The Play by Play


Before starting this tutorial, please refer to the Essential Needs for this Lesson page. It will give you the links for the audio, staff notation, and tab for this lesson. It also includes a few links that will provide a number of resources regarding prerequisites for a lesson of this type.

The examples discuss many components of Substitutions, whether it be for chords or scale. Please refer back to the Substitution Methods page if needed.


I'll try and take through what's going on measure by measure in the audio/staff/tab part of the lesson.

I listed out each Dominant Sub by it's full name, but most of them could be charted out as "7alt". But, for learning purposes I gave them names, but alter them any way you want.

Again, Jazz music is to be played, not so much analyzed, but MANY people analyze it as a way of explaining it.

This was put together/written as a lesson. So, all of the parts are to show applications of different area's we've discussed so far.

It is not the end-all of Jazz Theory, or definitely playing, but it's an organized approach to applications. Hopefully it will be helpful.

Measures 1-2:

This is a simple Cmaj7 arpeggio from Root to Root back down to the M3. The reason I chose to end on the M3 is that when we hit the next measure witht the D7 chord I can make a nice shift, or movement, to the M3 of the D7 chord. This F# note of the D7 chord coming up is THE note that's in the Key of G that's not in the Key of C, so it's heavy on movement.

This phrase is like a "Call" waiting for a Response, which happens in the next two measures.

Measure 3-4:

There's that F# note. This is essentially a D Dominant arpeggio starting on the M3 move to a skip to the M3 and octave higher, then down a partial D Dominant arp.

These two measure are the "Response" to the Call in the first two measures.

All four measure just set up the flow of the movement from chord to chord.

Measure 5:

These moves us right back into the C Major sound, G Mixolydian or D Dorian actually. Or, right back to the Diatonic sound of the Key of C Major.

Measure 6-7:

This move sounds great but it's nothing more than a Db7 arpeggio. Some of the greatest licks in jazz are nothing more than straght arpeggio's. It's the V7 movement/substitution/tension and release to the M3 of the Imaj7 chord that gives it it's greatness.

And that Whole Note in Measure 7 provide a breath after the release.

Measure 8:

This is a use for a C Whole-Tone Scale.

And look at that chord Sub for the G7 chord, a F#9aug5. To me it's a chord built right out of the C Whole-Tone Scale.

Measure 9-10:

Chord-wise we can see a Diatonic Substitution with the Cmaj7->Em11.

Note wise this is more arpeggio melodies in anticipation for the next chord...that's what the chromatic note (F) at the end provides. It's says "hey, we're ready to move".

Measure 11-12:

Here we continue with the motif started in Measures 9-10. And that chromatic note in Measure 10 lead us to out next chord nicely.

And at Measure 12 we get another breather! The two eighth notes at the end of Measure 12 are basically "pickup notes" into the next Measure (which will continue with the motif in the previous Measures).

Chord-wise we are seeing some subs for the Dominant Chord.

Measures 13-14:

Measure 13 picks up the motif we had going.

Measure 14 is the use of the Tri-Tone Sub and it's dom13 arpeggio. Nice, commonly played, tension for the Dominant chord. This can also be thought of as coming out from a Db Lydian b7 scale.

Measure 15:

And we land back on our feet again with a breather note on the Imaj9 chord.

Measure 16:

This is another C Whole-Tone Scale. I like how the first two notes of it surround the G note we were on for the Cmaj9 chord. See how G sits right in the middle of G# and F#. So, it creates tension and dissonance right from the get go.

Measures 17-20:

This is an old Jazzer trick, steal something from another popular song and make it fit in the song you're playing. A common song people throw in is "Pop Goes The Weasel". The tune I chose, actually it kind of chose itself, is "Love Me Tender" by Elvis :)

The chords are pretty straight forward and the melody fits perfect until the Ab7 in measure 20. So, I follow the melody to the chords here and it sparks with "Jazz".

Measure 21-23:

Across these two chords (measures 21-22) is a basic Mixolydian scale. Actually this is one of my favorite things to do, make Pentatonic Scales out of bigger scales. It's explained in my Lydian/Mode lesson at my lesson site.

This lick/scale/pattern is a combination of Pentatonic Mixolydian/Lydian patterns found in the C Major Scale.

Pentatonic-izing the scales gives you less of a "running up and down scales" sound. There's more space between the Intervals.

This is an example of the Diatonic/Mixolydian scale over the V7 chord. It shows that by living in the world of modes too much keeps you from creating many other sounds. Mixolydian sounds great, but there's less tension for sure. Nothing wrong with it, just less tension.

Measure 23 is a breather measure, a landing spot.

Measure 24-26:

Here I'm substituting the Ddim7 for G7 chords, a Diminished Substitution.

Remember, the "Diminished Scale" to Jazzer's is the Half/Whole-Tone Scale. So this is really nothing more than a straight Half/Whole-Tone Scale. And, this "pattern" is symmetrical and can be repeated in consecutive minor thirds (every one and a half steps from where you are).

