Rootless Chord Voicings
To play a rootless voicing we leave out the root of the chord and play one of the upper extensions. For example we could play the 3rd, 5th, 7th, & 9th of the chord.
To play a rootless voicing we leave out the root of the chord and play one of the upper extensions. For example we could play the 3rd, 5th, 7th, & 9th of the chord.
Written in the key of Eb Major, Tenderly follows a 32 measure A – B1 – A – B2 form and has an impressionistic character similar to early Debussy.
Introduced by the pianist Bill Evans, the ‘So What’ chord sounds great when you have a minor chord with the 5th in the melody. Try it out and see for yourself!
Scales provide the basis for understanding harmony. Learning and memorising the 12 major scales is the first step in learning jazz piano.
Rootless voicings sound more professional than root based 7th chords and they voice lead much more smoothly in the context of a 251 progression.
Minor harmony is much more complex than major harmony and so the minor 251 progression takes much more time and patience to master.
The Herbie Hancock voicing is a rich-sounding, two-handed minor 11th chord. This voicing definitely has a funky vibe to it but you be the judge!
One of Americas greatest ballads… the most famous version of My Foolish Heart is undoubtedly the Bill Evans trio version – definitely worth checking out!
Most jazz standards that you come across will contain a 251 progression in some form so it is essential that you know how to construct and play the 251.
Written in the key of Eb Major, Misty is one of the most popular jazz ballads and the distinctive melody is immediately recognisable amongst musicians.
The triad is the basic building block for many different types of chord and the 4 types of traid that you must learn are major, minor, diminished and augmented.
Slash chords contain 2 bits of info, the first letter indicates what chord should be played & the second letter specifies what note should be played in the bass.
As a jazz pianist, you need to have a solid understanding of intervals so that you can build extended chords quickly and improvise freely on the piano.
Extended chords create a richer and more complex sound than triads and 7th chords and so they are used to create more interesting harmonic progressions.
The Kenny Barron voicing is an minor 11th chord voicing built from 5th intervals. The voicing gets its name from the acclaimed jazz pianist Kenny Barron.
There are three types of minor scale: the natural minor, the harmonic minor, and the melodic minor and each one has a different use and application in jazz.
Tritone Substitution is a reharmonisation technique that can be used to add harmonic interest to a chord progression. In particular 251 progressions.
This lesson provides an introduction to reading lead sheets. Unlike traditional piano music, lead sheets just contain one stave of music and chord symbols above.
My One & Only Love is a jazz ballad written by Guy Wood. The tune follows a 32 measure AABA form and is usually played in the key of C major.
A seventh chord is a triad which has been extended to include the 7th degree of the scale. This creates a much fuller sound than simple 3 note triads.
The half-whole diminished scale is an 8 note symmetrical scale that’s used for improv. The scale alternates half and whole steps until the scale starts again.
Time Remembered is unusual tune as is doesn’t contain any dominant 7th or diminished chords. This makes it a modal composition with interesting changes.
Upper structure triads are predominantly used on dominant chords but can also be applied to other chord types. This lesson focuses on dominant uppers structures.
Learning and memorising all of the upper structure triads is a daunting task! This lesson introduces the upper structure cheat sheet to speed up the process.
Blue in Green by Miles Davis contains a lot of upper extensions and alterations in the melody which makes it a perfect tune for applying upper structure triads.
Duke Ellington’s ‘In A Sentimental Mood’ is one of the most recognisable jazz ballads. The tune is very accessible and a great place to start for beginners.
Sophisticated Lady is a challenging tune for the beginner. The descending sets of dominant chords in the A section are tricky to navigate at first.
This lesson provides voicings that can be played under each note of the dorian scale. Watch this and never get stuck on what to play for minor chords again!
In this lesson we are going to explore So What Chords further and learn how you can use these voicings not just for minor chords but also for major chords.
Thelonious Monk’s Round Midnight contains lots of interesting chord changes. Written in the key of Eb Minor, there are 6 flats to watch out for!
In a minor 251, the 5 chord will be an altered dominant chord. In this lesson we are going to apply altered dominant chords to the major 251 progression.
Cluster voicings are tightly spaced groups of 3 or more notes that act as a chord. They don’t usually contain both ‘essential chord tones which are 3 & 7.
