What is the best way of understanding jazz piano?

Question by july_exodus: What is the best way of understanding jazz piano?
I have been classically trained since the age of 4 (I’m now 28), and I think of music in terms of “do-re-mi”, within a key centre (e.g. in D major, D is “do”, E is “re”, F# is “mi” and so on).

But jazz music modulates with almost every chord, and very often there is no discernible key centre.

I therefore have problems with figuring out the chords and sometimes the melody. In fact, I don’t even know if you can call some jazz music as having a “melody” at all.

Is there a good way to understand jazz music and play it by ear?

Right now, I am able to play both the melody and chords by ear for conventional pop songs (e.g. I can tell if it’s a Chord III moving to a Chord VI, then going to a Chord II and so on). However, jazz music continues to elude me, and I can’t figure out what the jazz pianists are doing.

P.S. I have read about modes (e.g. Ionian, Dorian, etc) and scales (e.g. blues, pentatonic, etc) but have no clue as to how they may be used to understand what’s going on!

🙁

Best answer:

Answer by Skurliss
This may not help, I am no jazz expert, I just listen to it. I think of jazz compositions as loose frameworks all the participants agree to play within. I can’t imagine being able to pick it out by ear. If you can I would say you are most peculiar. I would have to have the sheet music.

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