Jazz Piano Chords

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To learn to play jazz piano chords you will need to learn about chord extensions and how to play them using jazz chord voicings

In this lesson you will learn what these chord "extensions" sometimes called "tensions" are and where and how to use them.

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If you add a flatted 7th to a major triad progressions you start to get more of a bluesy sound.

When you start adding 9ths and 11th and 13ths to your chords you are moving into the realm of jazz piano chords.

The numbers 7, 9, 11, and 13 signify a distance up the major scale from the root of the chord.

As you can see in the graphic above if we wanted to add a 9th, 11th or 13th to a basic Cmaj7 chord we would add the notes D, F and A.

(notice that the notes D, F and A notes also form a D minor chord so you can look at it as a C maj7 in one hand and a D minor in the other. I encourage you to look for those kinds of patterns while learning chords.)

The graphic below shows some basic chord symbols found in jazz and the way they would look in block form. (seldom played that way)

Of course there are dozens more crazy chord symbols you may encounter in jazz chords. The most common of those would be both #9 and b9, #11.

The Chart below by Mark Prigoff will give you a few more chord symbols you may encounter and the notes you would find in those chords in the key of C.

Chord Extension Chart by Mark Prigoff

So Now What??

There is enough information on chord extensions found in jazz here to keep the mind occupied but while learning the notes and especially the formulas will help you figure out the chords, your fingers will rarely play them it the basic root up block position 1st inversion.

Learning interesting ways to voice the chords will keep your fingers busy as well.

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from Jazz Chords to Piano Chords

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