In this lesson we are going to look at various ways to add harmonic interest over dominant chords using tritones with the tunes ‘Body and Soul’ and ‘Misty’.
The catchy melodic motives, complex chord progressions and unusual key changes make Body & Soul a favourite amongst most jazz musicians.
We have voiced minor 251 progressions with our left hand and so now it’s time to spread the notes across 2 hands to get bigger chords with more impact!
Blue in Green is an unusual tune. The 10-measure form is much shorter than most jazz standards and so it’s repeated numerous times in a performance.
Evans was an innovator, revolutionising the sound of the jazz trio. His unique style influenced jazz pianists that came after him and those before him!
Block chords are a great tool for harmonising a melody line by moving all the notes of the chord in parallel, following the same rhythm as the melody.
In this lesson we explore the different ways you can navigate over the minor line cliché using bass lines, two-handed chords and left hand voicings.
One of the challenges of playing jazz is being able to quickly find a voicing that works well underneath any melody note you could come across on a lead sheet.
My Funny Valentine is a difficult standard to learn. In this lesson we breakdown the complicated chord changes and build a solo arrangement.
This lesson is an introduction to major modes, explaining what they are and where they come from. These 7 modes play a fundamental role in improvisation.
Chord scale theory defines the relationship between chords and scales. Chords are vertical arrangements of notes whilst scales are horizontal.
The melodic minor scale is an exotic sounding scale. Furthermore, the modes of the melodic minor are used extensively in modern jazz improvisation.
Transcription is one of the most time effective ways to learn jazz and you should incorporate transcription into your daily practice routine.
Michel Legrand’s ‘What are you doing the rest of your life’ is a challenging tune to learn and contains some difficult-to-navigate chord changes.
Passing chords are temporary stepping stones between chords, adding harmonic variety and make your playing sound more interesting and dynamic.
Joe Zawinul’s ‘Midnight Mood’ is a 24 measure A-B tune. The form is repetitive which creates the opportunity to and add some interesting chord substitutions.
Cole Porter’s Easy to Love is a very accessible jazz standard for beginners as you will be familiar with most of the chords and progressions in the tune.
Before attempting to improvise over a jazz standard or lead sheet, it’s a good idea to identify which chord scales will work over the chords in the progression.
When starting out with improvisation, it can be tempting to play continually, but if you listen to the masters of jazz, rests & breaks are equally important in a solo.
Beautiful Love is commonly played as both a ballad and as a medium to up-tempo tune. In this lesson we create an arrangement for both of these styles.
Applying upper structures to dominant chords is the most important application but we can also achieve some really cool sounds on major and minor chords.
251 progressions are essential components of the jazz language and so taking the time to learn and memorise them will greatly benefit your playing.
In this lesson we are going to look at some alternative ways to voice minor 251s with our left hand. We introduce the -11b5 chord and its inversions.
All The Things You Are has been widely recorded so it’s definitely worth listening to as many versions as you can to get some creative ideas and inspiration.
‘The Shadow Of Your Smile’ follows a 32 measure ABAC form. In this lesson we are going to play it as a ballad to learn the chords and changes.
‘I Fall in Love To Easily’ has a very short form at just 16 measures. The tune contains a number of minor 25s and also a fair amount of altered harmony.
We start the lesson by recapping the basic theory behind Sus chords and then look at them in context of major and minor 251 progressions.
‘Someday My Prince will Come’ was a popular tune with the jazz musicians of the 20th century and is still played in jazz clubs, hotel lobbies and weddings.
Autumn Leaves is one of the best-known of all jazz standards and is frequently called at jam sessions so it’s a good idea to learn these important chord changes.
‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ has also been played by many great jazz musicians over the years. In this lesson we create a solo ballad arrangement.
Intros can be useful to extend the length of your performance and also to establish the tonality or the key in which the tune is being played.
‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’ follows an A1 – A2 – B – A2 form and the tonality is primarily minor throughout which gives the tune a dark and melancholy vibe.
This famous tune has been recorded by many of the great jazz musicians such as Art Tatum, Hank Jones, Kenny Barron, Chet Baker and Oscar Peterson.
Stella by Starlight is one of the most famous songs in the jazz repertoire and any serious jazz musician will know the chord changes to this important tune.
