Jazz Improvisation Tutorial


I'm a very busy guy. I may only have couple of hours (or less) per week to practice everything. I simply don't have time to practice lots of patterns and I've never seen a lot of utility in them, generally.

The Dominant 7th Pattern

There is only one pattern that I have found useful over a long period of time and practice on a daily basis. it's called the dominant 7th pattern and it is very simple. The idea is to play the eighth notes in such a way that the chord tone falls on the downbeat, with passing tones as the upbeat.

For instance, let's say that we're playing over a C7 chord. Then the pattern goes like this:

Dominant 7th pattern

That's all there is to it. You just put a passing tone between the root of the chord and the minor 7th (the C flat between the C and B flat) so that each downbeat has one of the C7 chords in it.

You don't need to start on the tonic, of course:

Dominant 7th pattern

And, if you are not on a chord tone, you can use a triplet or another passing tone to get back on the beat: Dominant 7th pattern

One of the things I like about this pattern is that you can play it over a wide variety of chord changes. You just need to figure out what the dominant chord is in the key that you're in (the 'V' chord) and it will usually sound pretty good in most 'bebop'-type tunes.

ii-v pattern for dominant

So...the whole pattern looks like this. This is definitely something that you want to practice in all 12 keys. dom pattern

and so on, as high up as your instrument goes.