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“ak wes Wbebmlake (=, es ea le ee Vie eed eee ae nO acays. (o1c a | 1g 0; JAZZ PIANO HARMONY Ces 1 acs “aa GE & 1° ay * ee Se Nagel es cd Contents Introduction 8 | ExPLoriNG THE Five Basic SeveNTH Corps. a ab Vile Trickery 49 IL Exptorinc THE ALTERED SEVENTH CHORDS ......... bose 53 Joyful Noises IIL Exrtoainc Orner Four-Nore Stxuctures. 2B Listening Within 88 JV _ExPtoric LARGER AND SMALLER STRUCTURES 1 Song for Daralene 104 Epan’s Dance 116 V_ Metopic ConstpeRATIONS ng VI Basic Practice StraTEGY a 127 VIL Tuoucits on Musicat Creativiry 131 Appendices cae - sonneee 137 About the Author so. sone so 140 W troduction Ih. piano is one of the most unique of all western musical instruments. Aside from its enormous rang its most useful feature is the possiblity of sounding many pitches simultaneously. Because I the design of the keyboard and the manner in which it is played, working with chords of four + more notes is much easier than on the guitar or the various mallet instruments It would seem, therefore, that in order to master the instrument in a truly creative sense one would need to pecome as aware as possible of the piano’s harmonic potential. "About ten years ago [ began to become more and more frustrated with my inability 10 uncover armonies which sounded fresh and colorful. I seemed to be playing the same voicings over and ia until many sounds which were initially very interesting to me had become rather predict- able, While searching for a solution I made an effort to notice any harmonies in the playing of i pianists which attracted my ears. This attentive listening brought me to two important dis- loveries. First, there was really no correlation between the number of notes in a chord and the degree of interest it aroused. I noticed many instances in Duke Ellington's comping, for example, Rs: a simple triad sounded like something completely new. Second, there was no correlation letween the degree of distance from the key (or degree of abstraction) and the degree of musical erest, While extremely dissonant sonorities attracted my attention quite easily, their use in felation to the musical context often sounded rather arbitrary. On the other hand, I was as- founded to realize that many of the sounds which completely mesmerized me in the comping of lank Jones were actually based on simple harmonic relationships such as secondary dominants yr IL- V sequences, And many of the sounds which struck me so forcefully in the playing of Clare Fischer consisted of the most common harmonic structures, but used in a less common inversion t superimposed over a more colorful bass note. The most important aspects of strong harmonic music seemed to be the choice of notes in the dividual sonorities and the voice leading from one sonority to the next. I began to discover, jowever, that the many harmonic formations which I thought | already understood could be used in ways I had never imagined. In short, I began to realize that really getting deeply into the har- ‘onic possibilities inherent in the chords and voicings I already knew held far more creative po- | than looking for different chords merely for the sake of finding different chords. As I be- ‘gan to figure out some of the intriguing things I was hearing on records, however, I came to a further frustration. I could play the thing I had learned from the record, but I couldn't incorporate hat particular sound into my own improvising. This book is actually the result of my own strug- gle to find an approach to harmony which could be personal and creative, while utilizing har- Paes known to ll the notes of a simple C major seventh chord (C, E, G, B) are familiar to even the most elemen- ory jazz pianist, Yet most jazz pianists, including seasoned professionals, use little more than half EF the possible voicings of these notes in the familiar close and drop two positions, and a much smaller percentage of the possible voicings in the more widely spread positions. As we ee, these same four notes can be superimposed above many different bass notes to suggest many fifferent harmonies, including A-9, FAG, D13sus, among others. Furthermore, each inversion of each possible spacing or position of this C major seventh chord yields a uniquely different way f stating each of these different harmonies. It should be obvious, then, that the pianist who is fhoroughly familiar with sixty percent of the possible harmonic uses of the notes C, E, Gand B all soon, will have a fai richer and potentially more expressive harmonic vocabulary in hand than the pia- hist who is familiar with only five or ten percent of the possibilities