How to Analyse a Chord Progression (Harmonic Analysis)

May 10, 2020

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Video on functionality:… Video on Secondary Chords:… Video on Passing Chords:… Video on Borrowed Chords:…

This Jazz Piano Tutorial is about Analysing a Chord Progression (AKA Harmonic Analysis).

In this lesson I plan to show you how to analyse a chord progression and discuss how you can use this information to improvise. And we are going to use the first half of the Jazz Standard My Romance as our example.

Analysing a chord progression is partially subjective. There are a number of different ways to analyse the same chord progression – so the way I’m going to do it is not the only way you can do it. I’ve got my own personal preferences and biases which I will explain as we go. And unfortunately, learning how to analyse a progression well only comes with practice. There are certain patterns and clichés that you discover only by analysing lots of different Jazz Standards.

When analysing a chord progression, take the following general steps: – Analyse the overall Form of the song; – Analyse the First Level Chord Progression – this looks at each individual chord as a separate, standalone entity; – Analyse the Second Level Chord Progression – this looks at only the structurally important chords and functionality, ignoring immaterial passing chords. But what is ‘important’ and what is ‘unimportant’ is to an extent subjective.

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