The first thing I learned to play on guitar was the blues, and I guess that’s the case for the majority of guitar players. Blues has it all, it has a very expressive form and sound and is the best place to master the core elements of jazz playing, such as keeping the form, giving each chord its own sound and the use of substitutes.
One of the difficulties I had during my early years of guitar playing was transitioning from playing the minor pentatonic scale over the entire blues form to giving each chord its own sound and making the blues sound jazzy.
In this free lesson I’ll show you how I started this transition from playing a “bluesy” blues to a more “jazzy” blues.
Here’s what you will learn in this lesson:
- WHY blues is your ticket to jazz.
- HOW to make the transition from playing blues with one pentatonic scale to playing jazz, giving each chord its own sound.
- WHAT the best sounding substitutes for the I-VI-II-V progression of the turnaround are.
Introduction to Gypsy Jazz Blues Guitar Video
Gypsy Jazz Blues Soloing [Starting at 1:49 in the video]
Here’s the basic blues chord progression (in the key of G), together with the chord voicings and scales we are going to use:
To give each chord its own sound, we’ll start with 2 scales, the G major blues scale (to play over the G13) and the G minor blues scale (to play over C9 and D9).
The G Major Blues Scale [3:56 in the video]
The G major blues scale has the same notes as the G major pentatonic scale, but with an added blue note. This blue note is the b3 of the scale (Bb in G):
|G Major Blues Scale||G||A||Bb||B||D||E|
Here’s the scale diagram of the G major blues scale with the root on the 6th string:
The G Minor Blues Scale
The G minor blues scale has the same notes as the G minor pentatonic scale, but with an added blue note. The blue note for the minor scale is different compared to the major scale blue note, it is the b5 of the scale (Db in G):
|G Minor Blues Scale||G||Bb||C||Db||D||F|
Here’s the scale diagram for the G minor blues scale with the root on the 6th string:
The Gypsy Blues Progression [Starting at 8:08 in the video]
Next, we’ll move away from the basic blues progression and add some variation. This is the blues chord progression that is commonly used in gypsy jazz (in the key of C):
The Turnaround (I-vi-ii-V) and Its Substitutes [Starting at 10:19 in the video]
You might have noticed that the turnaround chord progression (the last 4 bars of the previous blues progression) doesn’t sound very bluesy. To remedy that, we’ll have a look at some common chord substitutions for the I-vi-ii-V turnaround progression.
Substitute #1 – The Secondary Dominant [11:10 in the video]
The secondary dominant is a dominant chord that leads into any chord in the song other than the 1st degree.
The primary dominant of a blues in C is G7, which you’ll find in bars 10 and 12. The secondary dominant is a dominant chord that leads to any other degree in the scale. You will always find the secondary dominant on the 5th degree of the chord you want to lead to.
In the following example we replace:
- Am7 with A7: A7 is a secondary dominant chord that will lead to the target chord Dm7 (A is the 5th degree of D).
- Dm7 with D7: D7 is the secondary dominant chord of G7 (D is the 5th degree of G).
If you’re not familiar with the roman notation of chords, check out our chord analysis tutorial, it’s an essential skill if you’re serious about playing jazz.
Substitute #2 – Tritone Substitution [12:54 in the video]
Tritone substitution (aka sub 5 or substitute dominant) is replacing a dominant chord with another dominant chord a tritone (three whole steps) away from the original dominant chord.
That means we can replace any dom7 chord with another dom7 chord, a tritone above or below it.
In roman numerals, tritone substitutions can either be notated as bII7 or as subV.
In the following example we:
- First replace the A7 chord with its sub5 Eb7.
- In the second step we replace G7 with its sub5 Db7
In the next example with create a descending chromatic chord progression:
- We replace the D7 with its sub5 Ab7.
- Then we replace C7 with the secondary dominant E7 of target chord A7.
- Which in the next step will be replaced with its sub5 Bb7
Learn everything you need to know about blues and jazz-blues playing and check out Yaakov Hoter’s new comprehensive video course called Blues- The Ticket to Jazz. Learn to play the blues as it is played today by Gypsy and jazz guitarists, with a consistent, methodical and enjoyable learning process…
The post Introduction to Gypsy Jazz Blues Guitar appeared first on Jazz Guitar Online | Free Jazz Guitar Lessons, Licks, Tips & Tricks..
