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#1374473 - 02/15/10 08:43 AM Learning 2-5-1s
flat13sharp11 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/23/09
Posts: 117
Loc: Lancashire, UK
I have started private jazz piano lessons and have been working hard these last few weeks for my next lesson in March.

My question is in regards to learning all of the 2-5-1s, I am starting to recognise the sounds of say a D-7 and G7 and Cmaj7. And if a note is not quite right- I can tell.

It's not so much knowing the notes of the chord which I know- it's the voice leading. I have 4 different seventh voicings of 2-5-1s to learn, in the first example on D-7, I will voice it as follows:

LH: R and 5
RH: 3 and 7

then the G7 will be:

LH: R and 3
RH: 7 and 5

etc

I'm also learning my major/minor and dom 9th chords and minor eleventh chords and then apply this to a 2-5-1- e.g E-11, A9 and D major 9.

Finally I'm also learning my dominant 11 and 13 chords.

Theres also my Minor 2-5-1's to learn, but without the extensions, just the 7ths for now.

The problem is that at the moment I am quite slow at learning these voicings, will this take months before it starts to flow easier? I know I probably am expecting a lot of myself, but I want to show my teacher that I am putting the work in.
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#1374513 - 02/15/10 09:31 AM Re: Learning 2-5-1s [Re: flat13sharp11]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2991
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
[quote]The problem is that at the moment I am quite slow at learning these voicings, will this take months before it starts to flow easier? I know I probably am expecting a lot of myself, but I want to show my teacher that I am putting the work in.[\quote]

I think it will take years. Over time, you will choose voicings that you like best and that will start defining your own sound. Surely you can tell Bill Evans apart from McCoy Tyner. That's because they have really chosen sounds that they like, and refined them over time to achieve total mastery of their sound.

The thing that's probably most important is doing what you're doing: hearing the sounds.
One way to go about it is to play the chords very slowly, let them ring a long time. Say out loud the name of the chord as you let it ring.
At the same time, watch those fingers, then close your eyes and continue seeing the fingers.

You can go through a fair amount of voicings and progressions this way in a short amount of time and really start seeing the progress as far as recognizing chords, and using them.

There is one more thing involved to get those chords in your vocabulary. Pick a tune, pre-arrange LH chords. And then play, have fun while always playing the same voicing. Just block chords, and do whatever in the RH (improvise on the tune maybe). But just keep that LH pre-arranged.
Pretty soon, these progressions will go in.

Move on to another tune when you're ready. Typically that can be every 2 to 4 weeks.

Start with LH voicings. Later move on to 2 handed voicings, usually drop 2.

Off course, keep doing whatever your teacher is asking you to do. He probably has his own approach.

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#1374541 - 02/15/10 10:07 AM Re: Learning 2-5-1s [Re: knotty]
flat13sharp11 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/23/09
Posts: 117
Loc: Lancashire, UK
Well I've been given a tune to learn to apply this- Gershwin's "A Foggy Day". She has written out some left hand voicings while I play the melody in my right hand and then another version of the tune with two handed voicings, though there isn't a root as it's presumed there's a bass player. I just record the root on the piano, and then play it back. She uses a lot of 9's, 11's and 13's in the voicings. Really nice sounds!

And that is what she was emphasising in my first lesson- to be able to hear the sound of a 9, 11 and 13. I suppose it will help when I move on to learning other tunes, as I will eventually be able to hear a ninth here, and 13 there etc.


Edited by flat13sharp11 (02/15/10 10:10 AM)
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#1374895 - 02/15/10 05:51 PM Re: Learning 2-5-1s [Re: flat13sharp11]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2991
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
Applying to tunes will really help you getting used to those voicings. It will put those in your portofolio of voicings.

Playing chords slowly through all keys as I described above will help your ear a lot.

Transcribing will probably be the fastest way to actually recognize the sound of [insert sound here]

Sounds like you're well on your way !

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#1376141 - 02/17/10 12:46 AM Re: Learning 2-5-1s [Re: knotty]
JazzPianoEducator Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/09
Posts: 203
Loc: Denver, CO
I would agree with knotty. Especially about applying your ii-V-Is to particular tunes. It is one thing to work through them in all keys over and over and it is another to use them in real application. If you can apply them to a song you enjoy, I find that your brain will learn it faster and it will develop more quickly into muscle memory. Whenever you are having trouble with a particular voicing, try to find a song that uses that voicing and then learn the song. Using this approach will keep things fresh for you and will also expand your repetiore.

There are links to a few videos to help you with the voicings on this page:
http://www.lessonrating.com/piano-library-online-jazz-piano-lessons.html

Best of luck!
JPE
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