Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting/? about music theory


Hi D C DowDell

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What do these roman numeral mean in this picture at...

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Hello Sterling and thank you for contacting me through

The Roman Numbers refer to the Chords. These are the theoretical terns associated with chords in a progression.

Example - In the Key of Bb
the Bb would be I (or Tonic)
the Cm chords would be the ii (the 2 of Bb)
the Eb chord would be the IV (the fourth of Bb)
the F7 chord would be a V (the fifth of Bb)

These numkbers come from the steps in the scale. Upper case numbers refer to major chords, while lower case numbers refer to minor chords.

Thanks for the interest,

D C DowDell
Professor of Music
A Passion for Jazz!
studio: (619) 855-2069

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D C DowDell


D C DowDell will answer questions about Jazz improvisation, composition, chord voicing, scales and modes, practice techniques and ear training. Professor DowDell also enjoys discussions on Jazz musicology and the evolution of style.

D C DowDell is a professional Jazz pianist/composer who currently teaches online Jazz studies at A Passion for Jazz!. Professor DowDell has been teaching music for over 30 years at 2 major universities, several community colleges as well as accepting students for private study.


American Federation of Musicians
National Music Teachers Association
International Association of Jazz Educators

Bachelors of Music Education from UCLA
Masters of Music Composition from UNT

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