Then we land at Measure 25 resolving to a note within the Cmaj7 arpeggio.

The H/W-Tone Scale is the tension, and the note from the Cmaj7 chord is the release.

Moving from measure 25 to 26 is another little stolen motif. It's quick but it's "Spoonful of Sugar" from Mary Poppins or Sound of Music, can't remember which one. But, you might notice it.

Measures 27-28:

Now things start picking up a bit.

The chords here are Diminished Substitutes of the D7 chord. I've listed it as D#dim7, each of those chords that follow are enharmonic derivitives of each other. To see this clearly, take each of the chords in those two measure, write out the note names and you'll see they all contain the same notes.

The phrase that's going on here is one of my favorite ways to play diminished licks. It's just a Diminished arpeggio broken out into string skipping. As opposed to the clean sweep picking style how many people play Diminished arps, this way gives it more of staggered, excitable, rushed feel.

The phrase is another way I've taken a bigger scale, the H/W-Tone scale, and minimized to an effective Pentatonic scale.

Pack this Diminished run in your back pocket, it can be used all over the place, you can easily run it higher and lower across the fretboard, and will give your sweep picking buddy's a little run for the money.

And the last notes/Intervals, the tag, of the phrase mimics the "Spoonful of Sugar" theme back in Measure 26. Kind of a Call and Response to what was played before it.

Measures 29-30:

I view the first 4 notes of this run as a Minor Pentatonic scale from the 5th of the Dm7 chord, making it an A Minor Pentatonic.

In my jazz finding I see this idea used ALL OVER the Kind of Blue album. Try playing So What and over the Dm chord play A, C, D, and E -- or even E, G, A, and B -- and mix it with D, F, G, and A. By doing this you are stacking single line harmonies over the Dm chord...Also try the "Minor Pentatonic off the 5th" from a Dominant 7 chord, pure magic...this deserves a whole tutorial in itself...BUT...moving on...

After the first 4 notes, the run settles into a running straight down a D H/W-Tone scale over the Dm7, until we move into the G7 chord. Over the G chord I'm using a Lydian b7 scale from the b5 Substitution of the G7 chord, this makes it a Db Lydian b7.

Due to the fact that originally the | Dm7 | G7 | chords were really just | G7 | G7 | before the ii-V Substitute, you are allowed to use altered, or other substituted, sounds over the Dm7. So, you could easily reverse the order of the scales. Where I played D H/W-Tone Scale to a Db Lydian b7, I could have also played a Db Lydian b7 to a D W/H-Tone scale. And, it would still cook.

But NEED to resolve that baby. So, here comes the next measure...

Measure 31:

Whew! We made it home to the Imaj7(Cmaj7). Here as in many other ventures back to the Imaj7 chord, I've chose a note from the chord. Doing this ties everything back together again.

Measure 32:

This measure would normally just be a G7 chord, right. So here I used a G6 to start a Chromatic moving line back to the one, using 6th Chords thoughout.

This is similar to a walking bass line, but with chords.

It also setups up the next number of measure for a little venture into a chord stabbing solo.

Measures 33-40:

There's a number of chord substitution going on through these measure. I'll try and point out the original chord, the sub'ed chord and the Method of the sub from our Substitution section.

Cmaj7 = C6 = Diatonic Substitution
D7 = Ddim7 = Diminished Substitution
G7 = G9 = Diatonic Substitution
G7 = G11, Gsus4, Db13, Db7 = Diatonic Substitution, then b5 Substitution with it's Diatonic Substitution. WOW!
Cmaj7 = Cmaj7 = Really no substitution here, just a higher voicing
G7 = Fdim7, Edim7, Fdim7, F#dim7, Gdim7, G#dim7, Adim7 = Diminished Substitution using a walking chord line back to the Imaj7

Measures 41-47:

Cmaj7 = Bbdim7 = Here I've replaced the Cmaj7 with a C7 and performed a Diminished Substitution on it.
D7 = Cdim7 = Diminished Substitution
Cmaj7 = Bdim7 = This is a Diminished Substitution for the V7(G7) of the Imaj7(Cmaj7) chord.
G7 = G13sus11 = Diatonic Substitution

Ok, that Bbdim7 chord replacing a Cmaj7. There are times, many times when you can change a Major or a Minor chord to a Dominant 7 chord on the fly. It stems from "borrowing" from pseudo-related Keys. In other words, a C7 chord is the 5th chord of the Key of F Major. So, the basic C Major chord/triad is related to many other Keys than C. So, there are certain times when you can "borrow" from these other pseudo-related Keys.

C is also included in the Key of G Major as a Cmaj7 chord. So, why not borrow from the Key of G Major instead??? Well, borrowing a Cmaj7 chord from the Key of G Major doesn't really get us anything new. We ALREADY have a Cmaj7 chord in the Key of C, so no change would take place.

Borrowing from the Key of F makes a strong statement that something has changed.

Whew! Ok, so we have C7. Now once I have a Dominant 7 chord, I can start substituting at will basically.

