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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here’s a great tool that I made for my students years ago that I totally forgot about. It’s called the Chord Tone Cheat Sheet. I had a Skype student the other day that said he was looking for something like this on the internet but couldn’t find anything. As he was speaking, I had this feeling of deja vu like I had created something like this years ago. After a lot of searching on my hard drive I finally found it.

The Chord Tone Cheat Sheet is a PDF of all 12 notes and how they relate to each key by number. As a musician, it is incredibly helpful to know all the notes by their number in relationship to the tonic of the chord or key. The better that you know these numbers, the faster you can use all 12 notes of the chromatic scale in your improvisation and the easier it will be to communicate with other musicians. Knowing these numbers also allows you to understand chord symbols that much faster! For example, if you see a C7#11 chord you immediately will know that the #11 is an F#. If you see a Eb7b13 you will know there is a Cb in the chord, etc……Knowing these numbers and having a fast recall of them on your horn is essential to advancing as a jazz musician. Steve

http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2019/01/free-chord-tone-cheat-sheet/
 

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I'm going to be a bit critical here, Steve, and I'm not often critical of your material. Knowing the cycle of 3rds, which everyone already knows (because it's just the lines and spaces) will go a long way in knowing what position a note plays in a chord. Since you have to learn quick theory in any case, there's no point in having a cheat chart.
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm going to be a bit critical here, Steve, and I'm not often critical of your material. Knowing the cycle of 3rds, which everyone already knows (because it's just the lines and spaces) will go a long way in knowing what position a note plays in a chord. Since you have to learn quick theory in any case, there's no point in having a cheat chart.
You can't relate knowing a chord tone or extension to something else. It takes too long and when improvising the moment is lost while you are trying to figure out what the #11 is or the b13 etc..... The point of the sheet is to memorize all the notes in relation to the chord. I routinely quiz my student by saying a chord and then then and number and they have to answer as fast as they can. Ex. Ab7 #11, F#-7 13, Bb Maj7 7, Db7 #9. Any delay will slow you down while improvising. Trying to think of DbF AbCbb and then trying to think of the 9 and # it takes too long in my opinion. If you read the post with the sheet I explain in more detail and give tips on learning these. http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2019/01/free-chord-tone-cheat-sheet/
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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13,131 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
+1 Steve, I'm going to keep this in my case as a reference. Learning a new tune, I like to outline the chords to establish a framework for soloing.
Another great exercise is to run through a tune and pick one random note to start each line on so for example on "All the Things You Are" I might give a student the note C# and on tenor they have to play resolve a line starting on C# on each chord. C#DBbG/C#DBbGEbC/C#BCAGF/C#DEbC#DBb/etc....... Try doing this for all 12 notes! It's a workout that works a bunch of different aspects of improvising, resolution and chord knowledge.........
 

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Forum Contributor 2015, seeker of the knowing of t
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I'm going to be a bit critical here, Steve, and I'm not often critical of your material. Knowing the cycle of 3rds, which everyone already knows (because it's just the lines and spaces) will go a long way in knowing what position a note plays in a chord. Since you have to learn quick theory in any case, there's no point in having a cheat chart.
I disagree. When I was a rank beginner, before graduated to functioning beginner as I am now. I had serious problems contextualising all of this information re chords and scale degrees. I did a similar thing to what Steve has here in a spreadsheet (I can dig it out if anyone wants it). This was to help me to make sense of it all in a format I could absorb. I haven't had to refer to it for a long time, but at the time it was incredibly useful thing to do. The discussion is archived here https://forum.saxontheweb.net/archive/index.php/t-87829.html , wow where did that 11 years go?
 

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I'm going to be a bit critical here, Steve, and I'm not often critical of your material. Knowing the cycle of 3rds, which everyone already knows (because it's just the lines and spaces) will go a long way in knowing what position a note plays in a chord. Since you have to learn quick theory in any case, there's no point in having a cheat chart.
As someone now exploring improv after many years playing classical only I don't have this info committed to memory and any visual aides are really helpful as that's how I take new information in.
 
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