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Giant Steps
Published: 2011-10-01 Updated: 2015-10-31

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Giant Steps

Giant Steps is a jazz composition by John Coltrane, first appearing as the first track on the album of the same name (1960). The composition is a milestone in jazz, given the difficulty of improvising its rapid progression of chord changes that progress through three keys (see Coltrane changes) shifted by major thirds, creating an augmented triad..

The song title comes from the relatively giant leaps between the roots of consecutive chords. From a transcription, one can easily infer that many of these are upward leaps of minor thirds, but they can just as easily be inverted as descending major sixths, the latter approach best accentuating the disconcerting nature of the progression.

John Coltrane was a big fan of the ukulele and wrote this song on the ukulele. This is great song to play on the uke. OK - maybe he wasn't a fan and or wrote it on uke but this is a cool song to attempt on the ukulele.

This is not a song typically associated with the ukulele. And, all the reason to play it. It definitely gets a reaction from fellow musicians familiar with the song. Chord wise it is really not that hard to play. It is a bear to solo over - and I'm still working on that one.

Here is my take arranged for low "G" C tuning.

If you run out of frets on a smaller size ukulele for the Eb6/9 in measure 15 then lower it one octave to 0 0 1 1. Even measures 14 and 15 can be played one octave lower and still sound fine.

In jazz harmony, the Coltrane changes (Coltrane Matrix or cycle, also known as chromatic third relations and multi-tonic changes) are a harmonic progression variation using substitute chords over common jazz chord progressions.

Song Road Map

Additional Lessons, Books, Songs, Lessons Series, Reference Material, etc...

A Road Map Through Song

Remembering songs is all about the form and harmonic content and movement with taking in the similarities between songs. And, just like a road map they're landmarks that will trigger memories of how to get through various sections, changes or parts of a song.

This section of a song's page presents some tips on how I try and remember a particular song.

No Road Map for Giant Steps check back soon.

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Related Lessons

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UL42-7
Core Chords - The Big Six - Building a Solid Chord Foundation

An introduction to the series of lessons for building your core, essential 4-part chords.

Related Books

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No related books for Giant Steps at this time.

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Related Songs

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Related Song Videos

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No videos for Giant Steps at this time. Filming a lot of videos for various lessons, songs and books.

Just browsing over both books, they look fantastic! I'm a guitarist and uke player for over 25 years and was thinking about writing a ukulele book but you've already written what I think are the best, most comprehensive and thorough books I've ever seen for the instrument. I just might end up buying every book you've written and I'll be giving my highest recommendation for your books to my friends and students. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great books! — Peter Rhee

Aloha, Curt, All I can say is WOW! What you have accomplished is simply incredible! All the best — Glen Hirabayashi, The Aloha Boys

Folks, if you haven't stopped by Curt's site, do so right now! ..And get his books, they are fantastic. This guy knows his stuff and is able to pass it along too. — Alan Johnson Proprietor, The 4th Peg

I can highly recommend Curt's Uke books — I have four of them and they are excellent. — fatveg — Portland

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