In this video, I am going to show you how you can use the triads that you already know as a great way to create some beautiful jazz chords. Starting with material that you already know to open up a vast amount of jazz voicings is a really efficient approach to becoming much freer and begin to create a jazz chord vocabulary, and it is also really great for fretboard knowledge.
It is really interesting to explore how great a tool the triads are as jazz voicings.
I am going to do this in three steps:
- How To Find Triads You Can Use, in a Practical Way
- Easily Turn This Into a lot of chords and ideas to play
- Find Triads for more Complicated Chords with Extensions
Step 1 – Rootless Jazz Voicings for a II V I
If we take a II V I in C major with some very basic jazz chords then we have this:
If I remove the Bass note then I have
Turning Diatonic 7th chords into triad voicings
The same principle use on all the diatonic chords in C major would yield:
And without the root we have these triads that could work as the above chords:
Step 2 – More Triad voicings with inversions
Before looking at adding extensions and alterations to the chords, let’s have a look at how much we can already do with these simple triads.
We now can play a II V I with these rootless, triad-based, but if this F major triad is a good voicing for Dm7 (Example 3) then the inversions of it are as well.
If I do this for the II V I progression I have these 3 ways to play that:
And of course this is just on the middle string set. This works on other string sets as well
Step 3 – Adding Extensions and using other triad types
If you look at a G7b9 voicing spelled out x 10 9 10 9 x or G B F Ab then the top notes of this chord are B F Ab which is, in fact, an F dim triad.
If I inser these into the II V I’s from example 4 then I have:
In the same way a Dm11: 10 x 10 10 8 x or D C F G has the three notes C F G on top. That is a Csus4 triad.
This gives us these II V I examples
And finally we can add a 13th to the Cmaj7: which is the same as playing an Asus4/C which gives us:
If you want to check out more options on using upper-structure triads for Cmaj7, I also have this lesson: 6 Triads for a Cmaj7 Chord (well 10 actually..)
Mix it with Other Chord Types
Check out how Triads work well with other 3-note voicings in this lesson on the changes of Some Day My Prince Will Come.
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