Reddit reviews: The best books about jazz

We found 398 Reddit comments discussing the best books about jazz. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 128 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.

Top Reddit comments about Jazz Music:

u/Issac_ClarkeThe6th · 1 pointr/piano

Can’t comment on the Hanon, but I do have a recommendation you may be interested in. I’ve been playing classical for a while, but in the last year decided to take jazz improv on top of it. There are a few things that if you really work at then will show stellar results.

First thing is chord voicing, these are truly your bread and butter as a jazz pianist. If you ever play in a group, then these will give you a great sound with many many options to choose from.

It would take a very long time to write out a bunch of voicings, but here’s an example. For major chords there are two main interchangeable voicings which we’ll simply refer to as A and B voicings..
-A voicing is formed by starting at the root, then moving up a major third, then building a minor 7th chord. For example C root, then E minor 7. If you look at it, you’re really just playing the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th. You can drop the root once you learn minor and dominance chord voicings, but seeing not only the expanded C major chord, as well as the chord writhin a chord (E Minor 7 within the C major 9) is extremely helpful.

-B voicing is a major third up from the root, then a minor 7th chord, finally inverted twice. This will give you another voicing option so you don’t use the same chords over and over. Now for any major chord, you have three options (Root, Rootless A, Rootless B).

There are more chord voicing beyond that, but that brief example should give you an idea of what’s out there. There are A and B voicings for Major, Minor, and Dominant chords, with Dominant chords having many many options.

For now I would recommend learning you major 7th, dominant 7th, and minor 7th chords in all 12 keys. Play the root an octave lower, then with both hands play the given rootless voicing above it. This will give you an excellent foundation to build from.

Next most important thing is Modes and Scales. Each chord has a corresponding scale with notes that will sound great over a particular chord. Again due to the vast array of options, I’ll give you a starting place to go from.
-Major chords can be paired with major scales. Pretty cut and dry.

-Minor chords will be paired with the mode Dorian. Dorian is similar to a minor scale, but instead of being formed with a flating the 3rd, 6th, 7th Of any major scale, it’s formed by flating the 3rd and 7th of any major scale. So D Dorian would be all white keys.

-Dominant chords can be paired either the Mixolydian Mode. Mixolydian is formed by flating the 7th note in a major scale. So G Mixolydian would be all white keys.

Now there are many MANY options just like with chords, but this will give you a very firm place to begin improvising. As an exercise to get you playing the right scales with the right chords, play in your right hand a particular scale up two octaves and a third, while playing in your left hand the corresponding chord every 8 notes. You’ll see it line up perfectly. When you can do that reliably at 80 bpm with you major, minor, and dominant chords/scales, you’ll be in a great places.

Last but not least is basic Roman numerals theory. If you know what Roman numerals sound good going to each other, then you’ll be in a great place to not only improvise, but to even write and improvise your own songs on the fly. Again, there’s a whole lot we could cover, but to give you a taste, we’ll talk about probably the biggest progression in Jazz. The ii-V-I.

If you break it down a ii-V-I is the culmination of what we’ve talked about so far in this post. First, why this progression. Well the V-I is a common pull in music. The dominant is one of the first in the overtime series, and it’s pull to I is extremely strong. Almost if not more in some cases powerful than the pull of a vii-I. That’s cool, but what about the ii? The ii-V is actually a very strong pull in its own right. So ii now leads us into V, which then takes us home to I.

For great examples of this in action listen to Afternoon In Paris, and Take The A-Train.

Now once you have those chords in place from earlier, you can fill in the minor 7th chords for the ii, the dominant 7th chords for the V, and the Major 7th chords for the I. So in the key of C this would look like d minor 7th for ii, g dominant 7 for V, and C major 7 for I. Once you can do a ii-V-I in every key, practice playing the corresponding scales while you ii-V-I. Or you could also add rootless voicings to the ii-V-I by doing ABA voicings (Minor A, Dominant B, Major A), or BAB voicings (Minor B, Dominant A, Major B).

I would highly recommend buying a copy of The Real Book. This is a set of over 150 standard lead sheets for famous and great jazz songs. Both songs I mentioned above are in the book. Take the book, find a song, and break it down using Roman numerals. After a while things will make sense as far as what chords go where, and things will really start to click.

If you’re interested in further reading, I would highly recommend The Jazz Piano Book by Mark Levine. This book covers many many topics, and will take you far. I like the book a good bit because by any topic, it will show a real excerpt from a jazz standard of a chord used so you can see how what you’re learning is utilized.

I know this is a lot to do, but just pace yourself. You can’t build a house in a day, but if you’re patient and diligent, the world of Jazz Improve is a fun and exciting one. Best of luck, and if you have any questions feel free to comment or shoot me a dm.

u/Yeargdribble · 11 pointsr/piano

I'm known to have strong opinions against memorization in general, but mostly because of the approach people take. People who memorize music in a pop sense do it very differently from how most classically trained people think of it. Realistically those who are doing it very well for like a piano bar type situation are barely memorizing in any tradition sense. So let's break down some of the process.

Both should be using theory to help them along. The fundamentals of understand how to spell chords quickly lets you chunk ideas together. I don't see C E G B... I see Cmaj7. That's a single ideas rather than 4 different notes.

Some people on both sides will just learn and memorize shapes as a method of chunking rather than actually understanding how to spell the chords. They just think, "Oh it's a stack of thirds so I'll play one finger on every other note." This especially is likely for those who stare at the page to decode the notes once... then stare at their hands to repeat it until they feel like they've got it. They start to memorize how their hands look.

I'd recommend against that. I mean, being aware of it itsn't bad, but long term it's going to help more to know how chords feel than how they look even in various "shapes." This will help you play in every key more easily when paired with something I'll get to in a bit. But if you literally are just learning C E G B as 4 white keys that you know how they look, but you don't have it tied to a theory concept or even note names in some extreme cases... then it becomes a very non-transferable skill.

G B D F (G7) is also 4 white keys with the same spacing, but it doesn't function the same way. It's like a screwdriver and an ice pick. They look similar, but one won't do the job of the other very well. Cmaj7 is more like Dbmaj7 in function, but they look nothing alike. So if you are only memorizing the way something looks, you're gonna have a bad time.

So this is where we start getting more into how pop/jazz musicians "memorize." Understanding function within keys really helps. If you tell me I'm in the key of C, I instantly make a ton of assumptions. It will be all white keys (more specifically, for any key, I know exactly what is flat and sharp). In C I know that the primary chords are C, G, F, and Am. I also know a lot more about substitutions, secondary functions, etc. that are likely to show up in that key.

But I can do this for any key. If you tell me a key (or I figure out the key some other way) I pretty much instantly am already thinking of the I, V, IV, and vi chords.

And as a result of this with pop music, I'm no longer just chunking notes into chords... I'm now chunking chords into progressions. I-vi-IV-V-I. That could be dozens of notes, but I'm not having to think about any of them. And further, since I'm thinking in Roman numerals (which largely denote function), I can now play that same song in any key pretty easily... because I instantly know those chords in every key.

Now, let's take a step back for a moment. That Cmaj7 chord... to a lot of musicians it's a fixed thing. If they see C E G B in the music in a block... that's how they play it and that's how they memorize it. But because I think of it as Cmaj7... that could be almost anything. I can play it in a dozen voicings all over the keyboard. I can (with an understanding of functional harmony) substitute it for another chord to spice up my progression. I can spice up the chord itself for the same reason. I could add a D to that chord and it will still function the same and maybe sound a bit jazzier. I some contexts I could add a lot more notes, or alter some of them... because I know which notes I can do that with.

But all of that freedom is because I don't think of it as a single set of notes... C E G B. I come to it with an understanding of function.

So getting back to memorization. Pop/jazz musicians take all of this, but go another step forward with ear training. Not only do they have the theory down, but they know how stuff sounds. They can play melodically by ear to a certain degree and they can play harmonically as well.

So at this point they aren't really memorizing it.

Could you quote me one of your favorite lines from a movie or TV show or a passage from a book? Most likely. Did you take time to memorizing which letters are in each of the words. No. Did you memorize and practice how to move your mouth for each of the sounds to be able to say that line back to me? No.

Essentially, you just know how it goes. You can hear a sentence and repeat it back to me. You could even give different delivery or inflection. You could say the phrase "I love hot dogs" to sound like a question, or to sound sarcastic. You don't even have to think about it. You know how that sounds and you can just do it.

But when you combine all of these skills, you essentially do that with music. If you've heard a song and know how it goes, you likely could sing back some of it. While you're singing it, you probably hear the accompanying harmony inside your head.

So you just use the mentioned skills to translate that to piano. If you can sing it and you have a decent ear, you can translate that to the piano through melody. If you can hear the harmony in your head and understand enough about functional relationships and how they sound then you can replicate most of that harmony on the piano as well.

So for the best pop/jazz performers, they aren't memorizing notes any more. They are just speaking music as a language. They've heard lots of songs and they are just repeating them and rarely the exact same twice. They just know how the songs go.

All that said, that's like years of work to be able to do that passably and requires a lot of fundamental technical skills and such. But hopefully that's a lens into the process of memorizing from the pop side.


In your case I'd just start at least focusing on basic chord theory. Find out what key you're in. Find out which chords are diatonic (naturally occurring) in that key. Start at least using the chord names as a way to chunk groups of notes together.

If you want a very solid resource for this, I'd highly recommend this book.

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/musictheory


Remember that the Mixolydian scale had a structure of Root, major 2, major 3, perfect 4, perfect 5, major 6, and minor 7.

If our root is G that would be G, A, B, C, D, E, F, (G).

If we are to arrange this as a chord (by skipping notes) we get:
Root, major 3, perfect 5, minor 7, major 9, perfect 11, major 13.

(Remember that a 2nd becomes a 9th in the higher octave, so major 2nd = major 9th. A 4th becomes an 11th in the higher octave, so perfect 4th = perfect 11th. A 6th becomes a 13th in the second octave so major 6th = major 13th).

So now we can see how and why modes are used.

If you stack a Mixolydian scale as a chord, you can see how the first three notes spell out a major triad. Therefore, the Mixolydian scale can be used over a major triad. e.g. play a G major triad with the left hand, and improvise with the G Mixolydian scale in the right hand.

If you stack a Mixolydian scale as a chord, you can see how the first four notes spell out a major triad with a minor seventh: in other words, a dominant seventh chord. i.e. G Mixolydian works over a G7 chord, because the notes in the chord are contained within the scale.

If you stack a Mixolydian scale as a chord, the fifth note is a major 9th. A dominant seventh chord + a major ninth is a dominant ninth chord (usually just called a ninth chord). i.e. G mixolyidian works over G9.