We start off playing the tune very freely in a rubato manner and the second time through we will firmly establish the rhythm and timing.
Written in the key of F Major, Autumn in New York is most often played as a ballad and it follows a 32 measure A1-B-A2-C form.
For a ballad, the tune has quite an up-beat and bouncy vibe which can also be played at faster tempos with the same chord voicings.
Like someone In Love is one of the great jazz standards. The tune is written in the key of Eb Major and follows a 32 measure A1 – B2 – A2 – B2 form.
This lesson applies upper structure triads to the tune Tenderly and also discuss ways to add fills and runs in between the chords of this delightful ballad.
In this lesson I explain what drop 2 voicings are, how to construct them and how to practice drop 2 so that you are familiar with them in all 12 keys.
We start with simple two handed voicings and then create a more interesting arrangement by adding in upper structure triads, block chords & substitutions.
We apply left hand voicings, two handed voicings and look at ways we can voice the vamp for the intro and outro to the tune.
In this lesson we discuss some general improvisation concepts for This Masquerade and also any other jazz standards you are working on.
Here’s That Rainy Day is a jazz ballad composed by Jimmy Van Heusen. Written in the key of G Major, the tune follows a 32 measure A-B-A-C form.
One of the most important things to remember is that “Comping” is shorthand for ‘accompanying.” It’s a subordinate role in the band.
My Romance follows a 32 measure A-B-A-C form and the tonality is primarily major. The tune can be played as both a ballad and at a medium swing tempo.
The concepts we’ll be focusing on are target notes, approach patterns and chromaticism. Understanding these principles will add structure to your lines.
The altered mode gives you access to the altered tensions of a dominant chord. In fact, the altered scale contains every possible altered chord tone.
This tutorial introduces the ‘locked hands’ technique. This style involves playing left hand voicings simultaneously with an improvised line.
We create a ballad arrangement and apply upper structure triads and also some interesting applications of drop 2 harmony.
The Red Garland voicing has a distinctive ‘block chord’ sound, but compared to previous styles of block chords, it has a much brighter quality.
We will explore the pentatonic scale from a jazz improvisation standpoint applying the scale to number of different chord types and common progressions.
This lesson is closely related to the ‘Pentatonic Improv’ lesson so if you haven’t already, I’d recommend you check that out first.
Much of the tune is made up of the 1625 progression. We will explore how we can use this progression to create an improvised introduction.
We use lots of extended & altered harmony & also some interesting applications of inner voice movement, drop 2 and pentatonic voicings.
In Part 1 we run through the first half of the tune. We start with simple voicings and then create a more modern sound using chords built from 4ths.
In part 2 of this jazz standard tutorial we explore some interesting quartal voicings for 251s and also apply pentatonic harmony to the chord changes.
In part 2 of this tutorial we up the tempo and play the tune with a swing feel. We further explore passing chords and the 4 way close.
We will start of by creating a ballad arrangement and add in some interesting reharmonisations and passing chords. In part 2 we create an up-tempo version.
The idea behind these lessons is to cover voicing options for melody notes that you are most likely to come across on major, minor and dominant chords.
This is part 2 of the tutorial on dominant chord voicings. Here we explore voicing options for the natural 4th, #11, 5th, #5, 13th and the b7. Check out part 1 first!
In this lesson we are going to explore some advanced applications of upper structure triads in context of jazz standards that we have already covered.
First, we break down the anatomy of a swing line and we will talk about the variables and dynamics of swing that you can add to your playing today.
We will start with left hand voicings to get a good grip of the melody and chord changes. We’ll then add in some bigger voicings and passing chords.
A nice place to start out with walking bass lines is to create lines using just the root and 5th in combination with either chromatic or whole step approach tones.
In this section of the tutorial we are going to explore how you should be developing your swing feel and also your ability to improvise in general.
We will start of by discussing some important principles for creating a simple walking bass line and then apply the principles in context of 251 progressions.
We’re now going to take the study a step further by adding scales into the walking bass lines and enhance the rhythm and swing feel of our lines.
In this lesson we will apply the theory from the walking bass lessons and also introduce rhythmic comping and other stylistic elements of walking bass.
In this lesson we will explore a simple way to approach the tune “Autumn Leaves” with a walking bass outlining just the root and 5th of the chord.
