I have developed an appreciation of jazz (Coltrane, Ayler, Sanders, etc.). I have no musical education though. I am therefore looking for some sort of lectures or texts for a better (or any at all) understanding of the technical matters (harmonies, modality, etc.). Any I've seen seem to be targeted at students, while what I'm looking should start from the beginning.


4 Answers 4


The problem is that John Coltrane's jazz involves extremely advanced concepts in harmony and music theory. If you have no musical education, you are asking to go to post-graduate university before you have attended elementary school (if I may use a figure of speech). I am afraid that you may need to spend a considerable amount of time acquiring an education in the basics of harmony and theory before you can gain an understanding of bebop jazz.


I went through several levels of a series called Contemporary Music Theory around age 15. While it is targeted at students, it starts pretty basic (more so than "The Jazz Theory Book"), and thus might satisfy your needs.

But, to reiterate Wheat William's answer, you have a long long way to go. This series does not go up to John Coltrane's level, but it's a good start.

  • @Karolis: 'The Jazz Theory Book' (by Mark Levine), however, does go up to John Coltrane's level and beyond, should you feel like taking a stab at it. :-) Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 17:26

I would say your best bet is to take lessons from someone local, take a beginning improvisation class at a community college near you, and then join a combo there.


Bert Ligon. "Jazz Theory Resources" Michael Martinez. "Understanding and Implementing Harmony on the Piano" Jimmy Amadie. The Harmonic Foundation of Jazz and Popular Music.

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