Jazz Patterns for Tonic Chords

Tonic Patterns and Cadences

These are often more restricting for jazz improvisers than V7 or IIm7-V7 chords, as chromatic alterations do not sound good in many cases. The most useful chromatic alterations are blue notes, which should be used with care as the context dictates whether they are appropriate or not. Much of this is to do with individual taste or techniques of a particular instrument. This section will deal with mostly patterns that work well on chord I.

The patterns are categorised by starting note. This is particularly important as these patterns usually follow on from a V7, and it can be very useful to combine them so that the last note of the V7 phrase runs smoothly and melodically into the first note of the phrase on chord I at the perfect cadence. This is not a hard and fast rule, large intervals and surprising leaps are also useful.

Starting on the root

Ex 1: Two note motif……Perfect cadence (scale run)
tonic

Ex 2: Triad arpeggio……. Cadence (bebop scale and extended dorian pattern)
tonic

Ex 3: Four note motif….Extended using chromatic neighbour note
tonic

Note that the extended phrase can fit over a I chord or a V chord

Starting on the 3rd

Ex 4:
tonic

Ex 5: As above but extended
tonic

Ex 6: Pentatonic pattern….. Cadence using bebop scale and neighbour note (fake leading note)
tonic

This phrase can also be used with a dominant chord:
tonic

Ex 7: Lester Young lick
tonic

Ex 8: Combination of 5 and 7
tonic

Starting on 5th

Ex 9: (Charlie Parker lick)
tonic

Ex 10: Extended to major 7
tonic

Starting on major 7

Ex 11: Arpeggio………… Extended using dorian pattern 2 but applied to chord I
tonic

Ex 12: Another Charlie Parker phrase.
tonic

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