Scales over a Cmaj7 chord.

Playing over a Cmaj7 chord allows for a variety of scales to be used, each offering a different flavor or color to the improvisation or melody. Here are several scales commonly played over a Cmaj7 chord, along with their notes:

  1. C Major Scale (Ionian Mode)

    • Notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, B
    • This is the most natural choice over a Cmaj7 chord, providing a very consonant and stable sound.
  2. C Lydian Mode

    • Notes: C, D, E, F#, G, A, B
    • The Lydian mode is similar to the major scale but with a raised fourth (F# in this case). It offers a brighter sound, ideal for creating a sense of uplift or suspension.
  3. C Major Pentatonic Scale

    • Notes: C, D, E, G, A
    • This scale omits the fourth and seventh degrees of the major scale, providing a simpler, folk-like sound with no risk of dissonance over the Cmaj7 chord.
  4. A Minor Pentatonic Scale

    • Notes: A, C, D, E, G
    • Although it's based on A minor, this pentatonic scale works well over a Cmaj7 chord due to its notes being part of the C major scale. It gives a smooth, bluesy feel.
  5. C Melodic Minor Scale (Ascending)

    • Notes: C, D, Eb, F, G, A, B
    • While traditionally associated with minor chords, the melodic minor scale can also be played over major 7 chords, especially in jazz, to introduce a bit of tension and release due to the minor third.
  6. B Lydian #5 Scale

    • Notes: B, C#, D#, E#, Fx (F double sharp, which is G), G#, A#
    • This choice might seem unconventional, as it's derived from the fifth mode of the E melodic minor scale. It works over a Cmaj7 chord by offering a #11 (F#) and a #5 (G) without clashing with the natural 7 (B) of the chord.
  7. D Dorian Mode

    • Notes: D, E, F, G, A, B, C
    • While Dorian is typically used over minor chords, using D Dorian over a Cmaj7 chord can introduce interesting textures because it shares many notes with the C major scale but centers around a different tonal center, creating a modal interchange effect.

When choosing a scale to play over a Cmaj7 chord, consider the musical context, the desired mood, and the overall harmony of the piece. Experimenting with different scales and modes can lead to unique and expressive improvisations.

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Bb scales

1 flat: Bb Lydian: Bb, C, D, E, F, G, A, Bb 2 flats: Bb Ionian: Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, A,…