The 7th Chords.
Building from the triad (1-3-5) we can add another 3rd, that would give us the 7, (7th note in the scale).
Adding this 7th note gives us the “7th chord”.
There are 2 types of 7th chords: Major 7th and Minor 7th. (NOT to be mistaken with being a major or minor CHORD, ONLY the 3rd note determines that!)
Major and Minor 7th has to do with the DISTANCE from the 1, Minor 7th is 11 semitones away from the 1, Major 7th 12 semitones away from the 1.
The 7th chords have certain function, they have to do with movement.
We will only look at the MINOR 7th chords for now.
The Minor 7th chords have a certain tension in them, wanting to move to a “solution”.
If they move in an “authentic” way they will move UP a PERFECT 4th (5 semitones up, and always count the first note as 1)
In our example the chord G, added with a minor 7 (the note F), will want to move up a perfect 4th and land on C.
We call this dominant behaviour, the minor 7th chord is a dominant chord, in this example called G7.
G7 goes to C (4 up).
This is NOT a rule, as said, it would be an authentic progression if it does move up 4, but often we see it moves to somewhere else, like in Rock music.
In Jazz you will find many authentic progressions on which we can anticipate a lot.
Turn your smartphone horizontal.
1 The 7th Chords
In this tab you will find the complete explanation and use of the 7th chords. Again, take your time to really understand this, the better you do, the easier it will be to use them in your improvisation.
- Am I playing too fast?
Hover over the video, click on “1x” and choose your speed.
- Do you want to repeat part of the video?
Hover over the video, click on “AB” then set the beginning point with “i” and the end point with “o”.
2 The Mixolydian Scales
We will now practice the scales of the chords in Sweet Georgia Brown. The scales of the (dominant) 7th chords are Mixolydian scales, as we call them, lowering the 7th note in the scale to match the #7 in the chords. Follow me.
3 The Mixolydian Scales #2
Now we will do the same, a bit more tempo, but without showing the scales. Learn to play them this way, feel the notes, where the 7th note is lowered. Listen to how that matches with the chords. You can play a bit with the rhythm too, experiment!
4 The Improvisation
Time to really improvise! Use the notes from the scales that we learnt and play around with them, make your own phrases now. If this goes too fast then hover over the video, click on the “-” to slow it down a bit.
5 That actual chord progression
Time to practice the scales on the actual chord progression. Instead of playing in turns, play along with me on this one. Download the score below to see what chords are coming.
6 A bit more tempo
We’ll practice the same, if all went right in tab 5 you can step up in tempo here. Try to add little variations along the way.
7 The actual improvisation on Sweet Georgia Brown
We have come to the point that you can improvise as a pro on Sweet Georgia Brown. Use the basis as we practiced in the previous tabs and play around in the scales. this type of improvisation is commonly used in Gypsy Jazz style. Practice this as much as you can, other titles will follow.