Douce Ambiance Django's original chords vs commoly played today

edited November 2017 in Repertoire Posts: 4,832
So I noticed how both Django's versions are slightly different than what's normally played around jams.
Even commonly played jam versions are different.
They usually have Ab7 in the 7 measure then it goes to D7.
But then in measure 15, some keep the Ab7 to D7 to Gm, but some are A7 to D7 to Gm.
I usually played the latter one, but I'd sometimes notice that I'm clashing with other people in the jam.

However when you listen to Django's versions, the one from '43 goes to Fm in measure 7.
Then in measure 15 he's using his multi-use triad /Bb-G-Db/ to /A-F#-C/, could be read as Eb/Bb to D/A.
And the one from '47 does go to Ab7 in measure 7 but in measure 15 that doesn't sound like A7 but again his multi-use triad: /A-F#-C/.
Which could be D7/A or Am6 or Adim, or could also be inversion of F#dim (even half dim?).
I'm not sure which function he intended it to be (probably didn't care, he just went for the sound of it) but I certainly don't hear the A7 there.

What's up with that, all these differences?

I know there are other songs that Django played differently but this one being one of his anthems you'd think people would stick to the original.
Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel


  • Why stick to the original when subs are cool? LOL

    I dont recall this one but it sounds like the Ab7 is functioning as a tritone sub for D7. Is this rendition played in Gm rather than Am which seems to be today's standard.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Posts: 4,832
    I never heard it in Am except the '47 version is really in the Ab- key but I didn't want to complicate things even more.
    Otherwise I always heard it in Gm.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • PapsPierPapsPier ✭✭
    Posts: 428
    It might be the result of the oral transmission of gypsy jazz. You say it is an anthem but he only recorded twice which is really little compared to other tunes. I think this one is so popular because it was played a lot after Django died in jam sessions by gypsies and other musicians who altered the chords to what they liked and it became the new form.

    The same kind of thing happened for the tune Duke and Dukie. Django composed it as a dialogue between guitar and clarinet. But nowadays the clarinet part has been forgotten and the guitarists have choosen some specific features to arrange this song (like the bass pattern or the stop chords)
  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited November 2017 Posts: 3,320
    Hey Buco, I think you are hung up on the names of the chords. I think the different chords you are identifying are just subs and function the same as the "originals" FWIW. If you just play the 'shapes' and ignore the names you will see that everything is pretty much the same thing and/or going to the same place. Like i.e. the Ab7 is just a tritone sub for D7, Play what you like the sound of as long as it doesn't clash with the soloist and the rest of the rhythm section. The bass player will define the root. The main thing I think is not to jump around too much. Like the first part sounds best to me played as (/notes indicate bass note on guitar):

    Gm6... D7/A...Gm/Bb...Cm6...Gm/Bb...Bdim...Cm6...Gm/Bb...Ab7...D7/A

    All inversions played on the lower 4 strings mostly muting the 5th string as well as the 2nd and first strings. 3 note inversions in the lower register and well damped. It is called "Soft" Ambiance anyway n'est ce pas?
  • Soory @Buco got my wires crossed. When you used the word anthem I immediatyely went to Minor Swing LOL
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Posts: 4,832
    Yeah @PapsPier that's probably how it happened, I forget to put things in perspective. Fakebooks, iReal apps and what not are a recent thing. These songs have been handed down for decades the way you said.

    @Bones actually getting hung up on the names is exactly what I sometimes tell others not to do. Maybe I gave that impression, I don't know. It was our clarinet player Suzanne who heard an F on the '43 version so it was mostly my curiosity to ask. Then it was only a day before I posted this that I listened to his '47 version and heard that he himself also played Ab7 in the 7th bar.

    The only jam version that I might call wrong is when in bar 15 people go to Ab7 again. Here I think you should really go to A7. Or what he did in the '43 version, sort of Eb7/Bb to D7/A. That one sounds totally Django, it's what I started doing in our band's version.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,320
    Yup exactly! I think more in shapes than names but maybe that isn't for everyone it's just how my mind works for chords. The same shape can have several different names anyway.
  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,344
    Bones wrote: »
    Yup exactly! I think more in shapes than names but maybe that isn't for everyone it's just how my mind works for chords.
    Yours and Phoebe's...
  • In the end it matters not if you think on shapes, theory or some other variant. Its how it sounds that matters,
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Posts: 4,832
    @Phoebe @billyshakes actually the 9 year old kid I'm teaching told me that his qualified guitar teacher didn't have the kids in class pick up their guitars at all in the beginning, had them drilling some theory.
    Me being an unqualified teacher, I thought him the riff to AC/DC's Back in Black the second time we met (I thought him the classic rock'n'roll riff the 1st time).
    He recorded a video of him playing it and posted on YouTube titled "this is fun" with like 17 exclamation points.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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