How to Play Left Hand Voicings in Jazz (Piano)

In a jazz band, you want to be able to play nice sounding voicings in your left hand that complement the rest of the band, while playing a melody/solo in your right. This process is typically called "drop-root voicing."

Steps

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    First, play the chord tones of a chord- say, C Major seventh.
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    Now, extend this chord by "dropping", or omitting, the root and instead playing the ninth, or major second.
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    Play it where it sounds best. This is often closest to middle C, as it doesn't sound muddy or indistinct.
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    Try this with all the common chords. For example, dominant sevenths and minor sevenths.
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    You don't want the chord to sound muddy. Therefore, try many inversions of the chords, and try to stay as close to middle C as possible.
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    Try to adopt muscle memory for these chords. Play them so much that you respond instantaneously to any changes put in front of you!

Tips

  • When playing a C Major, for example, the notes should be E, G, A/B, D.
  • When playing alone, all this work often doesn't appear to amount to anything, as the chords seem sparse and empty. However, when playing with a band you will notice the difference!

Warnings

  • This will take a lot of time to master- however, don't give up.

Article Info

Categories: Music Techniques | Piano and Keyboard