), the piano player often doesn't play the root (C) or the fifth (G), because the C will usually be played by a bass player (if the pianist is playing in a group situation), and the fifth is strongly implied by the other notes. Typically, the pianist will voice this chord with just the E and the Bb, then add other extensions to give it color (e.g. E A Bb D for a vanilla C7 chord, E A Bb Db for a C7b9 chord, etc.).
In that context, upper structure triads are really just another way to add color tones to a basic rootless voicing, but because they are triads in themselves, they have a very strong sound that creates an almost bitonal feel without disrupting the basic harmony. So, for example, if you play an A major triad over E/Bb (with the C and G implied), the overall chord functions as a C7b9 chord (with the C# of the A major triad acting as the b9 of the C7), but you also hear the A major as a group on its own, which hints at a different harmony.
Overall, I don't feel like the current article describes this very well. It probably needs to be rewritten to give some context as to how jazz voicings are generally constructed (or point to some article that does so), and describe how these upper structure voicings fit into that context.
--Rictus 06:43, 27 September 2006 (UTC)


I don't understand the criticisms of the first version of this article. It is a specific topic in jazz theory. The topics on which it relies do not yet have articles, and the article stands alone assuming an understanding of those topics So if someone says that they are confused by the article by citing that they do not understand these topics, this shouldn't be grounds for revising the article.

Additionally, I have several quibbles with the article as it currently stands:

  • Why does it have to be upper structure triad? Can't an upper structure be any chord on top of another chord? Upper structure triads are just the most common example.
  • The whole discussion about extensions should be on the extensions page, and it should be updated to take into account the jazz view of extensions
  • I've never heard of the term "lower structure"
  • Shouldn't the example follow the theoretical discussion?
  • The whole page is poorly organized.

If nobody objects, I think I might reorganize this page when I get a chance. --Adumbratus 11:32, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Extended harmony[edit]

I suggest this article is merged with Extended harmony, since an upper structure triad appears to mean the same as an extended chord. Ben Finn 18:12, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

There is a distinction, but the original author of the article does not understand the topic. Atpal 05:07, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

re-edited and streamlined[edit]

I've streamlined the article and tried to improve the presentation of the basic concepts.

Further, I don't think this should be merged with extended harmony as this article reports a particular usage and conceptual apparatus employed by jazz pianists and jazz theorists. It could do with some more references from the Levine books, but I don't have a copy handy at the moment. Dr McV (talk) 07:35, 14 May 2009 (UTC)