Tag Archives: Minor II V I

Minor II V I – Getting The Most Out Of The Basics

The Minor II V I is a very common progression in Jazz. But it is also a bit more complicated than the major counterpart. This is mainly because of the IIø chord and also because you need to change scales moving through the chords.

This video is going over 5 Minor II V I licks demonstrating some of the scales, arpeggios and melodic ideas you can use when improvising over a minor II V I. This can really help you expand your vocabulary on this chord progression, and there is a lot of great ideas in there that you need to know.

#1 A few basic scales and tricks

First, we should cover some basic material. The Dø is coming out of a C natural minor or Eb major scale. Here I am just playing the arpeggio in a pattern and adding a chromatic run to take me to the G7.

The G7 is the dominant of Cm, so I am using C harmonic minor over this chord., but I also add a Bb to the melody.

The G7 melody is build around one arpeggio: Fm7b5.

Fm7b5 related to a G root gives us a chord with a b9 and a b13. If you play the Fø chord with a G bass note you will probably also recognize that as a G7 voicing.

#2 Beyond the basic arpeggios of the chord

It is useful to have a few arpeggio choices for any chord you want to improvise over.

In this example I am using Abmaj7 over the Dø which is a great choice for this chord.

On the G7 I am using the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord: Bdim.

#3 Coltrane Patterns

Another useful resource is to use Coltrane Patterns.

In this example I am using first an Fm Coltrane Pattern on the Dø.

The G7 is combining the Bdim which I also used in the previous example with the augmented triad. In C harmonic minor the augmented triad is found on Eb, but that is, of course, enharmonic with a B augmented which makes a little more sense on a G7.

#4 Maj7th and DimMaj7th Ideas

This example is using two different Maj7th ideas.

First the Abmaj7 on the Dø, here combined with an Fm Coltrane pattern.

On the G7 the melody is build around an Abdim(maj7) arpeggi.o

#5 Maj7(b5) and m7(b5)

The b5 connection. A great voicing for a Dø(11) is in fact an Abmaj7(b5). This is also the arpeggio I am using in this example on the Dø.

On the G7 the first part is a basic G majro triad which (of course) also works great. From there it is again the Fø arpeggio that is now played descending and resolves to the 3rd of Cm6.

More Minor II V I options

A great song to really work on some Minor II V I ideas is Blue Bossa.

And of course also my first Blue Bossa Solo Lesson

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Stella By Starlight – 6 ways to Harmonize a minor II V I

The Minor II V I is a difficult progression to have options for. In this video I am going to demonstrate 6 variations of Stella by Starlight Guitar chord melody options that you can use on this song and on other Minor II V I options.

It should help you get some different ways to approach the minor II V I and not play the same things all thet time.

The examples are going from the original and I also made one with Coltrane Changes, so there is a bit of Jazz history in there as well!

Most of the examples you can easily use on many minor II V I cadences, and some are a little more specific but can still give you some ideas for a way of working on your own arrangements and reharmonizations.

If you know one I didn’t talk about then please leave a comment!

The Content of the Stella By Starlight Video

0:00 Intro

1:25 #1 Original Changes of Victor Young

1:42 Analysis – The Original harmony and the dim chord!

3:18 Finding great harmony by NOT thinking in Chords

5:17 #2 The Real Book Changes

5:57 Analysis

7:01 #3 Eø Natural 9th

7:26 Analysis

8:30 F7 as a Lydian Dominant – Why It Works

9:11 #4 Phrygian Dominant

9:26 Analysis – What is a Phrygian Dom7th

11:15 #5 Major II V Cadence

11:33 Analysis – A great trick also for solos!

13:38 An Extra Level of Hancock in this version

14:13 #6 Coltrane Changes

14:30 Analysis

15:57 #7 Coltrane Changes 2.0 – a more musical approach?

16:44 What is your favourite Reharmonization for this song?

17:10 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Corinna Danzers Great Video with the original Changes: 

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The PDF with examples for this video is available through Patreon. You can check out my Patreon Page here: https://www.patreon.com/jenslarsen

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If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics 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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Half Diminished Chords – This is how to use Quartal Arpeggios

Half Diminished chords are difficult to get used to and hard to improvise over. In this video I am going to go over some of the Quartal arpeggios that work great for m7b5 chords and show you how to easily add them to your vocabulary. I also go over some examples of how you might use these arpeggios over a half diminished chord in a minor II V I cadence.