Understanding guitar modes isn’t as hard as many people believe it to be. The theory can be a bit confusing, but once you get a hold of the basic concepts, it’s actually quite easy to use modes on the guitar. In this lesson you’ll learn what the modes are, how they look on the guitar and how you can use modes in your solos and improvisation.
What Are Guitar Modes?
Scale Modes are nothing new, the modes as we use them today were formalized around 1675. Modes are not limited to jazz, but used in a wide variety of genres. They are not limited to guitar either, but used on most melodic instruments.
Modes are scales derived from a parent scale. All 7 modes have the same notes as the parent scale, but start on a different note, which defines the tonal center.
What is the difference between a scale and a mode? While the words mode and scale are used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two. Modes are inversions of a scale. For example, the 7 modes on this page are inversions of the major scale. Every mode is a scale, but not every scale is a mode (the melodic minor scale or the blues scale for example are not modes).
Why should you learn and use guitar modes? Being able to play and use guitar modes is an important skill for any guitarist to have because each mode has a unique feel and sound that you can use to make your improvisation more colorful and interesting. Studying modes helps you to navigate the guitar neck and helps you to understand the relationship between scales and chords.
In this lesson we’ll concentrate on the modes of the major scale (the major scale being the parent scale in this case). There are other parent scales as well, such as the harmonic minor scale and the melodic minor scale.
Guitar Modes Chart
Here’s a chart containing the 7 modes of the C major scale. It shows the most common position for each mode, but each mode can be played over the entire guitar neck and should be practiced that way.
Make sure to read on and play the exercises below the chart to understand how these modes work on the guitar.
Guitar Modes Explained – Music Theory
The first step in understanding guitar modes is defining the parent scale.
You probably have played modes on the guitar before, probably without realizing you were playing them. Can you play a C major scale? Then you know the first mode (out of 7), the Ionian mode…
In the following examples, the C major scale is the parent scale. The C major scale runs from C to C and has no sharps or flats. The C major scale is also our first mode, the Ionian mode.
Here’s a list of all 7 modes of the C major scale in order:
- C Ionian mode
- D Dorian mode
- E Phrygian mode
- F Lydian mode
- G Mixolydian mode
- A Aeolian mode
- B Locrian mode
Let’s go back to our parent scale, the C major scale (aka C Ionian mode). In music theory, we number each note of the scale, going from 1 to 7. This is called the scale formula.
|C Major Scale (= C Ionian Mode)||C||D||E||F||G||A||B|
Let’s play the C major scale starting from the second note (D). This is the second mode, called the Dorian mode. The 3rd and 7th note are a half step lower compared to the Ionian mode, that’s why we put a ‘b’ before 3 and 7. Here are the notes of the D Dorian mode:
|D Dorian Mode||D||E||F||G||A||B||C|
Now let’s play the C major scale starting from the third note (E). This is the third mode, the Phrygian mode. The 2nd, 3rd and 7th note are a half step lower compared to the Ionian mode. Here are the notes of the E Phrygian mode:
|E Phrygian Mode||E||F||G||A||B||C||D|
We can continue this for the other notes of the major scale, but I guess you get the picture by now. If you scroll down a bit you’ll find a list with all 7 modes.
Each mode has its own unique sound. This sound depends on how the intervals are mapped across the scale. Although the notes in both scales are exactly the same, the sound of the scale is completely different because the tonal center has changed. In the C Ionian mode, the tonal center is C. In the D Dorian mode, the tonal center is D.
Each mode has a related chord. We can find that chord by stacking thirds on the first note of the mode. We’ll only touch briefly on this subject here. If you’re not familiar with this essential part of music theory, head over to this lesson: Jazz Guitar Chord Theory.
Let’s do this for the C Ionian mode: C E G B. The result is a Cmaj7 chord:
If you build a chord on the first note of the D Dorian mode you get D F A C, a Dm7 chord:
Here’s an overview of the 7 modes of the C major scale, their formula and corresponding chord:
|I||C Ionian (Cmaj7)||C||D||E||F||G||A||B|
|Ionian Scale Formula||1||2||3||4||5||6||7|
|II||D Dorian (Dm7)||D||E||F||G||A||B||C|
|Dorian Scale Formula||1||2||b3||4||5||6||b7|
|III||E Phrygian (Em7)||E||F||G||A||B||C||D|
|Phrygian Scale Formula||1||b2||b3||4||5||b6||b7|
|IV||F Lydian (Fmaj7)||F||G||A||B||C||D||E|
|Lydian Scale Formula||1||2||3||#4||5||6||7|
|V||G Mixolydian (G7)||G||A||B||C||D||E||F|
|Mixolydian Scale Formula||1||2||3||4||5||6||b7|
|VI||A Aeolian (Am7)||A||B||C||D||E||F||G|
|Aeolian Scale Formula||1||2||b3||4||5||b6||b7|
|VII||B Locrian (Bm7b5)||B||C||D||E||F||G||A|
|Locrian Scale Formula||1||b2||b3||4||b5||b6||b7|
How to memorize guitar modes?
