• The Drop-2 Voicing: Unleashing The Power Of The Alto Voice

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,General Music,Gospel music,Jazz music,Piano,Theory

    Post image for The Drop-2 Voicing: Unleashing The Power Of The Alto Voice

    In this lesson, we’ll be learning about the drop-2 voicing technique.

    Our approach to the drop-2 voicing in this lesson will open your eyes in a unique way and you’ll also learn how you can easily voice a chord by finding the alto voice in the chord and transposing it

    If all this doesn’t make sense to you yet, don’t worry because I’ll be taking you by the hand and showing you step-by-step, leaving no stone unturned.

    Finding The Alto Voice In A Chord

    A chord can be defined as an aggregate of three or more related notes (agreeable or not) which may be played or heard together. So, a chord is basically a product of notes and can be broken down into notes.

    The notes of a chord, can be considered as voices or voice parts: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass.

    Soprano is the first voice.

    Alto is the second voice.

    Tenor is the third voice.

    Bass is the fourth voice.

    So, the alto voice is the second voice part or voice in a chord. In the C major seventh chord:

    …there are four notes and they are considered as four voices:

    B is the soprano (first voice)

    G is the alto (second voice)

    E is the tenor (third voice)

    C is the bass (fourth voice)

    So, the voices are considered from the highest in pitch to the lowest in pitch. The B note:

    …which is the highest-sounding note in the C major seventh chord:

    …is the first voice, and every other voice follows; the second voice (which is G):

    …the third voice (which is E):

    …and the fourth voice (which is C):

    How To Find The Alto Voice

    The alto voice is the second to the highest-sounding note in any given chord. For example, in the E major seventh chord:

    …where the highest-sounding note is D#:

    …the alto voice is B:

    …which is the second voice.

    So, at sight, you can be able to determine the alto voice in a chord by identifying the second to the highest-sounding note in the chord.

    Introduction To The Drop-2 Voicing Technique

    In our consideration of the notes of a chord as voices, we are primarily involved with the concept of voicing. Voicing goes beyond the consideration of notes as voices, into the rearrangement of these notes using rearrangement techniques known as voicing techniques.

    The drop-2 voicing technique is one of the voicing techniques that is used in a variety of music styles like jazz, and gospel music.

    “So, What Is The Drop-2 Voicing Technique?”

    In the drop-2 voicing technique, a chord is rearranged by the octave transposition of its alto voice. Given the C major seventh chord:

    …its drop-2 voicing can be derived by the octave transposition of the alto voice.

    “Here’s How It Works…”

    The alto voice in the C major seventh chord:

    …is G:

    …and an octave transposition of the alto voice from its position (G):

    …to a lower octave ( of G):

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

    The drop-2 voicing of any seventh chord or triad can be formed following the same procedure. For example, the alto voice of the D major triad:

    …is F#:

    …and this is because the second to the highest-sounding note is F#. The octave transposition of F#:

    …to a lower F#:

    …produces the drop-2 voicing of the D major triad:

    The Application Of The Drop-2 Voicing Technique In Inverted Chords

    When a chord is inverted, the drop-2 voicing technique is still applicable. Pursuant to the guideline given, the second to the highest-sounding note in the chord (which is the alto voice) is to be transposed to a lower octave.

    In the first inversion of the C major seventh chord:

    …the alto voice is B:

    The octave transposition of B:

    …to a lower B:

    …produces the drop-2 voicing of the first inversion of the C major triad:

    In the second inversion of the C major seventh chord:

    …the alto voice is C:

    The octave transposition of C:

    …to a lower C:

    …produces the drop-2 voicing of the second inversion of the C major triad:

    Scale-Tone Seventh Chords Using The Drop-2 Voicing Technique

    Check out a cross section of seventh chords in the key of C major played using the drop-2 voicing technique:

    1-chord:

    2-chord:

    3-chord:

    4-chord:

    5-chord:

    6-chord:

    7-chord:

    Final Words

    You can take advantage of the power of the alto voice to rearrange your chords using the drop-2 voicing technique. Endeavor to explore the drop-2 voicings of various classes of chords in other keys as well.

    See you in the next lesson.

    The following two tabs change content below.
    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.

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




    songtutor600x314jpg



    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 Peter

    I’ve been looking for a material on how to voice (chords) parts on the piano to accompany a singer for harmony and I finally found this.
    I would like it very much if this is extended for other voice parts (tenor and soprano)
    God bless

    Reply

    Leave a Comment

    Previous post:

    Next post: