• Advanced Harmony: Expanding The So What Chord Voicing

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    If you’re interested in  expanding the So What chord voicing, you’re on the right page.

    As we expand the harmony of the So What chord, you’ll have a few more quartal voicings added to your chordal arsenal and most importantly, you’ll be able to harmonize other melody notes that the main So What chord can’t harmonize.

    If you’re just coming across the term “so what” for the first time, kindly check out this lesson on the So What chord voicing of the minor eleventh chord.

    Expanding The Harmony Of The So What Chord Voicing

    We can derive a few more nice-sounding fourth voicings if we expand the harmony of the So What chord voicing and that’s what we’ll be doing in this segment.

    The main So What voicing is basically a minor eleventh chord and when played on D:

    …that’s the So What voicing of the D minor eleventh chord:

    Now, let’s go ahead and explore four other options.

    Voicing #1

    The very first voicing on my list starts on the third tone of the D minor eleventh chord:

    …and that’s F:

    Here you are with the first expansion of the So What chord voicing consisting of F, A, D, G, and C:

    Sounds good, right? With the C melody note on top:

    Voicing #2

    The next voicing we’re learning in this lesson has a D:

    …as its highest-sounding or melody note and it starts from G:

    …which is the eleventh tone (an extension) of the D minor eleventh chord:

    Plunk down the following notes on the keyboard and tell me how it sounds:

    G:

    C:

    F:

    A:

    D:

    Altogether, that’s another voicing (consisting of G, C, F, A, and D):

    …from the expansion of the So What chord voicing.

    Voicing #3

    The third voicing derived from the expansion of the So What chord consist of A, D, G, C, and F:

    Starting on the third tone of the D minor eleventh chord:

    …which is A:

    …this voicing has F:

    …as its melody note.

    So, anytime you want to play a So What sounding kind of chord and the melody note is F, you might just have to try this particular voicing right here, the “A-D-G-C-F” voicing:

    Voicing #4

    The last (but not the least) voicing for today is the “C-F-A-D-G” voicing:

    I love this voicing because the first two tones in the voicing (which are C and F):

    …are the third and seventh tones (aka – “skeleton”) of the D minor eleventh chord:

    “That’s Not All…”

    The melody note of this particular voicing is G:

    …and that makes it suitable for situations where G is the melody note.

    Final Words

    The primary reason why we’re expanding the harmony of the So What chord voicing is because of melody notes. The main So What chord voicing:

    …has A:

    …as the highest-sounding note and there are occasions where the melody note may be C:

    …and you’ll have to switch to voicing #1:

    …or G:

    …where you’ll need voicing #4 and that’s why you need to expand the harmony of the So What chord voicing.

    Very special thanks to my mentor and teacher, Jermaine Griggs, for the opportunity to share these helpful insights with you. I’m looking out for your contributions, questions, and suggestions in the comment section.

    Thanks for reading and see you in the next 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 the head of education, music consultant, and chief content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with hundreds of thousands of musicians across the world.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.




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