Monthly Archives

April 2009

Jazz Theory, Scales And Modes, Technique

5th Sequences. Interval Sequence Lesson

April 14, 2009

Welcome to the third part in our guide to intervallic sequences. Playing through these interval sequences will improve your jazz technique and aural skills as well as making scale practice more interesting. So far we have covered the 3rd interval and also the 4th interval.

In this lesson we shall take a look at how you can practice playing the C major scale in intervals of a fifth. Let’s take a look at how the 5ths interval sequence would look in C major

C major in 5ths

C, G, D, A, E, B, F, C, G, D, A, E, B, F

The example below shows you the C major scale played in 5ths in both standard notation and tablature.

Jazz Theory, Scales And Modes

Japanese In Sen Scale

April 8, 2009

The Japanese In Sen Scale was made popular in jazz by John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner. The In Sen scale is sometimes called the Japanese pentatonic scale and it is found naturally in the major scale and the melodic minor scale. For example the E In Sen scale can be found in C major scale and D melodic minor scale.

The intervals of the Japanese In Sen Scale are:

1 b2 4 5 b7

The E In Sen scale looks like this:


The intervals of the In Sen scale could also be represented like this:

Half step, major third, whole step, minor third.

I love the sound of the Japanese In Scale and find the wide intervals sound it creates to be very melodic. It is kind of like a Phrygian pentatonic scale and is used to play over susb9 chords.

Take the time to get to know the exotic sounds of the Japanese In Sen Pentatonic scale. The In Sen scale is a really melodic addition to your jazz vocabulary. You can learn more about guitar scales by checking out Jamplay which is a great way to learn scales on guitar.

Chord Theory, Jazz Theory

Jazz Turnarounds

April 7, 2009

In this lesson we are going to take a quick look at turnarounds in jazz and how you can play over them. A turnaround is simply a chord sequence which happens at the end of chord progression which takes you back to the beginning. There is a lot of room to experiment with jazz turnarounds because usually there is not much happening in terms of the melody when you get to the last few bars of a song. This means that jazz turnarounds are an ideal place for chord substitutions. Generally turnarounds in jazz are two or four bars long.

Perhaps the most common turnaround in jazz is the I – VI – II – V chord progression.

In the key of C, this jazz turnaround would look like this:

C, Am, Dm G7

You have probably seen and heard this turnaround being used many times before. Now that we have a basic turnaround, we can experiment with different ways of altering it to produce more interesting chord sequences.

The first thing we can do is to replace the minor chords in this turnaround for dominant seven chords which would give us something like this:

C, A7, D7, G7

Once you get started with these things, the potential for substitutions can sometimes seem unlimited.

Using tritone substitutions on jazz turnarounds

A really common trick when dealing with turnarounds in jazz is to use tritone substitutions to make our original I, VI, II, V chord progression more interesting.

Here are some examples that use tritone substitution on the original I, VI, II, V progression.

C A7 Ab7 Db7

C Eb7 D7 G7

C Eb7 Ab7 G7

C Eb7 D7 Db7

C Eb7 Ab7 Db7

C Am Ab7 G7

C Eb7 Dm Db7

As you can see the turnarounds start to become much more interesting harmonically when we start to add in some tritone substitutions.

Using altered dominant chords on a turnaround

Many jazz musicians will replace the boring dominant seven chords with something a little bit more harmonically adventurous. Take a look at the examples below which offer two examples of how you can use altered dominants in a turnaround situation.

C A7#5#9 Dm Db7

C A7#5#9 Dm G7b9

I hope you enjoyed learning about jazz turnarounds. Once you start to understand the theory behind them, you can start to come up with your own unique turnarounds. Have fun experimenting with these chord sequences.