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Oct 31, 2021 - 7:09:35 AM
184 posts since 11/8/2014

Would like to find sheet music for jazz with chords. Not the chords for accompanying, but for solo.
Have started studying chord melody, but would like to find jazz with printed chords for the present.

Oct 31, 2021 - 7:37:21 AM
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2662 posts since 5/2/2012

Here is an old thread that might give you some ideas.

Oct 31, 2021 - 8:01:41 AM
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3 posts since 8/11/2021

This got long, sorry:

I have had the same problem, and decided to learn a way around it. At first what I was doing was (both tenor and plectrum but the same idea on either) finding the melody as written (e.g. in lead sheets/melody line and chord names - I use them a lot for theatre organ so have a lot of material like that) and then trying out chords to go with them. I tended at first to get stuck with bland arrangements as the fun and varied chords you'd happily add in playing rhythm were going missing from the mix.

Then I got everything I could find and buy within reason (I like the chord-per-note form of annotation best personally). For tenor, 'Harry Reser's Solos for Tenor Banjo' [a 50's book of parlour songs and tin pan alley stuff, but with (tenor) chord form banjo annotation] has been very useful as it gives different chords for the melody and can be cross referred to as in: I need a chord for an E note over a C chord, or whatever, and some of the pieces in there have the same note/chord. On tenor in particular things are rather easily moved all around the fretboard with the 5ths tuning.

I also got a load of Eddie Peabody chord melody stuff for Plectrum, which is again in chord per note form and gives ideas to use in CGBD tuning.

Plus all the stuff helpful people post online, books: Trad Jazz for Tenor Banjo - melody line and chords but not chord melody & Dixieland Jazz Banjo which has good chords (but not full chord melody) for tenor AND plectrum.

I have a few books on technique. The most useful for me is 'Harry F. Reser's Manual of Tenor Banjo Technique' from the early 20's which has a LOT in it (and is by Harry Reser so, you know, it's kind of my version of a bluegrass book by Earl Scruggs I suppose). All these are available still, at least buying online.

Vitally for me, the key ones are also the old Mel Bay books. Chord Melody for Tenor and Chord Melody for Plectrum. I skirted over the tenor one for years, when I actually sat and USED it, they are both extremely useful method books.

Personally I prefer playing plectrum by a little bit, although cleraly conflicted as also in my opinion the tenor is also slightly more useful as it's very easy to go from 3 strings to 4 for effect etc. plus it can be used as a cutting and clear rhythm instrument which is not complicated to jump from chords to notes and back again, it's really 6 of one, half dozen of the other. Either can do pretty much the same thing slightly differently.

I translate things from tenor to plectrum or the other way, as in: if I can play a tune on one there's a way of playing it on the other.

There are really only a few chords and variations that need to be used in order to play most tunes on either banjo. I like to include single notes and 2 strings etc. in amongst the chords, which is slightly easier anyway.

It is hard to find a lot of music written as chords per note. Once you've got a few songs down though you have the basics for more and more. I found all the stuff I used online by searching, some of the out of print stuff is around from time to time and pops up here and there. There isn't a huge amount of stuff written out chord by chord for chord melody, I think in the early days it was assumed people would do it themselves, standard notation is common, and later on just a few (the 50's Reser books for instance) were still being produced.

There are a few more current books around, written in various forms, but that's what I used.

Oct 31, 2021 - 8:44:31 AM
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625 posts since 2/16/2005

If you can find them, I think the best chord melody material for plectrum banjo was done by Don Van Palta, who was the banjoist for the Mickey Finn band in Las Vegas and on television.  He made up six booklets of plectrum banjo solos, with 100 tunes in each booklet.  Each tune had a lead sheet with the melody line, lyrics and chord changes, as well as fingering diagrams for each melody chord/note of the song. 

After you've played through about a dozen of these arrangements, you can see how chord melody works and can begin making up your own arrangements of other tunes.  I didn't always agree with Don's chords (and couldn't finger a few of them, either!).  But it was always helpful to see how he approached the chord melody for a particular tune, what key he chose, and so on. 

