Foundations for Jazz

Thaddeus Hogarth
© 2018 Berklee Press



Foundations for Jazz

Learn to play the chromatic harmonica! This method will help you to develop the foundations of technique and tone on the instrument, along with sight-reading. You will learn scale/chord construction and licks used in jazz, blues, pop and other styles. Music examples include both traditional notation and a simplified harmonica tablature to help you find notes while you are learning the instrument’s layout. Online audio includes demonstration and play-along tracks.

You will learn to:

  • Identify the different types of harmonicas and their parts/construction.
  • Achieve good tone on all notes throughout the chromatic harmonica’s range, using correct embouchure (both tongue-blocking and pursing techniques), breath control, and articulation.
  • Perform characteristic harmonica sounds and gestures, such as playing staccato, bending notes, playing runs, and playing notes with vibrato, slurs, flutters, and growls.
  • Build and use a variety of scales used in jazz and other genres (major, minor, pentatonic, blues, jazz modes, etc.) learning them in isolation, in exercises, and in etudes and songs that you can practice with play-along audio tracks.
  • Learn triad and seventh-chord construction, as well as playing over II V progressions and superimposing triads over chord progressions for jazz sounds.
  • Develop your sight-reading, ear-training and transcription skills.
  • Improvise jazz melodies.


“A great book to own and study.  It will help the beginner with all the basics of the instrument.  It will also teach the more advanced player some very important aspects of music theory.  I highly recommend it.”

–Gregoire Maret (Pat Metheny, Marcus Miller, Herbie Hancock)

“Thaddeus Hogarth has created a thorough and thoughtfully presented introduction to the chromatic harmonica, treating it with the respect it deserves as a fully legitimate, albeit unique, musical instrument.  This book covers a lot: techniques, exercises, jazz theory, and musical philosophy.  It will be helpful to anyone choosing the chromatic harmonica as a first instrument or to established instrumentalists looking for an additional voice.  I learned a few things myself!”

–Will Galison (Sting, Barbra Streisand, Donald Fagen, Carly Simon, Tommy Emmanuel)

“Hats off to Thaddeus for writing a definitive, highly instructional method for anyone wanting to learn the chromatic harmonica.  Using some of the approach from the Berklee instrumental proficiency curriculum, he explains in clear and understandable language (including tablature notation) how this long-misunderstood instrument can be easily learned.  This book clearly describes its construction, principles of creating good sound, and how to apply basic music theory.  It is for anyone with keen interest in endeavoring to be a contemporary harmonica player.  And for serious composers, arrangers, and orchestrators, this publication also demystifies and makes more understandable the chromatic harmonica’s playable range and technical possibilities, which may allow new opportunities in writing new works that incorporate the chromatic’s unique sound.

More advanced and experienced players will want to go directly to the later chapters describing the principles of jazz harmony and improvisation, which are clearly explained.  It includes audio and tablature instructional aids.  A potentially good workbook for harmonica instructors and classroom studies.”

–Mike Turk (Ray Santisi, Marshall Wood, Rebecca Paris, Alan Dawson)

“Perfect book to build your confidence and the foundation for your musical creativity.  Page by page, step by step, this method will help you to become the harmonica player you want to be!”

–Tiger Okoshi (Professor, Berklee College of Music)