You need to check out a lot of different jazz chords and voicings when you want to learn Jazz, and you need them for comping and for chord melody arrangements.
In this lesson, I am going to show you some techniques that can really help you get more out of your voicings so that you don’t have to spend too much time practicing chords and help you use one voicing that you already know to create a ton of other chords that you then don’t need to practice as much.
A little music theory can really save you a lot of time!
I am going to do this in 3 parts – first look at finding similar voicings, then change the voicing and finally what other chords we can use this voicing for.
This is all about using what you practice as much as possible and getting the most out of what you have learned.
Part 1 – Connect the voicing to all the other things you know.
Let’s keep it a little practical. Let’s say you have learned a shiny new voicing like this Drop2 voicing for a C7(9).
It’s a drop2 voicing, but if we forget that and just look at it and associate it with other types of voicings then something great happens:
Below, you can see that it is coming from this voicing (bar2) and that it is also related to this voicing (bar3)
The reason that I am saying this is that it is important to tie see how the chord has different components from other voicings that we know.
That makes it easier to use it with other chords and for examplie having C-D top note melody.
Another thing that is good to notice is that it is related to this Drop3, this triad or this shell voicing.
We are just taking a look at how it works and finding things we can do with it.
Right now we can make a melody like this with what we just discovered:
or a comping riff like this:
Part 2 – Change The Voicing – Make a New Jazz Chord
This is really an important way to look at how to come up with more sounds and really explore what we can do with a chord.
To keep it a bit practical I am not going to change the 3rd and 7th of the chord because then we have a completely different type of chord and open up for a lot more information, that is possible and you should experiment with it, but my video would get too long.
If we explore changing the 2nd highest note, the G, then we have these chords:
So, of course, you need to understand where you want to use the chords to figure out what fits. A blues in C with C7(9,b13) chords may not be the sound you want (or are hired to play)
We can do the same with the top note:
And I am not going to go over the different combinations of this, but that can be fun to explore as well!
Part 3 – Using this voicing for other Jazz chords
Now we have connected the chord to a ton of other voicings and made a lot of variations on it.
If you look at the notes that are in the C7(9) voicing we have Bb,E, G and D.
If you order these in different ways we have:
E G Bb D which is Em7(b5) or You can look at it as G Bb D E which is a Gm6
So this means that the original voicing could be used like this:
These are two of the obvious choices, but you could also go through this in a systematic way and just check out what these notes are against any root.
They could work as a Bb6(#11) or F#7alt. Thinking of notes against a root is something that is also very useful for soloing!
If you use the chord as an F#7alt then you have this: Example 8
Connect the chords don’t just remember separate things
This way of thinking about voicings where you are looking at it not only within a system but also really connecting to other types of chords and voicings is a very good practice for developing and making your vocabulary more useable. If you want to see another video where I talk about this then check out this video where I am going over a 3 level process of creating and using jazz chords.
And you could also consider checking out the Jazz Chord Study Guide
Apply it to a Bb Jazz Blues
Take things even further by using some of the same principles on a Jazz Blues:
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