Playing Changes Part 7: Learning Tunes Functionally

The Playing Changes series presents and expands on concepts from my book, The Living Jazz Tradition: A Creative Guide to Improvisation and Harmony published by CMA Press.

Index of Playing Changes articles

The first article in the Playing Changes series helped you visualize and hear melodies by thinking in scale degrees. This concept also applies to hearing tonal harmony.

My friend and colleague Leah Pogwizd uses with a hybrid notation that incorporates standard notation, roman numerals, and scale degrees. This notation will help you visualize tunes functionally, which makes it easier to transpose music into 12 keys.

Check out Leah’s notation for Milt Jackson’s Bag’s Groove: (Note that “L b7” means b7 below scale degree 1.)

You can find more info and more charts on her blog Gig-Ready Jazz Bassist.

Listen to Bag’s Groove:

Transfer songs you know into this notation and see if it helps you integrate visualization and audiation.

Next in the series: “Playing Changes Part 8: Secondary Dominants”

Index of Playing Changes Articles

Purchase The Living Jazz Tradition from Amazon

– ST

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