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To get to jazz do I just add a seventh?

Jazz is an unbelievably expansive genre with over 100 years of musical tradition; a big part of this tradition is an ever-increasing list of sub-genres that fall under the larger umbrella term of "...
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27 votes
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What are jazz pianists playing in the background?

Let me preface by saying I am not a jazz pianist but I do have a few decades of playing jazz under my belt as a bass player and have spent many hours at the piano writing and arranging music so I ...
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25 votes
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Proper symbol for this chord (1 5 b7 9 11)?

It would be a G9sus4. It could technically also be F6/9/G but that would look very confusing on a lead sheet. When naming a chord you have to look at what you have and what you are missing. You have ...
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24 votes

Problems With Learning a Second Instrument

This is a very common problem for anyone learning a second instrument after achieving a high level of proficiency at their first. It's humbling to have to go back to basics, and the music you have to ...
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24 votes
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How much of a jazz tune should I pre-arrange?

A relevant story I was in a lesson once with Arturo O'Farrill, a brilliant jazz pianist. He asked me to play a ballad, and when I was finished, he said something like "for that song, you can take ...
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23 votes

Randomly and Programmatically generate a "good" next chord?

There are several "chord maps" on the net which indicate chord successions; these may be a good starting point. The chord maps do not give any relative weights or probabilities to chords. A ...
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20 votes
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Circle of fourths in Jazz

It's essentially just a matter of perspective. The circle is only organized differently for different purposes. The circle of fourths and circle of fifths are, in fact, the same thing, but written in ...
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20 votes
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What does "Open Vamp" mean?

A vamp is a repeating musical figure, like a guitar riff. In jazz, Latin jazz, and musical theater it’s often given for the accompaniment so that they can repeat as necessary during intros or solos, ...
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20 votes

What did bebop masters practice?

A quick note at the beginning--it's important to remember that the solos a bebop musician plays are not exclusively the result of practiced notes. They are a result of ideas one hears, intuitions one ...
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19 votes

To get to jazz do I just add a seventh?

Ninths are good too! Even thirteenths. Yes, there's more to jazz than extended chords, though you'll certainly need more than triads to play it, so start learning m7, maj7, 9, b9 etc. chords so they'...
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18 votes
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Is it possible to play jazz on a cello?

Jazz cello is absolutely possible. Here are resources to get you started in your project. Note that most if not all of these come with contact information. You should not be shy about contacting ...
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18 votes

Randomly and Programmatically generate a "good" next chord?

Formal Grammars I have done some research on formal grammars for composition. A formal grammar G = (V, S, P) consists of a vocabulary V, a starting symbol S in V, and replacement rules P. A rule ...
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17 votes

How do I become better at "playing outside"?

The pentatonic scale is a great vehicle for moving outside. It has a very clear structure and sound which the listener is familiar with. Due to its simplicity and familiarity, you can get away with ...
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17 votes
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Preparing for my first jazz gig

The admonition I run into again and again, attributed to such lights as Thelonius Monk and Louis Armstrong is "play the melody." Of course you will syncopate it, put a little ornamentation here and ...
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16 votes
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N.V. Meaning in Jazz

The "N.V" just means No Vibrato.
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16 votes

Jazz greats knew nothing of modes. Why are they used to improvise on standards?

My understanding is before 1970, no Jazz players thought about modes. This is incorrect, see this question: How does modal jazz use chord progressions? A: Modes became of interest over time as a way ...
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15 votes

What is Voice Leading?

Wheat gave a very good explanation of voice leading and I thought I'd just add a bit about counterpoint. Up until relatively recently (1600s/1700s) the concept of a chord wasn't around - composers ...
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15 votes
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Am I allowed to add a b9 to a maj7 chord in Jazz?

Adding a b9 to a major 7th chord creates a very dissonant sound because the chord has two different notes that are each a half step away from the root. The resolution would be tricky because the b9 ...
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15 votes

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

It's actually a suspension, which is to say that the actual chord is F Minor (F, A-flat, C, in first inversion) but the G and B-flat are held over from the previous chord before moving to F and A-flat....
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15 votes

Jazz improvisation: what's going through your mind

First of all, it's important to realize that you've set yourself a very difficult goal. But from what I read in your question, I think you could improve on the way how to approach that goal. As you ...
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14 votes
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In jazz, what is diatonic substitution?

Diatonic substitution is changing a diatonic chord into another diatonic chord with a similar function. For example, in a C major tonality, you can often reharmonize a melody harmonized with F[maj7] ...
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14 votes
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Is "horns" a common term to describe saxophones?

Yes, you did. But you shouldn't feel bad about it — the term "horns" is commonly used to mean a variety of overlapping things. For example: Horns, meaning wind instruments, as opposed to the rhythm ...
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14 votes
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What do these chord annotations mean?

To me it looks like the chords above in parentheses are an alternative progression you can play instead of the ones below them. It's either: | Bbmaj7 | Ebmaj7 | or | Bm7 E7 | Bbm7 Eb7 |
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14 votes

Does C° also indicate a major seventh chord?

Never. C° is always C diminished. C major seventh can be signed with a triangle after the C. Bear in mind that half-diminished is signified by a circle with a diagonal line through it. Cmaj7 is C E G ...
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14 votes
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Is this an example of a coda in jazz? Can you find more examples?

What is happening starting at 8:32 is what jazz players often refer to as an ending vamp. In this case it is a loop of 4 bars, one chord per bar that they are improvising over. This is basically the ...
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14 votes

How bluesy is Ravel's Blues actually?

How bluesy is Ravel's Blues actually? I would say enough to justify putting "blues" in the title of a violin sonata. A little history background. WC Handy published the "first blues&...
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