From the category archives:

Jazz Piano

In Introduction To the Jazz Piano Chord

by Erik Thiede on December 24, 2014

The Distinguished Sounds Of Jazz

One of the things that distinguishes jazz piano from classical piano, blues piano, or any other style is its chords. The Jazz piano chord move beyond the typical 3-note triad to a four-note combination (as well as extended chords) — making them an interesting “filler” of sorts. And since they’re pretty heavy on the major and minor 7th chords, shifting to this style should be fairly simple if you’re already familiar with the dominant 7th chord.

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Learning The Major And Minor 7th Chords

Remember the dominant 7th chords? Dominant 7th chords are created by playing triads with the B note between the A and C notes of the C major scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. Accomplishing a major 7th chord follows an almost exact procedure, except unlike with dominant 7th chords, the B note isn’t flat. So a major 7th chord in C would look like: C, E, G, and B.

When you play this chord and listen to its unique harmony, you’ll notice that it’s quite different from the typical C Major chord in classical music. By simply adding a fourth note to the traditional C major chord, you can completely change the dynamics of your music. Try out these Major 7th root chords to see what we mean:

A, C#, E, G#

Ab, C, Eb, G

B, D#, F#, A#

Bb, D, F, A

C, E, G, B

D, F#, A, C#

Db, F, Ab, C

E, G#, B, D#,

Eb, G, Bb, D

F, A, C, E

F#, A#, C#, E#

G, B, D, F#

7th Chord Inversions

Inverting these chords is almost as simple as adding a fourth finger into the mix because they follow an easy-to-remember pattern. And since we’re now working with four notes, the chords can be played four ways — three of them inverted. To invert any one of the chords above, just begin each one with its second, third, or fourth note and play remaining notes of the chord in order. As an example, look at the first major 7th chord above in its root form: A, C#, E, G#.

Inverting this chord by C# would create: C#, E, G#, A.

Inverting this chord by E would create: E, G#, A, C#

Inverting this chord by G# would create: G#, A, C#, E

See the pattern?

Playing minor 7th chords follows the same principle, only they’re played with minor chords.

Familiarity Breeds Appreciation

This is of course the basic principle behind the jazz piano chord because as you’ve probably heard in the music that you hear, they can get much more intricate than what’s introduced above. That’s because every key can create seven extended chords of some kind.

Just remember that each chord is built from a scale and although the jazz presents tremendous opportunity to improvise, creating new music from a familiar structure ensures that your audience can relate the to message that you’re trying to convey.

Click Here And Learn How To Play Jazz Piano Chords!


Jazz Piano Chords

by Erik Thiede on December 20, 2014

Believe it or not, jazz piano chords are easy to master and enhance your chord repertoire. Whether you want to become the next jazz legend or simply sit in on a jam, you can learn what you need to hold your own.

Jazz owes its roots to the music of African American laborers in the South, particularly New Orleans. If you’ve been to New Orleans as many times as I have, you’ll discover that it’s as much a part of the city’s culture now as it ever was.

Click Here To Learn The Different Jazz Piano Chords And Start Playing Like A Pro!

You’ll also find that jazz is interpreted in a variety of ways. While jazz standards are well recognized and have been performed and repeated by countless musicians, jazz remains one of America’s improvisational genres. A song may be played differently each time it is performed depending on the musician’s mood, style, or even the venue. Imagine not having to remember exactly how you played a song the last time you played it!

To play jazz, it is important to know the types of jazz piano chords used in the music. Jazz usually goes beyond simple major and minor chords, so you will need to understand chords that add a note or two.

One common chord is the sixth. On a chord chart, this can be represented as C6 or Cadd6. The C6 chord is formed by simultaneously playing the notes C-E-G-A, the A being the sixth. A Cadd6 means you replace the fifth with the sixth, or C-E-A.

Another very popular chord in jazz music is the seventh. In musical notation, a seventh in the key of C appears as C7. To play a seventh, add the seventh note of the scale, lowered a half step. In this case, B flat. The notes of this chord are C-E-G-B flat.

Equally popular is the major seventh, notated Cmaj7 in the case of the C chord. This chord adds the seventh note of the scale to your chord. A Cmaj7 is played using the notes C-E-G-B. The major seventh may look similar to the seventh chord, but as you will hear when you play them, they are distinctly different.

You may be familiar with one of the most popular chord progressions, commonly referred to as 1-4-5. In the case of the key of C, that progression consists of the C, F and G chords. But that progression is not as common in jazz. Most often, you will find a 1-4-2-5 progression. In the key of C, that would be C, F, D, G. They may not be all major chords; the D, for example, could be a minor.

With a good amount of practice, you will learn jazz piano chords with ease. Remember, jazz isn’t “perfect.” Improvise, let loose, and have fun!

Click Here To Learn The Different Jazz Piano Chords And Start Playing Like A Pro!


A Jazz Piano Book – Is It Possible to Learn Jazz From a Book?

December 12, 2014

Supplement ‘Play Time’ With ‘Book Time’ Learning from a jazz piano book requires a serious approach — even when studying the basics. And part of achieving this success is arming yourself with a high quality jazz piano book. One of your most important goals in becoming a jazz pianist therefore is to surround your musical […]

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Preserving Your ‘Style’ In Jazz Piano Instruction

November 28, 2014

Wisdom And The Chance To Demonstrate It Hardly anyone believes that learning jazz piano instruction is a simple matter of sitting at the instrument and randomly pounding on keys. The context of this music is just too complex to be disregarded as a mishmash of unrelated notes and beats. The secret to learning its genius […]

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Learn To Play Jazz Piano and Abandon Past Traditions

November 3, 2014

No Other Genre of Music Offers Better Opportunities For Expression If you want to learn to play jazz piano, you must first value its opportunities for self-expression that this style grants so unselfishly. In almost any way that you please, jazz music becomes the vehicle for uniquely improvised sounds and rhythms — all to the […]

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Piano Jazz Lessons – Learning Through Its History and Its Music

October 6, 2014

Jazz Is The Answer To Story-Telling Questions Piano jazz lessons through studying notation and chords alone is not an easy feat because its very nature requires us establish how jazz is a reaction to meaningful explorations. This gives us sufficient reason to investigate its development from the late 18th and 19th centuries on through to […]

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Learn Big, Rich Jazz Chords On Piano

September 28, 2014

Jazz chords can sometimes be confusing at first glance. In this article, I am going to explain how jazz players usually interpret chords and pick tensions to create lush chords. Bear in mind, every musician has their own “tricks” that they use to form their jazz chords. However, there are some basic harmonic concepts that […]

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How to Play Jazz Piano

July 20, 2014

If you’ve always wanted to know how to play jazz piano, you’re about to get started. Jazz may be a complex musical genre, but you can play it if you master the basics first. Before you know it, you’ll have developed the skills you need to emulate jazz greats or compose your own music. Jazz’s […]

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Learning To Play Jazz Piano From Traditional Training to Improvisation

June 4, 2014

Opportunities To Extend Your Expressions Exist In Jazz Piano In learning to play jazz piano and other known styles, you’ll not only find opportunities to express yourself, you’ll also find opportunities to improvise. The same opportunities follow jazz music and although they provide for great fun, we want to warn you that learning to play […]

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Playing Jazz Piano Sheet Music

February 2, 2014

Traditional Piano Is Beneficial Although it isn’t a strict requirement, learning traditional piano is beneficial for learning how to play jazz piano sheet music. This is largely due to the fact that jazz is “classical deviation.” The problem with learning jazz before learning traditional methods is that the beginner may learn to deviate, but might […]

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