minor 2-5-1 cycle

Discussion in 'Ask Lynn Seaton' started by Bassist4Life, Mar 31, 2007.


  1. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    Lynn,

    I've been working on improvisation recently. I am currently practicing exercises through the major 2-5-1 cycle.

    I'm not sure which chords would be best for the minor 2-5-1 cycle.

    I've tried:
    1. Cm7, F7, Bbm7
    2. Cm7, F7b9, Bbm7
    3. Cm7, F7alt, BbmMaj7

    Am I on the right track? What do you suggest?

    Thanks,
    Joe
     
  2. Ben Rolston

    Ben Rolston Supporting Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    The most standard minor II V I chords are:

    II Half diminished, V7+9, Im
     
  3. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    I need to clarify for a moment. Using the +9 confuses me a little.

    Does that mean:
    1. V7 add 9
    2. V7 augmented (add 9)
    3. V7 with a #9

    I usually see chord progressions like:
    Dm7b5, G7b9, Cm7

    Sometimes the V chord is G7alt.


    Thanks,
    Joe
     
  4. Lynn Seaton

    Lynn Seaton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    Denton, TX
    Hi,
    Ben is correct that most minor II chords are Half Diminished. I will answer you questions IN ALL CAPS
    YOU ASKED ABOUT #9 AND WHAT IT MEANS:
    "Does that mean:
    "1. V7 add 9" NO, THAT WOULD INDICATE A NATURAL NINTH.
    "2. V7 augmented (add 9)" ALSO A NATURAL NITNH.
    "3. V7 with a #9" YES THE CHORD WOULD BE I III V b7 #9 (A COMMON BLUES SOUND).
    OFTEN WITH A FLAT NINE ALSO COMES THE SHARP NINE. DEPENDING ON THE MELODY NOTE(S) VARIOUS SCALES ARE USED ON ALTERED CHORDS. THE MELODY MAY HAVE CLUES ABOUT THE CORRECT SCALE. IF IT HAS A NATURAL 13 OR 6, THEN HALF WHOLE DIMINISHED MAY BE GOOD.
    "Sometimes the V chord is G7alt." THEN EVERYTHING IS ALTERED AND A GOOD SCALE CHOICE IS SUPER LOCRIAN (ALSO CALLED THE ALTERED SCALE AND IS THE 7TH MODE OF MELODIC MINOR.)
    DAN HAERLE'S BOOK THE JAZZ SOUND IS AN EXCELLENT BOOK ABOUT JAZZ THEORY. www.jazzbooks.com is Aebersold's site where you can get the book.
     
  5. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    I appreciate your response to my post; however, the post you responded to was me trying to get clarity on the V7 chord Ben suggested.

    My original post was asking:
    I'm using Band In A Box to play an accompaniment while I improvise over a 2-5-1 progression that goes through the cycle.

    I'm wondering what the best/most common minor 2-5-1 would be for me to use.

    Thanks,
    Joe
     
  6. Lynn Seaton

    Lynn Seaton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    Denton, TX
    If you change the first chord to be a half diminished, then number 2 or 3 would be most common.
     
  7. bmanbill

    bmanbill

    Jun 29, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Joe,

    Lynn is, of course, right that the ii chord in minor includes the b5. If you are just getting started with this an easy way to hear your way through the entire turnaround is to use the harmonic minor scale built on the "i" chord in your sequence.

    So, in your example, you could use Bb harmonic minor (and its modes starting on C for the ii and F for the V). The scale contains all the notes you need to sound "correct" whether walking or soloing through this turnaround, much the same way that the major scale contains all the notes you need for a ii V I in a major key.

    The super locrian (on ii) and the altered scale (on V) are actually two different scales, as is the scale for the i chord. Cm7b5 uses the 6th mode of Eb melodic minor; F7 alt uses the 7th mode of Gb melodic minor; Bbm(M7) is the i chord of Bb melodic minor.

    So that sequence is a bit more advanced, though it does yield a ton of great possibilities.

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. Lynn Seaton

    Lynn Seaton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    Denton, TX
    Yes, the 6th mode of Ascending Melodic Minor is a good choice for Half Diminished chords. According to David Baker's "How to Play Bebop Vol. 1" page 41, Dan Haerle's "The Jazz Sound" page 72, and Jamey Aebersold/Dave Leibman playalong Vol.26 "The Scale Syllabus" page iii of the prefix, the 6th mode of Melodic Minor is also called Locrian #2. The seventh mode of a major scale (Locrian) is also used for Half Diminished chords.
    The seventh Mode of Ascending Melodic Minor is called Diminished Whole Tone in Baker's Book on page 41, Super Locrian in Haerle's book on page 72. In Aebersold/Leibman the seventh mode is called Diminished Whole Tone AND Altered Scale on page iii of the prefix.
    As we can see, there can be many names for the same thing. The bottom line is to know the sound you want and be able to recognize the sound you hear others play. Being able to "name it and frame it" is also helpful.
     
  9. RE: "name it and frame it"
    Perfect teaching concept Lynn. I'm gonna steal that one.
    So many young improvisers over-use the altered-dominant sound, even on simpler tunes that don't need or require that sound. If the tune is just a II half-diminished to a V7b9 to a I Maj7 then use it. Pay homage to the style, era, and traditions that the tune and band is playing in.
     
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