Tag Archives: Dorian

The 7 Levels Of Cm7 Dorian – Triads to Complete Voicing Arpeggios

The search for more ideas and new things to play never ends! This video will go over 7 different types of arpeggios, scales and other voicing structures you can use when improvising over a Cm7 chord some you probably already use and some you may not have in your vocabulary yet.

Thinking in categories can help you check if there is something you never really checked out or got to use while soloing, and it is also quite likely that some of these you never used before.




0:00 Intro

1:11 Level 1 – 3 Basic 7th Chord Arpeggios

1:30 Discussing the different arpeggios

2:13 Difference between Modal and more dense progressions

2:31 Level 2 – Pentatonics (and Super-imposing them)

3:01 Overview of the different pentatonics

4:27 Level 3 -Triads

5:00 Triads and triad upper-structures

6:03 Level 4 – Quartal Arpeggios from the Dorian mode

6:24 Quartal arpeggios for a Cm7

7:22 Level 5 – Shell-Voicings

7:41 What they are nmd Which Shell voicings to use

8:36 Level 6 – Quintal Arpeggios

9:02 Quintal harmony and linking it to a pentatonic scale

9:51 Who said “Andy Sumners and Jimi Hendrix”

10:05 Level 7 – Drop2 voicing arpeggios

10:30 Using and playing arpeggios with a larger range.

11:21 Did I miss something you use a lot?

11:59 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Great Dorian m7 licks – Secret ideas from Holdsworth, Metheny and more

There are some many things in a jazz line, arpeggios, quartal harmony, chromatic enclosures. Part of the challenge in using the stuff we practice is to make it into lines that work and combine it with what we already use. In this video I am going to demonstrate some of the things.

In this video I am going to go over some of my ideas for m7 lines. This will give you some insight in how I build lines and what I use. It also gives me the chance to show you some of the things that I use that I did not work on a in a systematical way like licks from Allan Holdsworth and Pat Metheny.

The Dorian m7 sound

I choose to make these lines on a m7 chord. Mostly because it is a sound that is very common in both jazz standards and modal jazz songs. It is also very likely that you have some sort of vocabulary on a m7 chord so you can easily put the ideas to use.

The Holdsworth stack of 4ths

This lick starts with a stack of 4ths that is laid out as 2 notes per string with a string skip. This way of playing a quartal arpeggio that isn’t 1 note per string is something I picked up from Allan Holdsworths solo in this video:  The Things You See It’s anyway a great solo!

For the rest the line consists of a variation of a melodic Cm cliche: 1 2 b3 5. In the line I play it descending and suspend the 1 with a chromatic leading note (B). The begining of the 2nd bar is a scale run which then is built around a Cm7 arpeggio that has some of the “gaps” filled up with scale notes.

The ending of the line is a built around a large interval skip of a b6.  Having larger intervals in you lines can often work as signals. It is an easy way to let the note stand out. Since it is at the ending I am skipping up to a chord tone (the 5th).

Using different diatonic arpeggios

It is absolutely essential that you are able to use more diatonic arpeggios than just the one from the root when you are improvising. In this example I am using two of the other arpeggios that work well over a m7 chord. These arpeggios are found on the 3rd and on the 5th of the chord.

The line starts with a Gm7 arpeggio where the 5th and 7th of Gm7 are use to encircle the 3rd(Eb). From Eb I then continue up the Ebmaj7 arpeggio which then lands on the 1 of bar 2 with the D.

From the D the line first is resolved to the C chromatically before it continues down the Cm7 arpeggio to the 5th. From the 5th I continue with a stack of 4ths from C before the line ends on a G.

Chromatic enclosures and Pat Metheny’s parallel 3rds

In the last example I am starting with a chromatic enclosure. When you play lines it is important to have the melody connect with the chord. You can do this by having strong chord tones on the important beats in the bar. In this case I have the 3rd of Cm on the 3 of bar 1. I am using the chromatic enclosure to suspend the 3rd by playing a chromatic movement that then resolves to Eb.

