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:
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
- Chromatic Scale
- Major Scale
- Minor Scale
- Practice Scales
- Scale Degrees
- Putting It Together