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Jazz Guitar Lessons: Analyzing Jazz Chord Progressions

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Okay, it's time to start analyzing
some jazz chord progression.
I want to get into a method for
understanding the movement of chords, and
harmonic structures and modulations
through jazz chord projections.
We're gonna start pretty basic and
get complicated fairly quickly.
This is a good point, I think for
us to have a pencil and
a piece of paper, hopefully music paper,
doesn't necessarily have to be,
because we're not writing notes.
But we will be writing chord symbols over
four-bar sections and eight-bar sections.
So if you can have some materials with
you, have your guitar handy as well
because I want you to be playing these and
hearing them, as we study them.
There will also be some
chord PDFs provided or, or
diagrams actually on the site that you
can see visually and download, I think.
So, we're gonna start out pretty simple.
I'm gonna just remind you that,
we started with the basic concept that,
in the key of G, for example.
You can build a major 7th chord,
Above every note of the major scale,
and it give you a pattern of chords,
which is, if you remember.
[SOUND] major 7, [SOUND] minor 7 that's a
two chord, three chord is minor 7 [SOUND],
4 chord major 7 [SOUND], 5 chord dominant
7 [SOUND], 6 chord minor 7 [SOUND],
7 chord minor 7 flat 5 [SOUND], and
back at the 1 chord it's a 1 major 7.
So one more time, [SOUND] major seven,
[SOUND] minor seven, [SOUND] minor seven,
[SOUND] major seven, [SOUND]
dominant seven, [SOUND] minor seven,
[SOUND] minor seven flat five,
[SOUND] and major seven to finish.
Now, those are exactly as they
are called one major seven,
two minor seven, three minor seven,
four major seven,
five dominant seven, six minor seven,
seven minor seven, flat five.
Each of the numbers that I just said,
when we do analysis,
we do it with a Roman numeral.
The reason for that,
it really makes it easier if you're, like,
analyzing a chord progression.
If you were to use numbers, just regular
numbers you'd have the number and then
the number whether it was seven or if it
had a nine, so it'd be a million numbers.
And the other reason for it is you might
write fingerings and stuff on there, so
there's gonna be two numbers,
too many numbers get to confusing.
So we're gonna use Roman numerals so,
you know,
you use the Roman numeral one,
two of them is a two, etc, etc.
I have to revisit that in
your grammar school notebook.
So as you can see,
on the sheets that we have.
We'll actually have Roman numerals,
already written on somebody's pages.
So let's start with some
very basic jazz movement.
I want to talk a little bit about cadence.
It's a very important word in music and,
I think on your theory
course here on artist's works,
you can look up cadence.
Basically, cadence is an ending.
It's a way to get from one place to
another, a resolution if you would and,
and actually resolution is a very
important word in, analysis.
A chord will resolve from the,
from one chord to another.
And it's like, tension and
release, it's like in a movie,
you know, you build up to a problem,
and then it resolves itself.
And the tension that it creates before
it resolves is what makes it dramatic.
Same thing in music.
As I, I, I'll go back and point to that,
[SOUND] the five chord
being a dominant chord.
Has that
tri-tone in it, right?
And that tri-tone
it wants to pull you to
a resolution
You hear that?
There's a tension and release
And actually the two syllable word,
cadence, cadence.
It's an ending, it's a, a resolution.
Sometimes people talk about a cadence in
the way a person walks or something like,
it's a certain rhythm, and it, a flow
where, where you land somewhere, and
that's basically exactly
what it is in music as well.
So this cadence and
resolution idea becomes very important as
we start to analyze harmony, for example
one of the most basic chord progressions
in jazz is the two, five, one.
So we have the roman numeral II,
the roman numeral five,
which is a V, and the the roman numeral I.
So, in the key of G that we are right now,
the two chord is A [SOUND] and we know
it's a two chord, it's a minor seven
chord, so it's A minor seven [SOUND].
Two minor seven, and
then we have the five chord [SOUND].
That's D7, the dominant seven,
naturally occurring in that key.
And then to G major seven.
Let's listen to that again.
That is a, that is basically the basic
building block of all jazz harmony
And the two-chord, you have, like,
you know, the landing chord is,
is one.
Those chords are called tonic.
Like the tonic is the root.
Of, [SOUND] the basic root and
the five chord is called
a dominant chord [SOUND].
Dominant because as I told you,
pulls you straight,
dominant really leads you somewhere.
So dominant [SOUND] tonic [SOUND].
The first chord in the two, five,
one [SOUND] is called sub-dominant.
It's a little bit below dominant,
it's not quite as strong and pulling, but
it is still unresolved [SOUND].
It's kinda hanging there [SOUND].
Now it's really hanging there
on the five chord [SOUND].
And then it resolves.
So sub-dominant, dominant, tonic.
So as our very first example, and try at
jazz progression analysis,
let's do a real analysis and
show you how it looks on
a piece of paper IV-II-V-I.
So I'm gonna, A ma,
A minor seven will be the cord symbol.
D seven [SOUND] next chord symbol
we'll make it a bar each [SOUND] and
G major seven, we'll hold that for
two bars so it's a four bar phrase.
A one two three four, one two three four,
one two three four two,
and hold the last one.
You can put a little framato over it.
So, let's actually analyze
that one the paper.
You take the staff, look at it,
it says A minor, D seven, G.
And above the A minor you write two
minor seven, because that's what it is.
About the five you write D seven.
And over the G major seven chord,
one major seven.
And we're gonna add one thing.
