An original American music style that originated in the early 20th century. Some of its distinctive elements include a "swung" or syncopated rhythmic feel, an emphasis on live improvization, and an adaptability that lends itself both to be influenced by and to influence other musical styles.

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35
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9answers
15k views

How can a classical pianist learn jazz piano?

I'm a classically trained pianist. Took lessons all through my childhood. I've continued to play and read classical literature all my life. But I never learned anything about jazz piano. I also know a ...
29
votes
6answers
2k views

What notes are optional in jazz chords?

I have a question on jazz chords, and what notes can be removed from the chord. My understanding is fairly superficial - mostly from what I've read in books. This is what I understand: In some ...
25
votes
6answers
4k views

How do jazz players communicate while playing?

When a jazz group is playing and improvising, how do they communicate so as not to produce cacophony? Somehow, one player's choices and intuition need to guide the other players so that they can ...
21
votes
3answers
781 views

Playing a Coltrane polychord and the limits of space

As I was the reading sheet music for John Coltrane's A Love Supreme, I noticed a chord I had never seen before. It looks like this: I'm familiar with slash chords, but never had to practically ...
20
votes
3answers
3k views

What are some common jazz chord progressions?

What are some common progressions for Jazz improvisation? I have been playing with ii-V-I and variations -- what are some others? Is the answer here just to really dig through standards until I've ...
19
votes
4answers
9k views

How to turn any (pop) song into a jazz song?

Quite often there are pop songs wich get covered in a jazz style. These covers are seen from youtube to tv. Now I tried doing something like this, with for example Bad Day by Daniel Powter. It's ...
17
votes
6answers
3k views

What is Voice Leading?

In both classical music and jazz, we often encounter the concept of voice leading. What is it?
17
votes
4answers
508 views

Where can I get started with my improvisation?

I have been playing the alto saxophone for a while now. I have also improvised from time to time and have some theoretical and practical background on the instrument, harmony, scales, etc. I have ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Am I allowed to add a b9 to a maj7 chord in Jazz?

On Jazzology chapter 2, exercise 6, example 2, I have to identify this chord (if it exists): I thought that it was Cmaj7(b9). My train of thought was (from the lowest to the highest note): C -> ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

Properly fingering jazz chords?

I've seen these come up in a few places (Crazy Train and a couple of Jimi Hendrix songs come to mind offhand), however I've never figured how to work them in fluidly;the fingerings always seem ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Most common jazz theory method book

What is the most common text book for learning jazz music theory? I have a strong background in classical music theory and would like to supplement it. I particularly am looking for something for ...
13
votes
3answers
890 views

Circle of fourths in Jazz

I read on Wikipedia that the circle of fourths (as opposed to circle of fifths) is preferred in the analysis of Jazz music. Why is this so? Are the any good examples to explain this?
12
votes
6answers
2k views

How to improvise a walking bass line

When improvising or writing a walking bass line the bass note (usually the root of the chord) is played on the chord change, but how do you choose the other notes for a walking bass line? Is there a ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

What is distinctive about the Hammond B3 organ?

Reading the credits of a jazz or blues album you might come across a musician who played using a Hammond organ (not just any organ, but a Hammond). I know that the Hammond has a long and storied ...
12
votes
4answers
587 views

Chord analysis: b13 or #5

I've come across an exercise in the Jazzology "jazz theory" book, where the chord should be identified, given the notes below: I identified it as a B7#5#9, but the answer was B7#9b13. I'm guessing ...
11
votes
5answers
876 views

Why do jamming musicians “trade fours” (rather than any other number)?

I've run across the idea of "trading fours" when playing in (and listening to) jazz groups; i.e. where two or more musicians take it in turns to play four bar licks or solos. I understand that it can ...
11
votes
3answers
571 views

Walking bass line over an auxiliary diminished scale

I recently found out the auxiliary diminished chord, and that I can play it over a dominant chord, but I'm not really familiar with it, I'm still trying to understand it, so there might be some ...
11
votes
1answer
157 views

What are the fundaments of Harmolodics?

Ornette Coleman has developed a framework for his ideas called Harmolodics. It is somewhat hard to understand what this constitutes though. It is stated that melody, harmony and rhythm are equally ...
10
votes
7answers
2k views

Importance of sight reading for non-professional jazz guitarists?

As a non-professional, intermediate-level guitarist interested in playing jazz, I wonder how important it is for me to be able to sight read music (and I mean standard music notation, not guitar ...
10
votes
4answers
559 views

Theory of improvisation

I am looking for improvisation theory ressources. I mainly focus on free jazz and improvised music but I am also interested in dance, drama and pictural improvisation. I want to know if a ...
10
votes
1answer
409 views

In jazz, what is diatonic substitution?

What is diatonic substitution? How is it used in improvisation?
10
votes
1answer
242 views

What is Debussy's influence on bebop?

It has been said that Claude Debussy invented jazz harmonic theory. But is there any evidence that Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker, the inventors of bebop, were aware of Debussy's harmonic ...
10
votes
6answers
252 views

How to close the gap between ideas and capabilities when improvising?

I'm a drumset player. I just finished a B.A. in Percussion Performance, marched 4 years of DCI drum & bugle corps, and am now working on a degree in jazz studies. As I've begun to play more and ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

How can I learn Cuban/AfroCuban and Latin Jazz piano?

I'm wondering if some people can point me towards some learning material that they may have enjoyed for learning Cuban style Latin Jazz. Ideally I'd like something I can learn on my own time -- ...
9
votes
10answers
544 views

What is the secret of jazz phrases?

