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Tutor Kei_S 's Column

Jazz Harmony Analysis and Chord Voicings Example

Mar 23, 2018

Hi everyone!

I'd like to share this small video of mine which explains some of the common jazz harmony and techniques used in a tune by Ronnie Foster called "Mystic Brew". (Obviously, the title reminds jazz fans and musicians of the Miles Davis' album in 1970.)

This video focuses on harmonic analysis and chord voicings on the given tune. If you are interested in jazz harmony, how some of the jazz theory such as chord functions and scales, modes are applied for unique, interesting and cool approaches of writing and playing jazz music.

Actually, this tune has a somewhat interesting repetitive structure in it. For that matter, it may seem to deviate from the common route of jazz standards. Not only that this tune is labeled as "fusion" but also it has an unique harmonic structure that would make the listeners go "Wow, wow, wow, where's the cadence? What's the tonal center?"

Some of the keys to understand this mystical brew of jazz harmony are: deceptive cadence, substitute dominant, major/minor modes, etc. But the video is trying to explain the structure as simple and practical way possible, so that the ideas can be applied to your own practices of whether it's a jazz standard tune or it's an anime song writing. (Of course, modern anime composers have studied jazz and fusion music from 50s to 80s.)

Also, the harmony is cleverly build up from the very simple pentatonic theme melody of the tune. Such technique is always interesting and can also be found in the jazz standard tune called "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" by Charles Mingus.

Although the topic might be something that belongs to the advanced level of jazz harmony, I believe the students of every level can profit from watching this video. But if not, I'll be preparing similar videos that concern different levels of jazz harmony in the future. So stay tuned!



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