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Bird Changes

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Subject: Charlie Parker
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Bird Changes

The Blues for Alice changes, Bird changes, Bird Blues, or New York Blues changes, is a chord progression, often named after Charlie Parker ("Bird"), which is a variation of the twelve-bar blues.

The progression uses a series of sequential II-V or secondary II-V progressions, and has been used in pieces such as Parker's "Blues for Alice" and Toots Thielemans's "Bluesette".[1] Also Parker's "Confirmation".[2]


The blues progression, in C, is as follows:

| C         | C            | C           | C           |
| F         | F            | C           | C           |
| G         | F            | C           | C           ||

The jazz blues, in C, is as follows:[3]

| C7        | F7           | C7          | C7          |
| F7        | F7           | C7          | Em7   A7    |
| Dm7       | G7           | C7    A7    | C7    G7    ||

The Bird Blues progression, in C, is as follows:[4]

Popular music symbols
| CMaj7     | Bmin7b5 / E7  | Amin7 / D7  | Gmin7  / C7   |
| F7        | Fmin7   / Bb7 | Emin7 / A7  | Ebmin7 / Ab7  |
| Dmin7     | G7            | CMaj7 / A7  | Dmin7  / G7   ||
Roman numerals
| I         | viiø / III7  | vi  / II7   | v     / I7   |
| IV7       | iv  / bVII7  | iii / VI7   | biii  / bVI7 |
| ii        | V7           | I   /  VI7  | ii    / V    ||

This can be viewed as a cycle of ii-V progressions leading to the IV chord (E7 in the key of Bbmajor), and the tritone substitution of the dominant chords leading by half-step to the V chord (F7 again in Bb).[4]

  C:          Amin:          G(min):        F:
| I         | ii    / V    | ii    /  V   | ii    / V    |
  F:          Eb:            D:             Db(min):
| I7        | subii / subV | subii / subV | subii / subV |
| ii        | V7           | I7    / VI7  | ii    / V    ||


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