Improvisation 'The II-V-I' - Introduction

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Improvisation 'The II-V-I' - Guide Tones

In this tutorial, I hope to enlighten you somewhat in the ways of improvisation. Particularly on the subject of outlining chords. We will be having a look at several short musical phrases and analyzing them in context to the use of what are commonly known as 'Guide Tones'

The II-V-I progression, aka 2 5 1, will be used as a template throughout this tutorial in various keys and permutations.

II-V-I is a musical term for defining chords built from a scale. 2 is referring to the second chord of the tonal center (aka the key) 5 for the 5th chord, and 1 for the Tonic (chord 1).

So to begin...

In the video I will start you off with the G Major scale in D form. As well as the arpeggios for each of our chords. You will find the tab for everything I played below.

For those of you who may be used to practicing scales and arpeggios from the Root position. It is important that you start learning to play them from any note. Aside from the Am7 arpeggio, none of these patterns are in Root position.

The value of being able to play these scales from notes other than the Root is that you get more familiar with different scale degrees, such as the 5th, 3rd and 7th. Each of these notes can be as valuable as the next when improvising.

Practice the patterns as written. If you have a metronome, set it to about 60bpm and play through each pattern one after the other. Increase the speed slowly and see how fast you can play through each one before you start missing or buzzing notes.

Don't feel always start from the lowest note either. Maybe start on the 5th or the 7th or any note of your choice.

When you're confident you have these under your belt, join me in the next lesson.