What chords do I play to give that ‘jazz’ sound?

9042 what chords do i play to give that jazz sound

To create a jazz sound, you will need to play chords that are characteristic of the genre. Jazz chords are often more complex than the chords found in other genres of music. They often contain extended notes, which are notes that are not part of the basic chord structure, as well as altered notes that give the chord a distinctive sound.

One common chord used in jazz music is the seventh chord. A seventh chord consists of four notes and is made up of a root note, a third, a fifth, and a seventh. In jazz, seventh chords are often extended with the addition of the ninth, eleventh, or thirteenth notes. These notes add color and complexity to the chord, creating a richer sound.

Another common chord used in jazz is the diminished chord. A diminished chord is made up of a root note, a minor third, and a diminished fifth. In jazz, diminished chords are often used to create tension, as they are unstable and require resolution.

Dominant chords are also used frequently in jazz music. A dominant chord is a seventh chord that is built on the fifth note of the scale. These chords often contain alterations, such as a flat ninth or a sharp fifth, which create tension and add interest to the chord.

In addition to these chords, jazz music also makes use of chord progressions that are unique to the genre. The ii-V-I progression, for example, is a common progression used in jazz music. It consists of three chords: the second chord of the scale (ii), the fifth chord of the scale (V), and the first chord of the scale (I). This progression creates a sense of tension and release, and is a hallmark of jazz music.

To create a jazz sound, it is important to use these chords and progressions in a way that is appropriate for the style of music. Jazz is a complex genre, and creating an authentic sound requires an understanding of the theory and structure behind the music. As such, it is important to study jazz theory and to practice playing jazz chords and progressions in order to develop a true jazz sound.


  • “The Jazz Theory Book” by Mark Levine
  • “Jazz Piano: An In-Depth Look at the Styles of the Masters” by Mark Harrison
  • “The Real Book: Sixth Edition” (Hal Leonard Corp.)