This section introduces students to the basics of harmony, rhythm, and improvisation within traditional jazz and blues. Like any other equally broad genre, jazz encompasses more musical languages than are represented here, of course, but students will gain familiarity with idioms that structure subgenres such as swing and bebop.
The first chapter, Swing Rhythms, introduces students to common and stylistic rhythms that are often found in swing music and subgenres that grew out of it.
The next few chapters discuss common harmonic formulas encountered in jazz repertories: ii–V–I; embellishing chords such as and ; and substitutions such as the tritone substitution, mode mixture, and substituting applied chords.
Improvisation is discussed in the Chord-Scale Theory chapter, which also introduces students to how jazz musicians use modes to improvise.
The final chapters of this section cover the formal/harmonic and melodic aspects of traditional blues music. This also serves as a transition into the following section on popular music, a genre that borrows heavily from the blues.
A chord from another key inserted into a new key, in order to tonicize a diatonic chord other than I.
A diminished seventh chord that, instead of having dominant function, is a neighbor chord that embellishes the chord that comes after it. The CT°⁷ has a common tone with the root of the following chord; all the other notes are a step away from a note in the following chord.