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 12 weeks into three general sections: harmony, melody and form. The class will culminate in the composition of a song in the jazz standard style.

 

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

 

 

 

Week

Topic  & Class Materials

(subject to change as the class evolves)

Assignment Due

1:

Jan 5

Basics of harmony/chords: triads, 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:

Jan 12

 

3:

Jan 19

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

 

 

 

ii V I/i table

4:

Jan 26

5:

Feb 2

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 Dayɹth chords (first 7 measures)

audio: chords & melody  

audio: chords only

 

Rainy Dayɦlat-five substitute

(first 7 measures: one original, one altered)

audio: chords & melody  

audio: chords only

 

 

Identifying chords and progressions in songs

 

 

6:

Feb 9

7:

Feb 16

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

 

8:

Feb 23

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

Melody Analysis

 

All Of Me – audio

Rainy Day - audio

 

9:

Mar 2

Form I: the 32-bar popular/conventional form

 

 

 

Writing a short melody

Chart version of assignment

Audio version (just chords)

 

10:

Mar 9

Form II: other, less-typical forms

 

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

 

11:

Mar 16

modal styles

 

12:

Mar 23

Sharing compositions/group composition*

 

 

Practice song, chords only:

score  audio

 

 

 

 

*time permitting