Micro Lesson 280: "Key of C" Modal-Jazz Progression

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 280"

This Micro Lesson explores a "Modal Jazz" progression within the key of "C." 

Modal Jazz is an interesting style of Jazz music since it does not remain within a single key, nor does it employ traditional jazz turnarounds, (like the common II-V-I chord changes). Instead, this style drifts between chord tonalities of major and minor organizing the chord changes in ways that allow for the progression to still resolve back to the progressions tonic chord. 

In the chord progression for this Micro Lesson, we begin in the key of, "C Major," with a, "Cmaj7," chord moving into an, "Am7," in measure one. In the second measure, we drop back a whole step from the keys tonic and play a "bVII maj7" chord of, "Bbmaj7." After this chord, we perform a quick "Bb Major Pentatonic" phrase that pulls us into the, "Bb major" tonalities, "Relative Minor" chord of, "Gm7." The "Gm7" chord lasts the entire third measure as well as, into the final fourth measure.

In measure four, we encounter the key of, "C Major," IV-chord of, "Fmaj7." After the IV-chord, we play the, "bVII-maj 7" once again to pull the progression back to the top. 

Of interest here are both the, "Bb maj 7," and its Relative Minor chord of, "Gm7." Both chords drift toward the opposite side of tonality for the proper degrees of the progression. Yet since the root of each chord functions as a scale tone, we can still achieve a nominal amount of resolution across the chord changes. 

If modal progressions are new to you, be sure to spend time studying the theory behind these ideas. The Creative Guitar Studio Music Theory Course is a great way to learn many of these principles. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 280: "Key of C" Modal-Jazz Progression


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