Jazz Piano Harmony Tutorial

jazz harmony tutorial

This worksheet is another quick overview of Jazz piano styles within 2 sheets of A4 paper.
Whatever your standard, it’s always useful to be aware of these harmonic stylistic differences as it’s particularly useful for solo piano as you can mix and match the different approaches to provide textural interest.

Download Jazz Harmony Tutorial
Fig 1 shows the basic II-V-I progression in closed, root position and you should always be aware of this in the back of your mind.
Fig 2 Shows these chords opened up in 2 ways, to provide a more resonant chord using only the same notes.
Fig 3 is an example of Bebop voicings, which are usually very sparse using only 3rds or 7ths and thus known as “shells”.
Fig 4 extends the harmony by the use of added 9ths and 13ths. Notice that this is still based on the basic “open” voicings.
Fig 5 extends this idea and shows chromatically altered extensions.
Fig 6 shows the rootless voicings used by most modern Jazz pianists. These take the important notes of the open chords (3rd,7th and possibly 9ths,11ths,13ths) and inverts them to produce intervals of 2nds and to enable the chord to fit within one hand. These voicings are only effective in the tenor register of the piano.
Fig 10,11 shows how these voicings may be used when “comping” in a rhythm section. The right hand adds a stronger trumpet like element with an octave and 4th or 5th, boosted by the thick rootless voicing of the left hand.
If you’re familiar with these approaches in all keys then you’ll have plenty to work with, especially for solo piano.

Happy practising!

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Download Full Preview Tracks

Full length track downloads are now available for all logged in users, without the need to contact us.
You’ll see a download icon on the right hand side of the track box  
and by clicking this (if you are logged in) you will be able to download a full length lo-fi MP3 version to try out in your productions.

We’ve got loads of new tracks coming out at the moment-in fact we can’t add them fast enough. I’ll keep you posted here very shortly.

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Fast Music Access

Well, after a couple of weeks of testing it looks like the intermittent slow issues with the site have been resolved and a BIG thank you to Eamon and Paul at GlobalGold for their expertise in resolving that one.
The site is running really smoothly and quick now – as it should be………..just how I like it! 🙂

We’ve lots of music in the pipeline and the quality is getting better all the time. I’m excited about quite a few of these. I’ll keep you posted here over the next few days.

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Download Full length Preview Tracks?

Over the past few months a lot of you have asked for full length preview tracks to test your production or show them to your clients. Currently, if you’re a signed up member (obviously free!) then we’re happy to send you an MP3 version of the track to try out, but right now you do have to email us, which we realise can be annoying and you have to wait.
We’re currently looking at implementing a full length download feature which will allow logged in users to download a full length low resolution version.
 We’ll have to make use of the MP3 files in oder to do this though, which means that only the high quality WAV files will be available for purchase. Do  let us know if you’d prefer to have the preview facility or access to both the WAVs AND MP3s.
Depending on the feedback we get, we hope to have this in place at the begining of next month.

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Royalty Free Carousel Music

So many people have visited our site looking for “Carousel” music (you know, the merry-go-round, fairground music)  that we just had to write a carousel track and it’s ended up being one of my personal favourites.
Have a listen to Carousel Waltz, it’s slightly melancholc, yet insanely catchy faiground ride music. This track is available to download either as a single track, individual edits/loops or the whole package of 9 edits.

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Royalty Free Valentines Music

With Valentines day looming we’ve collected some of our rather beautiful romantic royalty free tracks for your current projects. You can’t miss them, on the the home page with our rather nifty Valentine icon 🙂

Listen to  Carousel, which has two versions. This version is a guitar duet (played by concert guitarist Jonathan Preiss) and there is also a version with a subtle string arrangement which you can listen to here. 
We also have two beautiful romantic piano and string tracks, Slumber and Dreamscape.

Alex Khaskin and composed some great romantic music – listen to “We’ll Meet Again“, “Never Too Late” , “Last Goodbye” and one of my favourites “Beautiful Rose

I’m sure you’ll find something suitable but whatever happens, do have a great day 🙂

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Jazz Harmony PDF

Our harmony downloads are proving popular so here’s another Jazz Harmony PDF.
This sheet is titled “Practise Worksheet – intermediate” but it’s vital for all serious Jazz/Commercial pianists to know these chords inside out.

The first exercise is a simple series of II-V-I progressions in closed position, around a cycle of fifths. These are vital and even if I’m playing a weird large chord with loads of extensions and no root-I’m still am aware of the closed position voicing underneath it all!

When this is familiar, move on to the next exercise which then opens out these chords using an interval of a fifth in the base and adding the 3rd and 7th (or 7th and 3rd) above.
These voicings are absolutely vital to good jazz piano and indeed, good arranging. This style of opening out a simple chord uses the least amount of notes (in Jazz harmony) to the greatest effect.
The next exercise goes on to add extensions to these chords, utilising a bass note in the left hand and chord in the right.

The final exercise is to play the previous chord shapes in the left hand with the intention of leaving the bass notes to the bass player so as to allow the right hand to improvise.
There we have it-most of Jazz harmony, all on a single sheet of paper!

Jazz Harmony PDF download 

Posted in: General, Music, Piano Technique, Tutorials

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Free Royalty Free Music Pack 2

We’ve just uploaded our second free royalty free music audio pack.
This pack of 10 free loops and stings is completely free to use in non-profit works and there’s no need to even register-just visit the page and download.
These free loops and stings are all in CD quality, 44.1khz WAV files.
Obviously, if you use our music we’d really appreciate a mention or link in your webpage or blog.

Enjoy 🙂

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Brass Arranging for Michael Gray

We had a fun job this week, to provide the brass arrangement for top producer Michael Gray.
“You Got Me Twisted” is a great crossover Dance track, with -as you woud expect-superb production values.
He needed a riff from a Michael Jackson track transcribed, transposed and arranged for trumpet.
We altered the original to fit the rhythmic style and it was a pretty simple job musically, but when you arrange for studio sessions there’s always different things to consider than arranging for live music.

One thing that I always like to do is to notate the “drop in” times on the part. This is the time from the start in minutes and seconds at each prominant section of the arrangement. This makes it easier for the arranger and producer to know exactly where each section is-  musically and from a recording point of view.
Ok, we didn’t actually need it this time but it’s always best to cover every base rather than waste time/money on a session.

When you arrange for recording musicians you can also add more parts than you could live so we had 3 trumpet parts which we then recorded using different mikes. Essentially the part only need a single trumpet but we used 2 on the top octave and doubled the part an octave below to thicken the sound. The producer now has a minimum of 6 tracks to mix as he likes.

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New Royalty Free Ambient Music

We’re delighted to introduce a new young composer to SMARTassMusic- Jon Cooper.
Jon’s composing style is synth based ambient music …….and I know what you’re thinking……”we’ve heard that a million times before!” BUT………..these tracks are full of style, subtlety and great production quality and I’ve found myself listening to them when doing site maintenance. 

My personal favourites are:
Alpha – a really beautiful, enticing ambient, atmospheric track Neuromancer and Suspension.

In fact, we think that this music makes perfect atmospheric underscores so we’ve put a collection together of 12 electronic, ambient background tracks “Ambient Underscores“.
This collection of 12 full royalty free ambient  tracks is £59.99 which is a saving of over £100 if you bought them individually!

We’re adding lots of great new music at the moment so don’t forget to view the “new tracks” section and we’ll try to keep you updated here too 🙂

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