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#1466689 - 07/01/10 09:22 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Two Handed Voicings - Practice Strategy - Part 3

Instead of just individual chords, let's now think of progressions, specifically the common progression of ii-V-I. In every lead sheet, such as All the Things You Are, look at the leadsheet and mark the ii-V-I sequences.

In ATTYA, these include | Fm7 Bb7 EbMaj7 |, |Am7 D7 GMaj7|, |Dm7 G7 CMaj7|, | Bbm7 Eb7 AbMaj7 |.

Handling ii-V-I Progressions

There's a specific advantage with ii-V-I progressions which allow you to just play the voicings by feel rather than having to memorize. And this takes advantage of Voice Leading.

Let's go through a simple ii-V-I in the key of C, which is Dm7 G7 CMaj7.

What did we learn about voicing two handed? The LH just plays the root and 5th (and you can add the 9th) so we will skip that for now since it will not change.

We learned that the RH plays a fifth interval starting from the 3rd of the chord.

So in Dm7, that means our fifth interval starts on F and ends on C.

When we play the next chord, which is a G7, the need an interval of a flatted 5th so we need an interval of B and F (3rd and 7th). BUT WAIT! Let's reverse the Dominants to play 7th and 3rd instead. So instead of B + F, let's do F + B.

Now notice it is the same as the Dm7 RH except that the C moves back a half step. THIS IS ALWAYS TRUE: When at the ii chord (Min7 chord), to go to the dominant always means moving the top note down by half a step!

The next chord is CMaj7 which requires the RH to be at E + B. Another half a step down move, except now it's the first note.

Do you see the motions here?

RH Motions for ii-V-I in C.
ii: F + C (5th interval)
V: F + B (Tritone Interval)
I: E + B (5th Interval)

Watch the Half Step motions.

The point of understanding this is that the hand motions can be memorized in addition to the shapes.

Again remember that the LH is still doing the same thing, which are 1-5 (or 1-5-9) patterns fron the root.

LH Motions for ii-V-I in C.
ii: D + A (5th interval) or D + A + E
V: G + D (5th Interval) or G + D + A
I: C + G (5th Interval) or C + G + D


Register Placement of the LH

Sometimes there's a choice here as far as where to play the Dominant. Do you go up to the V chord or go down to a lower octave. Try it both ways. The effect is different and the sound is fuller if you go down.

Practicing ii-V-I's

Since chords often come in ii-V-I progressions in standards, it's really important to practice it this particular way. There's a value to practicing chromatically so you can visualize the 5th intervals but if you practice a ii-V-I, you will find that it becomes easier to memorize.

I'll be frank here, this is a multi-month process. It's not going to come easy to memorize ii-V-I two handed in 12 keys. But you can memorize it much easier in relation to specific tunes.

Here are some really common ones (most you find in ATTYA). These are so common in standards that just knowing these alone will get you started nicely,

| Fm7 Bb7 EbMaj7 |
| Gm7 C7 FMaj7 |
| Am7 D7 GMaj7|
| Bbm7 Eb7 AbMaj7 |
| Cm7 F7 BbMaj7 |
| Dm7 G7 CMaj7|
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#1468094 - 07/04/10 11:43 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Two Handed Voicings - Practice Strategy - Part 4

Two handed voicings are used most often when comping and when playing the head. Playing the head (or Melody) introduces some new problems which you will discover if you try 'All the Things You Are' and that is the location of the melody note.

As a standard approach, you MUST play the melody note as the top note (played by the RH pinky typically). It's nice if you can keep the melody above your two handed chords at all times but it doesn't work out that way in real life, even in ATTYA which has a melody mostly in thirds of the chord.

In the part 1, the shape used is Fifth + Fifth and this created a hand spread that used at two octaves apart from lowest to the highest note (root of chord to the 2nd seventh of the chord).

Now I will use a more closed-in shape in which the distance from the lowest note to the highest note is only a tenth. You will need this when the melody goes low or just to change the comping sound.

Fifth and Fourth Shape

This shape is a (LH) Fifth and a (RH) Fourth.

Before I show you the actual fifth and fourth shape for a two handed voicing, we need to be aware of the symmetry in piano playing that will become obvious after awhile.

Being aware of the symmetry in note positions makes understanding easier and will make you rely less in rote memorization.

Let's look at a CMaj7 and Cmin7 Chord for a moment. As discussed in Part 1, the RH takes a Fifth Shape starting at the 3rd of the chord which starts at E for a major chord and Eb for a minor chord.

