Tag Archives: music theory

57 Ways To Play a Cmaj7 with a G in the melody

Exploring the Fretboard and the options you have for chords is a great exercise. This video takes one melody note and one chord and I go through 57 maj7 chords and show you how I come up with voicings, how I listen to harmony and think about the chords.

This video is a bit of an experiment, but exercises like this are very very useful for developing your fretboard knowledge, your taste in harmony and your understanding of chords and how they sound.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:46 Three Note Voicings (12)

3:47 The importance of exploring and experimenting in Practice

4:39 Spread Triad (9)

6:15 A Few Thoughts on Range and in which octave you put notes

6:54 Drop2 and Derived Voicings (13)

9:52 Drop3 Voicings(10)

12:10 Drop2&3 (5)

13:29 Drop2&4 Voicings (8)

15:36 Hear Voicings, understand chords better.

16:16 Weird Messiaen voicing

16:35 How you work with this and what you learn

16:59 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page.

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Triads – How To Use This Powerful Tool In Your Jazz Solos

Every arpeggio is a melody and Triads is a great very strong melodic building block you can use in your Jazz solos. In this lesson, I will show you:

You will learn how to:

  • Find Triads for Chords
  • Exercises to play them
  • How to use them as Odd-Note groupings, strong melodies and outside material

Let’s first look at how to find triads and then what to practice and how to use them going from diatonic to a little outside stuff as well.

The examples of lines using the triads are all on a static or modal Dm7.

Finding Triads – Analyzing Chords For Solo Material


This is really simple if you know a little theory. You only need to know the notes in the chords and the scale they are found diatonic to.

The basic way to look at this: II V I in C major – Dm7 G7 Cmaj7

The scale: is C major: C D E F G A B C

Dm7: D F A C

G7: G B D F

Cmaj7: C E G B

For each chord we can find a triad from the root, so Dm for Dm7 and from the 3rd of the chord. For the Dm7 that is F A C which spells out an F major triad.

By adding extensions and looking at the available triads you can construct this overview:

The available triads are:

Dm7: Dm, F, Am, C

G7: G, Bdim, Dm, F

Cmaj7: C,Em,G

What Should You Practice – Solid Triad Exercises

Now you can find the triads but you also need to be able to use them in your playing and for that, you need to have them as flexible sets of notes, so basically you want to be able to play triads in as many ways as possible.

You can try out these exercises, don’t focus on speed just on being able to play them in tempo with a good tone and technique, then you can use them in your playing.

Some of the triad exercises I play in the video are:

Diatonic triads

Triad arpeggios in Position

Across the neck (showing F major and G major triads)

Inversions on string sets

3-1-5 Pattern in the scale

Across the neck in a skipping pattern

You can check out more exercises in this Triads Lesson

or this lesson on a Blues Solo with only Triads

Making Lines – Using Triads In Solos

Whether it is Charlie Parker, Pat Metheny or Julian Lage, they all use triads as a part of their solo vocabulary. These 3 examples will give you some different ways to use them in solos.

Odd-note groupings and cascading triads

This lick starts with a chromatic enclosure and from the continues with cascading triads.

In this example, I use the F major, Am, and C major triads as 3-note groupings. The melody works because I am stacking the triads in 3rds to connect them.

Open-Voiced/Spread Triads

The 2nd lick is combining Dm, F major, and C major triads.

Dm in a standard root position followed by the open-voiced F major triad in bar 2, and finally the C major triad in 2nd inversion played in a pattern.

Outside Chromatic Triads

Another interesting way to use triads on a static chord is to use them as chromatic structures and approaches, similar to how you would use chromatic passing chords

In the example below you have the melody moving from Dm triad to Db major to C major triads.

An example of this in a Kurt Rosenwinkel solo on All or Nothing At All is shown below:

Kurt plays this at the beginning of his solo off the East Coast Love Affair album.

An equally powerful solo tool on Lady Bird

You can also purchase this lesson at a reduced price as a part of the Easy Jazz Standards Bundle

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Why Reharmonization Is For You And How To Get Started

Reharmonization! I imagine the word itself sets off alarms for some people thinking: “Crazy Music Theory will follow” and there are going to be the weirdest examples of chord substitutions and bass-notes over triads with extensions.

But it isn’t that bad. Reharmonization is a great way to add variation to both your solos and your interpretation of a song, for example in a chord melody arrangement.

