My example is simple: over a dm7 chord, play up the dorian mode full octave in eighth notes starting with a pick up note. When I get to B natural it will be on the beat, but moves between A and C as a accented passing tone.

Is that kind of accenting of an avoid tone "OK" for conventional jazz style?

If instead of passing to a chord tone I held the B until the chord changed to G7 so the B because a chord tone (I guess an sort of accented anticipation) would that be OK? (I'm not at a piano at the moment to try it.)


The note B is no avoid note over a Dm7 chord, especially if the B is in the octave above the 7th (i.e., when it is a 13). This sound (Dm13) is pretty common in a more modern context.

But you're right that in a classic II-V sequence (Dm7-G7) you would avoid the note B over the Dm7 chord because it would anticipate the resolution from the notes C to B as you move from Dm7 to G7 (but not because it is an avoid note).

  • Interesting. I too thought it was not an avoid tone. Then I saw this a few days ago... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avoid_note – Michael Curtis Sep 13 '18 at 17:03
  • I don't know the person Haerle the article references. Maybe he was very picky about dissonance. – Michael Curtis Sep 13 '18 at 17:05
  • @MichaelCurtis: In modern jazz theory it is generally accepted that dorian and lydian have no avoid notes (because all their notes are at least a whole step above the basic seventh chord). I gave some more details in this blog post, which I based on the definition by Nettles and Graf. – Matt L. Sep 13 '18 at 17:36
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    I like your simple rule: "The (simplified) answer is: avoid notes are notes that are not part of the chord and that are a half step above a chord tone." Thanks! – Michael Curtis Sep 13 '18 at 19:25

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