The Method

This page briefly outlines the approach taken when analysing songs in this book. The example song roadmap shown here illustrates many of the concepts introduced.

Sample roadmap with key
  • Song form: Context is important when analysing songs. Therefore, the first step is to identify the form. Is it a song of two halves (e.g. ABAC) or does it have a bridge (e.g. AABA).
  • Grigson grid: The songs are laid out in a visual grid that was introduced by Grigson. Most songs have sections that are multiples of eight measures in length, so each row in the grid represents eight measures. Landmarks such as the half-way point in a section or the beginning and end of a bridge are marked with thicker lines in the grid.
  • Chords: The chords (also known as ‘changes’) are shown in the measures using as few symbols as possible to avoid obfuscation.
  • Bricks: The chords are grouped into the common ‘bricks’ of functional harmony that are identified in Harmony with LEGO Bricks (see below) or newly defined in this book.
  • Joins: Joins are the glue that holds the bricks together. They tell us how to get from one brick to another in a key-independent manner. If no join is shown between bricks, then the changes are considered to continue the natural course (usually round the cycle of fifths or chromatically up or down).

There are Podcasts discussing aspects of the method applied to real jazz standards.