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Essential Terminology – 1
(Basic LINGO!)
From MichMusic Now YouTube Video Series
YouTube Playlist: Jazz Foundation (Video:

For a complete free glossary of jazz terms go to


The organizational structure of a song. Eighth notes that are interpreted with an
Common song forms in jazz include AABA, underlying triplet feel.
ABAB, ABAC and 12-bar blues. “ 2” FEEL
A rhythmic feeling of two beats per
A SECTION measure. In “2” feel the bassist plays
The first structural section of a song. Used primarily on beats 1 and 3.
in reference to common jazz standard song “ 4” FEEL
forms including AABA, ABAB and ABAC. A driving feeling of four beats per
measure. In “4” feel the bassist plays a
B SECTION walking bass line.
The second structural section of a song,
occurring after the “A” section. VERSE
In jazz standard song forms, an
BRIDGE introductory passage occurring before the
The B section of an AABA song form. main body (chorus) of the song, and
usually performed rubato. Jazz standard
HEAD songs that contain verses most often
The melody of a song. Alternately, can originated from Broadway shows.
refer to the beginning of a song.
CHORUS A swing feel bass line characterized by
One full time through the chord four quarter notes (with possible rhythmic
progression of a song. variation) in each measure. Walking bass
lines are in “4” feel and consist of a
COUNT OFF combination of scalar and arpeggiated
The counting of numbers to begin a piece lines.
of music that is in tempo when two or
more musicians are present. A typical
count-off would be, “1 (rest), 2 (rest), 1, 2,
3, 4.”

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