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#2087180 - 05/23/13 05:21 AM ii - V - I proggression  
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john f Offline
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I am a little, maybe a lot, confused about subject progression. I can play if but where, how? In addition to the chords already on the fake sheet or in place of those chords? Can someone please explain this to me. Thank you.

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#2087234 - 05/23/13 07:54 AM Re: ii - V - I proggression [Re: john f]  
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jjo Offline
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II-V-I is a very common chord progression in jazz standards. You play it where it is written on the lead sheet. It is good to practice playing II-V-Is in all key signatures because then, when you see it on a lead sheet, you will be comfortable with it. You will see II-V-I in virtually every tune by composers such as Gershwin, Porter and Berlin.

There are times when you can substitute a II-V-I progression for something else that is written, but that is a much more advanced skill that you probably don't need to worry about right now.

#2087262 - 05/23/13 08:58 AM Re: ii - V - I proggression [Re: john f]  
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Originally Posted by john f
I am a little, maybe a lot, confused about subject progression. I can play if but where, how? In addition to the chords already on the fake sheet or in place of those chords? Can someone please explain this to me. Thank you.


It may or may not be obvious,stabbing ii, V, I, ii, V, I, ii, V, I, repeatedly, isn't actually a song/tune in itself. If it's played in a particular way, say, ii, for 2 measures, V, for a single measure, then back to root I, for the last measure, still isn't the melody. The chords accompany the melody, hopefully in a harmonious way.

.."In addition to the chords already on the fake sheet or in place of those chords?"
Play the chords that are indicated on the fake/lead sheet. If the chords on the lead sheet or fake book repeat in a similar fashion, this is coincidence.
A lead sheet could possibly have chord letters or small chord diagrams for guitar, above the clef. I don't think I've seen any with Nashville numbers, (ii,V,I, etc.). You must understand for instance, that if the key is C, and you see a G chord noted above the clef, this is the V chord for the key of C.
The only instance where I would use Nashville numbers, is to convey to another musician what the chord progression is for a given song/tune, as the chord progression doesn't change even if the key changes. Forgive me if I over explain.


Rhythm & Chords, it's what I do.
#2087430 - 05/23/13 12:48 PM Re: ii - V - I proggression [Re: john f]  
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Thanks for responding FarmerJones. So if I have a number that I want to play that already has C, G, F, chords indicated on the sheet, what do I do? Play them and just forget about the 2m, 5, 1 chords or do I mix them in with the other chords, or what? What is their purpose if I am still going to play the chords that are already on the sheet?

I am trying to play from sheet music, fake sheets. I want to play better sounding chords than the ones already indicated. All I know so far is to change a major chord to a major 6th or 7th. I also change a minor chord to a 6th or 7th chord.
Thanks again for your help.

#2087439 - 05/23/13 12:59 PM Re: ii - V - I proggression [Re: jjo]  
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Thanks jjo. Right if it is already written in I play it as written. I have some jazz books with chords writted out that include those and I just play as written; My problem now is fake books and sheets that just use non-jazz chords, no extended chords. I know how to play extended chords but I don't know where to use them. I want to make some of the newer songs sound better by using jazzy sounding chords.

#2087460 - 05/23/13 01:28 PM Re: ii - V - I proggression [Re: john f]  
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John: Sounds like what you need to do is add extensions to chords more than substitutions. Here are some suggestions:
1. If you see a major chord, try the 6th or 7th.
2. If you see a minor chord, try the 7th and 9th.
3. If you see a dominant chord, trying adding the 9th and also try flatting the ninth, particularly if the next chord is a minor chord.
4. If you see a dominant chord, try adding the minor chord a 5th above just before it, thereby making two chords out of one. That's actually using the II-V concept. For example, if you see a C major chord followed by G dominant, try breaking the G chord into a D minor (II) following by G dominant (V).

As you can see, you are really asking how jazz voicings work, which is a lifetime of study. I'd recommend Mark Levine's the Jazz Piano book. He has many examples where he takes a lead sheet and slowing makes the voicings more complex, adding extensions and substitute chords. It's not easy, but it's very rewarding.

#2087575 - 05/23/13 04:49 PM Re: ii - V - I proggression [Re: john f]  
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36251 Offline
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You could think about the ii chord as just the extension of the V chord.

Yeah, if you see the V chord for a whole measure, adding the ii chord adds movement.

But, at the other end of the spectrum, if you're soloing and you see a ii/v chord you can just think V; it frees you up. Playing the 3rd of V chord over a ii chord (the 6th of the ii,) sounds very cool.


AG N2 | CP4 | SSv3 | GK MK & MP
#2088963 - 05/25/13 11:10 PM Re: ii - V - I proggression [Re: 36251]  
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Thank you to everyone who replied. John

#2095444 - 06/04/13 03:37 PM Re: ii - V - I proggression [Re: john f]  
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Michael Martinez Offline
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The purpose of a chord progression is to establish tonality. The reason a ii-V-I is popular is because it strongly establishes the tonality of the "I" (the key itself.) There are other progressions that you may use to establish the same "I" tonality and you may use those any time you wish as substitutes for the "ii-V-I".

In practical application, identify the key changes (or modulations) in your song, and create any chord progression you like in each of those sections which establish the tonality of each key. Usually you will do this in a way such that the chord does not clash with the melody note.

Here is another way to establish the tonality of "I":

I IV I V I

There are seven chords in the key, so a good exercise is to play around with different sequences in order to determine which ones strongly suggest the resolution to the "I" and which ones do so weakly.

Regarding use of tensions, you are basically at liberty to add one or two of the following on dominant 7th chords, regardless of whether these tones are in the key or not: b9, #9, #4, b13

You are at liberty to add the #4, major 9th and major 13th on major chords.

And you are at liberty to add the major 9th (only if it is in the key) and the natural 11th to minor chords.

You may add the 4th to the half-diminished chord.

When you add a tension, it must not clash with the melody.

I can recommend a book that goes through these rules and has you do a bunch of exercises so you get familiar with them. Probably a good idea if you aren't familiar with this process: Harmonic Foundation by Jimmie Amadie http://www.amazon.com/Harmonic-Foundation-Jazz-Popular-Music/dp/0961303506/

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 06/04/13 03:49 PM.

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#2096398 - 06/05/13 04:22 PM Re: ii - V - I proggression [Re: john f]  
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||: I VI | ii V :|| is a lot of songs!


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