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Every JazzPianoSkills weekly podcast episode introduces aspiring jazz pianists to essential Jazz Piano Skills. Each Podcast episode explores a specific Jazz Piano Skill in depth. Today you will discover, learn, play Chord/Scale Relationships (Key Dependency). In this Jazz Piano Lesson you will:
Essential Chord/Scale Relationships (Key Dependency)
How to quickly and easily determine Harmonic Function (Key Dependency)
The correct scales (Key Dependency) for the Primary Chords of Music
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Welcome to jazz piano skills. I'm Dr. Bob Lawrence. It's time to discover, learn, and play jazz piano. I hope everyone is doing well. I hope you're remaining safe and of course I hope you are healthy. It has been an incredibly busy week. With so many new and awesome developments happening at jazz panel skip between all of the new developments and preparing for today's lesson, I have been burning the midnight oil. So much to cover today. So let's just jump in. First, I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about some tweaking I've been doing and have officially launched this past weekend at jazz piano skills. As you all know, if you've been listening for a while, I develop an educational guide to go along with each podcast episode. The educational guide was implemented because many of you requested that I write out the jazz panel skill I teach in the podcast using traditional music notation. The educational guide the music has been enormously helpful for many of you, especially if you're a visual learner and you'd like to read music. Well, I am happy to announce that this is an occasional guide has some company now. Yep. Moving forward, every jazz panel skills podcast episode will have educational guides available to help you discover, learn, and play jazz piano. Yes, I said guides, as in plural, more than one. So How exciting is this? In addition to having music available to help you digest the jazz piano skill being taught, you will also have illustrations and play long tracks. Let me just take a couple of minutes to go through each one. The first educational guide illustrations, these are detailed graphics with the jazz panel scale and all 12 keys again, in all 12 keys. I am a huge, huge draw. I like to create imagery for everything I like. Music or otherwise, I guess I'm a huge believer in a picture is worth 1000 words. I've been like this My whole life. I like to create diagrams of anything. I like thinking through and trying to master any new skill. First, using diagrams, I sketch it out. So I'm now including the illustrations that I do, and present them now as an image, a picture a diagram of the jazz piano skill in all 12 keys. This is the discovery stage of the educational process. The illustrations are very cool, and I'm so excited that they are now going to be included with each podcast episode. The second educational guide, lead sheets, these are the original guide, simply renamed Again, it's the jazz piano skill that I'm teaching in the podcast presented using traditional music notation. They are perfect to have sitting on your piano. Again, especially if you're a reader, the music the lead sheets, which are again provided in all 12 keys, help you get your hands on the shapes. Again, another form of imagery that is very helpful. This is what I would call the Learn stage of the educational process. So we now have the Discover stage which are the illustrations and we have the Learn stage, which are the lead sheets. The third educational guide are the play-along tracks. How fun Will this be? Now, I have mentioned on many, if not all of my podcast episodes how important it is for you to develop your musical ABS right articulation Balance sound, likewise, how important it is to develop your internal sense of time. Here's a brutal musical fact. No teacher, no teacher can teach you these elements of playing jazz piano, especially time. The only way to learn these jazz elements is to experience them. In other words, you have to experience time in order to develop time,
and there is no better way to experience time than with play long tracks. So now I'm including every with every podcast lesson, play-along tracks and again, for all 12 keys. You will be able to practice the jazz piano skill using the same grooves and tempos that I use to demonstrate the jazz piano skill. This is The play section or the play stage of the educational process. So, not only are there now three great educational guides available, but these are not just random educational tools. The educational guides should be used sequentially, at least initially. For maximum musical growth, the illustrations, discover lead seats, learn and play long tracks play, as I have stressed before. Discover, learn play is not just a catchy slogan. I know I said at the beginning of every podcast that it's time to discover learning play jazz piano, but it's not just a catchy slogan. It's an educational approach. And it's an educational approach that I strongly believe in and highly recommend. So it only makes sense The educational guides that accompany each podcast lesson adhere to this educational approach and philosophy. It's solid. It's very solid, very solid education. Okay, but it even gets better. Each educational guide can easily be downloaded and is available for $5. Yeah, $5 it's an amazing deal. But now that there is more than one educational guide, all three are also available as a bundle for 13 bucks. So you can save a few dollars, right? If you purchase all three, you save a few bucks and more importantly, however, the bundle is not just the three educational guides slapped together. No, no. The jazz piano skills bundle has an amazing user interface that looks stunningly beautiful on any of your devices, your desktop, you'll laptop tablet phone. I wanted it designed like this so that the bundle actually functions as a jazz panel skills app. So with the user-friendly bundle interface, you can conveniently take your phone or your tablet to your piano, sync it with some Bluetooth speakers. And you have a very hip jazz trio or quartet ensemble to practice with at any time you're ready to swing. So the bundles even have the speakpipe widget that I have mentioned on previous episodes included so you can easily reach me when you have any questions or need assistance. How cool is all this? Huh? Just a quick side note, you know, when I was a kid, back in the 70s my teacher al Franzen, great guy, right, man. He used to say to me after every lesson, hey, if you get home and you're practicing have questions call me. And I'm happy to help you. So it's kind of funny in the 70s. Man, he was offering tech support long before anybody even knew what tech support was. And I can remember thinking, Man, I don't want to call him I don't want to bug him. So I finally did one day, right? I finally said, Man, I have some questions. I picked up the phone and I call him. He was so gracious and help so much. And I realized how beneficial that was. So I would continue to call him whenever I had questions, and he would always help. So I guess I'm such a big supporter of speakpipe a way for you to call leave me a voicemail message so I can return a voicemail message to you with an answer. I guess I'm so big on that because it had such an impact on me when I was a kid and I know just how invaluable that can be. So anyway, the speakpipe widget is included in the podcast in the bundle that you can get so don't be shy. You get it. You have a question, shoot me a voicemail and I'll respond right back to you with some, some tips and some help and some answers. Okay, so far, I have let you know about the addition of three educational guides, illustrations, lead sheets and play-along tracks, plus the ability to purchase them as a bundle that uses a beautifully designed user interface that functions like a jazz piano skills app.
I told you,
I told you I've been crazy busy. But as the old saying goes, wait, there's even more. I am thrilled to let you know that there is now a jazz panel skills bundle subscription with your bundle subscription you receive and have access to all to all podcast illustrations. Lead sheets and play-along tracks and the bundles with the user enter user-friendly interface that's all included with the subscription. And here's the best part Are you ready? Your bundle's subscription saves you 50%? That's right 50%. And even more, if you do the annual subscription, instead of the monthly subscription. Be sure to check it out, go to jazz panel skills.com, And check out the bundle subscriptions and the educational podcast guides. Both You can learn more about all of this, just go to jazz piano skills comm click on the podcast link in the menu bar that runs across the top of the page. And you can go from there and learn all about all of these new and exciting developments. Okay, I guess this is a whole lot more than just a little tweaking. But I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about these additions to jazz piano skills. I want this podcast I want these lessons and the materials that go along with these lessons to be the very best
I am committed, I want you to know I am committed to providing you with the best jazz piano lessons, educational content, and materials that are available anywhere today. So with that being said, let's get to today's lesson, which is going to be a brain teaser. So regardless of where you are in your jazz journey, a beginner an intermediate player, an advanced player, or even an experienced professional. You will find this podcast this lesson to be amazingly beneficial. This week, we are going to explore what I call key dependency. In this lesson, you're going to discover this Essential chords scale relationships, you're going to learn how to quickly and easily determine harmonic function. And you're going to play the correct scales for the primary chords. If you're listening to this podcast at home and have access to a pad of paper and a pencil, the hit the pause button and go get them go grab them right now. If you're driving, working out doing yard work or some other activity, you can do some of the mental exercises and paper practice later when you do have access to some paper and pencil. So here we go. It is important that you know that every chord in music belongs to a key. Let me say that again. every chord In music belongs to a key. No chord enjoys autonomy. No chord can say I belong to no key. I am an independent chord. And this is true. Regardless of the genre music classical jazz, country rock reggae, it makes no difference. If there are chords being played, rest assured that they belong to a key. Now, why is this important? Why is it important to comprehend this to understand? Because, knowing that a chord belongs to a key and knowing how to determine what key a chord belongs to, is the critical first step towards becoming an accomplished jazz musician, an improviser. So today we are going to do some essential grunt work to demystify chord scale relationships. We begin with a note, a simple note and we're going to use the notes C., Of course, we can select any of the 12 notes, any of our 12 notes, but today we are going to work with the note C. So my first question for you today is this. How many keys does the note See? appearance? Another way of asking this question is, how many scales have the Notes See in them? I want you to think about that for a second. Why play a little music
