• Choral Perspectives To The A&B Voicings Of Major Seventh And Minor Seventh Chords

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

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    In today’s lesson, we’ll be going deeper in our study of the A&B voicings of major seventh and minor seventh chords.

    Major seventh and minor seventh chords account for five out of the seven scale degree chords in the major key. If you do the math, that’s 71% of the scale degree chords in the major key.

    In addition to that, statistics has it that 40% of the seventh chords that are commonly played in gospel and jazz styles are major and minor seventh chords.

    It’s because of the importance of major seventh and minor seventh chords in harmony that we’re dedicating this lesson to showing you another perspective on how they can be voiced using the A&B voicing technique.

    A Quick Review On Seventh Chords

    Any chord that encompasses seven degrees of a given scale can be classified as a seventh chord. In this segment, we’ll be reviewing two important seventh chords:

    The Major Seventh Chord

    The major seventh chord is a product of the relationship between the first, third, fifth, and seventh tones of the natural major scale. Using the D natural major scale:

    …the D major seventh chord can be formed by playing the first, third, fifth and seventh tones of the D natural major scale, which are D, F#, A and C#:

    “Check Out The Major Seventh Chord In All Twelve Keys…”

    C major seventh chord:

    Db major seventh chord:

    D major seventh chord:

    Eb major seventh chord:

    E major seventh chord:

    F major seventh chord:

    Gb major seventh chord:

    G major seventh chord:

    Ab major seventh chord:

    A major seventh chord:

    Bb major seventh chord:

    B major seventh chord:

    The Minor Seventh Chord

    Playing the first, third, fifth and seventh tones of the natural minor scale produces the minor seventh chord. The first, third, fifth and seventh tones of the E natural minor scale:

    …which are E, G, B and D:

    …when played or heard together, are considered as the E minor seventh chord.

    “Here Are Minor Seventh Chord In All Twelve Keys…”

    C minor seventh chord:

    C# minor seventh chord:

    D minor seventh chord:

    Eb minor seventh chord:

    E minor seventh chord:

    F minor seventh chord:

    F# minor seventh chord:

    G minor seventh chord:

    G# minor seventh chord:

    A minor seventh chord:

    Bb minor seventh chord:

    B minor seventh chord:

    A Note On The A&B Voicing Technique

    Voicing is the consideration of the notes of a chord as voices or voice parts – soprano, alto, tenor and bass.

    This consideration leads to the rearrangement of the notes of a chord using voicing techniques which include but is not limited to:

    • The “part-over-root” voicing technique
    • The rootless voicing technique
    • The upper-structure voicing technique
    • The polychord voicing technique

    In today’s lesson, we’re focusing on the A&B voicing technique for major seventh and minor seventh chords.

    In this voicing technique, the focus is on the order of the third and seventh tones. The A voicing of a chord is produced when the third tone is placed before the seventh tone in a chord, while the B voicing of a chord is produced when the seventh tone is placed before the third tone in a chord.

    The “A Voicing” Concept

    Then most important tones in a chord are its third and seventh tones (aka – “skeleton”). In the A voicing concept, the third is placed before the seventh tone. Consequently, all root position seventh chords can be said to be played in A voicing.

    In the C major seventh chord:

    …the third (E):

    …is placed before the seventh tones (B):

    Therefore, this voicing of the C major seventh chord:

    …played in such a way that the third is placed before the seventh is an A voicing.

    The “B Voicing” Concept

    In the B voicing concept, the seventh tone is placed before the third tone in the chord. For example, the C major seventh chord:

    …can be rearranged in such a way that the seventh tone (B):

    …is placed before the third tone (E):

    “Check It Out…”

    In the B voicing of the C major seventh chord:

    …B (the seventh tone):

    …is placed before the E (the third tone):

    Let’s end this lesson by exploring the A&B voicing technique from a choral perspective.

    Choral Perspectives To The A&B Voicing Technique

    There are four known voice parts – soprano, alto, tenor, and bass voices.

    Soprano is the first voice

    Alto is the second voice

    Tenor is the third voice

    Bass is the fourth voice

    The soprano and alto voice parts are usually sung by female singers while the tenor and bass voices are usually sung by male singers.

    The notes of a seventh chord can be considered as four voice parts. For example, the notes of the C major seventh chord:

    …can be considered as voice parts.

    B:

    …is the soprano voice.

    G:

    …is the alto voice.

    E:

    …is the tenor voice.

    C:

    …is the bass voice.

    The same thing is applicable to minor seventh chords. The notes of the E minor seventh chord:

    …can also be consider as voice parts.

    D:

    …is the soprano voice.

    B:

    …is the alto voice.

    G:

    …is the tenor voice.

    E:

    …is the bass voice.

    How To Derive The B Voicing Of A Seventh Chord

    Given the A voicing of a seventh chord, its B voicing can be derived in two easy steps

    Step 1 – The determination of the bass and tenor voices.

    Step 2 – The octave transposition of the bass and tenor voices .

    “Check It Out…”

    The A&B Voicings Of The Major Seventh Chord

    Let’s derive the B voicing of major seventh chords in a few keys.

    Exercise #1 – B Voicing Of The C Major Seventh Chord

    The octave transposition of the bass and tenor voices in the C major seventh chord:

    …(which are C and E):

    …to C-E:

    …produces the B voicing of the C major seventh chord:

    Exercise #2 – B Voicing Of The Eb Major Seventh Chord

    The octave transposition of the bass and tenor voices in the Eb major seventh chord:

    …(which are Eb and G):

    …to Eb-G:

    …produces the B voicing of the Eb major seventh chord:

    Exercise #3 – B Voicing Of The Gb Major Seventh Chord

    The octave transposition of the bass and tenor voices in the Gb major seventh chord:

    …(which are Gb and Bb):

    …to Gb-Bb:

    …produces the B voicing of the Gb major seventh chord:

    Following the same procedure, anyone can derive the B voicing of major seventh chords in all twelve notes.

    The A&B Voicings Of The Minor Seventh Chord

    Let’s also derive the B voicing of minor seventh chords.

    Exercise #4 – B Voicing Of The G# Minor Seventh Chord

    The octave transposition of the bass and tenor voices in the G# minor seventh chord:

    …(which are G# and B):

    …to G#-B:

    …produces the B voicing of the G# minor seventh chord:

    Exercise #5 – B Voicing Of The D Minor Seventh Chord

    The octave transposition of the bass and tenor voices in the D minor seventh chord:

    …(which are D and F):

    …to D-F:

    …produces the B voicing of the D minor seventh chord:

    Final Words

    Congratulations! You’ve just learned another exciting perspective to the A&B voicing of major seventh and minor seventh chords.

    It’s important for you to go beyond the five examples we just covered, and learn how to derive the B voicing of major and minor seventh chords by the octave transposition of the bass and tenor voices.

    Thanks for your time and I’ll see you in another 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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    { 3 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Joe

    Great lesson Dr. but I’m confused by the G flat minor 7th example. Will you clarify it please?

    Reply

    2 Joe

    Never mind i understand now, i was confusing it with the E major 9th B voicing.

    Reply

    3 divine

    Great lesson..please can you can help with the left hand voicings for the major seventh chords..am really confused..I’ll really appreciate.

    Reply

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