Symmetry

For a major chord this interval, to review once again is E - B. For a minor this interval is Eb to Bb. As you can see the notes are a fifth apart.

But you should now also see that to reverse the notes creates a FOURTH interval. B - E is a fourth and Bb - Eb is a fourth.

So look at this carefully. If the lower note is a 3rd, the interval is a Fifth. If you start at the 7th of the chord instead, then the interval is a fourth.

To truly visualize this, play E B E (1 5 1 or 1 5 8) where the two E's are an Octave apart. Study the intervals here. Play this chromatically in 12 keys. Look at the interval from E - B and from B - E. Same notes. Symmetry.

So you can see here that we can interchange the sequence. If we start with G we need only a fourth interval instead of a fifth.

Applying This

In real life, the effect of reversing the notes on the RH means moving down the shape by a fourth interval lower than before.

The LH plays the Fifth shape starting from the root like before. The two hands are close together. They will overlap if you include the 9th in the LH.

So in CMaj7 it is:
LH: C G (Fifth Interval) adding a 9th (D) would cause an overlap.
RH: B E (Fourth Interval - a third above the LH).

Alternate Hand Shape

Now seeing this convoluted hand shape show allow you also to automatically think about shifting hands a little. Here's an alternate shape to this Fifth + Fourth Interval.

LH: C G B (1 5 7)
RH D E (9 3)

This is the same as the one just before but eliminates the hand overlap. There is a particular shape to this too and suddenly this reveals why practicing Shell voicings (1-7) or (1-5-7) was an important element to practice. This is a LH shell voicing and then the RH simply plays the 9th and 3rd which are played with the thumb and forefinger.

Try this with a Cmin7 chord

LH: C G B (1 5 b7)
RH D Eb (9 b3)

The D and Eb are a half step apart and very easy to play with thumb and forefinger while the LH is playing the shape of a "shell voicing".


Review

So as an additional practice point, be prepared to invert the 5th shape on the RH so that the upper note becomes the lower note creating a fourth shape.

Your understanding of the keys will improve immensely when these patterns come to you automatically.

Be prepared to change hand position so that the LH plays a shell voicing 1-5-7 instead of just 1-5 and then the RH fills in the rest.

If you study this shapes closely for each chord, you will have to power to play any leadsheet with ease with full two handed multiregister sounds.
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#1468124 - 07/04/10 12:43 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Oh boy. I was combining the fifths - which I can do, though I can never remember actually voicing a chord like that. And while I can reach a 5th between fingers 1 and 2, it leaves me about 3 notes to play with the rest of the hand, so I'm not sure how helpful that one's going to be.
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#1468189 - 07/04/10 02:40 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: ten left thumbs]
jazzwee Offline
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TLT, are you talking about the RH? There's no occasion to play more than 3 notes on the RH (which includes the chord voicing with the melody) based on what I'm talking about.

If the melody note is near the 3rd, then the pinky is nicely available to play it (thus the hand shape 1 5 8).

If the melody note is near the 7th, then that's when you shift a fourth down.

When in doubt, pull out some notes on the RH.

The LH though doesn't require much thought because the base shape is still 1-5.
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#1468193 - 07/04/10 02:43 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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BTW there's the concept of Block Chord playing where each melody note is voiced as a chord. I typically play heads that way and the principle I use is based on what's described here.

As an example, Knotty posted a recording of Solar and using the same two handed logic here, one can play Solar two handed with block chords.
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#1468196 - 07/04/10 02:49 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Two handed chords are fine, but putting a 5th between fingers 1 and 2 seems like an extraordinary waste of my hand. Just try it. Limit yourself to an octave between 1 and 5.
See how much you can improvise with those notes.

Edit: off to play guitar where I can make the frets smaller by the simple application of the capo. smile


Edited by ten left thumbs (07/04/10 02:50 PM)
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#1468205 - 07/04/10 02:59 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: ten left thumbs]
jazzwee Offline
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TLT, two handed chord playing is the basis of comping and playing the head. Not Improvising.

So typical Jazz playing often involve shifting between two handed voicings to LH voicings. When I ready to improvise, I will typically take one or more of the following approaches:

1. Play a LH Shell Voicing 1-7 or 1-5-7
2. Play a Tenth Voicing 1-10
3. Play a Root then jump to a rootless voicing (like stride)
4. Play a 3-1 voicing (from Glen -- I don't use this yet but I will).