You should memorize the names of the modes + the formula. Here’s a mnemonic trick to help you remember the names (the letters in bold correspondent to the first letters of the modes):
I Don’t Play Like My Aunt Lucy.
Which modes are major, which modes are minor? Here are the 7 modes grouped according to chord quality:
|Minor||Dorian, Aeolian, Phrygian|
How to Use Modes on the Guitar + Examples
Next, you’ll learn how modes are played on the guitar. We’ll also have a look at some typical examples (there is a sample lick included with each mode so you can hear how guitar modes are used).
Use all your senses when learning guitar scales: use your ears (most important), your eyes (recognize the pattern on the fret board), your brains (memorize the guitar scale formulas) and your fingers’ muscle memory.
represents the root or 1 of the guitar scale. The letter inside the box is the note name.
represents a guitar scale note.
The grey numbers below the music notation is the fingering (1=index finger, 2=middle finger, 3=ring finger, 4=pinky finger).
1. C Ionian Mode
The Ionian mode is also known as the major scale.
- Formula: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
- Use: on major chords (Imaj7)
- Related chord: Cmaj7
- Characteristic notes: 3 (e) and 7 (b)
- The 4 (f) is what is called an avoid note over major chords. For example, the f (4) played over a Cmaj7 chord will sound dissonant because it’s a half step higher than the chord note e (3), creating a b9 interval. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use the f in your lines. You can play the f (like I do in the example lick below), but I wouldn’t keep it hanging for too long, unless you really like that sound.
Listen & Play:http://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/ionian-guitar-mode.mp3
The following example lick only uses notes of the C Ionian scale. It starts with an 1235 pattern on the 5th, followed by an enclosure of the 3rd and finishes with a descending scale run.
There is also a longer Ionian scale study more below in this lesson.
Listen & Play:http://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/ionian-mode-guitar-lick.mp3
2. D Dorian Mode
The Dorian mode is almost identical to the Aeolian mode (or natural minor scale), except for the 6th note.
- Formula: 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7
- Use: on minor chords (the ii of a ii V I), on minor modal tunes such as So What.
- Related chord: Dm7
- Characteristic notes: 6 and 9
Listen & Play:http://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/dorian-guitar-mode.mp3
The following lick only uses notes of the D Dorian scale and puts emphasis on the 6 and the 9, 2 characteristic notes of the Dorian mode.
There is a longer Dorian scale study more below in this lesson.
Listen & Play:http://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/dorian-mode-guitar-lick.mp3
3. E Phrygian Mode
- Formula: 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
- Use: on minor chords (iiim7). Played on a Im7, the Phrygian mode has a Spanish flavor (one of the guitar scales frequently used in flamenco).
- Related chord: Em7
- Characteristic notes: b9 and b6
Listen & Play:http://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/phrygian-guitar-mode.mp3
The following example only uses notes of the E Phrygian scale, and puts emphasis on the b9 and b13, two characteristic notes of the Phrygian mode.
Listen & Playhttp://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/phrygian-mode-guitar-lick.mp3
4. F Lydian Mode
The Lydian mode is almost identical to the major scale, except for the 4th note (#4).
- Formula: 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7
- Use: on major chords (IVmaj7)
- Related chord: Fmaj7
- Characteristic notes: 7 and #11
Listen & Play:http://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/lydian-guitar-mode.mp3
The following example only uses notes of the F Lydian scale, and puts emphasis on the 7 and #11, two characteristic notes of the Lydian mode.
Listen & Play:http://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/lydian-mode-guitar-lick.mp3
5. G Mixolydian Mode
The Mixolydian mode is almost identical to the major scale (or Ionian mode), except for the last note (b7).
- Formula: 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7
- Use: on dominant chords (V7). The Mixolydian scale is often used in blues (on I7).
- Related chord: G7
- Characteristic notes: 6 and b7
Listen & Play:http://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/mixolydian-guitar-mode.mp3
This next lick is based on the G Mixolydian scale.
