DOMINATE 7 CHORDS: Which Scales Go with Which Chords?

This is the fifth in a series of articles entitled “Which Scales Go with Which Chords?” covering the Dominate 7 Chords.

When improvising, it’s important to know which scale(s) to use.  Traditional Harmony usually has one scale for the entire song (or section). When the song modulates (changes key), the scales used are also changed.

Jazz improvisers use any scale they feel sounds best. You still cannot violate the “laws of harmony” – there’s simply more freedom in selecting compatible notes from alternative scales.

Besides the standard Dominate 7 (1 ▪ 3 ▪ 5 ▪ 7), there are two other versions of dominate chords that behave similarly. (We’ll discuss “why” later).

  • Standard 5th Dominate 7 (1 ▪ 3 ▪ 5 ▪ 7)
  • Diminished 5th Dominate 7 (-5) (1 ▪ 3 ▪ 5 ▪ 7)
  • Augmented 5th Dominate 7 (+5) (1 ▪ 3 ▪ #5 ▪ 7)

In Traditional Harmony there are no scales that include the Dominate 7 (-5) or Dominate 7 (+5) – however Jazz Theory allows the use of enharmonics to create equivalent chords.

When improvising against a Dominate 7 (1 ▪ 3 ▪ 5 ▪ 7) these are your four traditional scale choices:

dom 7 scales

When improvising against a Dominate 7 (1 ▪ 3 ▪ 5 ▪ 7) these are your three additional Jazz (enharmonic) scale choices:

dom 7 scales

Your selection process when improvising:

Major and minor chords can choose more freely when selecting scales for improvisation. However, Traditional Harmony is “correct”; dominate chords are closely tied to the NEXT chord(s) in their chord progression. Choose a scale with a close relationship to the subsequent chords in your progression.

SPECIFIC CHOICES: While all of the (above) scales can be used with a standard Dominate 7 chord, your scale choices become specific when adding alterations and extensions.

dom 7 scales choices

THE “OTHER NOTES”: What to do with the “other notes” not found in the (above) scales?

PASSING TONES: The “other notes” allow you to move (transition) among the notes within your chosen scale. When the “other tone” is sharp (#) it usually moves- up to the next scale note. When the “other tone” is flat (I ) it usually moves-down to the next scale note.

USE YOUR EAR! Please do try breaking the (above) ancient “passing tones” rule. However, you’ll quickly discover “passing tones” really do sound better when their next move is to a scale note.

Posted in Chord Theory, Harmony, Improvisation, Jazz, Music | 1 Comment

MINOR MAJOR 7 CHORDS: Which Scales Go with Which Chords?

This is the fourth in a series of articles entitled “Which Scales Go with Which Chords?” covering the Minor 7 Chords.

When improvising, it’s important to know which scale(s) to use.  Traditional music usually has one scale for the entire song (or section). When the song modulates (changes key), the scales used are also changed.

Jazz improvisers use any scale they feel sounds best. You still cannot violate the “laws of harmony” – there’s simply more freedom in selecting compatible notes from alternative scales.

When improvising against a Minor ∆7 (1 ▪ 3 ▪ 5 ▪ 7) these are your two scale choices:


c minor major scale

Your selection process when improvising:


ONLY TWO SCALES: Because there are only two (2) scale choices, your selection is based upon using the major versus minor 13th.

c minor major scale

USE YOUR EAR! Regardless of “proper key” – do you like the sound of the major or minor 13th?.

THE “OTHER NOTES”: What to do with the “other notes” not found in the (above) scales?

PASSING TONES: The “other notes” allow you to move (transition) among the notes within your chosen scale. When the “other tone” is sharp (#) it usually moves- up to the next scale note. When the “other tone” is flat (I ) it usually moves-down to the next scale note.

USE YOUR EAR! Please do try breaking the (above) ancient “passing tones” rule. However, you’ll quickly discover “passing tones” really do sound better when their next move is to a scale note.

Posted in Chord Theory, Harmony, Jazz, Music | 1 Comment

MINOR 7 CHORDS: Which Scales Go with Which Chords?