So I've used a Diminished Substitution.

Recap: Cmaj7->C7->Bbdim7...Got it? I hope so cause that's a hard one to explain in text :)

So all this theory aside, the progression over these measures just sounds cool! It has a Silent Film piano player sound to it, or maybe even a Gospel sounds. Similar to how they change a tune upside down for dramatics, but it's still has the same movement.

Honestly this one just fell into my lap while writing the lesson. It took me a while to figure out how the Bbdim7 got in there and worked.

Measures 48-49:

Here is where we land back at our regularly scheduled program. And, I'm going to attempt to give peoples ears a FIRM realization that we are home again by simulating some sounds I used before.

These two measures are an exaggeration of measures 1 and 2 of the song.

It starts out pretty much just like the first measure of the song , but adds a little bit more to it.

Measures 50-51:

These two measures are an exaggeration of measures 3 and 4 of the song.

Here we start out on the same notes as measure 3, but add some anticipation and then a couple of chromatic lines based off a D7 arpeggio.

I should note that the last four measures also show a common way of comp'ing while giving the chords rhythm. I think of the pattern as "Omm-Paa-Omm-Paa-Omm-Paa-Omm-Paa" or "bass-chord-bass-chord-bass-chord-bass chord" or simply "1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +". This technique can also be enhanced by using the 5th in place of the Root on beats 2 and 4 much like a bass player would do it.

You can see on the "one beat" of measure 48 the lead and the rhythm are both playing the same note. I did this to show you that as a "comp'er" sometimes the soloist and comp'er run into each other. Normally if this was a worked out solo you might re-work this part to create more separation.

This type of technique can be used in MANY other styles of Jazz, and music in general. With variations to it you find a similar approach over a Bossa Nova, a Samba, and the list goes on. Its very common.

Measures 52-53:

Chord wise the Fmaj7+11 chord is a Relative Major Substitution for Dm7 chord. Even more basic than that it's a Diatonic Substitution, since Dm7 is in the Key of C and Fmaj7+11 is in the Key of C also. So in theory, since our original chord was really G7...we could say G7 can be replaced with Dm7 or Fmaj7+11 as a Diatonic Substitution. I hope that makes sense to you at this point.

The Fdim7 is a Diminished Substitution for the G7 chord.

Measure 52 is a G9 arpeggio with a Chromatic note at the end leading us to the next measure.

Measure 53 is a Db Mixolydian/arp. The last four notes of it is one of those "Minor Pentatonic off the 5th" scales from the Db7 chord.

Measures 54-59:

The Cadd6/9 is a Diatonic Sub for the Cmaj7. The Db7 is a b5 Sub for a G7.

This section provides as a bit of a Turnaround. It's essentially a "V-I" Turnaround repeated.

This tells me "Tension-Release-Tension-Release, etc...". So, that's exactly how I approached when putting these lines together.

Measure 54 is the Release for the previous Measure 53.

Measure 55 is a Db Lydian b7 scale, which is a mode of the G Super Locrian scale, which is a Mode from the Ab Melodic Minor scale. So this run could be called either one of those since they are all the same. Regardless of what you call it, it's there to thrive with tension.

Measure 56 is the Release for the previous measure.

Measure 57 is a set of Diminished arpeggio's, again setting up tension over that V7 chord waiting to resolve back at the Imaj7.

Measure 58 is the Release for the the previous Measure 57.

Measure 59 is a Db Lydian b7 phrase. I'm trying to set up a "Call" with this phrase.

Measure 60 and 62:

Measure 60 does a few things since it's essentially the end of the song. One, it's the Response to the pervious Measure 59. Two, I look at all the Chromatics as "moving tension" since it uses notes from all the Mixolydian's, Lydian b7's, H/W-Tone scales, etc...that could be used over the V7 and all of it's b% Subs and Diminished Subs, along with it's Diatonic Subs.

Also, Measure 60 is pretty much the same Chromatic line we used back in Measure 40, except it's done with a single-note line instead of chords.

Measure 62 provides a "tag" to the song.



Final notes:

This is a lot of analyzing on a pretty basic chord progression. But, it covers a lot of territory also and is only used for instruction as it's not the most killer jazz solo around. But it's created with a focus in mind to show you "some of the common sounds found in Jazz.

One thing you should really take out of this is: to get a great foundation in Diatonic Theory.

All of these other Theories and Methods ALL stem from Diatonic Theory some how.

Also, spend more time learning the interworkings of "Chord" more so than "Modes". Playing Modal locks you into one sound and there's no clear vision of movement.

Most of the greatest solo's you've heard are based on Chords and Scales that give movement. Of course Ravi Shankar might say, "Movement?". But, in Western Music, especially Jazz there is NO "one scale to a progression" process like there is in Blues. Of course, as we saw way back in one of the first paragraphs, you can break this down to just a couple of scales but it doesn't leave you with all the movement and colors you've seen during this lesson.

Have fun, and I hope you enjoyed it!