Jazz Ukulele - Lessons

A collection of on-line lessons dealing with playing jazz ukulele.

4-part Contemporary Chords, a.k.a. Jazz Chords

Core Chords is a series of lessons for building your 4-part chords. These chords commonly called “jazz” chords, are really just 4-part chords used in a wide range of musical styles.

4-Part Movable 7th Chord Forms

Based on the open position seventh chords. These movable form versions allow you to transpose the open position chords to any key.

The Down-loadable PDF file includes a ukulele fingerboard chart for C tuning.

Altered Seventh Chords on Ukulele

Beyond basic open position chords, basic movable form chords and a core set of 4-part chords. There are just too many chords shapes too memorize. Learning the principles of how chords are constructed and the ukulele fingerboard are the way to go. You can then create more advanced chords like 9#117#5-913b57+9 on the fly as needed from your core set of chords.

Building a Solid Jazz Chord Foundation for Ukulele

Commonly called jazz chords, these more sophisticated, contemporary chord voicings find their way into a wide variety of music forms and styles. This lessons is the first on the series that build your core foundation for these chords.

This is an expanded and improved version of Building A Solid Jazz Chord Foundation for Ukulele workshop that I‘ve presented several times at various ukulele festivals over the past several years.

Classic Endings for Ukulele

Two Feel, bVImaj7 bIImaj7, Basie Ending, Single, Double and Triple Tags, Chromatic, Take ‘A’ Train Ending, Shave and a Hair Cut, Lawrence Welk Ending, … These are common songs ending that are used over and over in the standard song repetoire.

Cool Ukulele Chords - G7

A non traditional fingering for the G7 chord using the knowledge that the notes of a G7 chord are G B D F.

Core Chords - Creating the Big Six from F7, 1st Voicing

Taking a movable F7 chord, you can derive each of the Big Six essential chords. 7, maj7, m7, m7b5, dim7, and aug7 from that voicing.

This voicing is based off the open position E7 chord. How I categorize this 4-part chord for transposition purposes is - “It’s a seventh chord with the root on string two.” That and knowing the notes of the ukulele fingerboard will allow you to transpose this chord to ANY key.

These six core chords comprise level I for building your more advanced chords

Core Chords - Creating the Big Six from F7, 2nd Voicing

Taking a movable F7 chord, you can derive each of the Big Six essential chords. 7, maj7, m7, m7b5, dim7, and aug7 from that voicing.

This voicing is based off the open position C7 chord. How I categorize this 4-part chord for transposition purposes is - “It’s a seventh chord with the root on string three.” That and knowing the notes of the ukulele fingerboard will allow you to transpose this chord to ANY key.

These six core chords comprise level I for building your more advanced chords.

Core Chords - Creating the Big Six from F7, 3rd Voicing

Taking a movable F7 chord, you can derive each of the Big Six essential chords. 7, maj7, m7, m7b5, dim7, and aug7 from that voicing.

This voicing is based off the open position A7 chord. How I categorize this 4-part chord for transposition purposes is - “It’s a seventh chord with the root on string one.” That and knowing the notes of the ukulele fingerboard will allow you to transpose this chord to ANY key.

These six core chords comprise level I for building your more advanced chords.

Core Chords - Creating the Big Six from F7, 4th Voicing

Taking a movable F7 chord, you can derive each of the Big Six essential chords. 7, maj7, m7, m7b5, dim7, and aug7 from that voicing.

This voicing is based off the open position G7 chord. How I categorize this 4-part chord for transposition purposes is - “It’s a seventh chord with the root on string four.” That and knowing the notes of the ukulele fingerboard will allow you to transpose this chord to ANY key.

These six core chords comprise level I for building your more advanced chords.

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

Core Chords is a series of lessons for building your 4-part chords. These chords commonly called jazz chords, are really just 4-part chords used in a wide range of musical styles.

The Big Six chords include: Seventh 7, Major Seventh maj7, Minor Seventh m7, Half Diminished Seventh or Minor Seven Flat Five diminished 7 m7b5, Diminished Seventh o7 and Augmented Seventh +7. These six chords form a core set of chords.