This is the third in a series of articles entitled Which Scales Go with Which Chords? covering the Minor 7 Chords.

When improvising, it’s important to know which scale(s) to use.  Traditional music usually has one scale for the entire song (or section). When the song modulates (changes key), the scales used are also changed.

Jazz improvisers use any scale they feel sounds best. You still cannot violate the “laws of harmony” – there’s simply more freedom in selecting compatible notes from alternative scales.

When improvising against a Minor 7 (1 ▪ 3 ▪ 5 ▪ 7) these are your five (5) scale choices:


minor-chords

Your selection process when improvising:

FIVE? SCALE CHOICES: While there are five (5) scales listed, you can quickly narrow your scale choices.


Minor 7th with standard 9th? Only three (3) scale choices.

  1. BMajor
  2. EMajor
  3. G Harmonic Minor

Minor 7th with diminished 9th? Only two (2) scale choices.

  1. BMelodic Minor
  2. AMajor

SPECIFIC SCALE CHOICES: Each scale has specific minor chord attributes.

minor scale choices

USE YOUR EAR! Regardless of “proper key” – do you like the sound of the altered notes from a different scale?

THE “OTHER NOTES”: What to do with the “other notes” not found in the (above) scales?

PASSING TONES: The “other notes” allow you to move (transition) among the notes within your chosen scale. When the “other tone” is sharp (#) it usually moves- up to the next scale note. When the “other tone” is flat (I ) it usually moves-down to the next scale note.

USE YOUR EAR! Please do try breaking the (above) ancient “passing tones” rule. However, you’ll quickly discover “passing tones” really do sound better when their next move is to a scale note.

Posted in Chord Theory, Harmony, Improvisation, Jazz, Music | 2 Comments

MAJOR 7 ALTERED CHORDS: Which Scales Go with Which Chords?

This is the second in a series of articles entitled “Which Scales Go with Which Chords?” covering the Major 7 (-5) and Major 7 (+5) Chords.

When improvising, it’s important to know which scale(s) to use.  Traditional music usually has one scale for the entire song (or section). When the song modulates (changes key), the scales used are also changed.

Jazz improvisers use any scale they feel sounds best. You still cannot violate the “laws of harmony” – there’s simply more freedom in selecting compatible notes from alternative scales.

In traditional music there is no scale that includes a Major 7 (-5) Chord – however Jazz Theory allows the use of enharmonics to create equivalent chords.

When improvising against a Major ∆ 7 (-5) (1 ▪ 3 ▪ 5 ▪ 7) these are your three scale choices:

Major 7 Minus 5

Your selection process when improvising:

ONLY ONE SCALE: While there are three (3) scales listed, there is really only one (1) scale choice.

  •  G Major / A Melodic Minor / E Harmonic Minor

C Scale F Sharp


When improvising against a Major ∆ 7 (+5)  (1 ▪ 3 ▪ #5 ▪ 7) these are your two scale choices:

Major 7 Plus 5

Your selection process when improvising:

ONLY TWO SCALES, However…: Traditional harmony’s melodic minor ascend as written (above), however it descends as a natural minor. Jazz theory seldom uses the harmonic minor and recommends using the melodic minor the same ascending and descending.

Regardless of “proper minor key” – do you like the sound of the augmented 11th? (Only found in the recommended melodic minor scale).


c scale f and g sharp


THE “OTHER NOTES”: What to do with the “other notes” not found in the (above) scales?

PASSING TONES: The “other notes” allow you to move (transition) among the notes within your chosen scale. When the “other tone” is sharp (#) it usually moves- up to the next scale note. When the “other tone” is flat (I ) it usually moves-down to the next scale note.

USE YOUR EAR! Please do try breaking the (above) ancient “passing tones” rule. However, you’ll quickly discover “passing tones” really do sound better when their next move is to a scale note.

Posted in Chord Theory, Improvisation, Jazz, Music | 2 Comments

MAJOR 7 CHORDS: Which Scales Go with Which Chords?

This is the first in a series of articles entitled Which Scales Go with Which Chords?