Oh man, I just being a little silly. So, you got an answer should come up with an answer. How many keys does the note C appear in? Well, if you said 12 wrong, if you said eight wrong if you came up with the number seven, you are correct. And how we get there is pretty logical right? There are seven notes in a scale. So, therefore, every note not just the note C appears in some scale as the first note, another scale is the second note. Another scale is the third note and so on. Now that we know that the note C appears in seven keys, seven scales, which by the way, I use those two terms synonymously. When I say the key of C, I am also referring to the C major scale. And when I say or I talk about the C major scale, I'm also referring to the key of C. So we need to know what seven keys scales that the note C appears in. Question number two, what is the best and most efficient way to do this? All right, I'll knock it off. So what is the best and most efficient way to decipher to come up with the keys, the scales, but the note C appears in There are several ways to do this. But I am going to show you today a very slick, easy, and quick way to do it. I'm sure that you are all familiar with the whole, whole half, whole, whole whole half, right? We all learn this little formula when we start playing the piano when we start piano lessons. And when we begin learning the scales, it is the major scale formula that we are taught to help us construct a major scale using a combination of whole and half steps. So you hear people refer to it all the time as whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole half, right? So if I start with the notes, see, I go up a whole step up another whole step, half step,
another whole step, whole step and a half step and doing so I've just constructed the major scale
whole half, whole, whole whole half.
Now, I want you to grab that paper and pencil that I mentioned, I want you to write the letter C on the right-hand side of the page, right, so we're going to go right to left, we're not going to go left to right, we're going to go right to left. So I want you to grab that piece of paper, that pencil and I want you to write the letter C on the right-hand side of your piece of paper on your page. Now, what is a whole step down from C? You're correct. It's B flat. Now let's go down a whole step from B flat, which would be
A half step from a flat
G, whole step down from G. whole step down from F, E flat. whole step down from E flat, D flat
and a half step down from D flat to C. So we end up with
C, B flat,
a flat, G, F, E flat, D flat, C.
We end up with a whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole half. Going backwards. I know you're asking, what's the point? Well, the point is, you just identified the seven keys, the seven scales. The note C appears in C. is the first note in the scale of C. C is the second note in the scale of B flat. The third note in the scale of a flat, the fourth note in the scale of G, the fifth note in the scale of F, the sixth note in the scale of E flat, and the seventh note in the scale of D flat. Pretty stinking cool, right? It's weird how that works, but it's very cool. And guess what? It's about to get even weirder and cooler. If you've been studying jazz for a while, you have probably discovered that the notes of a major scale are used to construct chords. So in the C major scale, a chord is built off of the notes C and another chord is built off of the note D and another chord on the note E and so on. You also may already know that the chord built on the note C is a major chord. So, the first chord in the key of C C major, right the chord built off of the note D is the D minor chord, the note or the chord of the note E F major, g dominant, a minor and B half-diminished. So, just as there is a formula for constructing major scales, whole whole half whole whole whole half, there is a formula for knowing the chord qualities of the major scale chords. major, minor minor major, dominant minor half-diminished. Let me say that again, major, minor minor, major, dominant minor half diminished and guess what? Just like the whole whole half, whole, whole whole Half works backward. So does the major minor minor, major dominant minor half diminished formula. what I'm telling you is this, C is a major chord in the key of C. C is a minor chord in the key of B flat. C is also a minor chord in the key of A-flat, C is a major chord in the key of G. C is a dominant chord in the key of F. C is a minor chord in the key of E flat and c is a half-diminished chord in the key of D flat. Remember earlier when I told you that it is important to know every chord belongs to a key and knowing how to determine what key a chord belongs to is The critical first step towards becoming an accomplished jazz musician, an improviser? Well, congratulations, we just took our critical first step. This is so important because we are now on the road to key dependency. jazz musicians are always aware of the key that the chord scale relationships reveal when playing a progression when playing a tune. Now, with that pad of paper and pencil, you need to repeat this process 11 more times, and when you are done, you have successfully mapped out the chord scale relationships you need to know to play jazz and successfully improvise. Your key dependency is well underway.
