What Is The Minor II-V-I Progression - What Scales And Chords To Play Over It
- By jazz-guitar-licks
- On 2020-01-02
- 4 comments
The minor II-V-I sequence is equivalent to the major II-V-I sequence, but played in minor harmonic key. It is a must know for any guitarist who wants to learn to solo over tunes in minor keys.
You will find minor II V I progressions in many jazz tunes as Autumn leaves, Blue Bossa, Black Orpheus, Stella by Starlight, The nearness of you, I love you, Speak low, Soul eyes, Valse Hot, Along came Betty, Stablemates, Are you real, I'll remember April, I hear a rhapsody, Tangerine, In your own sweet way, Nuages and many more.
This guitar lesson for beginners explains what is the minor 2 5 1 progression, what scales and what chords can be used for improvising over it.
These chords are built by stacking thirds on each note of the scale, thus giving :
- C minor major seventh (CmMaj7)
- D minor seventh flat fifth (Dm7b5)
- E flat major seventh sharp fifth (EbMaj7#5)
- F minor seventh (Fm7)
- G dominant seventh (G7)
- A flat major seventh (Abmaj7)
- B diminished seventh (Bdim7)
Now let's take the three chords that will serve to build the minor II V I sequence. These chords are constructed from the first, second and fifth degree of the C harmonic minor scale.
The chord corresponding to the first degree is a minor major seventh chord (CmM7) , the chord corresponding to the second degree is a minor seventh flat fith chord (Dm7b5) and the chord corresponding to the fifth degree is a dominant seventh chord (G7). When grouped together they form the minor II-V-I progression.
Here are three examples of minor 2 5 1 chord voicings. The first exercise uses the three most basic minor II V I chord voicings to know (Dm7b5, G7 and CminMaj7). You can see in the second example how the dominant 7 chord can be enriched with the b13 to add harmonic interest.
In the third exercise the dom7 chord is extended with the b9 and the b13. The I chord is simply a minor 7 chord, the major seventh as been omitted.
Firstable let's take a look at the three basic scales generated from tones of the C harmonic minor scale.
The first scale built on the first degree of is the C harmonic minor scale is obviously the C harmonic minor scale. It will be used to play over the minor major seventh chord, corresponding to the first degree (I) (CmM7).
|C Harmonic Minor Scale||C||D||Eb||F||G||Ab||B|
The scale starting on the second degree of the C harmonic minor scale is called D locrian 13 mode. It will used to play over the minor seventh flat five chord (II) (Dm7b5).
|D Locrian Mode||D||Eb||F||G||Ab||B||C|
The scale starting on the fifth step is called G phrygian dominant. It will be played over the dominant (V) chord (G7).
|G Phrygian Dominant||G||Ab||B||C||D||Eb||F|
The three guitar diagrams below show how these basic scales look on the guitar. They represent the first choice for improvising over a minor 2 5 1 progression.
Minor 2 5 1 Chords for Guitar - 5 Exercises - PDF Method
5 Easy minor 2 5 1 Jazz Guitar Licks - Lesson With Tabs & Analysis
Theoretically, you could simply play the harmonic minor scale over the whole minor II-V-I sequence because all notes in the scale relate to the chords constructed from it. However, it will be boring to play only notes from the harmonic minor scale, so here are some other ideas to spice up your improvisations and embellish your lines.
The Locrian mode is best know as the seventh mode of the major scale, but it is also the second mode of the harmonic minor scale aka Locrian natural 6 mode. This is the basic mode to play over a m7b5 (half-diminished) chord.
|D Locrian Mode||D||Eb||F||G||Ab||Bb||C|
Locrian # 2 mode
Logically, we should play a b9 over Dm7b5 but to brings new colors to our musical language we can add the 9 instead of b9. In this way we leave the tonal context for a modal approach. By adding the ninth to the Locrian mode, we get the Locrian # 2 mode. This is the sixth mode of the melodic minor scale.
|D Locrian #2||D||E||F||G||Ab||Bb||C|
Locrian Bebop Scale
The locrian bebop scale is composed of eight notes (octatonic), it is the same as the Locrian mode including an additional passing tone (5).
|D Locrian Bebop||D||Eb||F||G||Ab||A||Bb||C|
As we have seen previously the basic scale to play over a dominant 7th chord in minor harmonic key is the Phrygian dominant mode. By taking the first, the third, the fifth and the minor seventh we obtain a dominant 7th arpeggio. Playing this scale and arpeggio is a little too ordinary and not very interesting. In this case we usually play a diminished seventh arpeggio starting on the major third (3) of the chord.
Diminished seventh arpeggio (3 to b9)
Here is a comparison between the G Phrygian mode and the Bdim7 arpeggio.
- B is the major third of G7
- D is the fifth
- F is the minor seventh
- Ab is the flat ninth
|G Phrygian Dominant||G||Ab||B||C||D||Eb||F|
|Bdim7 arpeggio||X||b2 (b9)||3||X||5||X||b7|
Playing a diminished seventh arpeggio over a dominant seventh chord brings the b9. This technique also called "3 to b9" is widely used by Wes Montgomery, Grant Green and many jazz players.
To enlarge your musical vocabulary it is possible to think G7 as an altered chord, therefore using notes of the altered scale over it.
The "Altered scale" (also called "super Locrian mode") is the seventh mode of the melodic minor scale. Playing it over a dominant 7th chord brings tension and more sophisticated sound. The combination of the Locrian # 2 mode and the altered scale works well over II-V sequences.
|G Altered Scale||G||Ab||Bb||B||Db||Eb||F|
|Formula||1||b9||#9||3||b5 (#11)||#5 (b13)||b7|
This chord is not necessarily present after a minor II-V sequence. Very often the minor II V is followed by a major II V I. Dm7b5 being the III of this major II V I. Example with the following progression in Bb:
Dm7b5 | G7b9 | Cm7 | F7 | Bb7 |
However, we will see what we're going to play. The most obvious solutions are :
- The harmonic minor scale
- The melodic minor scale.