We can keep going but you probably get the idea. A scale will work over any chord that contains the notes in the scale.


If you stack a major scale as chord you get:
Root, major 3, perfect 5, major 7th, major 9, pefect 11, major 13.

Note that both the major scale and the mixolydian scale contain a major triad as the first three notes. Therefore, both scales will "work" over a major triad (i.e. both G major and G mixolydian will work over a G major triad).

However, look at the 4th note you get when the major scale is stacked as a chord. It is a major seventh. Major triad + major 7th = Major ninth chord. Here's where the major scale and the mixolydian mode differ. The G Mixolydian scale will not work over a G major 9th chord, and the G major scale will not work over a G dominant ninth chord.


How to know when to use which scale?

Remember that the mixolydian mode was built off of the 5th note of the major scale. e.g. G mixolydian is the fifth mode of C major. So in the key of C the chord built off of the fifth note (the "V" chord) will naturally take the Mixolydian scale built off of that note.

However, for practical purposes, there's no need to think of modes when playing key-center based music: if you're in the key of C, playing the C major scale over the C major chord (the I chord) and then playing G mixolydian over the G major chord (the V chord) means that you're just playing the same scale over both chords--it will give you a different perspective, but the notes will be the same.

The real benefit of modes is that it gives you tools to play over songs that aren't necessarily major/minor key based; i.e. songs that use non-functional harmony. Imagine a song with a chord progression of G7 to Bb7 throughout the tune. These two chords don't belong to any one key: this is a situation where you'd want to think modally, i.e. play G mixolydian over the G7 and switch to Bb Mixolydian over Bb7.

(Note that chord-scale theory is not an improvisation method*. Many students are misguided when they are taught to play x scale over x chord. Chord-scale theory let's you understand harmony, which notes are strongest or most stable against a particular chord how to add extensions. Learning improvisation is more about learning how to target chord tones on the strong beats, and embellishing a melody using mostly chromatic devices.)

So I used the major scale and the Mixolydian mode as examples in this essay. Since there are seven notes in the major scale, each one of those notes can be thought of as the root of a different mode; each one will be distinct, and the fully extended chord will be different for each mode.

The seven modes of the C major scale are:

C Major scale (a.k.a. C Ionian): C D E F G A B (Root, Maj2, Maj3, P4, P5, Maj6, Maj7)
D Dorian: D E F G A B C (Root, Maj2, min3, P4, P5, Maj6, min7)
E Phyrigian: E F G A B C D (Root, min2, min3, P4, P5, min6, min7)
F Lydian: F G A B C D E (Root, Maj2, Maj3, P4, P5, Maj6, Maj7)
G Mixolydian: G A B C D E F (Root, Maj2, Maj3, P4, P5, Maj6, min7)
A Aeolian (a.k.a the Natural Minor Scale): A B C D E F G (Root, Maj2, min3, P4, P5, min6, min7)
B Locrian: B C D E F G A (Root, min2, min3, P4, diminished 5th, min6, min7)

We can say these seven modes are
relative to each other, because they use the same set of notes. In other words, D dorian is relative to C major.

If we build each of those 7 scales on C, and look at their structure, we get:

C Lydian: C D E F# G A B (Root, Maj2, Maj3, Augmented 4th, P5, Maj6, Maj7)
C Major/Ionian: C D E F G A B (Root, Maj2, Maj3, P4, P5, Maj6, Maj7)
C Mixolydian: C D E F G A Bb (Root, Maj2, Maj3, P4, P5, Maj6, min7)
C Dorian: C D Eb F G A Bb (Root, Maj2, min3, P4, P5, Maj6, min7)
C Aeolian/Natural Minor: C D Eb F G Ab Bb (Root, Maj2, min3, P4, P5, min6, min7)
C Phrygian: C Db Eb F G Ab Bb (Root, min2, min3, P4, P5, min6, min7)
C Locrian: C Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb (Root, min2, min3, P4, diminished 5th, min6, min7)

We can say that these 7 modes are
parallel to each other, because they are built on the same root*. In other words C Dorian is parallel to C major, while C Dorian is relative to Bb major. (Also, try to figure out why I listed them in that order!)

It's up to you to go through them. Just remember what the important information is:

  • What is the interval structure of the mode, and how does it compare with the major scale built on the same root?
  • What are the chords produced by the mode when you skip every other note? What is the triad, what is the seventh chord, and what are the extensions?
  • Learn to sing each of the modes from memory; this is how you will learn the individual character of each.


    Beyond the modes of the major scale, (and aside from the chromatic scale) you also have the seven modes of:

  • The Melodic Minor scale (a.k.a. the jazz minor scale)
  • The Harmonic Minor scale
  • The Harmonic Major scale
  • The Double Harmonic scale

    And there are the three symmetrical scales:

  • The symmetrical diminished (only two different modes)
  • The symmetrical augmented scale (only two different modes)
  • The whole tone scale (only one mode)

    These scales pretty much cover every possible scale/chord. Some people may include pentatonic scales, but those are really just derivatives, created by leaving out a couple notes from the other scales.

    (For a more in-depth resource on the theory/philosophy behind scales, see:
    TheTonalCentre.org, and
    Slonimsky's Thesaurus Of Scales And Melodic Patterns)

    The best general jazz chord-scale theory text I've seen (I've seen them all) is probably the Berklee book,
    Chord Scale Theory and Jazz Harmony;
    However, even better would be the Bert Ligon books, because they go into more detail about how to actually put it into practice:
    Connecting Chords with Linear Harmony
    Jazz Theory Resources Volume 1
    Jazz Theory Resources Volume 2
    Comprehensive Technique for Jazz Musicians
u/Xnense · 2 pointsr/piano

I live on the pacific coast so I can’t help with the teacher part but I have just started jazz piano about a six months ago after playing piano for a year, I feel that you should first familiarize yourself with piano in any way you can before moving into jazz and paying for lessons, once you’re experienced you should buy the sixth edition of the real book and learn how to read jazz standards. These are songs that are in the book (400+ songs) are classics that pretty much all experienced jazz musicians can pick up on and can play along to. It’ll only have the melody on the chords to go along with it, you should learn the melody and play it the way you feel is best and play around with it and then harmonize it with the chords. Once you get familiar with this you should try your best to solo over it along with the chords, you might sound like ass but you’ll have to practice to get an ear for soloing, eventually you’ll get better and pick up and learn techniques. One of my favorite jazz pianist YouTubers made a great video that gives a list of some of the easier jazz standards that are mostly in the real book, they are great for gaining a foundation in jazz. It’s important that you know how to play all types of chords to best play jazz standards, if you’re interested message me and I’ll send you directions for a good exercise for this. Lastly when learning jazz standards it’s best to listen to the song and the chord changes a lot first to get a feel for the song, learning the vocals also helps with expression. Once you get a foothold for all of these basics then you should look for a teacher, I suggest taking a few months before that.

u/OnaZ · 8 pointsr/piano

Here is a good summary of four note rootless voicings and Here is a more complete chart.

I start all of my students off with these. The voicings generally take about 1-3 months to get in your fingers (mostly muscle memory). Around 6 months you'll be able to plug them into lead sheets without too much thought, but you probably won't be able to do it in real time. Around 12 months you really won't have to think about them any more. They are a great place to start with voicings because they give you a great sound in a compact one-hand format. Remember that the bass player is covering the root of the chord, so you are more concerned about 3,5,7,9,11,13.

The most two most important things in jazz are keeping your place in the form and playing in time. You can have the hippest voicing but if it's not in the pocket, it's going to sound awful. Likewise, you can have the coolest, most innovative improvisation, but if you're lost in the form, it's not going to flow over the changes.

Play with a metronome, ALWAYS. Explore play-along tracks, Jamey Aebersold books being the most well-known. There are also great online resources for play-along tracks. Check out here for a great place to start. These are also fun.

Get started on ear training yesterday. It'll help a lot. I like this trainer as it has a lot of things tailored towards jazz musicians. It has some simple play-along tracks too.

If you need something basic just to get by for now (while learning the voicings I linked above) then really start to learn the thirds and sevenths of chords. These are called guide tones and they are all you really need to define a chord. Try playing an A3 and an E4 in your right hand over an F2 in your left hand. There's a nice voicing for the Fmaj7 you listed above. It sounds a whole lot cooler than FAC and will get you started thinking about splitting your voicings up to use more of the keyboard. You want to get to the point where you see a chord on the page and you instantly know what the third and the seventh of the chord is. Make sure you get the correct third and seventh:

  • Major7th Chord: Major Third, Major Seventh | C E G B
  • Minor7th Chord: Minor Third, Minor Seventh | C Eb G Bb
  • Dominant7th Chord: Major Third, Minor Seventh | C E G Bb

    Learn those combinations and see if you can get through a lead sheet naming thirds and sevenths as you go.

    There's really a whole lot more I could write about the topic, but this might be enough to get you started.

    If you have specific songs that you need help with, don't hesitate to ask. I would be happy to work out some simple arrangements/voicings/solos with you.

    Good luck!

u/Jongtr · 3 pointsr/musictheory

I think every theory book I've ever read has opened up my mind in some way - while always being unsatisfactory in other ways (incomplete, too dense, too little on some forms of music, etc). My experience and interest is largely in popular music of all kinds, less in classical, so that has biased my reading somewhat; but I can recommend all the following (not 100%, but worth reading):

Eric Taylor: The AB Guide to Music Theory, pts I and II - good review of the basics, aimed at pupils studying for grades. Not deep in any way but good if you're just starting out. Solidly classical, which could be a downside for some. The concepts up to grade 5 are shrunk to useful pocket size in [this] (https://www.amazon.co.uk/First-Steps-Music-Theory-Grades/dp/1860960901/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466150641&sr=1-1&keywords=theory+of+music+grades+1-5) - 100% recommended for any absolute beginner.

George Heussenstamm : [Harmony and Theory, pts 1 & 2 (Hal Leonard)] (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hal-Leonard-Harmony-Theory-Diatonic/dp/1423498879/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466150878&sr=1-2&keywords=Hal+Leonard+Harmony+%26+Theory) Usefully split into Diatonic and Chromatic. I've read a few texts on standard classical theory, and this is the most approachable, IMO.

William Russo: [Jazz Composition and Orchestration] (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jazz-Composition-Orchestration-William-Russo/dp/0226732150/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466151290&sr=1-1&keywords=russo+jazz+composition) Taught me more than I thought I wanted to know about counterpoint. Most of which I've now forgotten (not much call for it in the bands I played in...). But if you're not into big band jazz (at all), maybe not worth it.

