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Thread: Chord/Scale Choice List

  1. #1
    Detroit VidKid's Avatar
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    Chord/Scale Choice List

    It would be instructive if members would post their favorite scale choices, arpeggios, musical ideas, or thought process over chords progressions. There’s so many ways to approach a progression with scales, guide-tones, lower/upper structure triads, non-harmonic tones, 4ths, tritonic scales, pentatonic scales, extended/altered arpeggios just to name a few. Hopefully we can compile a list of ideas that members can refer to and try out.

    Also, you may want to suggest chord substitutions for these progressions. (tritones, borrowed, extensions etc.)

    To get started, here’s a list of common chord progression with numbered measures to indicate usage for that measure. Hopefully this thread will expand into a valuable resource! (You may suggest a progression also.)

    Progression 1:
    | Dm7 | G7alt | Cma7 | Cma7 |
    Measure: 1 2 3 4

    Progression 2:
    | Bm7b5 | E7b9 | Am7 | Am7 |
    Measure: 1 2 3 4

    Progression 3:
    | Cma7 | C#dim | Dmi7 |
    Measure: 1 2 3

    Progression 4:
    | Dm7 | Db9b5 | Cma7 |
    Measure: 1 2 3

    Progression 5:
    | Gma7 | Am7 | A#dim | Bm7|
    Measure: 1 2 3 4

    Progression 6:
    | Am | AmMaj7 | Am7 | Am6|
    Measure: 1 2 3 4

    Progression 7:
    | Gma7 | C9 | Bm7 | E7alt |
    Measure: 1 2 3 4

    Progression 8:
    | GmMaj7 | Cm6 | CmMaj7 | Eb9 | D9 | Gm6 |
    Measure: 1 2 3 4 5 6
    Response Example:

    Progression 1:
    Measures: 1-D Dorian , 2-Ab melodic (Super Locrian) 3-4 Cma9 Arp

    VidKid

  2. #2
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    Don't have time to respond to everything at the moment, I'll try to shortly.

    Unless I'm mistaken you left out a pretty important progression:

    | Fmin7 | Bb7 | CMaj7 |

    iv - bVII - I

    Which is probably the second most used cadence in jazz. For that I'd probably go with F Dorian or F Melodic minor then Bb Lydian Dominant then C Lydian or C Bebop Major (Ionian with an added #5), but that's just me.

  3. #3
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    great thread!

    i'll try to get some nice ideas together - it'll take some time though.
    but......
    ...could someone explain me progression 7 and 8?
    in an analytical way?
    i am familiar with all the others and it's clear for me what's happening, but i can't grab 7 and 8.

    thanks for any help

  4. #4
    Registered User ashc's Avatar
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    Sorry for jumping in with a diversion, but if you like this, then you might like this idea. So, in a similar vein, how about something inbetween this thread and the NP thread whereby; you pick a classic song and provide an analysis then everyone else can either learn something, get some ideas, or tell you your wrong. Then do their own song.

    So I mean; you give the chords of the song and say how you think it functions? e.g. key, progression, things like use of dominant chords / cadences (perfect, imperfect), secondary dominant usage etc. Beatles songs are a veritable goldmine for this (well there are whole books on analyzing those - so no cheating).

    What do you think? Should I kick that off in another thread? I wouldn't want to fall foul of any new triviality rules ;-)

    AshC

  5. #5
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    What do you think? Should I kick that off in another thread? I wouldn't want to fall foul of any new triviality rules ;-)
    personally i think that would be awesome and very usefull!
    as we have quite a few analising cracks here it should be no prob to solve any problem there might occour.
    i'd be happy to help as well if its within my ability.
    cool idea so far.

  6. #6
    Registered User SeattleRuss's Avatar
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    phantom - you wanted my take on these:

    Progression 7:
    | Gma7 | C9 | Bm7 | E7alt |
    Measure: 1 2 3 4

    If the last chord (E7 alt) were and Em7, this could be analysed as a IM7 - IV7 - iii7 - vi7 in G Major but with the E7 alt, it makes more sense to treat the first 2 chords individually and the last 2 chords are a ii7 - V7(alt) in A Major. If tempo allows, I pretty much would treat all these chords individually.

    Next:

    Progression 8:
    | GmMaj7 | Cm6 | CmMaj7 | Eb9 | D9 | Gm6 |
    Measure: 1 2 3 4 5 6


    My cofffee's almost gone and I gotta leave now but I'll try to contribute something concerning this one. When I analyze a progression, my goal is usually not to determine what major key it's in, or pinpoint exactly where there's a modulation because my reasons for analysis are mostly for:
    1) knowing how to approach soloing over it
    2) mainly understanding the relationships of the chords that are adjacent to each other.

