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Published by: jamesyu on Aug 16, 2007
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The term pedal point, often shortened to simply pedal, refers to a bass line that
stays on one note ver a changing harmony. Certain songs, such as John Coltrane's
"Naima", from the album "Giant Steps" are written with explicit pedal point,
either with the notation "Eb pedal" over the first four measres, or through the
notation of the chords as Dbma7/Eb| Ebm7| Amaj7#11/EbGmaj7#11/Eb| Abmaj7/Eb. Whe
you see a song explicitly call for pedal point, that is usually an indication to
stop walking and istead play only whole notes.

You can also find your own opportunities to use pedal point. In a ii-VI
progression, the fifth can oten be used as a pedal note. For example, you can play
G under the progression Dm7| G7| Cmaj7, or jut under the first two bars. Under the
Dm7 chord, the G in the bass makes the chord function as a G7ss chord. The
resolution to the G7 chord then mimics the traditional classical use of
suspensions, whch always resolve in this manner. This is also commonly done in
progressions that alternate between he ii and the V, as in Dm7| G7| Dm7| G7| Dm7|
G7| Dm7| G7.

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