Jazz Piano Voicings Pdf
Smooth Voice Leading Like A Pro
When it comes to playing certain jazz piano voicings, we want to give fair consideration to how and when to utilize these voicings. In addition, as you will see in this video demonstration, in an effort to maintain nice, smooth voice leading, it is something preferred to play these voicings in conjunction with chords that are more of the “plain” variety (chords not necessarily thought of as jazz piano voicings). You see, it’s important to realize where the priority is at any given time. Let’s say that you are playing left hand chords/voicings over an eight bar section of a tune. When choosing which chord structures will be played with the left hand, what would you consider to be more relevant:
Playing fancy jazz piano voicings just for the sake of “sounding jazzy” or playing structures that are conducive to a nice smooth, coherent sound?
Well, we can achieve some of both by interspersing voicings with regular “textbook-type” chords.
In this excerpt of a video presentation that is available which focuses on Harold Arlen’s Paper Moon, the priority was to to maintain smooth voice leading from one left hand chord or voicing to another. As you will see, mixing it up between voicings and basic chords makes this very easy to do:
The chord progression here is:
I – #Idim7 – IImin7 – V7 – IImin7 – V7 –
I6/9 – I7 – IV6 – #IVdim7- V13 – I6
Jazz Piano Voicings PDF
You can access a free chord voicing chart which illustrates each left hand chord structure as it is being played in the video in the exact sequence that it occurs here
You will notice that minimal hand movement is necessary in order to play through this chord progression as demonstrated, which naturally occurs when utilizing smooth voice leading much as it is easier for a vocalist to progress from one note to another that is close by than it is to make huge leaps.
Keep in mind that musicality takes precedence over the actual content of what is being played at a given time. Naturally, learning great sounding jazz piano voicings is fun and rewarding for obvious reasons. That said, it is not necessary to know a lot in order to sound “pro” any more than it is necessary to have a huge English vocabulary in order to verbally present an idea in an effective manner. As a matter of fact, as ProProach members hear time and time again, often is the case where less is more. This should serve as encouragement to the beginner who is just starting to build a chord voicing “vocabulary.” Concepts such as smooth voice leading and dynamics play important roles as well when it comes to a musician expressing himself or herself effectively.