From the Eb I play an Ebmaj7 arpeggio in a sequence that let’s me end on the D on the 1 of the 2nd bar. In the 2nd bar I start with an idea that I learned from Pat Metheny which is shifting down 3rds chromatically. From the Ab I can resolve back to a G and then end the line with a melody that is coming out of an Gm pentatonic scale. I finally end the line with on the 11th(F)

Compose lines with the material.

For most of us tt is important that we keep discovering and exploring new things like new types or choices of arpggegios or scale sounds. Using composition is a great way to develop this. 

I hope you can use some of the ideas that I talk about in this lesson to come up with some new exciting lines and have fun integrating them into your own playing.

If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter: 

Download a free E-book with 15 II Valt I licks!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

My 3 favourite m7 ideas

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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Don’t sound the same all the time – Minor chords

It’s important to not get stuck in one sound on a chord. If you can play something with a different sound each time that chord comes along. You keep surprising the listener. In this video I am going to go over three different sounds on a minor chord, so scales and sounds. This works really well on a tonic minor chord as in a minor blues, or summertime or invitation.

In the video I am going to go over 3 different approaches to a tonic minor chord. For each one I will demonstrate a comping and a soloing example for each sound. I will try to not talk about the different notes in the sound but also a bit about phrasing and devices that are commonly associated with this sound. This is often just as or more important than the notes.

Melodic Minor

The Melodic minor sound is really the meat and potatoes sound of tonic minor since bebop. It is a very nice strong sounding scale that actually doesn’t really have any avoid notes.

The character notes of the scale is the major 6th and major 7th.

To get this sound across we can make good use of m6 and mMaj7 chords like this:

And the line that I wrote to illustrate this sound is this:

The melodic minor sound is such a huge part of the “modern jazz sound” that we can easily use some of the melodic devices associated with that. In the line above it is first a DmMaj9 arpeggio followed by a line constructed by individual upper structure triads: G, Faug and Em. The line ends on the 9th of the chord to keep a more open ended sound. Notice the use of larger intervals in the triads.


Dorian is probably the most commonly used on a minor chord since Miles Davis Kind of Blue in the 50’s. It is since then also included in compositions like Joe Hendersons Recorda Me or Wes Montgomery’s Four on Six.

The Dorian scale is of course the 2nd mode of a major scale so D dorian is the same note material as a C major scale.

Since all of the examples are D minor they are pretty much the same except for the 6th and 7th of the scale. In Dorian we have the combination of a major 6th and a minor 7th. The comping example I am using the same trick that Wes uses in four on six. Playing a II V and use that as a tonic Dm sound:

In the line I am a very common device associated with more Coltrane/McCoy Tyner era modal jazz: Stacks of 4ths. Stacks of 4ths or Quartal harmony entered jazz with Kind Of Blue and became the foundation for a whole period of Coltranes music. 

The core of the Dorian sound in this case is the 6th(or13th) against the b7 on the minor chord. This note removes the line from being a II V to becoming a minor sound.

The line is constructed with first a stack of 4ths from the root D. Then it continues with a Dm triad inversion that then temporarily emphasizes the 13th(B). It then continues with a Dm7 arpeggio before it again rests on a B.

If you want to see more examples of m13 chords you can check out this lesson: The Minor Chord You Never Use

The Blues

A sound that we often use but never really think of as something separate is the Blues. The blues is of course mostly by defined by a way of phrasing and a feel defined. Which is therefore important to keep in there. For the rest we would characterise by this 6 note scale: 

Since blues is often more associated with dom7th chords in terms of harmony it is difficult to really get it across in chords if the song isn’t in a blues feel. In the comping example I chose to borrow some dorian sounds and try to phrase it in a bluesy way.

The line is in terms of notes really a simple Dm7 line with an occasional Ab as a leading note. In the blues it is clear that it is much more about phrasing and melody. The typical blues phrases emphasizes the beat and has the chord tones on the beat. The phrasing uses dynamics and is using a lot of slides or legato techniques.

Get your sounds together

I hope you can use these examples to get started using different sounds over minor chords. If you check out one of Wes’ solos on four on six you will find examples of all of the sounds. This is in fact the case for a lot of solos on minor chords.