The cadence, I wanna indicate
that it actually does resolve,
with a little curved arrow, a little
semi circle like that with an arrow.
So that says, yes,
it actually does resolve there.
Now that sounds kind of silly but
it does help you understand the movement
arrow, boink, lands on the one.
Here's another one that you can analyze,
gonna start on G major seven and
then E minor seven.
And then two minor seven [SOUND]
five seven [SOUND] one [SOUND].
That's a very common progression.
It's one major seven, six minor seven,
two minor seven, five seven,
one major seven.
And that's very often referred
to like we say, II-V-I.
This is I-VI-II-V-I, very common.
All right, now I'm gonna
extend this a little further.
We're going to write a new
progression below this.
And this is gonna be,
start one step higher.
We're gonna start on
the three chord [SOUND].
And now I'm gonna go [SOUND] B
minor seven, [SOUND] E minor seven,
[SOUND] A minor seven,
[SOUND] D seven, [SOUND] one.
Another very common Jazz core progression.
And what that is,
is the three minor seven chord,.
Six minor 7 [SOUND] two minor 7 [SOUND]
five 7 [SOUND] one [SOUND], okay?
Now, what I'd like to do
is have you analyze that.
Just write it the way I just
said it on a piece of paper.
Write the Roman numerals that
indicate those chords and
the final cadence as well,
with a little arrow.
Analyzing Jazz Chord Progressions Part 2.
Moving on to the next kind of subject
we get just a little more complicated
right away and this is where it
gets a little bit more jazzy, okay?
Not every chord in a jazz chord
progression is a diatonic chord,
if it didn't it would sound very
boring it would just be the same
seven chords all the time.
But what makes jazz cool is that we throw
different new chords in there and chords
that have notes that aren't in the scale
and yet they still pertain to the key.
Now what do I mean by that?
Well, remember that the dominant chord,
the 5 chord I said is really important,
and the idea that you have resolution
of cadence, going somewhere.
Each chord in the diatonic area, like,
diatonic by diatonic I wanna
refer you to the theory again,
you can go and look it up
diatonic means Inside of one key.
The diatonic chords are these
in the key of G.
Each one of those chords in
the diatonic area actually
can have its own dominate chord.
You're thinking, but Chuck you told us
there was only naturally one dominant
chord that occurs in the key where we
gonna get the other dominant chords?
Where we gonna get the other
dominant 7 chords?
We're just gonna throw em in there and
believe me we throw a, we're gonna throw
a lot of chords that aren't in the key
in and still, quote, be in the key.
Now, I said each chord,
there's one that doesn't,
but really every chord has it's
own dominant chord check it out.
The first progression we did was 2.
Now if every chord has a dominant chord,
then the 2 chord can
have a dominant chord.
We'll what would it be?
The dominate chord of two,
A minor would have to be kind of like you
were in the key of A and
find it's dominate chord.
Which would be it's 5 chord.
One, two, three, four, five.
Hm-mm, five steps up from A.
Well E in the key of G is E minor, but
to make it a dominant chord,
I make it a dominant 7th.
Hm, that's a cool sound check it out.
And to make it sound really cool,
I'm gonna start before I go to the E7,
I'm gonna start on G.
So it's gonna be one, the the E7 so
G major 7, E7, A minor 7, D7, G.
So if you remember one of our
earlier progressions was 1-6-2-5-1.
Now we're changing the 6 chord
to a dominant chord.
Okay, we're going a little
bit out of the key and
we're adding a little more tension
another cadence an internal cadence.
So we have, remember we figured out.
The 5 chord of two.
ls an E 7, up five steps from, from A.
So now we're gonna throw that in and
instead of 1-6-2-5-1,
we're gonna call it something a little
bit different first I'll play it.
Cool sound,
very common progression in jazz and
what I've done is I've put
in a new dominant 7 chord.
This dominant 7 that we've added and
borrowed from the, you know, A major,
let's say, is going to be the 5 7 chord,
not of one, but the 5 7 of two.
What do I mean by that?
I mean that we borrowed a chord from
another key, and put it inside, and made
it part of the Diatonic chord progression
that we're in, in the key of G.
So E7 is acting as a 5 7
chord of G major's 2 cord.
5 7 slash of two.
So 5 7 slash two.
And then there's a little arrow because
yes indeed it does resolve to two.
one major 7, 5 7 of 2,
2-5-7-1 with an arrow.
One more time 1, 5 7 of 2,
2 minor 7, 5 7, 1.
Now let's go back one more step and, and
look at what I did before with the 2-5.
2 minor 7, 5 7, 1 and I said to you,
it's kind of a subdominant,
a dominant, and a tonic.
Now let's go back to the 6-5-7 of 2,
this time instead of the 1 at
the beginning, I'm gonna put the 3 chord.
And I'm gonna play another
very common jazz progression.
Starting on the 3 minor 7 chord.
Remember that's the third degree.
And it's a minor 7 naturally.
I'm gonna play.
3-6-2-5-1 but the 6 has been changed to
a dominant chord to make it lead
even stronger to the 2 chord.
So it's 3, 5 7 of 2, 2, 5-7 of 1, 1.
So that's the beginning of analysis, you
see how we're moving through the changes
and there's a logic to it,
it's not just haphazard.
Now I think would be a very good
time to take some of these basic
jazz progressions,
create some play-alongs.
And try playing through them,
because the harmonic analysis is
supposed to help us improvise
that's the whole reason for it,
to understand the progression, analyze it,
look at it carefully, and say, okay.
Now I see how the chords are moving,
let me take the lines and
try to move through those chords.