Half Diminished Chords in a Minor Cadence

The examples in this lesson are all on a II V I cadence in Dm:

Eø A7alt Dm6

The first example is using two quartal arpeggios on the Eø, and another two on the A7alt.

The first quartal arpeggio is from A: A D G, which gives us a m11 sound over the Eø with 11(A), b7(D), b3(G). The second one is from the b5: Bb E A basically spelling out a m7(b5(11) chord with the b5, root and 11th in the arpeggio.

On the A7 altered I am using a quartal arpeggio from C and then one from C#. The one from C# you may recognize as the top part of an A7(#9).

Quartal arpeggio Exercise no 1

If you want to work through the Quartal arpeggios for the Eø in this key (which is D minor), then you can check out the exercise here below which includes the two I used and is covering all diatonic quartal arpeggios in the scale on the middle string set.

Quartal arpeggios moving in 4ths

This example is again using the Quartal arpeggio from the b5: Bb E A, and then continues with the quartal arpeggio from E on the next string set: E A D. This way of connecting the arpeggios in 4ths gives us two common notes between the arpeggios. It also creates a movement with a large range. 

The A7 altered line is a scale run from the root ending with a chromatic phrase that resolves to the 5th(A) of Dm6.

Quartal arpeggio Exercise no 2

To check out the arpeggios on the top string set you can play through this exercise. Notice that if you do this with alternate picking it is really a great way to develop flexibility!

The Maj7 Arpeggio from the b5

The Maj7 arpeggio from the b5, in this case a Bbmaj7 arpeggio, is making a guest appearance. This arpeggio is often overlooked but is a perfect fit for the Eø sound. In this example it is chained together with the quartal arpeggio from the root: E A D. 

The A7alt lick is turning around on the #9 and then descending down the scale. Before resolving to the 9th(E) of Dm6 it catches the C# on the A7. 

Half diminished dilemmas?

The m7b5 or Half diminished chord is one of the chords I get asked about most often, so I hope you can apply some of these arpeggios in your own playing.

If you want to see more videos exploring the options on a half diminished or m7(b5) chords then leave a comment on the YouTube video or send me a message via e-mail!

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Get the PDF!

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Half Diminished Chord – Quartal Arpeggios

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics 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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Minor II V I options – Melodic Minor, Phrygian Chords and Tritone Substitutions

The minor II V I can be a difficult chord progression to play on and have a varied vocabulary on. In this video I am going to go over how you can approach it in several different ways with Phrygian Chords, Melodic minor and Tritone Substitutions.

In the video I will demonstrate the different Minor II V I approaches and talk about how to use them both in terms of comping, voicing choices et and also soloing and arpeggios.

I also talk a bit about what will fit with the melody of a piece.

 

Content of the video:

 

0:14 Minor II V I The Progression in this video

 

0:42 Basic II V I – Demonstration

1:03 Scales, Voicings, extensions

2:31 Arpeggios for a m7b5 chord

 

4:33 Locrian natural 2/ Locrian #2 – Demonstration

4:54 Melodic minor for m7b5

5:15 Chord voicings for m9(b5)

5:54 How does it fit the melody?

6:48 Arpeggios from Melodic minor

 

7:50 Tritone sub – Demonstration

8:12 Using a Tritone sub dom7th instead of the IIm7b5

8:26 The progression with these chords

8:56 When does it fit the melody?

9:41 Voicing Options and considerations

9:57 The bonus Blue note!

 

11:51 Phrygian Chord – Demonstration

12:10 What is a Phrygian Chord

13:19 Comping a Phrygian sound

14:06 Soloing on a Phrygian Chord

14:36 How you can use them and where

 

14:55 Tritone II V – Demonstration

15:17 Tritone substitution of the entire cadence

16:23 Strategies for soloing over a tritone sub

 

17:27 Borrowing II from Major – Demonstration

17:49 How it works – modal interchange

18:13 Using the brighter sounding II chord

19:34 Voicing considerations

19:56 Soloing over the borrowed II chord

20:43 Do you have a great reharmonization or scale choice for a minor II V I?

 

21:26 Like the videos? Support me on Patreon!

How to improvise over a minor II V I with arpeggios

The minor II V I is often a troubling cadence for begining Jazz guitarists. That is probably because the II is a m7b5 or half diminished chord which can be tricky and also because you have two or three different scales going on through the cadence.

