This module focuses on common jazz harmony as used by jazz musicians and improvisers. It also explores harmonic and rhythmic devices used by some jazz musicians to inform their improvisations. The course will focus predominantly on jazz standards (music from The Great American Songbook), and there may also be a chance to look at more contemporary styles.
Aims and Objectives
Knowledge and Understanding
Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
- Transcribing and analysing a typical jazz solo
- Analysing and labeling a jazz leadsheet using appropriate harmonic devices
- Altering chord progressions with substitute and passing chords
- Making creative choices about chord extensions
- Writing a single-line jazz solo over a standard chord progression
- Building chords and scales using upper extensions
This module introduces students to the theoretical understanding of harmonic and some rhythmic conventions associated with jazz music, much which will be drawn from the classic repertoire of The Great American Songbook. It starts with simple nomenclature (chord symbols & spelling) and progresses through analysing functional harmony, modes, chord extensions and substitutions. It culminates in students having knowledge and understanding of adding their own chord substitutions to a well-known standard, transcribing a typical jazz solo, and writing an exemplar solo line over a given chord progression employing theoretical concepts assimilated from the module.
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
Individual study and listening
On-line based research
Individual tutorials by arrangement
|Wider reading or practice||42|
|Preparation for scheduled sessions||24|
|Completion of assessment task||60|
|Total study time||150|
Resources & Reading list
Hartley Library audio/visual reserves.
Module Blackboard site.
Hartley Library reserves.
Mark Levine (1995). The Jazz Theory Book. Petaluma: Calif: Sher Music Co.
Mark Levine (1995). The Jazz Piano Book. Petaluma: Calif: Sher Music Co.
Barry Kernfield (1995). What to Listen for In Jazz. Yale: Yale.
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.
Repeat type: Internal & External