MUSC 135: Jazz Harmony
Jazz Harmony is taught each fall semester and meets Tuesday-Thursday from 2:00-3:15 pm in the Kenan Rehearsal Hall as well as in the keyboard lab. Students learn chord symbol nomenclature and how chords, melodies, and improvised material function together in the context of the repertoire from the Great American Songbook and in other jazz standards. We learn how to apply arpeggios from each inversion point over the form tunes, how to bracket scales over chords, we analyze the improvisatory solo lines of Charlie Parker and extrapolate the chromatic devices found in these improvisations, and we use these materials to build our own improvisations over selected tunes that we perform together in class.
Additionally, beginning Fall 2019, MUSC 135 has been approved as one of the choices to satisfy the keyboard skills requirement in the BMus degree in the Department of Music, so a significant portion of the class is spent learning various jazz piano voicings together in the keyboard lab throughout the semester. Then during the final unit of the semester, we analyze jazz band scores together, and through the process, we discover how these piano voicings can directly translate into composing effective harmonies for the jazz band as well as any small or large ensemble.
MUSC 135 provides an inclusive environment that welcomes students from all backgrounds, whether trained in jazz, classical, popular or other types of music.