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Jazz Sax Lessons: Introduction to Chords: Major Triads & 7th Chords

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Okay let's talk about chords,
both triads and seventh chords.
I talked earlier on a different
lesson about the fact that
scales are the language of music.
If that's true, then the chords
are the backbone of that language.
So in a nutshell,
a triad is just simply the first,
the third and fifth notes of any scale,
any non-symmetrical scale, I should say.
And the seventh chord,
as you might imagine is a triad, but
you add the seventh degree as well.
So it'd be root, third,
fifth and seventh and
so it is essential to know your triads and
seventh chords as the introduction
to improvisation.
Whenever you're going to
play over any chord or
a series of chord changes, you need
to know the components of each chord.
That is the backbone of a lot
of my improvisation lessons too.
So in this lesson, let's hit these triads.
In this particular lesson,
we are gonna talk about major triads and
major seventh chords.
So on the PDFs that I've created for
you that hopefully you have downloaded,
you'll see for
the major guys, the triads and
the major seventh chords.
They are played in the cycle of fours.
So basically, it starts in the key of C,
no sharps or flats, and
goes to the key that has one flat,
which is F, two flats, which is B flat,
three flats, which E flat, four flats,
which is A flat and so forth.
Until it turns around and
gets in the sharps and
goes down from five sharps to four sharps
to three sharps, which is in the key of A.
Two sharps with the key of D, one sharp
with the key of G and back to C again.
So to make it easy and
to save a little paper.
Well, I mean if your practicing this
no matter which saxophone you play,
start from the key of C obviously,
it's cool.
For us,
if your gonna be playing along with me,
which I am definitely
encouraging you to do.
If you're playing a B flat instrument
just start one measure ahead.
So I'm gonna start in C and if you play F,
then we'll be in the same key.
It'll sound in unison and
just move forward and
then when I get to the My last bar,
that'll be when you repeat
back to the top and play,
you'll be playing the key of C.
So my last key will be G and
yours will be C.
So we're gonna start with the triads,
these are the major triads and
what I've done is write,
I've incorporated the triad,
which is the root third and
fifth and then the octave above it.
So, it sounds like.
So it's the same note that we started on,
but an octave higher on top of the scale.
Okay and so
the only difficult thing about this.
Very simple, incredibly simple, except for
the fact that you are playing in all
twelve keys, but let me encourage you.
You know what?
It's only 12, how hard can that be?
It's only 12 different keys,
that's all we have to deal with in music.
They may be in different modes and
some are minor and
some are a little bit different, but
there's never anymore than 12 keys.
So hey, man,
when you're learning a language,
you're learning more than 12 new
words every time you go to class.
A lot more than that.
So I really encourage you when you
practice things, when you have
the opportunity to play in all 12 keys,
play an exercise in every key.
Do so, absolutely.
It's sort of Murphy's law
where if you practice 6 or
7 or 11 different keys and you avoid one.
One time your gonna have to read something
in front of somebody else would be that
one key you didn't work on.
So, I know you can do it.
You're ready, yeah, yeah.
So I'm gonna play them in every key,
please play them with me.
If you're not up for it, no problem,
you can practice on your own.
But it'll be a cool goal to play
along with me, so that again,
you become familiar with
playing in all twelve keys.
So here are the major triads.
They're all in eighth notes except for
beat four, so it's gonna be.
I don't know if I'm singing in
the right key, but you get the point.
Here we go.
Again, us E flat people are gonna start
in the very beginning in the key of C and
tenors and sopranos are gonna start
on the next bar in the key of F and
we'll all be in unison in that way.
Here we go.
One, two and ready, go.
[LAUGH] Good, awesome.
Right on, that's worth doing again.
One more time.
So yeah, what can I tell you?
Just slow it down if you need to.
Get it to this tempo with me,
but it's all written right there
as you're reading point to
mention on all of these.
I did not.
Repeat, did not write
courtesy accidentals.
A courtesy accidental is something
we do when we are very courteous,
which I apparently am not.
Which means that whenever you
see an accidental in a bar,
for instance, on the third bar there,
on the B flat triad,
you see the flat sign written before
the B indicating that you play a B flat.
Check out the last note of the bar.
There is that lonely B,
without a accidental.
Whenever you have
an accidental inside of a bar,
that accidental lasts for the entire bar.
So every, in this case,
every B that you see in
that measure is going to be played B flat.
The point is sometimes you see a courtesy
accidental, which means it's either
written again or it's written in
parentheses, but sometimes it's not.
And even if it's not,
you still have to play it.
And if you don't,
you've played a wrong note.
So courtesy accidental is very obvious.
Not having that courtesy,
obviously is not so obvious, obviously.
It's great and
more important to practice these kind of
things without the courtesy accidentals.
So it's not just that I'm a jerk,
it's that I'm trying to do
the right thing by you, so.
[LAUGH] I hope you check that out.
So here are the triads one more time.
Here we go.
One, two, three.
There are our major triads.
Now, we're gonna work
on our major seventh chords.
So, a seventh chord is the same
thing essentially as a triad.
It's the first three notes.
But now we're adding the seventh
degree to the chord, to our arpeggio.
[LAUGH] Hard to say.
So, it's the first degree of the scale,
the third degree, the fifth degree, and
the seventh degree.
And so it's an interesting fact
that when you practice an exercise,
it's very,
very similar to what we did on the triads.
But that top note Is the seventh
as opposed to the octave.
That subtle change, trust me,
is gonna make this an incredibly
different exercise.
Seems very, very, it is similar.
But that one change is gonna
make it a whole other beast.
So I know you'll be able to do it great,
just be aware that it's not just
a worthless thing to practice.
The difference between triads in seventh
chords is very important actually.
So here are our seventh chords.
One more reminder, alto and
bari players are gonna start from
the first bar in C major seven, and
tenor and soprano players are gonna
start while we're playing together.
Our next bar in F major seven, and
that way we'll all be
playing in unison together.
So here is C major seven, here's our
major seven chord rather in every key.
Ready, one, two, three.
Okay, so see that top note makes
the difference in not the difficulty
of the exercise, but
it creates a different exercise.
So, knowing these,
I often talk about chords,
as far as the chords you see when
you're improvising on songs.
The fact that major chords,
minor chords, and
dominant seven chords make up a good 75%,
I would say,
of all the music that you'll be playing,
improvising over, or whatever.
Yeah, you'll see altered seven chords,
you'll see diminished chords,
you'll see augmented chords.
You'll see all kinds of different things.
But major, minor, and
dominant make up a very,
very large part of music out there.
Super worth learning.
And it's cool because not only
are we learning this theory, but
we're turning it into
a technical exercise as well.
So one more time, okay, here we go.
Major seventh chords.
And, a one, two, mmm.
So there you have it,
your major chorded up.
[LAUGH] So practice away on those and
we'll go on to the next one.
Thank you.