ii-V-I Progressions Using Seventh Chord Inversions

As promised, a follow-up on the recent article concerning 7th chord inversions. This time the inversions and root position voicings are put into the context of ii-V-I progressions in both major and minor keys implementing the closest possible voice-leading according to the following procedure:

1) When moving from ii to V, the two common tones are maintained and the remaining two tones descend by step to the nearest chord tone in the new harmony.

2) When moving from V to I in major keys the two common tones are maintained and the remaining two tones descend by step.

3) When moving from V to i in minor keys the one common tone is maintained and the three remaining tones descend by step.

You may notice that we could maintain the leading-tone (raised seventh scale degree) when moving from the dominant (V) to the tonic (i) in minor keys giving us a minor/major seventh chord as our tonic which would be acceptable in jazz harmony. I chose to resolve to the more conventional minor seventh chord.

It is also interesting to note this pattern of alternating common tones and moving tones in which the common tones between the ii and V become the moving tones between V and I, and the moving tones between the ii and V become the common tones between V and I.

I use the same string sets as I did with the 7th chord inversion table to form these voicings, but again this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to chord voicings on the guitar.

The root position voicings as well as all three inversions of the ii, V and I chords are contained in each eight measure exercise. I did not include the diminished seventh chord since, due to its symmetrical structure, all inversions are equivalent. You may want to incorporate this diminished seventh as a rootless dominant seventh b9 chord (7b9). This can very easily be derived from the dominant seventh chord voicing by locating the root of the chord and moving it up one half-step (semitone). This will convert the dominant seventh chord to a diminished seventh and it will now function as a rootless 7b9 chord.

Of course some of these voicings will be a bit high to play comfortably on an acoustic guitar so feel free to drop them an octave as needed.

Once again I have discovered many new and useful voicings in this exercise and hopefully you will as well. A pdf file containing the voicings using notation and diagrams is below.


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