- The Aeolian mode.
- Minor arpeggios with extra notes (9, 11,13).
The harmonic minor scale contains seven notes, these are the same as the natural minor scale (Aeolian mode) except the seventh degree that is raised by one semitone.
|C Harmonic Minor Scale||C||D||Eb||F||G||Ab||B|
|C Melodic Minor Scale||C||D||Eb||F||G||A||B|
|C Aeolian Mode||C||D||Eb||F||G||Ab||Bb|
Here are two easy 2 5 1 guitar licks taken from the PDF Method 49 Essential Jazz Guitar Licks.
This minor II-V-I line uses the E Locrian 6 mode (E-F-G-A-Bb-C#-D) aka Locrian 13 which, is the second mode of the Harmonic minor scale. In bar three, there's a chromatic approach from above to target the b6. Then, there are two enclosures outlining the 5th and the 11th of Dm7.
This E-book is a printable PDF method including over 700 scale diagrams and formula charts for guitarists.
This PDF eBook provides over 550 guitar chord shapes. This is the perfect reference guide to understand how chords are built and how to play them on the guitar neck.
This printable PDF is a method dedicated to guitarists of all styles who want to learn the most important types of arpeggios.
This handbook for guitar players is intended both for teachers and students. It includes 126 guitar shapes for mastering triads.
This package includes a printable PDF method containing 30 exercises with tabs, staves and audio files for practicing minor arpeggios on guitar.
This bundle contains 4 PDF methods for a total of 170 exercises with tabs, staves, analysis & audio files for practicing scales, arpeggios licks & chords over the 2-5-1 progression.
This package contains 120 jazz guitar lines based on diatonic modes as Mixolydian, Dorian and Ionian. PDF format with tabs, audio files and analysis.
In this package you'll get a printable PDF Method with tabs, notation, analysis, scale shapes and audio files for practicing 30 smooth jazz guitar licks.
This pdf method for guitar contains fourteen 2 5 1 jazz guitar lines with tab, standard notation, analysis, scale charts and audio files.
This printable PDF guitar method provides 50 exercises with audio files, analysis, tab and staves for learning major 2-5-1 chord voicings.
This PDF method contains 40 exercices with tabs, scores and audio files for practicing jazz guitar chords over the minor 2 5 1 progression.
This guitar method is a printable PDF with tabs, diagrams, theory and audio files providing 40 minor 2 5 1 jazz patterns.
PDF guitar method with tabs, audio files and theory providing 40 dominant jazz guitar lines for teachers and students.
This printable guitar method in PDF format contains 40 easy minor jazz guitar lines based on the Dorian mode.
Printable PDF eBook method containing 40 major jazz guitar licks with tab, standard notation and audio files for beginners and intermediates.
This jazz guitar method about walking bass lines and chords is available as a PDF files containing 35 exercises with tabs, analysis and audio files
This printable PDF method offers 101 dominant arpeggio exercises with tab, theory and standard notation for the jazz, blues and rock guitarist.
This printable eBook method in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians. Tab, standard notation, audio files & analysis.
11 jazz blues chord studies with tabs, standard notation, analysis, and audio recordings and PDF.
This PDF with Tabs and audio files provides 10 easy acoustic fingerstyle blues guitar studies for kids and beginners.
This PDF eBook method contains 25 altered jazz guitar licks with tabs, patterns, scale charts and audio files to master, apply and develop the altered scale.
This printable method is available as a PDF file containing 40 easy dominant jazz-blues guitar lines with tabs, standard notation, analysis, audio files and scale charts.
This jazz guitar method is an eBook available as a PDF with standard notation, guitar tabs, diagrams, analysis, audio files and backing tracks. You will find in this booklet 25 easy jazz guitar lines with theory using common and rare pentatonic scales.
You will find here an eBook available in PDF containing 25 soul jazz and hard bop guitar licks in the style of Grant Green, Melvin Sparks, George Benson. These jazz lines come with tabs, standard notation, guitar neck diagrams, backing track for practice and 25 audio files for each riff.
This eBook PDF with audio files contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
This Printable PDF eBook available for free download contains 6 easy jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video link and analysis about the tritone substitution.
This printable PDF eBook offers 10 easy minor 7 arpeggio patterns with its related YouTube video for beginner guitarists.
This is a printable PDF for beginner jazz guitar players providing 10 easy licks to practice major 7 arpeggios.
Within this package, you'll discover a set of ten chord melody exercises for beginners. Printable PDFaudio files, a backing track, and a link to the associated YouTube video.
This giant guitar poster for any guitar player, student or instructor contains colorful arpeggio diagrams. Giant size 24 x 36 inches (60 x 90 cm).
Guitar posters and wall art with eighteen neck diagrams representing the most used scales in music.
This printed color posters contains 63 guitar chord diagrams for jazz players, students, teachers and schools.
Guitar reference posters and wall art about modes of the major scale for guitar teachers, students and music schools.
Educative and decorative giant guitar poster with neck diagrams, interval names about the seven modes of the melodic minor scale.
This guitar reference poster shows the positions and intervals of the major pentatonic scale.
This is a giant poster showing the notes on the guitar fret board and their positions on a musical staff.
This reference poster show the positions and intervals of the main triads used on guitar. This is a useful tool for guitarists, teacher and students.
This is a decorative poster with four archtop jazz guitars. Several size and colors in landscape format available on Teespring and redbubble.
This giant poster for guitar provides neck diagrams with interval positions.