Take the A Train: Scale-Chords

Melody and harmony are always two sides of the same coin. Let's explore some pleasing (but by no means exhaustive) chord-scale combinations for each chord. Mastering such scale-chord relationships is a prerequisite to fluent improvisation. Knowing where the notes are, how they sound-feel, which notes are the roots, which are chord tones, which are color tones, how they relate to each other, and how they look and feel on the keyboard will pay huge dividends in all areas of your music making: sight-reading, keyboard awareness, aural awareness, improvisation, and transposition!

CM7 & C Major Scale || CM7 & C Lydian Scale || D7 & D Mixolydian Scale ||
Dm7 & D Dorian Scale || G7 & G Mixolydian Scale || G7 & G Altered Dominant Scale ||
FM7 & F Major Scale ||


CM7 & C Major Scale

C (Do) is both the root of the chord and the key center.

Take the A Train

Close your eyes and visualize the visio-spatial pattern of all the notes in this chord-scale. Clearly delineate the fundamental chord tones (1,3,5,7) from the rest of the scale and then further delineate the chord root (1) and guide tones (3,7). Do this for all scale-chords.

Take the A Train

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CM7 & C Lydian Scale

A colorful, arguably brighter alternative to the C Major scale is C Lydian.

Take the A Train

Take the A Train

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D7 & D Mixolydian Scale

D (Re) is the root of the chord, but C (Do) is still the key center. By the way, did you notice that D Mixolydian and C Lydian are modes of each other?

Take the A Train

Take the A Train

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Dm7 & D Dorian Scale

D Dorian is the D mode of the C major scale. D (Re) is the root of the chord, but C (Do) is still the key center.

Take the A Train

Close your eyes and visualize the visio-spatial pattern of all the notes in this chord-scale. Clearly delineate the fundamental chord tones (dotted) from the rest...

Take the A Train

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G7 & G Mixolydian Scale

G Mixolydian is the G mode of the C major scale. G (So) is the root of the chord, but C (Do) is still the key center.

Take the A Train

Close your eyes and visualize the visio-spatial pattern of all the notes in this chord-scale. Clearly delineate the fundamental chord tones (dotted) from the rest...

Take the A Train

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FM7 & F Major Scale

F is the root of the chord. Notice that the key center has shifted from C to F. F, which was Fa in the key of C, is now Do in the key of F:

Take the A Train

Take the A Train

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