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How to play & use a ii-V-I progression properly. (Gettin the jazz togheter, lesson 02.)

by pxm

24 Jun 2012
Views: 10420

The basic chord progression in modal music is the famous ii-V-I progression.
This turnaround is common in jazz music but also in other popular music styles who are based on modal theory. It determinate the tone of the key in the song and if its major or minor. That doesn’t matter what diatonic chord scale you play - you always play the ii-V-I progression in a major key whit chords harmonized out from the ordinary Ionian scale.
In the key of C major it will be Dm7-G7-Cmaj7.
You can outline the progression simplest by playing the C Ionian or (to prefer in rock jazz fusion) the G Mixolydian scale.

ii-V-I major (moveable shape whit barre´chords)


In minor keys you always play the ii-V-I progression whit chords harmonized from the Harmonic minor scale. There’s the diatonic V chord a dominant 7 chord. This will fit in fine in any minor key, whit proper harmony rules when the V chord always can be substituted by an dominant 7 chord. The technique that allows you to borrowing chord harmonized out of another scale in the same tonality is called Modal Interchange or Modal Mixture. Its a common technique when you want to re-harmonize the progression of a tune. In the key of C minor it will be Dm7b5-G7-Cm.
The simplest way to outline this progression will be by playing the C Harmonic minor scale.

ii-V-I minor (moveable shape whit barre´chords)


In modern jazz the V7 chord is often alterated both in major and minor keys. That will create more tension from ii chord, in the example the Dm7b5 chord, which is a diminished chord, also belonging to the dominant chord family. An altered chord always has two tones that are outside the scale of the key. That what create the tension. To place the alterated V7b5b9 chords highest tone, the b9, as near as possible to the next chords, the tonica´s, root will give a real smooth passage between this two chords.

ii-V-I minor whit an altered V7b5b9 (moveable shape whit barre´chords)


When the V chord is altered the common way to outline the ii-Valt-I in minor would be to changing the scales as the chords changes. For example D diminished scale over Dm7b5 - the Super-Locrian scale (Melodic minors 7th mode) in G over our altered G7b5b9 - and finally, the resolution in the tonic Cmin7 where we in this example play the C Melodic minor scale, popular in jazz. That scale are played the same way upwards as downwards in jazz music and the scale has six modes to it. Played that way its called "the jazz scale". In classical music you play the Aeolian scale when walking' downwards and that Melodic Minor form doesn't have any modes.

Melodic Minor "Jazz scale"


From this scale you can also derivate and play its 6 modes;

Dorian b2
Lydian#5 , augmented scale
Lydian b7, Lydian Dominant
Mixolydian b6, Hindu
Aeolian b5
Locrian b4, Super Locrian

The harmonized chords out of these scales are;

m(maj7), b9sus4, maj7#5, 7(#11), 7b13, m7b5 and 7mb5b9

Jazz it up, cat !!!

Paxom (Sweden)


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