Tag Archives: harmony

Structure and Function

Hey Jazz Guy, I feel like I’m stuck on repeat with the chords I know and I’m searching for something different. Any Advice? –Repeating in Rochester   Dear Repeating, This is a common sentiment, so sometimes it’s useful to go back to the drawing board and see what we discover. Most of the chords we think […]

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Motif Development

Hey Jazz Guy, I’ve got all the right notes in all the right places, but my improvisation just doesn’t seem to go anywhere. How can I build a solo with direction? -Wandering in Williamsburg   Dear Wandering, This really is the improviser’s greatest challenge. The mechanics of theory and technique may be necessary for a […]

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Suspended and Spread Voicings

Hey Jazz Guy, I’m tired of the same old 7th chord voicings, can you show me something different and new? –Tired in Toronto Dear Tired, One of the best signs you are improving is when you become frustrated with what you know and start looking for something else. Two voicing concepts that have a modern […]

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Minor Mysteries

Hey Jazz Guy, I feel totally lost with minor chords, there are so many different types. What on earth do I play? –Lost in Long Island Dear Lost, You are not alone. Minor harmony is a difficult topic precisely because there are so many variations. We will look at four types of commonly used minor […]

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Contrasting Elements

Hey Jazz Guy, I feel like all my solos sound the same. Any advice on how I can diversify? –Uniform in Unity Village Dear Uniform, What a great question. This is more than just a jazz topic. No matter what style of music you are playing, this concept will give you a great palate from […]

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Reharmonizing Melodies

Hey Jazz Guy, What are some more ideas for re-harmonizing a melody? –Standard in Syracuse Dear Standard, Using re-harmonization to spice up a melody can be very exciting. One method that is useful and interesting is to change the bass note. In the examples here we’ve used F as the melody note, and re-harmonized it […]

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Guide Tone VS Leading Tone

Hey Jazz Guy, Whats the difference between a guide tone and a leading tone? –Unguided Dear Unguided A LEADING TONE is a half-step away from the tonic note in any key. This is more of a classical music term. For example in C Major the leading tone is B. In A minor, the leading tone […]

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Upper Structures

Hey Jazz Guy, Once I’ve mastered the “jazz power chords” how can I better understand Upper Structures and incorporate them into my playing? – Basic in Boise Dear Basic, This is a way of exploring upper structure harmony using triads on the guitar that I find quite sonically delightful. Triads are easy to play and […]

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The Blues – Part 2 – Soloing

Hey Jazz Guy.. How can I make my blues soloing more jazzy, to fit the jazz-blues chord changes? –Blue and Bored in Birmingham Dear Blue and Bored, The best way to become accustom to the shift in language is through listening. Particularly by listening to older jazz (bebop and hard-bop) you will get a good […]

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Drop 2 Voicings

Can you talk about Drop 2 Voicings? I’ve heard of them, but what are they and how can I use them in my playing? — Dropped out in Denver Dear Dropped Out: Drop 2 voicings are simply re-arranging the order of notes in a chord, to make the structure wider (so the chord spans more […]

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