Listen & Play:http://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/mixolydian-mode-guitar-lick.mp3
6. A Aeolian Mode
The Aeolian mode is the same scale as the natural minor scale.
- Formula: 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
- Use: on minor chords (vim7)
- Related chord: Am7
- Characteristic note: b6
Listen & Play:http://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/aeolian-guitar-mode.mp3
This lick is based on the A Aeolian scale and focuses on the characteristic note (b6) of the Aeolian mode. By emphasising this note, you outline the sound of the mode in your lines, differentiating it from other minor modes such as the Dorian mode, which has a major 6.
Listen & Play:http://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/aeolian-mode-guitar-lick.mp3
7. B Locrian Mode
- Formula: 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7
- Use: on half diminished chords (the iim7b5 on a minor ii V I)
- Related chord: Bm7b5
- Characteristic note: b5
Listen & Play:http://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/locrian-guitar-mode.mp3
The following example only uses notes of the B Locrian scale. I emphasize the 11 in this lick because it adds a nice color played over m7b5 chords.
Listen & Play:http://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/locrian-mode-guitar-lick.mp3
Using Guitar Modes Over Modal Standards
What is modal music?
A modal standard is a standard that uses modes instead of chord progressions as its harmonic basis.
The most famous modal compositions are So What (Miles Davis) and Impressions (John Coltrane).
Both standards use the same AABA form:
- A1: 8 bars of Dm7 (D Dorian scale)
- A2: 8 bars of Dm7 (D Dorian scale)
- B: 8 bars of Ebm7 (Eb Dorian scale)
- A3: 8 bars of Dm7 (D Dorian scale)
In the following solo over So What (or Impressions) I play only notes of the D Dorian scale over the A sections, and the Eb Dorian scale over the B sections:
D Dorian Scale (A sections)
Eb Dorian Scale (B section)
In bar 26, you’ll notice I switch to another position on the guitar neck. On that part I play the A Aeolian scale shape, which might be confusing for those that just started studying modes. This is because a lot of guitarist think in shapes rather than in notes.
D Dorian has the same notes as A Aeolian (both come from the C major scale), they just start on a different note. Because the harmonic background of this tune is D minor, the A Aeolian shape will sound like D Dorian.
You can also play all the other mode shapes of the C major scale over So What (C Ionian, E Phrygian, etc). They will all sound like D Dorian because the tonal center of the tune is D.
The diagram below shows you a D Dorian scale that looks like the A Aeolian scale shape. Notice how the red root note is D, not A:
D Dorian = A Aeolian. Although it is ok to visualize scale shapes as you improvise, realize that they are just a set of 7 notes that depend on the tonal center of the tune you are playing. The A Aeolian shape played over D minor, will not sound Aeolian, but Dorian (confusing, I know).
Listen & Playhttp://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/so-what-solo.mp3
Using Modes over Chord Progressions (Guitar Modes Made Easy)
Next, you’ll learn how to apply modes over chord progressions, a ii V I vi (C major) in this case.
Theoretically, you play a different scale over each chord:
- Dm7 (ii): the D Dorian scale.
- G7 (V): the G Mixolydian scale.
- Cmaj7 (I): the C Ionian scale.
- Am7 (vi): the A Aeolian scale.
In practice we don’t think like that because it’s too hard to switch scales on each chord.
If we have a look at the 4 modes of these chords, you’ll notice they all have the same notes:
|D Dorian Scale||D||E||F||G||A||B||C|
|G Mixolydian Scale||G||A||B||C||D||E||F|
|C Ionian Scale||C||D||E||F||G||A||B|
|A Aeolian Scale||A||B||C||D||E||F||G|
So, these 4 modes all have the same 7 notes: C D E F G A B
This means we can play one scale (the scale of the Imaj7 chord for example), and use that scale to play over all chords (as long as the chords don’t modulate).
- The C Ionian scale played over the Dm7 chord will sound like the D Dorian scale.
- The C Ionian scale played over the G7 chord will sound like the G Mixolydian scale.
- The C Ionian scale played over the Am7 chord will sound like the A Aeolian scale.
In the following example I use the C Ionian scale over a ii V I vi chord progression:
Listen & Playhttp://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/modes-chord-progression.mp3
Here finishes our introduction to guitar modes. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post them in the comment section below.
What to learn after guitar modes? The best tool for improvisation are arpeggios. Learn all about them in our Introduction to Guitar Arpeggios.
