Summer 2020: Questions & Answers

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What is the difference between a fake book and a real book? Both fake books and real books are collections of lead sheets, that is, pieces presented simply as melodies and chord symbols. Some jazz musicians use these collections at gigs to have a wide array of tunes at their disposal. The term "fake book" is used as a broad category for these colle...
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Create and Motivate: Developing seventh-chord fluency

The ability to recognize and play chords without hesitation benefits all pianists. For improvisers, chord fluency enables practical skills such as learning tunes by ear, transforming lead sheets to arrangements, jamming with others, and creating one's own part in bands. For those who prefer to play written music, facility with chords improves learn...
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What jazz contributes to the classical pianist

There is a long tradition of teaching quality classical piano in Canada. There are also a myriad of support systems to teach theory and written scores in a variety of contemporary styles. Then there's jazz. Some teachers like it and some don't. Others don't feel knowledgeable enough to include it in their studios. For many teachers it is a big unkn...
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Diminished seventh chords, and, pardon the expression, half-diminished seventh chords in jazz and popular music

Diminished seventh chords In jazz and popular music, diminished chords are invariably played as four-note chords, rather than triads, whether the chord symbol says Cdim (C °) or Cdim7 (C ° 7). A diminished seventh chord consists of a diminished triad plus a diminished seventh above the root of the triad: However, enharmonic spellings are fre-q...
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Chord Substitution

One thing that has always drawn me to jazz is the harmony. It is fascinating to hear how a single chord change can define one artist's interpretation of Autumn Leaves or Night and Day from another artist's interpretation. Applied judiciously, these harmonic variations will add touches of color to your own arranging and performing. When one chord is...
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Jazz suspensions: Bridges to somewhere (usually)

For the past quarter century I have conducted piano teacher workshops throughout the United States and Canada. Teachers always have a lot of great questions, and one of the most frequently asked questions is "What is a jazz suspension?" Jazz suspensions in general are bridges to somewhere, at least usually. Suspensions are chord tension-tones ...
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ii7 - V7 - Imaj7: An essential building block of jazz harmony

from the series: It's Got That Swing: Jazz & Pop Geoffrey Haydon, Editor  There are many benefits to including jazz in a student's curriculum of piano study- not the least of which is an increasing understanding of harmony. Jazz harmony uses the European classical tradition as a point of departure. It builds harmonies using the tradit...
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Just a second... added notes enhance basic harmonies

Of all the seductive elements in the jazz idiom, it was the harmony that attracted me in the beginning. I really can't say when I first heard these sounds, but I have spent a lifetime listening and adapting them into my own keyboard playing. Jazz and pop players tend to speak in the language of chord symbols, so it is very helpful to beco...
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Piano Magazine is the leading resource for pianists, piano teachers, and piano enthusiasts. We bring you informative, interesting, and inspiring ideas on all aspects of piano teaching, learning, and performing. The official name of Clavier Companion magazine was changed to Piano Magazine in 2019.

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