Music Theory & Notation
Music Theory & Notation Tutorial

Jazz Theory Explained®

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35 Videos | Length: 5hr 10min 21sec
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Chapter 1 : Building Blocks

  • The Language of Jazz 3:27

    The Language of Jazz

    Introduction and overview of the general topics that will be covered in this video series.

  • Chord Functions and Voicings 6:25

    Chord Functions and Voicings

    Four note chords built on diatonic scale steps have the same qualities, or functions, regardless of the key they are in. Learn about the chord functions built on the diatonic notes of a major scale.

  • Extensions 6:51


    Explore which chord tones can be added onto which specific chord qualities as a means of adding color and spice to enhance basic diatonic harmony.

  • Guide Tones 11:03

    Guide Tones

    Learn a simple three note voicing using guide tones and step wise movement that works throughout the cycle of fourths with ii – V – l chord patterns.

  • The Blues 10:01

    The Blues

    Discover how the simple three-chord blues progression is enhanced using ii-V-l chord progressions and altered dominant chords.

Chapter 2 : Chords and Voicings

  • System A and System B Voicings 7:46

    System A and System B Voicings

    Discover how to add color notes to guide tones and create rich sounding three note right hand chord voicings.

  • Four Note Rootless Voicings 10:22

    Four Note Rootless Voicings

    See how to expand the System A and System B voicings to a full four notes. By omitting the root and leaving it for the bass player, you can use two hands to enter these four note chords if necessary.

  • Walking Bass Lines 10:28

    Walking Bass Lines

    Learn how to construct bass lines that support the underlying harmony when rootless voicings are being used.

  • It Don't Mean a Thing... 12:20

    It Don't Mean a Thing...

    Explore the way various parts of the drum kit in are used, in straight ahead jazz style, to keep time as well as propel the soloist forward.

  • Comping Rhythms 9:05

    Comping Rhythms

    Discover ways of “comping”, providing harmonic accompaniment on top of a walking bass line and drums, and how different rhythms and voicings are used to vary the texture and feel at different tempos.

Chapter 3 : Scales, Licks and Motifs

  • Three to Nine 7:19

    Three to Nine

    Learn the beginning ABCs of improvisation by practicing these exercises outlining “three to nine” arpeggios, four beats and two beats each, in all twelve keys.

  • Pivot Exercises 9:37

    Pivot Exercises

    Discover ways to give arpeggiated lines more varied shape by dropping the fifth degree of the chord down by an octave.

  • Major Scale Harmony 11:04

    Major Scale Harmony

    Explore the various modes derived from each degree of the major scale, and what chord qualities they are used over.

  • Melodic Minor Scale Harmony 11:32

    Melodic Minor Scale Harmony

    Study the evolution and uses of the various minor scales, and the various modes derived from the “Jazz Minor” version.

  • Mixolydian Altered Exercises 10:43

    Mixolydian Altered Exercises

    Learn how to use altered notes in the mixolydian scale and to begin and end on different scale degrees to ensure that chord tones land on string beats.

  • Jazz Scales 9:44

    Jazz Scales

    Discover other commonly used jazz scales, and the type of chords and tonalities they are used over.

  • Neighboring Tones 10:33

    Neighboring Tones

    Explore how upper and lower neighboring tones are used as ornaments around chord tones.

  • ii-V-l Licks 7:30

    ii-V-l Licks

    See some of the concepts we have been discussing in use in melodic lines; including mixolydian altered, upper and lower neighbors, and three to nine arpeggios.

  • More Major ii-V-l Lines 9:51

    More Major ii-V-l Lines

    More examples of how to construct melodic lines using previously discussed scales and devices.

  • Minor ii-V-I Lines 7:27

    Minor ii-V-I Lines

    See and hear some real world examples of minor ii-V cadences that are two beats each, and a full bar each; using the locrian, altered (super locrian), and harmonic minor of destination scales.

  • Whole Tone Scale Patterns 7:49

    Whole Tone Scale Patterns

    Explore the use of patterns over the symmetrical whole tone scale, and how they differ from playing melodic 'lines'.

  • Diminished Scale Patterns 7:56

    Diminished Scale Patterns

    Another 'symmetrical scale', the diminished scale lends itself to patterns that work nicely over diminished chords as well as related altered dominant chords.

Chapter 4 : Modal Approaches and Concepts

  • Pentatonic Equivalences 7:12

    Pentatonic Equivalences

    Explore the use of pentatonic scales over various chord qualities and how the same pentatonic can be used over multiple underlying harmonies.

  • Pentatonic Patterns 13:34

    Pentatonic Patterns

    Take a wild ride using various pentatonic scales over related and unrelated chords, slide slipping along the way from the simple to the complex!

  • The Kumoi Scale in Action 8:39

    The Kumoi Scale in Action

    Discover how to create Kumoi patterns and string them together on top of several different underlying chords.

  • Pentatonic, Dorian and Kumoi Voicings 8:15

    Pentatonic, Dorian and Kumoi Voicings

    Explore how spreading out the notes derived from the Pentatonic, Dorian, and Kumoi scales can create modern open sounding chord voicings.

Chapter 5 : Chord Substitutions

  • Drop 2 Voicings 4:59

    Drop 2 Voicings

    Learn how to create wider more open chord voicings by dropping the second voice down an octave.

  • Tritone Substitutions 11:11

    Tritone Substitutions

    Discover ways of re-harmonizing standard chord progressions by replacing chords with alternates built on the root a tritone away.

  • Chord Subs and Reharmonizations 9:22

    Chord Subs and Reharmonizations

    Explore some of the tried and true devices and techniques used by jazz musicians over the decades to spice up ordinary sounding chord progressions and make them more interesting to improvise over.

  • Blues and I Got Rhythm Chord Subs 12:05

    Blues and I Got Rhythm Chord Subs

    Learn how some of the chord substitution techniques we have discussed are used over the most often used common chord progressions.

Chapter 6 : Putting It All Together

  • Standard Endings 6:49

    Standard Endings

    Learn some of the time honored conventions used to end jazz tunes.

  • Necessary System 3:44

    Necessary System

    Discover an easy and simple system of voicings designed specifically for non piano players to be able to get through the outline of a tune and hear the chord changes and melody at the same time.

  • Overview and Bass Part 4:35

    Overview and Bass Part

    Watch as I take an original composition and use a lead sheet to construct an arrangement for small ensemble. Here we’ll analyze the chords and lay down the primary bass part.

  • Melody and Drums 10:31

    Melody and Drums

    Watch as the melody is recorded and doubled, and how the drums and piano are played to support the natural accents of the melody.

  • Piano Solo 10:32

    Piano Solo

    Watch as the left and right hand parts are conceptualized and recorded separately for this up tempo piano solo.

Product Overview

Presented by music theory master Eli Krantzberg, this collection of video tutorials focuses on all that is Jazz.

This information in this series is the "tried and true" jazz theory and methods taught in music schools and colleges around the world. The series was developed for beginners who want to get into Jazz music, and learn the necessary basics, as well as more advanced topics about this long standing art form.

First you'll be shown jazz theory basics such as how jazz chords and chord progressions are derived, and the foundation for constructing chord voicings. Then, Eli explores useful systems of chord voicings, and how to play and integrate them with bass and drums. Next, you'll see how to develop melodic sensibilities and approaches for improvising over standard chord progressions using the appropriate scales and motivic devices. Scales, licks and modes are then covered as well as modes and chord substitutions. Finally, Eli wraps it all up with a real world musical collaboration with jazz guitarist Doug Zangar.

If you're ready to get jazzed, get Jazz Theory Explained today.

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