Jazz: iiø7-V7-i7 Progression: Scale-Chord Relationships

Time and time again, you are going to rediscover that scales and chords are intimately inter-related. Knowing your chords helps you know your scales and knowing your scales helps you know your chords! One way to conceive of the iiø7-V7-i7 chord progression is as three sets of matched "scale-chords" or "chord-scales" as follows:


The Dø7 chord is matched with the D mode of the C natural minor scale...

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

minor ii-V-I

Note: The Dø7 chord is very interesting because there are not really any appealing color tones.


The G7 chord is matched with the G mode of the C harmonic minor scale...

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

minor ii-V-I

The most important note here is the leading tone B (Ti) which wants to lead the ear back home to C (Do).

Note: Many color tones are availabe for the G7 in a minor tonality, as you will discover when you study G7 voicing variants (see Specialty Voicings page).


The Cm7 chord is matched with the C mode of the C natural minor scale...

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

minor ii-V-I

Note: The Cm7 chord could arguably also include the color tone D (Re).

Special Note: The b7 (Te) may sound too unstable or too bluesy in certain contexts such as a ballad. In such cases, it is more musical and appropriate to use a simple minor triad C-Eb-G (Do-Me-So). If you want add some color to the basic triad, you can add a 6 (La) to make a minor 6th chord C-Eb-G-A (Do-Me-So-La) or a 7 (Ti) to make a major-minor seventh chord: C-Eb-G-B (Do-Me-So-Ti).


Put all three chord-scales together:

In summary, understanding and mastering such scale-chord relationships is a prerequisite to fluent improvisation. Knowing where the notes are, how they relate to each other, and how they look and feel on the keyboard will also pay huge dividends when sight reading, transposing, and playing by ear!