MUSC 141: Jazz Improvisation II

Citrus College Course Outline of Record

Citrus College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Winter 2021
Credits: 3
Total Contact Hours: 72
Lecture Hours : 54
Lab Hours: 18
Hours Arranged: 0
Outside of Class Hours: 108
Prerequisite: MUSC 140 or Audition.
Transferable to CSU: Yes
Transferable to UC: Yes - Approved
Grading Method: Standard Letter

Catalog Course Description

This is a class for music majors and performing artists. Intermediate jazz harmonic theory, techniques, and practices of jazz improvisation in a variety of styles will be presented and explored. 54 lecture hours, 18 lab hours.

Course Objectives

  • demonstrate on primary instrument intermediate-level proficiency in linear materials utilized for jazz improvisation: Select modes of major and melodic minor scales and their arpeggios and primary upper structures; patterns on I-VII-III-VI-II-V-I-IV progressions and other intermediate-level harmonic and melodic patterns and procedures in all keys.
  • demonstrate in written form an understanding of intermediate-level jazz harmonic theory, including the use of major and minor pentatonic scales and blues scales, and the 13 most common chord/scale types used in jazz improvisation, their construction, lead sheet chord symbols, primary arpeggios, primary upper structures, and common use in chord progressions.
  • demonstrate on primary instrument correct and effective intermediate-level improvisation on II-V7-I progressions in all major and minor keys, including the use of the most common alternate chord/scale choices.
  • demonstrate on primary instrument correct and effective improvisation on intermediate-level selections of the jazz repertoire which utilize a variety the 13 most common chord types.

Major Course Content

Jazz Melodic and Harmonic Materials

  1. Modes of major and melodic minor scales

  2. Introduction to major and minor pentatonic scales and "Blues" scales

  3. Arpeggios for chords of major and melodic minor scale modes

  4. Spelling, voicings, arpeggios, introductory upper structures and lead sheet chord symbols for the 13 most common chord/scales use for jazz improvisation:

    1. Major 7

    2. Dominant 7

    3. Minor 7

    4. Half-Diminished 7

    5. Altered Dominant 7 (a.k.a. diminished-whole tone, 7th mode melodic minor, or Superlocrian)

    6. Dominant 7 raised 11

    7. Altered Dominant 7 natural 13 (whole-half diminished scale from 3, 5, 7, or lowered 9, or half-whole diminished scale)

    8. Major 7 raised 11

    9. Dominant 7 raised 5 (whole-tone)

    10. Major and minor pentatonic and Blues scales

    11. Dominant 7 suspended 4 (a.k.a. minor pentatonic on 5)

    12. Minor with raised 7

    13. Diminished 7 (whole-half diminished scale)

  5. Melodic patterns for major and minor II-V7, II-V7-I, and I-VII-III-VI-II-V-I-IV progressions and other useful intermediate-level harmonic sequences

  6. Harmonic analysis of intermediate-level jazz repertoire: chord progressions, key areas, standard forms and structures, the 12 bar Blues progression

Jazz Improvisation Techniques

  1. Improvisation on major and minor II-V7 and II-V7-I in all keys 

  2. Intermediate-level jazz melodic phrasing and articulation

  3. Jazz melody interpretation and embellishment
  4. Intermediate-level linear/harmonic approaches to improvisation
    1. Use of altered tones
    2. Introductory "Guide-Tone" lines
  5. Integration of intermediate-level rhythmic elements

 Solo Jazz Improvisation

  1. Improvising on intermediate-level jazz chord progressions

    1. Improvising on chord progressions of select intermediate-level standards of the jazz repertoire

    2. The 12 bar Blues progression in common keys

    3. Intermediate-level modal improvisation techniques

Lab Content

Each designated class sub-group will meet to rehearse assigned course content topics:

  1. Practice chord scales, arpeggios, introductory upper structures and melodic patterns on primary instrument
  2. Practice application of improvisation techniques to assigned intermediate-level selections of the jazz repertoire and chord progression exercises

Suggested Reading Other Than Required Textbook

1) Assigned periodical and webpage articles
2) Ligon, Bert. "Connecting Chords with Linear Harmony." Indiana: Houston Publishing Inc./Hal Leonard Corporation, 1996

Examples of Required Writing Assignments

Written evaluation of live and recorded jazz improvisation using standard evaluation (adjudication) forms and short essay.

Examples of Outside Assignments

1. Develop, maintain and improve instrumental tone quality, intonation and loudness control, technique and musical rhythm projection on primary instrument. 2. Practice performance of assigned/approved improvisation skill development exercises. 3. Improvise on assigned chord progressions and selections of the jazz repertoire. 4. Transcribe, analyze and perform assigned recorded improvised jazz solos 5. Compose and perform original jazz melodic lines utilizing techniques discussed in class as assigned 6. Apply skills to performances with other jazz performing groups

Instruction Type(s)

Lecture, Lab, Online Education Lecture, Online Education Lab