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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsBefore we have a look at improvising on “So What” with our playalong, I need to say a little bit more about our “So What” chord.

Skip to 0 minutes and 16 secondsIt’s built out of a combination of fourths and a third. So if I start with the chord on D, then I go up a fourth, then I go up a fourth again, then I go up a fourth again, then I go up a major third. That’s the chord. Then I just move it up in the scale - in our case all the white notes when we are in D Dorian, and the D flat major notes when we are in E flat Dorian in the B section.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 secondsNow I am going to discuss comping in a later session but if you did want to play this with a horn player then basically you can just use these “So What” chords and you put then down in interesting places - I’ll say what interesting means later on. Let me give you an idea.

Skip to 2 minutes and 15 secondsSo I hope that gives you just a little idea of how versatile this chord is - this one chord that we can slip up and down the scale. Indeed, people use “So What” chords a lot in other contexts as we shall see later on. Let’s look at some improvising now. At the moment our left hand’s pretty limited. We have only looked at legato and stabbed playing either on beats 1 - one to the bar, or on beats 1 and 3 - two to the bar.

Skip to 2 minutes and 47 secondsWe will look at our left hand later on - I can’t do everything at once, but at least let’s make it a little bit more interesting by playing two chords to the bar but varying them between legato and stabbed. So I have some sections where they are legato and some sections where they’re stabbed to try and add a bit of interest. Then in the right hand I’m just basically using any of the white notes in the A section and any of the black notes plus C and F in the B section. I am trying to make it interesting but what does “interesting” mean? See next session.

Comping and improvising on "So What"

We consider the “So What” chord and how it can be employed in comping and improvising and then improvise on “So What” with a playalong.

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This video is from the free online course:

Learn Jazz Piano: II. Improvising on Jazz Standards

Goldsmiths, University of London

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