In this lesson we will explore how you can develop your ability to add fills and other melodic decoration to the tunes you are playing.
The Brazilian singer, songwriter and guitarist – Joao Gilberto – created a Bossa Nova interpretation of Estaté which made the song famous worldwide.
We start off by playing through the form with left hand voicings and then we will create some bigger 2 handed voicings and play through the form again.
You should now be familiar with the form, the melody and the chord changes. We will now explore the stylistic aspects of how the tune is commonly played.
We start by playing through with left hand voicings and then talk in length about the 1625 progression and how you can use it to develop introductions.
In part 2 of this tutorial we create an advanced ballad arrangement incorporating upper structure triads, suspended harmony and passing chords.
Most commonly associated with the 1942 film “Casablanca”, this timeless classic is written in the key of Eb Major and follows a standard 32 bar A-A-B-A form.
First we’ll play through using the original chords, and then we will extend and alter the voicings so to create more interesting and sophisticated sounds.
PianoGroove jazz piano lessons can be broadly split into 2 categories: theory lessons and jazz standard lessons. The theory lessons cover the fundamentals of jazz piano including basic scales and chords, common progressions such as major 251s and minor 251s and also chord extensions and alterations. The jazz standard lessons apply the theory in a practical context and show you how to build an arrangement from a lead sheet.
All PianoGroove tutorials are planned, recorded and edited based on 3 core principles:
Our online jazz piano lessons start with a thorough explanation of the topic covered. We pay special attention to the pacing of the lesson and ensure that the material is covered slowly enough for you to fully digest the key points. All lessons begin with simple examples and the difficulty gradually increases throughout the lesson.
PianoGroove tutorials have the best visual quality on the web. HD Video Footage provides a crystal-clear overhead shot of the keyboard. The Synchronized Light-Up Midi Keyboard gives you instant clarity into dense voicings so you can always see which notes are being played. In Video Score & Notation allows you to gain deeper insight into the material covered so you can improve your knowledge of common chords and progressions.
Perhaps the most valuable feature of PianoGroove. All jazz piano lessons are related back lead sheets so you understand how to apply the theory in a practical context. As a jazz musician, one of your main goals will be to pick up a fake book and just play from lead sheet. Whether you aspire to play as a solo cocktail pianist, in a jazz trio, or simply for your own pleasure, this skill is invaluable.
PianoGroove.com contains over 20 free jazz piano lessons. These lessons cover the foundations of jazz piano including the major 251 progression, the rootless 251 progression and the minor 251 progression. These 3 progressions make up the DNA of jazz and so you need to be familiar with them and be able to play them in all 12 keys. Virtually every jazz standards or lead sheet you come across will contain major or minor 25s and 251s in some form and so knowing these jazz piano chord progressions will allow you to learn and interpret lead sheet notation quickly and effectively.
There are a selection of free jazz piano lessons for expanding your knowledge of chords and voicings. The best place to start is to get a good understanding of jazz piano intervals. A strong working knowledge of intervals will allow you to understand the structure of jazz piano chords and help you with building chords quickly on the piano. The next step is to understand jazz piano triads which include major triads, minor triads, diminished triads and augmented triads. Triads are the basic building blocks for creating 7th chords and extended chords on the piano.
Once you can build triads, you simply add the 7th note of the scale to create 7th chords on the piano. After mastering the 5 different types of 7th chord it's time to delve into extended harmony - this is where things start to get interesting!
Extended chords are one of the hallmarks of jazz piano creating rich sounds and sonorities. The main extended piano chords lesson provides a general overview of where chord extensions come from and how to extend chords to include the 9th, 11th and 13th. This lesson also references a number of popular extended chords such as the So What Chord which was popularised by jazz pianist Bill Evans, the So What Chord the Herbie Hancock Chord Lesson and the Kenny Barron Voicing.
These lessons will equip you with a selection of chords and voicings that can be used in lead sheets and jazz standards to build you solo arrangements. One big tip here is to memorise the scale degree of the top of these voicings so that you can spot opportunities to play them when reading from lead sheets.
