Notes and Harmony

Here we will learn the importance and unimportance of notes and hopefully clear up a few misconceptions about harmony as it pertains to single note melody instruments.

Playing the “changes” is a concept often misunderstood. When we improvise we only need to know the next note we will play and not all of the possible notes at once. It is pretty safe to say that we don’t carry all of the note possibilities in our awareness, as some kind of picture when we play. This is not where the “good” notes come from. As an improvising jazz musician It is important to have direct contact with the harmony through your fingers and ears. Playing arpeggios, while not bad for your technique won’t help you play creatively or melodically over chord changes. Neither will practicing licks. Playing licks will help you mimic the harmony but won’t help you understand and use harmony creatively.

V7 -> I major:

V7 -> I minor:


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