What is an "Anatole"?

Bill McNeillBill McNeill Seattle, Washington, USANew
edited May 2013 in Gypsy Jazz 101 Posts: 70
I keep encountering this bit of French music theory jargon. It has something to do with turnarounds, but I can't tell if it refers to a particular turnaround or just turnarounds in general. Can anyone provide a precise definition?


  • AdelaarvarenAdelaarvaren Ballard, WA, USANew
    Posts: 172
    Hey Bill,

    It just means chord progression. Been watching the Romane video on YouTube?

    - Breckenridge
  • AdelaarvarenAdelaarvaren Ballard, WA, USANew
    Posts: 172
    "Un anatole désigne, en musique, le nom d'une cadence (succession d'accords) et d'une forme (succession de phrases) généralement dans le domaine du jazz."

    Linguist that you are, I'm sure I needn't translate :)
  • langleydjangolangleydjango Langley, WA USA✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 99
    It has been my understanding that an Anatole is a iii-vi-ii-v progression
    a la Daphne or Belleville or Swing 42 etc. I think it is the French version of "Rhythm Changes".

    Not willing to bet any money on it though!

  • AdelaarvarenAdelaarvaren Ballard, WA, USANew
    Posts: 172
    Troy, I think you've nailed it. One Six Two Five - that'd be the rythm changes....

    "L'anatole est un canevas harmonique (voir l'article cadence (jazz)) très utilisé dans le jazz « classique » mais également adopté par le jazz be-bop. Il commence par la suite d'accords suivante : I - VI m - II m - V7 (en do : do - la mineur - ré mineur - sol septième), etc. On retrouve cette suite harmonique dans des morceaux des années 1920-1930 tels que I got rhythm, et dans de nombreux thèmes de la période bebop, tels Anthropology, Oleo, etc.

    En jazz un anatole est appelé tourne ou turnaround.

    Voici sa version de base :

    que l'on peut varier avec des substitutions diatoniques, par ex :

    III-VI-II-V ou I-IV-II-V ou I-VI-IV-V
    ou avec des substitutions tritoniques :

    Ce ne sont là que quelques solutions parmi d'autres !
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,748
    Just to add, you might also run across the "Christophe", which is another common progression:

    I...I7...IV...IVm (the last chord could also be #IVdim)

  • YannYann Luxembourg (Old Europe)New
    Posts: 47
    There are two kinds of "anatole" in French:

    - The "cellule anatole": namely a rhythm change/turnaround that lasts one measure or two such as I-->iib-->ii-->V or iii-vi-ii-V or I-IV-ii-V.
    - The "anatole" song, with the same old kind of chords chart : I got rhythm, Scrapple from the apple, Anthropology, Errand boy for rhythm, Hit that jive Jack, and many many more.
    My own Manouche guitar page in the works: ... toc-en.htm
  • Posts: 12
    From what I gather, the "Anatole" is term used to design a succession of progression (chordal) movements in FOURTS.
    The most typical example is the II-, V7, IM progression over which most are urged to develop their solo ideas on. This progression moves up a FOURTH from the minor II to the V7 and again, up a FOURTH from the V7 back to the Key I.
    The principle of this progression or Anatole can be extended to a VI-, II-, V7, I or even to a III-, VI-, II-, V, I.
    Evidently these are ALL intervallic movements of a FOURTH up and up in between EACH and EVERY chord of the progression.

    MUSIC MOVES IN FOURTHS I once read somewhere and I did NOT get the message immediately.
    Likewise, most "books" will somewhere mention the circle of 5ths or 4ths (which ever way you want to look at it, but given the guitar's tuning in 4ths (except for one string) and the now understood fact that music does indeed tend to move in FOURTHS... thinking of it as the circle of FOURTHS instead of fifths would seem an idea worth while entertaining), yet I have never seen one book which would tell us where the "beef" is with that circle. Well, NOW we get closer and get a hint of an idea.

    One needs to take this even further. Even thou the II, V, I turn-around is a common progression in many tunes, in Jazz specifically, these "Anatoles" (successions of movements in FOURTS of various lengths) may NOT always exclusively happen in exactly THAT position of the PROGRESSION. In other words, as a typical example, you will see Anatoles starting at the III-, going III-, VI7, (IIM) which is the exact same process as playing II-, V7, I but two semi tones higher. Now that is just a typical example which is often freely added to a II-, V7:

    II-, V7
    III-, VI7
    II-, V7, I

    IF you can solo over II-, V7, you CAN solo over III-, VI7! It's all just modulated up two half tones.

    Obviously, this can be taken much further, and there's really a good part of HOW JAZZ happens and how to simplify HOW TO LOOK at and ORGANIZE an at first glance complicate looking progression full of apparently just too many chords:

    The idea would consist in searching Anatoles (successions of movements in Fourths) and deal with them as "chapters" and organize their beginnings as a form of master progression.
    Most complicated appearing tunes may boil down to having a hand full of Anatoles of various lengths which can easily be organized.

    This also tells us that we not only ARE well advised to practice soloing freely over Anatoles in minors, Majors and Dominants but also ought to practice our chord playing (rhythm/pompe) with emphasis on being able to move "up a FOURTH" EASILY from ANY grip to the next minor, Major or Dominant. This is not as hard as it may seem, and once acquired, will help most to play with ease thru most progressions once organize as suggested above.

    So, Romane's stressing Anatoles has it's reasons.

    ... J-D.
  • brandoneonbrandoneon Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France✭✭✭
    Posts: 171
    As for the etymology of the term, Didier Roussin points to 2 different theories in his dictionary "L'argot des musiciens". The first, coming from Hugues Panassié, has to do with how the skeleton was referred to as an "anatole" in anatomy; by extension, the harmonic progression is the skeleton of a piece. The other theory, coming from the saxophonist Jean-Claude Fohrenbach, is that there was a particular guitarist (or banjoist) lacking a musical education, who would give proper names to the more common harmonic progressions, Anatole being a first name in France (although not so common today). Didier Roussin seems to lean towards the second hypothesis.
  • andreandre
    Posts: 13
    Hi... they had it right the first time... No need to over-complicate it!
    An 'Anatole' is a I-VIm-IIm-V7 progression
    A Christophe is I- I7-IV- IVm - (I)
    These progressions are, as you know, so common in early jazz that the French musicians of the time started giving them pet names... that's it, nothing more complicated than that!
    I'm not sure if they distinguished the middle 8 - (III7-VI7-II7-V7) but I doubt it - after all, the III7 is basically a IM7 with a #5 and no root, and the next 2 chords just become dominant instead of minor - the progression is still an 'Anatole'.
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