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Wikipedia defines Jazz as a musical art form which originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States from a confluence of African and European music traditions. The style's West African pedigree is evident in its use of blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, and the swung note.
At a minimum to explore jazz or contemporary music on a ukulele you need a core set of chords and scales. It's this foundation or core that you can build on.
This lesson contains links and resources for developing as a jazz ukulele player. And, a great overview of what is needed as far as chords, scales and the essential elements that are needed to explore jazz on a ukulele.
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Necessary Jazz Skills
Technique is the physical control and coordination needed to play an instrument or sing. It is involves position, efficiency of motion and effort, as well as exercises to develop specific physical skills.
Theory is the body of principles behind music. It includes scales and chord building, intervals, progressions, resolution, harmony, motion, power, color, chord substitution, keys and time signatures, rhythm, melody, etc.
Ear Training is the development of the active and passive capacity to relate to music aurally. It includes the ability to regains melodic and harmonic intervals, chords, chord progression, rhythm, melody and harmony.
Reading is the ability to reproduce music from written notation. It includes five phases; note recognition / alternate note locations, rhythm recognition, fingering considerations, communication terminology and interpretation.
Repertoire includes the songs within the performance ability of the student. These songs maybe memorized or read. They may be literal reproductions or creative interpretations.
Improvisation is the ability to spontaneous to create melody over a predetermined chord progression. It involves scales, alternate fingerings, arpeggios, intervalic development, sequences, embellishments, superimposition, rhythm, motifs, development techniques and idiomatic considerations.
Musical Idioms is the study of music musical style it involves well developed categories as; Rock, Blues, Country, Jazz, Bluegrass, Classical, Folk, Urban and Fusion. It also includes subdivisions of specializations.
Songwriting is the creation of original music based on a single melodic line with a chord progression. Lyrics may or may not be included.
Arranging involves the choice of instruments, tempo, rhythmic feel, form, intro, ending, interludes, solos, harmonies, and instrumental accompaniment of a song.
Composition is the creation of original music based on multiple simultaneous and compatible melodies. It historically involves the classical forms but frequently includes more sophisticated levels of contemporary music.
Orchestration involves the choice of instruments for a composition. This choice is based on the ranges and colors of the instruments which best represent the mood and creative intent of the composer.
Interpretation involves the ability to perform a song or composition in a unique and personal way. These skills involve a interrelated set of disciplines which include, theory, ear training, technique, dynamics, embellishments, phrasing, and rhythmic flexibility.
If there is one thing that really opens up the ukulele. It is really, and I mean really knowing the notes of the ukulele fingerboard. This needs to be second nature with no conscience thought.
This is separate from learning to read standard music notation. Which, is an essential skill to develop.
Regardless of the style of jazz that you venture into. You need a core foundation of chords and scales. Open position, movable form chords and just plain old knowing the notes of chords and scales.
Building a solid chord foundation is essential in your development as a musician and jazz musician - ANY instrument.
There are seventeen essential jazz scales.
From the major and natural minor scales you can build theses essential scales.
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A handy dandy single sheet chart showing the each voicing of the four, seventh chords Big Six seventh chord voicings.
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