William Russo: [Composing for the Jazz Orchestra] (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Composing-Jazz-Orchestra-William-Russo-ebook/dp/B01EZ8OKQW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466149432&sr=1-1&keywords=william+russo) Neat little guide book on jazz arranging (NOT composition).

Mark Levine: [The Jazz Theory Book] (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jazz-Theory-Book-Mark-Levine/dp/1883217040/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466151006&sr=1-1&keywords=levine+jazz+theory) 50% recommended. Well written and presented, eye-opening in many ways, but beware - chord-scale theory! (controversial stuff, in ways he doesn't admit.)

Robert Rawlins and Nor Eddine Bahha: [Jazzology] (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jazzology-Encyclopedia-Jazz-Theory-Musicians/dp/0634086782/ref=pd_sim_14_5?ie=UTF8&dpID=41YkvVcCfEL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR120%2C160_&refRID=ZR730GKYPSZYA2THNXGT) The somewhat dry antidote to the above. 50% recommended. Should have been good, but somehow hard to read, easy to put down. Unlike Levine, no quotes from jazz standards or recordings - all music examples are written by the authors.

Dominic Pedler: [The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles] (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Songwriting-Secrets-%2522Beatles%2522-Dominic-Pedler/dp/0711981671/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466151087&sr=1-1&keywords=pedler+beatles) Outlines the vast number of theoretical concepts that the fab four would be astonished to learn they employed. Includes a useful appendix on basic concepts of tonal harmony. If you like pop and rock (and theory) but don't like the Beatles, still worth reading.

But then if you like the Beatles AND theory... [Alan Pollack's site] (http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DATABASES/AWP/awp-alphabet.shtml) is essential reading. (Pedler is deep, but doesn't examine EVERY song. Pollack is briefer, but does.

Allan F Moore: [Song Means: Analysing and Interpreting Popular Song] (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Song-Means-Analysing-Interpreting-Recorded/dp/1409438023/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466151140&sr=1-1&keywords=allan+moore+song+means) Does what it says in the title - and goes deep! (way beyond the plain old superficial harmony concepts peddled - sorry - by Pedler :-))

Walter Everett: [Rock's Tonal Systems] (http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.04.10.4/mto.04.10.4.w_everett.html) More stuff to raise the eyebrows of any rock musician. "Wow - we really do all that?"

Paul F Berliner: [Thinking in Jazz] (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thinking-Jazz-Infinite-Improvisation-Ethnomusicology/dp/0226043819/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466151218&sr=1-1&keywords=thinking+in+jazz) Not a music theory book in the usual sense, but discusses how jazz musicians think about improvisation.

u/jaeger_meister · 2 pointsr/drums

Yeah, the particular album with Oscar Peterson isn't the best for study - as you won't be able to listen to what an experienced jazz drummer would do in those situations - but it is a great practice tool since drumless jazz recordings are so rare. In particular I love "Pennies from Heaven", it's a great mid-tempo swing to jam along with. And if you can work up to up-tempo swing, "I want to be Happy" is a serious workout. 7 minutes of 250 bpm spang-a-lang to really build those chops.

Oh, and if you haven't yet, invest in a copy of the real book and encourage your friends to as well. You can flip to almost any random page and have a great jam sesh. And with a little rehearsal you can gig those tunes as well. Not the most avant-garde stuff, but you've got to start somewhere :) Now go give that ride a good spank for me. Happy jazzing!

u/Enyse · 4 pointsr/TheOA

\>>> I tried to compile the rest of the books.


But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz

by Geoff Dyer

(can't find the same edition)

"May be the best book ever written about jazz."—David Thomson, Los Angeles Times

In eight poetically charged vignettes, Geoff Dyer skillfully evokes the music and the men who shaped modern jazz. Drawing on photos, anecdotes, and, most important, the way he hears the music, Dyer imaginatively reconstructs scenes from the embattled lives of some of the greats: Lester Young fading away in a hotel room; Charles Mingus storming down the streets of New York on a too-small bicycle; Thelonious Monk creating his own private language on the piano. However, music is the driving force of But Beautiful, and wildly metaphoric prose that mirrors the quirks, eccentricity, and brilliance of each musician's style.


The Tide: The Science and Stories Behind the Greatest Force on Earth

by Hugh Aldersey-Williams
Half of the world’s population today lives in coastal regions lapped by tidal waters. But the tide rises and falls according to rules that are a mystery to almost all of us. In The Tide, celebrated science writer Hugh Aldersey-Williams weaves together centuries of scientific thinking with the literature and folklore the tide has inspired to explain the power and workings of this most remarkable force.

Here is the epic story of the long search to understand the tide from Aristotle, to Galileo and Newton, to classic literary portrayals of the tide from Shakespeare to Dickens, Melville to Jules Verne.


Return of the Sea Otter

by Todd McLeish

A science journalist's journey along the Pacific Coast from California to Alaska to track the status, health, habits, personality, and viability of sea otters--the appealing species unique to this coastline that was hunted to near extinction in the 18th and 19th centuries. These adorable, furry marine mammals--often seen floating on their backs holding hands--reveal the health of the coastal ecosystem along the Pacific Ocean. Once hunted for their prized fur during the 1700s and 1800s, these animals nearly went extinct. Only now, nearly a century after hunting ceased, are populations showing stable growth in some places. Sea otters are a keystone species in coastal areas, feeding on sea urchins, clams, crab, and other crustaceans. When they are present, kelp beds are thick and healthy, providing homes for an array of sealife. When otters disappear, sea urchins take over, and the kelp disappears along with all of the creatures that live in the beds. Now, thanks to their protected status, sea otters are floating around in coves in California, Washington, and Alaska.


Why Women Will Save the Planet

by Friends Of The Earth, Jenny Hawley (Editor)

Women's empowerment is critical to environmental sustainability, isn't it? When Friends of the Earth asked this question on Facebook half of respondents said yes and half said no, with women as likely to say no as men. This collection of articles and interviews, from some of the leading lights of the environmental and feminist movements, demonstrates that achieving gender equality is vital if we are to protect the environment upon which we all depend. It is a rallying call to environmental campaigning groups and other environmentalists who have, on the whole, neglected women's empowerment in their work.


Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea and Human Life

by George Monbiot

This book explodes with wonder and delight. Making use of remarkable scientific discoveries that transform our understanding of how natural systems work, George Monbiot explores a new, positive environmentalism that shows how damaged ecosystems on land and at sea can be restored, and how this restoration can revitalize and enrich our lives. Challenging what he calls his “ecological boredom,” Monbiot weaves together a beautiful and riveting tale of wild places, wildlife, and wild people. Roaming the hills of Britain and the forests of Europe, kayaking off the coast of Wales with dolphins and seabirds, he seeks out the places that still possess something of the untamed spirit he would like to resurrect.

He meets people trying to restore lost forests and bring back missing species—such as wolves, lynx, wolverines, wild boar, and gray whales—and explores astonishing evidence that certain species, not just humans, have the power to shape the physical landscape.


To the River: A Journey Beneath the Surface

by Olivia Laing

To the River is the story of the Ouse, the Sussex river in which Virginia Woolf drowned in 1941. One midsummer week over sixty years later, Olivia Laing walked Woolf's river from source to sea. The result is a passionate investigation into how history resides in a landscape - and how ghosts never quite leave the places they love. Along the way, Laing explores the roles rivers play in human lives, tracing their intricate flow through literature and mythology alike. To the River excavates all sorts of stories from the Ouse's marshy banks, from the brutal Barons' War of the thirteenth century to the 'Dinosaur Hunters', the nineteenth-century amateur naturalists who first cracked the fossil code. Central among these ghosts is, of course, Virginia Woolf herself: her life, her writing and her watery death. Woolf is the most constant companion on Laing's journey, and To the River can be read in part as a biography of this extraordinary English writer, refracted back through the river she loved. But other writers float through these pages too - among them Iris Murdoch, Shakespeare, Homer and Kenneth Grahame, author of the riverside classic The Wind in the Willows.

u/jesushadquickhands · 3 pointsr/Music

Your Wish Is My Command:

Bass Lead:
Johnny Dyani - Song For Biko
Paul Chambers - Bass on Top (Miles Davis bassist- This guy is seriously cool)

General Jazz
Clarke, Kenny & Francy Boland Big Band - Change Of Scenes (Big band with a bass solo on track 6 thats amazing)
Axelrod, David - Song Of Innocence
Axelrod, David - Songs Of Experience heavily sampled by everyone - hear it asap
Ayler, Albert - Live In Greenwich Village The Complete Impulse Recordings (their rendition of saints go marching in will change your perspective of music forever)
Stitt, Sonny - Kaleidoscope
Silver, Horace - Blowin' The Blues Away
Sharrock, Sonny - Ask The Ages (guitar jazz)
Rollins, Sonny - Saxaphone Colossus
Ra, Sun And The Arkestra - Sound Of Joy (planet earth on this lp is one i play my friends to get them into jazz, most end up digging it)
Parlan, Horace - Happy Frame Of Mind (this guy has a physical disability with his hand which makes his playing unique)
Morgan, Lee - The Sidewinder
Monk, Thelonious - Straight, No Chaser
La Roca, Pete - Basra
Lacy, Steve - 5 X Monk 5 X Lacy
Lateef, Yusef - Eastern Sounds
Laws, Hubert - In The Beginning
Hancock, Herbie - Head Hunters
Green, Grant - Matador
Davis, Miles - Birth Of The Cool
Davis, Miles - Round About Midnight
Davis, Miles - Miles Ahead
Davis, Miles - Kind Of Blue
Davis, Miles - Sketches Of Spain
Davis, Miles - Seven Steps To Heaven
Davis, Miles - Miles Smiles
Davis, Miles - Nefertiti
Davis, Miles - Filles De Kilimanjaro
Davis, Miles - Bitches Brew
Davis, Miles - In A Slient Way
Davis, Miles - A Tribute To Jack Johnson
Davis, Miles - On The Corner

Weird\Free\Awkward Jazz
Don Cherry - Mu
Ornette Coleman - Shape Of Jazz To Come (More important than miles in my opinion)
Taylor, Cecil - Unit Structures
Big Satan - I Think They Liked It Honey
Shepp, Archie - The Magic Of Ju-Ju

The Most Difficult Album Ever:
Brotzmann, Peter - Machine Gun

I got into Jazz by listening to Theme De Yoyo by Art Ensemble Of Chicago. From there I moved onto the big hitters like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck. Closer inspection of the players on the albums will lead you to other soloists. For example the Sax player Cannonball Adderly is on kind of blue, he has an album called Somethin' Else which has Art Blakey on Drums etc etc etc.

