Jazz Notes

I’m no expert in music or jazz, just a happy amateur trying to learn new stuff and make sense of what I already know. So the following is simply an introduction on how I think about the topic. My personal mental map, if you will.

For this reason it’s helpful for you to read thought everything from beginning to end, even if you already know the difference between major and minor scales and chords, or how to play Cmaj13 “jazz style”. I’ve tried to explore the subject in logical steps, so that we can expand upon what we already know and start to see all the different relationships present in the music.

However, the following text assume that you already know how to read notation, at least on a very basic level, and how to play it on a keyboard. If you don’t already know that, please take time to learn it before continuing.

So what’s jazz? To me there’s three important elements:

  • The rhythm
  • The harmony
  • The phrasing

The majority of jazz songs is played with a distinct rhythm, including an endless number of variations on it:

[image of music]

Just as characteristic as the rhythm is the rich and often advanced harmonies. A variety of four-note (or more) chords is favored over simple traditional triads, and different voices avoid playing the same part in tunes instead opting to complement each other by adding to the harmony.

And finally phrasing of the melody. Melodies are never played “straight”.

The current theme clip some of the notation, to be able to view it you can either turn off the style in your browser or use the print view.

Table of Contents

  1. Scales
    1. Chromatic Scale
    2. Major Scale
    3. Minor Scale
    4. Practice Scales
      1. C-major / A-minor
      2. F-major / D-minor
      3. G-major / E-minor
      4. Bb-major / G-minor
      5. D-major / B-minor
      6. Eb-major / C-minor
      7. A-major / F#-minor
      8. Ab-major / F-minor
      9. E-major / C#-minor
      10. Db-major / Bb-minor
      11. B-major / G#-minor
      12. Gb-major / Eb-minor
    5. Scale Degrees
    6. Modes
  2. Chords
    1. Interval
    2. Quality
    3. Extended Chords
    4. Diatonic Chords
      1. Major Harmony
      2. Minor Harmony
  3. Harmony
    1. Classic Harmony
    2. Jazz Harmony
    3. Cycle of Fifths
    4. Secondary Dominant
    5. Common Progressions
  4. Reharmonization
    1. Tritone Substitution
    2. Omitted Root Substitution
    3. Cycle of Fifths Progression Addition
    4. Leading Chord Progression Addition
  5. Voicing
    1. Chords
    2. Stride Piano
    3. Walking Bass
    4. Exercises
  6. Melody
    1. Phrasing
  7. Improvisation
  8. Putting It Together
    1. Learn the melody
    2. Learn the bass
    3. Learn melody and bass
    4. Expand the arrangement
    5. Make it personal
This entry was posted in Tutorials and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Fleur
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 15:40 | Permalink

    Really interesting article, though I’m not a musician myself, I’m an avid jazz fan. Thanks for the information.Always search the web for cool music jazz mp3 is a site where one can compile perfect playlists. A cushy spot for a music addict!

  2. Posted March 21, 2007 at 18:24 | Permalink

    @Fleur: The link didn’t come through (only an empty anchor element without href attribute).

One Trackback

  • By Dahnielson » Uppjazzat on March 16, 2007 at 10:31

    [...] det blivit lite väl mycket trams här. På annat håll har jag däremot grävt fram och publicerat ”Jazz Notes”, en gammal text som varit liggande i ett par år. Artikeln är skriven av Anders Dahnielson och [...]