Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Jazz Improvisation 1

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Music Studies

DESCRIPTION This study-unit covers the theoretical material required in the creation of jazz improvisation, mainly, the creation and development of melodies, scale choices, chord selection and progression, as well as fundamental rhythmic concepts. All this will be explained theoretically and demonstrated in practice.

Study-Unit Aims:

The study-unit aims to give the beginning performer and the curious listener insights into the art of jazz improvisation with special attention to its theory and aesthetics. It also aims to assist students with attaining basic improvisation skills and techniques. It also helps students become more aware of the world of jazz, its repertoire, style and idioms.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
a. recognise and distinguish between various jazz forms (blues, standard, bebop and modal);
b. read through a lead sheet (melody and chord symbols);
c. describe chord symbols;
d. establish key areas and employ modes for improvisation.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
a) categorise jazz idioms and evaluate different styles;
b) compose simple variations on a given tune;
c) identify the sounds of various scales and modes;
d) improvise within the aesthetics of jazz.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- Cocker, Jerry. 1987. Improvising Jazz (New York: Simon & Schuster Inc.)
- Cocker, Jerry. 1990. How to Listen to Jazz (New Albany, IN: Jamey Aebersold)
- Haerle, Dan. 1978. Jazz Improvisation for Keyboard Players (complete edition), (Los Angeles, CA: Warner Bros.Publications Inc.)
- Levine, Mark. 1995. The Jazz Theory Book (Petaluma, CA: Sher Music Co.)

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-Requisite Qualifications: Basic knowledge of music notation and theory


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 Yes 20%
Classwork SEM1 No 20%
Practical SEM1 Yes 60%


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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.