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:
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.
- G Harmonic Minor
Minor 7th with diminished 9th? Only two (2) scale choices.
- B♭Melodic Minor
SPECIFIC SCALE CHOICES: Each scale has specific minor chord attributes.
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.
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