The booklets are now out of print, as is a CD-Rom that had all 600 arrangements on it.  But they crop up from time to time here at the Banjo Hangout, so you might want to post a "Wanted to Buy" notice and see what comes up.  Good Luck!  SETH

Oct 31, 2021 - 9:46:55 AM
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68 posts since 11/29/2010

The way I read your question leads me to your desire to learn alternative, extended, or substitution chords within the melody and foundation chord changes of a particular song. If I’m slightly correct, then there really isn’t a book per se that does that better than The Real Fake Book… if you want “jazz chords” as you say. Most banjo books will provide commodity harmonies and very little with transitional or substitution chords. Everything that I have learned, scholarly, has been from books for other instruments such as piano or guitar. There are a plethora of these books. What I did was try to find the ones by musicians whose playing I revered and wished to learn more about (like Martin Taylor, Oscar Peterson, John Scofield, and particularly Pat Metheny).

Basic 2-5-1 in the form of min7 - Dom7 - Maj9 progressions is a great jumping off point, then progressing towards more min7 - b7 understanding. If you incorporate more chord extensions into your playing, the richer your sound becomes. I RARELY play a major triad and instead use Maj9, Maj6/9, Maj7/9. I typically substitute Dom7 chords for 13th, 13b9, #9b5, etc., and they’re typically preceded with some alternate form of the relative min2 chord (ex: D-7b5 to G7b5b9 to CMaj7/D).

When I first started playing larger chord extensions and substitutions, it was merely for show - I didn’t have a deep understanding of the purpose. By surrounding myself with tremendous musicians, I was able to learn the WHY and when to play them… meaning, when I heard the group go that way or, as a soloist, when the song called for it organically and soulfully. I was fortunate to learn a lot of music theory when I was in school and this has really helped assemble and pull out the harmonies bouncing around inside my head.

Edited by - pdinneen1 on 10/31/2021 09:50:01

Oct 31, 2021 - 10:53:30 AM
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45 posts since 8/22/2019

Oct 31, 2021 - 10:54:36 AM
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45 posts since 8/22/2019

Oct 31, 2021 - 1:26:30 PM
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3003 posts since 6/27/2013

AS mentioned previously, Don Van Palta has literally hundreds of great diagrammed plectrum arrangements at still available at:       Jerryh927 had a complete listing of available Van Palta diagrammed arrangements. Worth checking out. Just click on jerryh927's "classifieds" tab.

Edited by - Omeboy on 10/31/2021 13:28:42

Oct 31, 2021 - 3:03:23 PM
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571 posts since 6/2/2011

My hutch Music director bough abut 75 complete arrangement for multiple instruments from a 90 year old New Orleans jazz musician. I played plectrum banjo, we had full scores (hand written for most). He cleaned up some and scanned them for our parts. We played a 4 hour set.

Nov 1, 2021 - 3:58:35 AM
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434 posts since 10/8/2018

Omeboy is correct!

A couple of years ago, I bought the Don van Palta arrangements from jerryh927 and am very happy with them.

I believe that any other plectrum player who bought them would be very happy with them, too.

Edited by - guitarbanjoman on 11/01/2021 03:59:05

Nov 12, 2021 - 4:50:32 PM

184 posts since 11/8/2014

The Hal Leonard Tenor Banjo Method has a number of tunes including chords. Hope to start them soon.
Currently finding the chord study explanations to be clear and well explained.

Dec 3, 2021 - 7:35:50 AM

184 posts since 11/8/2014

Thanks to each of you. A lot of good advice in the posts.

Dec 21, 2021 - 8:16:12 AM

1 posts since 12/21/2021

I love music very much and I have filtered the useful shares here 2 player games.

Dec 21, 2021 - 6:32:54 PM

78 posts since 1/21/2016

Tim Allen provides diagrammed chord melody arrangements for tenor banjo, including jazz songs.

Dec 22, 2021 - 2:35:26 PM

184 posts since 11/8/2014

Originally posted by Ag_econ_man

Tim Allen provides diagrammed chord melody arrangements for tenor banjo, including jazz songs.

Thank you. 

What can find states there is a single line of melody notes with chord symbols.  Which of the selections shows the notes of the chords in the notation?

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