Jazz School: Chord Voicings: Major 7 Left Hand Shell


A sparse, light, open texture is achieved by simply playing the root and seventh of the chord in your left hand…

Called a shell voicing, this approach provides lots of space and freedom for your right hand to play the melody or improvise without being hamstrung by any particular voicing…



Using your ears and knowledge of scales and chord structure, “transpose” this voicing to all spellings in three musically-useful patterns:

  1. Chromatically Ascending: C > Db > D > Eb > E > F > Gb > G > Ab > A > Bb > B > C.
  2. Chromatically Descending: C > B > Bb > A > Ab > G > Gb > F > E > Eb > D > Db > C.
  3. Cycle of Dominants: C > F > Bb > Eb > Ab > Db > Gb > B > E > A > D > G > C.

Doing so will develop an enormous chord vocabulary that you will know by eye, ear, arm, hand, finger, brain, and heart… laying a rock solid foundation for fluent improvisation.

learn more… Jazz Chords: Major 7 “Triad Over Root”