• freevideolessonbanner2jpg

    Play it the way YOU want to play it: Exploring Chord Voicings!

    by Jermaine Griggs · 19 comments

    in Chords & Progressions

    chords101picbig.jpgSince this post about seventh chords has been resurrected from the dead by various students (via new comments that appear on the side menu), I’ve decided to expound on the concept of that lesson a little more.

    Basically in that post, I showed you how to spice up seventh chords by changing the way you voice them.

    A voicing is simply a representation of a chord.
    • How the notes in a chord are spaced.
    • What notes are being played twice.
    • Where the root of the chord is placed.
    • What feeling a particular order gives you.

    These things are all important when it comes to understanding voicings.

    And believe me, some musicians need a lot of help in this area. Just because you’re playing the same notes as the next musician doesn’t mean you’ll make that chord sound the same way the next musician does.

    For example, Jason White and Michael Bereal (from our advanced dvds) both do this well. They can take the same ole’ major chords we’ve been playing for years and make them sound like something we think we’ve never played before. And when you find out what they’re doing, you’re often times blown away because it’s so simple.

    The key is how you voice your chords and where you place them.

    Voicing + Placement = Uber Nice Musician :)

    So in that lesson I referred to above, all I did was take regular seventh chords and alter the order and number of notes I played.

    Step 1: I started with the regular root inversions.

    Example:
    C major 7: C + E + G + B

    Step 2: I took out the fifth interval.

    Example: The fifth interval in this chord is “G” (”G” is the fifth tone in the C major scale).
    C major 7: C + E + B

    Step 3: I chose to only play the root on my left hand bass.

    Example:
    C major 7: E + B on right /// C on left hand bass

    Step 4: I chose to double up on the “third” (doubling up means playing octaves).

    Example: The third interval in this chord is “E” (“E” is the third tone in the C major scale).
    E + B + E

    Step 5: Once I established my voicing (which is basically “3 + 7 + 3 over the root bass”), I used this same voicing all the way up the piano.

    Example:
    You already know the seventh chords that correspond to the major scale. The trick is this: Just slide over your fingers one note and that will give you the voicing for the next chord in the scale.

    C major 7 = C + E + G + B = new voicing (E + B + E on right / C on left)
    D minor 7 = D + F + A + C = new voicing (F + C + F on right / D on left)
    E minor 7 = E + G + B + D = new voicing (G + D + G on right / E on left)
    F major 7 = F + A + C + E = new voicing (A + E + A on right / F on left)
    G dom 7 = G + B + D + F = new voicing (B + F + B on right / G on left)
    A minor 7 = A + C + E + G = new voicing (C + G + C on right / A on left)
    B half-dim 7 = B + D + F + A = new voicing (D + A + D on right / B on left)
    C major 7 = C + E + G + B = new voicing (E + B + E on right / C on left)

    Note: What you see in the first group of notes is what the chord normally looks like in root position. Then you see our voicing in parentheses.

    You may be thinking… “wow, that seems too easy. I just move my fingers over and I can learn all these new voicings!”

    Well, it’s because these voicings all have the 3rd and 7th in them and quite frankly, that’s all you need in order to play a chord (along with the root, of course). The 5th doesn’t really tell you much about the chord because major, minor, and dominant chords all have perfect 5th intervals. What really matters in a chord is what the 3rd and 7th are doing.

    (Even when you’re trying to figure out what kind of chord you’re playing, the third and fifth should be able to tell you. Any extra notes may hint at it being an extended or altered chord but the 3rd and 7th will tell you what kind of underlying chord you’re playing, in most cases).

    So try making up your own voicings.

    Maybe you won’t use “3 + 7 + 3″ like I did. Maybe yours is the reverse: “7 + 3 + 7.” That sounds pretty good, too! And you can even take it all the way up the scale too because it has the 3rd and 7th and that’s all you need in order to form the seventh chords of a major scale.

