Jazz Chord Essentials – 3 part Quartal Harmony

In this lesson I want to demonstrate how I use quartal harmony when I am playing in both modal and moving harmony. I also want to give some ways to practice these voicings and put them to use in those situations.

 

Quartal Harmony

What is Quartal harmony. The chords that w e use are for the most part derived from stacks of thirds as I described in these lessons: diatonic arpeggios, jazz chord essentials – triads. Quartal harmony is derived from stacks of 4ths giving other note groupings as seen in Example 1.

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 part Quartal Harmony Ex 1

 

Since we get different note groups but still want to use them in situations that we define from a stack of thirds (like a Cmaj7 or Dm7) We need to figure out how to apply them.

The voicings and some exercises

The first thing to check out is the voicings themselves. Here is a harmonized major scale on the 2 top sets of strings.

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 part Quartal Harmony Ex 2

Once you can play them I suggest you try to play with them over a pedal, so that you have an idea of how each of those voicings sound in a modal context and you can start building up a vocabulary of melodies that you can play. In the beginning you can do this over the basic chords II V and I, but as a pedal so a vamp consisting of a Dm chord, on for G7 and one for Cmaj7, as I demonstrate in the video.

In order to start playing over changes we need to be able to play chords found in the melodic minor scale, so here’s a harmonization of the Ab melodic minor scale, which is also the scale we need to play G7alt:

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 part Quartal Harmony Ex 3

For this scale it is also useful to check out how the voicings sound on a G7alt, Db lydian domininant or AbmMaj7 pedal point.

Examples for chord progressions

I chose to apply the voicings to a II Valt I in C because it it is an easy key and a vert common progression. Here are some examples:

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 part Quartal Harmony Ex 4

 

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 part Quartal Harmony Ex 5

 

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 part Quartal Harmony Ex 6

 

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 part Quartal Harmony Ex 7

 

 

In the video I break down each example a bit more and add some more info on how I made them and how I see them.

As always you can download the examples as a pdf here:

Jazz Chord Essentials – 3 part Quartal Harmony

I hope that you liked the lesson. If you have any questions or comments then feel free to leave them here or on the video. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, Google+ or Twitter to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.

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