Jazz Piano Chords

Believe it or not, jazz piano chords are easy to master and enhance your chord repertoire. Whether you want to become the next jazz legend or simply sit in on a jam, you can learn what you need to hold your own.

Jazz owes its roots to the music of African American laborers in the South, particularly New Orleans. If you’ve been to New Orleans as many times as I have, you’ll discover that it’s as much a part of the city’s culture now as it ever was.

Click Here To Learn The Different Jazz Piano Chords And Start Playing Like A Pro!

You’ll also find that jazz is interpreted in a variety of ways. While jazz standards are well recognized and have been performed and repeated by countless musicians, jazz remains one of America’s improvisational genres. A song may be played differently each time it is performed depending on the musician’s mood, style, or even the venue. Imagine not having to remember exactly how you played a song the last time you played it!

To play jazz, it is important to know the types of jazz piano chords used in the music. Jazz usually goes beyond simple major and minor chords, so you will need to understand chords that add a note or two.

One common chord is the sixth. On a chord chart, this can be represented as C6 or Cadd6. The C6 chord is formed by simultaneously playing the notes C-E-G-A, the A being the sixth. A Cadd6 means you replace the fifth with the sixth, or C-E-A.

Another very popular chord in jazz music is the seventh. In musical notation, a seventh in the key of C appears as C7. To play a seventh, add the seventh note of the scale, lowered a half step. In this case, B flat. The notes of this chord are C-E-G-B flat.

Equally popular is the major seventh, notated Cmaj7 in the case of the C chord. This chord adds the seventh note of the scale to your chord. A Cmaj7 is played using the notes C-E-G-B. The major seventh may look similar to the seventh chord, but as you will hear when you play them, they are distinctly different.

You may be familiar with one of the most popular chord progressions, commonly referred to as 1-4-5. In the case of the key of C, that progression consists of the C, F and G chords. But that progression is not as common in jazz. Most often, you will find a 1-4-2-5 progression. In the key of C, that would be C, F, D, G. They may not be all major chords; the D, for example, could be a minor.

With a good amount of practice, you will learn jazz piano chords with ease. Remember, jazz isn’t “perfect.” Improvise, let loose, and have fun!

Click Here To Learn The Different Jazz Piano Chords And Start Playing Like A Pro!

Posted by Erik Thiede

  1. Hi I had a question about R&B Music. What did it Originated from. What type of Piano Lessons do I need to take in order to producer todays urban contemporary R&B Music like Brandy, Mariah Carey, Chis Brown, Neyo and so forth…

  2. I want to know more about great jazz musicus of early era. Specially music noblation and ear stick technik, chopping and vairay mograps.

  3. Disregard about piano lessons regarding about Contemporary R&B. Pretty much todays Hip Hop/R&B/Pop music uses the Ionian & Aeolian scales. simply means just your regular majors and minors. Like most R&B uses maj7 Min7 chords and some times 6th’s.

    Hopes this answer the Subject to anyone. any piano lesson will teach you your majors and minors.

  4. This is somewhat true when you talk about melodies…but in order to get nice sounding chords, you need to move beyond what classical training gives you. Using simple 7th chords in their root position just is not appropriate for contemporary music (e.g. jazz, r&b, gospel, etc)…It’s all about the chord voicings (how you create the chord)…

  5. I sort of disagree with that. I’m talking about the R&B/Hip Hop the R&B that is very Hip Hop driving, not the traditional Rhythm and Blues. There is a big difference between The Traditonal Jazzy Rhythm and Blues and the Hip Hop Version of R&B. Urban Music is what I’m talking about. Have you ever listen to Urban R&B? Here’s an example on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7M8X0ivGuWE

    You hear mostly just majors and minor chord progressions and melodies.

  6. Right! Basic, cookie-cutter R&B may use elementary chords (the chords are not the focus of the music) but this page is about JAZZ chords; and professional jazz, blues, gospel, etc. players routinely use anything but basic 7th chords in root position.

    Using mostly basic 7th chords in a Jazz setting will sound amateurish…and people will know!

    You need to use extended chords, add altered toned (b9, #9, b5, #5, etc.) and do interesting chord progressions in-between the basic progressions to sound interesting in jazz…

    i.e. Don’t just go straight from 1 to 4 in a 1-4-5 chord progression, play some interesting chords in-between that lead to the 4…etc.

  7. I play Piano at a (Church of God in Christ) Church. or COGIC. And a lot of people have been asking be this question. Does the sound and the form of gospel piano come from Jazz and Blues. Even my self when I’m playing I Do hear similarity in Jazz Piano to my ear. In my church we use the blues very extensively. I play a lot of tri-tones diminished, blues scales, Arguments, 9ths 11ths 13ths and so on etc…

    Even long ago before I started to play black gospel music. A gospel keyboardist asked me have I ever played Jazz before. So is this really true?

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