Now the RH could be improvising and then switch to comping during quiet moments. This is used to play INNER VOICES. Plenty of Jazz masters do this.

In this case, the RH improvises on any note as usual, then during quiet moments, puts a voicing in the middle register just like we do here. Typically voicings created by the thumbs and forefingers of both hands.

This is what creates those full sounds in Solos. It's as if there's someone else playing. This is particularly important when playing ballads and solo piano as it's pretty empty sounding to play a fixed LH chord and then the RH is stuck in some upper register. It's not cool sounding at all.

You've got to learn how to use the entire piano and that's what two handed practice is about.
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#1468228 - 07/04/10 03:48 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Sorry, jazzwee, I'm not explaining myself very well.

The most I can stretch either hand is an octave. So clearly 9ths and 10ths are out.

The rest is a question of making the most of what is there. So if I take this for example:


"RH - Leave the Pinky Free

In the RH, be prepared to play the 5th interval with thumb and forefinger. In playing heads of tunes, the pinky often plays the melody so the chord has to played with fingers 1/2 on the RH."

So if I'm playing Cmaj7, the RH is playing E and B. If I want to improvise over it my only choices are C D and E (and the black notes in between, I suppose). Fairly limiting. Yes it's all about knowing which notes in which chords and having them there at your finger tips. And it is interesting to construct the chords out of 5ths like this. I just don't see it as being really useful - for me, at any rate.
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#1468444 - 07/05/10 02:32 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: ten left thumbs]
jazzwee Offline
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TLT, I don't think you're understanding that. In fifth + fifth shape, yes, the melody notes you can play are B C Db D Eb E. That's half the octave.

When the melody falls below the B then you shift to the fourth shape and then you can play the remainder of the notes. At no time are you "lacking" the ability to play any melody notes.

Then the third hand shape which I discussed last is the 1-5-7 and 9+3 on the right. Now that leaves practically an octave stretch from the third.

Nope. There is no point here that has a limitation.

If you can only play an octave, then you would skip the 9th in the LH 1-5-9 and do the 9th in the RH if it is free to do so.

I actually didn't discuss tenths here at all since that is a LH only voicing. For someone with small hands, you really need two handed chords even more.

It takes practice but shifting between these hand shapes become automatic. In case I'm not making it clear here, there aren't that many choices when you play solo piano. If you're playing combo only, you can get away with rootless LH only.
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#1468448 - 07/05/10 02:42 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Loc: So. California
To All: A lot of this can be theory. That's why I suggest applying this concept to a specific tune like All the Things You Are. The reason is that melodies often use the 3rds, 5ths, and 7ths of the chord. These specific hand shapes are used to play this very difficult tune which requires shifting of shapes. In fact, I probably use all of the above in this tune so it's perfect practice.

I just want to make clear that what I'm introducing above is a practice strategy.

No need to jump ahead. Playing 5th + 5th needs to be mastered first and then 5th + 4th so that one can visualize the keyboard.

Then you can mix it up any way you want but it will require little thinking. After awhile it becomes a bit of common sense.
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#1468869 - 07/05/10 08:22 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
CMohr Offline

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Registered: 07/24/09
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Thanks Jazzwee for all this work on the 2 handed voicings! I've been working on your "lessons", applying them to a jazz exercise that I have memorized from a long time ago. It is just a RH line with 7th chords in the LH, but very melodic. So I've been working on using the two-handed voicings instead of the whole chords in the LH. Not as easy as I thought it would be. BUT, a much fuller "cooler" sound! If I can get it to a decent speed, I'll post.

I learned this little exercise in a class I took. It focused on reading the roman numeral chord system. As I see it we're just playing the root + 5 in the LH and the 3 + 7 and melody in the RH. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

The info on 5ths and 4ths turned a little light bulb on for me, thanks! I do have a teacher, but hey, once a week , for me is not enough, but what I can afford.
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#1468893 - 07/05/10 09:12 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: CMohr]
jazzwee Offline
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Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
CMohr, I appreciate your comments! I figure someone must be reading since there have been thousands of reads ever since I posted this.

Although, I know it as 1 5 - 3 7 as well, I've begun to realize that no one really focuses on the shape. Everyone just says play these chord tones on LH and RH and with such a general statement, just like you it needed some light bulb in my head to visualize that there is a pattern.

I think that's the key here. Once you get a general shape going, it becomes easy to add further alterations and to add new shapes. But that's another subject.