In this video I am going to give you some basic reharmonization ideas to use, it is pretty basic and stuff you might know already but not use like this or maybe have played examples off. The video is not going to make you the best arranger of our time but it will give you some things you can put to use in a lot of places and if you are only playing the basic changes all the time then starting to work on improvising with the chords could be just the thing you should do to get to a higher level.

Content

0:00 Intro

0:24 How Do We Use Reharmonization.

0:52 Playing with the Expectations of the Listener

1:25 #1 Major instead of Minor

2:17 Example on Stella By Starlight

2:37 Solo Example 

2:50 Hearing this in context – Timing and Placement in the form

3:25  #2 Tritone Substitutes – Using Complete II V’s

3:45 Example on There Will Never Be

4:30 The Effect

4:48 Solo example

5:06 #3 Parallel Minor Chords – Dim Chords

5:15 The Two Types of Minor chords

5:47 Example 1 – Dim to m7 – Someday My Prince Will Come

6:48 Recorded examples

7:18 Solo Example

7:28 #4 Parallel Minor Chords – Harmonized Bassline

7:33 The Progression that is reharmonized.

8:23 Example on Days of Wine and Roses

8:45 Using this in Melodies and Recorded examples in solos

9:20 Solo Example

9:27 Like the Video? Check out My Patreon Page!

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The Music Theory You Need to Focus on First

Most of the time the one thing that holds you back from really understanding Music Theory or using an idea on several different chords is a really simple part of what is going on.

A big part of what having a good overview of music theory is to be able to think in different layers. You can think of the notes you play as individual notes but also as groups of notes like arpeggios, scales or other melodic ideas. But you need the basic overview of the material to be able to do this.

Content:

0:00 Intro – The Basics Are What is Holding You Back

0:21 Three Layers of understanding what is going on

0:37 High-Level Tricks with no foundation.

1:14 Learning the instrument and tying it to Music Theory

1:50 #1 Using Other Arpeggios Over A Chord

2:35 How To Relate an upper-structure to a root note

3:09 Analysis of “The Fake Michael Brecker Lick”

3:39 Build your options from knowing what it is.

3:56 Exploring diatonic sus4 triads

4:26 #2 Pentatonics Over Extended Chords

4:54 Bm Pentatonic over Cmaj7

5:24 How Theory Can Help You Use this better.

6:03 #3 Understanding How Chord Progressions Move

6:25 Fm6-Cmaj7 example

7:01 Voice-leading and how you use it.

7:56 #4 How Do You Learn This?

8:14 Not when you solo, but maybe in on the Bus?

8:47 Connecting different types of information

9:05 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Connect Music Theory with Fretboard Knowledge

A very big part of studying this is to also work on your overview of the Fretboard.

You can check this out here:

Do This To Improve Your Fretboard Knowledge

Fretboard Visualization That makes musical sense for Jazz Guitar

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Why You Want To Think in Functional Harmony

Functional Harmony is a great tool if you want to understand how chord progressions flow and use that information to help you improvise better solos and spell out the harmony.

To me, Music theory is something that I can use to tell me how chords sound and how they move in the jazz standards and tonal songs that I play.

This video discusses why this approach to understanding music is very useful for playing Jazz.

If you have seen any of my videos or maybe also some my Instagram posts were on analyzing chord progressions and small melodic fragments then you’ve seen me reduce the progression for the melodies down to Simple functions so a row with several chords I will often reduce to one or two maybe three functions. It is a way to understand how the progression works.

Content:

0:00 Intro – How I use Music Theory

0:38 Music Theory describes how music sounds and works

0:54 #1 Chords Grouped By Sound

1:15 Diatonic Major Chords and Their Function

2:04 Chords with the same function – Tonic and Subdominant

2:41 Minor Subdominant Chords – A shortlist

3:34 Exchanging Subdominant Chords

4:11 12tone and a good breakdown of Tonal Harmony

4:30 #2 It Helps You Think Ahead and Play More Logical Melodies

5:21 #3 Which Chords Are Important and Which To Ignore

5:54 Reducing a Turnaround

6:34 The II V trap (watch out 😉 )

7:35 #4 Easier To Solo

8:28 IV IVm I examples

9:40 Same Lick – Different IV IVm Chord Progressions

10:13 #5 More Options over each Chord

10:50 Embellishing and interchanging progressions

11:44 Line using embellished progression

11:57 #6 Hearing Functions instead of Chords

12:35 How Do You Think About Chords and Harmony?

