Song 9

  1. 7th Chord Qualities
  2. All Bossa
  3. Keyboard Chord Voicings
  4. Phrasing : Essential Chord tones
  5. Practice : Minor Chord - Dorian mode
  6. Session Materials


Song | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | ?? |

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S 9.1 - 7th Chord Qualities

Below the five qualities of 7th chords in Western music.
The qualities are placed in a sequence so that only one note changes from one chord to the next. On the keyboard this means of course that only one finger moves to a different key from each chord to the next.

Audio 9.1

Each chord quality has a distinct function (usually expressed as a Roman numeral) within a chord progression. Most qualities can have a variety of functions, but the dominant 7th chord has only one.
The dominant 7th chord always functions as a V7 chord, pointing the progression to a I chord a perfect 5th down the Circle of Fifths.

The chord quality will not change by extending or altering the basic chord.

For example :

C9 (C E G Bb D)

C7aug (C E G# Bb)

C13#11 (C E G Bb D F# A)

C7sus4 (C F G Bb), or a

C7b5 (C E Gb Bb)

All above altered dominant chords function as normal C7 chords. They do not change quality but only add colour to the chord. The same applies for the other chord qualities.

Together the five chord qualities cover almost all chord functions used in Western harmonies. (A rare exception is the minorMajor 7th chord, which will be discussed in Session 20.)

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S 9.2 - All Bossa

All Bossa combines the musical elements of two famous Jazz standards.
It uses the chord progression of All of Me (by Seymour Simons & Gerald Marks) and the same rhythm pattern as the first two bars of Blue Bossa (by Kenny Durham). Finding a name for the song was a breeze. I just combined the first word of the one with the last word of the other of the two parent song titles.

All Bossa is 32 bar Bossa Nova with an ABAC format.
Its proper Concert pitch key is Bb, but I will discuss this song in the easier key of C (the Bb instrument key).
(Easy key tracks in the key of C are also included for the two other instrument groups)

First look at the chord progression for the first 16 bars.


The chords for All Bossa follow a solid segment on the Circle of Fifths.
From C it first jumps to E, then moves down to A and D, then back up to E and finally all the way down to A, D, G and again to C for the second 16 bars.

Audio 9.2

The various chord qualities however create modulations into different keys every two bars. For example for the first eight bars.

ChordMajor KeyScale for improvisation
Cmaj7C majorC D E F G A B C
E7A majorE F# G# A B C# D E
A7D majorA B C# D E F# G A
Dm7C majorD E F G A B C D

The second 16 bars of the All Bossa chord progression again largely follows the Circle of Fifth.
There are also three interesting connection chords (shown in red) based on chord plurality.

  • Dm9 (D F A C E) contains within it the Fmaj7 chord. This is called plurality.
    In All Bossa it provides the 'logic' behind the connection Dm7 - Fmaj7

  • Cmaj9 (C E G B D) contains within it the Em7 chord.
    The Cmaj7 chord is actually included in 'All of Me' and forms a connection between the Fm7 (Circle neighbour) and Em7 (plurality) chord.
    (I have not used this Cmaj7 chord in All Bossa, but you can insert it on beats 1 and 2 of the Em7 bar. Em7 is then only played on beats 3 and 4).

Audio 9.3

Play the usual Practice Routines for improvisation over All Bossa.

Below the scales practice for All Bossa in the key of C.

Audio 9.4

I have included a blank manuscript page for you to print copies from.
Use it to write out scales for improvisation practice in the other keys (in Bb major for keyboards etc., in G major for Eb instruments).

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S 9.3 - Keyboard Chord Voicings

In chord progressions that follow the Circle of Fifths smooth keyboard chord transitions are produced by

  • alternating root position chords with 2nd inversions , or by

  • alternating 1st inversions with 3rd inversions

For All Bossa I have written examples for the first option.
This works well within a good pitch range, not too low to become muddy and not too high to interfere with the right hand melody.

Audio 9.5

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S 9.4 - Phrasing : Essential Chord tones

The three most commonly used chords in Jazz are the major 7th, dominant 7th and minor 7th chords. In All Bossa these are in fact the only chord qualities used in the song.

Comparing the chord tones of these three chords you see that they all have the chord root and chord 5th in common.
Their differences are in the 3rd and 7th of the chord. These are the two chord tones that define the quality for each chord.
I call these the essential chord tones .

Audio 9.6

An intimate knowledge of the essential chord tones is most important for the Jazz improviser, for these tones, more than anything else, define the harmony of a song.

A good song will also include essential chord tones in the melody to connect it firmly with the harmony.
Here are the essential chord tones (shown in red) in the melody for the first 16 bars for 'All Bossa'.


The above is a good example of how to use essential chord tones in your improvisation. You should not emphasise them all the time, but just rung through them with a scale or arpeggio.

The following is a good start for getting to know the essential chord tones of a song.
I have included them in the key of C as an example. Use the manuscript paper to write them down in the other keys. Always try to write 4 bars on each staff. This helps to bring out the phrase and section structure of the song.

Audio 9.7

By selecting one essential chord tone for each chord on can form a smooth guide tone line through a chord sequence (last 8 bars above : G# - G - F# - F). Such line can be used to guide your improvisation.
More about this subject in Session 13.

Also improvise over the song using essential chord tones only !

Also include two midi tracks swapping twos using essential chord tones only.

  1. All Bossa 1 - I play the first 2 bars of each phrase, you play the last 2

  2. All Bossa 2 - you play the first 2 bars of each phrase, and I play the last 2

    All Bossa 3 - Demo of the two tracks played by me together.

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S 9.5 - Practice : Minor Chord - Dorian mode

Practise as for the previous two sessions on major and dominant chord - scale combinations. This time for the minor 7th chord - Dorian mode combination.

Audio 9.8

On the practice sheets lower all pink note heads a semitone.

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S 9.6 - Session Materials

ItemMidi filesSheet music
All BossaDemoP-a-L C instr. Bb instr. Eb instr.
All Bossa in C Scales Essential Chord tones
All Bossa - Keyboard Chords In Bb and C
Easy Key for C instr. (Em) E-Pal 1 Bb instr.
Easy Key for Eb instr. (Em) E-Pal 2 Bb instr.
Blank Manuscript paper Sheet
Chord and Mode practice Demo P-a-L p.1 p.2
Swapping Twos All Bossa 1 All Bossa 2
Swapping Twos (Demo) All Bossa 3

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© 2003 Michael Furstner (Jazclass)