Listen to either the source recording of Bill Evans soloing over the tune "Night and Day” or the introduction this lesson.
How does your recording compare and contrast with the original recording with respect to phrasing, articulation, rhythmic feel and the overall expressive inflection? A useful point to note is the fact that the 5th of the ii chord and the 9th of the V chord are the same note, making voice leading smooth and easy to figure out! You’ll hear that the additional one or two notes to the chords makes a big difference to the sound that is created when you play the progressions. The more you read about, practice and listen to jazz harmonies, the more you will see and understand just how much diversity there is in the harmonic choices that you have when you are accompanying yourself or somebody else at the piano.
Some specific examples of some questions that you will want to ask yourself are as follows. There are many more questions to ask and I realise now that I will definitely need to do a separate lesson on this topic!
Firstly, as always, take these to the grid. Practicing them in this way will give you great fluency in these voicings in all keys.
Pupils with this inclination are in the minority, but there will still be enough of you reading this for it to be worth me giving you this warning. Claim your free eBook on Musical Mastery today!From me to you as a free gift when you join our community and informative newsletter.
Imitate his playing by emulating the elements of his recorded performance that you noted from listening to his solo. Letting time pass between recording the solo and listening to it can give you perspective on your playing that is more objective than when you are in the midst of making the recording.


In part 1, we started with the 3 notes needed to identify the quality of the chords and played only these – the root, the 3rd and the 7th.
It is crucial to your musical development that you become aware of these choices, and that you are able to make sound, tasteful harmonic choices, depending on the musical situation that you find yourself in. Well, make a point of listening to jazz records and consciously registering certain things that are going on.
However, we are now at a point in this series where we need to apply these voicings to tunes (see part 3). Practising isolated chord progressions in systems like the grid, or any systemic practising like scales, patterns etc.
Systematic practice of any kind, whether it be harmonic as with these chord progressions, or melodic as with scales and sequences, is purely a means to an end.
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Pay attention to the details of how the right hand notes are played: phrasing, articulation, rhythmic feel and the overall expressive inflection.
I will go into this in more detail in a future lesson, but for now, let me at least give you some direction in how to improve in this area. It will massively increase your musical awareness and help you to become a more tasteful and musical piano player. We practice these things so that we can be more fluent in our approach to learning and playing music, not so that we can become more able to play increasingly complex exercises!


However, as a rule of thumb, I would say that you may be placing too much emphasis on systematised practice if you are spending more than 50% of your practice time on these things. It is the best book on jazz piano playing that money can buy, it’s as simple as that! I strongly recommend that you do study that lesson before continuing on to this one, even if you are an experienced jazzer. If the pianist is accompanying a soloist, how are the voicings related to the timbre and range of the solo instrument?
It is because of how effective this kind of practice is that it holds so much appeal, but you must be careful that it does not become an obsession. How does what the piano player is playing relate to the other things that are going on in the piece at the time, and the general characteristics of the piece? All kinds of systematising in practice are very attractive to this student, and practicing systems and exercises can become an obsession. The danger is that you end up spending so much time on practicing and learning technical exercises that you don’t spend enough time on practicing and learning actual music pieces!
Practising the 3 note voicings in the way that I recommend provides a foundation for harmonic fluency that you will enjoy for years to come!



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