The most effective way to learn jazz piano is through playing jazz standards. Jazz standards are famous musical compositions that lend themselves to harmonic and melodic development which basically means you can add chord extensions, chord substitutions and improvise over. This is the reason they are such an important part of the jazz pianist's repertoire. Many of the most famous jazz standards are from Broadway show tunes or Hollywood musicals and were not actually written by jazz musicians. That being said, most of the great jazz musicians did compose their own tunes.
There are 6 free jazz standard lessons on PianoGroove.com. Some of these lessons are easier than others and so they should be approached in the following order:
How to Read Lead Sheets - This lesson provides an introduction to the layout of the lead sheet. We use Miles Davis' tune "Tune Up" as it has a simple form and contains a number of major 251 progression which are easy to navigate for the beginner. If you come from a classical background, you will be used to reading music from 2 staves and so it can be challenging when you come to interpreting a 1 stave lead sheet. This lesson covers the fundamentals so that you understand the meaning behind jazz chord symbols and know how to spot common chord progressions on a lead sheet.
Tenderly Tutorial Lesson - Now that you understand the basic structure of the lead sheet, it's time to approach a slightly more challenging jazz standard. Tenderly is another great tune for beginners due to the amount of space between the chords. Most bars are just 1 chord for the entire measure which gives the beginner more time to think. In this lesson we expand upon spread voicings and create a beautiful sounding solo arrangement. Make sure you pay attention to the 7ths dropping to 3rds in the 25s and 251s!
Misty Piano Tutorial - Another fantastic jazz standard written by the great jazz pianist Erroll Garner. This tune is slightly more challenging than Tenderly as most bars have more than one chord so the chord changes are moving faster. We continue voicing the chords using root, 3rds and 7ths with the melody on top and then start to add some more interesting and jazzy sounding chord extensions. This is the one of the most popular jazz standards on PianoGroove so enjoy.
My Foolish Heart Piano Lesson - My Foolish Heart is a cocktail piano classic. The Bill Evans Trio recording is the definitive recording of the tune so be sure to check that out. This tune introduces the minor 251 progression as well as major 251s that we have come across in previous tune. Minor harmony is more challenging than major harmony so it will take some practice to nail these chord changes.
My One And Only Love - Guy Wood, born in Manchester UK in 1911, was an English songwriter who moved to United States. His famous ballad - My One And Only Love - is one of his most famous compositions and a favourite amongst jazz musicians. The slash notation in this standard looks intimidating for beginners but is actually quite straight-forward once you understand what is going on harmonically.
Blue in Green Piano Lesson - This tutorial was created as part of the PianoGroove Pro membership package but was released to give students an idea of the level of complexity of Pro Tutorials. The tune contains lots of extended and altered harmony which is challenging to understand for beginner. We look at more complex ways to voice chords such as upper structures and altered left hand voicings. The Miles Davis recording on his album 'Kind of Blue' is essential listening for a student looking to learn this tune.
PianoGroove Pro is an online jazz piano course that covers more detailed and advanced topics. These jazz piano tutorials are focused towards intermediate students who understand the basics and want to take their playing to the next level. The pro lessons on chords and voicings delve deeper into altered jazz harmony. Altered voicings are usually associated with the minor 251 progression but we can also apply altered jazz chords to any major 251 progression. Adding these alterations will spice up the sound of major 251s and create more interest in your playing.
An important area of study in altered harmony is upper structure triads. Sometimes abbreviated to upper structures, these two handed voicings are the most effective way to learn and memorise chord shapes for complex altered dominant sounds. Other lessons in this series cover advice and guidance for practicing upper structures and also a dedicated lesson on applying upper structures to jazz standards.
Having a wide range of chord voicings at your disposal is an important skill for the jazz pianist. Whilst there are almost infinite possibilities for voicing dominant chords with alterations and upper structures, there are less possibilities for major and minor chords. 2 lessons in the pro series provide a selection of voicings that work well for major and minor chords:
The major chord voicings lesson provides a range of voicings that work well under each note of the Lydian mode. The Lydian mode is the 4th mode of the major scale and the majority of the time the melody over a major chord will be one of these 7 notes. Memorising the formulas of these voicings will allow you to quickly and easily find major chord voicings when playing through jazz standards.
The minor chord voicings lesson provides a range of voicings that work well under each note of the Dorian mode. The Dorian mode is the 2nd mode of the major scale and the majority of the time, the melody note over minor chords will be one of these 7 notes. Internalising the construction of these minor voicings will equip you with an arsenal of minor voicings for use in jazz standards, leads sheets and improvisation.