    GmMaj7, if functioning as the imMaj7, makes me think harmonic minor, however the chord quality changing from the Cm6 to another mMaj7 tells me that by that time, we're not in G harmonic minor anymore. I see an obvious V7 - im6 for the last 2 chords, with the Eb9 functioning as an kind of "side-slip" approach before going to the V7.

    If you're analyzing to gain some perspective on what the creator of the progression might have been thinking, I might guess that from the CmMaj7, (s)he wanted the sound of a dominant chord up a minor 3rd, then knowing that to "go back home", just go down a 1/2 step, giving you your V7 of Cm.

    Big hint for bulding cool chord progressions: Start with a few chords you like, lthen figure out where and how you want it to end and then fill in the middle, working backwards from your ending.

    I try not to get too deep with my analysis. If I see:
    Fm7 - Emaj7 - Ebm7 - Dmaj7, I don't try to group the chords into their major key centers. More useful to me is that I can hear that chords moving in 1/2 steps, alternating quality between m7 and Maj7 sound good.
    Simple. I can use that "device" in the future as sort of a "bridge" between other bunches of chords.

    I'd better stop now - lol! I'm late!

    Hope I didn't confuse anyone!

  7. #7
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    awesome post russ!

    thanks a lot... looks like i have to get even more flexible with my thinking.
    damn.. what 15 years of diatonic handcuffs can do to you....
    ain't this a great place...

  8. #8
    Detroit VidKid's Avatar
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    Silent Storm- Those are great scale choices. I really like the Lydian Dominant sound (b5). How do you resolve the b5 in Lydian? Do you move it up to the 5th or down to the 4th or not at all? I sometime use the Lydian Augmented and treat the b5 and #5 as u/l neighbors to the 5th. Also, and I'm not sure if this is correct, I think of iv as sort of a G11-9 and treat it as a V7-9, using C harmonic sometimes. There's probably a need for a whole thread just on cadences. LOL Maybe some member like yourself could start another thread of changes? (sus-9, 11#4, 13-9, slash chords)

    SeattleRuss-Great post and explanation of ii-V7-I tonal centers. I feel if you can recognize the moving tonal centers, that's the key in understanding your scale choices. Look backwards or forward from the implied tonic when reading a chart.


    VidKid

  9. #9
    Detroit VidKid's Avatar
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    phantom,

    Sounds like a great idea to have members post progressions and have comments how to approach. There's a lot great books (Mark Levine, Hal Crook, free scale Syllabus from Aebersold, just to mention a few) that explain various scale choices. The key is to know a bunch of scales in all keys and how to connect them together smoothly without being root orientated.

    VidKid

  10. #10
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    Okay, here goes. This is how I'd probably go about these. Please respond if you see anything wrong.

    Progression 1:
    | Dm7 | G7alt | Cma7 | Cma7 |
    ii - V7 - I in CMajor. So, D dorian, G altered dominant (super locrian) and your Major mode of choice, whatever that may be, over C

    Progression 2:
    | Bm7b5 | E7b9 | Am7 | Am7 |
    ii - V7 - i in A minor. B locrian or B locrian natural 9 (6th mode of melodic minor), E phrygian dominant or altered dominant, A aeolian

    Progression 3:
    | Cma7 | C#dim | Dmi7 |
    Major mode of choice over C Major (Ionian, Lydian, Be-bop Major). C#dim you could play the diminished scale (whole half) or depending on the context that it's in you could treat it as a dom7b9 without a root and thus would be the bVII of Dmin, so C lydian dominant would probably be the choice there, although with the b9 it would sound a little outside. Then for Dmin I'd go with dorian.

    Progression 4:
    | Dm7 | Db9b5 | Cma7 |
    I'm asuming the Db9b5 is a Db with a 9 and a b5 not a D with a b9 and a b5. If so, it's just another ii - V7 - I in Cmajor, but the tritone sub of G7 is being used to create some nice root movement. So, I'd treat it the same as any other ii - V7 - I (see above)

    Progression 5:
    | Gma7 | Am7 | A#dim | Bm7|
    This one I find a bit strange. Depending on context, I'd probably just treat each chord individualy. That way you could use any major, any minor and I'd probably go diminished scale over A#, unless you're gonna sit on B min for a while, then probably A alt dominant.

    Progression 6:
    | Am | AmMaj7 | Am7 | Am6|
    Just moving through minor tonalities over Amin. I'd go Aeolian, then Harmonic minor then Dorian for the last two because of the natural 6th on the last chord.