    EXERCISE: Can you help me play the “3 + 7 + 3″ voicings of the seventh chords of other keys? I’ll start this exercise off in the key of C and I’ll even do an extra one in the key of F major. I’ll need 10 students to help me with the rest. Let’s do this!
    300pg course

    "Secrets To Playing Piano By Ear" 300pg Course With Bonus Ear Training Software

    This course is jam-packed with 300 pages of easy-to-understand instruction geared towards teaching you how to play by ear. Every chapter has been specifically designed to give you a solid foundation and understanding of what playing the piano by ear is all about. From the basics and fundamentals to scales, chords, progressions, harmony, accompaniment, rhythm, and improvisation, you'll get it all in this comprehensive program.

    If you want to take your skills to the next level in half the time, you owe it to yourself to to advantage of this incredible resource. Click here to learn more | Buy now

    Until next time —

    Related posts:

    1. Exploring Fancy Chords and Progressions!
    2. Hear and Play Jazz 101: Exploring Rhythm In Depth (Left Hand)
    3. Hear and Play Jazz 101: Exploring Improvisation In Depth + Secret Licks
    4. Hear and Play Jazz 101: Chord Voicings Step By Step
    5. Guitar Training Course 102: Different Voicings of C Major Chord 7 with 6 and 9
    6. Guitar Training Course 103: Very Nice Voicings Broken Down
    7. How to play smoothly using the power of inversions Part 2

    freevideolessonbannerjpg

    { 19 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Jermaine

    C major

    C major 7 (E + B + E on right / C on left)
    D minor 7 (F + C + F on right / D on left)
    E minor 7 (G + D + G on right / E on left)
    F major 7 (A + E + A on right / F on left)
    G dom 7 (B + F + B on right / G on left)
    A minor 7 (C + G + C on right / A on left)
    B half-dim 7 (D + A + D on right / B on left)
    C major 7 (E + B + E on right / C on left)

    ————–

    F major

    F major 7 (A + E + A on right / F on left)
    G minor 7 (Bb + F + Bb on right / G on left)
    A minor 7 (C + G + C on right / A on left)
    Bb major 7 (D + A + D on right / Bb on left)
    C dom 7 (E + Bb + E on right / C on left)
    D minor 7 (F + C + F on right / D on left)
    E half-dim 7 (G + D + G on right / E on left)
    F major 7 (A + E + A on right / F on left)

    REMEMBER: Just take the 3rd and 7th of the chord. Or, if it’s easier, move every scale tone over one night, keeping in mind which notes should be flat. Since F has one flat (i.e. – “Bb”), then you should always have Bb in your chords. If you have any “B’s,” for example, you’d be wrong because these voicings only use the notes of the scale. Remember that.

    Ok, who’s up for the challenge? I need 10 mo’

    Reply

    2 chawk

    Eb major

    Eb major7 – G+D+G right / Eb left
    F minor7 – Ab+Eb+Ab right / F left
    G minor7 – Bb+F+Bb right / G left
    Ab major7 – C+G+C right / Ab left
    Bb dom7 – D+Ab+D right / Bb left
    C minor7 – Eb+Bb+Eb right / C left
    D half dim- F+C+F right / D left
    Eb major – G+D+G right / Eb left

    Reply

    3 Jermaine

    @Chawk! THanks for your contribution. It looks good!

    Reply

    4 Jermaine

    Also…

    For anyone struggling with this… basically most of the right hand just plays fifths (E + B + E). This is called a power chord.

    If you know your fifths really well, then this should be easy. Just play fifths going up the scale. The ONLY place where you don’t play a power chord is on the dom7 chord (which coincidentally happens to be the fifth degree of the scale). This is the ONLY voicing that is a tritone (B + F + B).

