Guide-Tone Space: Navigating Voice-Leading Syntax in Tonal Jazz

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Sean Smither


This article develops a transformational space based on the concept of guide tones. In jazz pedagogy, guide tones are the chordal third and seventh and are often used to connect consecutive chords through efficient voice leading. Transformational representations of guide-tone syntax illustrate how guide tones provide a pathway for listeners and improvisers to seamlessly traverse the tonally complex harmonic progressions often found in jazz compositions.

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