Generating ii-V-i Progressions, Part 2 - Minor Keys

Continuing with our idea of generating chords from the diminished seventh chord foundation we will now explore the ii-V-i progression in minor keys. I will use the parallel minor key of C minor for the examples in order to make the distinction clear between the major and minor modes. I will start with a common diminished seventh chord voicing as I did previously with the major keys. This will serve as the rootless dominant seventh flat nine chord (V) in our progression. In the first example I started with the Bdim.7 chord voicing in first position on the inside four strings (B-F-Ab-D). This is the rootless G7b9 or V chord in the key of C minor. To generate the ii chord, in this case a Dm7b5 chord, we simply raise the note B to C.  Now we have the notes C-F-Ab-D which is a third inversion Dm7b5 chord. To get our tonic Cm7 chord I decided to move all four tones of the Bdim7 chord down by step (half or whole) to the nearest chord tones of Cm7. So the B moves to Bb, the F to Eb, the Ab to G and finally the D to C giving us a Cm7 chord in third inversion. This of course is only one of several ways of resolving this chord to tonic, but I wanted to maintain a pattern of resolution in order to generate all possible inversions of each of the chord types as was done in the previous examples in C major.

Again, I duplicated the voicings on the first four strings in order to demonstrate the different fingerings for the same chords on this string set.

As in the previous major key examples, the third and sixth lines utilize the voicings shown in the two lines immediately above these lines but in a pleasant descending pattern for practicing.

The purpose of these exercises is to get you thinking about how the chords relate one to another in terms of the individual chord tones, as well as generating a smooth, connected sound through good voice-leading. In the process of writing these out I have discovered many new voicings that are quite playable and should be fairly easy to incorporate into my chord vocabulary as I hope you will too.

Practice these patterns in all keys and make a note of where the roots of these voicings are located for easy transposition. Good luck and keep working.




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