The goal hopefully here is to play these voicings instantly. And I found that to not be possible without some sort of template.

BTW - if your hands are large enough to do a 9th, it is easier to line up the RH shape to the 3rd if you play a 1-5-9 on the LH. And the 9th rubbing close to the 3rd really has a cool effect. Sometimes it's not just the notes but the intervals which is something one learns with voicings.
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#1468898 - 07/05/10 09:21 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
CMohr Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 1027
Loc: Oregon
Yes, instantly is what I definitely need to work on! I have no problem with 10ths, so 9ths are not a problem either. I just thought I'd start with one thing and then add more as I become more comfortable. And yes, the whole shape thing is a real eye opener, and something I'm looking forward to working on getting the "feel" for. Now that my brain knows it, I just need it to transfer to my fingers! laugh
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#1468899 - 07/05/10 09:27 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Two Handed Voicings - Practice Strategy - Part 4

Handling ii-V-I Progressions with Fourth Shapes

Just to leave everything clear, we talked about using Fourth shapes on the RH instead of Fifth Shapes, which simply means we go down a Fourth and the RH plays a 7 + 3.

Again the total coverage on the keyboard here from LH to RH is about a tenth. So this is a more compressed pattern and is useful when the melody goes down.

The ii-V-I motions are exactly the opposite of fifth shapes

RH Motions for ii-V-I in C.
ii: C + F (4th interval)
V: B + F (Tritone Interval)
I: B + E (4th Interval)

Watch the Half Step motions. This time it's the first note that steps down first by a half step.

So what is needed here is to practice this ii-V-I pattern in Fourths and Fifth shapes to get it really clear in one's head.

What Really Happens in ii-V-I's

This is just kind of a theory hint since we don't want to do these exercises blindly.

In a ii-V progression, the 7th of the chord ALWAYS moves down a half step and the 3rd becomes the new 7th. This explains the voice leading.

So in a ii-V-I, the reversals between 7 and 3 are as follows (in this particular fourth shape)

ii: 7 3
V: 3 7
I: 7 3


In a Fifth Shape it goes as follows
ii: 3 7
V: 7 3
I: 3 7

The alternating 3rds and 7ths allow for better voice leading.

In a way you can get used to another shape/pattern. When the hands are closer together, the lower note goes down a half step first. When the hands are further apart, the higher note goes down a half step first.

In other words, hands further apart tends to be the Fifth Shape, hands closer together tends to be the fourth shape.
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#1469206 - 07/06/10 11:59 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
Inlanding Online   content
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TLT, Jazzwee, et. al,
Here is a quick lumbering along at first example using the (1-5) simple fifth interval in the left hand, 3d-7th in the right, while sticking to a simple melody line.

It then began to morph into something else in the left hand, and right. wink

I chose Where or When because it is much simpler to apply on the fly that Open Voicing technique than it is to All The Things You Are, and besides ...I've played ATTYA more than enough lately! I recently played at a dinner party and one of the guests insisted I play ATTYA over and over and over and over wink

Where or When

Glen

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#1469377 - 07/06/10 04:43 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: Inlanding]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Thanks for replying jazzwee. I've done what I should have done from the start - copy and paste into a document and print it all out. It's helpful to see where to skip, on grounds of not reaching a 9th.

Part 1 is fine. Part 2 I skip. Parts 3 and 4 are fine but not totally automatic in all keys.

But perhaps what is helpful is to practice is to add the 9th into part 1? Certainly sounds good. I like the simplicity of the ii-V-I progressions in the RH, but then the 9th does complicate them a little.

Edit: Very nice Glen, especially after you allowed yourself to morph! I kept hearing that AATYA interval working its way in. That song certainly has got itself in your system! smile


Edited by ten left thumbs (07/06/10 05:54 PM)
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#1469484 - 07/06/10 08:26 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: ten left thumbs]
jazzwee Offline
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ATTYA is kind of complicated because the melody moves around so you really almost have to do all the parts. But I like that practice since it gets me thinking smile

Something to think about too -- a 1-5-9 interval is actually two FIFTHS in a row for one hand.

So LH - FIFTH + FIFTH (1-5-9)

RH - FIFTH + FOURTH (if you double the 3rd) (3-7-3)
or
RH - FOURTH + FIFTH (if you double the 7th) (7-3-7)

It's a little bit of math but it sure makes the keyboard seem smaller after awhile.

