"I have such a ball in my classes, and I learn so much from my students. They probably don't realize that I come to school here, too. I'm just the oldest member of the class. I just wish everyone could experience the blessing of learning new things all the time."
Barry Harris

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About "The Barry Harris Harmonic Method for Guitar"

The Barry Harris Harmonic Method for GuitarStudying the concepts put forth in this book will not teach you a set of hip sounding voicings. You won't come out sounding like everyone else - and that's the good news!

What you will find herein are the structural components, as mapped out and developed by jazz giant Barry Harris, that will guide and aid you on your own personal road to discovery. Imagine, a system for learning jazz harmony that actually embraces the concept of improvisation.

As I see it, there are two paths for a chord player to go down. Either one becomes a "hitter" or, one becomes a "mover". The "hitter" sits up and works out a couple of beautiful sounding voicings for each kind of chord (or worse, learns someone else's from a method book) - and from that point on, plays them exactly the same way. These vertical groups of notes are "hit" or "struck" on the instrument - with no thought to creating movement. The "mover" on the other hand, understands that chords come from scales and thereby learns to approach chording in a more fluid fashion. As well, one realizes that the interesting spots in music, whether you are comping, harmonizing a melody or writing an arrangement, are the places in between the chord symbols. In fact, I prefer to think - movement-to-movement - as opposed to chord to chord. When was the last time you listened to the symphony, for instance, and said oh yeah, Am7b5 - D7. It's not that the classical folks don't play chords, they just know something about getting from one to the next in an unobvious manner. Suddenly the musical ceiling gets raised and points us back to the purpose behind this book.

Having had the pleasure of seeing Alan grow musically over the past 20 years, I am delighted that his insightfulness and hard work have found their way into a form that others can benefit from. I am confident that guitarists everywhere who are fortunate enough to pick up this book will thank him again, and again.

Howard Rees

About Barry Harris

Barry Harris"I guess you could say Barry Harris is one of the very last of the bebop purists that we have on piano. He is a living and brilliant extension of Bud Powell."
Walter Bishop Jr.

"I've always thought that if Charlie Parker had played piano, he would sound exactly like Barry Harris. Or is it the other way around? In any case, Barry's sense of time, motion and rhythm is absolutely impeccable."
Benny Golson

"A list of Harris' graduates reads like a Who's Who of Jazz; among them are Paul Chambers, Curtis Fuller, Joe Henderson, Lonnie Hillyer, Yusef Lateef, Hugh Lawson, Kirk Lightsey, Charles McPherson, and Doug Watkins." "Harris' (method) is unique in both its emphasis and detail, for it teaches students precisely how to transform the (basic theoretical) elements into credible phrases and focuses as much upon the creative processes of improvisation as upon its products, effectively clarifying the relationship between theory and performance practice in the jazz tradition." "Harris' theory is an expansive generative method. It encourages musicians to create original phrases based, in part, on the cross-fertilization of rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic models embodied in the rules Harris promulgates."
Excerpts from 'Thinking in Jazz', by Paul F. Berliner, University of Chicago Press 1994


What Others Have Said

"Hi Alan, Just received a copy of your Book. I have been fascinated by this method. You have laid it out so beautifully and I am going to work on it..I have had the opportunity to be play with Barry a few times over the years. He is truly a master and as you well know he was the first cat to teach jazz in a logical way. I remember Pat Martino telling me about his diminished approach way back in the 70's. He and Barry have been very successful with the diminished approach. Great work and may I bug you with a question or two along the way..Thank you for this book. Great work!!!"
Vic Juris

Table of Contents


  • CD Tracks
  • Acknowledgments
  • Disclaimer
  • Dr. Barry Harris
  • The Guitar in Jazz

Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Drop Voicings & Scales

1.1 Voicings
1.2 The Scales
1.3 The Voicings Charted

Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Movement

2.1 The Organic Diminished Chord
2.2 The Diminished Scale
2.3 Sisters and Brothers
2.4 Using the Scales
2.5 The Sixth on the Fifth
2.6 Movement
2.7 Major to Minor to Minor with Sixth in the Bass
2.8 Playing with your 'Sisters and Brothers'
2.9 Monk Moves

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 Borrowing

3.1 Borrowing Through Sixth Diminished Scales
3.2 Surrounding
3.3 Borrowing on the Diminished Scale

Chapter 4

Chapter 4 Practicing the Scales

4.1 Single Notes
4.2 Thirds
4.3 Sixths
4.4 Tenths
4.5 Four Note Chords in Tenths
4.6 Expand and Contract
4.7 Long - Short

Chapter 5

Chapter 5 Like Someone In Love



Seventh Diminished Drop 2
Seventh Flat Five Diminished Drop 2
Seventh Diminished Drop 3
Seventh Flat Five Diminished Drop 3
Major Sixth Diminished Drop 2&4
Minor Sixth Diminished Drop 2&4
Seventh Diminished Drop 2&4
Seventh Flat Five Diminished Drop 2&4
Major Sixth Diminished Drop 2&3
Minor Sixth Diminished Drop 2&3
Seventh Diminished Drop 2&3
Seventh Flat Five Diminished Drop 2&3

Partial Chords
Double Note Chords

After Word

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