Jazz Chords basic guide (Lead Sheet Chord Symbols)

Lead Sheet Jazz Chords Symbols:

free scores Lead Sheet Jazz Chords Symbols:

Jazz Chords Symbol Description – Chord Quality

Chord with just a “7” Dominant 7th “C7”
Chord with capitalized “M” Major 7th “CM”, “CM7”
Chord with lowercase “m” Minor 7th “Cm”, “Cm7”
Chord with a dash Minor 7th “C-“, “C-7”
Chord with a triangle Major 7th “C△”
Chord with a circle Diminished 7th “C°”
Chord with a circle with a line through it Half-Diminished “Cø”
Chord with a plus Augmented Chord “C+”
Chord with a “dim” Diminished Chord “Cdim”
Chord with a “sus” Suspended Chord “Csus”, “Csus4”
Chord with m7♭5 Half-Diminished “Cm7♭5”
Chord with extra numbers Dominant with extensions “C7♭9”, “C7♯11”, “C7♭9♭13”
Chord with “alt” Altered Chord “Calt”, “C7alt”
Chord with numbers larger than 7 Dominant chord with natural extensions “C9”, “C11”, “C13”
Chord with numbers smaller than 7 Major chord with extra notes “C6”, “C2”, “C4”
Chord with a forward slash Slash chord “D/C”, “Bb/F” (different bass note)

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Many of these symbols mean the same thing. It’s up to the composer or the publisher to determine which symbol they prefer to use.

Best Sheet Music download from our Library.

sheet music pdf

Short advice on how to use the Lead Sheets correctly:

  • NEVER play them exactly as written!!!
  • ALWAYS LISTEN to the recording
  • Harmonize/Embellish the melody as necessary (see second video below for a demonstration)
  • Substitute/Alter the chords as necessary (Reharmonize)
  • Add Chord Voicings as necessary
  • Add Vamps/Riffs/Ostinati as necessary
  • Be mindful of errors