How do you guys look at minor ii-V-I's?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by jamminoutloud1, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. jamminoutloud1

    jamminoutloud1 Supporting Member

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    So I am teaching a student and have been for a couple years now. We are just starting to get into jazz. He knows all the major modes, etc.
    We are now working on the tune blue bossa, and he is confused how to look at minor ii-7b5-Valt -i's. Obviously, there are a lot of different approaches...
    Melodic mlodic minor up a minor 3rd, melodic minor up a half step, melodic minor on the root is one way...
    I am looking for an easy way to teach this and apply it to modes. Any advice on how to simplify this progression to someone just learning the ropes?
     
  2. nrandall85

    nrandall85 Member

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    If he's proficient with major, I would start there.

    For example, Fm7b5-Bbaltered-Ebmin7

    Fm7b5- show him how to play in Gb major to get sounds that suggest minor 7b5

    Bb altered- a lot of times in this situation, I actually think E Lydian, since it's the exact same thing as altered with one different note (d#.) after spending some time with that, it won't be too difficult to get regular melodic minor an it's modes in his brain.

    Ebm7- show him how natural minor, harmonic minor, Dorian, and melodic minor all have useful sounds to check out and apply.

    For starters, start with key center type thinking Gb major for fm7b5, B major for Bb altered, and Db major for Eb min7 (if you're going for Dorian, which is usually a safe choice.)

    From there, start to show him some arpeggios and lines specific to scales he may not be as familiar with, like using Maj7#5 arpeggio starting from the 7th based on the #9 of the altered chord (over Bb alt this would be C# D F# A#, giving you #9,3, b13, root.)

    Sorry, best I can come up with at 3:30am.
     
  3. vhollund

    vhollund Member

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    I'd keep it simple : from Aeolian to b6 melodic minor and back
     
  4. harmonicator

    harmonicator Member

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    m7b5- locrian natural 2

    alt7- altered dominant...halfwhole diminished...wholetone...lydiandom

    minmaj7- melodic minor
     
  5. JonR

    JonR Member

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    I'd do exactly as Jeff suggests - except I'd probably under-emphasise the use of scales, and focus more on chord tones (arpeggios), and connections from chord to chord. IOW, points #1, #3, #4 and #5 more than point #2.

    I personally think scales are a distraction and you get better results if you think in chord tones, voice-leading and melodic/rhythmic phrase shape. The scales are implied of course, in anything we play (as they are by the chord tones), but it's not often useful to think about them. If you think about scales, you tend to play scales, which is dull, and sounds like noodling. Or, you select appropriate chord tones or tensions from the scale - in which case you might as well start from there in the first place.
    Passing notes between chord tones needn't always belong to any specific scale - they can be diatonic or chromatic, and can be chosen from the chords either side in any case.

    At least, this would be for a student at beginner/intermediate level. IMO, a complete understanding of chord tones (including consonant extensions and any appropriate alterations) is fundamental before looking at chord-scale theory - in functional progressions like this one anyway. Modal jazz is a whole different ball game....;)
     
  6. gennation

    gennation Member

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  7. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    A minor for the Bm7b5 and Am, A harmonic minor for E7 alt.
     
  8. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Keep it real simple and check Barry Galbraith's Fingerboard Workbook which has two pages of beautiful minor ii-V7's.
     
  9. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Or play Hot House on every minor ii-V7!
     
  10. Neer

    Neer Supporting Member

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    Using Am7b5 to E7alt as an example, there are several ways to look at it, but a simple way would be A Locrian (Bb scale) to E Super Locrian (F melodic minor).
     
  11. Washburnmemphis

    Washburnmemphis Member

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    +1 - Completely agree with this.

    IMHO, musicians who are able to come up with interesting lines playing scales, already know how to build a line using chord tones, guide tones and passing tones.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  12. jamminoutloud1

    jamminoutloud1 Supporting Member

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    This is all excellent advice..thank you. But I guess to be even more
    Clear, I am asking for a way to explain to relate to modes.
    In a major ii-V-I the ii can align with Dorian as its a minor mode.
    Over the V chord, which is already thought of as a seventh chord naturally aligns to mixolydian, which normally implies seventh chord. And of course the I implies ionian which is major.
    It seems for a minor ii-V-i you have to think of every chord individually. Is there any mode relationship that can align to this progression? Perhaps a stupid question, but hope to get some clarity.
     
  13. vhollund

    vhollund Member

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    Locrian, Mixolydian b9,#9, b13, and Aeolian

    are the corresponding modes

    Use of Altered scale on the V to get more tension

    Minor modes :

    i : Aeolian
    ii : Locrian
    lll : Ionian
    iv : Dorian
    V : Frygian or *Frygian Major / Mixolydian b9 #9 b13 ...OR Altered scale
    bVl : Lydian
    bVll : Mixolydian

    *Frygian major = Frygian + M3
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  14. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    Harmonic minor on the i chord.
    You have i m/mj7-iim7b5-III7#5-ivm7-V7(b9#5)-VImj7-viidim7
    But unless you want it sounding 1001 Nights...or Sesame Open I'd stay off the major 7 over the i chord when it's a triad.
     
  15. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    30 years ago when I transcribed a boat load of Joe Diorio solos I noticed that, when he wasn't playing his intervallic bag, he would primarily use the harmonic minor scale on the min7b5 and the 7b9 chords of a minor ii-V7. In other words for Bmi7b5-E7b9-Ami he'd use the notes from the A harmonic minor scale on the Bmi7b5 and E7 chord. Once he got to A minor he was more likely to choose A melodic minor or dorian. And yes, his lines outlined chord tones!
    BTW I sent my transcriptions to Joe and was really touched by him taking the time to write me a letter back...thanking me! What a sweetheart.
     
  16. Sensible Musician

    Sensible Musician Member

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    find a recording of the tune that appeals to him and grab vocabulary from that. introduce him to dex' version and grab lines tailored to fit what you want to illustrate

    note that students will sometimes gravitate toward really sh*tty versions of standards and that's okay - they are hearing new stuff mixed in with vocab they already recognize. as long as they are expanding it's all good.

    after you have sounds and musical understanding, it is easy to talk about scales and theory
     
  17. jamminoutloud1

    jamminoutloud1 Supporting Member

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    So There's obviously a lot of options...trying to find a chord scale relationship is what I'm looking for. And trying to logically tie it all together to the i chord is my point. In a major ii V I it all stems from Ionian scale.
    In minor I don't understand where it comes from, because the half dim chord, which is the 7th mode/chord doesnt pair to the V chord, because that would be the third mode, but it usually played phrygian or minor. Just trying to grasp this myself as well as explain it correctly...
     
  18. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    If you really want to know then you need to play harmonized scales. Harmonic minor has a mi7b5 on its second degree. Work through Barry Galbrath's Daily Excercises in the Harmonic and Melodic Minor scales. After that you won't have to think so hard cause you'll know the score.
     
  19. nrandall85

    nrandall85 Member

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    That Galbraith book is excellent for getting Melodic and Harmonic together. Good for technique and reading as well.

    Minor ii V's can be difficult due to the sheer number of "correct" choices.

    Pick a few easy sounds-scale choices, arpeggios, whatever..... And own them. Once you "sound good" over minor ii V's, then start to consider other scales, triad pairs, etc etc etc.
     
  20. harmonicator

    harmonicator Member

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    Very cool :beer
     

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