Today I’ve posted a more advanced tutorial on harmony and in particular the harmonic extensions and voicings used in Jazz.
The “pretty notes” as Charlie Parker called them, are the higher notes of the chords (9th,11th,13th) which are vital to contemporary Jazz but also familiar to classical musicians from the works of Debussy and Ravel.
download jazz harmony pdf
It’s important to be able to instantly recognize these larger intervals in every key as well as to utilize them properly by means of good “voicing”.
To Jazz and commercial musicians “voicing” is the way that one places the notes of the chord across the keyboard (or among the instruments if arranging) and really, is of more importance than the simple choice of notes in the chord.
Learning harmony can be daunting for many musicians but I believe that if you understand harmony well it simplifies most musical styles so that you can gain a greater understanding.
It’s also invaluable for Jazz or commercial musicians.
You can download the PDF introduction to Jazz hamony below. Understanding this single sheet is probably more important than any of the more advanced lessons that you may come accross. It’s easy to skim over this thinking that you know it, but beware, you must understand it!
download “Basic Harmony” PDF
This sheet deals with the naturally occuring diatonic (major scale) chords (3 note chords) as well as the 5 qualities of chords that we encounter in Jazz playing (based on 4 note chords).
Thinking in numerals (or Roman numerals as here) is important because you can change key easily with refernce to only a single chord sequence (II-V-1 as opposed to Dm7-G7-Cmaj7)
I’d like to start a series of piano/jazz/harmony/arranging tutorials so I thought it would be best to start off with the basics.
You can printout the PDF below which is all major scale for practise at the piano. Here I’ve organised them in groups of fingering rather than keys. There are 3 groups and it’s easier to learn a particular finger pattern and apply it to the group rather than learn each scale separately.
Download piano major scales pdf
If you search through many royalty free music libraries it won’t take long before you come across cheap midi sounds from the past 20 years of computer recording. With the sophisticated virtual instruments available today this need not be the case and with enough care, these instruments can sound impressive, musical and even move you.
Here’s my tips to getting the most from virtual instruments:
Always Think of How The Real Instrument would Play :
You should learn as much as you can about the real instruments that you are emulating. Think of how the musician might physically play a certain phrase as well as the range of the instrument and which register sounds weak or particularly strong? What type of articulations suit the instrument and perhaps where it may be positioned on stage. You should include the inaccuracies that might occur with real instruments. It’s easy to make computer music sound too precise and in real life, this isn’t always the case. The individual instruments of a string section won’t start or end a phrase at exactly the same time-it shouldn’t sound messy, but it should include a human element.
Realistic Strings: (more…)
Every musician would love to be better but when we’re learning, it’s difficult to know exactly how to go about improving, aside from simply practising for hours.
These tips come from years of experience as a professional musician and are intended to cut out wasted hours of practise and make the best of your natural ability.
To become a good musician takes a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication.
Here’s 10 ways you can make yourself a better musician and as well as cut the practise hours!
Here’s my tips to making the most of your natural ability:
1.Transcribe Music: Most musicians groan at the thought of transcribing music and it can be a tedious task but it’s probably the single most important skill you can develop, apart from practising your own instrument- in fact, it might even be more important! Since all your muscular movements are guided by your ears when playing (or should be) it’s vital that your ability to recognise pitch, rhythm and structure are as good as you can make them.
Over time, transcribing music will refine your ears and your ability to understand music. It will make you more confident when you perform, as you’ll know exactly what’s going on just by listening. My advice is to get a simple audio editing program so that you can easily loop a bar (measure) at a time and then listen with headphones and notate each note that you can hear. When you’ve finished you need to go back and fill in any gaps.
2. Know How to Practise: (more…)