What Is a Jazz Chord?

Any chord that is commonly used in jazz music is referred to as a jazz chord. Seventh and extended chords, all of which have more than three notes, are commonly used in jazz chords. Depending on their structure, the chords may or may not have harmonic tension or dissonance.

The beginning of musical organization is known as a scale in music theory, which is the study of how harmony and melody are built. Five, seven, or twelve notes make up a scale. A scale is used to create a jazz chord. The major and minor scales are the most common scales in Western style harmony.

There are three minor scales and one major scale in each key. Happy, powerful, or pleasant are common descriptors for the major mode. Minor scales are often described as sad, mysterious, or exotic in sound. Major and minor chords are two types of chords, though there are also augmented and diminished chords. An augmented chord lengthens the second interval of a major chord, while a diminished chord shortens it, dramatically altering the sound in both cases.

The simultaneous playing of one of the scale’s notes with any other note from the scale is known as an interval. A half-step interval is the smallest interval and is dissonant, causing musical tension. A triad, or chord, is formed when three notes are played at the same time.

The intervals between each note in major and minor triads must be major or minor thirds. In an A minor chord, for example, a C and an E should also be present. Because C is a minor third from A and E is a major third from C, this is the case. A triad is not a jazz chord, but it is necessary to construct one.

Extended chords are harmonies that are created adding additional thirds to a triad. A seventh chord would be formed adding a G to the A, C, and E chords in the example above. Because G is the seventh note in the A minor scale, it’s called a seventh chord.

Additional thirds are frequently added to form ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth chords, though not all notes in these extended chords are played at the same time. The fifth is usually omitted, as is the ninth in 11th and 13th chords. The majority of extended chords are jazz chords, but the seventh is the most common jazz chord. Seventh chords come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The chord’s combination of major, minor, diminished, and augmented intervals makes the difference.

Jazz chords can be played on any instrument that can produce two or more notes at the same time. Guitar and piano are the most common instruments used to play them. Individual voices or instruments are used musical groups such as jazz bands and jazz vocal ensembles to create jazz chords. The notes are played at the same time so that the chords sound like a single, harmonious sound.