The post The Beginner’s Guide to Guitar Modes and Scales appeared first on Jazz Guitar Online | Free Jazz Guitar Lessons, Licks, Tips & Tricks..
Guitar Pro 7 is a tab/notation software that aims to handle the entire compose-to-share cycle.
The goal is to help serious musicians notate, practice, arrange, and export guitar tab and scores. And, true to their goal, Arobas Music delivers a powerful piece of software that is not short of bells and whistles.
In addition, Arobas Music provides “MySongBook” – an online catalogue of guitar tabs and scores that can be played in Guitar Pro 7 (or in a free “light” player).
A Quick Feature Breakdown
- Read Music Score and Tabs – Tab, Standard Notation, Slash Rythym
- Music Score Edition – Customize layout, multitrack scores, notation and effects
- Tools for Composing Music – Tools for Chords, Scales, Lyric input, Tuner, and Virtual Instruments
- Print and Share Your Files – Formats listed below, also includes a LOCK feature Lock/Unlock a file with a password.
- .gpx Guitar Pro Import/Export
- .midi MIDI Import/Export
- .musicxml MusicXML Import/Export
- .pdf PDF Export
- .ptb PowerTab/TablEdit Import
- .ascii ASCII Import/Export
- .audio MP3, WAV, FLAC, Ogg and AIFF Export
- .png PNG Export
- Languages – Available in English, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish.
- Multi-Install – The purchased license gives you the right to install the software on a maximum of 5 computer or operating systems at the same time.
As you can see, Guitar Pro 7 has a lot of horsepower. If you want to write, compose, or arrange written music, it has the tools you need.
Purchasing Guitar Pro 7
Price is $75 for a new license, or $37.50 to upgrade an old license.
You can purchase the software directly here.
They also provide a 30-day trial.
If you’re looking for a simple Tab storage and editing software, you might look at Tabd. Not nearly the same amount of features, but a better fit for casual players who just need a place to save their tabs.
For heavy users, a serious alternative to Guitar Pro 7 is Finale by MakeMusic, a long-standing industry software for writing music. It is not tailored for guitar, but instead is aimed at the entire music industry.
- Guitar Pro 7 has all the features you want. It’s highly unlikely that you will ever say, “too bad it doesn’t do x”.
- The MySongBook companion library gives you a ready supply of tabs to learn, experiment with, and test.
- The virtual sounds are great, a huge advancement over previous generations midi-sounding score playbacks
- Guitar Pro 7 can import and export lots of file types.
- They also have special packages available for education folks.
- There’s a learning curve. As with all powerful software, it takes a while to learn how to do even (seemingly) small tasks. As mentioned, Tabd would be a better solution for guitarists unable to invest time in learning a dense piece of software.
- iOS and Android apps are an additional charge (iOS – $6.99 and Android – $5.49) with limited functionality in editing and writing. So don’t expect a 100% seamless experience from laptop to handheld.
Guitar Pro 7 is great. If you want to do some real work.
If you want to write professional looking tabs and sheet music, compose multiple parts, and share music with other serious musicians – than this is an excellent software for you.
If you just want to download and play tabs that other people have written, you should go with Arobas Music’s MySongBook. The local player software is free, and you just pay per tab download.
When studying jazz guitar, you quickly learn that analyzing chord progressions and transposing chords are two essential skills you need to have down. But, while you know that analyzing and transposing is important, you might not know the quickest and easiest way to accomplish these goals. This is where Roman numerals come into play.
Roman numerals are used in music to analyze diatonic and non-diatonic chords as well as make transposing any chord or progression much easier on the guitar.
In this lesson you learn what Roman numerals are, how they’re used in jazz analysis, and how to transpose chords with these numbers.
Diatonic Chords With Roman Numerals
To begin your study of Roman numerals and their use in analysis and transposition, we’ll look at diatonic chords with Roman numerals.
Here are the notes in the key of C major, written on a single string, with the number of each note below the staff.
Arabic numbers are used to identify single-notes in jazz, like scale and arpeggio notes, while Roman numerals identify chords and progression.
This makes it easier to understand a written analysis of any line or progression, as you won’t be confused if you see 1 vs. I in an analysis.
Now you add chords on top of each of those C major scale notes to form the chords in the key of C major.
Here are those chords with the Roman numerals written underneath each chord to see how they line up in the key.
Notice that the Roman numerals are the same as the Arabic numbers, 1 is I, 2 is ii, etc., as each scale note gets a chord in the key.
Once you know the notes in a key, and their related chords, you can use that to analyze chord progressions.
