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Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Piano Voicings III: Two-Hand Shells

Moving on from the basic left hand voicings are the basic two hand shells. These voicings, aside from being a good starting point for pianists to start comping in an ensemble, also are a good way to learn about jazz voice leading. Virtually %90 of the harmony in standard tunes employs an ascending root motion in 4ths. When this occurs there is a voice exchange: 7-3, 3-7, 5-9, 9-5.  Some substitutions can occur as in dominant chords when the 5th is replaced by the 13. Also extensions can be raised or lowered in certain instances as well. These shell voicings will help any musician gain a better understanding of this basic voice leading and the sounds of the altered extensions in the II-V-I cadence. I've included an excersise that I give my students where I provide the top not of the voicing and they need to complete the voicing.

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