Good place to start learning Jazz Harmony

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
Jengamon
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10 posts since 12 Jan, 2018 from Cambridge, MA

Post Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:07 pm

Exactly what it says in the title. I just want to start a thread to just find good resources about jazz harmony or other kinds of harmony, too, as long as it deals with harmony or jazz~

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Michael L
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2402 posts since 25 Jan, 2014 from the End of the World as we Knowit

Re: Good place to start learning Jazz Harmony

Post Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:25 pm

Jazz Theory: From Basic to Advanced Study
by Dariusz Terefenko
The book and its companion website:
https://www.routledgetextbooks.com/text ... efault.php

If you want, here is a comparative review of this book on the respected Music Theory Online website:
http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.15.21. ... alley.html
Last edited by Michael L on Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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jancivil
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15802 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Good place to start learning Jazz Harmony

Post Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:11 am

Get a book of Bill Evans' piano music for starters.

EG: https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/th ... plp1318285

anomandaris1
KVRist
271 posts since 26 Nov, 2009

Re: Good place to start learning Jazz Harmony

Post Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:35 am

You will learn more from stuff like Persichetti or Ulehla's books (unless you are a complete novice to jazz idioms.). Jazz arrangers knew well Debussy and Ravel etc.

See this review of a popular jazz book. http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.00.6.1 ... wlins.html
(Imo, all "jazz" books are super bad, unless you want to learn some cliches.)

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jancivil
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15802 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Good place to start learning Jazz Harmony

Post Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:04 am

I'm a proponent of learning from music rather than reading books. I'm a fan of 20th century harmony by Persichetti as a compendium of 20th c vocabulary (which is _not_ jazz-oriented particularly) but jazz theory books that are the most prevalent I am not a fan of at all.

I'm standing by 'get a book of Bill Evans' piano solos', which means the sheet music. If you don't have the basics to analyze it, it's available without having to buy the Jamie Abersold shit or the Mark Levine, which frankly I don't approve of for a number of reasons, the latter especially. I would say if you have classical harmony analysis tools you can examine the Bill Evans and know what the harmony is.

But a YMMV situation, and where we'd have to get into the weeds to discuss, which isn't really affirming anything.

"Jazz Harmony" is a broad subject; there is a point in its development, bebop approach which is different than swing harmony before this happened, and Trad Jazz is a thing prior to this.
Bebop theory runs like this, basically: Popular songs and Broadway show tunes were taken in a way to provide more drive harmonically. So any chord could be isolated and a turnaround applied to it; ie., ii V I or i; taking that chord as a temporary I or i.

Then, in order to promote maximal chromaticism, a V7 could have a flat 5 instead of the regular 5 and now the structure of this is dual; you have 'in theory' a V of flat 5 in addition to V of whatever your I target is.
EG: in C, G7b5 = Db7b5. Flat five substitution principle.
G B Db F vis Db F Abb Cb. So V7 of C can now easily 'resolve' to Gb, or simply see it as bII7b5 if that means something to you as the soloist.

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IncarnateX
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3328 posts since 25 Jan, 2009 from Forgotten Realms

Re: Good place to start learning Jazz Harmony

Post Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:07 pm

I think others may be better to suggest textbooks than me but it is always good to scan the net for easy entries to get a kind of overview so I will post some links to get you started

https://www.jazzguitarlessons.net/blog/ ... zz-harmony

https://www.freejazzlessons.com/4-jazz-turnarounds/

https://reverbmachine.com/blog/a-guide-to-cadences

https://medium.com/@Connectedreams/a-be ... 2bfc2cf4de

http://www.thejazzpianosite.com/jazz-pi ... -analysis/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backdoor_progression

Lots of overlab of course but reading the same thing over again from slightly different presentations will help you remember the core.