Cluster voicings are another useful type of voicing. These dense fragments of chords are unusual as they don't always contain the 2 'essential chord tones' which are the 3rd and 7th of the chord. This can lead to harmonic ambiguity which adds interest and tension to a performance providing much needed contrast to more traditional closed position chord voicings.
Common chord progressions can be spread across both hands to achieve a bigger sound and to access specific chord extensions and alterations. The 2 handed 251 lesson introduces some new chord voicings using colour tones such as b9s and #9s to highlight altered harmony.
Sometimes it can be a nice touch to add your own chords when playing through jazz standards. The easiest way to do this is to gain an understanding of passing chords and how to spot opportunities to add these to your arrangements. Passing chords are great for making your arrangements sound more inventive and original.
Chords and scales share a very intimate relationship. This relationship is known as chord scale theory. All chords imply a scale, or in some cases multiple scales and these scales are used extensively for jazz improvisation. Something to recognise is that the word 'mode' is used interchangeably with scale. Modal Jazz - which originated in the late 1950s and 1960s - is where these 'musical modes' or scales are used to create the harmonic framework of a tune. Miles Davis was a pioneer in this movement with his revolutionary album 'Kind of Blue'. The first step in understanding modal theory is to learn and memorise the modes of the major scale.
Once you understand how to construct the 7 modes of the major scale, the next step is to learn the melodic minor modes. The modes of the melodic minor scale epitomise the sound of modern jazz improvisation. Of these 7 modes, the melodic minor mode, lydian dominant mode and altered mode are the 3 most useful.
It is important for jazz musicians to understand the construction of the modes and also be able to identify where the modes can be applied. A short lesson on choosing modes and chord scales provides a two step process which will allow you to identify and select suitable modes when playing over jazz standards. This 2 step approach is then applied in context of a jazz standard in the lesson improvising over Blue in Green.
An incredibly useful and exotic sounding scale is the half whole diminished scale. As the name suggests, the scale alternates half and whole steps until the scale starts again. The symmetrical interval structure means that there are only 3 different half whole diminished scales to learn for all 12 keys. This scale is useful for playing over minor 251s and outlines the altered chord tones b9, #9 and #11 but the natural 13 - remember not to play this scale over chords containing a b13!
The Pro Member jazz standard piano lessons are more challenging and in-depth than the free content on the website. Some of these tutorials are up to 40 minutes long so it will take a while to work through the material covered in these lessons. You can also find a selection of Christmas jazz piano lessons that are available for download. These christmas jazz piano tunes are perfect to entertain your family and friends over the holidays! Here is an overview of the Pro jazz standard lessons:
Autumn Leaves Jazz Piano Tutorial - Autumn Leaves is one of the most famous standards in the jazz repertoire. If you turn up to a jam session you can be sure that this number will be called! In this lesson we begin by playing simple jazz piano voicings containing the root, 3rds and 7ths. We then create some bigger voicings using extensions, alterations and upper structure harmony. We also create both a ballad and an up-tempo arrangement so that you have a few different ways of playing over these important changes.
All The Things You Are Tutorial - This is another common jazz standard that's always called at the jam sessions. Again we create both a ballad and up tempo arrangement and we spend time on adding interesting passing chords to liven up the changes. We also look at some new applications of quartal harmony which is voicings based on stacked fourths.
My Funny Valentine Lesson - 36 minutes in length, this is one of the longest tutorials on the website. The lesson starts by breaking down Herbie Hancock's piano introduction from the Miles Davis Sextet version of the tune. We then play through the form using left hand voicings and begin to build up a solo arrangement. One of the challenging aspects of 'My Funny Valentine' is the low register of the melody. This can be overcome by utilising the higher octaves to quote the melody. This tune contains one of the most famous examples of the minor line cliche - it's important to understand this common progression.
The Shadow Of Your Smile Tutorial - The Shadow Of Your Smile is a delightful latin tune which some interesting changes to play over. We start off with some simple two handed voicings and then gradually increase the difficulty and the complexity of the chords and voicings in the arrangement. There is good amount of space in the melody and chord changes which makes this a great tune for adding movement and interest in our left hand.
