• Harmonization 202: “Drop-2 Voicings” Of Neighboring Chord Couples

    in Chords & Progressions,Exercises,Experienced players,General Music,Gospel music,Piano,Theory

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    If you want to take your knowledge of the harmonization of the major scale to another level, then this lesson is for you.

    In a previous lesson, we began an intensive study on the harmonization of the major scale using two chords (aka – “the neighboring chord couple“). To take you a step further, you’ll be learning how to revolutionize this harmonization using the drop-2 voicing concept.

    Let’s get started by reviewing the neighboring chord couple concept.

    Harmonization Using The Neighboring Chord Couple Concept

    Right before we talk about harmonization which is our subject, let’s define harmony.

    There are twelve musical notes:

    …and the relationship between these notes produces music.

    In a previous lesson, we learned that the relationship between notes can either be classified as melodic or harmonic. The relationship between notes that are heard separately produces melody while the relationship between notes that are heard together produces harmony.

    “What Is Harmonization?”

    Harmonization is the musical process of adding notes to a melody to produce harmony. Let’s use the melody of the song Mary Had A Little Lamb as an example.

    Ma:

    …ry:

    …had:

    …a:

    Li:

    …ttle:

    …lamb:

    The addition of notes to every note in the melody (Mary had a little lamb) harmonizes it.

    “Check It Out…”

    Ma:

    …ry:

    …had:

    …a:

    Li:

    …ttle:

    …lamb:

    It is important for every serious musician who wants to learn about harmonization to start with the harmonization of the tones of traditional scales like the natural major and natural minor scales. However, in this lesson we’ll be focusing on the former – the natural major scale.

    There are a variety of approaches to the harmonization of the tones of the major scale and we’re focusing on the neighboring chord couple concept.

    The Neighboring Chord Couple Concept To The Harmonization Of The Tones Of The Major Scale

    The neighboring chord couple concept is a technique in harmonization that harmonizes six (out of the seven) tones of the natural major scale using only two adjacent chords.

    In the key of C major:

    …the scale degree triads of the first and second degrees – which are the C major:

    …and D minor:

    …triads are used to harmonize six tones of the C natural major scale:

    “Here’s How It Works…”

    C:

    …is harmonized by the first inversion of the C major triad:

    D:

    …is harmonized by the first inversion of the D minor triad:

    E:

    …is harmonized by the second inversion of the C major triad:

    F:

    …is harmonized by the second inversion of the D minor triad:

    G:

    …is harmonized by the root position of the C major triad:

    A:

    …is harmonized by the root position of the D minor triad:

    C:

    …is harmonized by the first inversion of the C major triad:

    That’s basically how the notes of the natural major scale (save the seventh) can be harmonized using neighboring chords.

    We’ll be spicing up this harmonization concept with the drop-2 voicing concept. However, before going into that, it is important that we take a closer look at the drop-2 voicing concept.

    A Short Note On The Drop-2 Voicing Concept

    Voicing is the consideration of the notes of a chord as voices or voice parts. In any given chord, the voices are numbered from the highest in pitch to the lowest in pitch.

    In the C major seventh chord:

    …the first voice (aka – “soprano”) is B:

    …the second voice (aka – “alto”) is G:

    …the third voice (aka – “tenor”) is E:

    …and the fourth voice (aka – “bass”) is C:

    Due to the consideration of chord tones as voices, the voices are rearranged using certain rearrangement techniques known as voicing techniques.

    The “drop-2” voicing technique is one of the voicing techniques that lowers the second voice (aka – “the alto voice”) in a chord by an octave.

    In the C major triad:

    …the first voice is G:

    …the second voice is E:

    …and the third voice is C:

    Using the “drop-2” voicing technique, we can rearrange the C major triad by lowering the second voice (which is E):

    …by an octave (to this E):

    …to produce the “drop-2” voicing of the C major triad:

    Following the same procedure, the “drop-2” voicing of any given triad or seventh chord can be derived.

    Harmonization Using The “Drop-2 Voicing” Of Neighboring Chord Couples

    In this practical segment, we’ll be applying the “drop-2” voicing concept to the harmonization of the major scale using the neighboring chord couples we learned in an earlier segment.

    A vast majority of your favorite gospel piano players use this technique and that’s why you need to learn and master it in all white keys – from C to B.

