ii7-V7-IM7: 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 ii7-V7-IM7 chord progression is as three sets of matched "scale-chords" or "chord-scales" as follows:


The Dm7 chord is matched with the D mode of the C major scale...

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

dorian scale chord


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

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

mixolydian scale chord


The CM7 chord is matched with the C mode of the C major scale...

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

ionian scale chord


Put all three chord-scales together:

In summary, understanding and mastering such scale-chord relationships is a prerequisite to fluent improvisation. This is yet another set of musical patterns that help us to organize our musical thoughts. 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!