Polychords: What Are They?

Polychords are everywhere in music - all kinds of music. And yet polychords are often not fully understood, or even worse, are viewed as "scary" and "difficult," leaving students to dismiss them as too advanced for their own understanding. Well, polychords are not too scary, difficult, or advanced. In fact, they are sometimes used to […]

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How to Use Upper Extensions - Part 2 of 2

In Part 1 of our "Upper Extensions" article we discussed the terminology and theory that students often find confusing when studying this concept. Here in Part 2 we will discuss how and when to use upper extensions by examining a few specific examples: Available Upper Extensions Available upper extensions refer to the particular extensions that […]

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What Are "Upper Extensions" in Jazz? Part 1 of 2

The term "upper extensions" has a very important meaning to musicians, particularly to jazz players. This is because "upper extensions" refers to a jazz theory concept that is critical to jazz improvisation and (for piano players) jazz comping. Sometimes it's not the concept of upper extensions that is confusing but rather the terminology. It might […]

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Diminished Chords: Dominant Chords in Disguise? Part 2 of 2

Now that we've examined the specifics of what makes dominant chords special in Part 1 of this article, lets continue by taking a look at a diminished chord and noting some particular observations. What do you notice about this diminished chord? Well, we could call this a "C# diminished 7th" chord. A diminished 7th chord is […]

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How To Play Chords on the Piano

There are lots of different things to practice when learning to play the piano. But learning how to play chords on the piano is perhaps some of the single-most powerful information that a student can master. Being able to accurately and quickly find and play all of your major, minor, and dominant chords will tremendously […]

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