    Activity #1 – Harmonization Using The “Drop-2 Voicing” Of Neighboring Chord Couples In The Key Of C

    Harmonization of the first tone (C):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the C major triad in first inversion:

    Attention:
    The triad above should be played as E-C on the right hand, over G on the bass. Kindly treat other “drop-2 voicing” as such.
    Harmonization of the second tone (D):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the D minor triad in first inversion:

    Harmonization of the third tone (E):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the C major triad in second inversion:

    Harmonization of the fourth tone (F):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the D minor triad in second inversion:

    Harmonization of the fifth tone (G):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the C major triad in root position:

    Harmonization of the sixth tone (A):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the D minor triad in root position:

    Harmonization of the eighth tone (C):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the C major triad in first inversion:

    Activity #2 -Harmonization Using The “Drop-2 Voicing” Of Neighboring Chord Couples In The Key Of D

    Harmonization of the first tone (D):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the D major triad in first inversion:

    Harmonization of the second tone (E):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the E minor triad in first inversion:

    Harmonization of the third tone (F#):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the D major triad in second inversion:

    Harmonization of the fourth tone (G):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the E minor triad in second inversion:

    Harmonization of the fifth tone (A):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the D major triad in root position:

    Harmonization of the sixth tone (B):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the E minor triad in root position:

    Harmonization of the eighth tone (D):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the D major triad in first inversion:

    Activity #3 – Harmonization Using The “Drop-2 Voicing” Of Neighboring Chord Couples In The Key Of E

    Harmonization of the first tone (E):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the E major triad in first inversion:

    Harmonization of the second tone (F#):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the F# minor triad in first inversion:


    Harmonization of the third tone (G#):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the E major triad in second inversion:

    Harmonization of the fourth tone (A):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the F# minor triad in second inversion:

    Harmonization of the fifth tone (B):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the E major triad in root position:

    Harmonization of the sixth tone (C#):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the F# minor triad in root position:

    Harmonization of the eighth tone (E):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the E major triad in first inversion:

    Activity #4 – Harmonization Using The “Drop-2 Voicing” Of Neighboring Chord Couples In The Key Of F

    Harmonization of the first tone (F):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the F major triad in first inversion:

    Harmonization of the second tone (G):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the G minor triad in first inversion:

    Harmonization of the third tone (A):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the F major triad in second inversion:

    Harmonization of the fourth tone (Bb):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the G minor triad in second inversion:

    Harmonization of the fifth tone (C):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the F major triad in root position:

    Harmonization of the sixth tone (D):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the G minor triad in root position:

    Harmonization of the eighth tone (F):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the F major triad in first inversion:

    Activity #5 – Harmonization Using The “Drop-2 Voicing” Of Neighboring Chord Couples In The Key Of G

    Harmonization of the first tone (G):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the G major triad in first inversion:

    Harmonization of the second tone (A):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the A minor triad in first inversion:

    Harmonization of the third tone (B):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the G major triad in second inversion:

    Harmonization of the fourth tone (C):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the A minor triad in second inversion:

    Harmonization of the fifth tone (D):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the G major triad in root position:

    Harmonization of the sixth tone (E):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the A minor triad in root position:

    Harmonization of the eighth tone (G):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the G major triad in first inversion:

    Activity #6 – Harmonization Using The “Drop-2 Voicing” Of Neighboring Chord Couples In The Key Of A

    Harmonization of the first tone (A):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the A major triad in first inversion:

    Harmonization of the second tone (B):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the B minor triad in first inversion:

    Harmonization of the third tone (C#):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the A major triad in second inversion:

    Harmonization of the fourth tone (D):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the B minor triad in second inversion:

    Harmonization of the fifth tone (E):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the A major triad in root position:

    Harmonization of the sixth tone (F#):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the B minor triad in root position:

    Harmonization of the eighth tone (A):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the A major triad in first inversion:

    Activity #7 – Harmonization Using The “Drop-2 Voicing” Of Neighboring Chord Couples In The Key Of B

    Harmonization of the first tone (B):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the B major triad in first inversion:

    Harmonization of the second tone (C#):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the C# minor triad in first inversion:

    Harmonization of the third tone (D#):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the B major triad in second inversion:

    Harmonization of the fourth tone (E):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the C# minor triad in second inversion:

    Harmonization of the fifth tone (F#):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the B major triad in root position:

    Harmonization of the sixth tone (G#):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the C# minor triad in root position:

    Harmonization of the eighth tone (B):

    …using a drop-2 voicing of the B major triad in first inversion:

    Final Words

    Making it to this final segment let’s me know that you’re really serious about taking your knowledge of the harmonization of the major scale to another level.

    Thank you for your time and I’ll see you in another lesson.

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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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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 AYOPO

    You guys are doing a great job. Well done and God bless.

    Reply

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