Jazz Piano Music Transformed the 20th Century Music World
Jazz piano music has become immortalized by that famous Duke Ellington song: ‘It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing’. Learning jazz piano is so much different from classical piano traditions. Sure, learning the correct piano chords, melody and notes by rote is helpful, but it is only when you master the art of improvising that jazz music will come to life. Those arriving from classical traditions will usually need a bit more spontaneity to master jazz music as improvising is not ‘learned’ through the rote training often used in classical piano.
It’s a good idea to have the fundamentals of classic music theory down pat when you want to learn piano, as jazz harmonies ‘take off’ from where classical harmony ‘ended’. Jazz piano music extends the capabilities of what classical musicians thought was the end of possible harmonic progressions. Jazz songs developed from the blues and swing songs from the early 1900s.
BBB – Better Bass Beats or Basic Building Blocks
Keith Jarrett Performing Solo Piano Jazz Music
Jazz piano music enthusiasts love to collect recordings of great jazz musicians and watch the progress of how jazz music has changed over the decades. Great jazz musicians or anyone teaching piano make heavy use of voicing of which the possibilities are limitless. For example, a pianist can entirely avoid the root of a chord and allow the bassist to play it. For each ‘rootless’ chord found in jazz, the pianist plays the 3rd and then adds three more notes. When learning piano, you have to play with jazz chords – alter them, add notes, omit notes and figure out your own voicings for other chords and let your ear decide what is right.
Improvisation is in one word, the key to awesome interpretations which will prove to be essential when playing in a group or band or for anyone taking jazz piano lessons. The quality of improvising calls for emotions and creativity in actively playing, much more so than with classical piano. Jazz piano music allows people to experiment with awe-inspiring new rhythms and musical ideas allowing for optimum levels of freedom in interpretation.
An Outdoor Jazz Concert
Image by f2g2
Ah! The Freedom
One can be so free and self-expressive when playing jazz, more so than in any other genre of piano music. Everyone knows that cool sensation, that unique vibe of a great jazz player. Sometimes the piano merely does background harmonic material, other times it has the lead role or melody. When the pianist is a virtuoso, he can do amazing improvisations on popular tunes.
Before one begins performing jazz piano music, they should mastery basic harmony, fully learn the major and minor scales and all of their transpositions.
Possibly the greatest advantage of this technique of understanding music theory may be the visual assistance that it provides. One must experience some comfort in order to be more daring and being able to build upon complex simple jazz chords and melodies is key to making jazz music work. To stay inspired, just imagine your reciting a poem or story to your listeners while performing.
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