The more you dig the more you find out there is to listen. You then start to visit historic people like louis armstrong, duke ellington etc and through that you recognize standards. Then once you start out seeking out standards you realise loads of people do them and you get into the modern stuff.

All music is for sure a great resource as they basically tell you who is on the lp and its rating. i trust them for jazz. Also, this book is lovely.

I then started seeking out records labels like Blue Note, Impulse, ECM, Jazz Actuel, Columbia Jazz etc.

Let me know how you are getting on in the future. I'd stay clear at the moment from loft jazz, fire music and free jazz as some of its crazy. And I will just laugh when you hear machine gun and go "WTF IS THIS!!!!) yes, it IS a saxophone...

just enjoy it.

u/darknessvisible · 1 pointr/IWantToLearn

Thanks very much for the examples. I'm starting to get an idea of what you're aiming at. I wasn't able to listen to the Epica song due to territory restrictions, but I'm just a bit confused because all of the others were guitar based and didn't have any piano in at all. Can you give me some examples involving the piano style you are interested in?

From these examples I would say that the type of ballad you like is a sub-category of pop/rock. The main difference between this and classical music is that classical music is generally fully notated and performers are expected to play exactly according to the score. Whereas pop/rock is often derived from jamming/improvisation in the studio, and the notated version (if one is even made) is more like a guideline. With jazz even more so - jazz is fully improvised, generally around a given melody or chord structure, and pretty much never notated.

I would suggest taking a look at The Jazz Piano Book by Mark Levine. Sorry I could only find the kindle edition although it definitely exists as a hard copy because I've got it at home. This takes you through the process of learning jazz piano from the most basic elements to full competence. If you can play jazz you will be able to play any pop/rock, because it will seem very simple by comparison.

If you would like to learn classical piano then reacquainting yourself with reading music is the top priority. And it would also be good if you could identify the type of classical piano you are most interested in. Perhaps you could take a youtube tour of the main keyboard composers in different musical periods.

In the Baroque era the three main keyboard composers were Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Frederick Handel and Domenico Scarlatti.

In the Classical era the three main keyboard composers were Franz Joseph Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

In the Romantic era the main keyboard composers were Chopin, Liszt, Schumann and Brahms - but this era bleeds into the next era of Modernism, so there are still composers such as Debussy, Ravel and Rachmaninov writing in a Romantic style well into the 20th century.

Let me know if you'd like some specific examples and I'll compile a list.

u/CrownStarr · 8 pointsr/piano

Thing is, that sort of thinking doesn't really work too well in jazz - there isn't really "repertoire" in the same sense as in classical music. Some standards are more complex than others, sure, but the difficulty is really what you make of it. In jazz, you generally work from what are called "lead sheets", where all you have is the melody and the chords. Here's one for When I Fall in Love. Pretty simplistic, right? Here's Oscar Peterson playing it. The lead sheet is the basic framework for what he's playing, but all the embellishment and runs and extra chords and everything is just coming from him. So you can't really say whether When I Fall in Love is an "easy" standard or not.

As for how to learn, the single best way is to get a teacher. But if you just want to start dabbling, I would suggest getting some books of transcriptions of famous jazz pianists, just to start getting the feel and sound of it in your mind. Those books will have real performances transcribed note-for-note, so you don't need to know how to read lead sheets or improvise to play them. I would also check out Mark Levine's Jazz Piano Book to start learning the theory behind it all, and a Real Book to start practicing with. If you're good at teaching yourself things, the combination of those two books will give you years and years of material.

But I want to re-emphasize that getting some kind of teacher or mentor will help enormously. It's good for classical music, as you know, but jazz is even more like learning a foreign language, because it's improvised. If you just want to dabble for fun, that's fine, but if you get serious about jazz, find someone to guide you, even if it's just an hour a month.

u/onlyforjazzmemes · 2 pointsr/jazzguitar

I've played a decent amound of rock, (mostly into Wilco, Sufjan type stuff) and I feel that playing Bach helped me a lot for writing memorable parts with good voice leading. It's mostly about giving yourself a solid harmonic framework to go off of. Like building a house... you can kinda do whatever you want with the decorations, but the framework and structure has to be there. Bach gives us that framework, even for rock/pop/jazz (to an extent).

Some things of his that might help you for guitar parts: his solo violin (and solo cello) stuff. He was able to coax polyphonic sounds and a sense of harmony out of two instruments which are mostly monophonic, and you really learn how to write a good melody. For two-part structure (bass+melody, the most important voices), check out his Inventions, and for 3-part, check out the French Suites. For heavier stuff, check out the Well-Tempered Clavier or B Minor Mass. It's mostly about being aware of how you're moving the voices, and how your parts are moving melodically... thinking of harmony as melody.

Obviously, there's a huge difference between Bach and something like funk or afrobeat, which are groove-based, but I think studying him is really helpful for writing parts that "just fit" with the rest of the band, or knowing how to keep strong harmonic structure with minimal instrumentation (solo, duo, etc).

Some other books to maybe consider:

Exploring Jazz Arranging (He also talks about Bach)

Contemporary Counterpoint

Tonal Counterpoint for the 21st Century Musician

Voice Leading: The Science Behind a Musical Art

u/Xenoceratops · 2 pointsr/musictheory

All that information is contained in the links I provided (particularly the first and second ones). Basically, any chord and any contrapuntal tone can serve any function, so long as it behaves in a way that communicates that function rhetorically and structurally. We recently had a thread where I gave an exposition on melodic-harmonic divorce on an EDM track. I don't know if that post reads like gobbledygook, but it should at least give you a sense of layer-oriented thinking in counterpoint in popular music.

The current research in rock music analysis benefits widely from the theory of formal functions presented in William Caplin's 1998 treatise, Classical Form. Caplin's work is part of a wider field of theory spearheaded by American and Canadian scholars called the "New Formenlehre". The old Formenlehre — just called Formenlehre, or "the study of form" — stemmed from the work of 19th century theorists like A.B. Marx, and was basically a rigid taxonomy of classical forms. The New Formenlehre, on the other hand, is incredibly flexible, being used to reexamine 'common knowledge' and inherited facts about classical form, extend classical models into the 19th and 20th centuries, reveal paradigmatic voice-leading structures in jazz, talk about how rhythm works in groove-based music (see the last link in my previous post), and even form theories around the use of distortion and noise in metal music. This video provides a brief introduction to Caplin's theory of formal functions.

Formal functions look at the relationship between a series of musical events, temporality, and goal-orientation (or, indeed, the lack thereof). This also means that formal functions pair nicely with Schenkerian analysis, which is already an extremely useful tool on its own. The result is you get a zoomed-out view of the music, so you can see where things are going and how the pieces fit together. The theory of formal functions is still fairly young, and I know it's beginning to percolate down into some undergraduate curricula, but chances are that you and maybe even your teachers aren't yet aware of it. But it's So. Damn. Useful.

You mentioned Muse earlier. The kind of harmony they use is often pretty close to what you learn in the theory classroom, but also with a good dose of parsimonious voice-leading relationships modeled under transformational theory. This video visualizes how the voice-leading in Take A Bow maps onto a triadic Tonnetz. Even if you don't know what's going on from that graph, you can see that the types of chord progressions are fairly consistent. I link some neo-Riemannian resources in this thread. You can also dig into Dmitri Tymoczko's A Geometry of Music for some really useful methodology for talking about rock and other 20th century musics.

u/IncredulousDylan · 3 pointsr/piano

My two cents - love that piano sound, haha. Wish I had a grand to play on. I'm an amateur myself, but I think you can benefit from more of a focus on varying dynamics during your improv and the use of some modes or dissonance to add more atmosphere and color. /u/AtherisElectro makes the case well, but varying dynamics helps tell your story more - just like if you were telling someone a story in real life. You employ this well here in the beginning. If it is all turned up to 11 the entire time, the listener may start to tune out a bit because they are becoming used to the pattern. For example, modulating to a different key with a different atmosphere (more lydian, softer dynamics, etc.) can give you a second section and more of a journey for the listener. Of course, it depends on the story you are looking to tell. An excellent book for learning some ways to add color to your improvisation is "Jazzology: The Encyclopedia of Jazz Theory for All Musicians". Chick Corea is a master at this and listening to any of his innumerable albums should give you plenty of great ideas. Now I just have to start doing any of this for my own improv ; ).

u/tmwrnj · 5 pointsr/Guitar

I'd recommend Jazz Guitar: Complete Edition by Jody Fisher. It covers all the important topics in a fairly straightforward way and comes with a CD of examples and backing tracks. It's aimed at intermediate guitarists, but your experience should be sufficient.

The old standard was Mickey Baker's Jazz Guitar, but I'm not a huge fan. The learning curve is extremely steep and there's not a great deal of theory or explanation. It'd be a really useful companion to lessons with a teacher, but I think that most beginners would really struggle with it.

A good alternative to the Jody Fisher book is A Modern Method For Guitar by William Leavitt. The learning curve is fairly gradual, but it's tough going - everything is written in standard notation and there's no real instruction as such. It seems to be inspired by the Suzuki method. Everything is taught through progressively more demanding examples. You probably won't get stuck on anything, but you will need to do a bit of thinking to figure stuff out for yourself.

If you want to learn jazz theory in depth, I'd strongly recommend Jazzology by Rawlins and Bahha. It's the clearest, most elegant explanation of how everything fits together in jazz. It's not specifically written for guitar, but the theory is universal. The Jody Fisher book covers all the theory that you really need to know, but Jazzology would be a really good supplement if you like to understand things in detail.

In your jazz guitar journey, you'll probably come across The Real Book. It's an essential reference text, containing lead sheets for hundreds of the most popular jazz tunes. It's how most of us learned our repertoire and most of us still have a copy in our gig bag pocket. Today, you have a huge advantage in learning tunes because of the fabulous iReal Pro. It's an app version of The Real Book, but it can also play backing tracks for any tune in any key and at any tempo. It's an absolute boon when you're learning to play solos.

Finally, I'd suggest just listening to a whole bunch of jazz, not just jazz guitar. You should know Joe Pass, Ted Greene and Wes Montgomery, but you should also know Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie.

u/Raspberry_Mango · 1 pointr/singing

Thanks for the gold - my first!

I learned SO MUCH in my undergrad and master's degrees in jazz performance. I'm not sure what style you're really going for here (although I had your melody stuck in my head in a Latin jazz style), but one of the most useful resources was this book:


It's not a giant text so it's very affordable and digestible. But there wasn't a lot of reliance on texts or reading in my program (when it comes to jazz theory). We got a thorough understanding of music theory and jazz theory through practical application in private lessons and participatory courses like Improvisation or Jazz Styles.

