HS Virtual Jazz: Harmony

IV. Harmony

A. Chord

Two or more notes played at the same time constitutes harmony, also known as a chord (also known as a “change” among jazz musicians).

B. Jazz Chords

Jazz chords are usually four to seven notes played simultaneously.

C. Chord Voicing

Each chord and each chord voicing (the way the notes are arranged) depict a different emotion, e.g., happy, sad, angry, hopeful, etc. (most can’t be labeled as the emotion they convey is beyond wording and different for every listener; “music is in the ears of the beholder”).


Audio Snippets

speakerspacer Chords and Chord Progressions – Mark Gridley


D. Chord Progression

A series of chords (known as a chord progression or simply the “changes”) accompanies the composed melodies of and improvisation on tunes (songs).

1. Although there are some chord progressions that are used over and over for several different tunes, most tunes have their own distinctive chord progression.

2. Jazz musicians (primarily pianists and guitarists since they are the ones who play chords) have the autonomy to voice chords (put the notes in a particular order from bottom to top) the way they want, add notes to chords, and substitute other chords for the original ones, all in order to make the music “hipper,” i.e., more up to date, better sounding, more “happening,” and more personal.

E. Comping

1. definition: the rhythmically syncopated playing of chords

2. pianists and guitarists comp the chords

3. the term comping comes from two words: to accompany and to complement; that is precisely what pianists and guitarists do: they accompany and complement the soloists.


Audio Snippets

speakerspacer Comping and Syncopation – Mark Gridley


This entry was posted in G6 Humanities. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s