• The Application Of Upper-structure Voicings In A 2-5-1 Chord Progression

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

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    Our focus in this lesson is on the application of upper-structure voicings in a 2-5-1 chord progression.

    Upper structure voicings are mostly used by advanced players or intermediate players who are interested in playing full sounding chords — using both hands.

    Whether you’re an intermediate or an advanced player reading this lesson, there’s something for you because we’ll be exploring how the 2-5-1 chord progression (which is one of the most important chord progressions) can be played using upper-structure voicings.

    Let’s get started by doing a review on upper-structure voicings.

    An Explanation On What Upper-structure Voicings Are

    Voicing is the consideration of the notes of a chord as voices – soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. Due to this consideration, the notes of a chord are rearranged using what is known to music scholars as voicing techniques.

    In the concept of voicing, there are tons of voicing techniques that are used to rearrange the notes of a chord and the upper-structure voicing technique is one of them.

    The upper-structure voicing technique is used in the rearrangement of extended chords like (ninths, elevenths, and thirteenths), in such a way that a triad is played as the upper part.

    It is the the triad in the upper part that is referred to as the upper structure.

    “Take A Look At This One…”

    The notes of the C dominant thirteenth [sharp eleventh] chord:

    …can be rearranged in such a way that we’ll have a D major triad (played in first inversion):

    …over a C dominant seventh chord:

    …to produce the upper-structure voicing of the C dominant thirteenth [sharp eleventh] chord:

    So, upper-structure voicings are produced by the rearrangement of the notes of a given extended chord in such a way that a triad is played as its upper part.

    A Short Note On The 2-5-1 Chord Progression

    There are eight scale degrees in every key. For example, in the key of Db major:

    Db is the first degree

    Eb is the second degree

    F is the third degree

    Gb is the fourth degree

    Ab is the fifth degree

    Bb is the sixth degree

    C is the seventh degree

    Db is the eighth degree

    Chords formed on any scale-degree are known as scale -degree chords. In the key of Db major:

    …the movement of scale degree chords from the second degree (chord 2):

    …to the fifth degree (chord 5):

    …then to the first degree (chord 1):

    …produces the 2-5-1 chord progression.

    Following the same procedure, the 2-5-1 chord progression can be played in any key by progressing from chord 2 to chord 5, then to chord 1.

    Now that we’ve covered the 2-5-1 chord progression, let’s go ahead and explore some 2-5-1 chord progressions using upper-structure voicings.

    The 2-5-1 Chord Progression Using Upper-structure Voicings

    In the key of C major:

    …a 2-5-1 chord progression can be outlined using a root progression from D (which is the 2nd scale tone):

    …to G (which is the 5th scale tone):

    …then to C (which is the 1st scale tone):

    All 2-5-1 examples would be based in the key of C. Feel free to transpose to any key of your choice.

    Example #1

    Chord 2:

    …the D minor ninth chord, with the A minor triad (as the upper-structure triad):

    Chord 5:

    …the G dominant seventh [sharp ninth, sharp fifth] chord, with the Eb major triad (as the upper-structure triad):

    Chord 1:

    …the C major ninth chord, with the E minor triad (as the upper-structure triad):

    Example #2

    Chord 2:

    …the D dominant thirteenth [sharp eleventh] chord, with the E major triad (as the upper-structure triad):

    Chord 5:

    …the G dominant thirteenth [flat ninth] chord, with the E major triad (as the upper-structure triad):

    Chord 1:

    …the C dominant seventh [add sixth] chord, with the A minor triad (as the upper-structure triad):

    Example #3

    Chord 2:

    …the D dominant ninth chord, with the A minor triad (as the upper-structure triad):

    Chord 5:

    …the G dominant thirteenth [flat ninth] chord, with the E major triad (as the upper-structure triad):

    Chord 1:

    …the C major ninth chord, with the G major triad (as the upper-structure triad):

    Final Words

    Attention: Most of the chords used in the 2-5-1 chord progressions are chromatic chords. They are called chromatic chords – not just because they are colorful, but because they are consisted of notes that are foreign to the prevalent key (which is C major in this case.)

    Feel free to transpose these 2-5-1 chord progressions to other keys and see you in the lesson.

    Cheers!

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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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    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Zino

    good

    Reply

    2 Woode

    please am in need of gospel urban chords

    Reply

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