12:54 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

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Phrygian Chords – Some Of The Best Places To Use Them

Phrygian Chords are a great chord substitute to have in your vocabulary. It can be used in reharmonizing songs for arrangements or as something to throw in there in solos and comping. In this video, I talk about some of the places where you can apply a phrygian chord. Some more “out” than others. I demonstrate this using a chord melody of the song “I fall in love too easily” which I then harmonized using a lot of Phrygian, or Dom7thsus4(b9) chords.

I use the arrangement of the song but also talk about applying this type of chord substitution or reharmonization on Stella By Starlight and Night And Day.

Content:

0:00 Intro – Phrygian Chords

1:12 Chord Melody – I Fall In Love Too Easily

2:41 Phrygian Chords – What is it

3:00 A few Phrygian Voicings – The Abmaj7(b5) connection

4:30 Phrygian Chord as a substitute for a II V

5:02 Scale Choices and variations for the chords

5:57 Reharmonizing a minor II V I

6:42 Night And Day Reharmonization

7:06 Stella By Starlight

7:49 A few bars with “normal” changes

8:40 Minor II V substitutes and the consequences

10:47 What is the melody actually?

11:34 Tonic chord substitute #1: Phrygian on III

12:30 Using this on Night And Day – Consequence of this choice

13:00 Arranging: Think in expectation of the listener

13:33 Tonic chord substitute #2: Phrygian on I

14:40 Learning to use new chord sounds

15:24 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page.

Learn using Reharmonizations in your solos

A huge expansion of your vocabulary happens once you learn to improvise not only with the notes of the chord but also with the chords in the progression.

This video lesson demonstrates and discusses that.

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Reharmonization – Are you getting it wrong?

Chord Substitution and Reharmonization are Jazz topics that are very often discussed together but are actually not really the same thing. This video is going to go over how I think while creating new chord progressions and how I use my reharmonization jazz skills to create several chord progressions for the same song.

The emphasis is on how to come up with chords and 5 examples of how to reharmonize a Blues in F. I also talk about how I improvise over the progressions, what to play and why.

If you only think of music as one chord at the time then you are really missing out! Reharmonization is a great example of how that which is another thing I am trying to illustrate in this video.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:20 Improvising WITH the chords not just over them

0:39 A Better approach than just thinking substitution

1:40 The Chord is always in a context not just a Chord Symbol

2:08 Standard F Blues

2:29 Parker Blues

3:19 Reharmonization #1

4:06 Analysis of the harmony

4:45 Some Solo Tips for this progression

5:05 Example #1

5:20 Reharmonization #2

6:02 Example #2

6:18 Reharmonization #3

7:00 A Strange A7

7:32 Example #3

8:11 Reharmonization #4 – Re-interpreting Bb7

8:54 Example #4

9:08 Using Pentatonics to play Reharmonization #4

9:33 Don’t Tell The Rhythm Section!

10:01 Reharmonization #5 – Another Chromatic idea

10:35 Example #5

10:50 Method to changing the chords

11:23 This as a Chord Melody?

11:37 Like The Video? Check out My Patreon Page?

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Voice Leading – Breaking a Few Rules

Voice leading is the method you use to create smooth transitions between chords. Often it is described with voice-leading rules that determine how we move specific notes in a chord move to specific note in the next jazz chord. In this video I will explain voice-leading quickly and then give some examples of how you can actually be very creative and create some interesting sounds and new chord voicings by using voice-leading.

The lesson also illustrates how you can create some great progressions by breaking some of the rules. There is no reason to be tied down and not be creative

Jazz Harmony quickly becomes a science and research, but it is better to be a little free and also just try out the opposite of what is expected once in a while. In the end it is not about music theory but about what sounds good. 

Basic Voice Leading 

The most basic voice-leading rules in jazz are probably the movement of the core chord tones. In general voice-leading is about taking the closest route to a note in the next chord.

Below in the example I have Shell voicings for a II V I in C major.

Notice how the 7th(C) of Dm moves to the 3rd(B) of G7 and stays there as the 7th of Cmaj7.

The same goes for the 3rd(F) of Dm, stays to become the 7th of G7 and then resolves to the 3rd(E) of Cmaj7.

In this case the chords are moving in a smooth way from one to the next and in all changes one note stays while the other descends.

Opposite Voice-leading from II to V

In the example below I am voice-leading the 7th of Dm7 in the opposite direction, namely up to Db.

This means that the Dm7(11) chord is moving to a G7(b9b5) with no 3rd. The 5th of Dm7 naturally moves to the b9 (Ab) of G7. The G7 resolves to the C6/9 quartal voicing.

