Questions tagged [jazz]

An original American music style that originated in the early 20th century by improvisation and syncopation.

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62
votes
9answers
47k 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 ...
52
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8answers
10k views

Which 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 chords,...
34
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5answers
43k 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 ...
32
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7answers
11k 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 ...
26
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5answers
34k views

What is Voice Leading?

In both classical music and jazz, we often encounter the concept of voice leading. What is it?
26
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3answers
7k 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 '...
26
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4answers
6k views

How do I become better at “playing outside”?

One can spend an enormous amount of time playing melodies "in" the tonic. For example if your are in A major, you might favor A major or A lydian. However, there is a term called "playing outside" in ...
25
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4answers
2k 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 ...
24
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2answers
3k 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 awkward,...
23
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4answers
1k 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 ...
21
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8answers
3k views

Problems With Learning a Second Instrument

I’m trying learn jazz piano. For about ten years I played the violin; solo and in orchestras and quartets. I’ve also absolutely no trouble enjoying for instance Keith Jarrett’s more complex solo ...
21
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8answers
4k views

What to do when you get lost in a jazz song?

A problem a lot of beginners in jazz have is that they tend to get lost in the solos (theirs and their bandmates' solos, where they accompany the soloist). Trying to follow the chord progressions with ...
21
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4answers
9k 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 ...
20
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3answers
4k 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 -> 1st ...
19
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8answers
31k 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 ...
19
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8answers
1k 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 ...
18
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6answers
4k views

To get to jazz do I just add a seventh?

I've been up until now just practicing triads on all major/minor keys. If I wanted to play jazz do I just add sevenths (ie dominant7, major7, minor7) to chords in my chord progressions or is it alot ...
18
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3answers
2k views

Is there any classical precursor to boogie woogie?

It is often been said (rather too simplistically in many cases) that jazz is a combination of European and African practices. I am interested particularly in classical piano techniques that have been ...
17
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4answers
6k 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?
16
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6answers
8k 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 ...
16
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11answers
23k views

Why does a minor sixth chord contain a major 6th interval?

This is something that has always puzzled me. Perhaps I am going about this the wrong way but when I build chords I always build them based on the scale that corresponds to the quality of the chord. ...
15
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4answers
14k 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?
15
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3answers
6k views

What is tritone substitution?

What is tritone substitution? How can this device be applied to improvisation and composition?
14
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6answers
2k 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 ...
14
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1answer
2k views

What are the Coltrane Changes?

Also known as Coltrane Matrix, Coltrane Cycle, chromatic third relations, and multi-tonic changes. What are the Coltrane Changes? What's the theory behind them? How are they used in improvisation, ...
13
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4answers
3k 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.
13
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3answers
7k 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 ...
13
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4answers
4k views

Is “horns” a common term to describe saxophones?

Im attending a jazz performance that promoted a horn section. It is two saxophones. I was expecting trumpets or related siblings. Did I misunderstand the use of the term?
13
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7answers
4k 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 ...
12
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4answers
3k views

A♭ major 9th chord in Bach is unexpectedly dissonant/jazzy

Measures 21-24 in Prelude VII from Bach's Well Tempered Clavier I I was looking at the Prelude VII by Bach and noticed that on the measure 23 Bach ended that phrase with a A♭ maj9 chord. I was ...
12
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10answers
3k 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 ...
12
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6answers
2k views

Preparing for my first jazz gig

My first jazz gig is coming up (in about 45 days) and rehearsals start tomorrow. We are a quartet consisting of Bass, Drums, Guitar and Saxophone. I am used to playing with the rhythm section - ...
12
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7answers
4k 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 ...
12
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6answers
4k views

Sharp 5 or flat 13? Sharp 9 or flat 10?

Let's say I'm in C major. I have a dominant altered chord built on G. This very popular voicing has the following tones (I'm including both enharmonic spellings for the accidentals): G B (D# or Eb) F ...
12
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2answers
449 views

What is an Italian sixth?

I've done some jazz rehearsals and while other members were discussing chords I overheard them talking about an 'Italian sixth', 'German sixth' and a 'French sixth.' I have no idea what they are ...
12
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1answer
947 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?
11
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7answers
11k 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 ...
11
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3answers
15k 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 ...
11
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4answers
984 views

Keeping track of theme when improvising

Improvisations in jazz is done over the song itself, typically. However, I don’t hear the theme in plenty of recordings, the harmonies and solo are so far away that I can’t see the connection to the ...
11
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1answer
1k views

In jazz, what is diatonic substitution?

What is diatonic substitution? How is it used in improvisation?
11
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4answers
1k 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
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2answers
2k 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 ...
11
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2answers
5k views

In jazz, what is an upper structure triad?

What is upper structure? How are upper structure triads constructed? How are they used?
11
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1answer
1k 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
1answer
553 views

N.V. Meaning in Jazz

I play in a big band. One arrangement we play has "N.V." In quite a lot of the parts. Particularly in trombone and saxophone parts. Any ideas what it might mean?
10
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5answers
936 views

What's the value of modes?

Let's say we have a progression where all of the chords fit within traditional diatonic harmony. Maybe something like this: | E♭Maj♯11 | Cmin7 | F7 | B♭Maj | All of these chords fit ...
10
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3answers
448 views

Giant Steps - Coltrane and Slonimsky

I've read several times that John Coltrane practiced extensively from the Slonimsky Thesaurus of scales and melodic patterns and that Coltrane's Giant Steps is strongly influenced by or is even a ...
10
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7answers
6k views

Best Way to “Learn” Jazz Piano

Let me preface the question with a bit of background because I'm not even sure if I classify as "beginner" or "intermediate" or anything like that. I took your run of the mill piano lessons for 8 ...
10
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2answers
1k views

What is this articulation mark that looks like a short upside-down slur?

From Jamey Aebersold's "Cantaloupe Island," Maiden Voyage, vol. 54.
10
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4answers
18k 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 ...