• Application Of The A&B Voicing Technique In The 1-4 Chord Progression Using Major Ninth Chords

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,General Music,Piano,Theory

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    So, you really want to master the 1-4 chord progression using major ninth chords?

    Congratulations! You just arrived at the right page and I’m excited to share some tools and tricks that can help you learn how to play the 1-4 chord progression effortlessly in all twelve major keys.

    Due to the importance of the classic 1-4 chord progression, we dedicated a lesson where we explored a dozen ways of playing it, using a variety of styles ranging from gospel, to jazz, to R&B, to salsa, etc.

    In today’s lesson, we’ll be going a step further into learning how to play the classic 1-4 chord progression using major ninth chords.

    A Breakdown Of The Classic 1-4 Chord Progression

    There are eight degrees in every key, and each degree has its corresponding chord. In the key of C major:

    …the first degree (which is C):

    …has its corresponding scale degree chord (which is the C major triad):

    The movement of chords from one degree of the scale to another produces a chord progression.

    The Classic 1-4 Chord Progression

    The 1-4 chord progression is a chord movement from the first degree to the fourth degree of the scale in a given key. In the key of C major:

    …a 1-4 root progression progresses from C (which is the first tone of the scale):

    …to F (which is the fourth tone of the scale):

    “Check Out The 1-4 Chord Progression Using Triads…”

    In the key of C major, the 1-4 chord progression can be played by progressing from the C major triad:

    …to the F major triad:

    “The 1-4 Chord Progression Using Seventh Chords…”

    Using seventh chords, you can play a spicier version of the classic 1-4 chord progression by progressing from the C major seventh chord:

    …to the F major seventh chord:

    Before I’ll show you how the classic 1-4 chord progression can be played using major ninth chords, let’s talk about minor seventh chords. I’ll tell you why, in the last segment.

    The A&B Voicings Of Minor Seventh Chords – Explained

    The minor seventh chord is the scale degree seventh chord of the first degree in the natural minor scale. In the A natural minor scale:

    …forming a seventh chord on the first degree of the scale (which is A):

    …produces the A minor seventh chord:

    A Breakdown Of The Minor Seventh Chord Into Mutual Third Intervals

    Every chord (irrespective of quality and quantity) can be broken down into intervals. The A minor seventh chord can be broken down into two mutual third intervals:

    A-C:

    …a minor third interval.

    E-G:

    …a minor third interval.

    From the breakdown above, the minor seventh chord consists of two identical minor third intervals. Let’s go ahead and learn how minor seventh chords can be played using these mutual third intervals.

    The A&B Voicings Of Minor Seventh Chords

    Voicing is the rearrangement of the notes of a chord. In this rearrangement, the notes of the chord (aka – “chord tones”) are considered as voice parts – soprano, alto, tenor and bass.

    The A&B voicing concept focuses on the position of the third and seventh tones in a chord.

    In the A voicing, the third tone comes before the seventh in a chord, while in the B voicing, the seventh tone comes before the third tone.

    It is important for me to state it clearly that all root position chords can be categorized as A voicings. For example, when the C minor seventh chord is played in root position:

    …the third tone (Eb):

    …is played before the seventh tone (Bb):

    “How To Derive The B Voicing Of Minor Seventh Chords In Two Simple Steps…”

    To derive the B voicing of a minor seventh chord:

    Step #1 – Highlight the two bottom notes (a minor third interval.)

    Step #2 – Apply the octave transposition technique on the notes

    “Let Me Show You How It Works…”

    Given the A voicing of the E minor seventh chord:

    …you can derive its B voicing by highlighting the two bottom notes – E and G:

    …(which are a minor third interval), and transposing them to a higher octave:

    …to form the B voicing of the E minor seventh chord:

    One Of The Smartest Ways To Form The “B Voicing” Of Minor Seventh Chords

    If you don’t want to use the steps above, there’s an easier way out using mutual third intervals.

    The B voicing of a minor seventh chord can be formed by playing two minor third intervals that are a whole step apart from each other.

    “It’s Easier Than It Sounds…Trust Me!”

    The instruction says minor third intervals and that they should be a whole step apart from each other. Therefore, using a minor third interval at random (let’s say the F# minor third interval):

    …and another minor third interval a whole step apart from it, produces the B voicing of the minor seventh chord.

    The F# minor third interval extends from F# to A:

    …and a whole step apart from A:

    …is B:

    Consequently, the B minor third interval:

    …is the minor third interval that is a whole step apart from the F# minor third interval.

    The F# minor third interval:

    …and the B minor third interval:

    …altogether, produces the B voicing of a minor seventh chord:

    “Here Are A Few Other Examples…”

    The D minor third interval:

    …and the G minor third interval (another minor third interval that is a whole step above it):

    …altogether produce the B voicing of a minor seventh chord:

    The G# minor third interval:

    …and the C# minor third interval (another minor third interval that is a whole step above it):

    …altogether produce the B voicing of a minor seventh chord:

    The F minor third interval:

    …and the Bb minor third interval (another minor third interval that is a whole step above it):

    …altogether produce the B voicing of a minor seventh chord:

    How To Play The Classic 1-4 Chord Progression Using Major Ninth Chords

     

    Final Words

    The classic 1-4 chord progression sounds a lot better with major ninth chords and I’m glad that I’ve simplified the process for you.

    This leaves you with the responsibility of learning how to play it in all twelve keys.

    All the best and see you in the next lesson where I’ll be giving you exercises that can help you master the 1-4 chord progression in all twelve keys.

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    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as a music consultant and content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with thousands of musicians across the world.

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