The University of St. Thomas

Music

Bergstrom, Samuel

Bergstrom, Samuel

A Comparative Analysis of Jazz Guitar Method Books in the Areas of Comping, Chord Voicings, and Chord Progressions
Samuel Thomas Bergstrom
Abstract

The intent of this study was to determine how the concepts of comping, chord voicing, and chord progressions were introduced in jazz guitar method books. These three skills are vital in order for a guitarist to be a successful member of a jazz ensemble, often one of the only performing outlets in the public schools for a guitarist. Three jazz guitar method books were selected based upon their availability and their emphasis on comping, chord voicings, and chord progressions. This investigation was an attempt to show how comping is presented in jazz guitar method books relative to formatting, sequencing, styles, practice materials, graphics, and figures. This research also demonstrated how chord voicings were presented in jazz guitar method books relative to formatting, sequencing, practice materials, graphics, and figures. Finally this investigation explained how chord progressions were presented in jazz guitar method books relative to formatting, sequencing, styles, form, substitutions, practice materials, graphics, and figures.

Research suggested that All Blues for Jazz Guitar by Jim Ferguson, demonstrated most of the comping material through a series of explanations, examples, and exercises in a sequential progression of simple to more complex material. In The Complete Jazz Guitar Method, Intermediate Level, author Jody Fisher showed comping material through a series of exercises. He organized the material by style rather than a simple to complex progression. In Mel Bay's Complete Jazz Guitar Method by Mike Christiansen, comping material was represented by showing several comping examples, each becoming more rhythmically complex, but Christiansen used fewer exercises applying to these concepts.

In regard to chord voicings, the findings suggest that All Blues for Jazz Guitar demonstrated most of the chord voicing material through a series of explanations, examples, and exercises in a sequential progression of simple to more complex material. Fisher's information about chord voicings used a progression of chord complexity to direct his material, shown through a series of explanations, figures, graphics, and exercises. While Mel Bay's Complete Jazz Guitar Method appeared to cover chord voicings by written explanations—several graphics and exercises in which to practice the chord voicings—it did not, however, give a clear explanation, rationale, or overview concerning the sequence of the different types of chord voicings.

Finally, the results of this investigation suggest that Ferguson showed most of the chord progression material in chapter one through a series of brief explanations and examples. In Fisher's method, chord progression material is presented through a series of explanations, examples, and exercises. In Mel Bay's Complete Jazz Guitar Method, chord progression material was shown through brief explanations followed by exercises, each becoming more complex in terms of chord frequency and substitution.

Thesis Supervisor
Dr. Carroll Gonzo