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Dominant chords in sequence

1422 Views 7 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  cann0nba11
Some tunes, like Nostalgia in Times Square or Killer Joe or Jordu have dominant chords a tone apart, i.e. C7, Bflat7, etc, following each other (often happens in ballads too). I can usually negotiate this without much trouble, because the scales relate so closely that improvising over them is not hard. Is there, though, a way of thinking what one is doing that makes it a bit clearer? Does one just think 'now I'm playing the dominant scale of C, then Bflat', which becomes a bit hectic at faster tempi, or is there some other way of thinking about it and about what substitutions work? Advice appreciated.
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Sometimes I'll play sequences; repeating ideas that move downward with the harmony. BUT, it's sometimes more interesting to play a sequence that goes UP while the chords go DOWN, creating a kind of contrary motion.

Think about picking just one note per chord, and using that as the "main" note of a small, simple motif. You can start with almost any note in the chord/scale, and go from there:

C7: use, say, a D (the 9th); Bb7 use E (the #11); Ab7 use F (the 13th); Gb7 use Gb; E7 take your pick, F# (9), G (the #9)

C7 try a Bb; Bb7 use C (9th); Ab7 use D (#11); Gb7 use Eb (13th) or E (7th), etc.
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