Against the rules on V I

In example 3 I have written out a II V I that resolves the 7th(F) of G upwards to a #11(F#) on Cmaj7.

The transition from Dm7 to G7 is pretty straight forward with G(11) moving to Ab(b9), E(3rd) and C(7th) lead to Eb(b13) and B(3rd). The F remains.

When the G7(b9b13) resolves to Cmaj7 it is moving the F up to F#, B stays and Eb resolves to the 3rd(E). The b9 is also surprisingly resolving up to an A that in this case is a 13th on the Cmaj7.

Suspensions and Surprises

An advantage of starting to explore thinking of the individual voices is that it can free up how we think of chords as vertical blocks that can’t be changed.

This example is showing how you can use voice-leading to create some interesting suspensions in your playing and blur the lines between the chords.

The basic II V in this example is pretty straight forward with a bit of contrary movement in the top-voices. The G7(b9b13) is resolved to Cmaj7(9) also in the way you would expect, but the b9 is left hanging. This creates a suspension of the b9 and gives us a #5 sound on the Cmaj7 that is then resolved down to the 5 on the 3rd beat. 

Not Getting Stuck in Drop2 

Often when you think in voice-leading it keeps you in one type of voicing, so “strict” voice-leading will take a triad to another triad or a drop2 voicing to a drop2 voicing. 

But once you start going in other directions you open for getting other results. In the example here below I am voice-leading the Drop2 Dm7(9) into a G7(b5b13) and then back to a Cmaj7.

Voice-Leading for new Voicings

Thinking in moving voices is also a great way to come up with completely new voicings. In the example below I am creating a G7(b9b5) voicing that I actually didn’t know before preparing this lesson. 

The voicing is a little tricky to play but really sounds great and resolves perfectly to the C6/9.

More Drop 2 voicings in Action!

Of course if you want to dig a little deeper into using Drop2 Chords in comping then check out this lesson on using Drop2 voicings and adding Chromatic Passing Chords:

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Download the PDF

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All The Things You Are – Harmonic Analysis

All The Things You Are is a great standard that we all need to have in our repertoire. In this video I am going to go over a thorough All The Things You Are Harmonic Analysis. Talking about how the song is constructed with Form, modulations, chord movement and scales for improvisation.

I also dedicate a part of the video to discuss pivot chords and how they work in modulation, and some of the subtleties we loose when we start turning the chords into jazz chords.

Being able to analyze harmony is a huge help in learning jazz standards and becoming a better improviser.

Table Of Contents:


0:00 Intro – All The Things You Are

1:44 The AABA Form

4:50 Analyzing First and Second A

6:55 Mediant Modulations

8:41 The Bridge

11:57 The Last A

13:20 IV IVm III bIIIdim

15:22 A few thoughts on #IV chords

17:26 Overview of the Keys of ATTYA

17:59 Modulations and Pivot Chords in Jazz

26:40 Scales for the chords

35:44 What we loose by adding extensions to the chords

37:41 Like the video? Check Out My Patreon Page!

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Music Theory – The 3 things you want to Know

A thing that is never mentioned when it comes to Music Theory is that there is a basic knowledge you want to obtain and then the rest gets easier. There are things that you need to know and work on that will make the rest very simple when combining Music Theory, Jazz Guitar and Practice.

In this video I am going to talk about three things you can learn or train for your music theory that will help you build a foundation to have an easier time understanding chord progressions, extensions and voice-leading. I am also going to relate this to what you need if you are improvising over chords, since that is what I am using the theory for.

Instead of looking at voice-leading upper-structure triad pairs in Utopian b7 minor then you can easily build the basic knowledge to make all the other stuff easy to understand.

Table of Contents

0:05 Intro

0:45 #1 – Learn Your Scales

1:09 Why we use scales in improvisation

2:11 Learning the Scales – What to learn

2:58 How To Practice

3:31 #2 – Diatonic Chords and Harmony

4:04 Building Chords in a Major Scale

4:52 Diatonic chords makes it easier to Learn Songs

5:33 What You Want to Learn

6:10 Practice Tips

6:22 How To Play Changes (in 30 seconds)

7:10 #3 Relating Notes To The Root

7:42 Adding Extensions to an Ebmaj7

8:36 Why You Want to know the Extensions in the Scale

9:06 Extensions for another Chord – How it Sounds

9:56 Putting the 3 Things together in one overview

10:30 Like the Video? Check out my Patreon Page

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