Updated 13 MAY 2014 with the open position seventh chords that most players know and can be used as a start for exploring and building a solid foundation of Jazz chords.

Core Chords for Ukulele - Diminished Major Seventh, Four Voicings

A rare chord, a diminished triad with a major seventh. Used the support the melody when the melody is the major seventh.

Creating Cool Ukulele Chords

Cool Chords - These are the chords do not typically show up in chord dictionaries or song books. These are the chords players ask, “What is that chord?”

Creating Introductions and Turnarounds for Ukulele

Introductions are a composed or improvised piece of music that introduces - sets the stage for - a song or composition. Introductions, or intro for short, are used in all types of music. In this lesson, the focus is on introduction

Diminished Scale for Ukulele - C Tuning

The Diminished Scale scale is a symmetrical scale with a repeating pattern of whole steps and half steps. You only need three Diminished scales to cover all 15 keys.

  • C D Eb F Gb A Bbb Cb C’

  • Db Eb Fb G Abb Bbb Cbb Db’

  • D E F G Ab Bb Cb Db D’

Based on the major scale the Diminished Scale contains the following scale degrees: 1 2 b3 4 b5 6 bb7 b8 8

The theoretically correct spelling of the Diminished scale with the double flats (bb) are shown. However enharmonic note names can be used too make it a little easier to remember. Or simply use the repeating whole step and half step pattern.

Dominant Seventh Chords?

Not all seventh chords are actually “dominant” seventh chords. This lesson covers when is a Dominant Seventh Chord NOT really a Dominant seventh?

Essential Jazz Scales for Ukulele

After you mastering the six essentials scales below and start to explore more advances styles of music, especially jazz. There are a few more scales that are needed to cover the broader harmonic palette that a typical jazz tune draws from.

Exploring Improvisation on Ukulele Using Tetrachords

Traditionally, a tetrachord is a series of four tones filling in the interval of a perfect fourth. In modern usage a tetrachord is any four-note segment of a scale or tone row including the augmented fourth (+4). The term tetrachord derives from ancient Greek music theory, it literally means four strings.

A Tetrachord of tetrascale approaches improvisation utilizing this smaller module of four notes vs. a more traditional scale approach. This smaller module becomes a bit more manageable.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele, Standard Example - All of Me

Using the jazz standard All of Me to explore jazz chords on ukulele.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele, Standard Example - All of Me

Using the jazz standard All of Me to explore jazz chords on ukulele.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele, Standard Example - All the Things You Are

Using the jazz standard All the Things You Are to explore jazz chords on ukulele.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele, Standard Example - Autumn Leaves

Using the jazz standard Autumn Leaves to explore jazz chords on ukulele.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele, Standard Example - Back Home in Indiana

Using the jazz standard Back Home in Indiana to explore jazz chords on ukulele.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele, Standard Example - Have You Met Miss Jones

Using the jazz standard Have You Met Miss Jones to explore jazz chords on ukulele.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele, Standard Example - It's Only a Paper Moon

Using the jazz standard It's Only a Paper Moon to explore jazz chords on ukulele.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele, Standard Example - Satin Doll

Using the jazz standard Satin Doll to explore jazz chords on ukulele.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele, Standard Example - Satin Doll

Using the jazz standard Satin Doll to explore jazz chords on ukulele.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele, Standard Example - Someday My Prince Will Come

Using the jazz standard Someday My Prince Will Come to explore jazz chords on ukulele.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele, Standard Example - Summer Samba

Using the jazz standard Summer Samba to explore jazz chords on ukulele.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele, Standard Example - Sweet Georgia Brown

Using the jazz standard Sweet Georgia Brown to explore jazz chords on ukulele.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele, Standard Example - Sweet Georgia Brown

A variation of the previous lessons using the jazz standard Sweet Georgia Brown to explore jazz chords on ukulele.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele, Standard Example - Take the A Train

Using the jazz standard Take the A Train to explore jazz chords on ukulele.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele, Standard Example - The Days of Wine and Roses

Using the jazz standard The Days of Wine and Roses to explore jazz chords on ukulele.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele, Standard Example - There Will Never Be Another You

Using the jazz standard There Will Never Be Another You to explore jazz chords on ukulele.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele, Standard Example - Yesterday

Using the jazz standard Yesterday to explore jazz chords on ukulele.

