Community Music Center

Introduction to Jazz Theory

 

 

This is an introduction to some of the basic elements of jazz, including: chords and chord symbols, lead sheet notation, typical chord progressions, melodic construction, forms, and improvisation using scales, modes and other devices. We will divide the eight-weeks together into three general sections: harmony, melody and form. Time permitting, the class will culminate in the composition of a song in the jazz standard style, done in a group-effort approach.

 

Please check this page regularly for updates to the informational and assignment links. Other documents will be distributed via email.

 

For submitting homework, emailing a photo (jpeg, pic, pdf, etc.) is best and probably easiest. Marked homework will be returned in the same manner.

 

 

 

Week

Topic  & Class Materials

(subject to change as the class evolves)

Assignment Due

1:

July 1

(Review of) harmony: 7th chords, diatonic 7th chords in major/minor keys; the roman numeral system; lead sheet chord symbols

 

7th chords

Diatonic 7th chords in major and minor keys

Diatonic 7th chords - notated

Diatonic 7th chords – reference table

 

 

(SONG LINKS)

Alice In Wonderland

All The Things You Are

Autumn Leaves

Fly Me To The Moon

Here's that Rainy Day

 

2:

July 8

Diatonic chords and chord progressions

 

*Focusing on the ii V I progression, or fragments like ii V, or V I

 

Rainy Day - with chords

Audio: chords & melody

 

Identifying and writing chords I

3:

July 15

More with chords:

chord extensions and alterations

chord substitutions and fills*, chord wrap-up

 

*Altering minor 7th chords – making them dominant 7ths

*Altering the Imaj7 with a I6 chord

*Adding extensions (9th, b9th, #9th), especially to the V chord

*Altering the 5th of the V chord

 

Rainy Day with 9th chords (first 7 measures)

audio: chords & melody  

audio: chords only

 

Rainy Day - flat-five substitute

(first 7 measures: one original, one altered)

audio: chords & melody  

audio: chords only

 

ii V I/i table

 

Identifying chords and progressions in songs

 

 

4:

July 22

Melody I: melodic structure

 

Autumn Leaves – melody & chords chart

Autumn Leaves - annotated chart (melodic analysis)

audio: chords & melody

audio: chords & highlighted melodic skeleton

 

 

 

Chord alterations and substitutions

 

5:

July 29

Melody II: more with foreground/background and ornamentation; phrasing; modes*

 

Melody Analysis

 

All Of Me – audio

Rainy Day - audio

 

6:

Aug 5

Form I: the 32-bar popular/conventional form

 

 

 

Writing a short melody

Chart version of assignment

Audio version (just chords)

 

7:

Aug 12

Form II: other, less-typical forms; modal styles*

 

Identifying forms in songs – find a jazz standard and analyze its form

 

8:

Aug 26

Sharing compositions/group composition*

 

 

Practice song, chords only:

score  audio

 

Last Day effort: audio  score

 

 

* Time permitting