    Progresson 7:
    | Gma7 | C9 | Bm7 | E7alt |
    Has already been answered

    Progression 8:
    | GmMaj7 | Cm6 | CmMaj7 | Eb9 | D9 | Gm6 |
    Has already been answered, except that the Eb9 (presuming an Eb with a 9 not E with b9) is actually the tritone sub of the ii chord in G minor.

    This is a great topic and I like the idea of having one for analyzing tunes (I need some pratice with that), but it has made me realize just how blatantly obvious we have to be when writing these things out, since we are rather limited with the keyboard. Stuff like the Eb9 thing at the end, could cause confusion because it could be a E7 with a b9 or a Eb7 with a 9. I know that in notation it is always very obvious, but because of the limitations of a keyboard people might want to consider being extra obvious, like instead of Eb9 have Eb7/9 or Eb7b9.

    just a thought

    Hope this helped

  11. #11
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    Vid Kid:

    The reason lydian dominant works so well over bVII - I situations is because you don't have to resolve the #4, it is a resolution. Bb lydian dominant: Bb, C, D, E, F, G, Ab. The #4 (E) is the third of C. That and the 7th are the most solid resolutions you could have.

    As for thinking of the G11-9. It's an interesting approach and it works although it would be a b9 (Ab). C harmonic minor is essentially a G11-b9-b13 if you really want to get technical.

  12. #12
    I, Galactus oRg's Avatar
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    I have one to add.
    | Bmadd9 | Emadd9 | Dadd9 | A |

    It's a vi-ii-I-V progression over the D major scale. As you can tell I'm kinda fond of the way add9th chords sound in classical pieces. Currently I'm actually writing a song using this combination. It sounds very classical. Kinda reminds of a mixture between Beethoven and Schoenberg (non-atonal). It's one of my more tonal pieces. Right now it's just a piano piece. I'll prolly finish the first theme tonight and work on the second and third themes tomorrow. I'll post the first part tonight in Show and Tell.

    edit: For some reason it reminds me of "Paradise City" by Guns n Roses...lol.
    Last edited by oRg; 10-21-2004 at 08:24 PM.
    v2sw3CUhw6ln3pr6OFck3ma9u6Lw3Xm6l6Ui2Ne5t5TSFDAb8T DOen7g6RZATHCMHPa21s6MSr53Dp3hackerkey

  13. #13
    Detroit VidKid's Avatar
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    Silent-Storm is right, Progression 8 is unclear. Measure 4 is supposed to be a bVI7 or Eb Dominant 9th (I'm sorry for the confusion). Usually if you see a chord written like this, it’s assumed to be a dominant 7th type chord. In Progression 2, measure 2 has an E7b9 which is an “E dominant 7th with a flatted 9th”, sometimes written, E7-9. This is good example how one can play the wrong chord or scale in a sight reading/audition situation.

    Progression 1:
    Dmi7 – D Dorian, I sometimes play Melodic Mi
    G7alt – Mostly Super Locrian; Outside patterns with 4ths or 5ths on a dim arp, Whole tone or Augmented Triad; Augmented Scale
    Cma7 – Mostly Major scale and Ma9 Arp.; Lydian or Lydian Augmented sometimes.

    Progression 2:
    Bm7b5 – A Harmonic or Diminished (HW) I use a lot of diatonic harmonic minor triads; Blues scale; Locrian #2 (D Melodic) over Bm7b5 then Super Locrian over E7b9 (F Melodic)
    E7b9 – A Harmonic or Spanish scale, Super Locrian; Dim Arp.

    Progression 3:
    Cma7 – Major Scale with patterns
    C#dim – I treat these ½ leading tone type dim chords as first inversion V7-9. They are actually substitutes. A7-9/C#. Therefore, D harmonic will work; Adim (H/W) scale.
    Dmi7 – Dorian or minor 9th arp

    Progression 4:
    Same as Progression 1
    The Db9b5 is a tritone sub of the V7. It’s really a G7#5b5 chord, which is sometimes written that way, but rarely. Usually is written as Db9 without the b5. General rule: On a V7 chord, the 5 and 9 can ether be sharpened or flatted, which usually resolves to a I chord. Ex: G7#5, G7b5, G7#5#9, G7#5b9, G7b5b9, G13b9, G13#9. In my opinion, all these chords are basically the same.

    Progression 5:
    Gma7 – G scale, Em9 arp
    Am7 – G scale again ( Dorian)
    A#dim – Some A# dim arpeggio pattern or B Harmonic mi
    Bmi7 – If the song stays on Bm7 for a while then B Dorian and you have modulated to a new key, otherwise, I see this chord as a substitute for Gma7/B and would play a G scale.