Also I think I'm pretty smart about this stuff in general :)

Wish I had more concrete resources to offer you! Feel free to PM with Qs any time.

I have a debut neo-soul single coming out in May :) I'll send you my social media stuff if you're interested in hearing it!

u/comosedicewaterbed · 2 pointsr/Guitar

Check out Bill Frisell, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Weather Report. These are all fusion guys and may serve as a good bridge between rock and jazz for you. Beyond that, learn about the greats. Even non-guitarists. Learn about how Louis Armistrong played trumpet, how Coltrane played sax, how Monk played piano, how Max Roach played drums. One thing I love about jazz is that there's a lot of cross-instrument inspiration. A whole style of piano playing was invented by Armstrong's pianist mimicking his trumpet playing on the keys.

Other people have recommended the Ken Burns Jazz documentary, and I would as well. It's a great look through the history of jazz. This book is also a great resource, going both into the history and the musicality of jazz.

u/valier_l · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

You say you play an instrument so I'll work under the assumption you have a basic understanding of chords/chord professions.

There are many different types of "jazz" music and ensembles- big band, Dixieland, Latin fusion, etc. but based on your question I'm guessing you're asking more about small combo-improv-heavy Jazz.

The basic idea is that you have a chord progression and typically a melody is played once or twice, then followed by improv solos. These solos work within and around that same chord progression.

A good way to get started is to pick a song you like, find the chord progression, and start practicing the notes on repeat. Don't try to play in tempo, just go through each chord and play the scale. Then start over and do the same thing but do scale in thirds instead. Then do arpeggios. Then start to embellish a little. Another great learning technique is to listen to pros solo on a song you like, then try to mimic their licks.

If you're looking for a good place to find chord progressions for pretty much every jazz standard, get yourself a [Real Book](The Real Book: Sixth Edition https://www.amazon.com/dp/0634060384/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_sI1oxbFVNBDBW)

Fair warning: improv has a VERY long learning curve. You'll probably suck at first. That's okay.

u/heavyweather77 · 4 pointsr/Saxophonics

For getting better at the saxophone as an instrument -- playing mechanics like finger technique, tone production, air support, tongue position, articulation, etc -- there's no substitute for a private teacher combined with lots of individual study and practice of recordings. Charlie Parker learned how to play by thoroughly absorbing a few records by his heroes (Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, etc) and then developing his own ideas from there. It's a good way to go.

In terms of practical theory that'll help with improvisation, writing, and just generally understanding and internalizing how things work in jazz (and most American music for that matter), I always recommend Dan Haerle's book "The Jazz Language." It's skinny, inexpensive, and extremely well put together, with everything you need to know about modern harmony as a gigging musician. Dan is a fantastic teacher and musician, and his book is a staple in many university jazz programs. It's worth a look!

u/YogurtBatmanSwag · 5 pointsr/musictheory

You mentioned you like jazz, feel free to hang out with us /r/Jazz

Internet is great, and there is a lot for good free ressources. You'll have to go through a bunch of crap though, it can be confusing for a beginner and takes valuable time away to an already time consuming hobby.

So here are a few books I personally recommand.

Jazzology, an encyclopedia of theory centered around jazz that you can use with any genre. It's really good.

The real book, a good way to learn jazz standards with sheets that aren't so painful, using solfège for melody and letters for chords. This is the format I use with students.

The Jazz Theory book, or anything from mark levine.

The Complete Musician is good if you can find it for cheap, which is no easy task.

The definition of perfect pitch includes knowing the names of the notes. Without this knowledge, it's just "having a good ear". A good way to practice it is picking random notes and visualizing what the chord will sound like before playing it. That vizualisation aspect is the amazing thing about absolute pitch and helps with composing. The tuning or knowing what key you're in things are cute but fairly irrelevant.

Anyway, have fun.

u/danw1989 · 2 pointsr/Woodshed

Get your hands on some improvisation books. Doesn't necessarily mean they all have to be just guitar books...jazz theory books will come in handy for any musician. Get your hands on a Real Book Listen to great performers - I'll suggest Pat Metheny, John Scofield, and Herb Ellis for starters. Become really familiar with their music and the way they improvise... when you hear little bits and pieces of things they do and you like them, write them out - transcribe. Hearing and practicing these will enable you to incorporate them into your improvisation, and the more you study and 'shed your heart out, the more you will pick up on how great improvisors do their thing.

Also, practice all your scales... slowly. When you are transcribing, you'll be surprised how much easier it is when you have a good understanding of every type of scale and how they are used (theory books will explain).

Hope this helps. Cheers.

u/Wigoutbag · 2 pointsr/Jazz

This concept of playing modally over a diatonic progression is kinda long-winded and pointless, imo. and not really how it's done.

Besides that, telling him to "play" the relevant mode for every chord doesn't help him any more than telling him to just play the major scale over it all.

I mean, we're trying to play music, not run scales from the root, how do you change mode from dorian to mixolydian in the middle of a line before you realize you're just playing ionian anyway?

It's the same note set, unless you know how to place them rhythmically to match the harmony, you're not doing anything different by just mentally shifting gear from dorian to mixolydian to ionian.
And, if you do know how to form lines to place the chord tones on the downbeats, you have no need to switch from mode to mode every bar because you'll know it's all part of one whole.

e.g., if I play this line, I'm not changing from dorian over the ii, mixo. over the V and Ionian over the I, yet you still hear the changes because it hits the chord tones on the downbeats.

It's all C major with a single added chromatic passing tone to make the chord tones line up with the downbeat.

For a further example, that line is over one chord per bar Am7-D7-Gmaj7 but the line would also work if it was two chords per bar Am7-D7-Am7-D7-Gmaj7. Would you say it changed mode 4 times?

Improvisation is hard enough without having to think about changing modes for every chord in a diatonic progression.

Learn your arpeggios, learn where the chord tones are and learn how to make scalar lines that hit the chord tones on the downbeats of the bars. Learn to add some tension, especially over the V and you'll sound like you're playing the changes.

Work on making lines that combine arpeggios and scales, how to use a scale in a musical context instead of running it up and down and, most importantly, work on hearing lines in your head before you play them, eventually you'll get to the point where your brain is screaming at you to play a certain note or phrase, that's what improvisation is about.

Here's some bebop scales you can check out, they're 8 note scales (basically 7 note scales with an added chromatic) that flow better over changes than 7 note scales, since they place the chord tones on the downbeats.

Also, look into David Baker's How To Play Bebop books for practical applications of scales in jazz, the Bebop Bible and Bert Ligon's books are good too.

u/Broomoid · 3 pointsr/Bass

I'd probably suggest this one, or maybe this one

In terms of walking bass, the only to get better at it is unfortunately just to keep working at it. Start on a not-too-complicated tune such as Satin Doll, or something else with lots of II-V-I progressions in it, or a 12-bar blues, and work up to more complicated charts.

Here's a "quick and dirty" method to work out some walking bass lines. It's a bit simplistic perhaps, but it will at least get you started, and it does work. Assuming a 4/4 time sig:


Beats 1 & 3: On the beats where the chords fall (1 & 3) play the root (at least at first).
Beats 2 & 4: On the other beats (2 & 4) play an approach note that gets you to the root of the next chord, so a note either a half-step or whole step above the note you want to get to. Use your ear to judge which is best. So if the chord on beat 3 is G7, on beat 2 you could play either A, Ab, F# or F.


Beat 1: Play the root (again, at first)
Beat 4: Play an approach note as above, so either a half or whole step above or below, whichever sounds best.
Beats 2 & 3: You have a few options:

a. outline the chord notes. For example root, 3, 5 then, or root, 3, 5 then to your approach note.

b. move by step (don't be afraid of chromatic notes, you'd be surprised how often they work). So going from Dmi7 to G7 you could move up be step playing D, E, F, F#.

c. Try going from the root on the first beat up or down to the 5th on the second beat, then keep going in the same direction to the root an octave above or below on the third, before hitting your approach notes.

d. Do something else entirely.

So a sample bassline for the first 8 bars of Satin Doll might look something like this. Note that in the last bar it moves completely by step while in the three bars before that it uses that root-fifth-root pattern. Obviously that's just one way to do it. When you're new to walking bass and learning a tune don't try and go right through straight away. Get from bar 1 to bar 2, then from 1 to 4, and so on. Build it up in stages, and try different ways to get there. If you can figure out how to get up by step to the next chord, then try moving down by step the next time.

Now, before anyone tells me that I am the awful spawn of satan and I have killed Jazz by explaining things this way and thus downvoting me to the diminished 7th circle of Hell, I know it's a very simple way of explaining it, I also know that walking bass can be a wonderfully nuanced thing with infinite variety. But we've got to start somewhere and the above will work. As with everything, the ear has to be the final judge.

u/sunsunsun · 1 pointr/Music

how much time are you looking to devote? any mediums in particular that you want (documentaries, books, lectures, etc)? are you already into jazz or are you new to the genre? any specific musicians instruments or styles that you want to learn more about in particular? without knowing an of that.

  1. if you aren't new to jazz, start from the beginning - its new orleans blues/ragtime roots. if you are new or get bored with it before things get interesting for you (early jazz isnt everyones thing), figure out what you like and go from there
  2. the ken burns jazz documentary series is a great place to start if you acknowledge its limitations and imperfections (he heavily relies on a couple of musicians and musical experts, its a general survey that doesn't dive into detail on any one person genre or period and doesn't do a good job of covering jazz into the 60s and beyond).
  3. listen to tons and tons of jazz. duhhhhh.
  4. im personally a fan of allmusic's guide to jazz for reviews on specific albums. youll find yourself coming back to it often. the essays and lists at the end of the book are so so so key. the list of essential jazz records for any fan is really important. this isnt for a 'story of jazz from the beginning' but it is a great resource for if you have questions about a specific artist or record. if you're curious what the most essential theolonious monk or whoever else recordings are, this is the book to get.
  5. for a history of jazz book i recommend this book, though it has its limitations as well
u/Bracket_The_Bass · 6 pointsr/Bass

Start off by listening to a ton of jazz. Afterwards, learn your major, minor, dorian, and mixolydian scales/modes. Check youtube, there's a ton of good tutorials if you don't know them yet. Then buy a real book and start attempting to follow along with the changes. Start with just the root notes and later add the 3rds and 5ths. Here's a book that I think explains walking basslines pretty well, and another one if you're interested in soloing.

Here's a list of jazz songs most students learn early on:

Afro Blue

All Blues

All Of Me

All The Things You Are

A Night In Tunisia

Au Privave

Autumn Leaves

Beautiful Love

Black Orpheus

Blue Bossa

Blue In Green

Blue Monk

Blues For Alice

Body And Soul


Cotton Tail

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore

A Fine Romance



Freddie Freeloader

The Girl From Ipanema

How High The Moon

How Insensitive

Lady Bird

Maiden Voyage


Mr. P.C.

