Do You Hear What I Hear?
Stamp Out Jazz Ignorance
Prof. Gordon Foote
1 - Please explain
the difference between a Major and a Minor chord.
There are really two
main types of chords, those that have a major third and those
with a minor third. If you run up the first five notes of a
major scale (example C D E F G which equals 1 2 3 4 5) and then
pick the first note, the third note and then the fifth note and
play those together (C E G or 1 3 5) you will have a major
triad, also called a major chord. If you do the same thing from
a minor scale (example C D Eb F G) and pick 1 3 5 of that scale,
you will have a minor chord (C Eb G). The major chord sound
brighter or happier if you want. The minor chord will have a
darker sound, kind of a sad sound).
2 - Many jazz
musicians play the same song but each may play it differently.
Does that interfere with copyright?
Copyright refers to
the melody and the harmony that goes with it. No matter how you
use that combination, it is the owner (composer) who owns the
tune. If you record that melody and chord progression you have
to pay royalties to the owner. In Canada we have to get what are
called Mechanical Licenses from the CMRRA (Canadian Musical
Reproduction Rights Agency). In order to have a CD replication
company produce your disc, royalties have to have been paid to
the CMRRA. Once that is done, the CMRRA authorizes the
replication company to complete the replication. It should also
been noted that you can’t copyright a chord progression, it is
the melody that is important. For example we played several
different melodies on the I Got Rhythm chord progression. The
chord progression couldn’t be copyrighted, but each one of the
melodies we played (I Got Rhythm, the Flintstones, the Theme)
has individual copyrights, even though they all use the same
3 - When early jazz
musicians began playing, did they have the form and structure of
early jazz was from the Southern USA, where slaves would be
working in cotton fields. They did a great deal of blues singing
while working and much of that was “call” and “response”. That
would be very similar to what we did when we were trading 4’s
with the drums. Dixieland also used blues form a great deal. A
good example of that is the very well known St. James Infirmary.
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