theory from Frank Singer.comBy Key improvising | print this page | close this window |

There are two basic approaches to linear improvisation. These are By Key [melodic] and By Chord [harmonic].

In By Key improvisation, a scale is used throughout a harmonic progression. By Key improvisation takes place in the following applications:
     1) Diatonic [Modal] progression [all chords from same scale]
     2) Blues

style / scalepossible progression chords
Diatonic [Ionian]I, IV, V[7],
II-7, III-7, VI-7
Modal dorianI-7, II-7 or IV7
phrygianI-7, bII
mixolydianI[7], bVII
aeolianI-7, IV-7, V-7, bVI, bVII
Blues [minor pentatonic, dorian]I7, IV7, V7, [bVII7], [#IVo7]

By Key scales can be used in non-diatonic, non-blues applications. This is most typically accomplished by targeting segments of the scale which fit the key of the moment harmony groupings. Unless marked, each of these available tones is either a chord tone or a tension (a melodic tone to the chord).

II-7 C D E F G A B
G7 [PT]  
G-7   X
C7   [PT]   X
c d e f g a b
C-7   X   X
F7   X  
F-7   X   X X
Bb7   X X
c d e f g a b
Bb-7   X   X     X   X  
Eb7   X X   X
Eb-7b5 X X   X X    
Ab7b9   X X  
c d e f g a b
Ab-7b5 X   X X  
Db7b9 X  
C#-7b5 X   X  
F#7b9   X   X
c d e f g a b
F#-7b5   X  
B7b9   X  
E7b9   X  
c d e f g a b
E-7b5   X
A7b9   X   X
A-7   X  
D7   X X  
c d e f g a b

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