I have been working on the guitar the last few weeks, trying to learn some jazz songs so I can play and sing with my brother later this summer when I visit him. It has been hard work getting the fingers to move and stretch on the fret board again, and learning the chords. Since my guitar experience has been playing mostly country songs, I knew the majors and minors and major sevenths, but that was about it. Learning all the minor sevenths with their augmenteds and diminisheds, and the sixths and ninths, not to mention an occasional 11th and 13th, has been quite a challenge.
And then figuring out, slowly and painfully because I am pretty dumb about music theory, that a lot of these chords are the same – i.e. a key’s major sixth is the same as the relative key’s minor seventh – C6 is Amin7 – and so on.
Today I was practicing Getting to Know You. First the country version, all majors and sevenths, with an occasional minor tossed in for fun. Then the jazz version with all the lovely chord flavours. Now I find I cannot play a country song straight any more. I want to add these new and interesting chords whenever I get the chance. The more nuanced sound is much juicier. Some of the chord transitions moving from one major chord to another are so lovely, they make my tummy twist. For example, the version I have of For Sentimental Reasons has a lovely chord transition moving from C to F using C7, then C9♯5, and then the F. I really like ♯5ths, so I like this transition. (Of course it occurs in other keys in other songs as well.) The photo above is of me learning how to make an E7♯5.