When this gets trivial go to the textbooks and get wiser. Jazz harmony is a very exciting subject, actually so exciting that I could read about it for hours though I neither listen to nor produce jazz :lol:

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jancivil
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15802 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Good place to start learning Jazz Harmony

Post Wed Oct 24, 2018 6:26 pm

Nos 1, 5, & 6 I find particularly good. 6 because it's unusual thinking.

A primary consideration here is shown in 5 in that the chord progressions are shown working in a song, a standard/show tune.
This I feel is key to a basic understanding of "Jazz Harmony", albeit it is something abstract jazz moves away from and in certain areas moves away from it with velocity.

As to the history lesson, one area to illustrate moving away from ii V I is so-called modal jazz where certain people got sick of the same old same old and decided to be more static and get into two chord vamps and suchlike.

OTOH you get maximal motion with eg. Giant Steps by Coltrane, albeit the device is relatively simple.

First we should have a look at so-called Coltrane substitution; we're going to start and cadence in C here but take a trip away from it by this device - we're going to tonicize these notes which outline an augmented triad: C Ab E, now taking us home to C.
So let's say ii7 in C; bam to V7 - I in Ab; to V7 - I in E; to V7 - I in C. So Dm7; Eb7 Ab; B7 E; G7 C.

(This is probably appropriated from the bridge of Rodgers and Hart's Have You Met Miss Jones by way of Tadd Dameron Lady Bird; cf Lazy Bird by Coltrane.)

Now, Giant Steps:
descending augmented triad basis for tonicization:
|| : B^7 D7 G^7 Bb7 Eb^7
back up a M3, to descend again:
Am7 D7 G^7 Bb7 Eb^7 F#7 B^7
now we're ascending:
Fm7 Bb7 Eb^7 Am7 D7 G^7 C#m7 F#7 B^7
continue ascending one mo' Step: Fm7 Bb7 Eb^7
final turnaround to beginning: C#m7 F#7 : ||

This is particularly illustrative of taking harmony from places such as Rodgers and Hart and abstracting them for further use for soloing.


Bill Evans' work in the song form paradigm uses really exemplary voice-leading and for the ultimate exquisite jazz flavor this is it IMO.
Last edited by jancivil on Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

anomandaris1
KVRist
271 posts since 26 Nov, 2009

Re: Good place to start learning Jazz Harmony

Post Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:35 am

jancivil wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 6:26 pm


Bill Evans' work in the song form paradigm uses really exemplary voice-leading and for the ultimate exquisite jazz flavor this is it IMO.
"Exquisite jazz flavor"...
This type of "jazz" has more in common with romanticism and impressionism than with dixie and blues or swing etc.
(I personally like the most funk/soul/smooth jazz stuff like Lonnie Liston Smith.)

Any decent traditional music theory books + any book on modernism will cover way-way more than cliche + tropes jazz books.
The problem with learning from songbooks - you may learn how to play or imitate a given style, but you will get no deep understanding and when you have to compose a completely different type of music, you won't know what to do, because you are a one trick pony. Of course, there is no problem in being limited, but if someone wants to be a commercial media composer for example, he/she needs to be able to analyze and compose in any style of music.

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jancivil
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15802 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Good place to start learning Jazz Harmony

Post Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:15 am

Yeah, scare quotes around the word jazz in regards to Bill Evans is affirming what exactly? In terms of jazz harmony you're going to bring in 'dixie', one supposes "Dixieland" which is an actual term. Trad Jazz is one as well. It's not even jazz harmony in modern terms yet, there is nothing about that harmony which sets the music apart as jazz vocabulary. Then you bring in other things which don't take the discussion anywhere, you prefer smooth jazz, really but you're dismissing bringing in Bill Evans by some sophistry.



Persichetti is not jazz-oriented. You have to have the basics of the thing as I brought in, you cannot rely on CPP harmony to analyze it without getting somewhat into "tropes"

"Any decent traditional music theory books + any book on modernism will cover way-way more than cliche + tropes jazz books." Utter nonsense. You don't know what you're doing here, frankly.