My Funny Valentine




Red Clay

Satin Doll

So What

Song For My Father


Take Five

Take The “A” Train

There Will Never Be Another You

Tune Up

u/scippie · 2 pointsr/piano

Several years ago, I was in your same position. I finished my classical training and wanted to learn to play exactly this same kind of music I had been hearing in my head for years. Sadly enough, it's not as easy as it sounds...

You already have a basic understanding of music. This is really the basics. When you are going to play jazz, you need to know a lot more: chords, scales, chord progressions, chord substitutions, fillers, rhythm (and playing out of rhythm while having an inner rhythm), ear training, ...

You can't learn that from sheet music or even books about jazz. Find a teacher! He will most likely talk about The Real Book that is filled with this kind of music. You will first learn to play exactly what's on the sheet, but then the important stuff starts, knowing how to change the sheet so that it becomes your own jazz piece with improvisation and things like that. It will take years to get there, believe me. But it's absolutely worth it.

Good luck with it! Don't waste your time (cos that's what you will do) and find a teacher!

u/dolemit · 3 pointsr/Guitar

Learn harmony. Study all you can about it.
Don't just learn the chord shapes. Understand them.
Once you get a sold harmony base, start soloing THINKING about the chord tones. Always be conscient about EACH note you are playing.

For example. You have a classic Dm7-G7-CMaj7 thing going. When playing over the Dm7 chord be conscient about the role of each note and how the roles changes when the chord changes.
Start with just the chord tones and try to connect them in such a way that your phrases make sense. Then add some more notes.
Also play with linking the notes with some chromatic ideas.

Harmony, harmony, harmony.

Get this book, it's really really helpful http://www.amazon.com/Jazzology-Encyclopedia-Jazz-Theory-Musicians/dp/0634086782

u/cosmicplacebo · 3 pointsr/Jazz

Thelonious: The Life and Times of an American Original by Robin D.G. Kelley is definitely my favorite jazz biography.


Yes, the Penguin guide is fantastic for building a collection and learning more about a particular player's discography.

If you're into blogs at all, the jazz blogosphere is pretty happening as well. Ethan Iverson, pianist in The Bad Plus along with many other artists, has a particularly great blog called Do The Math.


u/earthdiedscreaming · 1 pointr/Jazz

Lots of good info already in this thread but came here to say this. Connecting Chords with Linear Harmony by Bert Ligon is worth checking out. He lays a good framework for a harmomically specific approach to improvisation. Tons of examples from many different jazz players are used to demonstrate his ideas. If anything, its full of tasty licks but there's a good method approach to be had as well.

u/stanley_bobanley · 2 pointsr/guitarlessons

Get The Real Book and work on the easy-to-read stuff.

Most tunes don't stick to a single key, but many do feature an A section in a single key at least. So you could work on reading in the easier keys of C, G and F major at first, and just sticking to the parts you can read. A byproduct of this will be your increasing awareness of where the white keys are on your fretboard, which is a phenomenal skill to develop.

As you grow increasingly comfortable reading, you can add keys with up to 4 sharps and flats (D, Bb, A, Eb, E, Ab). Many of the tunes in the Real Book are in F, Bb, Eb and Ab (and their respective relative minors) so you'll have a ton of options here =)

u/carrypikring · 2 pointsr/Bass

I think this is what's meant:


It's a book full of literally hundreds of 'standards' and songs for around ~20 dollars. I am also starting to learn some jazz, and it's one of the most helpful things I've found. What I like to do is find versions of the songs on YouTube, and listen to how the bass player fits in their line with the other parts, and try to play along -- even if it's just the root notes from the chord diagrams!

The history of the book is fascinating, too - Adam Neely has an interesting vid on YouTube.

Have fun!

u/InSomeOtherWords · 11 pointsr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

So many people seem to have this idea that they're just going to "learn theory." Like that's it.


But in all seriousness. Yeah you will learn theory. If music is going to be a life long pursuit you will never STOP learning theory. Unless you're not serious about it. Then you might just learn what I IV V means write some pop songs and stop there. I digress..

First thing. Learn to read music. DO NOT READ TAB. Learn all the notes on the fret board. Not like you can count up to it and realize that something is a C. Like you KNOW IT. Point to it and you know what note it is. Start reading music here.

Another good way to learn the notes on the fretboard is to pick 4 triads of different qualities. One major, one minor, one diminished, and one augmented triad and play them in all inversions in all positions on the neck while saying the note names. And then pick 4 new triads the next day. Do not just learn the shapes. This will probably take you 2 hours on your first day if you're as thorough as you should be.

If you don't know what any of that means that's fine for now. Those are some pretty basic concepts that you'll learn pretty soon if you're serious about this.

This guy knows his shit. Learn from him. Take it slow. Don't just watch the video and go "Yeah that makes sense." You need to KNOW IT. Drill the concepts a few hours a day.

You could buy a music text book.

Or get an actual guitar teacher. I'd recommend learning jazz because unlike a lot of rock or pop players they actual know their shit about theory and their instrument. You kinda have to know your shit to play jazz. Either that or classical. But jazz theory is more in line with modern music.

Segway: Buy a Real Book

Start off in there with Autumn Leaves or something else easy.

If you're really beginner-y start here.

While that guy's course is good it really focuses on technique. You learn basically no theory from that guy. Just shapes and tabs. Doesn't even use standard notation. His jazz course is ok. It's on his side bar.

This guy's stuff is good for a beginner in jazz. But a beginner in jazz is not exactly beginner level for some other genres. I think you need a pretty solid level of understanding to understand what he's talking about.

That should get you started..

[Edit] Some people have this disconnect. They think that learning theory is somehow separate from song writing. Learning theory will open so many doors to you and show you why and how things work. So that you can actually understand what you're doing.

If I wanted to build a house I could just jump in and start building a house. I'd probably come across a lot of problems. My first house might suck and have a leaky roof or bad plumbing or something. But I could probably learn a long the way. Maybe after I build a ton of crappy houses I could figure out for myself why things work.

Or.. I could look through the writings of the millions of house builders that came before me and see what they found out works and what doesn't. Then maybe my first house will have some issues and it might not be so easy to pull off but I'd be better off learning from the people who came before me than trying to figure it out myself. By doing this I have just saved myself the time of trying to rediscover the wheel so to speak.

That's what learning theory will do for you.

u/DWTBPlayer · 5 pointsr/Bass

My suggestion is to focus on the backing track stuff first. Know the backing tracks forwards and backwards, pick a particular idea and stick with it to nail it down. If you want to improve your musicianship chops, write out the part you are going to play. Like on staff paper and everything.

I am not the best person to give advice on improv, because I have always sucked at it. If anyone has any tips for how you can learn to improv effectively in 5 weeks, I'll be quite interested in their advice as well. Though one thing I have learned about improv is that nothing is truly improvised. Building a library of licks and stringing them together on the spot isn't the same as pulling notes out of thin air. Even the most impressive improv musicians have a basic idea in their head before they start.

To practice sight reading, get a Real Book and run through it. Sight read the melody lines, and then build bass lines from scratch over the chords. Learn the style and tempo terminology. Understanding the directions at the top of the page is as big a part of sight reading as the notes themselves.

Aim to be completely prepared one week before the actual audition. Then spend that last week running through it all again. And again. And again. You want to let muscle memory kick in when the nerves start fighting you in the audition chair.

My favorite musical aphorism: "Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can't get it wrong."

u/reindeer73 · 2 pointsr/jazztheory

kinda tangential but have you checked out this Monk biography? Its super dense with info, but really well written so you don't get bogged down.

Also does anyone else like to listen to whatever album an artist released/was working on when reading about that time in their life? I highly recommend it anyone who hasn't.

u/Beastintheomlet · 1 pointr/musictheory

I can say as a fellow bassist that my big first step into undstanding and using theorywas when I got Real Book and started doing walking bass lines between chords. Walking basslines are really one of the places where understanding chords is really important on bass because we are playing more than just the root or the fifth.

When it comes deeper understanding of harmony and chords, it kills me to say this, it's helpful to know how to play just a little guitar or even better some piano as you can start to connect the sound and movement or chords better by playing them. Bass, while being the supreme instrument, isn't a chordal instrument. We can play chords on bass but it's really not the same as how they sound on chordal instruments.

If you need help on how to get to started on walking bass lines I've heard good things about the Book Building Walking Bass Lines.

u/Gefiltefish1 · 1 pointr/Bass

I'm a big fan of Patterns for Jazz for day to day exercises. Although the title indicates jazz music, this is a great exercise book for much of the harmony that you see running through rock, blues, jazz, and most popular music.

Another favorite of mine are the Bach Solo Cello Suites. I'd get the cello music rather than any transcriptions for bass. IMHO they all sound beautiful on bass and you'll run the gamut from relatively straightforward to very challenging.

u/shrediknight · 1 pointr/Guitar

You need to branch out into harmony. Theory is just the nuts and bolts, harmony is how everything works and relates. Any serious study of harmony necessitates a good working knowledge of written music because then you can see on paper how the notes move and how they relate (or don't relate) to the key. Jazz harmony has a few of its own rules added to classical Western harmony but the basics are the same. This is the book I used in college, it does a great job, especially for people who are not jazz players (like myself). It does require a rudimentary theory knowledge to be beneficial.

u/bassman81 · 2 pointsr/doublebass

I just got Mikes Downes' Jazz bassline book and it's amazing! It has tons of transcriptions and lots of very clearly laid out ideas to learn from. http://www.amazon.com/The-Jazz-Bass-Line-Book/dp/395481000X

Also I'd suggest listening to a lot of jazz and playing along with tunes you like. If you want a book of jazz standards I'd suggest something like The Bass Clef Real Book which has hundreds of lead sheets to lots of often played tunes.

u/Marionberry_Bellini · 3 pointsr/jazzguitar

There are a ton of fake books out there, I would suggest buying one called The Real Book Sixth Edition. It's the most popular one to my knowledge and is a great resource. I'd say its a little better for developing harmony than it is melody (since most melody that actually gets played in jazz is soloing), but it's a great tool for familiarizing yourself with jazz standards as well as seeing what kind of chords appear in jazz and how they function

u/alessandro- · 1 pointr/piano

Harrison's Contemporary Music Theory isn't free, but it's inexpensive, and I often see it recommended to non-classical musicians (I'm mostly a classical musician) as a theory resource.

