Jazz School: Chord Voicings: Minor 7, add 9

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A standard way to get a jazzier sound is to add “color tones” to the basic seventh chord. A commonly-used color tone is the “9” (or “2” if you like)…

It is customary to drop the most expendable note “1” from the right hand and replace it with the 9 as follows…

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A logical and musical next step is to invert the right hand, an important skill that serves at least two purposes:

  • In order to place the notes in a pleasing register (not too low where it can sound muddy and not too high where it can sound thin).
  • In order to smoothly connect with neighboring chords by voice-leading (lots more on this is subsequent lessons on Jazz chord progressions).
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Homework

Use your ears and knowledge of scales and chord structure to “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 helps to develop an enormous chord vocabulary, one that you will know intimately in many ways: by brain, by eye, by ear, by finger, by body, and by heart… and builds a solid foundation for fluent improvisation.

learn more… Jazz Chords: Minor 7 “Definitive Tones over Perfect 5th”

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