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ii-V-I book...typo or new to me?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by iplaybassguitar, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. Hey guys. I am working through some pages my friend copied(shhh!) for me from a ii-V-I book. There is a section for both treble and bass clefs which is nice. Each section starts out by showing the scales for ii-V-Is in all keys, and then has a collection of licks that work well in each key.

    I just started looking at the scales given, and noticed that in all of the minor ii chords, the 6th is a major one.

    in the key of C, d minor is the minor two chord. It is notated with no key signature and the dminor scale has a Bnatural as the sixth degree, whereas in d-minor, where as it should be a Bb.

    This is the same for all of the examples, major 6ths instead of minor. Is this common practice for jazz or ii-V-I, or is something funny here?
  2. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    The B natural is not a typo. You have just discovered the Dorian mode. Dorian mode is associated with the second degree of the Major scale, and so is typically used over the ii chord rather than the natural minor scale.

    If you want to approach the ii-V-I progression in terms of scales, you could use the following scales:

    ii Dmin7 - Dorian (D E F G A B C D)
    V G7 - Mixolydian (G A B C D E F G)
    I CMaj7 - Ionian (Major) (C D E F G A B C)

    In the key of C, each of these modes is based on the same collection of notes as the C Major scale, so another way to approach this progression is to recognize that the progression stays in the key of C and use a C Major scale over the entire progression, focusing on the chord tones for each chord. So, you would play a C Major scale over the whole progression, but focus on the notes in bold:

    ii Dmin7 (C D E F G A B C
    V G7 (C D E F G A B C)
    I CMaj7 (C D E F G A B C)

    @Malcolm: the C melodic minor scale really has nothing to do with the OP's question.
  3. oren


    Aug 7, 2007
    Salem, OR
    One reason to use the ii's Dorian mode in ii-V7-I changes is that it contains all the notes in all three chords.
  4. Don't be so quick to dismiss someone else's advice, there's a difference between someone being wrong and your own ignorance. :)

    While I agree your reply speaks more directly to the OP and likely more appropriate for what the OP is working with at the moment:

    Realize that what Malcolm posted is in fact relevant. Melodic minor a whole step down from the ii-7 does in fact yield a major 6th against the ii chords root while presenting all the other intervals in ii-7. In fact his suggestion is IMHO musically more interesting as it offers a b9 in the ii chord, is not the typical vanilla 'ii-7 = dorian', AND opens up the world of modal interchange. Again, probably not what the OP needs at this point - but, completely relevant.

    So perhaps what you meant to say was; "your post may be a bit beyond the OP's needs at this point" or something like that? Or even; "Hey Malcolm, I know it this way, but can you explain what you're saying, I've never seen that"...... Humble man, humble..... Wise men realize they know nothing, only the fools think they know all.... There's a lot of great musician at TB - It's always worth considering what everyone says as opposed to quickly dismissing it as if one knows more.... Even if he stumbled across that by complete accident, it's still correct and now you know you can use melodic minor a whole step down from ii-7 and/or ii-7b9.

  5. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    I'm curious - what's the book?
  6. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    I don't think that this is what Malcolm was suggesting at all, and while I understand and respect your point, I would really prefer not to take the thread off on a tangent.
  7. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    To the OP: Keep in mind that even though you're playing a scale starting on D, you're still in the key of C major, hence the B natural, and therefore (as others have pointed out) Dorian mode.
  8. Ditto!!!

    Will just close it by repeating:

  9. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    You gotta understand what ii V I is first, and it seems the OP doesn't. What is the ii chord? It's the chord built by stacking thirds starting with the second note of the scale (duh- that's WHY it's the ii chord!). In the key of C there are no sharps nor flats- you got that. So, starting at D, and stacking thirds you get the Dmin7 chord D F A C. Now the SCALE you're coming from is NOT the D natural minor scale, it's the C major scale (no, not even D Dorian- even though they're the same notes, you need to understand it as coming from the C major scale).