When improvising, it’s important to know which scale(s) to use.  Traditional music usually has one scale for the entire song (or section). When the song modulates (changes key), the scales used are also changed.

Jazz improvisers use any scale they feel sounds best. You still cannot violate the “laws of harmony” – there’s simply more freedom in selecting compatible notes from alternative scales.

When improvising against a Major 7th chord (1 ▪ 3 ▪ 5 ▪ 7) these are your four scale choices:

image

Your selection process when improvising:

ONLY TWO SCALES: While there are four (4) scales listed, there are really only two (2) scale choices.

  • C Major / A Natural Minor
  • G Major / E Harmonic Minor

C and G Scale

USE YOUR EAR! Regardless of “proper key” – do you like the sound of the augmented 11th? (Only found in two of the scales).

THE “OTHER NOTES”: What to do with the “other notes” not found in the (above) scales?

PASSING TONES: The “other notes” allow you to move (transition) among the notes within your chosen scale. When the “other tone” is sharp (#) it usually moves- up to the next scale note. When the “other tone” is flat (I ) it usually moves-down to the next scale note.

USE YOUR EAR! Please do try breaking the (above) ancient “passing tones” rule. However, you’ll quickly discover “passing tones” really do sound better when their next move is to a scale note.

Posted in Chord Theory, Harmony, Improvisation, Jazz | 2 Comments

SCIENCE: Harmonics – you can’t fight Mother Nature

When ancient man struck a hollow-log with a stick they discovered certain parts of the hollow-log hurt their hands (and made a “thud” sound). They also discovered other parts of the log were louder, had a more resonant sound AND did not hurt their hands!

  • Painters mix blue and yellow pigments to create green.
  • Chefs wait for water to reach 212° to boil.
  • Dancers deal with the laws of gravity.
  • Music is defined by rules of nature – even if we don’t understand the science.

Sound is a physical property of the vibration of molecules in an atmosphere. Yes, when a tree falls on an alien planet with an atmosphere and nobody is around to hear it … it made a sound. (Of course the density of the alien air affects the pitch).

When we listen to a musical note, we hear the fundamental tone – and give it a letter name. However, as soon as anything begins vibrating besides its fundamental tone lots of additional tones are generated. Musical instruments are designed to enhance the mathematically generated tones. Each additional tone is softer in volume than the previous notes. These additional notes are called harmonics or overtones.

clip_image002

The presence of natural harmonics mean when a flute, piano or trumpet plays a note – a string is plucked or bowed; those fundamental tones also include lots of other notes too.

The natural distribution of harmonics from open in the base clef, closed in the treble clef, clustered in the high-treble clef, is also how we later learn to voice chords.

When a trombone plays a C3 you basically get an entire C Major triad too (see “Music Equivalent” above). The 5th harmonic (the chord’s 3rd) is faint, and thankfully we don’t usually hear the 7th harmonic (the dominant 7th). However, you always hear the first few harmonics of a note (along with the harmonics of other notes of a chord).


MAJOR CHORD = When building a C Major triad, the harmonics of all three notes support the “major” quality of the Major triad with extra Major 3rds (E) and Perfect 5ths (G).

image

MINOR CHORD = When building a C minor triad, the harmonics of all three notes are not as supportive of the “minor” quality of the minor triad. The minor-third (E) clashes a bit with the natural third (E) harmonics.

image

CHORDS WITHOUT A 5th = When building any chord you can omit the Perfect 5th because the Root harmonics already prominently includes the Perfect 5th.

image

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DEFINE: Western versus Eastern Thinking

Two people walk into a museum room and comment on the tile on the wall.

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Person from the West: “Hey look, that tile is broken!”

Person from the East: “No, that’s beautiful – it’s Art!”

Person from the West: “Oh yeah, I can see that too…”

As Westerners, we like things balanced and symmetrical. A single tile “out of place” catches our eye as something wrong. The Easterner is not “bothered” by the misplaced tile.

There are many rules in Western Music that seem ridged to students – and 100’s of years ago, those rules were indeed ridged. However, rules are meant to be broken (or expanded) and as long as it “sounds good” there will be a new rule to follow justifying the new “good sound”.

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