In the previous lesson, we looked at a method for playing II-V-I progressions in major keys, using rootless voicings in the left hand. In this lesson, we’ll apply the same concept to a II-V-I progression in a minor key.
The “minor II-V-I” is not as straightforward as the major key version. The chords and their extensions can be, and often are, drawn from several forms of the minor scale including natural, harmonic, and melodic minor. Because of this, there is a lot of variety in the minor II-V-I progression.
We’re going to start with a simple minor II-V-I progression which uses rootless voicings, mixed with full, 1-3-5-7 type voicings. Here are two examples, one in the key of C minor, another in the Key of G minor.
Notice the I and the II chord both have their roots in the voicing. This can sometimes be advantageous if the plan is to keep the texture 4 notes without adding too much dissonance to the progression.
Also notice that the I chord uses the minor 6th chord, which is outside of the parent key signature. This is a common choice for minor I chords, even if the chord symbol indicates minor 7th. It is also common to leave the 6th out and play a minor triad on the I chord, or include the 7th and the 9th as we will see in future lessons.
This progression can be inverted and moved through all 12 keys without changing the chord types and extensions. It is a wonderful default chord pattern to practice in all 12 keys before moving into more complex minor II-V-I patterns.