In this online jazz saxophone lesson we're going to expand on the previous lesson and take a look at some popular tunes and which chord sequences they use. In the last lesson we covered what to listen for in chord sequences and why they sound good. The reason for this was often due to certain notes pulling in directions and literally forcing the chords to move.

In this lesson we are going to have a basic introduction into notes that are part of the chord (Harmony Notes) and Notes that are adding something extra to the chord (Tension Notes). Rather than going into the complexity of the function of particular notes it's beneficial for creativity to keep this process simple. 

If a note you are playing in the chord, it will thicken texture and sound stable and solid.

If a note you are playing is not in the chord then it will add some tension to the sound. Tension is not a bad thing! Tension is often far more interesting than simply thickening the texture of the music by playing chord tones. Tension adds colour to the sound and this is what allows your improvisation to come to life.

This video looks at the tension and harmony notes used in some classic pop tunes.