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Magic Minor Third: Comparing 2-5-1 Progressions in C Major and C Minor

April 9, 2014 by Blog, Improvisation No Comments

Let’s compare 2-5-1 progressions in C major and C minor.

C Major
Dm7 | G7 |  Cmaj7

C Minor
Dm7b5 | G7 |  Cm7

Note the V7 chord, G7 is common to both.

Therefore it would not be outlandish to play these scales on a 2-5-1 in C major.

C major scale   |   C minor scale    |  C major scale
Dm7                         G7                            C maj7
C major Scale  |  Eb major scale   |  C major scale
Dm7b5                    G7                             Cm7

And C minor is relative to Eb major. Therefore: C and Eb are a minor 3rd or 3 frets apart. From this fact derives the title of this commentary.

In light of the aforementioned theoretical precepts I offer this proposition. Anything one might play on Dm7 (Dm or Dm7 arpeggio, Dminor pentatonic scale, D Dorian) can be repeated 3 frets higher on the G7.

This creates an excursion into the parallel minor with alterations of #9, b9 and #5 on G7. The final task is find one’s way back into C major.

Dm7 arp G7 (Fm7 arp) Cmaj7


Dmin pent Fmin pent

D dorian F dorian

I played identical lines 3 frets higher for purposes of clarity. In reality an exact replica is not necessary.

Have fun. ‘Til next time.

Joey D

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