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IncarnateX
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3328 posts since 25 Jan, 2009 from Forgotten Realms

Re: Good place to start learning Jazz Harmony

Post Thu Oct 25, 2018 3:28 pm

Yeah. Why shouldn’t cliches work as entry points if you stand outside and want to get in? It is like saying you have to be a professor before you can be an undergraduate. Cliches surely worked for someone as blank as me about 30 years ago.

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Michael L
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2402 posts since 25 Jan, 2014 from the End of the World as we Knowit

Re: Good place to start learning Jazz Harmony

Post Thu Oct 25, 2018 6:16 pm

jancivil wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:04 am
I'm a proponent of learning from music rather than reading books.....
I would say if you have classical harmony analysis tools you can examine the Bill Evans and know what the harmony is.
Yes, music + books is analogous to right + left brain; analysis tools + sheet music. I like jazz harmony because the ideas also feel exciting. As you say, it's both, and using basic tools to figure out harmony for oneself creates opportunities for discovery that is kind of what jazz is about to me (as somewhat of a noob).

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jancivil
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15802 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Good place to start learning Jazz Harmony

Post Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:57 am

anomandaris1 wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:35 am
The problem with learning from songbooks - you may learn how to play or imitate a given style, but you will get no deep understanding and when you have to compose a completely different type of music, you won't know what to do, because you are a one trick pony. Of course, there is no problem in being limited, but if someone wants to be a commercial media composer for example, he/she needs to be able to analyze and compose in any style of music.
Who said you take a single songbook as the be-all end-all for becoming the musician for all seasons?

It's a ludicrous approach to the discussion, all you're doing is wanting to negate remarks and posing.

I am saying - per the actual topic, places to learn Jazz Harmony - that Bill Evans' piano music is an excellent resource. Even in total isolation, the book I showed is not a one-trick anything.
Last edited by jancivil on Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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jancivil
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15802 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Good place to start learning Jazz Harmony

Post Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:02 am

A traditional theory book is not going to take you to modern jazz harmony. It isn't there.
A deep treatise on Webern is not going to address jazz harmony. It isn't there.
20th Century Harmony may touch on things and we find a Venn overlap with jazz extensions but it isn't going to get into the practice of it, or what I did here showing where it comes from. Giant Steps from a bridge in a Rodgers and Hart number for example.

It's ironic that the Bill Evans songbook is nowheresville and its recipient is now a "one-trick pony" as a result but "any decent traditional theory" text is supposed to cover much more than it does.

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jancivil
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15802 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Good place to start learning Jazz Harmony

Post Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:04 pm

I suggest once you have the "tropes", the basic lingua franca which I have sought to show some basis in here, to look for transcriptions and lead sheets. One resource is Scribd, which you can get a free month trial for.

Another part of modern jazz vocabulary which opens up extending triads to 7, 9, 11, 13 tertially is forming quartal stacks.

For instance, I'm seeing this in Wayne Shorter late 60s harmonies right now, this known property resulting in a quartal m.o.:
Let's say D7 voiced F# C F Bb in the right hand; it's #9 b13 but look at the voicing, in 4ths. Then we go to its I chord, G7 and it simply planes down by semitone. F B E A. Over that root it's a 9 13.

So now we may notice this equivalence as a feature of the b5 substitution principle. Db7 #9 b13 = G7 9 13.
So, in myriad ways a basic principle opens harmonic functionality up into a new field; you may, in a song form like to resolve in certain ways but we have an outlet onto further exploration; create melodies based on the sonorities more abstractly. EG: now you can plane your melodic ideas with a given stack. We may retain the basics of your dominant tension vis a vis your somewhat more stable tonic type; or not.

The tonic type in this quartal, more open sonority will look like this: Let's take G7 to C^7 type; F B (Db) E A to F# B (C) E A. This type of thing becomes prevalent here in the late 60s right before Miles goes OUT and relies on rhythm, and other devices; and gets away from song form altogether.

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