The tutorials I have seen for jazz enclosures all reference diatonic tones. Mostly in reference to a diatonic scale.

Two types of enclosure are given based on whether the starting tone and target tone are a half or whole step apart in the scale.

But in minor iim7b5 V7alt im6 we don't have a tidy diatonic scale. After playing around a bit I selected enclosures relative to the chord preceding the target. So, for example, when V7alt is played I considered the basic melodic motion leading to the i chord to be ^b2 to ^1 where the ^b2 is matching up with the b5 of an altered V chord.

The alternative - to play ^2 a whole step above the target ^1 didn't sound right over the V7alt chord, because it didn't match the b5 sound of an altered chord.

So, I ended up with this pattern...

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...do those enclosures seem right for those minor jazz chords?

I'm looking for a typical pattern to practice in all keys.

1 Answer 1


This type of figure is very common in classical (loosely speaking) music. I haven't see consistent naming because of the large number of possibilities. They are normally described as a "main" note along with some neighbors. (I think this is what the references mean by a "target" note.) There are only a few "rules" (not always observed) that I have seen.

Generally, the upper neighbor belongs to the "current" harmony (though I find this sometimes a bit vague.) The upper neighbor can be lowered chromatically to be a half-step above the main tone without changing the classification (though the sound will be different.)

A lower neighbor is almost always chromatic, a half step below the main note. (Except for step 7 which isn't described very well.)

One exception is that the raised form of step 6 in a minor key is never an upper neighbor to step 5.

The most important point classically is the distinction between accented and unaccented neighbor tones (and passing tones.)

I usually think of these as decorated turns (perhaps not the best way) which have lots patterns. The patterns are usually like C-D-C-B-C orC-B-C-D-C; the rhythm is flexible and the intervals may be changed. (I find that lowering the lower tone can make things stand out. C-Bb-C-D-C is fairly smooth and C-B-C-Db-C adds bit of bite.)

Of course these can be strung together but that's usually more easily analyzed in the manner of David Fuentes' book "Figuring out Melody."

Another way of looking at these structures is through the procedures of "divisions." There are some (very) old books (for viol and recorder) that discuss filling intervals with shorter notes than the main rhythmic pattern. These books list lots of patterns but without much explanation. They were used for improvisation. Some of these ideas may apply to your stuff. They can be combined with 20th century techniques in various way.

The main point is, "If is sounds good, it is good." Of course, we would like to figure out what sounds good on the fly and that's where the various "rules" apply.

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