I also like the free app Functional Ear Trainer as a tool for getting better at recognizing pitches within a key, but that's far from a complete theory education.

u/seacrest_out · 1 pointr/Bass

BTW - sight reading is when you attempt to play a piece of sheet music you have never seen before. Thats different from learning to play a piece and reading through it several times.

I had played guitar for a while before taking high school concert band. While I didn't like playing the french horn, the class was rewarding enough that I stuck with it for 3 years. I learned music theory and how to read music notation, and I can't stress useful it is. However, it is a slow, frustrating process.

My suggestion is to buy a beginner theory book, and then something like Jazzology. A teacher would probably be a huge help. You won't believe how fast you improve with a teacher.

u/pingus3233 · 6 pointsr/tipofmytongue

You might be hard-pressed to find a free copy since Hal Leonard is very jealous of their IP and are known to sweep the web for copyright infringement, but you can purchase this book which apparently has a full transcription of Vince's "O Tannenbaum" and other tunes.

edit: I browsed the WorldCat interlibrary loan catalog and it seems there's only one copy somewhere in South America so it looks like you either need to buy the book, transcribe the tune yourself, hire someone else to do so, wait forever for an interlibrary loan or perhaps get lucky from somewhere else but it looks like buying the book is probably the easiest way to get the sheet music.

u/pianoboy · 5 pointsr/piano

The word you're probably looking for is "accompaniment". However, you probably don't want to search using this term.

Any popular music that is published is usually arranged for "Piano/Vocal/Guitar", and I don't really know of a standard term for this type of sheet music. For what this looks like, check out any of the popular sheets on http://musicnotes.com. These are arranged so that you can play the song as a piano solo if you want, but if you want to just accompany someone else or play in a band, you would just look at the guitar chords placed above each line of music (e.g. "G", "Cm7", "D", "Bsus4").

The other type of notated music used for accompaniment is called a "lead sheet". This has only the solo line (the tune/melody of the song) and the chords. So it's basically just the top half of what you see in a "piano/vocal/guitar" arrangement.

The other term you'll see is "Fake Book". A Fake book is just a book containing a large number of lead sheets. If you're playing jazz, the most popular book of lead sheets for jazz standards is called "The Real Book".

Finally, on many "guitar tab" sites, you can find just the chords for songs (although there are often lots of errors). Look for versions that say "chords" instead of "tabs". Here's an example

No matter what type of sheet music you're looking at, if you're playing with others, you'll need to learn to play by reading chord symbols instead of notes on a staff. When searching for music, you'd want to include one of these terms: "chords", "tabs", "sheets", "lead sheet", "fake book", "piano". Don't worry too much exactly what type of sheet music you get, even if it's for solo piano; as long as there are chord symbols on it, that's all you need.

Here is a list of links for you to get started:

u/HutSutRawlson · 3 pointsr/piano

I'd recommend The Jazz Piano Book or The Jazz Theory Book, both by Mark Levine. There's a ton of great stuff in both, and they'll teach you how jazz musicians conceive of how they play—not to mention give you a foundation to play pretty much any popular style that strikes your fancy.

u/hansgreger · 1 pointr/piano

Once again, thanks for the fantastic reply! I understand perfectly fine now (I think). I hadn't heard of this Real Book you mention at the end, I assume it's this one: http://www.amazon.com/The-Real-Book-Sixth-Edition/dp/0634060384 ? Is it just jazz chord sheets with the melody written on or how do they work? Because I suck too hard to improvise the rest anyways so it's probably not worth it anyways in that case haha

u/bobxor · 2 pointsr/Cello

I also agree with this! They have 4 volumes (Realbooks) for bass clef. I’ve done gigs with these with a guitar friend, lots of fun!

Here’s the first one with a lot of popular standards:

u/bubbleboy222 · 1 pointr/guitarlessons

Studying Jazz lead sheets is the most helpful, and the most commonly used book is the Real Book. The real book has Jazz Standards, and it gives the lead sheets with the melody written in sheet music, and the chord symbols written above the staff.


Looking at chords is mostly seeing what the quality of it is (minor, major, dominant, ect.), and then just looking at the extensions. Once you understand the types of chords, everything else is pretty simple.


I've made a guide to reading chord symbols, and it goes over all the common types of chords with common extensions. Here you go: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G9GsGFRwS_2VqbyKma1JL8nti3OMTHZm5eGZ7nTU1zY/edit?usp=sharing


One last thing, you want to figure out chords yourself, or you'll never be able to completely understand chords, but if there are just some things that you can't figure out, here's a book I use that has chords galore in all keys: https://www.guitarcenter.com/Proline/Picture-Guitar-Chord-Pocket-Guide-Book.gc Think of it more as a something that helps, not your go-to thing for figuring out chords.


Hope this helps!

u/meepwned · 21 pointsr/Guitar

My suggestion is to learn on your own, and if you choose to go to college, pursue a major that has more profitable career options. Minor in music theory and invest your free time in practicing your instrument. Here is a reading list I recommend to start getting into serious music study and guitar playing:

u/chunter16 · 1 pointr/musictheory

Oh, good point. It would amount to a lot of import tax depending on where you live.

If you're really just starting, have you exhausted all the stuff in The Real Book yet?


I'd at least expect Girl From Ipanema, Speak Low, and some Bacharach tunes to be in it.

As another starting point, learn how to finger shapes like Amaj7 and Amaj9 and such, but still be able to finger or open string play the root and fifth as your own bass line. What makes it tricky is that the bass is playing root-5 quarters while the other strings are playing the clave. You'll want to have this down before you play a song.

If you don't know how to play fingerstyle, I'm not sure how to teach that in a Reddit comment.

u/mscman · 1 pointr/Music

Autumn leaves!

Seriously though, this is a hard one to say what the "bread and butter" progressions are. Everyone has their own taste. I would do what theStork said and get yourself the Real Book and start there. Vol. I and II are usually what most musicians have, but there are other real/fake books too. That, combined with listening to lots of jazz should help a lot.

You might also look into getting some of the Aebersold books or some other guitar books on voicings, they would help you out getting started. Finally, a good mentor/teacher is irreplaceable...

u/Astrixtc · 1 pointr/Bass

I was in a similar position a few years ago. I grew up playing trombone and guitar. I went to theory camps, and studied in college. In jazz, it's all mental at first. You have to know your theory and know it well. For now, go buy a real book, not a face book, or Steve's collection of jazz standards, or any other book. You need This one. It's the one everyone else will be using, so you might as well be on the same page. I'd recommend by looking it over, and making sure you understand what all of the chord symbols mean, and how to play over them. Once you figure that out, you can start putting together lines. If you have the budget for two books, then the other one you need is This one.

u/portuga · 1 pointr/YouShouldKnow

You gotta learn your scales, man. One other thing I see recomended a lot is solo transcribing. As for books, I really like [mark levine's] (http://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Theory-Book-Mark-Levine/dp/1883217040) for the theory, and this one, but since you're a bass player, you might get more out of a book specifically tailored to your instrument.

But the really most important thing is to practice improvisation whenever you can, preferably in a group. Maybe you can organize a small jazz combo where you live, or join classes with other aspiring jazz musicians like yourself?

u/beaumega1 · 2 pointsr/musictheory

You'll probably be interested in a Real Book. This book is full of jazz standards. I bought one a month ago or so, and the tall, complex 7th/9th/11/13th chords re-ignited my theory lust. This book is neat because all you get in the sheet music is the melody, and then chord symbols notating the harmony. Like the equivalent of a .zip file, as all the note information is condensed for you.

u/calebcharles · 1 pointr/drums

Are you familiar with The Real Book? I am in the process of learning it, and instead of just looking up videos that are in tune I am cataloging it for me and you and everybody. Some really nice jazz covers and some not so nice ones. :) Thanks for the feedback it's going to take some time.

u/dcgrey · 1 pointr/OldSchoolCool

For anyone interested in learning more about Monk, this is the authoritative biography:

"Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original" https://www.amazon.com/dp/1439190461/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_HZILzbQK6NT1W

I've been a Monk obsessive since I was 16, and one great musicological discovery (I think it was in that book) was that the soft three-note dissonant combo he ends many of his songs with mimics the horn of the trains that ran past his childhood home in North Carolina. Find "Functional" from his solo album Thelonious Himself and you'll hear it throughout. https://play.google.com/music/m/Tnqpl55mpik4kf6wvldbhzc7owu?t=Functional_-_Thelonious_Monk

Edited to add: for anyone who falls in love with Monk, your next stop is Art Tatum. You won't quite hear Monk's soul but you'll get to hear what Monk would have been if he had been a technical virtuoso. Try Tatum's song "Cherokee" and you'll immediately hear it.

u/aaryanbatra · 1 pointr/Bass

Hi, these are the textbooks at home. How much of help will they be?

Essential Jazz Elements: http://imgur.com/a/LtyW8

Standard of Excellence Jazz Ensemble Method: http://imgur.com/a/Q2rNh

The second textbook has songs in it to play (for sightreading?), will that do instead of the Real Book

u/BachStrad700 · 1 pointr/trumpet

I'd suggest picking up Arban's method, as that contains a pretty good range of abilities. You can probably find it online. As well, the Real Book contains melodies and chord changes for many different jazz standards. You're going to want the Bb edition.

u/scooterboy23 · 1 pointr/WhereDoIStart

I agree with some of the classic albums that have been mentioned. I would add that you should check out John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," and just about any Charlie Parker compilation on top of "Kind of Blue" and "Time Out."

Really though, what you will like is very idiosyncratic. For example, because I play guitar and came to jazz through fusion, my favorite artists are guitarists: Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, Emily Remler, etc. So your tastes will matter a whole lot.

To go with your listening, I would suggest you get a copy of Jazz 101 (http://www.amazon.com/Jazz-101-Complete-Learning-Loving/dp/0786884967) and just start searching on YouTube for famous recordings of standards.

Then, once you've finished Jazz 101, get a copy of Giddins and DeVeaux's Jazz (http://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Gary-Giddins/dp/0393068617) and go through it.

If you are still interested in the history of jazz after going through those two books, Ted Gioia has written a book titled "The History of Jazz," which is on my shelf but I have yet to read.

u/ChuckEye · 2 pointsr/Guitar

Yes, they've got both the lead line (melody) and the chords above them. They're really the industry standard for jazz — you'll see them on any music stand for a gigging combo. 6th Edition is probably the best place for you to start. (A given song might look like this.)

u/sksmith66 · 14 pointsr/Jazz

interesting. I recently put together an huge list of Jazz books oriented towards non-musicians. After putting together the list I organized it into courses like a university might. I called it my "Masters Degree in Jazz Studies for Non-Musicians." The first two courses I think would be perfect for you.

