• Week 3: Drop-2 Voicing Technique

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,General Music,Piano,Playing By Ear,Playing songs,Theory

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    Our focus in this lesson is on the drop-2 voicing technique.

    The drop-2 voicing technique is one of the several voicing techniques that every intermediate pianist can sophisticate his chords with.

    In gospel and jazz styles, the drop-2 voicing technique is used commonly to add variety to regular seventh and extended chords and that’s why we’re dedicating this third lesson in our 5-week voicing techniques program.

    So, if you invest the next 15 minutes or so in this blog, you’ll learn about the drop-2 voicing technique and how it can be applied in chord progressions.

    The Drop-2 Voicing Technique – Explained

    Before we go into studying the drop-2 voicing techniques, let’s refresh our minds on the concept of voicing.

    A Short Note On The Concept Of Voicing

    Voicing in music theory is concerned with the consideration of the notes of a chord as voices.

    The term voicing may not be familiar to you, however, I’m certain that you know what the term voice means.

    There are basically four voice-parts in music:

    Soprano which is the first voice

    Alto which is the second voice

    Tenor which is the third voice

    Bass which is the fourth voice

    The concept of voicing is concerned with the consideration of the tones of a chord as voices. For example, the notes of the C major seventh chord:

    …can be considered as voices:

    • B is the soprano (or first) voice
    • G is the alto (or second) voice
    • E is the tenor (or third) voice
    • C is the bass (or fourth) voice

    Beyond the consideration of the notes of a chord as voices, there are techniques used in the rearrangement of these voices and the drop-2 voicing technique is one of them.

    So, let’s go ahead and breakdown the drop-2 voicing technique.

    A Breakdown Of The Drop-2 Voicing Technique

    The drop-2 voicing technique is a technique that rearranges a chord by the octave transposition of the second voice in the chord.

    In the C major seventh chord where:

    • B is the soprano (or first) voice
    • G is the alto (or second) voice
    • E is the tenor (or third) voice
    • C is the bass (or fourth) voice

    The transposition of the second voice (which is G):

    …to a lower octave (to G):

    …produces the drop-2 voicing of the C major seventh chord:

    “Pay Attention To This…”

    The octave transposition of the second voice in a chord (to a lower octave) produces its drop-2 voicing. For example, the octave transposition of the the second voice in the E minor seventh chord:

    …which is B:

    …to its lower octave (which is B):

    …produces the drop-2 voicing of the E minor seventh chord:

    Attention: The second voice of the chord that is transposed is to be played with the left hand.

    For example, in the drop-2 voicing of the E minor seventh chord:

    …the B:

    …is to be played with the left hand while the remainder notes (E-G-D):

    …are to be played with the right hand.

    Application Of The Drop-2 Voicing Technique In Chord Progressions

    To take you further in this lesson, we’ll be learning how chord progressions can be approached using the drop-2 voicing technique.

    The 2-5-1 Chord Progression Using The Drop-2 Voicing Technique

    The 2-5-1 chord progression consists of a root movement from the second tone of the scale, to the fifth tone of the scale, then to the first tone of the scale.

    In the key of C major:

    …a 2-5-1 root movement progresses from D (which is the second tone):

    …to G (which is the fifth tone):

    …to C (which is the first tone):

    “Then The Chords…”

    Over D:

    …is the D minor seventh chord:

    Over G:

    …is the G dominant seventh chord:

    …and over C:

    …is the C major seventh chord:

    The second voice in the D minor seventh chord:

    …is A:

    The octave transposition of A:

    …to A:

    …produces the drop-2 voicing of the D minor seventh chord:

    The second voice in the G dominant seventh chord (played in second inversion):

    …is G:

    The octave transposition of G:

    …to G:

    …produces the drop-2 voicing of the G dominant seventh chord:

    The second voice in the C major seventh chord:

    …is G:

    The octave transposition of G:

    …to G:

    …produces the drop-2 voicing of the C major seventh chord:

    “Altogether, Here’s The 2-5-1 Chord Progression…”

    The D minor seventh chord:

    The G dominant seventh chord:

    The C major seventh chord:

    Attention: It is recommended that you practice this 2-5-1 chord progression shortly before you proceed.

    The 7-3-6 Chord Progression Using The Drop-2 Voicing Technique

    The 7-3-6 chord progression consists of a root movement from the seventh tone of the scale, to the third tone of the scale, then to the sixth tone of the scale.

    In the key of C major:

    …a 7-3-6 root movement progresses from B (which is the seventh tone):

    …to E (which is the third tone):

    …to A (which is the sixth tone):

    “Then The Chords…”

    Over B:

    …is the B half-diminished seventh chord:

    Over E:

    …is the E dominant seventh chord:

    …and over A:

    …is the A minor seventh chord:

    The second voice in the B half-diminished seventh chord:

    …is F:

    The octave transposition of F:

    …to F:

    …produces the drop-2 voicing of the B half-diminished seventh chord:

    The second voice in the E dominant seventh chord (played in second inversion):

    …is E:

    The octave transposition of E:

    …to E:

    …produces the drop-2 voicing of the E dominant seventh chord:

    The second voice in the A minor seventh chord:

    …is E:

    The octave transposition of E:

    …to E:

    …produces the drop-2 voicing of the A minor seventh chord:

    “Altogether, Here’s The 7-3-6 Chord Progression…”

    The B half-diminished seventh chord:

    The E dominant seventh chord:

    The A minor seventh chord:

    Attention: It is recommended that you practice this 7-3-6 chord progression shortly before you proceed.

    Application Of The Drop-2 Voicing Technique In Songs

    Let’s go ahead and apply the drop-2 voicing technique in two gospel songs, so you can see how easy it is to apply drop-2 voicings.

    Song #1 – Anointing Fall On Me – “In The Key Of Db”

    Anoin (F minor seventh):

    …ting (Bb minor seventh):

    …fall on (Eb minor seventh):

    …me (Ab dominant seventh):

    Anoin (F minor seventh):

    …ting (Bb minor seventh):

    …fall on (Eb minor seventh):

    …me. Let the (Ab dominant seventh):

    …power, Of the:

    …Holy Ghost:

    …Fall on:

    …me:

    Anoin (F minor seventh):

    …ting (Bb minor seventh):

    …fall (Eb minor seventh):

    …on (Ab dominant seventh):

    …me Db major seventh):

    Song #2 – Thank You Lord – “In The Key Of Ab”

    Thank (Ab major seventh):

    …You (C dominant seventh):

    …Lord (F minor seventh):

    I just (C dominant seventh):

    …wanna (F dominant seventh):

    Thank (Bb minor seventh):

    …You (Ab major seventh):

    …Lord (Ebadd9):

    Thank (Ab major seventh):

    …You (C dominant seventh):

    …Lord (F minor seventh):

    I just wanna (Bb minor seventh):

    Thank (Ab major seventh):

    …You (Ebadd9):

    …Lord (Ab major seventh):

    Final Words

    Using the drop-2 voicing technique and also learning how it can be applied in chord progressions and songs, you can give your accompaniment an entirely different outlook.

    We’ll stop here for now and continue in the next lesson with another voicing technique.

    All the best!

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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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