Chords / Harmony
You will find on this page 5 exercises to learn to play different jazz guitar chord voicings over the most used chord progression in jazz, the famous II-V-I sequence.
A new eBook is available for download. It contains 50 exercises with guitar tabs and standard music notation that will show you how to use different types of voicings over a II-V-I progression. This PDF eBook will help you to understand how the main jazz guitar chords are built (minor 7, major 7, dominant 7, diminished 7, half-diminished, augmented, 7b5, drop 2, drop 3, inverted, altered, extended and rootless chords) and how to apply chord substitutions (diatonic sub, tritone sub and diminished substitutions).
Generally, when a beginner starts to learn to play guitar, he tackles open chords (up the guitar neck), those found in many popular songs. Then, come the bar chords (major, minor, dominant 7) a little hard to master. But all these chords do not have a very interesting sound and are not mostly used in jazz music. That's why in this lesson, (addressed to jazz beginners) we will take the main basic guitar bar chords (involves barring severral strings with one finger) to transform and enrich them so that their sonority is richer, exciting and better suited to jazz concept.
One of the most popular jazz chord substitution is the tritone substitution sometimes referred to as the dominant chord substitution. The most used is to replace the V with a dominant 7th chord whose root is a tritone below. Example with G7 (V), it can be replaced by Db7 a tritone (Three whole-steps) away. Thus giving two chords that have two notes in common. The 7th of G7 (F) is the third of Db7 and the third of G7 (B) is the seventh of Db7. The inversion of the 3rds and the 7ths between the original dominant chord (V) and the substituted dominant chord (bII7) is the main feature of the tritone substitution.
If the most common tritone substitution involves two dominant chords, there are other chords that can be substituted as the vi chord, the ii chord, and the iii chord. You can substitute any chord which has its roots the flat fifth of the original chord. The type of chord used depends on the melody and the desired harmony. The tritone substitution can also change qualities from the chord it is substituting. Provided that the melody indicates no strong preferences for chord type. For example, dom7 chords can be played in place of minors. This could be subject of another lesson. Meanwhile this article is focused on dominant seventh tritone substitutions.
A new video is online on the youtube channel. It is a quick jazz guitar chord melody arrangement with chord diagrams of the famous jazz standard "Stella by Starlight" (Victor Young).
You surely know what are major chords, minor chords, seventh chords and diminished 7th chords ? But you may be wondering what half-diminished chords are ? In music, the most encountered chords are major and minor chords. These are the basis of the Harmony. Seventh chords (m7, Maj7 and dom7) are also widely used, particularly in jazz and blues music. When a guitar student start to take an interest in jazz, he can sometimes find chords with a little barbaric names such as diminished 7th chords, augmented or even half-diminished chords (m7b5). This article will explain you what are m7b5 chords, how to play them on the guitar and how to apply them in common harmonic contexts as major and minor II-V-I progressions.
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