Note Choice

I always found the 'Aebersold style' chord scale relation ship quite limiting, because it shows you what notes you have available, but not which ones are important and what function each note has…(so to speak, what effect a note has when played against a chord at a specific time).

Of course all the material that follows has to be used tastefully and with strong melodic and rhythmic sense! Even though every note you play is justifiable in a way or another, this does not mean that you can play randomly. You need to know the rules before breaking them, so that you can control what you play, not you are 'played by your instrument' or (even worse) you pretend you are playing free jazz…

The two following have to be read from the bottom up. Check out the example: at the bottom you have the chord, followed just above it by the chord scale. The strongest, most consonant notes are the chord tones, and at the opposite end of the spectrum there are the 'out' notes…very dissonant, to be used to create a lot of tension. Try to apply to all chord types.




'out' (everything else)

Tension (b9's and so on)


target chord tones








Bb B# Eb E# (ext – tension)

B D F# (extensions -color)

A C# E G (chord tones – target notes)

A B C# D E F# G (mixo mode)


A7(dominant 7)

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