    The point of ii V I is that those three chords DEFINE the key center because they pull to the tonic (C) AND they have all the notes, and only the notes of the tonic scale.

    ii7 is D F A C
    V7 is G B D F
    Those two alone cover all the notes of the C major scale except the third...
    Imaj7 is C E G B

    Only notes of the C scale, and no foreign notes. That's why the book shows the scale for the ii chord being D E F G A B C instead of D E F G A Bb C.

    Again, ii V I defines a specific key center, so it's better to think all three of them as being in the same scale rather than shifting gears. The whole point is to see the commonality of them, not to look at each one as a separate entity.


  10. :hyper: :hyper: Bravo :hyper: :hyper: nice explanation!!! :) and sooooo true, the sub-mediant, and dominant are often referred to as both being dominant in contemporary academics; some just look at the ii and V as being the same thing.

  11. I realized this, so I doubted it being a typo, but I also was almost sure that it was supposed to be the natural minor scale instead of Dorian.

    Thanks guys
  12. I only have some copied pages and I can't find any info on that...I'll have to ask my friend when i see him next.
  13. My main source of confusion is that i know the ii is relating to the I, which in this case is CMajor, and that all the notes of the ii will be notes of the I, except starting on the ii.

    that piece of knowledge was conflicting with the fact that it said only d-(Dminor), and so my mind skipped thinking about the ii relating to the I and just focused on Dminor.

    SO. will this happen with other chords too? Like in this situation where it is notated only say major or minor, where you have to know that its not just natural major or minor but in fact a specific mode?
  14. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    You gotta look at the chords in context. That's why I despise so much of the modal nonsense regurgitated on line. How do you know a Dmin should have D Dorian instead of D Aeolian? Is it the ii chord or the vi chord? And if you understand the chord function, then most times you don't need a different mode.

    Me, I believe that if you're playing tonal music (as opposed to modal compositions) then don't even think of modes. In this case while the notes are the same as D Dorian, it's not really D Dorian that you need. You need C major (for the reasons in my previous post) and you need to know the chord.

    The bass' job is to connect the rhythm with the rest of the music, and to DEFINE the harmony. That second part means we have to not only tell people what the current chord is, but what the next one is. And that also means that we need to tell them how the previous chord, the current one, and the next one relate to each other. If you're switching concepts with every chord, you're going to have a hard time making the harmony sound like anything but a disjointed collection of sounds.

    So, look at the chords in context. Decipher how they go together. OWN the chord tones. Put all that together and you'll know what the most useful notes are.

    If the progression is Dmin G7 C, you've already got the information that you're using C major all the way through. If there's an Amin stuck in there before the Dmin, then look at it- if you know the harmonized scale you know it's the vi of C, and you're still in C- therefore the notes you need are still in the C D E F G A B C framework.

  15. N.F.A.


    Jun 25, 2009
    In a blue funk
    +1 to it being Jamey Aebersold
  16. 251


    Oct 6, 2006
    Metro Boston MA
    No doubt it is Jamie Aebersold's Play Along Series, Volume 3.

    To the OP; it is worth buying the book with the CD. The Scale Syllabus, in the front, is a lesson in itself. It is also worth writing out & learning all of the ii/V/I scales in all 12 keys. Practice them in a Circle of Fourths & a Circle of Fifths. Having the familiar "shapes" flow from your fingers is a small treasure.
  17. Amen - would just add for the sake of conversation - they ultimately compliment one-another albeit the "mode" thang has gotten so hyped up over the years it almost negates any recognition of tonal playing and more importantly as you mentioned, function.

    If memory serves (correct me if I'm wrong) it was late 50's early 60's before Miles, Coltrane et al. began to explore modal concepts academically in their music. Prior, Parker et al, came from the chord/chord scale mentality. But ultimately it's all part of the same thing, not one or the other.

    Just my $0.02
  18. Could somebody explain this?


    i know about the circle of fifths, but how do i practice the ii-V-I with it?
  19. 4th's - C F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb ... B E A D G ... back to C F

    So, right off you have ii V I root motion inherit in it, so using each as the tonic (starting with Bb) i.e. c-7, F7, Bbmaj7 :: Next, f-7, Bb7, EbMaj7 - etc.... and you'll see the inverse if ya already know the 5ths. So it's all ii V I moving in 4ths.


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