From Mozart to Marsalis –
From Baroque to Bebop –
Mini-Music 2006





Mini-Music  Q & A

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 chord progression.

 3 - When early jazz musicians began playing, did they have the form and structure of jazz?

Absolutely. Much 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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