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Jazz Theory

17 Important Jazz Scales in Tetrachords

It's important for jazz musicians to learn their scales.  While the major scales are important, they are only the beginning. Tetrachords are a wonderful way...

What is a Tetrachord and Why Does It Matter?

A tetrachord is a four note scale.  Music theory doesn't have to be scary.  A tetrachord is just four notes. The majority of Western scales...

Unlocking Diminished vs. Altered Scales

When you are soloing over a dominant chord, you can choose notes from several different scales in your improvised melodies.  The mixolydian and the...

Help! How Do I Improvise Over a Half-Diminished Chord?

I was recently asked if I could I do a post on the mysterious Half-Diminished chord (check out our Half-Diminished chord workouts) so here is a basic...

How to Find the Key to a Tune

Sometimes it's very obvious what key a song is in because the first chord shows you the name of the key.   "Oleo" (Bb Rhythm...

Deepening Your Understanding of the Modes

Jazz improvisers know that the modes of the major scale are important, but the way in which many people think of the modes makes...

4 Important Applications of the Melodic Minor Scale

The melodic minor scale seems to be a big mystery to many jazz musicians. The purpose of this article is to shed some light...

Mastering Scales with Tetrachords, Part 2

Tetrachords are groups of four notes that make up half of a scale.  You can combine two tetrachords to form any of the common...

Mastering Scales with Tetrachords, Part 1

Jazz musicians use many different types of scales when improvising. It can be overwhelming at first to try to assimilate so many scales into...

Understanding Coltrane Changes Part 3

In Understanding Coltrane Changes Part 1 I talked about the Three Tonic System and Four Tonic System and how Coltrane used these to create different formulaic...

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