In music, an altered chord', an example of alteration, is a chord with one or more diatonic notes replaced by, or altered to, a neighboring pitch in the chromatic scale. For example the following progression:
The chord changes to the song "I Got Rhythm" by George Gershwin were so often used that they are often referred to simply as "Rhythm Changes." Jazz musicians had always improvised solos over chord changes, but writing entirely new compositions based on existing chord changes was an innovation.
The capacity to improvise over a complex sequence of alteredchords using only the implied scales requires a mental agility of a mathematical, problem-solving kind that is another hallmark of bebop.
Although it had occasionally been used for passing chords or special harmonic effects in the 20s or 30s, and is an intrinsic member of the "blues" scale derived from African music, the feature had never played an integral role in the foundation of a style to the extent it does in bebop.
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