The Blues

The Blues
A change of the basic blues of compases, much used by the jazz musicians.

Most of the topics of jazz from the age of the bebop from now on are based structurally on the form of allegro of sonata of the classic theory: an optional introduction, the exhibition of the topic (that sometimes recurs), a section of development and the end continued optionally by a coda. In the terminology of the jazz, such sections receive commonly the following names:

Intro, which is where the character of the piece is fixed. It has optional character.
Topic (head in English), which is where the melody is executed.
Returns, wheels or section of alone (only section in English), that is where the musicians execute, for shift, its alone ones.
Turned to topic (head out in English), where he turns to execute the melody.
Coda, which gives for the interpretation of the musicians concluded and, with it, the piece. Like the intro, it has also optional character.
Although not all the topics of jazz fit to this form, immense most of them yes do it. During the section of alone, the rhythmic section (commonly formed by piano, double bass and battery) keeps on touching the chords of the harmonic progression of the topic so that the soloists improvise for shifts on her. Whenever one comes to the last one of the chords it turns again to the first one, to initiate a piece of news “rolls” of chords (chorus, in English) that will be made use by the same soloist to extend its only, or by different other to take its shift

Inside this basic scheme, the two most common structures between the jazz standards are the blues and the scheme AABA. Most of the topics of blues are changes of the basic scheme of blues of twelve compases, it notices while the scheme AABA, very popular not only between the jazznota topics but also in all kinds of popular music from the beginning of the XXth century up to the arrival of the rock’n’roll, consists of two sections:

The section A, commonly called “poem”
The section B, named “bridge”
These structures are only two of more acquaintances and used by the musicians of jazz, who usually use them as a guide for the improvisation. Nevertheless, along the history, different free musicians as Cecil Taylor have demonstrated that it is possible to create jazz without need to abide by this type of structures formales.

The arrangement

It can seem that the arrangement and the improvisation are two contradictory aspects, but in fact the arrangements have been used in the jazz from the epoch of New Orleans, not like an obstacle to the improvisation, but like a help to the creativity. When arrangements exist, the musical soloist knows to what abide, and in fact, some of the biggest improvisators of the history, like Louis Armstrong, were demanding always to touch with arrangements. On the other hand, Fletcher Henderson, the first one big arreglista of jazz of the history, was granting big importance to the improvisation in its band, as well as Jelly Roll Morton or Duke Ellington, other of the biggest arreglistas of the jazz. The arrangements in the jazz were already present from its emergence, in the artists’ work like King Oliver, Clarence Williams or already quoted Louis Armstrong y Jelly Roll Morton, as well as in other groups of New Orleans and of dixieland.

In contrast to the European classical music, in the jazz the arrangement is not always written, and many arreglistas and musical directors have the habit of discussing orally with its musicians the arrangements before the execution of the band. The head arrangement, a term that is used from the decade of, refers to this phenomenon, and conceptualmente it is located between the improvisation and the written arrangement in the strict sense. Along the history of the jazz the arrangement – as the improvisation – has suffered a series of transformations that it have taken from the music of Charlie Parker or Thousands Davis up to the complexities of the free jazz, with its emphasis on the unexpected character of the music. The different captures of the same topic that Parker was registering in the study were so different between themselves who could be considered to be new pieces, and John Lewis, of Modern Jazz Quartet he was underlining the connection between the work of an arreglista and that of a composer of jazz, connection on which Berendt spreads:

The term “composer of jazz” is, this way, a paradox: “jazz” means improvisation and “composer” means, at least in Europe, exclusion of the improvisation. But the pardoja can become fertile: the jazz composer structures its music in the sense of the big European tradition and leaves nevertheless a space free for the improvisation.

Theory and harmony

To be able to touch this art of music, the interpreter of jazz needs to have a series of theoretical and harmonic knowledge that will have a fruit often of a long period of formation – it is self-educated, is in jazz schools – or of the practical experience acquired in jam sessions. The basic theory in the jazz begins with the theory of intervals and the formation of triads and cuatriadas that stems from her, as well as its inversiones. The biggest scale and its seven ways – the ionic one, the Dorian one, the frigio, the lidio, the mixolidio, the wind one and the locrio – are part also of the basic theory that a jazz musician must dominate completely, as the circle of quintas. Between the most common harmonic progressions in the jazz they are:

The Progression II-V-I, more common of between the typical chords progressions of jazz
Progression II-V-I.
II-V-I in the biggest Fa tonality
The progression V – V, that is to say, a domineering chord that resolves in another domineering chord. The succession of domineering chords is also frequent following the circle of quintas.
Progression V – V
In the example (taken of the bridge of I Got Rhythm) every domineering chord resolves in another domineering chord following the inverted country houses cycle

The progression I-VI-II-V, other one of the most common between the jazz musicians
Progression I-VI-II-V
I-VI-II-V in major Do
The progression III-VI-II-V, a change of the previous one of common use in turnarounds, a passage that he leads of a section of the topic to different
Progression III-VI-II-V
III-VI-II-V in major Do
The progression I-II-III-IV, this is, the first four diatonic chords of a tonality, on which it usually improvise on the scale fight, the fourth grade of tonality
Progression I-II-III-IV
I-II-III-IV in major Do

The progression I – IV, with different variantes.
Progression I – IV
In this case, so much the fundamental chord like that of the fourth grade there are major chords
In this example taken of Stella by Starlight, the chord the fourth grade (Ab) is a domineering chord
Another important aspect in the theory of the jazz is the relation chord – scale, that is to say, the mail that is established between the chords that compose the harmonic progression of a topic and the scales that the musician uses to improvise on them. In this sense, the four most important scales, from which there stem most of the armonias used by the composers of jazz are the biggest scale, the least melodic scale, the diminished scale and the scale of entire tones, and the knowledge of all of them, as well as of its ways it is an important part of learning of every musician of jazz Other important contributions are the bebop scales – ionic, Dorian ways and mixolodios of the biggest scale and the least melodic scale with an added step note – the scales pentatonicas major and less, the different harmonic changes of the blues and, finally, the rhythm changes, a standard harmonic scheme based on the harmonic progression of the outstanding figure “I Got Rhythm”, of George Gershwin.

The reharmonization, on the other hand, is a skill that the jazz musicians use often to re-interpret a topic, giving him a more interesting and personal touch. It consists, basically, of changing the chords of the topic that is executed, replacing them with different others without altering in excess the melody and the original spirit of the topic. To re-harmonize a topic they can be still different estrategias:

To alter its chords.
To increase the number of chords.
To reduce the number of chords.
To replace a chord, or a group of them, with other (s).
In practice, two of the most common skills for it are the reharmonization of a domineering chord for a progression II – V, and the replacement for tritono


One of the first skills of reharmonization consisted of transforming a chord V (E, in the second compass) into a progression II – V (Bm – E, in the fourth compass)

In the replacement tritono there is replaced a domineering chord (Eb of the third compass) with another domineering chord over a distance of tritono (A of the seventh compass) taken Example of All The Things You Are

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