The doubling of the 3rd or seventh gives a nice sound for comping. When you starting seeing this kind of architecture in the keys, ones hands tend to gravitate towards the shapes, even in soloing.

Going back to the LH Fifth + Fifth, it's actually an interesting voicing to play the Fifth instead of the root at times. If one can't reach a Fifth + Fifth, I wonder if an occasional root, then pedal, then 5th to 9th could provide some inner voice movement. Certainly a thought for ballads. I tend not to think about this since I can reach a tenth.

When comping or during quiet moments in a solo, this inner voice movement is actually what makes it interesting. Also the inner voices can provide some rhythmic effect.

Although I've known all of this in theory, it's really different thinking when you are aware of the shapes. From here you can have more interesting shapes like
FOURTH + FOURTH on the RH starting from the 3rd. This now introduces some new alterations.
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#1469486 - 07/06/10 08:36 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: Inlanding]
jazzwee Offline
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Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: Inlanding
TLT, Jazzwee, et. al,
Here is a quick lumbering along at first example using the (1-5) simple fifth interval in the left hand, 3d-7th in the right, while sticking to a simple melody line.

It then began to morph into something else in the left hand, and right. wink

I chose Where or When because it is much simpler to apply on the fly that Open Voicing technique than it is to All The Things You Are, and besides ...I've played ATTYA more than enough lately! I recently played at a dinner party and one of the guests insisted I play ATTYA over and over and over and over wink

Where or When

Glen



Great example Glen. Isn't amazing how full the sound is in solo piano with multi-register open voicings? Now one could try this with Rootless voicings as taught in most books and it sounds thin. Thanks for doing that man.
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#1469971 - 07/07/10 03:23 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
JimF Offline
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Jazzwee,

Quote:
Everyone just says play these chord tones on LH and RH and with such a general statement, just like you it needed some light bulb in my head to visualize that there is a pattern.


Thanks. I've been playing around with this stuff for a while and your explanation of shapes really clicked for me. Can't wait to get home tonight to take it for a spin.

Now I just have to dig back in the thread, or dig up a leadsheet for ATTYA, to see where you got your ii-V-I chords from. Also, if I understand you right, when soloing we want to play the melody notes always as the topnote of the right hand (with pinky usually, although #3 and #4 are available).

Jim
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#1470031 - 07/07/10 05:24 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: JimF]
jazzwee Offline
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Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Hey JimF, welcome to our little thread.

Just to be clear, when playing "solo piano" we play the melody as the top note usually.

But when improvising (which I refer to as "soloing"), the RH should be free to go where it wants and the LH has to take over.

While "soloing" (improvising) in a solo piano case, you'll have to mix in some more "rooted" LH voicings. My favorites are:

a. Tenths - 1-10
b. Root then jump to Rootless voicing (like Stride) but less regular, like a root every bar or two.
c. 5-1 (notice it's upside down).
d. 1-7 or 1-5-7

On the ii-V-I, just remember what I said there, they real key to this is that the 7th always goes down a half step to become the 3rd of the next chord. It's always like this. I just translated it into a shape.

I'm glad it's clicking for you. I don't think anyone actually told me about these shapes, I just paid attention for a moment and suddenly I realized that I can just look at this a little differently! I'm glad my own personal method works for others.

Remember that there's more to this and this is just a practice strategy. Nowadays, I can shift what fingers play what so although the underlying shape is the same, how I distribute it between the two hands is more flexible (i.e. I don't necessarily retain the shape in my hands all the time).








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#1472944 - 07/12/10 01:17 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Two Handed Voicings - Practice Strategy - Part 5

Just a side note - just in the week or so since I posted these voicings, there's been over 25,000 page reads so obviously there's interest here. Please post comments since many of you are apparently reading this. It just gives me a feedback to see if this is worth doing. And keep on reading. There's a few more of these posts to follow.

Obvious Problem Areas

As you practice these shapes, most of the time, on the LH, the Root + 5 + 9 fall on the same colored keys so it is easy to visualize. So for example, if the root falls on a white key, then all others fall on the same white key. But you need to memorize the exception shapes where the fifth shape lands an opposite colored keys. Remember what I said earlier that a LH 1-5-9 is actually just two connected fifths. So the problem really is just Bb - F and B - F#. But due to the fact that you're dealing with two fifths on the LH, you just have to remember the following roots:

Eb - (Eb Bb F)
E - (E B F#)
Bb - (Bb F C)
B - (B F# C#)

On the RH, since we are dealing with only one Fifth shape (or a Fifth + Fourth which is just an inversion), then the only issues will be Bb - F and B - F#. It's really good to practice and know this in advance instead of having to always have to think about it when you try to create the shapes with the hands. Remember that point of this practice strategy is to create these voicings quickly and automatically.