In A Sentimental Mood and Sophisticated Lady are two unmistakable ballads by the great Duke Ellington. The form of 'In A Sentimental Mood' is very accessible making this a perfect jazz standard tutorial for beginners. Written in the key of D minor, it also a useful tune for practising bluesy licks and riffs in between the chord changes. 'Sophisticated Lady' is a much more challenging tune containing lots of dominant chords and chromaticism - two characteristic features of earlier jazz piano arrangements. Whilst the form is tricky to navigate, it presents the student with a fantastic sequence of chords to practise upper structures and other altered dominant chord voicings.
Body and Soul Tutorial - Body and Soul is the most widely recorded jazz standard - pretty much every great jazz musician has recorded a version. The tune is popular due to the rich chord sequences and interesting modulations and changes. These features make Body and Soul a great tune for exploring jazz piano chord reharmonisation.
Beautiful Love Tutorial - Victor Young's Beautiful Love is a widely recorded jazz standard. The tune is versatile as it can be played as a ballad and also at a medium to up tempo. This lesson provides an arrangement for both of these styles, starting of as a freely-played ballad and then turning into a more up-beat swing version for the repeat. We harmonise the melody with block chords which are great for adding syncopated rhythm to your playing.
Round Midnight Tutorial Lesson - Round Midnight is Thelonious Monk's most famous composition and is a great tune for practising the minor 251 progression. Written in the key of Eb Minor, the 6 flats in the key signature makes the melody challenging to learn. Melodically, the A section of tune is very busy and the fingering can be tricky in places. It's well worth listening to Monk's arrangement of this tune, his rhythmic placement of chords is unique to his style of jazz piano.
Have You Met Miss Jones Tutorial - Have You Met Miss Jones is usually played at faster tempos so we start the tutorial by running through left hand voicings for all of the chords in the changes. Rootless Left Hand Piano Voicings are particularly suited to up tempo tunes and allow you to play through changes whilst keeping your hand in a small range on the keyboard.
Stella By Starlight Jazz Piano Tutorial - Stella By Starlight is a challenging standard and contains some tricky chords to navigate. The tune is packed full of minor harmony and so a good understanding of the minor 251 progression is essential. This 30 minute tutorial covers both left hand voicngs and also more complex two handed voicings.
There Will Never Be Another You Tutorial - There Will Never Be Another You is a jazz ballad written in the key of Eb Major. The tune contains a lot of step wise melodies which makes it particularly useful for piano block chords and drop 2 piano voicings.
Autumn In New York Piano Tutorial - Autumn In New York is a jazz piano classic. This is one of the most challenging tutorials on PianoGroove and the arrangement contains a lot of upper structure triads and also applications of suspended harmony and block chords. We jump straight in with some two handed voicings and work through the entire form.
These Foolish Things Tutorial - These Foolish Things is a bouncy jazz ballad which a catch melody. The arrangement for These Foolish Things is accessible to beginners so this is a great tutorial if you're just starting out with jazz piano.
Time Remembered Tutorial - A composition by Bill Evans, Time Remembered is a unique tune composed entirely of major and minor chords. The absence of dominant and diminished harmony creates an unusual sound but Bill overcomes this by utilising upper extensions and alterations in the melody and choosing interesting root movement throughout the tune.
Easy To Love Tutorial - Cole Porter's Easy To Love is a great jazz piano lesson for beginners. Written in the key of C major, the chords are easy to navigate and the form contains many common 25 and 251 progressions. Whilst the lead sheet may look simple, the tune can be enriched with upper structures and chord substitutions making it a great beginner to intermediate jazz piano lesson.
What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life Tutorial - Michel Legrand's tunes are known for being notoriously difficult. This delightful jazz ballad contains a challenging set of chord changes and numerous 251s in keys that don't appear very often in the standard repertoire. The bridge of the tune is particularly tricky to navigate and should be approached slowly with a metronome. There are sections of the tune where the melody and harmony remains static and so it's down to the performer to add extra interest and keep a sense of forward momentum. We embellish the dominant chords in the bridge with suspensions resolving to b9 alterations. Understanding how to delay dominant chord resolution with suspensions is a useful skill and is a great tool for adding additional movement to a 251 progression.
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