In this lesson I want to go over the chords and the scales you need to improvise over them. From that I will take 3 arpeggios, one for each chord, and talk about how you practice them and with some examples of lines over the minor II V I hopefully give you some ideas about how to improvise over this cadence.

All the examples in this lesson are over a II V I in the key of C minor as shown in example 1

How to improvise over a minor II V I with arpeggios ex 1

The scales that I chose for each chord are fairly straight forward, the Dm7b5 chord is seen as coming from C minor so that is the scale I use. For the G7 I chose the altered scale which is one of the possible options. C harmonic minor would be another obvious choice. The tonic chord I play in the cadence is a m7 chord, but it could ahve been a m6 or mMaj7 chord. Since it is a Cm7 I chose Dorian as a scale sound, and otherwise you could use Aeolian which is the same as Natural minor.

To keep it easy to approach from a technical point of view I put all the scales and arpeggios in one position on the neck around the 8th fret C. If you start working on this you should probably also move it around to other positions once you get more familiar with the arpeggios and the cadence.

How to improvise over a minor II V I with arpeggios ex 2

Choosing the arpeggios are easy for the Dm7b5 and Cm7 chords since you can just use a diatonic arpeggio for each of those. The G7alt arpeggios is a bit more tricky since the G altered scale has a Gm7b5 as a diatonic arpeggio on the G. To find a good substitute you could look at a G7(b9b13) voicing and realize that it is often played as an Fm7b5 with a G bass note (I demonstrate this in the video). This means that you can use the Fm7b5 arpeggio as to convey the sound of the G7alt chord when you are improvising which is what I chose to do in this lesson. The arpeggios

How to improvise over a minor II V I with arpeggios ex 3

For a more detailed look into the altered sound you could check out: Melodic Minor – Altered Scale

When you practice the arpeggios the first thing you need to do is of course to just play through them and learn them one a t a time. Once you can do that you should try a few patterns like groups of 3 and 4 etc. To connect the arpeggios to the progression you can practice them like this:

How to improvise over a minor II V I with arpeggios ex 4

Once you can do this you should try to connect the arpeggios like shown hereunder. Practicing the arpeggios in this way over the progression is a way to get closer to how you improvise, something that you should also strive after when making exercises.

The idea is to start playing the arpeggios over the progression and then when ever the chord changes to continue the movement with the note that is the closest in the next arpeggio. It’s quite tricky to get started with but very rewarding when you start getting the freedom while improvising.

How to improvise over a minor II V I with arpeggios ex 5

With an exercise like this you get a completely new exercise if you start on a different note, and if you keep on going it should keep mutating into new exercises, also a very healthy way to keep your ears and mind busy while practicing something as simple as arpeggios.

Example lines

The first example starts with a straight forward Dm7 arpeggio from the root to the root. I am playing it in a skipping pattern that I use a lot, so I start on the 3rd and then go 1, b5, 3 b7 etc etc. On the G7alt I am basically just playing the descending Fm7b5 arpeggio, but it is broken up rhythmically. The first part is a swept arpegigio from the 7th to the root, and then it continues down from the 7th in the next octave. The Altered line resolves  to the 5th(G) of Cm and from there it runs up the Cm7 arpeggio, skips down to the root and then up to the fifth.

How to improvise over a minor II V I with arpeggios ex 6

Motiefs should always be a part of your melodic tool box, and so should the triad on the third of the chord you play over! The first part of the 2nd example is purely based on a using the Fm triad over the Dm7b5 and then using it as a motief and using the Fdim triad over the G7alt. The altered line resolves via the F to the Eb on Cm7. The Cm7 line is first moving up from the root to the 3rd before it descends down to the  rest on the 5th.

How to improvise over a minor II V I with arpeggios ex 7

Th last line is starting out with the D dim triad over the Dm7b5. In this example it gives a sort of bluesy flavour. After that it descends down the arpeggio to encircle and resolve to B over the G7alt. The Fm7b5 arpeggio is played ascending and skips around at the end to resolve to the 5th(G) of Cm7. The final part of the line is employing a slide to add some blues to the Cm7 arpeggio.

How to improvise over a minor II V I with arpeggios ex 8

I hope you can use the arpeggios and exercises I went over here to get started making some melodically strong solos that really dig into the harmony and negociate the minor II V I cadence.

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How to improvise over a minor II V I with arpeggios

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