Exploring Jazz Ukulele

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

Naming Chords on Ukulele

A Chord can have alternate names based on how it is being used. A chord’s function is an important determining factor in naming a chord.

So unless you know the harmonic function you might not be able to accurately name it.

Practice Cycles and Sequences

Sequences and cycles for practicing scales, intervals, melodic sequences and arpeggios.

These sequences also help in learning where any interval is of a given note, the chord tones of chords and aides in memorizing scales

Six Essential Scales for Ukulele

The six essential scales are: Blues, Major Pentatonic, Mixolydian, Dorian, Aeolian, and Ionian. These six can get you through a wide variety of traditional and contemporary music.

A scale is simply collection of pitches or notes, not really “this is a Jazz scale”, “this is a Blues” or “this is a Rock scale”. It’s how a scale is used that really matters.

Most music starts with a scale. The melody, chords, licks and riffs all can be related back to a particular scale or scales.

Tetrachords: Lydian (1 2 3 #4)

Traditionally, a tetrachord is a series of four tones filling in the interval of a perfect fourth. In modern usage a tetrachord is any four-note segment of a scale or tone row including the augmented fourth (+4). The term tetrachord derives from ancient Greek music theory, it literally means four strings.

The Lydian tetrachord is the 1 2 3 #4 of a Lydian, Lydian Dominant or Whole Tone scale.

Chords with a major third in them can use a tetrachord with a major third in them.

C, C7, Cmaj7, C+7

Tetrachords with a Major third include Major, Lydian, Phrygian Major, Major +2, Lydian +2, Phrygian Major +4

The Big Six Core Chords - F6, Four Voicings

Level II of The Big Six Core Chords - F6, four voicings. This is the level,II of the core chords.

The F6 is a 1 3 5 6 of the major scale, based on the root of the chord.

A major 6th chord can be derived either from a seventh or major seventh chord. From a seventh chord lower the flat seventh one fret. From a major seventh chord lower the natural seventh two frets.

The Big Six Core Chords - F7, four voicings - Chord Tones

The Big Six Core Chords - F7, four voicings. Learning the locations of the chord tones - the actual names of the 1 3 5 b7.

The Big Six Core Chords - F7, four voicings, Chord Intervals

The Big Six Core Chords - F7, four voicings. Learning the locations of the chord intervals - the 1 3 5 b7.

The Big Six Core Chords - F7, four voicings, Learning Process

The Big Six Core Chords - F7, four voicings. From shape to chord tones to intervals and back again. Really, learning what a chord is made of.

The Major Scale

The Major Scale or Ionian scale is a diatonic scale, made up of seven distinct notes, plus an eighth which duplicates the first one octave higher. In solfege these notes correspond to the syllables "Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti/Si, (Do)",

Transposing Individual Ukulele Chords

Transposition is the process of moving note, chord, scale or any musical passage from one key to another key. All music can be transposed, from a single note to a complex musical score. This lesson deals with transposing chords.

Upper Partial Chord Tones

Upper Partials or extensions are the 9th, 11th, and 13ths of a chord. The 9, 11 and 13 can be altered chord tones depending on chord type: examples b9, #9, #11, b13

What is the different between a Scale and a Mode?

The term scale and mode are used interchangeably and in a strict theory sense there is a big difference between a scale and a mode or modal scale. They are NOT the same, even if they are the same notes. A scale and mode can contain exactly the same notes.

Whole Tone Scale for Ukulele - C Tuning

The Whole Tone scale is a symmetrical scale with an equal distance been each note or scale degree.

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Content is always being added and updated. So check-in often. Thanks, Curt

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