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#1149464 - 02/23/08 05:02 AM Mapping voice leading?
ZeroZero Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 263
Loc: UK
Hi all, been away from the site for a while, doing workouts on my piano. For those that dont know, I already play other instruments inc jazz sax. I am giving myself a year intensive on the piano, from scratch - seventh month in.


My aim is to use the piano for compositional purposes. I also enjoy just exploring changes and composition on the hoof.
Eventually I want to explore unusual changes, textures, but not not not yet. For now its strictly simplicity is more. I dont want to focus on jazz changes. My eventual purpose is to write scores and produce midi stuff in my studio - filmic genre. Bernard Hermann, Prokofifiev. Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky I love them all. I use plenty of orchestral packages and synths.
Previously I have used score packages to write, but have found this process often delivers woodeness. I need to learn more keyboard skills.

Present practice regime

At present I am only using basic changes. What I have been doing is running major, minors, pentatonic, chromatic, whole tone etc, scales and chords though the keys.
I have been focussing on the five finger position and running patterns, patterns and more patterns through triads using modes. Here is an example of what I mean.
Take a major run up to the fifth in the RH and then come down in thirds. Put a suitable triadic pattern in the left hand. Run this through the modes, up and down through 12 keys.
Use this pattern in 1 4 5, and 2 5,1 then 6,2,5,1, adjusting the pattern for cadence at endings. Run the pattern around chromatically, whole tone steps, minor thirds etc. Use different timings phrasings, and dynamics as you go. Use tension and release, Chop the patterns around - look for simplicity.

Doing this sort of thing has helped me get reasonably secure and flexible in the five finger/triadic thing. I also run different scale cadences around in the right hand and hope to add this kind of thinking into the changes at some stage.

I now need to explore voicings and spread out across trhe keyboard more - in particular voice leading.

My Question:
Is there some schematic way of thinking about voice leading that can help me map an approach in my head? I have lots of limitations here as I have been a melodist (one note at a time) all my life.
I have heard of using thinking of 7ths and 3rds as a kind of building block for thinking. I dont really understand this, when I use only thirds or sevenths, without roots, it doesn't seem to support the melody structure thing to my ears, but I am pretty sure I dont really understand this yet.
Its all about left hand development for me. My left hand is comparitively dead at present as I have not come into the right way of thinking of it. My sax knowledge means the right had is very free. Hmmm?
I need to think more about the symbiosis of the hands. Need simple exercises that will help me develop my thinking.

Any insights please... sorry for the rambling , but I am sure the experienced painist will know what I am talking of and where my cul de sacs are.

Thanks for reading...


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#1149465 - 02/23/08 08:54 PM Re: Mapping voice leading?
Kreisler Offline

Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13827
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Have you been through all your basic ii-V-I voicings? Particularly the 379, 735, and 736 voicings?
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


#1149466 - 02/24/08 04:58 AM Re: Mapping voice leading?
ZeroZero Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 263
Loc: UK
No K I have not, don't really understand the concept of a voicing - except in root position, first and second inversions etc
Knowing how to move with economy between voicings is what I am seeking - some kind of over arching theory?

Please explain what you mean, grateful for the reply




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