    All others are simply fifth chords (aka – “power chords”)

    Let’s keep it going…

    Reply

    5 MS

    D Major

    D major7 = F#+C#+F# right/ D left
    E minor7 = G+D+G right/ E left
    F# minor7 = A+E+A right/ F# left
    G major7 = B+F#+B right/ G left
    A dom7 = C#+G+C# right/ A left
    B minor7 = D+A+D right/ B left
    C# half-dim7 = E+B+E right/ C# left
    D major7 = F#+C#+F# right/ D left

    MaryS

    Reply

    6 MS

    Bb Major

    Bb major7 = D+A+D on right/ Bb on left
    C min7 = Eb+Bb+Eb on right/ C on left
    D min7 = F+C+F on right/ D on left
    Eb major7 = G+D+G on right/ Eb on left
    F dom7 = A+Eb+A on right/ F on left
    G min7 = Bb+F+Bb on right/ G on left
    A half-dim7 = C+G+C on right/ A on left
    Bb major7 = D+A+D on right/ Bb on left

    Waiting to hear from other members.

    MaryS

    Reply

    7 Laketa

    E MAJOR
    E major 7 ( G# + D# + G# / E on left)
    F# minor 7( A + E + A / F# on left)
    G# minor 7( B + F# + B/ G# on left)
    A major 7( C# + G# + C# / A on left)
    B dom 7( D# + A + D# / B on left)
    C# minor 7( E + B + E / C# on left)
    D# half – dim 7(F# + C# + F# / D# on left)
    E major 7 (G# + D# + G# / E on left)

    Ab MAJOR

    Ab Major 7 ( C + G + C / Ab on left)
    Bb minor 7 ( Db + AB + Db / Bb on left)
    C minor 7 ( Eb + Bb + Eb / C on left)
    Db major 7 ( F + C + F / Db on left)
    Eb dom 7 ( G + Db + G / Eb on left)
    F minor 7 (Ab + Eb + Ab / F on left)
    G half-dim 7 ( Bb+ F + Bb / G on left)
    Ab Major 7 ( C + G + C / Ab on left)

    Reply

    8 Eresmas

    I’ll try B MAJOR

    B maj7 (D# + A# + D#/ B)
    C#min7 (E + B + E/ C#)
    D#min7 (F# + C# + F#/ D#)
    E maj7 (G# + D# + G#/ E)
    F#dom7 (A# + E + A#/ F#)
    G#min7 (B + F# + B/ G#)
    A#half-dim7 (C# + G# + C#/ A#)
    B maj7 (D# + A# + D#/ B)

    Phew!Typing the sharps can drive a man crazy! Laketa definitely isn’t daunted by them though. Bigups!
    Couldn’t respond in time coz i got too tired yesterday.

    Reply

    9 Jermaine

    Wow! You guys nailed this one!

    Reply

    10 Eresmas

    Ha ha! Super students for he Super Tutor, right guys?

    Reply

    11 Jermaine

    Lol thanks

    Reply

    12 MS

    Jermaine, in the B Major scale above is the Emaj7 chord correct?

    Reply

    13 MS

    laketa, what’s with your A MAJOR heading?

    Reply

    14 MS

    Where are the other members?

    Reply

    15 Jermaine

    @MS: You were right… I went ahead and made the changes for Laketa (header should have been Ab major rather than “A” major) and Eremas (should have been G# + D# + G# instead of G# + D + G#).

    Thanks!

    Reply

    16 Eresmas

    Oooooh!

    Reply

    17 DPT

    This was very helpful.

    Reply

    18 robert skyers

    C# MAJOR

    C#MAJOR7=(E# + B# + E#/C# LEFT
    D#MINOR7=(F# + C# + F#/D# LEFT
    E#MINOR7=(G# + D# + G#/E# LEFT
    F#MAJOR7=(A# + E# + A#/F# LEFT
    G#DORM7= (B# + FX + B#/G# LEFT BROTHERJERMAINE,I AM LATE,BUT STILL TELL ME
    A#MINOR7=(C# + G# + C#/A# LEFT WHAT YOU THINK!!
    B#HALF-DIM7(D# + A# +D#/B# LEFT THANKS,
    C#MAJOR7=(E# + B# +E#/C# LEFT

    Reply

    19 Stev

    Jermaine
    pls what’re half diminished chords

    Reply

    Leave a Comment

    Previous post:

    Next post: