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by Chris McNulty

Introduces a unique teaching device and learning tool to help students integrate theory, ear training and improvisation.
Introduction into the use of tetrachords.

  • Laid out in one clear and concise method that works across all 12 keys.

  • Starting with a simple set of templates the method explores chord/scale relationships by sourcing a myriad of scales using combinations of tetrachords. 

  • The method is further developed using exercises that assist students to pitch hear across more complex harmony

  • Improves outcomes at both the college preparatory level as well as assisting vocal students (and instrumentalists) entering or attending music degree programs.


“An immense talent whose vocalizing is fearless and composing peerless.” ― Harvey Siders, Jazz Times


  • PowerPoint, Piano and Voice

  • Handouts in Sibelius/PDF format

  • 3 hour workshop

  • Introduction to Tetrachords

  • Integrate theory, ear training and improvisation


Using extracts from Chris’s Vocalist as Complete Musician methodology. The work is based around a series of exercises integrating the use of tetra chords, scales and chords. We start from a simple template, moving on to work from several scale sources. Scales are internalized by using a combination of tetrachords (major, minor 1 (dorian), minor 2 (phrygian), whole tone (lydian), diminished & harmonic). The exercises explore chord/scale relationships in jazz harmony, sourcing several scales – major, minor, melodic, harmonic, diminished (whole/1/2 and 1/2/whole).

The pentatonic scale (minor/major) and be bop scales are also explored over sets of chord progressions. Finally, we move on to creating melodic passages and motifs, using scalar fragments over specific sets of changes/songs.

This work develops the vocal ear for hearing and improvising over more complex harmony. Ear training, improvisation and theory are taught at one and the same time, providing the student of vocal jazz with the same tools that jazz instrumentalists use to navigate their way through musical passages.

By learning how to integrate scalar fragments over various sets of chord changes, the student gains more freedom and confidence as an improvisor. It also gives vocal students a template to analyze and prepare pieces of music for improvisation as well as developing arranging and composing skills. This work is predominately piano based. Workshop presentations require the use of smart board and piano.


“A most concise, well structured, and easy to understand book for all vocalists (and instrumentalists!) who want to become versatile, have more confidence, and be better overall musicians. Chris McNulty’s Vocalist As Complete Musician is a comprehensive and engaging method designed to help you hear, sing, and play music on a deeper level. Practicing these exercises WILL really enhance HOW you hear, sing, and play music!”

- Dena DeRose

Jazz Vocalist and Pianist, Jazz Voice Professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz, Austria

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