Here’s an example of a common jazz chord progression with Roman numerals below each chord, from the key of C major.
Minor chords are written in lowercase roman numerals, while major and dominant chords are written in uppercase roman numerals.
Now that you know how to use Roman numerals to identify chords in a key, open your Real Book and analyze diatonic chords in any song you flip to.
If you can’t identify a chord in the key, then leave it for now until you study non-diatonic chords in the next section.
Secondary Dominant Chords
As well as seeing diatonic chords when using Roman numerals for analysis, you’ll also see non-diatonic chords.
In this lesson we’ll look at two types of non-diatonic chords and how to analyze them with Roman numerals. These aren’t the only non-diatonic chords you’ll see when analyzing tunes, but they’re the most popular, so are essential to know.
The first non-diatonic chord is called a secondary dominant chord.
This is a V7 chord that isn’t the V7 of the key you’re in, such as V7 of V7, V7 of iim7, V7 of vim7, etc.
When writing secondary dominant chords, you can write them as V7/V7 or V7/iim7, if you like.
Or, you can use a shortcut such as II7 for V7/V7 or VI7 for V7/iim7, as both are commonly used in modern analysis.
I prefer to keep things close to the key, so I prefer II7 and VI7 for example, but try both and see which makes the most sense to you.
Here’s an example of a VI7 chord in the key of C major.
And here’s an example of a II7 chord in the key of C major.
Now that you know what secondary dominant chords are, grab a Real Book and identify secondary dominant chords in full tunes.
Secondary ii V Chords
As well as seeing secondary dominant chords, you also see secondary ii V chords in jazz progressions and tunes.
Secondary ii Vs function the same as secondary dominant chords, except you use a ii V leading to a diatonic chord rather than just a V7.
Here’s an example of a secondary ii V that leads to the iim7 in the key of C major, meaning Em7b5-A7b13 leading to Dm7.
Notice that the song doesn’t modulate to D minor, the secondary ii V is used to highlight the Dm7 chord, but not change to the full key of D minor.
Here’s another common example of a secondary ii V that Charlie Parker used a lot in his tunes.
In this example, the secondary ii V is used to highlight the vim7 chord (Am7), as well as acting as a transition bar between Imaj7 and vim7.
Now that you know what secondary ii V chords are, grab a fake book and identify secondary ii V chords in full tunes.
Take the A Train Analysis
Now that you know what Roman numerals are, and their common usage in jazz, you can look at them over an entire tune.
Here’s the chord progression to Take the A Train with Roman numerals below each chord in the tune.
Notice that I used the II7 rather than V7/V7 in bars 3 and 4 of the A section (D7). You can use either analysis, but I prefer to relate Roman numerals to the key if possible to make it easier to transpose later on if needed.
Check out these changes, it’s a very diatonic progression with the exception of the D7 (V7/V7 (II7)) and the Gm7-C7 (iim7/IV and V7/IV).
You can also use Roman numerals in minor keys, such as when analyzing and learning a song like Summertime, which is in D minor.
When using Roman numerals in minor keys all the same rules apply that you learned in major keys, with one exception.
Normally minor chords are written with a lowercase Roman numeral (iim7 for example), but in minor keys the tonic chord uses a capital letter (Im7). This is to signify that the tonic chord is special, it’s the resolution chord of the key, and therefore we use a capital letter to reflect that.
Here’s the Roman numeral analysis of Summertime.
Notice that there are three main chords in the song, Im7 (Dm7), ivm7 (Gm7), and Fmaj7 (bIIImaj7).
The rest of the chords are just ii V’s that lead to those chords, so one diatonic ii V and two secondary ii V chords.
Transposing With Roman Numerals
Besides using Roman numerals to analyze and understand chord progressions, you also use them to make transposing easier on and off the guitar.
Here’s the chord progression for the first A section of Take the A Train, in the original key with Roman numerals underneath.
Now, to transpose this progression to another key, we’ll use F major as an example, you just need to know the Roman numerals and notes in the new key.
The notes in the key of F are F G A Bb C D E F, so all you do is move the Roman numerals from C to F and you have the same progression in a new key.
Here are the chords in F, notice that the Roman numerals remain the same, but you’ve changed the chord symbols to be in the new key of F.
After you look at this example, see if you can write out the chords to the first A section of Take the A Train in other keys using the same approach.
Transposing chords on guitar is an essential skill to have, and Roman numerals make this skill easier to learn and quicker to apply in your playing.