Jazz Lessons
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Detailed jazz course

Jazz Lessons


jazz lesson 01 Our course starts from studying blues. And this is done for a reason – jazz has been formed and developed under great influence of blues. But nevertheless, the principles of blues are extremely different from the principles of classical music jazz, what can’t be said about spiritual and regtime.

Two most important things blues conveys are worth mentioning: 1) form 2) blues scale.

Blues form. Blues square is divided not into two or four sentences, but into three. Poetic line is usually smaller than musical line and thus, leading singer’s pauses filled with orchestra (musician’s) interlude play crucial role.

I7 / IV7 / I7 / I7 /
IV7 / IV7 / I7 / I7 /
V7 / IV7 / I7 / I7 /

Blues scale is a forefather of jazz. You can find its elements in 99% of jazz compositions of all characters and styles. The base of blues is so called blues pentatonic scale that is not different from usual (for example tataric) pentatonic scale (if not to take into consideration 12 bar form). I deliberately composed very simple melody on the base of pentatonic scale (12 bar form). It is quite usual, not exceptional common pentatonic scale. You yourself can compose one that is far better than this.



jazz lesson 02 Now it is time to explain what is the blues scale. For a start, let’s talk about blues notes.
Blues notes

These are Eb-Gb-Ab-Bb for the same C major. In respect to blues in fact these are notes perceived by the pianist as a scaleв down tone. A guitar or brass instrument player and vocalist know the typical feature of these notes: the height of pitch can vary – it can be higher or lower or even in between… (of course, different people have slightly different technique of playing, but the essence doesn’t change). In other words, these are notes with rather free keyboard tuning. The technique of note bending is performed in the moment when this note is played for considerable time, long enough to bend notes or to downslide.

The example of simple blues 1. (Bended notes here are highlighted with red color):



jazz lesson 03 Now we will study the blues scale. This scale interests us as the combination of sounds used in melody. It determines the use of this or that sound and, therefore, gamuts or steps. And in some cases it is interesting how this or that conflict melodic structure is justified by logical algorithms.

We start with blues and we will at the same time deepen our knowledge of blues and learn other forms as a 12 bar blues form represents only minor part of jazz. But this doesn’t mean that now we will rush in studying of forms (this occupation is dull and uninteresting – let’s forget about it till it will be of primary importance).
There is a theme – and it determines the form (the structure of which has to be repeated in improvisations, it least, till the coda). There is no more to say here…


Melody and its conflict with harmony are worth talking about. Jazz is based on conflicts, in scientific language – percussively sounding constructions (see the lesson «knock» - you can find the link in the upper part of the page). Melody is the upper part of this construction (even if it sounds in the highest key). We will try to highlight the visible way of creating dissonant vertical structure.