<br /> <br /> **Course 1: Jazz Appreciation**<br /> This course is meant to give you a solid grounding in how to listen to jazz music without delving too deeply in music theory or requiring the student to be a musician. It is also meant to expose you to the core body of work of jazz. <br /> <br /> [Enjoying Jazz - Henry Martin](http://www.amazon.com/Enjoying-Schirmer-Books-Henry-Martin/dp/0028731301/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8)<br /> <br /> [How To Listen To Jazz - Jerry Coker](http://www.amazon.com/How-Listen-Jazz-Jerry-Coker/dp/1562240005/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&amp;amp;ie=UTF8&amp;amp;qid=1420760894&amp;amp;sr=1-9)<br /> <br /> [Jazz Standards - Ted Gioia](http://www.amazon.com/The-Jazz-Standards-Guide-Repertoire/dp/0199937397/ref=pd_sim_b_1?ie=UTF8&amp;amp;refRID=0DX94W5SY4BM04GD6W5J)<br /> <br /> <br />

Course 2: Jazz History 101
This is a basic course in jazz history. it is not meant to be an in depth coverage of every style. It is meant to give the student a broad overview of the general progression of jazz from it's inception into the modern era. Other courses in the program go much further in depth into specific styles and the major players of those styles.

Ken Burns Jazz

Jazz 101 - John F Szwed

History of Jazz - Ted Gioia

Visions of Jazz - Gary Giddins


so far the program I developed has 10 courses. If anyone is interested I could share the content of the other courses. and I am considering developing a syllabus for each course and possibly even more courses, but the time and effort needed to complete the 10 courses would already be more than the effort I put in to obtaining an actual master's degree from a university so I'm not sure how much more effort I would want to put into this right now.

u/pianomancuber · 1 pointr/piano

Get the Real Book. Hundreds of great charts in one place, with super high quality. There are three volumes, but I and II are all you really need IMO. If you are able to sightread most charts with melody and improvise accompaniment, then you just need more practice. See if you can find some friends to jam with and just read charts. In my opinion, jazz can only really be learned by doing it over and over again with other live musicians.

u/InternetKidsAreMean · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

Jelly Roll Morton claims to invented jazz in the early 1900s.

If you're interested in jazz, or jazz theory, I recommend reading,

Jazzology by Robert Rawlins and Nor Eddine Bahha.

It's one of the most useful grimoires for musicians of any genre / skill level. On a personal note, Robert Rawlins is the coolest dude I've never known (he taught at Rutgers near me, and rented his house to one of my buddies).

u/ketchum7 · 5 pointsr/musictheory

If you are confronted by a mode, run away. Learn the way the greats actually learned back in the day:


Unless you only care about post "kind of blue" Jazz, Levine's Jazz theory is a detrimental distraction:


It's hard to imagine a work which thrown so much real jazz and so many great players under the bus.

This looks alot less harmful:


poor guy still needs modes though. My favorite theory book, which since you know piano, might be interesting. It's a great supplement to Barry Harris Jazz theory.


u/thefrettinghand · 3 pointsr/Bass

The real book is a book containing a collection of lead sheets with transcribed melody and chords in the right transposition and clef (it's available in C in bass and treble clef, Eb and Bb in treble clef and a vocal version is available too). Usually there is info of the specific version being transcribed, so you'll maybe be able to find it on youtube so the structure is exactly as written.

It's really good, and has the majority of the songs you'll want to play regularly as a relatively mainstream jazzer. The "legal" commercial version the wiki article talks about is available at Amazon for less than twenty dollars, if not your favourite music store. Probably the worthwhile investment for any serious jazzer.

u/MrLKK · 2 pointsr/Bass

It's kinda the default answer and it doesn't have a backing track, but The Real Book.

If you're trying to explore jazz and improve your music reading, there really isn't any other way. A lot of jazz bass books just have the bass line which could be as simple (and boring) as a transcribed walking bass; with the real book you get the melodies and the chords which is what jazz is all about. Plus if you meet some other jazz guys there's probably a handful of tunes you can play with them (and they might have their own real book too).

u/frickeet · 5 pointsr/jazztheory

I have Exploring Jazz Arranging by Chuck Israels and like it. He does say in the book that not all that much has really changed harmonically since the days of Bach, so you'll definitely want to read up on traditional counterpoint as well. Besides that, maybe transcribing and analyzing full scores of arrangements you love? It'd be a lot of work, but you'd learn a ton.

u/cbg · 2 pointsr/Guitar

Get a Real Book. There isn't anything in the way of explanation or instruction, but you'll learn many tunes and you'll begin to see common progressions (e.g., ii-V-I) and modulations (e.g., between relative minor and major) quickly. Also, you'll expand your chord vocabulary substantially if you master the many alterations and interesting extended chords that show up in there. Substitutions are a little harder to see w/o direction, I think, and sometimes aren't included in the charts.

u/jeffreyhamby · 6 pointsr/musictheory

My bias will show, but this one was by one of my professors and he was an amazing teacher.


u/jbachman · 2 pointsr/makinghiphop

Get a Real Book and find progressions in there. Use them directly or let it inspire you to create lines of your own. You can also find a lot of jazz lead sheets online.

u/Run_nerd · 1 pointr/piano

The Real Book is a popular one. I've also heard good things about the New Real Book.

u/jardeon · 1 pointr/saxophone

David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" is a good starting point.

u/DontNeglectTheBalls · 2 pointsr/piano

Here you go. I think if you like it this much, it's worth $15 to you to get a book with this and eight other pieces by Guaraldi. Only fair to pay for what you use, man.

I'mma just leave this here.

u/el_guerro · 17 pointsr/Guitar


It's a collection of jazz standards. A must-have for anyone who plays even a little bit of jazz, but it's definitely not something you could learn jazz guitar from without another aid.

u/redderritter · 2 pointsr/piano

Get a copy of the Real Book and look up what the songs should sound like on youtube, then play them. http://www.amazon.com/Real-Book-Hal-Leonard-Corporation/dp/0634060384

u/beepboopblorp · 1 pointr/AskReddit

The sixth edition of the Real Book.

wiki: The Real Book can refer to any of a number of popular compilations of lead sheets for jazz tunes, but is generally used to refer to Volume 1 of an underground series of books transcribed and collated by students at Berklee College of Music during the 1970s.
Whether the book used is the older "illegal" edition or the newer, Hal Leonard "legal" edition, at least one edition of The Real Book has become an indispensable resource for all aspiring and current jazz musicians. Musicians find it convenient to work from "the book", because it is available in different editions to suit B♭, E♭, and C (concert-pitch) instruments, as well as a bass clef edition. A band leader can conveniently call out page numbers, since each edition is also paginated identically.

u/saksofonisti · 1 pointr/saxophone

You can never go wrong with getting a real book but make sure you order it in the right key

u/bornamann · 1 pointr/Jazz

Get yourself a real book, friend.


These are incredibly handy.

u/TheDerpiestHerp · 6 pointsr/Bass

You mean the Real Book? Pretty sure it's only chords and melodies though.

Edit: My mistake, they actually did make one for bass clef: http://www.amazon.com/The-Real-Book-Sixth-Edition/dp/0634060767

u/aeropagitica · 1 pointr/Guitar

It starts with Intervals and explains everything regarding music theory from there upwards. The latest version has tab for the examples, making it easier to use. You might also want to consider Jazzology: The Encyclopedia of Jazz Theory for All Musicians too.

u/xtracounts · 4 pointsr/AskReddit

This + This



plus listen a bunch

(not a pianist, just fiddle with piano enough to help myself)

u/haploid-20 · 1 pointr/drums

Hap hap hello there! I am a bot and you linked to Amazon.

This comment contains 1 pricing graph(s)


Product 1: The Real Book: Sixth Edition (0634060384)

Imgur pricing graph

||Amazon|3P New|Used|


^^I'm ^^a ^^bot. ^^Please ^^PM ^^any ^^bugs

u/mafoo · 8 pointsr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

I'm assuming you're in high school. If you get a chance, go see your All-state (or All-region) Jazz Band. See how you fare against those guys. Also, chances are you are going to need to know how to read music, have some chart-reading skills, and improvisation chops. For guitar, bass, or drums, they are going to expect you to know jazz fundamentals. Pick up a Real Book, learn some charts and be able to hold your own in a combo.

u/dudebrahman · 1 pointr/Jazz

Link to The Real Book in case you're interested.

u/rchiniquy · 1 pointr/jazzguitar

This book has some good exercises: How to Play Bebop, Vol 1 https://www.amazon.com/dp/0739020404/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_hTIPCb5KP3C7Y

ETA: obviously this is not specific to guitar but I think the Bebop fundamentals are portable across instruments

u/aderra · 5 pointsr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

Get a copy of The Real Book and start learning songs. This isn't a hardcore technique workout but more of a way to A)build repertoire and B)get your hands more familiar with playing jazz changes.

u/chordspace · 2 pointsr/musictheory

It's too complex for a post or even a series of posts. You're going to need a book. I'd recommend The Berklee Book of Jazz Harmony and Jazzology. I wouldn't recommend anything by Mark Levine.

u/doug1963 · 1 pointr/piano

The entire Vince Guaraldi book (also linked upthread) only has the one error that I've noticed compared to the original recordings (it is in "Christmas Time Is Here"). The book does not include the bass lines, however, only the piano parts. The book includes "Hark, the Herald", "O Tannenbaum", "Christmas Time Is Here", "Greensleeves", and "Linus and Lucy". These are all transcribed from the versions you hear on radio and TV. The book also includes "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" and 3 other songs by Guaraldi. This book is essential if you want to play these songs authentically.

edit:added link

u/Sesquipedaliac · 1 pointr/Jazz

This one is pretty much the standard Real Book, based on my experience.

Personally, I'm partial to this version, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone else actually use it.

u/byproxy · 3 pointsr/Guitar

Pick yourself up one of these and start playing around with the tunes.

u/MeisterKarl · 3 pointsr/piano

Jazz is a very wide subject. There are some good Real Books you might wanna buy to learn some jazz standards:

The Real Book

The Real Book vol. 2 Low Voice

u/ahipple · 1 pointr/Jazz

I've used SongTrellis to find chord changes quite frequently (look for the link to the GIF for a chart), and the MIDI "backing" tracks are kinda useful for practicing sometimes. They don't include melodies though, as the melody is the copyrightable part of the tune and they'd be on the hook for infringement.

For melodies, more tunes, and just a generally useful resource, The Real Book is truly indispensable. There are a few more volumes, but that first one (linked) includes all the tunes PropositionJoe_ mentioned and then some. This is the Sixth Edition, the first "legal" version, which is arguably less complete than the Fifth (which you can find laying around some dark corners of the internet).