I am going to play Through these CT scan relationships for the notes C. So let's get busy. Let's discover, learn and play jazz piano let's strengthen our key dependency. So sit back, relax, turn on your ears. Here we go. So again for the notes, see, right, using our whole whole half whole, whole whole half gone backwards, we get C, B flat,
a flat, G, F flat, and D
Now, using our major, minor, minor, major dominant minor have diminished formula again, those chords and I'm going to put the roots underneath each one of these chords right? So C major, obviously, the root is in the bottom of that chord right see. Now check this out C minor, and with B flat on the bottom. There's my B flat, C minor. So that B flat is just kind of given me an anchor As I sit here on the piano and I play that I play my B flat. I play my C minor. So I'm thinking I'm in the key of B flat, there's my two-chord. Now my a flat, my a, my, my, my C minor against that a flat. So it just helps give me a reference point again, right? A flat is my key. C minor is my three of that key. Right now, G. C major, C is the major in the key of G,
F. C is dominant in the key of F.
little bite there, right. Again, we're just using these rough I'm putting these roots in my left hand just so I can see the relationship again. E flat, C minor.
And then my D flat, C half-diminished. Right?
So don't get wrapped around the sound here. Right and Whoo, that sounds terrible. No, I'm just playing this so I can actually get an illustration image of what's happening here. So I got C major, I got B flat, C minor, a flat, C minor, G, C major,
F, C dominant,
E flat, C minor, and D flat, C half-diminished.
Okay, and then we're back to C.
so the very first demo that I'm going to play today is I'm going to play C major. Right? I'm gonna play the C major scale in the key of C. And for all you academic folks out there, Ionian mode if you want the academic label right, Ionian mode C major I'm in the key of C major. I'm playing the one chord, C major. And I'm going to play the scale that goes with that chord in the key of C. So let's bring our ensemble and let's bring my trio and, and listen to how this sounds pretty straightforward, but let's take a listen. Here we go.
Right, again, pretty straightforward, nice and relaxed. I'm playing at 110. Playing with a nice to feel I'm not trying to be fancy, I'm just going up the scale coming down to scale. And I'm really trying to focus on that. I'm in the key of C, I'm playing the one chord, and it's the Ionian mode. And here's what it sounds like. So again, not trying to be fancy, just trying to digest the shapes and the sound of C major as the one chord in the key of C. Now A demonstration here today, I'm going to play the C minor chord as a two-chord right in the key of B flat, or what you may have read the Dorian mode if you heard about the Dorian mode, right, so we're going to play the C minor chord from the key of B flat, and the C minor scale. Of course, using the notes B flat and E flat, it's actually the B flat major scale starting on C. But eventually, you're just gonna think of this as the C minor scale for C minor as a two-chord. So I'm going to bring the rhythm section back in but I'm going to have the bass player, do a pedal point right. bass player is going to be sitting on a B flat again, I'm just trying to Establish solidify that relationship that I'm playing a C minor chord in relationship to B flat as the two-chord. So the bass player is going to just hunker down on B flat while I play the C minor scale, which is the B flat major scale starting on C over the progression or the over the core, right. So here we go. Let's bring the rhythm section in and let's listen to this C minor as it sounds using the Dorian mode key of B flat.
