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What is a jazz standard? Is it a jazz song which becomes so popular that everybody plays it?

3 Answers 3


From experience, here is what I think of a jazz standard:

A jazz standard is usually a famous jazz song. The reason it is called standard, is because it has been recorded many many times, by numerous different artists (and usually in many different kinds of jazz).

So, if you want to learn how to play jazz, you can find a jazz standard (they go from really easy to really hard) and start to play. The fact that there are many scores and transcriptions by famous artists helps you to see what other people play in the specific song. You can also listen to their recordings, which will help you out.

Also, when musicians don't (musically) know each other, they can start by playing a jazz song that both of them know, which will help them see how the other person thinks/communicates musically, instead of starting composing from the very beginning


IDK, if this answers your question. But here is what I think:

Jazz standard

Jazz standards are musical compositions which are an important part of the musical repertoire of jazz musicians, in that they are widely known, performed, and recorded by jazz musicians, and widely known by listeners. There is no definitive list of jazz standards, and the list of songs deemed to be standards changes over time. Songs included in major fake book publications (sheet music collections of popular tunes) and jazz reference works offer a rough guide to which songs are considered standards.

So famous Jazz songs that are widely known and performed and recorded.

And this FAQ about Jazz Standards might help. Included in the questions are:

  • What is a "jazz standard?"

Sometimes the term "jazz standard" is used to imply a jazz composition that has become a standard. Words and phrases often have multiple valid meanings and this term is no exception.

  • What types of compositions become jazz standards?

  • How are the jazz standards identified and ranked?

  • What makes a good jazz standard?


This question is combining two different things. Yes, a jazz standard is a tune that most jazz musicians will know. Yes, the chords and melodies are loosely interpreted by many groups. But there are two "primary" types of standards:

  • Standards written by jazz musicians
  • Popular songs that jazz musicians traditionally interpret.

These two are treated quite differently, and typically its really easy to tell which type is being played.

Hope that helps!

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