• How do I save a chart?
• There is no time signature on the charts. How do I know if it's 3/4, 4/4, or some other time signature?
• What key should I select?
• What is the 'natural minor' scale?
• If I create a song using one of these charts, can I perform/sell it?
• To jam with a band, do all band members need a copy of Jam Genius?
• How can my band mates view the charts on their phones or iPods?
• I play saxophone. Does Jam Genius transpose for my instrument?
• What does the number at the top of each chart mean?
• What if I don't know how to play some of the chords?
• I'm new to my instrument, and not ready to play with others yet. How can I use Jam Genius to practice?
• I've never improvised before. Can Jam Genius help?
• When we end on the final chord, it sometimes sounds funny or wrong. How should we end our jams?
• I don't hear any sound from my device.
How do I save a chart?
There is currently no option to save charts within the Jam Genius app. In order to keep a chart, email the PDF, or export the chart to the photo roll. Both options are available by selecting 'Export' at the bottom. When you create a new chart, the previously created chart disappears. However, if you close the app, the last chart you created will still be there when you open the app again.
There is no time signature on the charts. How do I know if it's 3/4, 4/4, or some other time signature?
The time signature is not included because it's up to you. You can play any of the charts in any time signature. Most people will use 4/4, as it's very common and natural. But you can play any chart in waltz time (3/4), or any other time signature. If you're not aware of time signatures, just play a consistent rhythm, and be sure each measure has the same number of beats.
What key should I select?
Intermediate and advanced players will be able to play the charts in any key, but if you're just starting out, you'll want to pick a key that's easy for your instrument. C major and A minor are easy for pianists/keyboardists, as they only use the white keys. On guitar, G major, D major, and A minor are all fairly easy. E major is a little more difficult on guitar because the B major chord is typically a bar chord. Experiment to see what keys you're most comfortable with so that you can quickly jam with others. But when you're practicing by yourself, try keys that are more difficult for you; it may lead you to learn new chords, or different ways to play chords you already know.
What is the 'natural minor' scale?
The natural minor scale contains the same notes as the major scale, but starting of a different note. For instance, C major uses all the white keys. The A minor scale also uses all the white keys. The scale that you should use for a given chart is available in music notation in the "Scales" tab at the bottom of the screen.
If I create a song using one of these charts, can I perform/sell it?
Yes, absolutely. If you use Jam Genius to create a song or recording, you'll have full rights to the song/recording.
To jam with a band, do all band members need a copy of Jam Genius?
No, only one of you needs the Jam Genius app. You can export the charts so that all band members can play along (see the next question).
How can my band mates view the charts on their phones or iPods?
You can email the chart as a PDF, or save it as a JPEG image to your photo roll and then email it from your iPod/iPhone or from your computer. You can also print either the PDF or JPEG.
I play saxophone. Does Jam Genius transpose for my instrument?
The chord charts are not transposed, but if you're playing a melody instrument, just knowing the key the chart is in should be enough for you to improvise. The transposed keys (for E flat and B flat instruments) are indicated at the bottom of each chart.
What does the number at the top of each chart mean?
Instead of titles for each chart, we used numbers. If you print out several charts for your band or musician friends, the numbers make it easy to call out which chart you want to play next. The number also contains information for our support staff, so if you're having trouble with a particular chart, we may ask you for the chart number and the key the chart is in. A screenshot or exported chart contains all this information.
What if I don't know how to play some of the chords?
By selecting the "Chords" tab, you can touch each chord in the chart to see a guitar diagram.Jam Genius uses four chord types: major, minor, (dominant) seventh, and sus4 chords. If you're just starting out, stick with keys that are easy and familiar. For guitarists, that usually means A major, G major, or A minor. On piano, C major and A minor are simple because only white keys are used for all of the chords.
I'm new to my instrument, and not ready to play with others yet. Can I use Jam Genius to practice?
Jam Genius is a great way to practice reading and playing chord charts. Start out slow, and in keys that are easy and familiar. Once you get the hang of it, try keys that are outside your 'comfort zone.' For guitarists, that probably means bar chords, and for keyboardists, that might mean more sharps or flats. Use Jam Genius with a chord reference for your instrument, and take the time to learn new chords as you see them. For true sight-reading practice, generate a chart, play it only once, and then move on to the next one. This will quickly develop your reading, and not only improve your playing of Jam Genius chord charts, it will also improve your ability to read from song books. To prepare for jamming with others, you might do the opposite. Export two or three charts, and practice them until you're comfortable enough to play them with others.
I've never improvised before. Can Jam Genius help?
Jam Genius is a great way to learn how to improvise. Create a chart, and practice playing the chords until you're comfortable. Then, record yourself* playing the chords several times through, and try improvising along with the recording. Staying within the notes of the scale, it's easy to find notes that 'work.' If you hit a 'wrong note,' a better note will probably be just one note up or down. And you'll find that the 'wrong note' can actually sound good if you play it on the way to the 'right note.' If you stay within the scale, you'll quickly find that most of the notes work most of the time, and as you get to know the chord progression, you'll find bits that work well in different places. Once you have bits that sound good, try repeating them or playing variations of them. Jam Genius creates chord progressions that make improvisation easy.
When we end on the final chord, it sometimes sounds funny or 'wrong.' How should we end our jams?
Jam Genius charts often end on a chord which sounds good when you repeat the chart, but not as an ending. When you play the last time through, simply repeat back to the top just for the final chord—make the very first chord also the very last. That will make your jam endings sound resolved and 'correct.'
I don't hear any sound from my device.
Jam Genius creates chord charts. You, your musical instruments, friends, and creativity provide the rest.
*Jam Genius currently does not record audio. Use any available recording device, or export and print the chart, and use the voice memo feature on your phone or iPod Touch (recording on an iPod requires an external microphone).
© Copyright 2010-11 by Jon Lukas. All Rights Reserved.