Check out how I use it

If you want to see some examples of how I use these different sounds you can check out this lesson:

Summertime – Tonic minor options – Solo Lesson

If you want to download the examples I went over here you can find the PDF here:

Don’t sound the same all the time! – Tonic minor scales

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Instagram,Twitter Google+ or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.

The Minor Chord You Never Use

You probably think that with m7, m6 and mMaj7 you have all your minor sounds covered, but there is probably one type of minor that you don’t use! That’s what I am going to talk about in this video. 

The different types of Minor chords

Roughly speaking we tend to split our minor chords in two different sounds, the ones coming out of the major scale and the ones from the melodic minor scale.

From the major scale

All my examples in this lesson are using an Am chord- If we look at some of the examples where we use a m7 chord from the major scale, the most common ones are where it is a II or a III chord. This shown in example 1

In both cases the m7 chord is used as part of a cadence and is used to suspend the chord that follows it. 

Melodic minor chords

Another possibility is that the minor chord is a tonic in the song. In our case that would be a song in A minor. It is also used as a IVm chord in a major key, so in the 2nd half of example 2, you see a IV IVm I in E major.

In the examples above we could easily substitute the AmMaj as well as an Am6.

The minor13th chord

So in the examples above we have a m7, and the m6 and mMaj7 chords that are the basic chord categories. Both can of course have extensions added to them depending on the context where you use them.

One more type of chord that i inbetween the two is the m13 chord, since this chord has a b7 and the 13 (enharmonic to the major 6th). This chord is associated with the Dorian sound, and is indeed only possible on the 2nd degree of the major scale. You could also look at it as being the major scale stacked in 3rd from the 2nd note in the scale.

The different types are shown in example 3 below:

Why you don’t use it

We tend to see minor chords as either II or III chords or tonic minor chords, they either imply some parent major scale or melodic minor. When you have a m13 chord it is more difficult to use as  a II chord because it contains the 3rd of the dominant chord. On tonic minor chords we already have the melodic minor scale which in itself is an interesting sound, and which is also from a tonal perspective much more stable.

There are songs that make use of the m13 sound. Most of them are from the period where it was introduced in jazz and later. But it is also occasionally found in standards like Invitation. Some famous songs would be Recorda Me or Time Remembered. Mostly it is used as a tonic sounding chords, but it was also often used in other contexts when interpreting standards from the mid 60’s and on.

m13 voicings

If we are going to use the chord we need a few voicings to be able to put it to use in some of the contexts discussed above. In example 4 I have written out a few good Am13 voicings that you can check out.

Using the m13 chord in a II V I cadence

If you want to hear a m13 chord being used as II chord then check out some of the 60’s Herbie Hancock with Miles Davis when they play standards. The idea is that we are not so much focused on the harmonic movement. Instead each chord is considered an island of sound and we can color it how we choose. You could call this a modalization of the standards.

Since the m13 takes away the suspension of the dominant effect we use altered dominants to make the difference bigger.

Here are some examples of how that can work really well in a II V I in G major

The m13 as a tonic chord sound

The easiest way to use it as a tonic minor chord is to just throw it in at the end of a cadence. That is basically what I have done in example 6. You should watch out a bit with the voice leading here and there though.

How to start working with m13 chords

That were some examples of how I use m13 chords in cadences and as tonic minor chords. I like the modern sound that these progressions have. It is a nice surprising sound that you can pull out when there is room for it. This means that you probably don’t want to use it when there are a lot of chords. It will fit more in places where there is more room to enjoy the richness of it.

This is of course also how you will see it used most in the songs and examples I mentioned in this lesson.

Where to begin

You probably want to start by substituting a m13 chords into a song in the songs that have a long stretch of a minor chord. A medium Blue Bossa or I’ll remember April could be good standards to experiment with. In a cadence you could also try adding the m13 to a ballad like I fall in love to easily.

If you want to study the examples I went over in the lesson you can of course also download them as a pdf here:

The Minor Chord You Never Use

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Instagram,Twitter Google+ or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.