Okay, here we go.
Nice write really clean actually had nice very nice sound C minor Dorian mode. Okay, so now we move on. Now we're gonna go to C minor, same C minor chord, right, but now we're getting in our mind that wait a minute this C minor is no longer to court This C minor is a three-chord, right, it's the three in the key of A-flat. So therefore my scale changes. It's going to go C, D flat, E flat, F, G, A-flat, and B flat. So again, it's the A flat major scale but starting on C, I'm framing it as belonging to the C minor chord, right seeing it relationship to the C minor chord.
Very different sound. But if I have a C minor chord and a piece of music, and it's functioning as a three-chord, I better work off the scale. So let's bring the rhythm section back in. I'm going to have that bass player again just play a flat while I work off the C minor sound and I'm going to play the a flat screen Galle against that C minor. Okay, so let's take a listen and what I'm keeping it simple again. And what I'm trying to solidify is my understanding that that C minor is now belonging to the key of A-flat, not B flat, a flat. So therefore, my scale has to reflect that chord scale relationship. I'm actually playing the A flat major scale starting on the note C. Here we go. Let's check it out.
Not bad. Awesome, right? I encourage you when you're playing these just again, you're just going up and down the scale, keep it simple and solidify the chord scale relationship, I want you to become key-dependent. Alright, so next, we're going to play our C major sound, but now not in relationship to the key of C. We're going to play our C major and relationship to the key of G. So the bass player is going to play our G down here. I'm going to play the C major scale based on the key of G, which has the F sharp in it. Our Lydian sound right?
Really nice, right? So you're gonna hear the G. I'm gonna play C major.
Okay, so I'm just wanting to get that relationship again, I want to understand that chord scale relationship, I'm in the key of G. I have a C major chord, my scale has to reflect that sound has to include that F sharp in there, because I'm in the key of G. Right? The key of C, we're thinking C major chord, no sharps, and flats at so fast, right? If we're in the key of G, it changes everything. So we're going to add that That F sharp in there, that Lydian mode. So let's bring the rhythm section back in. Let's take a listen and hear how this sounds. Here we go.
Very cool. Very cool. Hopefully, right? You're starting to go, oh man, I'm starting to see this, I'm starting to pick up on this that this, every chord belongs to a key, you'll have to know what those keys are. And then the scale that we utilize for improvisation and melodic development. It's going to be that scale of that key, right? Okay, so the next one is pretty straightforward. We're going to play C dominant. C dominant is the five chord in the key of F. So we're just going to, I'm going to play the C dominant chord, we're in the key of F, I'm going to go up and down my dominant scale, which is really the F major scale starting on C. But eventually, we want to just think of that as the C dominant scale. And so let's bring the rhythm section in. Again. I'm just going to practice going up in down the scale and try to just digest that sound that Mixolydian mode. Okay, so here we go. Let's bring the rhythm section and let's check this out.
Nice again, pretty, pretty straightforward, right? C dominant belongs to the key of F Mixolydian mode. Okay, now we have another minor chord we have C minor again, right? This time however this C minor is functioning as a six. So we're in the key of E flat. So our bass player is going to sit on E flat and I'm going to play the C minor scale based on the key of E flat, right, so my C minor scale now is going to have an E flat. We're gonna have a B flat and E flat and a flat inside the scale very different than the Dorian mode. Very good. Different than the Phrygian mode, right? The two and the three now it's a six. So again, if you have a C minor chord, you're in a plane and a piece of music and you can you decipher that, ah, this minor is functioning as a six chord, the C minor, you better play the E flat major scale over that C minor, not the B flat scale, not the A-flat scale, but the E flat scale. And again, these are crutches that help you start developing an understanding of chord scale relationships. Eventually, you see these as just the C minor scale, not the E flat scale or not the A-flat scale or the B flat scale, they become the C minor scales. So let's bring our rhythm section in. We'll have our bass player set on E flat while I practice playing up and down the C minor scale using the notes from the key of E flat. So here we go. Let's take a listen.
