Chord Progressions: Minor: iiø7-V7-i7

The iiø7-V7-i7 chord progression is a widely-used pattern in countless jazz standards. Simlilar to its major cousin, the ii7-V7-IM7 progression, it is used in three contexts:

  1. As a turnaround leading back to the tonic Im or Im7 chord in a minor key.
  2. iiø7-V7 used as a secondary dominant leading to a diatonic minor chord.
  3. As a cadence to establish a new minor key center.

Play and listen to the overall sound...

Here is the iiø7-V7-i7 chord progression presented in the key of C (Dø7-G7-Cm7) in its most basic form... with chord roots in the bass and closed position stacked chords with voice leading.

This is a purely right brained activity. Don't try to hear individual notes yet. Just be receptive to the sound-feeling of each chord as a whole with respect to the key center.

A useful way to conceive of this progression is an as extension of a G7-Cm progression. The Dø7 chord (iiø7) creates a tension that feeds the G7 chord (V7), which extends the tension, a tension that craves resolution which comes with the Cm7 (i7) chord, which clearly confirms the home key and minor-ness of the tonality.

Create Tension
Extend Tension
Release Tension

You will find this general pattern used time and time again in many kinds of music!


Usage in Actual Music

The iiø7-V7-i7 progression is widely-used in countless jazz standards. Similar to its major cousin, the ii7-V7-IM7 progression, it is used in three contexts:

  1. As a turnaround leading back to the tonic Im or Im7 chord in a minor key.
  2. As a secondary dominant leading to a diatonic minor chord.
  3. As a cadence to establish a new minor key center.

Play and sing the bass line...

Always be sensitive to how each and every note sounds and feels with respect to the key center Do.


Sing the chords as root position arpeggios...

Very Important: It is absolutely essential that you sing all of these studies out loud and at your own pace, a pace that allows you to sustain each note long enough to make an impression on your mind's ear. If you can't sing them, you don't know them!


Sing the chords as voiced arpeggios...


Sing the "Re" voice...

Notice the strong pull that Re has to resolve to Do.


Sing the "Fa" voice...

Notice the strong pull that Fa has to resolve to Me.


Sing the "Le" voice...


Sing the "Do" voice...

Notice how treating Te as part of the tonic is so very unlike classical harmony and makes this sound jazzy.