Rock & Jazz Harmony



Mathias Löffler


EUR 39,95
incl. 7 % VAT

  • weight 1,42 kg

Payment methods

PayPal, credit card, invoice Prepayment

Talent may fall from heaven to the cradle. Knowledge, however, does not. Every musician, painter and sculptor learns by educating him or herself and exchanging ideas with colleagues.  Many take lessons. This is primarily for two reasons: to enhance creativity and to further development.
Miles Davis once said: “Wayne [Shorter] brought in a kind of curiosity about working with musical rules. If they didn’t work, then he broke them, but with musical sense; he understood that freedom in music was the ability to know the rules in order to bend them to your own satisfaction and taste.” Anybody who is as advanced as Wayne Shorter can put this book back on the shelf or give it away.
I would like to invite everybody else, and especially beginners, who are particularly close to my heart, to follow me into the melodious world of rock and jazz music and its rules.
The theory of harmony describes and explains what we hear, and what we like to hear! It is a lively language, which will change along with the musical taste of the time.
Fortunately, we do not need to take on the laborious task of finding out for ourselves how and why, for example, certain harmonic progressions sound good and are in fashion.  By reading, learning, understanding and then listening, we can save time and effort. We can draw on what others, who, according to Clark Terry’s directions, have imitated, assimilated and innovated before us. This quote illustrates a path of development that all artists have followed.  The theory of harmony can be a useful step along this path for many budding musicians and music enthusiasts.

This book is available in German only.

Understanding the musical world of rock and jazz

In “Rock & Jazz Harmony”, Mathias Löffler leads his reader step by step through the musical world of rock and jazz. All rules (from basic musical knowledge of simple harmonies through to modal harmonies and modal interchange) are clearly explained and substantiated with many examples of songs. The chapters on blues, improvisation and analyses provide greater detail, which can then be applied in rock and jazz music. Exercises help the reader test their knowledge. This book is a must for anyone who is looking for new inspiration and who would like to confidently compose, play and improvise rock and jazz music.  

Fellow musicians have all reacted very positively to this book. Saxophonist Jan Beiling describes it as “a veritable treasure chest”, while saxophonist and (film music) composer Klaus Doldinger states: “This is how theory becomes music! The many examples of songs make me want to do two things: play and compose!” Guitarist Michael Diehl is confident that “this book belongs in every rehearsal room and music school”.

This book brings theory to life. It is inspiring, creative and exciting!

1 Basics

Our tonal system

Reading Notes: a crash course in 5 minutes


Natural sign

Leger line

Bass clef

Octave positions


Major Scale

What are rules?

Bb and b, an annoying problem

Intervals – a short introduction


Chord Symbols for triads


Chords and scales

Circle of fifth

Diatonic chords of D-Major


Leading Note and dominant seventh chord

World in minor – Part 1

Diatonic chords in Minor

Sus4 and sus2

Ecclesiastical modes


Four-note chords

Inversion of chords

Reaching the base camp


2 extended harmonic


Tensions: options and alteration

Chord naming

Chord functions


The World in Minor – Part 2

Function of chord tones

What are Voicings?

Vocal line

Relationship between triads and third apart

Avoid Notes

Overall idea of scales and chords


3 basic functional harmonic

Basic functional – Modal functional




First Dominant

Stability of the dominant seventh chord

Cadence with chance of mode

Broken or evaded cadence

Tritone substitution (substitute dominant)

SubV7 and Mixo#11

Intermediate dominant


Secondary dominant

Free dominant functions

Special dominant functions

Chain dominant

Overview over all dominant functions

Diminished seventh chord

Stereotype sequence

Conclusion and preview


4 Modal harmonic

So it began

Basic orientation of modal harmonic

The Sound of Scales

Modal Stereotype sequence


5 Modal Interchange

The 4th element


6 Blues

My Blues

Beginnings of the Blues

Harmonic and form

Melodic of the Blues

Blues Scales

Improvisation concepts


7 Improvisation

Improvisation – Solo playing


Improvisation concepts for the solo playing

Further concepts



Analysis: Solo “Hotel California”


8 Analysis

Harmonic analysis


9 Appendix


Rock & Jazz Harmony

zip-files with solution pages, bonus chapters and mp3s: Download

Mathias Löffler

- Studied at Frankfurt University of Music

- Yamaha Guitar Award winner

- Live and studio musician

- Songwriter for Universal Music

- Author of curricula (aural training, methodology, theory of harmony) for educational institutes

- Proprietor of the Best Guitar School (state-supported educational institute)