Skip main navigation

Comping and improvising on “So What”

Comping and improvising on "So What"
6.9
Before 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.
16
It’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.
47.4
Now 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.
135
So 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.
167.4
We 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.

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.

This article is from the free online

Learn jazz piano: Improvising on Jazz Standards

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education