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Lesson 107: Chords and Scales

A Chord Is a Scale and Vice Versa

Chords and scales are different versions of the same thing.

Learn to think that

  • a chord symbol stands for a scale
  • a scale/ a mode stands for a chord or a chord progression

There are always several different possibilities.

Examples

The chord symbol Cmaj7 may stand for C Ionian or C Lydian.

The chord symbol Dm7 may stand for D Dorian, D Aeolian or D Phrygian.

The chord symbol G7 may stand for G Mixolydian, G Lydian b7 or G Phrygian Major.

The indication of C Ionian on a lead sheet may be interpreted as follows:

The indication of D Dorian on a lead sheet may be interpreted as follows:

The indication of G Mixolydian on a lead sheet may be interpreted as follows:

Or if we have a dominant to tonic situation in minor - G Phrygian Major ( the fifth mode of the C harmonic minor scale):

Freedom - More Possibilities - More Interesting Playing

Strive for greater freedom when it comes to interpretation of the information on a lead sheet. Learning to play inside modes instead of whacking the same old chord voicings is an important step towards more creative and interesting playing.

Check out lesson 86, where harmonizing a scale/ a mode is explored in detail. You may also want to check out lesson 19, where playing inside a scale/ a mode using quartal harmony is explored in detail.

2007 Tomas Karlsson. All rights reserved.