• Another Perspective To The “Part-Over-Root” Voicing Of Major Ninth Chords

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,Piano,Theory

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    At the end of this lesson, you’ll be seeing the “part-over-root” voicing of major ninth chords in another light.

    Having learned the “part-over-root voicing” of the ninth chord, it is also important that I share with you on a smart way that helped me master them. If you put what I’m about to share with you to work, you’ll have the major ninth chord at your finger tips.

    Let’s get started with this lesson by reviewing the part-over-root voicing technique.

    A Review On The Part-Over-Root Voicing Technique

    The notes of a chord can be considered as voices or voice parts. In classical music, there are four voice parts – soprano, alto, tenor, and bass.

    The notes of the C major seventh chord:

    …can be considered as follows…

    B:

    …as the soprano voice.

    G:

    …as the alto voice.

    E:

    …as the tenor voice.

    C:

    …as the bass voice.

    The above consideration of the notes of a chord as voices is known as voicing, but that’s not all. Voicing also has a lot to do with the arrangement of the notes of a chord and there are a variety of techniques that can help in this arrangement, which are known as voicing techniques.

    We’ve covered several voicing techniques in previous posts, ranging from the drop-2 voicing technique, to the skeleton voicing technique, to the upper-structure voicing technique, and more. Today, we’ll be looking at the part-over-root voicing technique.

    “What Is The Part-Over-Root Voicing Technique All About?”

    Ninth chords encompass nine degrees of the scale, consequently, the everyday average player finds it challenging to play ninth chords with one hand. For example, the C major ninth chord:

    …cannot be easily played like the C major triad:

    …and the C major seventh chord:

    The “part-over-root voicing” technique provides an easier way of playing ninth chords. In this technique, the root of the chord is isolated, and whatever is left is considered as a part.

    In the C major ninth chord:

    …isolating the root (C):

    …from other chord tones produces the Emin7 chord:

    …over C in the bass:
    …which is the part-over-root voicing of the C major ninth chord:

    “Check Out The “Part-Over-Root” Voicing Of Other Major Ninth Chords On The Keyboard…”

    Fmin7:

    …over Db on the bass:

    …produces the part-over-root voicing of the Db major ninth chord:

    F#min7:

    …over D on the bass:

    …produces the part-over-root voicing of the D major ninth chord:

    Gmin7:

    …over Eb on the bass:

    …produces the part-over-root voicing of the Eb major ninth chord:

    G#min7:

    …over E on the bass:

    …produces the part-over-root voicing of the E major ninth chord:

    Amin7:

    …over F on the bass:

    …produces the part-over-root voicing of the F major ninth chord:
      Bbmin7:

    …over Gb on the bass:

    …produces the part-over-root voicing of the Gb major ninth chord:

    Bmin7:

    …over G on the bass:

    …produces the part-over-root voicing of the G major ninth chord:

    Cmin7:

    …over Ab on the bass:

    …produces the part-over-root voicing of the Ab major ninth chord:

    C#min7:

    …over A on the bass:

    …produces the part-over-root voicing of the A major ninth chord:

    Dmin7:

    …over Bb on the bass:

    …produces the part-over-root voicing of the Bb major ninth chord:

    D#min7:

    …over B on the bass:

    …produces the part-over-root voicing of the B major ninth chord:

    Memorizing the part-over-root voicings of major ninth chords in all twelve keys is pretty challenging, and that’s why I’ll be showing you an easier way to master these voicings in all twelve keys.

    A Smart Way To Master The “Part-Over-Root” Voicing Of Major Ninth Chords

    Now that we’ve reviewed the concept of the part-over-root voicing technique, I’ll be showing you step-by-step, how to master the part-over-root voicings of major ninth chords.

    Using the C major ninth chord:

    …we can form a part-over-root voicing by isolating the root note (C):

    …from other chord tones, which is considered as a part. The rest of the chord tones (E, G, B, and D) are chord tones of the Emin7 chord:

    “Let’s Analyze This Voicing”

    The root is C:

    …while the part is the Emin7 chord:

    Attention: Take note of the two letter names we came across (C and E.)

    In the voicing of the major ninth chord, we’re playing an E:

    …over a C:

    …and here’s what it looks like (C-E):

    …which can also be played as close as possible – in this manner:

    Take note that the C is the overall root of the chord, while E is the root of the part.

    “Let’s Figure Out The Root”

    Before we go any further, what’s the distance (interval) between the overall root of the chord (C) and the overall root of the part (E.)?

    Due to the fact that both notes (C and E) can be played either as a simple interval:

    …or compound interval:

    …we’ll have a third in the first case, and a tenth in the second case.

    In a nutshell, the interval between C and E can either be a third:

    …or a tenth:

    …and both intervals share a lot in common. Both of them are formed by the relationship between the first and third tones of any major scale on the keyboard, which is also known as the major third and major tenth intervals.

    In the key of C major:

    …the first and third tones are C and E:

    …respectively.

    Now that we’ve derived the roots, let’s form the chord for the part.

    “Let’s Build The Part”

    Having the major third/tenth interval gives us two most important tones – the overall root (which is C):

    …and the root of the part (which is E):

    If you can recall earlier, the remainder chord tones of the C major ninth chord after isolating its root, is the Emin7 chord:

    Attention: The chord for the part is the Emin7 chord, which is basically a minor seventh chord.

    At this point, it’s crystal clear that the chord for the part is the minor seventh chord.

    “In a nutshell…”

    There are two things you must do if you want to master the “part-over-root voicing” of major ninth chords:

    • Know the major third or major tenth interval in the given key.
    • Starting from the root of the part, you can form a minor seventh chord.

    Once you invest a little time in learning the major third/tenth interval, and the minor seventh chord in all twelve keys, you’re good to go.

    Putting It Together

    Let’s use our new perspective to the “part-over-root” voicing technique to form the major ninth voicings in a few keys.

    “In The Key Of G…”

    Step 1 – Determining The Major Third/Tenth Interval In The Key

    The root of the major ninth chord is G:

    …and a major tenth interval from G is B:

    So, we have two root notes – the overall root (G):

    …and the root of the part (B):

    Step 2 – Formation Of The Minor Seventh Chord From The Root Of The Part

    The root of the part is (B):

    Consequently, we’ll be using the B minor seventh chord:

    …as the part of the G major ninth chord.

    Altogether, the Bmin7 chord:

    …played over G in the bass:

    …produces the part-over-root voicing of the G major ninth chord:

    “In The Key Of B…”

    Step 1 – Determining The Major Third/Tenth Interval In The Key

    The root of the major ninth chord is B:

    …and a major tenth interval from B is D#:

    So, we have two root notes – the overall root (B):

    …and the root of the part (D#):

    Step 2 – Formation Of The Minor Seventh Chord From The Root Of The Part

    The root of the part is (D#):

    Consequently, we’ll be using the D# minor seventh chord:

    …as the part of the B major ninth chord.

    Altogether, the D#min7 chord:

    …played over B in the bass:

    …produces the part-over-root voicing of the B major ninth chord:

    Following the same procedures, you can form the part-over-root voicings of the major ninth chord in any given key and with absolute ease.

    Thank you for your time, and see you in the next post.

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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 Jaime

    Hi, Jermaine/Chuku:
    Both lessons on “Part over Root” of the 9th chords were beautiful. Thanks a lot.
    Jaime

    Reply

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