Improv Tip Week #28-Major over Minor - Jason Klobnak Music

Improv Tip Week #28-Major over Minor

Welcome to week #28! If this is your first time here…welcome! If you’re a returning visitor, welcome back! As I mentioned last week, we’re almost at the end of the 2011 calendar year. If you’re still looking for ideas for a musician’s Christmas (or other holiday) gift, then Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose would be an affordable and practical gift! The E-book version works great on mobile devices and the printed version is sturdy and sits nicely on a music stand. For more information, you can click on the link to the right or you can go to Jason Klobnak Music.

Last week we looked at how we can use minor lines over dominant chords/harmony. This week, we’re going to look at how we can use some of our major lines over minor chords/harmony. Due to the structure of how most major licks or lines are built, they fit nicely over minor chords (especially over dorian minor). The 1, 3, 5 & 7 of the major line become the b7, 9th, 11th and 13th over the minor chord. This approach works nicely when you play your “major” line a whole step below the minor chord. For example, playing a C-major line over a Dmin7 chord.

Below are three examples of taking a typical major line that I might play over a Dmin7 chord. Notice how the lines still have the targeting principles mentioned in past week posts (but the targeting employed is targeting the Dmin7 harmony and not necessarily the implied major).


Try experimenting with some of your favorite major licks/lines and putting them over minor chords/harmony. This is not something that will work 100% of the time and you need to use your ears to decide if it fits or not. If it doesn’t fit, ask yourself why and see if you can alter the line slightly to make it work over the changes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tip! Please share this tip (& blog) with your friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, or any other site you’re a contributor. For your convenience, there are links below that will allow you to quickly share. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back as the last couple of tips of the year are one’s you wont want to miss!

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About the Author jasonklobnak

Jason Klobnak is a versatile trumpet player that has been performing as an active musician, author, clinician, composer and educator. His band, J's Ruckus, is Denver's blend of Post-Bop, Soul, Gospel, and Hip-Hop. They perform infectious and up-lifting originals for audiences hungry for a memorable live experience. J's Ruckus released their latest album, Suck Less, in March of 2020 and their first EP, Sermons, in July of 2019. Both were recorded live in front of an audience. Suck Less was recorded to a packed auditorium at Arapahoe Community College's Waring Theater in Littleton, CO. Sermons was recorded in front of a sold out crowd at the Soiled Dove Underground.  The JKQ (the Jason Klobnak Quintet/Quartet) is Mr. Klobnak's Hammond B-3 centered groups. The JKQ released their third full-length album in March of 2018 called Friends & Family. It has been very well reviewed, on numerous Top 10 lists for Jazz radio stations across the country (including Denver's KUVO 89.3FM which named it May 2018's CD of the month), and in Jazzweek's Top 100. Each composition was written for specific family and close friends (that might as well be family). Their second album, New Chapter, was recorded in part thanks to the Pathways to Jazz Grant from the Boulder County Arts Alliance. In 2015 and 2016, New Chapter was in the Top 75 on the Jazzweek charts and on the Top 10 playlists for over a dozen radio stations worldwide. Their first album, Mountain, Move made the Best Recordings of 2013 list from AllAboutJazz.com by C. Michael Bailey. His very well reviewed Christmas single, Hark the Herald, in 2016 as part of a creative project with musicians James Roberson and Nathaniel Kearney Jr. Besides the JKQ, Mr. Klobnak is a B.A.C. (Best American Craftsman-custom trumpet), Denis Wick (mouthpiece and mutes) and Westone Audio endorsed artist (ES20 and Tru Customs). Mr. Klobnak has played and recorded for numerous groups ranging from jazz, soul/R&B, indie-rock/pop and gospel. In addition to performing, he has also written two improvisation-based books called Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose and Breaking the Monotony and is currently an adjunct professor and brass instructor at Arapahoe Community College. Mr. Klobnak holds a bachelor degree from Drake University (Des Moines, IA) and a Master’s degree from the University of Denver, Lamont School of Music (Denver, CO).

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