Tip #160 – Cheat-Sheet for Pairing Scales and Chords Together

Many times I hear among jazz musicians the idea of what scale(s) should go with what chord harmony.

It makes sense to understand what scale works best with what harmony so that you know which pitches to chose from when constructing a melody, improvisation, counterpoint, etc.

Below is a lengthy (but not perfect) cheat-sheet for multiple kids of scales, and what chords work best:

Note that this graph is turned on its side so that it can fit your screen better. To turn it, simply download the picture and edit it with a rotation app.

To read this cheat-sheet, find the scale you want starting on the right scale degree of the key that you are in. From there, look at the harmonic possibilities as the Roman numerals relate to the key that you are in.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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