I'm diving into Jazz, both with guitar and trumpet, and I'm looking for that typical jazzy sound when traveling from lows to highs (and opposite). How were Miles and friends achieving it? What ...
9
votes
3answers
394 views

What is tritone substitution?

What is tritone substitution? How can this device be applied to improvisation and composition?
9
votes
1answer
543 views

Do all jazz musicians [in a band] need to know a song's melody?

[As a bassist] when I learn a new jazz song, I try to learn the melody as well as the harmony. That way [I believe] I can improvise better and sound that I improvise on the song and not just on the ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Jazz piano versus classical piano

What are the main differences between a jazz Pianist and a classical Pianist, If there are any. If I play mainly songs of pop artists (e.g: The Beatles, David Bowie, Elton John, etc.) does this count ...
8
votes
4answers
518 views

What are the differences between blues and jazz walking bass?

Both blues and jazz (especially swing) feature walking bass lines. Do they differ? If they differ, how does one differentiate them by just listening to the bass line, disregarding other instruments.
8
votes
3answers
716 views

Incorporating modes in solos

I have been playing and improvising quite happily for many years on a few different instruments but can't seem to get my head around incorporating modes into my day-to-day playing. I am from a blues ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

In jazz, what is a guide tone?

I've heard that guide tones are very useful while improvising, and seems to be an important concept for jazz theory. What is a guide tone? How can it help improvisation?
7
votes
5answers
1k views

What are the Five Most Important Things to Learn?

I'm reading "Practice Perfect" and the author recommends using the 80/20 approach in planning one's practice. For example, if 20% of "techniques" yield 80% of the results, what would be the 20% of ...
7
votes
5answers
383 views

Proper symbol for this chord (1 5 7 9 11)?

I'm a songwriter in the jazz-pop idiom, and when playing through a chart with a guitarist, he told me that, in his opinion, I had labeled a chord inaccurately / incorrectly. Here's the chord as I ...
7
votes
2answers
179 views

How do you start a regular jamming session?

I am currently a member of a very lively student jazz society, with some kind of a jamming session at least every two weeks, and a full jamming night every month. In some time I will be moving to a ...
7
votes
6answers
371 views

From beginner's perspective, should I polish an easy piece or move quicker to advanced ones?

I have started playing piano just recently. Although I have some understanding in music theory and played various instruments before (a bit), I am a total beginner in piano. My ultimate goal is to ...
7
votes
2answers
534 views

In Jazz, what is an avoid note?

Why are some scale degrees avoided? What is the reasoning behind the avoid notes? Are there avoid notes in all modes? If so, which are the avoid notes of the different modes? Is this pattern widely ...
7
votes
1answer
167 views

Who invented modal Jazz?

Can anyone be said to have done so? Or was it just a movement that emerged from the various people playing at the time? I believe that Kind of Blue was the first album to popularize it but can Miles ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Where can I find jazz piano scales to practice?

I played the piano for years classically when I was younger, but eventually left it alone in my late teens and twenties. I probably wouldn't have if I'd been allowed to do more Jazz as I always wanted ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

How to use diminished scale over I IV V changes in blues

I want to spice up my solos over a Blues progression. I already can play a variety of scales but the Diminished scale is something I would like to add because of the particular sounds it creates. In ...
7
votes
1answer
167 views

what type of jazz guitar is this, and how can I learn it?

I really love this type ...
7
votes
3answers
171 views

Learning to play what you're thinking on the guitar

I'm a beginner guitar player with a passion for the blues, jazz and funk. When I say beginner I mean that I just know a few chords, have some basic technique on how to handle the guitar (I had classes ...
7
votes
1answer
100 views

What is M-Base and how do I play it?

M-Base was a style of music played by Greg Osby and Steve Coleman. Steve Coleman over the years has been...cryptic about the principles of M-Base. What can you tell me about M-Base that will enable ...
7
votes
1answer
131 views

What is the four tonic system?

What is the four tonic system? What's the theory behind it? How is it used in improvisation, harmonization, reharmonization?
6
votes
3answers
186 views

My Jazz Piano Improv Phrasing Sounds Horrible

I've been working at this for a while. I've listened to a lot of records and I have done some transposing, but my phrasing sounds very amateurish. Are there any overarching rules/principals to how ...
6
votes
1answer
370 views

In jazz, what is an upper structure triad?

What is upper structure? Which are the upper structure triads? How are they used?
5
votes
3answers
428 views

What is a latin rhythm and how do I play it on Double Bass?

I have to practice this song: Where the A part is supposed to be played Latin and B Swing. How do I play the Latin part on double bass?
5
votes
2answers
606 views

What scales can I play over a A 13 flat ninth chord?

Okay, so I have been studying the music of Joe Pass and he loves to substitute minor seventh chords for dominant seventh chords. For example take a typical vi-ii-V-I progression on C, instead of ...
5
votes
2answers
340 views

What does “Open Vamp” mean?

Playing the trumbone in BRAZIL from S.K.Russel and Ary Barroso a few weeks ago i fell over the sign "Open Vamp" in the trombone 2 part (in bar 10). Please help: what does this mean and how to play ...
5
votes
3answers
166 views

When is a note b5 and when #11?

(on an Jazzology exercise) I have to identify this chord: What I thought it was was: G7 b5 b9 b13. But when I looked at the solution, it was G7 b9 #11 b13. I said that the chord had b5 because of ...
5
votes
2answers
187 views

In jazz, can anyone play any song?

In Jazz a lot of people play and record songs from other jazz players/composers. For instance Mingus played a lot of songs by Duke. My question is this: Are those songs copyrighted? Can anyone play ...