A II-V-I excercise I like

(12 posts)
  1. Sandemose

    It is based on the fact that the half/whole diminished scale can function as four dominant chords, starting on G, Bb, Db, and E. That gives four tonic chords (Cmaj, Ebmaj, Gbmaj, A maj) and four two-minor chords (Dminor7, Fminor7, Abminor7 and Bminor7). I work with two chord structures for the dimished scale (you can use how many as you like, I at least started with two) based on this pattern:

    D---2----3-----5-----6----- etc

    Next thing I do is that I go through different IIminor chord voicings, starting with Dminor sounds, then resolving into Imaj (Cmaj):


    E---------------------------------------- etc


    A----3------------(2)-----1------- etc

    I go through all four tonic chords (C, Eb, Gb, A) staying in one position, trying to find nice voiceleading moves, and at last trying to connect lines with these sounds. I stay with one diminsihed scale for 20 min. Then I practice the other two with their four tonic chords 20 min each. After that I have practiced/played II-V-I in all keys within an hour.

    I posted this excercise on the old forum. Hope anyone likes it. Ask questions if Im unclear in any way.

    Best regards,


  2. jazznan

    Do you sing the roots? How do you play it or rather hear it in context? I just tried it with singing the roots and it sounds great.

    Contact us
  3. Sandemose

    Yeah, I sing the roots, or just try to reach them with the chords, or starting a improvised line on it, etc. Its really important to get the roots solid.

    Hmm, about the context question I might misunderstand you, but I use this excercise to get familiar with different keys, geting the basics down better, incorporating chords (new) into my playing and organizing my practice routine so certain information (diminished scale) is used in so many ways as possible.

    Glad you liked the sounds!

  4. Gesture

    I need to work on my II-V-I's as well and this sounds like a great exercise although i don't fully understand it.. What do you mean exactly by "Chord structures"?
    And let's say you're working on 1 diminished scale (G H/W for example) in 1 position for 20 minutes. Do you just practice over the 4 possible II-V-I's in that position successively..? I'm confused. ;)

  5. jazznan

    Yeah, I asked you the same question twice...just wanted to know how you practiced it. Singing the roots I think works best.

    I liked these ii V I in C (F9 for Dm, G13b9, C69)

    E---------------------------------------- etc

  6. Sandemose

    Hey guys, I´ll try to explain...

    The basic idea is that I use two voicings, first the 7#9 as four different dominant chords depending on what root you have, and depending on what minor chord you put infront of it:

    First G13b9, Bb13b5, Db7 (with alot of tension) and E#9


    and then same thing with this 13b9 voicing...


    After that I try to find nice IIminor7 voicings (Fm, Abm, Bm, Dm) close to these two diminished chords, and then resolve them into Imaj7. Then I move up the diminished chords minor thirds to find the closest IIm7 and Imaj7 chords. In each position I start to improvise lines around the chords until it feels familiar, also trying to sing the roots.

    The whole idea is to use the same amount of information (the diminished voicing) as much as possible (as a G, Bb, Db, E dominant chord) and when I improvise with the half/whole dim scale I feel that I get more comfortable resolving it into four different tonics (C, Eb, Gb, A).

    Hope this was any clearer?


  7. jazznan

    Yep, this was clear from the beginning, there are a lot of diminished shapes you can use as multi-voicing chords...thanks for sharing (I'm not claiming to know all of them)

  8. Sandemose

    Man, multi-voicing chords, what I beautiful word. Yeha, you can figure out any shapes, I just happen to like those two alot, and two is enaugh to start with.

  9. Gesture

    I think I get it now. It's a lot of fun messing around with this exercise. Thanks!

  10. Sandemose

    I like the excersice because I actually learn from it. I like the fact that it is sound based (but of course also structure/pattern based), because I get more familiar with different tensions and resolving them into different tonics. Doing one diminished scale for 20 min, and all keys in one hour is more than enaugh for me...

  11. Gesture

    Since I need to work on my diminished lines in 251's I came up with an exercise based on yours.
    It's basically the same but instead of playing chords I practice playing triad pairs that I then use in 4 different 251's like above.

    So for example over a Dm7-G7-Cmaj7 I use 2 triads from the G H/W dim. scale, let's say an E triad(13, b9, 3) and Bb triad(#9, 5, 7). Then I will use the same ones over the other 3 251's where they will sound differently.

    An interesting thing I found out is that combining triad pairs creates hexatonic scale patterns so you can sort of see them as scales instead of triads.

  12. Sandemose

    That triad pair thing is really great. I just tried it out, and I think that is a better method to get into the sound. Thanks for sharing,

    Best, Sandemose


You must log in to post.