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Polychords and the Jazz Improviser: How to Practice & Apply Polychords to Improv

Written by Andrew Hanna

Inrepparttar world of music, many Jazz improvisers and Classical composers eventually venture into exploring poly-harmony within their respective art form. Poly harmony isrepparttar 141824 simultaneous sounding of more than one harmonic concept. The preponderance with poly-harmony beganrepparttar 141825 late 19th-early 20th centuries with classical composers as Stravinsky and Debussy. About sixty years later, jazz musicians as John Coltrane and Richie Bierach incorporated such ideas into their music. The benefits of learning poly-chords will enhance an improviserís repertoire of harmonic concepts. Thus they can create harmonic colorings that can influence a listenerís outlook. This article will focus on how once can practice and incorporate tertian polychords into their improvisational styles. Many ofrepparttar 141826 examples and references within this article will make use ofrepparttar 141827 seventh chord and triad. One should to explore other tertian harmonies such as ninths, elevenths, and all other similar formulations.

Tertian harmony is harmony that spaces its notes a third a part from other notes. Additionally, tertian harmony includesrepparttar 141828 harmonic inversion of thirds. Before one begins their exploration into poly-chords, one should be familiar with tertian harmony in its simplest terms of inversions and through a few applied patterns. From this understanding of tertian harmony through inversions and patterns and after one has accomplished or, inrepparttar 141829 least, feels comfortable with tertian harmony, one should then attempt to combine more than one chord.

The first step in gaining an understanding tertian ploychords is to write triads and 7th chords in a formulaic fashion. For example, begin by writing each major chord a major second apart (i.e. Cmaj-Dmaj, Ebmaj-Fmaj, etc.) After writing these series of chords, write out triads that are minor third apart. For example: Ebmaj-Gbmaj, Amaj-Cmaj, and all other similar progressions. As one can see fromrepparttar 141830 two previous examples, one should continue this process until one has exhausted allrepparttar 141831 permutations ofrepparttar 141832 triad progression. In a similar fashion, one should continue this writing exercise with seventh chords. The purpose to this writing exercise is forrepparttar 141833 musician/composer to develop a visual and intellectual connection torepparttar 141834 concepts that they will use in a open/free musical environment.

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