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Turnarounds
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Turnarounds

If you are not familiar to jazz comping, here is a simple recipe to achive a swing feeling...

Most jazz tunes are written in a 4/4 beat, like...
one - two - three four - one - two - three four
To swing means just to emphazise every 2nd note. That isn`t the "one" and the "tree" like in classic music, but the "two" and the "four", just like this.
one - TWO - three - FOUR - one - TWO - three - FOUR - ...

Best is not to play the chords with a pick, but with the thumb or finger picking style...

First we should try out the most common jazz figure, the II-7/V7 or the II-7/V7/Imaj7 respectively. This is called a "turnaround"

Q: What the heck means II or V?A: These roman numbers mean how the chords are related to the key you are in. E.g. you take the C major scale as a basic:
C - D - E-F - G - A - B-C - D - E-F - G - A - B-C.
The 'Imaj7' means the Cmaj7 chord, 'II-7' means D-7 (D minor 7) and so on

BTW: You can create chords on every step of a scale (that works with most scales!) and will get a certain sequence of chords that (kinda) belong together like a family of chords.

Notes

Chords found in the C major scale

In general

C - E - G B

= Cmaj7

Imaj7

D - F - A C

= D-7

II-7

E - G - B D

= E-7

III-7

F - A - C E

= Fmaj7

IVmaj7

G - B - D F

= G7

V7

A - C - E - G

= A-7

VI-7

B - D - F A

= B-7/b5

VII-7/b5

Note: you can use the notes of the Cmajor scale for improvising over all of these chords.

You can create such a table for nearly every scale (like the harmonic minor scale) that cannot be derived from the major scale and figure out, what kind of chords the particular scale is good for that means what chords you can use the scale to improvise on.Well, let's play a C-major II-7/V7/Imaj7...

(expressed in 'propper' chords: D-7/G7/Cmaj7)

|: D-7 | G7 | Cmaj7 | Cmaj7:|

Chord chart:

D-7

X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|---|-4-|---|--
--|---|---|-3-|---|---|--
--|-1-|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|-2-|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
____________^--5th fret

G7

X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|-3-|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|-4-|---|---|--
--|---|-2-|---|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|-1-|---|---|---|--
________^--3rd fret

Cmaj7

X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|---|-4-|---|--
--|---|---|-2-|---|---|--
--|---|---|---|-3-|---|--
--|---|-1-|---|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
________^--3rd fret

Take a look at the chord voicing (the 'movement' of the highest note of the chords):
It goes: F - D - E...that means it moves down 3 semi-tones (a minor 3rd) first, then moves up 2 semi-tones (a major 2nd).

Well, we could play that somewhere else on the fret-board (playing the same chords over and over again might get boring soon). So, here is an alternative chord chart:

 

D-7

X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|-3-|---|---|---|--
--|---|-3-|---|---|---|--
--|---|-3-|---|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|-2-|---|---|---|--
_______^--10th fret

G7

X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|---|---|-4-|--
--|---|---|-3-|---|---|--
--|---|-1-|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|-2-|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
____________^--10th fret

Cmaj7

--|---|-1-|---|---|---|--
--|---|-1-|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|-3-|---|---|--
--|---|---|-2-|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
________^--8th fret

 Again, take a look at the voicing:
It is A -> B -> C
That is a +2 semi-tone step followed by a +1 semi-tone step.
That's different, isn't it?

Well, now we should try chords with higher options like the 9th.
Let's play:
|: D-7/9 | G+7 | Cmaj7/9 | Cmaj7/9 :|

Chord chart:

D-7/9

X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|-3-|---|---|--
--|---|---|-3-|---|---|--
--|-1-|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|-2-|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
____________^--5th fret

G+7

X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|-4-|---|---|--
--|---|---|-3-|---|---|--
--|---|-2-|---|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|-1-|---|---|---|--
________^---3rd fret

Cmaj7/9

X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|-3-|---|---|--
--|---|---|---|-4-|---|--
--|---|-1-|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|-2-|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
____________^--3rd fret

 

That's another voicing again: E - Eb D, which is a semi-tone step down, twice.
This chromatical down-movement of the voicing sounds rather nice, doesn't it?

 You might see now, that you can play this simple figure in many different ways. Take the chord charts and try out some more alternatives.

 Diminished II-V(-I)

This figure leads to a minor chord (not to a maj7 like the 'ordinary' II-V). So, you'll probably play a harmonic or melodic minor scale over it.
It looks like this

 II-7/b5 - V7, Valt7(V+7) - Iminor(maj)7

The b5 is marking the "diminished" II- V, the Iminor(7) is a minor chord with a major 7th. Pretty often, they play just a plain minor chord, or even a minor 7 chord.

 Enough theory, now let's play it...

ok, the key is C minor, so those are the required chords:

|: D-7/b5 | G+7 | C-7/9 | C-7/9 :|

Chord chart:

D-7/b5

X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|---|-4-|---|--
--|---|---|-2-|---|---|--
--|---|---|---|-3-|---|--
--|---|---|-1-|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
____________^--5th fret

G+7

X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|-4-|---|---|--
--|---|---|-3-|---|---|--
--|---|-2-|---|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|-1-|---|---|---|--
________^--3rd fret

C-7/9

X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|-3-|---|---|--
--|---|---|-3-|---|---|--
--|-1-|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|-2-|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
____________^--3rd fret

...I have chosen a C-7/9 because of the better (?) voicing. You might also want to try this chord (C-7) instead of C-7/9

C-7

X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|---|-4-|---|--
--|---|---|-3-|---|---|--
--|-1-|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|-2-|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
____________^--3rd fret

 

or this one

C-7

X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|-1-|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|-3-|---|---|--
--|-1-|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|-2-|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
____________^--3rd fret

 

Do you hear the differnt voicing? Well, you should :)

Now let's try some rhythm changes

|: Amaj7 | Bbo | B-7 | E7/b9 :|

BTW: Can you see the II-V in this progression?

It is the B-7 - E7/b9 that leads to the Amaj7.

 

Chord chart:

Amaj7

X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|-2-|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|-4-|---|---|--
--|---|---|-3-|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|-1-|---|---|---|--
________^5th fret.

Bbo

X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|-1-|---|---|---|--
--|---|-1-|-3-|---|---|--
--|---|-1-|---|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|---|-2-|---|---|--
____________^6th fret

B-7

X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|-3-|---|---|---|--
--|---|-3-|---|---|---|--
--|---|-3-|---|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|-2-|---|---|---|--
________^7th fret

E7/b9

X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
--|---|-1-|---|---|---|--
--|---|-1-|-3-|---|---|--
--|---|-1-|---|---|---|--
--|---|-1-|-2-|---|---|--
X-|---|---|---|---|---|--
____________^7th fret

 Well, for another voicing, try also B-7/11 (see minor chord chart) instead of the plain B-7 and substitute the E7/b9 with a Bb7/#11 (Dominant7th chord chart).

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Last modified on Friday, 2. January 2009