More Patterns - Moving from a Major 7 Chord to a Min 7 Chord

It's really good to practice these shapes with All the Things You Are because you encounter most of the possibilities. I just want to call your attention to this behavior. I mentioned before that moving from a major chord to a minor with the same root (like Cmaj7 to CMin7) simply means leaving the LH alone and moving the RH shape down a half step. I just want to make sure one sees the opposite here which is that moving from CMaj7 to DbMin7 means moving the LH up a half step and the RH stays in place. Some of this might be obvious but it's conscious awareness of all this that speeds up recognition.

Minimal Motions

Can you memorize these relationships? If you do, you will note that you will avoid motions on one hand with these moves or just involve movement of one note.

These progressions that involve minimal movement in one hand are:

ii-V-I - RH Moves Minimally (one finger)
Maj to Min7 same Root - LH does not move, RH moves a half step
Maj to Min 7 half step up - LH moves a half step, RH does not move

Do you know why this is the case? If not go back and reread the earlier parts.

RH Inversions

On Major 7th and Minor 7th chords, the right hand is all about shifting between Fourth shape and Fifth Shape inversions (or combining the two to create an octave. Are you comfortable with that? What I mean here is that when practicing, you should automatically be able to shift between starting at a fourth shape below and a fifth shape above (meaning the pattern starts at the 7th of the chord), or a fifth shape + a fourth shape (which means a pattern starting at the 3rd of the chord).

As I mentioned before the decision to choose a shape will depend on the melody location.

On Dominant Seventh chords, the RH interval is always a tritone (flatted 5th). So this shape is constant regardless of what note one starts in (3rd or 7th). So one should be able to easily play two tritones in a row and the top and bottom notes will create an octave.

This doubled note or octave is great for comping, in a style popularized by Red Garland.

Rhythmic Aspects of Two Handed Playing

Something I discovered later on in two handed playing is the rhythmic aspect. Jazz is a rhythmic based music. So every opportunity to suggest the rhythm is important and very difficult in solo piano.

So instead of thinking of playing a chord as one entire collection of 5 or 6 notes, think of breaking it up rhythmically. As an example, when using a two handed chord like CMaj7, I might play only the root and melody on beat 1 of the bar, then insert the middle voicings somewhere in the middle of the bar. This works particularly well in a Latin beat.

Another thing I end up doing on a ballad is arpeggiating the LH more. I think the key word here is variety.

Pattern Recognition

I was observing myself play two handed chords a few days ago and I clearly don't follow the rules I state here about playing these fixed shapes. The reason is that, I've already accomplished the pattern recognition stage where I can choose the shift the notes between my two hands.

Here's a couple of common variations that I find myself doing.

a. LH Plays 1-5-7 and RH plays 9+3

b. LH Plays 1-3 (especially when going to a V chord in a ii-V progression).

When these hand shapes become natural, playing jazz becomes a TEN FINGERED process. It is no longer LH Comping and RH single note soloing. You develop the ability to comp inner voicings in the middle of a solo. This allows you to break up the solo with some space and comp at those moments with some soft fill.

As a side benefit, the important notes in soloing are the chord tones to begin with. Visualizing these notes in multiple registers because of this exercise really allow you to target these chord tones very easily (as opposed to just looking at a scale).

OK -- after this, we can talk about handling Minor ii-V's. (like | F#7b5 B7b9 |). You didn't think you knew everything already did you? smile
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#1473087 - 07/12/10 06:29 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
custard apple Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/09
Posts: 2261
Loc: Sydney
Hi JW
Thanks ! I have been reading but sorry for not having posted anything yet. I’m intending to work through Part 1 next week, and do one part per week.

