Most Popular Jazz Chords...

When I'm teaching a student how to get used to learning those basic Jazzy chord voicings on the neck, (seventh chords), I've found that there's one chord progression that beats them all when it comes to playing through a cycle of practical chord changes that will really help the student get their skills together at learning the chords used in jazz...

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The chord progression is generally referred to by musicians as a, "III, VI, II, V" harmony. This just means that we're using the; third, sixth, second and fifth chords found within the key signature of a particular major or minor key and we're placing the correct chords of the keys harmonized scale onto those degrees.

In contemporary harmonic analysis, we will most commonly find these progressions notated using all upper case roman numerals. So, for all of you players out there who are trained in classical analysis, this "jazz harmonic analysis system" may look a little different since it doesn't differentiate the minor qualities of the minor chords.

This is because in Jazz, our chords can function differently at times. So, let's run through a series of scenarios for practicing this technique - so you can understand this whole study process a lot better.

III, VI, II, V ...using chords diatonic to the major key signature. (key of A)

Now, let's practice this again, but this time we'll be using chords diatonic to the minor key...

III, VI, II, V ...using chords diatonic to minor tonality. (A Minor)

Alright, now we'll take this one step further and apply these same chord changes as a series of chords related to more of a Jazz-Blues sound, (by converting) all of the chords to Dominant 7th quality.

III, VI, II, V ...using chords that are non-diatonic (all Dom.7th)

When you understand the way that keys work and how chord changes relate to harmony, you'll be able to play this all across the neck and nail your ability for performing the most popular jazz chord voicings.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this exercise. Thanks for watching, If you want to learn more about what I do as an online guitar teacher, then head over to my website at and sign up your FREE lifetime membership...

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