It is very important to use the material that you practice in as many ways as possible! That way you spend more of your practice time making music than working on technical exercises with scales and arpeggios.
In this lesson I am going to show you how you can use the same Maj7 arepggio over 5 different chords and give you some examples of how that might sound in a jazz line!
The Maj7 arpeggio
To keep it simple I am going to use this Cmaj7 arpeggio in all the examples. I wrote it out in one octave and in the context of a position.
#1 Arpeggio from the 3rd
One of the most common devices is to use the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord. That is how I am using the Cmaj7 in the first example. Here it is used over an Am7 chord in the context of a II V I in G major.
#2 Lydian sound with a Maj7 arpeggio
The definition of a the Lydian sound is a Maj with a #11. Therefore the Maj7th arpeggio on the 5th degree works well for. In the 2nd example I am using the Cmaj7 over an Fmaj7. The line is over a II V I in F. I use the Cmaj7 together with some stronger F notes so that we get the sound of the Fmaj7. After that I add the Cmaj7 arpeggio that I use to really bring out the #11 (which is the 7th of Cmaj7)
#3 b5 of a m7b5
The arpeggio on the b5 of a m7b5 arpeggio is a great arpeggio to use for lines. The m7b5 is a chord that many have trouble finding good melodies on. Using this arpeggio is great! Especially because it is very easy to use and then move to the dom7th a half step below if the m7b5 is a II in a cadence.
#4 b7 on a Dom7th
Using the Maj7 on a dom7th chord is also a fairly common device. You will find a lot of examples of the bebop and hardbop players doing this. In the example I chose to put it to use in a cadence where the Dom7th is a tritone. So the cadence is a II Vsub I in Db.
#5 b2 on a Dom7th
If you are playing a dom7th chord using the Harmonic minor scale sound then you have a Maj7 chord on the b9 of the dominant. In this example I am using the Cmaj7 over a B7(b9) chord. Since the Cmaj7 contains the E it is useful to try to play the D# in the line as well to get the B7 sound across.
I hope you can use the concept for some new melodic ideas in your playing.
If you want to download a PDF of the examples you can do so here:
Are you using your Maj7 arpeggios on these chords
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