Cheers
cus

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#1473468 - 07/13/10 12:24 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: custard apple]
KHZ Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 18
Loc: Amsterdam
I've been working on a little tune called Ladybird (Tadd Dameron). This is my first tune where I finally put some time into learning how to improvise and creating and using licks. My time's still off sometimes and I need to work on my swing, but other specific comments are very welcome! (need to get bettter at this lol)

Will have a swing at Autumn Leaves after fiddling around with Ladybird some more.

http://www.box.net/shared/dbnev307mt


Edited by KHZ (07/13/10 05:07 PM)

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#1473686 - 07/13/10 06:10 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: KHZ]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2938
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
Khz,

I'd recommend 2 things:
- Cut the tempo in half.
- When you improvise, use only 8th notes. And instead of thinking one note at a time, think in blocks of 4 notes. Count in your head if it helps. 1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4 etc ...

take care.

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#1473695 - 07/13/10 06:20 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: knotty]
nottasmartman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 64
Loc: Pacific Northwest
This thread has inspired me to stop lurking and start again.

When I first joined this site, this was the thing I was looking for but everything centered around Classical self instruction. Now that there's this huge resource, I'm motivated again. Thanks for everyone that's contributed to it so far. Looking forward to learning my two favorite Autumns (Autumn Leaves and Autumn in New York). As a matter of fact looking forward to learning April in Paris, Summertime and Christmas Time Is Here as well.

Thanks again.
_________________________
"There is no such thing as a wrong note."
Art Tatum

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#1473832 - 07/13/10 10:40 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: nottasmartman]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
hey guys, thought I'd drop by here. Has anyone played the song "Never Let Me Go?" Keith Jarrett does a great version on his Standards Vol.1 album.

I've looked through a fake book and worked out my own chord voicings. For me it's a tricky tune as it modulates in 3-4 keys and there's tons of diminished chords, which I'm working on now.

One common progression is 1 maj7 - 1 dim....

It's a great song.

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#1473905 - 07/14/10 01:03 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: custard apple]
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Hi Cus, I didn't mean that you'd (or others) have to do the exercises now, I was just seeing if there's anybody out there or I was just talking to myself smile Seemed unlikely after now 30,000 page reads since part 1 was posted smile

So thanks for acknowledging!
_________________________
Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Piano 88
My Blog

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#1473908 - 07/14/10 01:07 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: KHZ]
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: KHZ
I've been working on a little tune called Ladybird (Tadd Dameron). This is my first tune where I finally put some time into learning how to improvise and creating and using licks. My time's still off sometimes and I need to work on my swing, but other specific comments are very welcome! (need to get bettter at this lol)

Will have a swing at Autumn Leaves after fiddling around with Ladybird some more.

http://www.box.net/shared/dbnev307mt


Hi KHZ, Good job! What I liked about what you played was that the lines clearly stated the harmony of the tune and that is quite an accomplishment. The rest like time and swing takes time. I'll comment on it more once I know more about you like how long have you been playing piano, jazz and if you have a teacher. Tell us more.

There are so many things to work on so sometimes we have to track progress by making a move on some things. But it is impossible to accomplish everything all at once.
_________________________
Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Piano 88
My Blog

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#1473910 - 07/14/10 01:09 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: nottasmartman]
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: nottasmartman
This thread has inspired me to stop lurking and start again.

When I first joined this site, this was the thing I was looking for but everything centered around Classical self instruction. Now that there's this huge resource, I'm motivated again. Thanks for everyone that's contributed to it so far. Looking forward to learning my two favorite Autumns (Autumn Leaves and Autumn in New York). As a matter of fact looking forward to learning April in Paris, Summertime and Christmas Time Is Here as well.

Thanks again.


Hey nottasmartman, you were very smart to stop in this thread! thumb

Just remember that this thread is sort of a free-for-all so don't let the lesson limit the structure. Everyone starts at a different point. So we don't really care if you want to work on a different tune. Jazz is jazz.
_________________________
Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Piano 88
My Blog

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#1473912 - 07/14/10 01:13 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: Wizard of Oz]
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz
hey guys, thought I'd drop by here. Has anyone played the song "Never Let Me Go?" Keith Jarrett does a great version on his Standards Vol.1 album.

I've looked through a fake book and worked out my own chord voicings. For me it's a tricky tune as it modulates in 3-4 keys and there's tons of diminished chords, which I'm working on now.

One common progression is 1 maj7 - 1 dim....

It's a great song.


Hey Wiz, you're busy learning a lot of tunes. My teacher kinda got mad at me for doing so many tunes. So I'm just working on the ones I already know but making it better. Still doing Giant Steps too. Other than for tempo, it's starting to feel comfortable. It's pretty hard for me to get lost now.

Don't know that tune Wiz but I'll give it a listen.
_________________________
Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Piano 88
My Blog

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