Very nice. Very nice. Okay, so now we're down to our last chord scale relationship, it's going to be C half-diminished, coming from the key of D flat, C half diminished the seven of the key of D flat. So we're going to play our C half-diminished chord. And I'm going to play the C half-diminished scale, which is really the D flat major scale starting on C.
And this is called the Locrian mode. So we're gonna have our bass player sit on the note D flats, right? So we're gonna have a little tension here, but we're gonna have our D flat and we're gonna play the scale
against that D flat.
so let's bring our rhythm section in. Let's focus on that. This relationship of our C half-diminished chord being the seven of the key of D flat and practice our C half-diminished scale ascending and descending, keeping it very simple. So here we go. Let's just check it out. Let's take a listen.
Wow, okay, fantastic. We have just completed what we've just done. We've taken the Notes See, we've looked at the Notes See in relation to the seven keys that belongs to the key of C, the key of B flat key of A-flat key of G key of F, E flat, D flat. So, any note, right? If you take any note and you work backward, whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, whole half. It's kind of hard to say right?
whole whole half whole, whole whole half
working backward. You identify the seven keys that that knows appears in. And likewise, if you apply major minor minor, major dominant minor half-diminished, you have identified the seven chord qualities for that note within that key. So you have C major for C major, C minor for B flat major,
C minor for A-flat Major,
C major for G major,
C dominant for F,
C minor for a flat and C half-diminished for D flat and then back to C.
So, you can even actually just play the chord in your left hand and go through this light right so, you can go C major scale
C minor, B flat major scale
everything starting The notes see, of course, right C minor, A flat major scale. C major, G major scale, C dominant F major scale,
C minor, E flat major scale,
C half-diminished, D flat major scale.
There you have it. The notes c seven keys, the chord scale relationship that exists within each one of those keys. How awesome Wow, I hope you have found this jazz piano skills podcast lesson on key dependency to be insightful, and of course beneficial I told you earlier. It's a brain teaser and you have to give some serious thinking to this. And believe me, the payoff the dividends are huge. So spend some time with this lesson. Now be sure to check out the educational guides, plural right now available at jazz piano skills. The illustrations are killer for this lesson and the lead sheets, all 12 keys illustrations for all 12 keys for everything that we just talked through the play-along tracks all 12 keys there are 84 play-along tracks for this guide for the included in this and these guys 84 and they're ready for you to begin using to master this course gear relationship and strengthen your key dependency. So visit jazz piano skills comm click on the podcast link in the menu bar that runs across the top of the homepage and you'll find this episode along with the educational guides are available. The bundle subscriptions are now available as well giving you access to all the illustrations lead sheets and play-along tracks. For every jazz panel skills, podcasts lesson, podcast episode, a great value indeed. When you're there, hey check out the jazz panel skills courses. Course five, the 11th is now available. And check out all the other courses as well and more are being developed and will be published soon. Again each of the courses. Each course is packed with comprehensive lessons containing detailed illustrate instruction and illustrations, in-depth educational talks and interactive learning media traditional guides and worksheets that you can download high definition video demonstrations I play everything in all 12 keys so you can see my fingerings and hand movement. Also, play-along tracks are in the courses and leave seats as well. And of course, professional and personal educational support. I provide that as well too. So check out the jazz panels, skills courses. Also the forums, please be active in the forums, get out there and meet some folks, make some new jazz friends, ask some questions, get some answers, right? Become actively involved with the forums. They're there, they're available and ready for you to use. And don't forget, I always mentioned speakpipe is now part of jazz piano skills. So feel free to send me a voicemail message at any time. If you have questions regarding this podcast episode, or any of my jazz pans, panel skills podcast episodes, it doesn't get much easier than a single mouse click to reach me use it. Again. I look forward to hearing from you. So that's it. That's it for this week. enjoy the journey. Most of all,
as you discover, learn and play