    Progression 6: “Stairway To Heaven”, “Feelings”,” My Masquerade”, “My Funny Valentine” plus a zillion others. Also good chord substitutes for 2 measures of just Am.
    Ami – Dorian
    AmiMa7 – A melodic, A Harmonic, A Blues
    Am7 – Dorian with emphasis on b7th
    Am6 – Tritone scale or Dorian with emphasis on 6th ;Am6 arp

    Progression 7:
    Gma7 – G scale pattern, Gma9 or Em9 arp, G blues (caution with the 3rd)
    C9 – I see this as a Gm7 substitution, so G Dorian or G Melodic (C Lydian Dominant), Minor Pents in G
    Bm7 – seeing the next chord as a dominant 7th to the tonal center of A, this could be a iim7 in the key of A or Am. Therefore, B Dorian
    E7alt – A Harmonic or Super Locrian (F Melodic), Whole Tone, Augmented Scale, Minor Blues/Pents in A

    Progression 8:
    GmMaj7 – Basically a i minor chord with a Ma7. Some songs are more progressive and don’t always have to start out with a mi7 extension. Therefore, G melodic; Whole Tone occasionally; Augmented Scale with GmMa7 arps.
    Cm7 – iv C Dorian
    CmMa7 iv with a Ma7 which is more progressive, but basically the same chord. C Melodic or B Whole Tone
    Eb7/9 – Basically a dominant chord a ½ step above the V7. (“Sounds Bluesy”) I usually link this chord with the next one, D7/9 and play either G Blues, Super Locrian (Abmelodic), G Harmonic, Outside Patterns as in Progression 1, Quadritonal Triads, 12-Tone Patterns like spirals, Outside Ma Triads like Ab, B, E, or F#, A, Eb and resolve to the nearest chord tone in G minor (G, Bb or D notes) You can also use the Ma Pents or Ma scales instead of Outside Triads, but the tension will be increase much more and you have to be careful. This is a good place to show off your best fusion licks.
    D9 – Same as above.
    Gm6 – Tritone scale, G Dorian, Gm6(emphasis on the 6th), Gm9( emphasis on the 9th), Gsus(emphasis on the 4th) Octives, 3rds, 5ths, 6ths intervals, digital patterns, chromatic patterns, quick linear diatonic triads in Gm (sweeps), In-sen scale, G Blues, a bunch of stuff.

    There's a lot of approaches to these progressions and these are some ideas I use.

    VidKid

  14. #14
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    digital patterns....In-sen scale

    hey master vid,.. could i get a quick explanation on both?

  15. #15
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    Progression 1:
    | Dm7 | G7alt | Cma7 | Cma7 |
    Measure: 1 2 3 4

    Dorian / Altered (Superlocrian) / Ionian / Ionian

    Progression 2:
    | Bm7b5 | E7b9 | Am7 | Am7 |
    Measure: 1 2 3 4

    locrian / HM5 / aeolian / aeolian

    Progression 3:
    | Cma7 | C#dim | Dmi7 |
    Measure: 1 2 3

    Ionian / Diminished / Dorian

    Progression 4:
    | Dm7 | Db9b5 | Cma7 |
    Measure: 1 2 3

    same as Progression 1

    Progression 5:
    | Gma7 | Am7 | A#dim | Bm7|
    Measure: 1 2 3 4

    Ionian / Dorian / Dim. / Phrygian

    Progression 6:
    | Am | AmMaj7 | Am7 | Am6|
    Measure: 1 2 3 4

    Dorian / MMinor / Dorian / Dorian

    Progression 7:
    | Gma7 | C9 | Bm7 | E7alt |
    Measure: 1 2 3 4

    Ionian / mixolidyan / Phrygian / HM5
    or
    Ionian / lydian b7 / dorian / HM5

    it depends how you look at it

    Progression 8:
    | GmMaj7 | Cm6 | CmMaj7 | Eb9 | D9 | Gm6 |
    Measure: 1 2 3 4 5 6

    no clue, maybe here the notes of the melody
    would help


    To me, what is a bit dangerous with this chord/scale thing is that
    you'll never improvise like that. You simply don't noodle the given
    modes up and down the neck while improvising, but rather melodies
    that share some of the tensions of the chords/scales.

    I added two examples for Progression 1:

    I simply don't think....ah, now I have to play dorian, and now superlocrian.....etc. but I rather use some of the notes of these scales to create a melody. Hope you understand what I mean.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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