John McNeil talks about the differences between a chord and a scale and how they work together both in jazz and in music
Tags:The Differences Between Chord and Scale,chord,jazz,masterjazz,scale
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The point of this whole discussion is simply this. By just knowing Major scales and Minor+Major 7 scales. You know how to build all those other scales and most.
And they seem like a lot of stuff to learn. But basically you are just playing two scale types and deriving all your modes from them.
Now, having to remember so many names like Lydian, Dorian and so forth, may also be a little daunting. Let me tell you a little secret. I was a pretty good player before I could remember all those scale names.
Many times, I would just refer to the scale by its chord symbol. A flat 7 scale for example, I still do that and you can do the same thing.
You can always just make up your own names of course like Corinthian mode or augmented Lithuanian scale, sounds pretty impressive don’t you think?
If you can keep a straight face, nobody is going to challenge you. They do not want to led on that they do not know about the Corinthian mode.
What I am dealing with folks that think they know a lot. I sometimes refer to the Pedestrian mode. It has only got two notes in it, C and D.
Usually, you can see just a one note scale but I had add a second note because it was so boring, you know what I mean?
Each one of the scales we derive from a Major scale or a Minor+Major 7 scales has a chord symbol that tells you when to play it.
You can download a list of chord symbols and scales from our website.
What we need to do know is talk about the terms chord and scale. I often use the terms chord and scale interchangeably to see why, let us look at a Dm7 chord.
As you recall the Dorian mode is built on the second degree of a major scale. Now, against Dm7 commonly play the D Dorian scale.
Now remember, we are trying to see why the terms chord and scale are interchangeable, in Jazz.
We play a lot more stuff on the chord than the root, third, fifth and seventh that you see here.
In fact, we can add three more notes from the Dorian scale before we run out of pitches.
Now, you can see that we added the ninth, eleventh and thirteenth to this chord.
Incidentally, this are called the ninth, eleventh and thirteenth because there are nine, eleven and thirteen steps away from the root. Add it up if you do not believe me.
Now when you look at the chord, you can see that all seven pitches of the Dorian scale are present.
In other words, a chord is only a scale played all at ones with the notes spread out a little bit.
Now, chords do not always have to have all the scale tones in it, but the point is they could.
In Jazz, an entire scale is implied from every chord as a result it is easy to see how one can use the terms chord and scale interchangeably more or less.
In fact, since a chord symbol implies in entire scale on something like a D Minor. You do not even have to right Dm7 or Dm9, you can just right D Minor and the rest is implied.
Now, just remember, as far as improvising tones, chords and scales are the same thing. A chord is just the note of a scale arranged in thirds.