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Glossary

  • Anticipation: Anticipations are notes that attack before the resolution of the beat.
  • Arrangement: Creating a left hand accompaniment to a melody or moving sections of a song around.
  • Bass Line: A type of accompaniment that is a single note at a time. Usually played legato.
  • Block Chord: A four-note chord. Same thing as a seventh chord.
  • Blues: A style of music. A chord progression that contains I7, IV7, V7.
  • Blues Scale: A six-note scale that works well over the Blues for improvisation.
  • Chords: Playing two or more notes at the same time. The letters and numbers found above melody.
  • Chord Changes: Same as a chord progression. An order of chords.
  • Chord Progression: The order in which chords move. There are numerous popular chord progressions.
  • Chord Root: The letter (with accidental) that is furthest to the left in a chord symbol. In A#-7, the root A#.
  • Chord Symbol: Everything to the right of the root in a chord. In Eb-7, the root is Eb, the symbol is -7.
  • Comping “comp”: Adding rhythm to chords to create a more interesting accompaniment.
  • Diads: Two-note chords. R3, R5, R7 chords are diads.
  • Downbeat: The first part of the beat. Every beat has a down and up part.
  • Fake Book: A book of lead sheets. A book of only melodies and chords; you make the arrangement.
  • Head: The melody of the song. Typically a jazz form is head-solo-head (melody-solo-melody).
  • Improvisation / Improv: Creating your own melodies from scales, rhythms and other ideas you\’ve learned.
  • Jam Session: When people get together to play without prior rehearsal. People might be meeting for the first time!
  • Lead Sheet / Lead Line: A song with chords written above the melody line. No left hand arrangement!
  • Lick: A short melodic idea that you use for improvisation or as a “spring board” into your solo.
  • Modes: A scale starting on a note other than the first (i.e., C scale starting on D going to D- D,E,F,G,A,B,C,D).
  • Montuno: a syncopated piano vamp that repeats. Might be two (common), four, eight or more measures.
  • Open Improvisation: A section of a song where you can improvise for as long as you want.
  • Ostinato: A repeating pattern, usually in the bass (i.e., playing the 5th of the key on two and four only for a few measures).
  • Pentatonic Scale: A five-note scale. There are Maj and min pentatonic scales. One note away from a Blues scale.
  • Root of the chord: The tonic of a chord.
  • Root-3 Chords (R3): Playing only the Root and the 3rd of the chord.
  • Root-5 Chords (R5): Playing only the Root and the 5th of the chord.
  • Root-7 Chords (R7): Playing only the Root and the 7th of the chord.
  • Seventh Chord: A four-note chord. A triad with the seventh of the scale added.
  • Shells: Playing only two of the notes of a chord (i.e., C-Bb is a R7 chord shell for a C dominant 7 chord).
  • Slashes: Notation written as / / / / to signify that chords should be “comped.”
  • Solo: Same as improvisation. Creating your own melodies while accompaniment is played in the left hand.
  • Transposition: Moving a melody and chords to a new key. Used when playing with other instruments.
  • Triad: A three-note chord formed by playing the 1st, 3rd and 5th note of the Major scale at the same time.
  • Upbeat: The second half of a beat. Follows the downbeat. Anticipations usually occur on upbeats.
  • Vocalizing: Adding nonsense syllables to rhythms to make it easier to learn and perform them.
  • Voice Leading: When notes of one chord smoothly move to another chord.
  • Voicing: Arrangement of the notes in a chord.’)

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