Chord Voicings: Their Flexibility

Jazz Piano ChordsFrom the very first time I learned what a voicing was (I still remember where I was and the context of the situation in detail), my musical world had more dimension. You see, then I had reached a point where I thought I knew pretty much all about chords. Were my eyes (and ears) ever opened!

Can I share one of the things that makes this true for me?

Learning one voicing and being able to incorporate it in the context of a tune offers a certain amount of satisfaction. That said, I quickly discovered that when I learned one particular voicing, I was only “acquainted” with it. I didn’t really KNOW it. I mean, it’s the brain’s tendency to grab a certain amount of information and say, “Okay, I got that.” But, with a voicing, becoming acquainted with it is only a beginning. It’s kind of like meeting a person for the first time. The acquaintance is little compared to the understanding of that individual once you are able to meet and speak with them in different contexts.

For example, that voicing we focused on in Lesson #1 of ProProach obviously is a nice way to voice a Cmaj9 chord. However, in the right context, it might be a choice for voicing an Amin11. But it doesn’t stop there. Actually, I created a separate┬ávideo session that focuses on this voicing. The lesson serves as a great example of how you can look at a chord voicing structure from different angles and really get to know it (it’s entitled Cocktail Piano Secrets #1 in case you’d like to explore it). Familiarizing yourself with that lesson can really add some dimension to your cocktail piano playing.

I want to make sure that you don’t fall into a trap, however. While you become more and more appreciative of learning a new voicing, don’t feel as though you need to learn everything about it before learning a new one. You see, once you step away from that chord structure and go back to it, you will see it in a different light. This is a reason why so many ProProach members have reported that their greatest rewards were attained as they took themselves through the lessons a second time, a third time, etc. Personally, I encourage one to invest a week or so with each of those lessons, looking for ways to use the voicing and incorporate it in the context of tunes, transposing it to others keys, and even using it to create piano fills as we do in that session mentioned above.

As I reiterate in ProProach time and time again:

Appreciate where you’re at and build upon that!