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Remembering Chords on Saxophone – Blue Bossa

by Neal

Mr Battaglia. How do you remember all the chords..?? How do you do it..?? i mean, there are loads.
-Robert

Hey Robert, you want to start simple. Learning the blues progression is a good step. Once you know the blues progression, you know the chords for a large number of songs already. There might be variations, but the basic progression is going to be the same.

Then there is the ii V7 I progression, that one comes up all the time in jazz. All those chords are in the same key. So you could just think, there’s a ii V7 I in the key of G or whatever coming up.

The song ‘Blue Bossa’ has the following chords (concert pitch)

| Cm7 | Cm7 | Fm7 | Fm7 |
| Dm7b5 | G7 | Cm7 | Cm7 |
| Ebm7 | Ab7 | Db | Db |
| Dm7b5 | G7 | Cm7 | Dm7b5  G7|
One pattern is a very slight variation of the simplest ii V I progression- in the minor key instead of major.
| Dm7b5 | G7 | Cm7 | is all in the key of C minor.  That pattern happens twice in the song.
| Ebm7 | Ab7 | Db | is all in the key of Db major.
So you could remember this entire harmony as
i iv,
minor ii V I in C minor
major ii V I in Db major
minor ii V I in C minor
Four different things:
i
iv
minor ii V i pattern
major ii V I pattern

"Bird was law"

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Rick September 5, 2010 at 9:04 am

Good advice.

Two additional suggestions:

1. Play through the chords a lot. Start just with the roots, eventually working up t arpeggiations. The key to memorizing/internalizing them, though, is to play through the chord progressions in multiple keys

2. Play the chords on piano using simple 3-note voicings (root in bass register/left hand; 3d & 7th of chord in right hand in middle of keyboard).

~ Rick

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Neal September 20, 2010 at 12:44 am

Thanks Rick,
Learning chords takes a bit of time and practice, knowing them in all keys is essential if you’re working on harmony! Playing the simple voicings on piano is another good idea.
-Neal

Reply

angela August 7, 2013 at 10:29 pm

wouldnt the Fmin be the IV rather than the V?

Reply

Neal August 7, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Yes, thanks.

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